Namibia self drive holiday
Description of Namibia self drive holiday
Set your own pace on this self-drive holiday in Nambia and as we tailor this to you, make it as long or as short as you wish it to be. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to this country with very different sides. You will see some of the main highlights, admire the ever-changing view and can take a break for a leisurely lunch any time you wish.... It’s your holiday, your way.
When you arrive at Windhoek, our partners will meet you and take you into the city to pick up your car. From here its down to you what you would like to do. We will plan your route and hotels and take the stress of it all away from you so all you have to do, is enjoy the open road and this new destination.
The first few days you explore the magnificent Namib-Naukluft National Park and the iconic ochre dunes of the Sossusvlei, there are some incredibly scenic areas here which greet you at every turn. By contrast, Swakopmund on the coast is a delightful town, often called the adventure capital of Namibia as here you can arrange many activities from quad-biking or sandboarding in the dunes, skydiving, scenic flights, even go-karting. The coastline here is called the Skeleton Coast and stretches north to Angola. It gets its name from the shipwrecks which can still be seen from shore, once upon a time, the area was also littered with whale bones from the fishermen.
Damaraland is totally different! The scenery is magnificent, from mountains, granite boulders, geological anomalies, not forgetting the historic rock paintings of the San Bushmen and an opportunity to see the desert-adapted wildlife that roams the area.
You are getting to the end of your journey, but not before visiting, Etosha, Namibia's premier National Park. Here you can take game drives and see the wildlife, before heading to your final stop, Okonjima, home of the AfriCat Foundation.
Namibia really does have something for everyone!
PlanetThe company that organises this holiday is a multi-award-winning responsible travel company. They try to ensure that nothing they do at home (in UK) or abroad compromises the environment or wildlife or exploits people. They believe in ensuring that travellers are well-informed, as an informed traveller tend to be a more respectful and sensitive traveller. They also believe in giving back to the country, people wildlife and environments which are affected by tourism.
On this trip we use a variety of accommodation, from camps to homesteads. Desert Homestead, as an example, uses solar energy as their power supply. This powers the hot water production and operation of the air conditioning as well as all main electrical requirements and is backed by a generator only for emergency use. You will also find that the Swakopmund Guesthouse is run with an eco-friendly approach too, making use of solar energy.
At Etendeka Mountain Camp the emphasis on nature, and this eco-friendly camp bears testimony to her many riches. The camp has been designed to fit into the landscape both aesthetically and environmentally. A stunning eco-friendly open-air “bucket” shower with hot and cold water adds to the bush experience. The camp runs off solar energy and the tents and bathroom have solar lighting. The camp maintains a small footprint and works with a dedicated team from the community.
For every person that travels with the company, it plants trees through The Travel Forest initiative. Depending on where they plant and the requirement of the specific area, they plant either indigenous trees or a mix of indigenous and non-native species. Planting non-native seedlings may seem counter-intuitive but doing this can often help any remaining indigenous forest from being cut down (e.g. for fuel) as some non-native trees grow much more quickly than indigenous types. They particularly aim to save ancient or older indigenous forest, through offering an alternative option for fuel requirements of local communities. In addition to this benefit, their Travel Forest initiative helps with such things as planting for water-course retention, soil erosion, shade and even food – all depending on what is planted and where. They have planted almost 100,000 trees to date in various degraded locations including the Andean mountains in Peru, northern Tanzania and Malawi. This has always been done in conjunction with the local communities who plant and then tend the seedlings. Trees are far more important to the health of this planet (and us) than many people imagine. This global Travel Forest initiative can and does make a big difference.
The UK head office has a good policy of recycling, reducing and re-using (electricity, paper, plastic etc). They also buy only fair-trade goods such as tea, coffee, and use biodegradable detergents etc. They also make a point of buying only top eco-rated equipment (e.g. monitors).
As part of our commitment to the environment we have a programme to plant trees in Tanzania, Malawi, Peru etc. through the company’s foundation. This was set up to help alleviate poverty, conserve endangered wildlife, and protect earth’s environmental diversity for the benefit of us all. All the projects have a link with tourism in some way, and many benefit the wider world as well as local people, through conserving areas of natural beauty. We don’t just look overseas when considering the environment, even at the office the team planted tress in the fields surrounding the buildings to celebrate the company’s 21st birthday in 2019.
As a company we think about our partners overseas carefully. The company ethos is to use properties around the globe that have a similar ethical stance to ourselves. If they can use local suppliers for their provisions, be it food or furnishings then they do, and all offer a variety of menus including vegetarian and vegan/plant-based options. Our partners support the use of solar/renewable energies, and many are looking at ways of switching their current supplies to more eco-friendly options in order to be more efficient. The use of solar, water and air are options in use or being explored, as well as grey water run offs. Energy efficient appliances and practices, card operated in room lighting, low energy bulbs, and a change in laundry practices, are all in operation, and show just a few of the initiatives used. Our partners also use local staff within their properties. Many live on-site in seasonal properties for example reducing the travel emissions of the company, many come from the local villages and communities surrounding the properties. This includes everyone from house keeping to management and the guides that are from the locale.
Due to the nature of the holidays provided by the company, it is impossible to eliminate all flights but where possible we use the minimum flight hours an itinerary can operate with. The packages we have on offer include rail portions in some areas, which keep emissions low, many walking options and shared transportation.
PeopleNamibia was the first country in Africa to include the protection of the environment into its constitution. Almost half of the country is under conservation management. This can only work if there is a real benefit and a buy-in from communities living on communal land.
Etendeka and the conservancies support AfriCat North, an initiative to protect Namibia's wild lion populations by educating communities who are being impacted and encouraging adapted livestock management.
The traditional Himba still prefer living the way their forebears hundreds of years before the colonial era or the appearance of westerners. Himba villages close to Opuwa town are accustomed to visitors wanting to learn and experience more about their culture and lifestyle. As part of their responsible tourism community programme, the Opuwo Country Lodge have a standing arrangement with certain Himba villages to include them in their activity programmes. The Himba guides escort guests and translate while guest photograph and interact with the villagers, this means that there is educational value on both sides, and the tribe gains from the experience financially and through the support of the property.
Since Grootberg Lodge was built to benefit and uplift the local community, various initiatives have been launched since completion. Currently 60 people are directly employed at by the lodge while another ten are employed by the conservancy. The lodge is also strongly committed to support the Khoadi/Hoas community by directly assisting the access to education of the most disadvantaged children from the area. An education fund has been set up to assist with the renovation of one of only two primary schools in the Grootberg area. The trust will also lend support to children whose parents cannot afford tuition fees and other requirements pertaining to the children’s education.
In terms of information, all travellers are given guidelines on Travelling with Respect, which includes advice on cultural aspects of your travels as well as protecting the environment. For any community-owned or run project, they also have a Community Tourism Information sheet for travellers to help explain how to get the best from the experience, and what to expect (good and bad).
For trekkers, the company have a Porter Policy in place, a copy of which is given to clients. They also have a Responsible Wildlife Viewing guide too. For anything more specific, e.g. rules about visiting gorillas, this information is also given to clients. In addition, they offer more information about the native people and cultures in a destination country, which all adds to a traveller being more aware.
The company works with partners on the ground in each destination, and only uses local guides. They also primarily promote locally owned services (hotels etc). They have eco-rated about 300 properties worldwide which they work with closely, so they are very clear which accommodations have good environmental and social responsibility credentials. This information is used to ensure that any traveller wanting to ensure they are really making a difference, can choose between one property and another on eco-issues.
They also promote community-owned projects and services where applicable and possible. Indeed, they were instrumental in setting up two community-owned ventures in Tanzania and Peru.
The company backs a charity with funds and administration. This is a registered UK charity whose principle aim is to relieve the poverty of indigenous communities in areas outside of the UK which are affected by tourism. The charity backs poverty alleviation, education, cultural preservation and conservation projects within these regions. It has backed schools, clinics, micro-business projects and more. It is a charity we encourage our travellers to donate to if they would like to give something back.