Journeys with Purpose (JWP08) Brown Hyaenas & Desert Elephants

Namibia
16 to 28 May 2021
12 nights/13 days

Fly in: Hosea Kutako International Airport (Windhoek), 16 May 2021 (Sunday)
Fly out: Hosea Kutako International Airport (Windhoek), 28 May 2021 (Friday)
Group size: 4 – 7 PEOPLE (**Women Only)

Rate: TOTAL: US$8360  + $500 Fundraising) =  US$8860pp
(*US$600 non-refundable deposit required to book a seat)
Single Supplement can be arranged. PLEASE note that the accommodation for wild camping will be sharing.
**CONTACT carla@blueskysociety.co.za for Early Bird Rate (Valid until end of June 2020). T&C apply

Summary

Nestled in south-western Africa and channelling some of Nature’s unrivalled magnificence, lies one of the continent’s true gems: Namibia. Sacred. Mysterious. Remote. Beautiful. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek’s Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the North, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes. Its western border is the Atlantic Ocean; it shares land borders with Zambia and Angola to the North, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. The driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia has been inhabited since early times by the San, Damara and Nama people. Being situated between the Namib and the Kalahari deserts, Namibia has the least rainfall of any country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Namibian landscape consists generally of five geographical areas, each with characteristic abiotic conditions and vegetation, with some variation within and overlap between them: the Central Plateau, the Namib, the Great Escarpment, the Bushveld, and the Kalahari Desert. Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable African experience in a uniquely beautiful untamed wilderness

It is against this enchanting backdrop that our two-week  adventure pans out. This +/- 2 400 km  fundraising expedition starts and finishes in the capital, Windhoek. Now you are in Mama Africa’s territory, and you must march to her ancient drumbeats. So, be prepared for long, bumpy roads, amazing wildlife, breath-taking scenery and a lifetime of memories. The route takes us through far-flung, traditional villages and national parks famed for their incredible game-viewing. Our small group will be led by one of Africa’s most experienced adventurers and humanitarians, Carla Geyser and her Blue Sky Expeditions crew, who will provide daily briefings on the regions visited and routes and roads to be undertaken.

Do YOU have any questions? We would love to hear from you.

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Highlights

Some of the extraordinary experiences you can look forward to as part of this group of eco-travellers includes:

  • 12 nights and 13 days immersed in one of the most magnificent places on Earth.
  • Adventuring in off-the-beaten-path places and wild camping  to experience some of wildest terrain on the Skeleton coast or “The Land God Made in Anger” named by the local Bushman or San people, we will be spending time with Emsie who runs the Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena project (our beneficiary).
  • Traversing in the Private wilderness safaris concession looking for Hyaenas.
  • Exploring Etosha National Park which is unique in Africa. The park’s main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. Yet there is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes, giving you almost guaranteed game sightings.
  • Visiting the coastal town of Swakopmund, which is known for its wide-open avenues, colonial architecture and its surrounding otherworldly desert terrain.
  • Searching for the Desert Elephants with Elephant Human Relationships Aid (EHRA) in the Brandberg (Fire Mountain) area which is Namibia’s highest peak.
  • Interacting with communities and school children to spread our eco-message.
  • Enjoying an exceptionally organised once-in-a-lifetime African experience where all logistical details are taken care of for you.
  • Raising funds for The Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena Project.

 

Frequency: Bespoke once-off expedition
Fitness Ratings: Moderate/ Active
Tour Features: Wildlife conservation, Cultural Exchange, Youth Conservation Education, English-Spoken, Fundraising for Wildlife Conservation Groups, Women Only, Travel Partners Tutwa Safaris (Namibia)
Beneficiary: The Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena Project
Accommodation: Mostly Dome Tent camping /bungalows /rooms (Sharing)
Price range: Mid-range
Min/Max: 4 – 7 eco-adventurers

Includes

  • Expedition leader(s) – Carla Geyser
  • Expedition air conditioned vehicle + Driver/Guide (Tutwa Safaris)
  • Fuel & toll fees
  • Accommodation (**on a double sharing basis in Dome tents; chalets/Rooms)
  • All meals & water in itinerary – Breakfast (at the lodge/campsite or packed); Lunch (may be packed or on route) + Dinner
  • Private Guide
  • All camping equipment (*Except sleeping bags and pillows. Please bring your own*)
  • All National Park Fees & bed levies
  • US$500pp fundraising fee for our beneficiary, The Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena Project
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary
  • Airport Transfer fees to and from Windhoek International Airport
  • Provision of drinking water

Excludes

  • Any international flights & any necessary transfers to get to the start/finish of the expedition Hosea Kutako International Airport
  • Gratuities (We recommend US$ 5 to 10 per guide or activity)
  • Any visas & border costs
  • Alcoholic drinks & snacks **Recommend buying drinks in Windhoek
  • Any items of a personal nature
  • Comprehensive travel insurance (*This is compulsory*)
  • Extra nights’ accommodation at Windhoek (pre/post expedition)
  • Any additional activities not covered in the itinerary
  • Laundry
  • Other unspecified costs in the itinerary

Itinerary

DATE DAY DETAILS ACTIVITIES /COMMENTS
1 16-May Sunday Windhoek Transfer: Airport transfer to hotel from airport
Welcome dinner and brief by Carla Geyser
Accommodation – Hotel Thule or similar
Type: Room (sharing)
Meals: Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
2 17-May Monday Windhoek – Swakopmund Accommodation – Cornerstone Guest house
Type: Room (sharing)
Meals: Dinner, Bed & Breakfast
Activities:  Drive + Eco-living desert tour
3 18-May Tuesday Swakopmund – Brandberg Accommodation – EHRA research camp (camping)
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: Lunch (Packed), All meals
4 19-May Wednesday Brandberg Accommodation – EHRA research camp (camping)
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals
Activities: EHRA – trekking elephants
5 20-May Thursday Brandberg Accommodation – EHRA research camp (camping)
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals
Activities: EHRA – trekking elephants
6 21-May Friday Brandberg – Skeleton Coast Accommodation: Hoanib River Wild Camp (camping)
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals *packed lunch for road
7 22-May Saturday Skeleton Coast Accommodation: Mudorib Camping
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals
Activities: Emsie – Brown Hyaena project
8 23-May Sunday Skeleton Coast Accommodation: Mudorib Camping
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals
Activities: Emsie – Brown Hyaena project
9 24-May Monday Skeleton Coast Accommodation: Hoanib River Wild Camp (camping)
Type: Dome tents (sharing)
Meals: All meals *packed lunch for road
Activities: AM – Emsie – Brown Hyaena project
10 25-May Tuesday Etosha NP Accommodation: Okaukuejo resort
Type: Room/Chalet (sharing)
Meals: All
Activities: ENP Self Drive
11 26-May Wednesday Etosha NP (West) Accommodation: Onguma Bush Lodge
Type: Room/Chalet (sharing)
Meals: All
12 27-May Thursday Onguma GR – Windhoek Accommodation – River Crossing Lodge
Type: Room (sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
13 28-May Friday  Windhoek Transfer: Airport transfer from hotel to airport

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated.  Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

DAY ONE – ARRIVAL DAY

Airport pick-up. Welcome to Namibia! Your adventure begins when you are greeted at the airport with a #JWP08 signboard. You will be whisked away to your B&B in Windhoek to meet the rest of the group. Later that evening Carla Geyser will do a brief introduction and talk about the trip/itinerary.

Situated in Central Namibia, the cosmopolitan city of Windhoek serves as the capital of the country. It is home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised, with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops, and the widespread use of the German language. Windhoek has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a look, including the Alte Feste an old fort, the 1896 Christuskirche Christ Church, and the more contemporary Supreme Court.

Hotel Thule is an upmarket, 25 room hotel, located 5 minutes from the city centre of Windhoek. It offers comfortable accommodation and a restaurant serving fine Namibian cuisine. Hotel Thule is renowned for its sundowners, being perched on a hilltop, thus offering stunning views over the city of Windhoek

Accommodation: Hotel Thule
Type: Room (sharing)
Meals: Welcome Dinner & Breakfast

DAY TWO – Windhoek to Swakopmund

After an early morning breakfast we will make our way to Swakopmund where we will spend 1 night. Wedged between the Namib Desert and the cold Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund which is known for its very relaxed atmosphere, has something for everybody. After arriving at our guesthouse and freshening up we will do an afternoon Living Desert Tour.

Swakopmund

Set along Namibia’s spectacularly scenic coast, the seaside town of Swakopmund is known for its wide-open avenues, colonial architecture, and its surrounding otherworldly desert terrain. Founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South West Africa, Swakopmund is often described as being more German than Germany. Now a seaside resort town, Swakopmund is the capital of the Skeleton Coast tourism area and has plenty to keep visitors happy. The quirky mix of German and Namibian influences, adventure options, laid-back atmosphere and cool sea breeze make it a very popular Namibian destination. Visitors can look forward to a number of exciting activities including: quad biking, horse riding, paragliding, fishing, sightseeing and fascinating desert tours.

Cornerstone Guesthouse is a small, private and peaceful bed and breakfast an easy walk to the sea and the town centre of Swakopmund on Namibia’s fascinating Skeleton Coast. Occupying a quiet corner of Swakopmund’s old town near the marine museum and the old brewery, Cornerstone Guesthouse offers the charm and intimacy of a family-run B&B combined with the modern amenities of a luxury hotel. Within a few minutes from the guest house you can walk to beaches, cafés, restaurants, lively pubs, Swakopmund tourist attractions and a variety of interesting shops and markets in the town.

Living Desert Tours

The Living Desert Tour is a unique 4×4 adventure which specializes in bringing the desert to life while sharing the awesome beauty of the Namib Desert with travellers from all over the world. The coastal dune belt may seem barren and lifeless to many people, but in fact it is alive with a fascinating variety of little desert adapted animals, which are able to survive on the life-giving fog which consistently rolls in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.

Come see the Dancing White Lady Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) cartwheel 44 turns per second down a dune to escape the enemy. Admire the transparent Namib Dune Gecko (Pachydactylus rangei) with webbed feet that are equivalent to snow shoes. Learn about the different beetles and insects and how they survive in the dune desert. Follow in the tracks of a legless Lizard (Fitsimmon’s Burrowing Skink), observe Sand Diving Lizards (Meroles Anchieta) dancing on the hot sand, Sidewinder Snakes (Perinquey’s Adder), Desert Chameleons and many more fascinating creatures. Learn about the geology, structure and formation of the desert, and admire the vast and beautiful landscapes while enjoying a scenic dune drive combined with fun and adrenalin.

Accommodation: Cornerstone Guesthouse
Type: Room (sharing)
Meals: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch
Activities: Living Desert tour

DAY THREE/FOUR/FIVE : EHRA Base Camp, Brandberg

Breakfast at the Guest house. Then a scenic drive to Damarland. We will be spending the next three nights with Elephant Human Relationship Aid (EHRA) trekking elephants and doing yoga. Since 2003, Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) Namibia has helped build peaceful relationships between free-roaming desert elephants and local communities in Namibia, Africa. Conflict exists due to shared land, resources and an ongoing drought in the region, which leaves communities and animals without much food or water. Elephants, livestock and humans are sharing the same waterpoints, which not only sparks conflict, but also results in human and elephant fatalities.

EHRA’s mission is to implement practical solutions that help combat elephant-human conflict, and thereby secure a future for Namibia’s desert elephants. We do this through building protective walls around waterpoints, educating locals on conflict mitigation tactics and continuous monitoring of the different elephant herds

Brandberg

Situated in north western Namibia, the Brandberg (Fire Mountain) Massif is Namibia’s highest peak, at its zenith, the Königstein (King’s Stone), standing at a whopping 2573 metres above sea level. Named for the vivid shade of orange it sometimes turns at sunset, this is undoubtedly the main highlight of the region. The Brandberg has been sacred to the San people for centuries. The Tsisab Ravine at its base is permeated with over 45 000 ancient San rock paintings, including the famous ‘White Lady’. Visitors flock here to view this unique bushman painting, said to be over 2000 years old. Other popular drawcards include its untouched natural beauty and its free roaming wildlife such as mountain zebra, kudu, springbok, and desert elephant.

Accommodation: EHRA Base Camp
Type: Dome tents (sharing) with shared ablution
Meals: All Meals
Activities: Game Drives/Trekking Desert Elephants

DAY SIX: Hoanib River Wild Camping, Skeleton Coast

This morning we make our way to our meeting point where we will be picked up for our 4 nights of Wilderness Camping.  During the next few days we will join Hoanib Skeleton Coast-based researcher Emsie Verwey, and learn more about her Brown Hyaena Research Project.

The Project seeks to advance our understanding of the behavioural ecology and population dynamics of brown hyaenas in the Namib Desert using information drawn from three clans that occupy contrasting habitats along the Skeleton Coast of Namibia. We will be camping in two different areas in the  Hoanib and Mudorib River area’s over the next 4 nights.

Skeleton Coast

Stretching from the Swakop River to southern Angola, the Skeleton Coast is known as the ‘Land God Made in Anger’ and is remoteness at its best. Thousands of miles of sandy desert dotted with shipwrecks meet with the cold waters of the Atlantic and somehow an amazing array of wildlife and flora manages to survive in this harsh but beautiful environment. Ocean fog creeps over the shoreline caused by the warm dry air of the Namib Desert colliding with the cold Benguela current. This otherworldly area is home to a diversity of wildlife including seabird colonies, Cape fur seals, zebra, gemsbok, desert-adapted elephant, lion and much more. Surfing enthusiasts are drawn to these powerful waves and photographers flock from around the globe to snap a shot of this eerie shipwreck graveyard and for the unrivalled maritime photographic opportunities. This coast is desolate but breathtakingly beautiful.

The Hoanib River Wild camp is situated close to the Hoanib River, in a remote region of Africa, where the desert landscapes of Kaokoland meet the Skeleton Coast. The camp provides a relaxed haven from where guests can explore the land. The rugged mountains and canyons of the Hoanib River provide a refuge for some of the continent’s unique wildlife.

Accommodation: Hoanib River Wild Camping **wild camping
Type: Dome tents (sharing) + all camping equipment
Meals: All Meals

DAY SEVEN/EIGHT: Mudorib Camping, Skeleton Coast

Today we head towards Mudorib camp, where we will be wild camping in the Mudorib River which is a tributary of the Hoanib river. Our change to meet with Emsie. To hear about her Brown Hyaena project.

Accommodation: Mudorib Camping **wild camping
Type: Dome tents (sharing) + all camping equipment
Meals: All Meals
Activities: The Skeleton Coast Brown Hyaena Project / Trekking activities with researchers

DAY NINE: Hoanib River Wild Camping, Skeleton Coast

We will spend our final morning with Emsie and then head back to Hoanib river camp.

Accommodation: Hoanib River Wild Camping **wild camping
Type: Dome tents (sharing) + all camping equipment
Meals: All Meals

DAY TEN: Okaukuejo Resort, Etosha South

After breakfast and packing up our camp, we return to our meeting point.  We will make our way to Etosha National Park where we will spend the next 2 nights.

After arriving at the lodge located inside the park and freshening up, we will do a short game drive in the park in our own vehicle. We will return to our lodge just before sunset and then have dinner at our lodge. After dinner we will spend some time sitting at the Okaukuejo Waterhole, famous for great sightings as animals come to drink 24/7.

Etosha South

Located just south of the boundary of Etosha National Park in north-western Namibia, Etosha South makes up the southern region of this wild paradise. Ongava Private Game Reserve shares the southern boundary with Etosha National Park and offers an array of luxury lodges overlooking picturesque landscapes dotted with abundant wildlife. The national park can be accessed via the southern entrance at Andersson’s Gate. Visitors can catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife including: lion, giraffe, elephant, white and black rhino, and a multitude of plains game. Popular activities include: game drives, tracking rhinos on foot, guided nature walks, or watch the sunset over this magnificent landscape.

Okaukuejo resort is located 17 km from the southern entrance of the park, Anderson Gate. Okaukuejo is the oldest tourist camp in Etosha and it also functions as the administrative centre of the park. Okaukuejo is also home to the Etosha Ecological Institute. It is situated at the western end of the Etosha Pan. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camp sites.

The main attraction of this camp is that it overlooks a permanent waterhole which is floodlit at night. Here a wide diversity of wildlife congregate and interact from lion to rhino to elephant and antelope. The spectacle starts at dawn, with animals coming in large numbers to quench their thirst. The activity continues throughout the day until late at night. In the early evenings, it is not uncommon to have black rhino, elephant and lion all drinking at the same time.

Accommodation: Okaukuejo Resort
Type: Chalets/Rooms (Sharing)
Meals: All meals
Activities: Self Game Drive

Etosha West

The area and vegetation is very different to the south-eastern and eastern part of the park and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra can be found here. In this area and with a more undulating landscape, it makes for a very different wildlife experience. White dust and clay which makes up the Etosha Pan turns to a reddish-brown soil during this time which may lead you to believe you have entered an entirely new park when you visit.

DAY ELEVEN: Onguma Bush Camp, Onguma Game Reserve

From here we will make our way across the park in a full day game drive in our own vehicle to the eastern boundary where we will spend the next night.  We will stop for lunch halfway at Halali Camp and then make our way to our overnight destination, just outside the entrance gate of the park.

After checking in and freshening up we will meet up for sundowner drinks. Dinner will be enjoyed at our lodge

Onguma Game Reserve

Situated east of Etosha, bordering Fisher’s Pan, Onguma Game Reserve is one of Namibia’s best-kept secrets. The reserve offers visitors the opportunity to experience Africa in all her beauty and diversity. Onguma Game Reserve features over 34000 hectares of protected land scattered with a variety of wildlife including plains game, black rhino, kudu, giraffe, zebra, lion, cheetah, leopard and more than 300 bird species. The seasonal rains attract thousands of migrating birds to the Fisher’s Pan wetland area. The neighbouring Etosha National Park is home to a rich array of wildlife, including four of the Big 5. Visitors can enjoy game drives, guided walks and rhino research drives within the private reserve as well as wildlife safaris into Etosha National Park to view abundant game in the largest national park in Namibia.

Onguma Bush Camp is ideal for families who would like to have a base from which they can explore Etosha National Park. Upon your return, relax and cool off around the swimming pool while watching a spectacular sunset. Dinner is served in the dinning area overlooking a large waterhole. Here you will be treated to an excellent combination of European and traditional African cuisine while watching the game coming to drink. The new water-level hide will provide hours of game viewing opportunities for guests.

Etosha East

Located in North-western Namibia, Etosha East is a protected sanctuary in the eastern part of the world-renowned Etosha National Park, known as one of the most accessible game reserves in Southern Africa. Etosha East boasts vast open plains scattered with semi-arid savannah grasslands dotted with watering holes and secluded bush camps. An impressive 5000-square-kilometre Etosha salt pan makes up a large area of the eastern side of the park and can even be seen from space. This remote area teems with abundant wildlife such as lions, elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, as well as a variety of birdlife featuring flamingos, ostriches, eagles, hornbills, and owls.

Accommodation: Onguma Bush Camp
Type: Rooms/Chalets (sharing)
Meals: All Meals
Activities: Self Game Drive

DAY TWELVE: River Crossing Lodge, Windhoek

This morning after a leisurely breakfast we will slowly make our way back to Windhoek where we will spend our last night at a beautiful lodge just outside Windhoek. We will enjoy our last dinner together as a group after this spectacular adventure!

Windhoek

“Feel the pulse of the city from the heart of the bushveld.” River Crossing is 5 km from Windhoek, situated on the airport road and only 5 minutes from the heart of Windhoek. The lodge is situated on top of a koppie on a pristine 6500 hectare reserve, offering unparalleled sunset views. River Crossing will allow you to rediscover the nuances of a bygone era of farm life and offers the discerning traveler all the modern comforts.

Activities on the Reserve  (For own account)

The game drives morning and afternoon are engaging with superb views, varied flora and abundant game. Nineteen different species roam the reserve, including roan, sable, giraffe and wildebeest, leopard and cheetah are also seen from time to time. The reserve can also be explored on foot while accompanied by one of our guides or on your own. Existing roads and game tracks make the going easier on foot. The reserve is very hilly, so a basic level of fitness is required. Mountain bike enthusiasts are welcome to bring their own bikes to self-explore the terrain and its challenges. Horses are also a very eco-friendly way of exploring the lie of the land… quiet and un-invasive allowing guests to get a lot closer to the game than in a vehicle.

Accommodation: River Crossing Lodge View
Type: Rooms (sharing)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Activities: Game Drive at lodge (own account)

DAY THIRTEEN:  Windhoek

Early breakfast and then final drive to Windhoek’s International Airport for our final farewells. You depart with a lifetime of memories, new, meaningful connections with like-minded friends from around the world.

You are among friends when you are with us. Together, we are in a safe space and you have the freedom to be yourself and to explore. Whether you have never left your home country or are a seasoned solo traveller, this trip is guaranteed to offer you adventure, friends, and breathless beauty.

*Please note this itinerary may change slightly but the expedition leader will keep you posted and updated. Terms and conditions apply due to availability.

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