Trip to Namibia: 12 days between the Namib desert and Etosha safaris

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi
@ainapratblasi
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

How to move in Namibia

The most comfortable thing to do to move freely in Namibia is to rent a 4 × 4 (strictly with 2 spare wheels; we have saved our skin!) And then sleep in the lodges or campsites bringing you the tent from Spain (we opted for this second choice). Alternatively, you can rent a caravan or a 4 × 4 with roof tent and save on the cost of accommodation. You can also enter Namibia with a car rented in South Africa or Botswana. To rent the car I always use the Rentalcars website.



Where to sleep in Namibia: campsites, guesthouses and lodges

  • Namib Desert and Etocha: You can book a tent pitch or room using the Namibia Wildlife Resorts website. If you go there in August, move at least 2 months in advance!
  •  Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm: an incredible farm where you can pet cheetahs, sleep in the middle of nature and even take a dip in the pool.
  • AFRICAT: a farm / reserve managed by the AFRICAT Foundation close to Etosha that works to protect the wild carnivores of Namibia. You can sleep in a tent or in the magnificent lodge. Not exactly cheap.
  •  Fishreiher Guesthouse (Swakopmund): right in front of the sea. Nice, clean and with a great breakfast.
  • Damaraland: if you really want to get here, sleep in Khorixas, at the Aba-Huab Community Campsite. The place offers bungalows and pitches for tents, there is also a nice restaurant and a bar. In the middle of nowwhere! Watch out for scorpions!

Trip to Namibia: 10-12 days itinerary

  • day 1: arrival in Windhoek / Capetown
  • day 2: Namib desert (Sossuvlei)
  • day 3: Namib desert (Sossuvlei)
  • 4th day: Swakopmund
  • day 5: Swakopmund (Cape Cross)
  • giorno 6°: Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm
  • day 7: Twylfontain / AFRICAT
  • day 8: Etosha (Okaukuejo)
  • day 9: Etocha (Halali)
  • day 10: Etocha (Namutoni)
  • day 11: return to Windhoek or pre-pursuit to Botswana (Okawango / Chobe delta)



What to see in Namibia: all the places not to be missed

Namib Desert

I had seen a thousand photos of this place, but the reality has exceeded the imagination! This is the largest natural reserve in all of Africa (it is 2000 km long and 200 km wide), which crosses Namibia, South Africa and Angola. The reddish sand dunes are very high (they reach 600 meters in height, I've never seen anything like this, not even in the Sahara) and are interspersed with the famous "pan", white valleys similar to salt flats, with tree trunks now dry . The landscape is surreal !! The classic place to enter the park is Sossuvlei; do not miss the sunrise and sunset from the dunes !! It is also worth going to see the towering dunes that flow into the nearby Atlantic Ocean Swakopmund.

Etosha National Park

Etosha is one of the great African national parks here you can see the big five in their natural habitat. The park is truly huge! Compared to other parks, however, you can go around with your own car (alternatively there are organized safaris), crossing it from west to east or vice versa. Inside the park there are 3 camps managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (in Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni), about 70 km from each other; what they all do is enter the park from Okakuejo  (to the west) or from Namutoni (to the east) and cross it all in 4 days, stopping to sleep 1 night in each camp (after having properly booked the room / pitch in advance using the Namibia Wildlife Resorts website). In August the ponds inside the park have little water, and the animals are forced to move to go and drink; lurking near these small bodies of water (well indicated on the maps) you can see many animals. The first time you see a zebra, a giraffe, or an antelope up close, you will feel like you are in a National Geographic documentary! I remind you that it is essential to follow the rules indicated everywhere in the park (such as the rule of NEVER getting out of the car, for example) to bring home healthy skin.



Cape Cross

North of Swakopmund is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. It is by far the most smelly place I have ever visited (it also wins over the tanneries of Fèz), but the sight of thousands of seals beached on this stretch of coast is priceless! Here are between 80000 and 150000 specimens of seals, including many mothers with their puppies ... we have been watching them for hours (after a few minutes then the nasal receptors become saturated and you get used to the stench luckily).


Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm 

This is an unmissable address if you go to Namibia! This farm is located in the north, in the Damaraland, and this is where Mr. Mario and his family adopt orphaned cheetah cubs and other cheetahs that would end up being killed. They have 4 in captivity who grew up with them, as if they were house cats; in their (huge) estate there are at least 20 others that instead live in the almost wild state. Petting a cheetah and hearing its purr was one of the best experiences of my life !! Here you can sleep in tents or in 5/6 bungalows, there is a swimming pool and a restaurant (perhaps the best dinner of the holiday!), And the hosts are really kind and friendly.

A “similar” place is the AFRICAT Foundation close to Etosha, a foundation dedicated to protecting Namibian wild carnivores; AFRICAT, however, is a much more structured place (and “combed I would say ..) than the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm, if you have to choose one of the two .. go to the Otjitotongwe!


Swakopmund

This colonial town overlooking the Atlantic Ocean it is an excellent base for visiting Cape Cross and the dunes that drop into the sea; only flaw .. the climate! This was the only place on the whole trip where we saw fog and rain clouds.

NOTE 1: the much vaunted Damaraland (from the guide at least), north of Namibia, we did not particularly crazy. Rock carvings can be seen and it seems that the few remaining desert elephants and black rhinos in the world can be seen here, but we haven't seen half of them. This area is particularly difficult to reach and it is not worth it too much in my opinion. Rather, if you have more days, go and visit the Skeleton Coast, also in the north, they say it's wonderful!

NOTE 2: the trip to Namibia can be combined with a trip to Botswana (Okawango River Delta and Chobe National Park), and / or Victoria Falls, and / or South Africa

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