Essence of the Namib

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This adventure into the Namib Desert starts in Lüderitz and ends Walvis Bay … the area was formerly known as “Diamond Area no 2”.

Places to be visited along the way include Silvia Hill, Meob Bay, Conception Bay & Sandwich Bay. Desert wildlife, spectacular scenery, untouched beaches, abandoned mining settlements, miles of sand driving and shipwrecks are some of the attractions along the way.

Did you know?

Due to the discovery of diamonds in 1908 around Kolmanskuppe, an uncontrollable diamond rush resulted forcing the Government to establish the “Sperrgebiet” between 26-degree (Gibraltar) and the southern border stretching 100-kilometer inland. Prospectors were forced to turn northwards beyond the Sperrgebiet resulting in the establishment of what became known as Diamond area no 2. While driving from Lüderitz to Walvis Bay the diamond mining history will unfold in front of us and we will relive these early days while also experiencing the thrill of dune driving.

Price

From $4 880 CAD per person

Inclusions

  • Breakfast and dinner as specified in the itinerary
  • Farewell lunch on day of arrival in Walvis Bay when desert tour ends
  • Experienced guides with own vehicle
  • Two-way radios for vehicles
  • Camping and Concession fees / levies
  • Communal Camp shower and toilet
  • Recovery equipment and on-site recovery only
  • 4×4 equipped with camping gear

Program

Upon arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport you will be met and welcomed by a local representative and escorted to your car rental office and collect your fully equipped 4 x 4 camping vehicle. Complete the necessary paperwork and vehicle check and proceed to the city center. The drive will take approximately 45 minutes.

In Windhoek you can stock up on supplies with quite a few large shops available for you to visit. Continue to Kalahari Anib Lodge and check-in for a 1 night stay. The drive will take approximately 3 hours. On the Eastern fringes of Namibia, the red sands of the Kalahari beckon. Let us introduce you to the place of burnished sands at Kalahari Anib Lodge.

Check-in at your lodge and enjoy time at leisure to freshen-up and relax following your long haul travels. Lunch is at leisure – own arrangements.

For late afternoon we suggest you explore the Gondwana Kalahari Park by booking a sunset drive and celebrate life atop a red Kalahari dune. Drink in the beauty of the Kalahari where gemsbok flourish and sociable weavers build gargantuan nests atop camelthorn trees. The optimum time to experience the Kalahari colours is when the sun dips in the late afternoon and lights up the sand as if glowing from an inner fire. Sundowner drive recommended and for own account.

Dinner can be enjoyed at the lodge, own account.

Overnight: Kalahari Anib Lodge on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis – accommodation included

This morning following a leisurely breakfast at Kalahari Anib Lodge, check-out and depart for Luderitz. The drive will take approximately 5.5 – 6 hours. 

Luderitz in southern Namibia is isolated on a wild and windy shore – it is surrounded by the Namib Desert and has only one road in, yet, the harbour town of Luderitz has a quiet charm under cobalt blue skies. Visitors to this coastal town in Namibia are encouraged to walk around and have a look at the colonial buildings and brightly coloured German Art Deco style architecture, which is so at odds with the extremely rocky Atlantic coastline of southern Namibia.

The group adventure starts at Lüderitz where the group assembles at 18h00 the evening at a venue to be advised for a dinner briefing before venturing into the desert the next day.  Dinner and overnight accommodation included at the Luderitz Nest Hotel. 

Overnight in Luderitz on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis 

Following breakfast at Luderitz Nest Hotel, check-out and arrive at the rendezvous point the guide has provided at the previous nights’ briefing.  After backtracking for about 30 km on the Lüderitz to Aus main road it is time to say goodbye to tar roads, starting an adventure of a lifetime.  The convoy will stop as it is time to deflate your tyres for a more comfortable drive in the dunes.

Mose Kahan became a legend in this area. The unsinkable Mose was born in Konigsberg, Prussia and after immigrating to South Africa he became involved in prospecting and mining. His application for a concession in Diamond area no 2 was successful.  To reach his claims with food and mining supplies, Kahan had to make his way through shifting dunes, which was indeed a hazardous undertaking. After World War II Kahan bought some Ford “stopneus” lorries from surplus war stock, fitting them with Dakota DC3 aircraft tyres. With these low-pressure aircraft tyres, he was able to bring supplies and equipment to his claims. However, one of these lorries, nick named Suzie, unfortunately had to be abandoned in the dunes, today still awaiting the return of a repair crew. Likewise, you will also later come across a Bulldozer, pulling trailers with supplies and equipment.

Lunch and snacks enjoyed en route  – own arrangements 

Depending on the progress of the convoy camp will be set-up in the dunes near Suzie. You will only have an opportunity to see the truck the following day. While you are setting up your camp the guides will start with dinner preparations.  Enjoy your first night around the camp fire in the desert.

After breakfast, break-up your camp and continue your journey with the group and specialized guides. 

On the second day the trail leads north passing Suzie and the Bulldozer before crossing into the dune belt on the way to Sylvia Hill.  When driving through this area in modern 4 x 4 vehicles it is difficult to imagine the perseverance the early diamond diggers had and the hardships they encountered in this hostile environment.  

The dunes are starting to get bigger and drivers are starting to get to know their vehicles improving their driving techniques.

Lunch and snacks – own arrangements.

Enjoy your second camping night under the desert sky.  The Milky Way is exceptionally beautiful in the desert.

As the group is starting to get more acquainted with each other the laughs and stories around the campfire will last until late.

Breakfast and break-up camp.

Dunes are getting progressively higher and driver experience and skills acquired during the previous 2 days will be tested and honed to perfection. We are heading toward Meob.

Lunch and snacks – own arrangements

In December 1908 diamonds were discovered between Meob and the Conception Bay area (Diamond area no 2). A total of 5000 diamond claims were registered in 1909 and hopeful prospectors tried their luck via Swakopmund and Sandwich Harbour southwards towards Meob Bay. However, the small yields of diamonds from these claims resulted in only a few prospectors in the long term being successful.

Set-up camp in the Meob Bay area.

Breakfast and break-up camp.  Today will be filled with diamond mining history and remains as we visit the old diamond mining towns.

Transporting of supplies and mine equipment was done mainly from Swakopmund by ship and the cutter Viking via Sandwich Harbour, Conception Bay and Meob Bay. Various shipping casualties occurred, such as when the Eduard Bohlen intended to off-load mining equipment and were consequently lost at Conception Bay (1909).  In the area between Conception Bay and Meob Bay the mining settlements of Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger were established and no form of engine-driven transport was available during the first 15 years.  An ox-wagon fitted with special wide iron bands, to make transportation in sandy areas possible, is visible north off Grillenberger. The wagon and surf boats at Meob Bay are examples of pre-World War I historical relicts depicting the immense difficult pioneering days in those inhospitable desert conditions.  During 1912/1913 a light railway from Conception Bay to Conception Water and an 80-kilometer pipeline linking the settlements were constructed. It is not totally clear as to how many pre-fabricated buildings were erected at the various settlements as only the foundations of some of these are today still visible.

Camping at Olifantsbad.

After camp breakfast we depart from the Meob area and the trail leads to Conception Bay and along the beach northwards towards Sandwich Bay. En-route the wrecks of the Shawnee is visited. Passing ‘Langewand’ where massive dunes end in the sea, given a very limited time span to negotiate this stretch of beach. After Langewand the trail once again leads into the dunes, circumnavigating the Salt Pans ‘extensions’ of Sandwich Harbour. The dunes are still getting progressively larger to offer an ever-changing new experience of ultimate dune driving. The night is spent approximately 1.5km from the sea close to Sandwich Bay at URI Adventures’ ‘Sandwich camp’.

Lunch – own arrangements

Dinner once again is included and will be prepared by your guides on open fires.

Overnight in the Sandvis region 

From Sandwich the trail enters the ‘Roller Coaster’, a series of massive ‘roaring’ slip faces, not only giving the participants a new thrilling experience but also offering breathtaking views of Sandwich Harbour.  Follow a panorama of sandscapes exiting onto the beach south of Walvis Bay. The trail ends at Walvis Bay around lunch time.  

A farewell lunch is included for the group in Walvsi Bay. Share your Essence of the Namib stories and adventure tales with your fellow travelers before heading to Swakopmund where you will spend your last evening. The drive from Walvis Bay will take approximately 40 minutes. 

Check-in at the Swakopmund Plaza Hotel. Dinner is at leisure this evening – own account. We suggest dinner at either The Jetty 1905 Restaurant or The Tug Restaurant in town. 

Overnight: Swakopmund Plaza Hotel inclusive of breakfast 

This morning following a leisurely breakfast, check-out and head back to Windhoek. 

The drive will take approximately 4 hours. Return your rental vehicle to the car rental office and check-in for your international flight and journey home. 

End of services.

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