Desert destinations
Issue 4 (May 2009) The deserts of southern Africa are captivating – from the changing dune colours of the Namib at dawn to the clear starry nights of the Kalahari. You can take adrenalin-pumping excursions on quad bikes or simply amble through the dunes marvelling at the total quiet. Now a new border post between Namibia and South Africa at Mata Mata allows visitors to enjoy the best of these deserts in one glorious trip.

 

Day 1

Depart Windhoek for the southern region of the Kalahari Desert. The Bagatelle Kalahari Game Lodge lies amid red sand dunes that will be at their best during your late afternoon nature drive.


Day 2

Venture further into the Kalahari and enter the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, situated on the western boundary of South Africa and Namibia. Cross into SA at Mata Mata and head just 4km to the Kalahari tented camp.


Day 3 and 4

Early morning and late afternoon game drives among the herds of springbok, gemsbok, eland and blue wildebeest. Camelthorn trees provide the necessary shade and vantage points for lion, leopard and birds of prey. Overnight at Nossob campsite.


Day 5

Head for Twee Rivieren campsite for more stunning red dunes and abundant game.


Day 6

Leave the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and SA via Mata Mata. The route takes you through desert-dominated landscapes to the Quiver Tree Forest. This quirky plant reaches skyward with graphically forked branches. Their peeling barks form intricate patterns as the tree matures. Overnight at Quiver Tree campsite.


Day 7 and 8

Today‘s journey leads you through the town of Keetmanshoop to the northern edge of Fish River Canyon. Here the rock formations provide many interesting hours for enthusiastic nature lovers. Overnight at Canon Lodge.


Day 9

Enjoy the beauty and rapidly changing scenery of Namibia’s deep south on the journey to the Orange River. The route follows the winding course of the river to the village of Aussenkehr where you will have sundowners on a floating raft.


Days 10 and 11

After rains, bright flowers carpet the plains of the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park. Here you’ll find the most bio-diverse desert in the world as well seeing wild horses. Take a day trip to the German colonial town of Lüderitz and visit the diamond-mining ghost town of Kolmanskop which is slowly being subsumed by the desert. Camping at KleinAus Vista.


Day 12

Halfway between Aus and Sesriem, amidst the scenic Tiras Mountains on the edge of the Namib Desert, lies Koiimasis Ranch. The name Koiimasis comes from the San word for meeting place. Camping at Koiimasis with excellent opportunities for relaxing nature walks by day and star gazing at night.


Day 13

Drive along the western escarpment of the Rooisand ridge. Vast expanses of yellow savannah are dotted with shrubs and solitary camelthorn trees. Distant mountain ranges shimmer purple and blue as the day draws in. Overnight at Sesriem.


Day 14

Very early departure into the Namib Naukluft Park to see the sunrise over Sossusvlei while sitting on top of some of the highest dunes of the world. Visit nearby Dead Vlei, a dried out natural water pan with ancient trees, preserved by the vlei’s dry heat.


Day 15

Return to Windhoek via the scenic Remhoogte Pass in the Naukluft mountain range.


• Itinerary compiled by Namibia Tracks and Trails www.namibia-tracks-and-trails

 

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