Cape to Windhoek Namib desert camping safari

“Head north from Cape Town and over the South African border into the desert folds of Namibia travelling in a custom-made 12-seater safari truck en-route to Etosha National Park.”


Cape Town | Cape Point Nature Reserve | Cederberg | Gariep River | Fish River Canyon | Sossusvlei in Namib Desert | Swakopmund | Cape Cross seal colony | Spitzkoppe | Ugab wilderness | Etosha National Park | Okaukuejo flood-lit waterhole | Windhoek | Optional activities in Swakopmund include: sand dune surfing and sea kayaking |

Description of Cape to Windhoek Namib desert camping safari

South Africa and Namibia safaris combine the very best of southern Africa with everything from Cape Town and Cedarberg to Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park featuring within this epic two week itinerary.

Of course, aside from the landscapes of Fish River Canyon, Damaraland and the Namib Desert, it’s the wildlife of southern Africa that take centre stage on this remarkable South Africa to Namibia safari with untold opportunities to watch wildlife both from safari vehicles and overnight campsites.

For more than half of this South Africa and Namibia tour (nine nights) you’ll be staying in permanent campsites in and around the region’s national parks and townships with hot and cold running water for showers and clothes washing alongside on-site telephones.

Meals included within the overall tour package include 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and eight evening meals the majority of which are provided by the travel and guide team to be eaten around the communal camp fire. The remaining three included breakfasts will be provided at the guesthouse.

As with most Namibia safaris over gravel roads, specially designed 12-seater safari trucks will be used on this tour. At one point, during the journey into the Okavango Delta, a four-wheel-drive 12-seater Land Cruiser will be used with forward facing seating and an additional trailer.

Getting involved and assisting the guide team is a great way to fully immerse yourself within the South Africa and Namibia tour experience with packing the tent away and even taking part in the washing up ensuring things run as smoothly as possible and you’re taking part rather than watching from afar.

Between December and through to May, Namibia and South Africa are in full bloom with new life emerging during the rainy season and migrating birds enjoying the buoyant greenery and added vegetation in and around southern Africa’s watering holes and desert oasis.

The dry season in the region, from June to November, is generally much better for viewing wildlife from an unimpeded perspective with milder, colder, temperatures starting and finishing each day and a lack of rain causing watering holes to be teeming with thirsty animals.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:After this morning’s early tour briefing you’ll begin the South Africa safari leg of this two week tour at Cape Town from where you’ll visit Hout Bay Harbour, Cape Point Nature Reserve and the colony of penguins residing on Boulders Beach. The rest of the day will be spent enjoying the delights of Cape Town with your own choice of restaurant providing the sustenance prior to returning to your guesthouse for your first overnight stay in southern Africa.
Day 2:After breakfast you’ll head north and away from Cape Town en-route to the rugged wilderness region of Cederberg where you’ll be able to explore amongst the gigantic sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted by the elements into some seriously interesting shapes. Enjoy an afternoon in Cederberg exploring on foot prior to retiring for your evening meal around the campfire. (Meals included: breakfast, lunch and evening meal.)
Day 3:The South Africa section of the tour comes to a conclusion today as you enter the Namibia tour stage along the River Gariep where you’ll have free time to swim and relax or take out a canoe under your own steam before returning to camp for the evening meal. (All meals included today.)
Day 4:There’s nothing like a visit to the world’s second largest canyon to get the pulse racing a little faster which is why watching the sun set over the rim of Fish River Canyon is definitely going to be one of this tour’s most memorable moments. (All meals included today.)
Day 5-6:Today you’ll continue the journey north and into the stunning sands of Sossusvlei that signal the start of the vast Namib Desert, which include the highest sand dunes in the world which appear after walking through the equally impressive Sesriem Canyon. (Two nights camping and all meals included.)
Day 7-8:The next couple of days will be spent close to the coast with chalet accommodation in the seaside town of Swakopmund providing the base for a free day to check out the sights or try a spot of sea kayaking or sand surfing as optional activities before enjoying an evening meal in town. (Chalet accommodation for two nights alongside two breakfasts and one lunch.)
Day 9:Following the arid coastline north you’ll discover the seal colony at Cape Cross today prior to heading westwards to camp within the massive granite rock formations of Spitzkoppe which appear to thrust out of the desert like a giant’s fist. Sunsets in Spitzkoppe are always superb and the short walk before or after the evening meal around the campfire is certainly not to be missed. (Overnight camping and all meals included today.)
Day 10:Today you’ll have the opportunity to spot rare desert elephants as you head for your next campsite in the Brandberg Mountain foothills along the dried up Ugab River. A local guide will lead the group through the mountains where fabulous views, rock art and silence await. (Overnight camping and all meals included today.)
Day 11-12:For the next two days your Namibia safari tour heads to the world-famous Etosha National Park where an abundance of wildlife, including herds of elephants and antelopes, and prides of lions, all gather around watering holes with flood-lights at Okaukuejo enable game watching into the night. (Campsites will be chosen depending on the best prospect of watching wildlife. There are three sites in Etosha NP to choose from. All meals are included whilst in the national park.)
Day 13:Your penultimate day in Namibia takes place in the characterful town on Windhoek that combines the cultural charm of Africa and Europe both in its cosmopolitan lifestyle but also within its friendly and welcoming local people. (Permanent campsite used tonight with breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 14:Your tour ends this morning after breakfast with airport transfers available on request.

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'Free from' food:
We can cater for Vegans, Vegetarians, gluten free and celiac. We will just need to know this ahead of time when the bookings are being made.
With experience of personally guiding tours through a large number of African countries, and having previously led groups including LGBT travellers through those countries, I have not experienced any issues in accommodations or during the trip as a whole to date. The important thing is to know the local laws and gain an understanding of local points of view before you travel – we can advise you on these and the UK Foreign office FCO also has lots of country-specific information on local laws and customs. If a country is on the conservative side, generally being careful not to openly show affection in public for example is enough to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. All our guides are welcoming of LGBT travellers and will be happy to give advice on the trip when/where needed.
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Message from co-Founder of this Tour Operator. My name is Bruce and I am a founder of this tour operation. I believe that the old conservation tactic of the setting aside areas of "exclusion" for conservation are outdated.

The reality is that in order for effective, sustainable conservation to take place, there needs to be an interest from the society of that country, conscious effort from government and local "buy in" from the local communities. Sadly the world is in a place where economic benefit is the overriding driving force of action and as such conservation is directly linked to economic benefit. Sustainable tourism is therefore absolutely essential for conservation to be effective. Not only for local communities to see value in conservation, but for countries as a whole to place value in protecting their natural heritage.

I believe there is a deep and instinctual link between our humanity and our natural environment. Inherently we all want to know that the wild places are still out there. And Eco-tourism gives us that opportunity, as we so often hear, to "rebalance" or "rejuvenate".

The various promises and commitments detailed below are only a representation of what it is that we do. I sincerely hope that our tours offer our clients an opportunity to experience the wonders of the African continent, and in some small way through focusing itineraries around wildlife and national parks, we contribute to environmental conservation both economically and spiritually.

If you join one of our trips, and have practical feasible suggestions about our responsible travel practices, please contact us. We strive to improve our operation and if we can do more for conservation in Africa, then we're all ears!

Low impact tourism & supporting local communities:
• Small group travel: We specialise in small group travel with a maximum group size of 12 clients & minimum of 4. Small groups ensures a small impact on the destinations we visit when compared to larger groups. Smaller groups create an intimate safari experience, and mean that when we interact with local cultures and stay in environmentally sensitive areas, we do not leave a large footprint.
• Fuel consumption: By travelling in a small group your carbon foot print is approximately ½ of self drive safari. The average pick-up car hire runs on approximately 12ltr/100km with generally 2 people per vehicle and this equates to approximately 6ltr/100km pp. Our average safari truck runs on 25ltr/100km with an average of 9.5 clients per tour and this equates to 2.6Ltr/100km pp. So, by joining a small group tour, your fuel consumption is less than half of doing a self-drive 4WD or pick up trip.
• Cooking: We cook using gas as far as possible and, whenever feasible, avoiding cooking using fire or coal which depletes limited wood resources.
• Wooden carving curios: We do take clients to local curio markets to support the local communities. If they want to buy a carving, we encourage clients purchase only small wooden carvings instead of large pieces. This is in an effort to again conserve the forests around the carving markets.
• Waste: We ensure that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop, including oil traps, oil recycling, cleaning products etc).
• Entrance fees: All entrance fees for the national parks in each country are used by the local authorities to maintain the condition and infrastructure of the national parks, and run regular anti-poaching patrols. These are often supplemented by government grants. The national parks support a large number of local community members often providing housing and schooling for the staff families. For us as a tour operator, supporting the various national park boards is an essential element to each tour.
• Accommodation: On all tours wherever possible we use locally owned accommodation establishments which are involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. This provides direct benefits to local communities through employment. We avoid large hotel chains and more commercial properties but opt for simple self-catering lodge, B&B’s and tented camps for accommodation in rural areas. By doing this we create an intimate environment for group away from large scale tourism and the communities around the accommodation benefit directly through employment and this creates pride and further interest in sustainable tourism as the communities have tangible benefits from tourism. Our tours focus on out of the way destinations, and as such, our “spend” is distributed into rural areas.
• Drinking Water: Each client, drinking 5 litres per day from 1 litre plastic bottles produces 100 waste plastic bottles on a 3 week safari. On this calculation, we would pollute the environment (and waste energy resources in plastic production) with over 250,000 plastic bottles per year! So as solution, each of our vehicles has a tank of clean drinking water that is filled up along the journey. This is safe tap water. We do not provide bottle water we encourage clients to drink the local clean drinkable tap water wherever possible in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottle waste produced by the purchase of bottled drinking water.
• Water conservation: We are acutely aware that in many areas that we visit water is a scarce resource. Clients are encouraged to be conscious of water usage and not to take long showers or waste water.
• Wildlife: On all game drives, our trained and qualified guides ensure that our groups interact with wildlife in the appropriate way. Slow movements, no loud noises and to respect the animals “personal” boundaries. Our philosophy is that we are visitors in the amazing places that we visit, and we do not want our presence to impact the wildlife and environment in any negative way. We also enforce a policy of not feeding any wildlife (animals habituated to human feeding will turn aggressive in the future which often results in authorities being forced to kill that animal) and to appreciate the natural state of the areas that we visit and to leave the area in exactly the same condition that it was when we arrived.
• Local guides & communities: On each tour you will travel with two guides for the entire trip. In addition, we also employ local guides for certain activities on tour. These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times! The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These interactions also give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa, piece by piece.
We use local guides at:
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chobe NP, Ghanzi San Bushman excursion, national parks
South Africa: Mkuzi village walk, Qunu Mandela historical site, Kozi Bay
Swailand: Hlane walking
Lesotho: Malealea Lodge pony trekking guide
Malawi: Boat excursion on Lake Malawi
Mozambique: Dhow excursions
Namibia: Brandberg walk and drives (part of the Tsiseb Community Conservancy), Spizkoppe walk, Gariep River canoeing, Sossusvlei 4WD drivers,
Zambia: Lower Zambezi Canoe excursion, South Luangwa game walks and drives, Vic Falls optional activities
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Matobos NP, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls
For more information on each of the community projects please talk to your guide or contact us.
• Underprivileged Children Groups: We operate a number of tours into the national parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from schools based in Johannesburg, South Africa. PEN Organisation is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africa’s future and that environmental education is important. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife (perhaps for the first time), nature conservation at work, and also show them employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry, and possibly encourage them to follow a career in tourism (for this reason we aim these groups at 14-18 year olds).
• Local crafts and produce: At all local markets where fresh produce and crafts are sold and produced, we encourage the clients to barter (gently and in good humour) with the local people. This not only allows the clients to get involved with the local way of life, and interact directly with the local people, but also provides them a platform to experience local life first hand. Having said that, we explain to the clients by bartering too hard for a good deal might seem like a lot of money at the time, but if the amount being haggled over is converted to either US$, Euro or GBP, it amounts to very little. This is the local livelihood and we advise them to keep this in mind at all times.
• Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: We assist a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Springs, Johannesburg. Judy Davidson runs a licensed rehab centre from a small holding. A variety of birds are cared for, from injured barbets, doves, and crows to a brown snake eagle, a Gymnogene, and spotted eagle owls. All birds are treated in a small makeshift clinic, and then kept in aviaries until they have recovered. Once able to fly, or care for themselves again, they are moved to a 'flight' aviary, for a period until they have regained strength. They are then released back into the wild. Those birds which are unable to be released are kept in large aviaries and fed through various donations. We assist the project with donations of practical equipment including shade netting, paint and other items on their wish list.

1 Reviews of Cape to Windhoek Namib desert camping safari

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hard to say: the animals, the people, the landscapes, so many impressions.... Zimbabwe was very nice, the people friendly, the parks impressive, it was a nice
surprise. The people I met and travelled with were very nice too, as were the guides.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take something to listen to: there are long drives and the roads can be very bumpy, making reading hard.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

To an extent, buying some local goods, and visiting some sights.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was very good, long drives, but many impressions, so many sights, it was great. There was a lot packed into the time.

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