Dates: April 30 to May 14, 2023
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights
Number of participants: 6 – 11
TRAVEL PROGRAM: tour to NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA, ZIMBABWE,ZAMBIA TOUR TO SOUTH AFRI
Day 1. April 30, 2023. Arrival in Windhoek
In the afternoon we arrive to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Meeting our guide at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Accommodation at Arebbusch Travel Lodge.
Free time, you can walk along central streets of the capital of Namibia.
Dinner in one of Windhoek's restaurants, gastronomic acquaintance with African fauna through tasty steaks of crocodile, ostrich, zebra and a number of antelopes (farm bred). Overnight in the lodge.
From Moscow to Johannesburg, South Africa by EgyptAir airlines arriving at 07:10 a.m or Qatar Airways arriving at 09:55 a.m. or 2:555 p.m. or Ethiopian Airlines arriving at 1:05 p.m. or Etihad Airways arriving at JNB at 08:15 a.m. The approximate cost is $440-$620.
From Johannesburg to Windhoek: Airlink airlines flights at 10:40 a.m, 12:15 p.m, 2:55 p.m, 3:15 p.m., 5:35 p.m. or 6:10 p.m. The approximate cost is $140-$240.
or any other flight with arrival in Windhoek at any time on April 30.
Meals: not included
Accommodation: Arebbusch Travel Lodge
Day 2. May 1, 2023. Windhoek – Namib desert (distance 300 km, time 4 hours)
After breakfast in the hotel, we start our self-drive journey on rented SUVs Toyota Hilux (4 people in a car) across South Africa. It is a pleasure to drive in Namibia, it can happen that for hours you won't see a single car on the road but there are a lot of wild animals around.
We are moving to Sesriem village, located at the southern end of Naukluft Mountains, where Namib desert begins. Namib desert stretches for 2000 kilometers along the Atlantic coast, gives the name to the whole country of Namibia, and in turn, was so named for its huge size. In one of the local languages called Nam, "Namib" means "expanded area".
First acquaintance with red Namibian dunes and then we watch sunset on the Dune 45.
Dinner and overnight stay in Desert Camp.
Meals: Breakfast and dinner included
Accommodation: Little Sossus Lodge
Day 3. May 2, 2023. Sossusvlei – Swakopmund
Early start this morning. Before dawn, we set out for the famous Sossusvlei clay plateau and watch sunrise in Dead Valley - Dead Vlei. "Vlei" means white fossilized plateau with 800-year-old black skeletons of trees, in a place where once there were lakes. Absolutely surreal landscape!
The chain of world's largest red sand dunes is the main attraction of Sossusvlei. The height of some dunes reaches 300 meters! The color of dunes changes depending on sun light – a real delight for a photographer!
We walk along the dunes and realize how difficult it is to live in such conditions. Not only our feet but also the wheels of our SUVs get stuck in the sand. Very dynamic selfdrive in the desert.
Late breakfast. After breakfast we pass through Namib-Naukluft National Park having 100 years' history. Namib-Naukluft is Namibia's largest park and the 4th largest in the world! We encounter elegant Oryx antelopes and ostriches, loving to walk toe-to-toe. Evening arrival to Swakopmund, resort town located on the Atlantic coast, founded by Germans in 19th century.
Meals: breakfast included
Accommodation: Atlantic Garden Boutique Hotelor similar
Day 4. May 3, 2023. Walvis Bay and Sandwich Harbor.
After breakfast, we drive to Walvis Bay town, situated in the same-name harbor, from where we go on boat trip to the Atlantic ocean. From our boat we watch pelicans, dolphins, fur seals, and if we are lucky, turtles and even whales!
Today we are doing a jeep tour of the Sandwich harbor. The place is unique because the dunes here meet the ocean, and only experienced drivers can drive here, those who know the local landscape and masterfully drive through the sand among huge dunes that descend directly into the ocean. We are with professional drivers by specially prepared cars.
After a jeep tour in the dunes and lunch, we return to Walvis Bay, stopping in a beautiful Pink Lagoon with flamingos where you can take very beautiful pictures.
In the evening, you can walk around Swakopmund and go to the famous seaside restaurant on the pier. Beautiful alleys, palm trees, parks and gardens, souvenir and antique shops, numerous cafes and restaurants, perhaps the most delicious oysters in the world from cold Atlantic stream – all this creates a special atmosphere of this place.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Atlantic Garden Boutique Hotel or similar
Day 5. May 4. Swakopmund - Twylefelfontein
After breakfast we will drive 4,5 hours to Twylefelfontein, the largest concentration of rock petroglyphs in Africa, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Namibia. For six thousand years this place was inhabited by San hunter-gatherers (Bushmen) and Khoikhoi herders, who performed worship and magical rituals here. Along the way we will encounter tiny Gerero villages of 4-5 huts. The women of this tribe are easily recognized by their traditional attire of colorful Victorian dresses from the 1800s. Check in to the campsite and dinner.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Twyfelfontein Tented Camp or similar
Day 6. May 5, 2023. Damara Living Museum - Himba tribe
After breakfast we go to Damara Living Museum. Opened in February 2010, this is the first traditional project of the Damara people in Namibia. The opportunity to experience traditional Damara culture in this format does not exist anywhere else in the world.
According to most researchers, Damara are among the first inhabitants of Namibia, along with the Bushmen who lived here before the arrival of the Hottentots from the south and Bantu from the north. However, it is not yet clear what language the Damara spoke before, nor when and why they switched to the Hottentot language - Nama. This language is very unusual. It is characterized by the presence of clicking and clanking sounds. Due to their social structure, the Damara were unable to defend themselves against aggressors during the colonization of Namibia. This is one of the reasons why their culture has largely sunk into oblivion. Within the framework of the Damara Living Museum, an attempt was made to restore the "lost culture" of this tribe.
We will get to know Damara culture and craft in the restored village and take great pictures.
We will have a 3.5-hour drive north to Kamanjab, where we will meet the Himba tribe in the village of Katenda in the evening.
Himba nomads, resembling the Hamer tribe from the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, are believed to have migrated from East Africa. Intricate hairstyles made with ocher and animal are different depending on womens age. It determines their social status.
The Himba (along with the Herero) migrated to Namibia from East Africa several hundred years ago. About 150 years ago, the Herero split from the Himba and moved further south. Himba are engaged in breeding cattle, - goats and sheep. Women are responsible for milking the cows. Also, women take care of children (one woman can take care of another woman's children). In addition, women often do more difficult work than men: they carry water to the village and build houses. Himba have retained their traditional beliefs, including ancestor cult and sacred fire (okoruvo) rituals, which are considered an important link between the living and the afterlife. The sacred fire is kept alive while the head of the tribe is alive. When he dies, his house is destroyed and the fire is extinguished.
Meals: breakfast, dinner included
Accommodation: Etosha Village or similar
Day 7. May 6, 2023. Safari in Etosha National Park
Early in the morning we take our baggage and start the whole day game drive in the Etosha National Park, where you can find almost all of Big Five, except for the buffalo. Lions and leopards, elephants and rhinoceros are frequent inhabitants of these places. In general, almost all the diversity of Namibian fauna is represented in Etosha: 114 species of mammals, including such antelopes as the Oryx and wildebeest, springbok and dikdik, impala and zebra, and also black rhino, elephant, giraffe and many predators, such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas, 340 species of birds, including ostrich, pink flamingo, pelican, marabou, secretary bird and many birds of prey, and 50 species of snakes. Etosha NP, located on the northwestern edge of Kalahari desert, in the territory of Etosha saltpans and adjacent savannahs, has poor vegetation, which makes game drive very convenient. All animals are very well visible. Lots of wonderful photos per one day are guaranteed.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner included
Day 8. May 7, 2023. Etosha National Park – Goba meteorite – Fiume Bush Camp (distance 230 km, travel time about 2.5 hours)
The Etosha Park gate is next to our lodge. Therefore, at dawn, we make another safari in the Etosha National Park in order to see everyone who was missing in the previous days. Morning safari in Namutoni is a good time and place to see lions.
After safari we will head east towards Fiume Bush Camp, where we can have a rest from civilization!
On the way we will stop by the Goba meteorite - a very interesting place. Here there is the largest known meteorite. It was found in 1920 by a German scientist. A large piece of iron, 81% consisting of, for some reason it is square. The crater around it is not very large, probably because of the rocky soil. Age 80 thousand years.
Dinner and overnight at Fiume Bush Camp.
Meals: breakfast, dinner included
Accommodation: at Fiume Bush Camp
Day 9. May 8, 2023. San Bushmen tribe
In the morning, after breakfast, we will get acquainted with the amazing and truly unique culture of the San tribe, those very legendary Bushmen, "survivors" of the Kalahari Desert.
Together with San we go to Kalahari, and learn their survival skills in the desert; for us, there will be no more secrets. It is believed that San can find water where no one else can. Only San, pushed by other tribes into the harshest conditions of Kalahari desert, have managed to survive in this cruel environment. There is an opinion among anthropologists that Kalahari desert region is one of several recognized cradles of humanity, and San themselves are one of the oldest people on our planet, around 100,000 years old. An incredible impression is produced by San's emotional speech, using, in addition to sounds familiar to our ear, also clicks and clinking sounds. Extraterrestrial! Surprisingly, San, living in the south of the Black Continent, have many Mongoloid traits, including epicanthus. All the secrets of history cannot be revealed even with San...
We will spend the whole day with the San people, and in the evening we will gather around the fire and, if someone is sick in the village, we will witness the traditional "healing dances", where local "shamans" drive the sick into a state of trance.
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner included
Accommodation: Fiume Bush Camp
Day 10. May 9, 2023. Fiume Bush Camp – Ndhovu Safari Lodge (distance 450 km, travel time about 4.5 hours)
After breakfast, departure to the extreme north-east of Namibia, where we will drive along the Caprivi strip. The Caprivi Strip is a long, narrow overhang of Namibia that extends 450 km from the northeastern tip of the country's mainland to the east towards the Zambezi River. Its width ranges from 32 to 105 km. It is an extremely flat mountain valley located on the marshy northern outskirts of the Kalahari at an altitude of about 950 m above sea level. From the east, it is bounded by the Zambezi River, behind which Zambia begins, from the south and southwest, partly by the Chobe River, beyond which Botswana lies. In the north, this territory borders with Angola, and in the west it is crossed by the Okavango River.
Our current destination is Ndhovu Safari Lodge, located close to the legendary Okavango River, where you can see entire families of hippos, hear birdsong and enjoy gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the river!
Okavango is the largest inland delta of the planet that does not have access to the world's oceans. In fact, it is a river "to nowhere". Starting current in Angola, the full-flowing river suddenly mystically dissolves into the sands of the Kalahari. The delta resembles a huge swampy labyrinth of lagoons, canals and islands. The Okavango Delta is not only listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. It is an incredibly rich ecosystem with the entire African Big Five represented in great numbers.
Here we can go on a safari in the park on our own off-road vehicles, safari with a ranger in open jeeps (extra pay).
Meals: breakfast, dinner included
Accommodation: Ndhovu Safari Lodge or similar
Day 11. May 10, 2023. Ndhovu Safari Lodge – Caprivi Strip – Chobe Park in Botswana (distance 455 km, travel time 5 hours)
After breakfast, we set off. The roads here are an adventure in itself, self-drive is a great pleasure. Going along the Caprivi Strip, we will eventually cross the border with Botswana.
Moving to Kasane, here we leave our SUVs and a two-three-hour river safari on a boat along the Chobe river awaits us. The cruise lasts until sunset.
Here, in an incredibly beautiful environment, you can observe a huge number of animals, including buffaloes and elephants. The Chobe River Safari is undoubtedly one of the brightest safaris in the world.
Dinner and overnight at Water Lily Lodge.
Meals: breakfast, dinner included
Accommodation: at the Water Lily Lodge
Day 12. May 11, 2023. Chobe Park – Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe side
Morning safari in Chobe Park. Chobe National Park is Botswana's third largest park. 60 thousand elephants live at the territory of more than 10 thousand sq. km of the reserve, which is the largest population of these animals on the African continent. In addition to elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, antelopes (the puku antelope is endemic to this region), lions, leopards, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs also live here, crocodiles and hippos live in the rivers.
After breakfast at the lodge, we leave for Zimbabwe. Crossing the border, applying for a Zimbabwe visa and a short drive through the territory of the Zambezi National Park to Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls. We go to see the famous Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world that is over 100 meters high and over one and a half kilometers wide, and is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Scottish traveler David Livingston, who first among Europeans discovered the waterfall in the mid-19th century and named it after Queen Victoria, wrote about the waterfall: "No one can compare this beauty with anything seen in England. The eyes of a European have never seen anything like it before. Only angels in flight must have looked at such beautiful places." Sunset at Victoria Falls.
Dinner and overnight at N1 Hotel Victoria Falls, within walking distance of the falls.
Meals: breakfast included
Accommodation: N1 Hotel Victoria Falls
Day 13. May 12, 2023. Rafting on Zambezi River
After breakfast we head for rafting on Zambezi river, one of the best in the world. Although there are wild animals on the coast, we won't have time to look at them. We have to work seriously, some rapids are up to 5th level of difficulty. And because of the high water season, for safety reasons, we might have to replace rafting with going down Zambezi on two-persons canoes. We will remember this adventure for a long time!
After lunch we have time to walk and visit souvenir shops, which are very authentic here.
Dinner at one of local restaurants, where delicious crocodile meat is cooked. Overnight in N1 Hotel & Campsite Victoria Falls, very close to the waterfalls.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch included
Accommodation: N1 Hotel Victoria Falls.
Day 14. May 13, 2023. Victoria Falls from Zambian side and extreme activities
After breakfast, we cross the border with Zambia and admire the beauty of Victoria Falls from Zambian side, at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which in the indigenous Bantu language means "Thundering smoke."
The waterfall opens new facets here. From Zambian side, you can make an impressive flight on motor hang-glider (microlight deltaplan) over the waterfall, and from the bridge (altitude 111 meters) on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia you can do bungee jump. For those who like such jumps especially, you can take a series of two jumps - bungee and swing, and also fly over Zambezi river on zipline.
Dinner and overnight in N1 Hotel & Campsite Victoria Falls.
Meals: Breakfast included
Accommodation: in N1 Hotel & Campsite Victoria Falls.
Day 15. May 14, 2023. Return flight home
Breakfast in the hotel. Transfer to Victoria Falls airport and flight home (via Cape Town, Johannesburg or another city).
* Recommended flight from Johannesburg to Moscow with Qatar Airways via Doha: departure from Johannesburg to Doha on May 15 at 20:15 flight QR-4848, departure from Doha to Moscow on May 16 at 6:55 am flight QR-4878, arrival at Moscow on May 16 at 12:05 pm,
OR any other flight from Johannesburg, Cape Town or another city on the evening of May 15 (after arrival from Victoria Falls)
** Recommended direct flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg: South African flight SA-41, departure from Victoria Falls on May 15 at 13:45, arrival in Johannesburg at 14:45.
*From Victoria Falls to Johannesburg: Airlink with departure at 1:55 p.m. or Fastjet with departure at 10:30 a.m; 1 p.m. or 1:20 p.m. Approximate cost: $160-$230.
**From Johannesburg to Moscow: EgyptAir airlines departing at 9:45 p.m; Qatar Airways departing at 1:55 p.m or 8:55 p.m; Emirates at 7:10 p.m or any other flight. Approximate cost: $410-$650.
* Hotels, lodges and campsites can be replaced, according to the program, by similar in level, depending on their availability.