Safari to the Desert Elephants at the Ephemeral Rivers
Extraordinary safari through the Namib Desert in Northwestern Namibia. We will discover desert elephants in the side valleys of the Ugab, Mudorib, Sawurogab, Hoarusin and Hoanib Rivers. These ephemeral rivers are frequented by elephants in their search for water. In the Palmwag Concession Area we will sight the black rhinoceros which is also an endangered species. In the Hobatere Concession Area we will be on the look-out for elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, eland-antelopes and Hartmann’s mountain zebras.
Travel Information for Namibia
1. Immigration Requirements
Visitors to Namibia must be in possession of a passport with a validity of six months beyond the intended stay in the country and with at least four unused pages for entry and exit stamps. A tourist visa is granted free of charge on arrival. Botswana only grants a visa for a maximum of 90 days.
Minors travelling to Namibia require a child passport. Namibia also requires minors under 18 years of age to produce an original birth certificate or a certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate stating the parents’ name. In the event that only one parent or any adult other than both parents is travelling with the child, the other parent’s affidavit or legal guardian consenting to such travel should be presented. In the event that parents are not entitled to custody, proof of legal custody by court order or any other official proof of legal custody has to be presented in its original form or a certified copy thereof.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, a dry climate prevails throughout the year in Namibia. Cotton clothing is recommended for the warm summer (October – March) and can be purchased at local safari outfitters. During winter (April – September) evenings, nights and early mornings can be very cool with temperatures below zero, making a pullover or jacket and long trousers essential. Warm clothing and a windstopper jacket are recommended for the Namibian coastal area which can be cool and windy during all seasons. Dense coastal fog is possible in the mornings.
Leisure wear is primarily needed for an outdoor holiday in Southern Africa. Since formal wear is only required in luxury hotels and de-luxe trains, travellers are recommended only to take along the bare necessities. A maximum of 23 kg luggage per person is permitted on independent- or private safaris with Safari24. Soft bags are preferred for lodge safaris, however hard protective cases may also be used. On group tours with Safari24 a maximum of 20 kg luggage per individual is permitted. Such luggage requirements may appear to be limiting, however lodges and hotels have a laundry service so that only a limited amount of clothing should be brought along.
4. Recommended Equipment List
- Travel documents (passports, flight tickets) and cash
- Contact lens wearers and spectacle wearers should bring along glasses and reading glasses respectively
- Medication: pain medication, sticking plaster, antiseptic agent, anti-diarrhoeal agent, antihistamine cream or gel, prescribed medicine
- Sun protection (hat, sun glasses with UV protection factor, sunscreen agent with sun protection factor 50)
- Moisturizing cream
- Lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Sober-coloured bush hat
- Walking or hiking boots
- Swimwear and bath towel
- Camera with sufficient film material or memory sticks and replacement battery
- Bird identification guide for Southern Africa
- Torch or headtorch
5. Means of Payment
The Namibian dollar (NAD) is the official currency in Namibia. The South African rand (ZAR) is also accepted as currency, however the Namibian dollar is not accepted as medium of exchange in South Africa. Business travellers from abroad and tourists are permitted to enter Namibia with infinite amounts of foreign currency, however specific amounts at a certain level have to be registered when entering the country.
There are bureaux de change at Windhoek International Airport as well as in all banks and in many hotels. Traveller’s cheques and foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks. All documentation relating to a money exchange should be retained until the end of the trip. Before departure an exchange from Namibian dollar to euro is only possible after passing airport passport and security controls at a bureau de change where proof of the original money exchange from euro to Namibian dollar has to be presented.
Mastercard and VISA are commonly accepted in Namibia, whereas American Express and Diners Card are seldom used. Cash withdrawals at ATMs in the amount of N$3000.00 (€300.00) are possible with EC Maestro Cards. A cash withdrawal in the same amount can be done on the same day. Each transaction costs approximately €4.50.
When using automated teller machines, special attention should be paid to possible ATM fraud. At the end of month there are usually long waiting queues in banks and at ATMs. Shortages of hard cash are possible.
In Namibia malls are open on Saturdays and supermarkets on Sundays. Banks and post offices are open on weekdays from 08.30 a.m. until 05.00 p.m., and on Saturday until 01.00 p.m.
In cities such as Windhoek and Swakopmund many shops specialize in souvenirs like wood carvings from the Okavango, handmade Herero dolls, leather items, semi-precious and gem stones, jewelry and wool carpets. There are also renowned goldsmiths and furriers. Such speciality stores are usually closed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well as on public holidays.
All products and services in Namibia entail value added tax amounting to 15%. Visitors to the country can apply for VAT reimbursement at custom authorities at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek regional airport Eros and Walvis Bay airport. For more information contact the Ministry of Finance (Telephone: +264 61 209 2405, Fax: +264 61 209 2001).
When purchasing luxury items such as jewelry and fur coats a 30% luxury tax is remitted if tourists present their passports and flight tickets before making a payment transaction.
In Namibia the official language is English, however German, Oshiwambo and especially Afrikaans are widely spoken.
Delivery time for airmail from Namibia to Europe can last up to two weeks. Mobile telephone SIM cards are available for only N$10.00 at mobile telephone shops such as MTC or Telecom, post offices and supermarkets. Direct international calls are possible with Namibian SIM cards.
Please consult your family doctor by all means before travelling to Southern Africa. Please also consult your nearest institute for tropical diseases about any changes in health requirements.
In Namibia there is a world-class private healthcare system with general practitioners and medical specialists as well as private clinics and pharmacies available, in case a medical treatment might be necessary during your trip. In remote parts of the country there are government clinics which provide an above-average primary medical health care when compared the other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Tropical diseases typical of countries with higher rainfalls do not occur at all in arid Namibia, which is why only a malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
8.1. Malaria Prevention
Malaria infections are registered only in Northern Namibia. The peak season of malaria lasts from January until March. Due to very limited rainfall in Namibia, malaria usually poses no problem.
Pregnant women are explicitly advised not to travel to high-risk areas as malaria infections during pregnancies can lead to serious health issues for both mother and child.
Mosquito bites can be prevented by using mosquito repellants generously. A locally- produced repellant is made available on all Safari24 tours, however clients should also bring their own repellant. Since 95% of all malaria infections occur between 08.00 p.m. and 06.00 a.m., long-sleeved shirts and long trousers should be worn in the evenings. Rooms or tents should be sprayed with an environment-friendly insectide to kill off any mosquitoes that may exist. Mosquito nets should be used if available. A tent’s zip fasteners should be closed completely especially at night to lock out bugs and insects. For a trip to Northern Namibia we recommend mosquito coils for outdoor use that can be purchased in supermarkets.
It is recommended to bring along an antimalarial medication as immediate-effect drug. Antimalarial drugs, which are available without prescription at pharmacies in Namibia, should only be taken in suspected cases and not as prophylaxis.
Malaria can also occur after the use of a prophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been registered. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria occur in Northern Namibia.
In case of illness upon your return to your home country, please consult your family doctor immediately and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
Tap water is drinkable in Namibia, although its chlorinated and mineral taste is conspicuous to travellers from Central Europe. It is recommended to drink at least two or three litres of water per day to avoid dehydration.
8.3. Sun Protection
Due to the altitude of many parts of the country and the proximity to the equator, solar radiation is extremely high, which is why sun protection is indispensable.
8.4. Food Intolerance and Illness
Travellers should inform Safari24 about any existing food intolerances and serious medical conditions before commencing a journey.
9. Insurance Coverage
We recommend a comprehensive international medical insurance and travel cancellation insurance. Health insurance should cover medical treatment as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation. Baggage insurance is meaningful when travelling with camera equipment. Articles of value should always be carried with hand luggage.
We recommend these lodges for this tour, a mobile tent camp is also recommended for part of the trip.
Hotel Pension Rapmund
Our hearty "German" breakfast has gained a reputation which stretches beyond the borders of Namibia. You will be enjoying the breakfast, with a view of the ocean, in a friendly and personalized atmosphere.
We are very centrally located which will make your stay relaxing and comfortable. We are a mere 2 minute walk from the town centre where you can enjoy shopping for souvenirs or indulge in the local cuisine at one of the numerous restaurants. The beach can be reached within minutes by foot for a breath of fresh and crisp atlantic ocean-air.
A paradise on the Uniab River in northwest Damaraland – a vacation opportunity with a difference.
Waving palms whispering in the wind, spectacular surroundings which harbour the famous desert elephant, the rare dessert adapted black rhino, giraffe, zebra, gemsbok and many other wild animal species and sunsets to dream of. This is Palmwag Lodge, one of Namibia's oldest and most popular tourist destination.
The predator population is the largest outside of the Etosha National Park, with over 100 lions, cheetah, leopard, brown and spotted hyena. Bird life is prolific and diverse with most of Namibia's endemics present. This concession supports a healthy population of desert adapted black rhino and elephants.
Khowarib Lodge nestles on the banks of the Hoanib river in the magnificent Khowarib Gorge in north west Namibia.
14 canvas chalets project out from the river bank on stilts over the river bed providing unrivalled, shady views of the cliffs opposite. On the fringe of Kaokoland, the lodge offers a perfect jumping off point to explore the remote north west of the country, either independently or on one of the lodge's extensive guided tours. The immediate surrounding area of Damaraland has many rich and interesting activities including desert adapted elephant and Himba settlements within easy reach.
Khowarib Lodge prides itself on the service provided by the local Damaran people. Of particular note are our guiding staff who all have many years experience in the area and unrivalled knowledge of the local environment and wildlife.
Hobatere Lodge is strategically located 65 km north of Kamanjab on the western border of Etosha National Park.
The lodge has an airstrip and is situated in a concession area of 8,808 ha which is home to a wide selection of game, including elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, eland, and Hartmann’s zebra.
The unique location of Hobatere, being the Getaway into the Western Etosha Park, allows for an exclusive wildlife experience but, at the same time, the aim is to increasing the sense of being a conservancy lodge which benefits the local community and conservation.
Etosha's new and exclusive Dolomite Camp is located in the western part of the park for a small number of visitors. Guests are accommodated in luxurious tents with a sublime view over the endless prairie of Etosha National Park. The flora and fauna have developed without human intervention and rare species such as the black rhino and the black-faced impala have established themselves in the area. There are several waterholes in the park that attract elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions, springboks, oryx and hartebeests. The rich birdlife and seasonal flowers of the Dolomite Mountains are a highlight for every botanist.
The Dolomite Camp is not fenced and therefore it is possible for animals to move freely between the tents and the community area. However, personal escorts guarantee their safety at all times. An overflowing swimming pool, souvenir shop and a viewing platform overlooking the fertile waterhole provide daytime entertainment, while the restaurants and bar area are ideal for relaxing and socialising with other guests to get into the conversation.
Safaris in this area offer exclusive opportunities to observe animals as access is still restricted. Experienced and knowledgeable guides will guide you through the unspoilt landscape with its numerous waterholes and waterfalls to increase the probability of seeing wildlife of various species.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge
There is a special wilderness area, encircled by the Erongo Mountains, where the desert, mountain, and bushveld ecosystems combine. Here, in a secluded valley, you will find twelve luxury tented chalets in a dramatic setting of granite boulders and breathtaking views.
Raised wooden walkways and natural stone steps connect the chalets to the main area, where the restaurant, lounge, swimming pool and sundowner deck invite you to relax and fully unwind. The open-plan lounge and restaurant overlooks a floodlit waterhole, and is warmed by a central fireplace in the winter.
Today you start your journey to Namibia. Individual travel to Swakopmund
Arrival in Walvis Bay. Transfer from airport to hotel in Swakopmund. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Trip to Walvis Bay. Dolphin watching by boat on the high sea at Walvis Bay while enjoying oysters and sparkling wine.
Trip in a northerly direction to the Ugab River, in the side valley of which desert elephants may be found. Sightseeing tour of the „Burnt Mountain“, the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein as well as the palm tree oasis of Palmwag. The track layout is dependant on the current road conditions. Tent accommodations are scheduled for days 3 and 4, while an overnight stay at Palmwag Lodge is planned for day 5.
Palmwag Concession Area Tour of the Palmwag Concession Area, a 5,000 square kilometre privately-run nature conservation area in the hilly red sand steppe of the desert transition zone, with populations of small and big game, among them black rhinoceros and desert elephant. During sightings of rhinos and elephants there is the possibility to approach both species by foot with a safari guide. Overnight tent accommodation near a watering place.
After breakfast short hike in the camp’s vicinity to search for last night’s animal tracks. By travelling along the ephemeral rivers Hoarusib, Mudorib and Hoanib this day is dedicated to the observation of black rhinoceroses and desert elephants.
Early departure in a northerly direction through the Sawurogab Valley at the eastern border of Skeleton Coast National Park up until Hoarusib River. There is the possibility to observe steppe game and desert elephants. Today’s destination is Purros Community Camp with its extraordinary open air shower facility. Along the way visit to a Himba hamlet with sundowner at Hoarusib River.
Trip through the valley of the Gomatum River. Short visit to Sesfontein with its six springs and German colonial era fort. Picnic as well bathing opportunity in the big pool of the hot spring at Ongongo.
Today’s route goes through the wilderness of the narrow Khowarib Gorge, which is located in the Hoanib- River, along which a few Damara and Herero families reside. Today’s destination is Hobatere Lodge which is strategically located on the western border of the Etosha National Park. In the lodge’s 8,808 hectare concession area there are populations of elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, eland-antelopes and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. A night-time game drive is available upon request.
Trip from Hobatere Lodge in an easterly direction to Okaukuejo Rest Camp in Etosha National Park. Along the way visits to watering places, with the possibility to observe and photograph a wide range of animal species. Arrival at Okaukuejo in the afternoon. Wildlife observation also possible at night from within the camp’s fence with a view on the watering place.
Erongo Mountains Trip in a southerly direction to the Erongo Mountains, Namibia’s second highest mountain range. Luncheon at the Erongo Wilderness Lodge which is located in a nature conservancy encompassing 30 privately-owned farms totalling approximately 200,000 hectares. The lodge’s tent bungalows with separate baths are built on wooden platforms resting on granite rock. Restaurant with view on the watering place that is illuminated at night. Tours, hikes or visit to San ("Bushmen") paintings and engravings upon request.
Return trip to Swakopmund.
From Erongo we drive back to the coast.
Today we have another chance to eat good fish and enjoy the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.