When searching for an in-the-know travel advisor to plan your luxury Africa safari, Namibia probably isn’t on your radar. We’re here to change that.
Whether you arrived at SmartFlyer seeking a Rwanda Gorilla Trek or a luxury safari in South Africa, our team has the knowledge and partnerships with on-the-ground experts to plan a custom itinerary connecting you to some of the richest experiences that the continent has to offer. But if you’re searching for a cutting-edge adventure, a Namibia safari should be at the top of your bucket list. This under-the-radar destination contains a rich variety of wildlife that has adapted to the country’s distinct geography and climate.
We also want to ensure the lodges you come home to after each day’s adventure are nothing short of spectacular. Luckily, a handful of intrepid SmartFlyer travel advisors have scouted breathtaking stays across the country. Get ready to dream beneath the stars of Africa’s first designated International Dark Sky Reserve. Then, wake up in desert accommodations as you take in morning views of the misty Atlantic coast. Finally, relax poolside and watch an exotic mix of wildlife convene at a neighboring watering hole.
So get your safari packing list in order, and let’s dive into what to expect on this epic safari through Namibia.
This property is located deep in Namibia’s striking NamibRand Nature Reserve, a vast desert wilderness of over 200,000 hectares. With its rolling desert plains and backdrop of craggy mountains and iconic red dunes, this is a place where time seems to stand still and the vistas are never-ending. Guests are invited to soak up the beauty of the colorful landscape, admiring the fauna scattering the dunes, and gaze at the stars that light up the night sky.
Set in a hidden valley surrounded by a spiraling mountain range, Hoanib Valley Camp is a joint venture between the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation – the world’s only Africa-wide giraffe conservation organization. The camp is an elegant, intimate property that immerses you into the northwestern deserts of Namibia. The property’s six rooms blend seamlessly with the environment, offering a simple aesthetic that matches the rugged topography down to a tee.
Uniquely designed around the shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like Shipwreck Lodge. Each of the ten rooms are constructed to resemble the shipwrecks that line the beach. In the center of the camp, the lounge and restaurant provide wraparound views of the desert that stretch to the coastline. This is a remote slice of the African wilderness, where towering dunes are buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas.
This Zannier Hotels property creates a unique sense of space through traditional Owambo architecture and elevated views stretching across the savannas to the distant Khomas Hochland plateau. These thatched round huts are lined with precious antiques, traditional fabrics, and authentic ceramics, each housing its own sunken bathtub and panoramic terrace.
Get lost in the stars illuminating Africa’s southern skies Day 1-2
Take in the African sunrise from a hot air balloon Day 3
Comb the beach for whale bones and century-old shipwrecks Day 4-6
NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Touch down in Namibia
…get lost in the awesome stars illuminating the night sky
Your adventure begins with a flight over to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Then, board your awaiting transfer to the NamibRand Nature Reserve. This is one of the largest private reserves in southern Africa, serving as a sanctuary for countless species of wildlife. Make sure to take plenty of pictures of the craggy mountains and red dunes on your way to your next stay. The fairy circles that dot the ground are particularly intriguing: many people theorize that these natural phenomena are formed by poisonous fungi, termites, and even meteor showers.
After resting in one of Kwessi Dunes’s spacious chalets overnight, wake up and choose how you want your guides to help you explore the nature reserve’s 15,000 hectares. Break away from traditional game drives and traverse the towering dunes of Sossusvlei on horseback or atop a quad bike. Or, take a nature walk for a chance at spotting the exotic black-backed jackals, aardwolves, and African wild cats. At nightfall, convene back at the lodge with your fellow explorers and get lost in the awesome stars illuminating the night sky.
Namib Desert, Namibia
NamibRand Nature Reserve to Hoanib River
Start the day with a bucket list hot air balloon ride into the sky to catch a glimpse of the region’s golden sunrise from above. Upon landing, begin your drive out to the Hoanib, one of twelve rivers in northwest Namibia that runs across gravel plains and sand dunes. Though it only flows occasionally, the river fills a dense underground aquifer which provides groundwater and salt licks for desert-adapted animals traversing the valley. This river valley is the perfect opportunity to track desert lions, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos on foot with the help of a local guide. There are also opportunities for cultural experiences with local Herero people. Later on, retire to Hoanib Valley Camp’s suite-style Twin Tents for the night.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Arrive at the fabled Skeleton Coast
Start the day with a drive through the Hoanib River valley towards Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, one of the few places in the world where the desert meets the ocean. This region is characterized by its whale and seal bones scattered throughout the coastline. There’s also an interesting array of wildlife that have adapted to this unique environment. Marvel at the large seal colonies as you drive across the gravel coastlines. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of a herd of elephants or a pride of lions trekking towards the coast.
…spend a moment gazing at the landscape with your favorite drink in hand.
Arrive at Shipwreck Lodge and settle into your own shipwreck-shaped chalet nestled atop the high dunes with views of the Atlantic. Then, walk over to the lodge’s restaurant and spend a moment gazing at the landscape with your favorite drink in hand. After that, join the lodge’s designated guide on a sundowner drive to watch the sun descend behind the Roaring Dunes and into the sea. The next day, take an all-day game drive out to the coast and catalog the distinctive flora and shipwrecks that inhabit the mist. Finally, spend the next day on a guided exploration of the dry riverbeds. Start with a sunrise breakfast and end with a visit to the Clay Castles, where your guide will help you pinpoint sightings of elephants and hyenas.
Khomas Hochland Plateau, Namibia
Skeleton Coast to the Zannier Reserve
The lodge’s guides use their extensive knowledge of the reserve’s wildlife to tailor you a deeply personal safari experience.
Following one last breakfast at Shipwreck Lodge, check out and board a private plane back to Windhoek. Here, you’ll hop in a car for one final day venturing through the Zannier Reserve, a 22000-acre wildlife conservancy located half an hour from the city. Even as you check in to your private One Bedroom Hut at Omaanda, you’ll notice how deeply immersed this boutique lodge is in its natural surroundings. You can easily watch a variety of wildlife drinking from the nearby watering hole just from your seat by the infinity pool.
If you’re craving more adventure, book a private savannah watch for close encounters with giraffes, warthogs, baboons, and more. The lodge’s guides use their extensive knowledge of the reserve’s wildlife to tailor you a deeply personal safari experience. Alternatively, head to the spa and experience full-body polishings and aromatherapy massages crafted from native roots, herbs, and spices. Reconvene with your fellow travelers at sundown around their boma firepit for a final starlit dinner and cocktails.
After an extraordinary Namibia safari, it’s time to head home. Enjoy your à la carte breakfast before checking out and heading on a half-hour ride back into Namibia’s capital city. Catch one final glimpse of the meerkats and leopards peaking through the foliage as you’re transported back to the city and onto your airline home.
Contact your SmartFlyer travel advisor to learn more about planning your Namibia safari.