Namib and Skeleton Coast
Remote and untouched, Namibia offers landscapes of intense beauty, which this itinerary allows you to admire from all perspectives.
Shrouded by fog and named for its treacherous currents and ominous rocks, soar above the Skeleton Coast in a small aircraft, taking in views of desolate beaches decorated with multi-coloured pebbles, immense, bleached whale bones and the bare ribs of shipwrecks. Further inland, wander the hollowed-out beds of dry desert rivers, keeping an eye out for desert-adapted elephants, which converge here to dig for the water that runs deep beneath the sand. Admire the quaint sights of the coastal town of Swakopmund, with its German-influenced buildings packed with old world charm.
Marvel at the spectacle of thousands of animals frolicking in the waves at the Cape Cross Colony. Ending at tranquil &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge deep in the plains of the NamibRand, soar above an undulating landscape of sand dunes coloured a myriad different shades of orange, amber and ochre in a hot air balloon. Climb the soaring dunes of Sossusvlei and marvel at the haunting Dead Vlei, where the bleached dead branches of ancient trees stretch out in a graceful dance.
What To Expect
10 days / 9 nights
This itinerary is every photographer's dream and provides spectacular scenery throughout every destination. The lodges and guesthouses compliment the essence of Namibia and is ideal for first time travellers.
Day 1: Olive Exclusive Boutique
On arrival at Hosea Kutako (Windhoek) International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by a member of the &Beyond team, who will drive you to the Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel.
Namibia’s capital, Windhoek is a bustling metropolis that is unexpectedly neat and orderly - though this is perhaps less surprising when one considers it was a German territory for many years. This is the gateway to Namibia for most tourists. Picturesque and inviting, Windhoek lies in a pretty valley and boasts a number of buildings in the German architectural style. The German presence can be strongly felt in the food, the restaurants and, of course, the beer. Namibian beer, which is said to be the best in Africa, is brewed largely in Windhoek.
Prepare for an extraordinary adventure into Namibia’s most scenic and remote corners with a one-night stay in an ensuite junior suite at the Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel. Your stay includes dinner and breakfast.
Day 2: Skeleton Coast
After breakfast you will be driven to Eros Airport, from where you will set off on a spectacular flight that will offer you rarely-seen views of the remote Skeleton Coast and the deserted interior of Namibia. Stretching up the Namibian coastline, the Skeleton Coast is a landscape of haunting beauty, renowned for its mist-enshrouded beaches, strewn with bleached whale bones and rusted shipwrecks. The coast is flanked by rolling sand dunes and vast expanses of uninhabited desert broken by unusual geological formations. Today’s scenic flight is designed to provide you with magnificent views of the entire area, with opportunities to see some of Namibia’s most unreachable regions.
You will soar over the Kuiseb Canyon and the adjoining red dunes, which provide a spectacular view from the air. The flight also includes a magnificent aerial view of the famous Eduard Bohlen shipwreck at Conception Bay. After landing and refuelling at Swakopmund, the flight continues north along the Skeleton Coast at a low altitude that allow you to admire the antics of the seal colony at Cape Cross before landing near the beach for a light picnic lunch. After lunch you will climb back aboard to aircraft any fly across the desert to the Ugab formations, a remote and inaccessible yet starkly beautiful ‘moon landscape’ that consists of picturesque black stone ridges that stand out in in dramatic contrast to the white desert floor. Your last stop for the day is the Kuidas Camp in the secluded Huab River Valley, where you will spend the night. If there is time, you can stretch your legs after the long flight by taking a short walk to the ancient rock engravings found near the camp.
Day 3: Huab River
After breakfast, you will climb into a Land Rover and set off to explore the colourful red lava and yellow sandstone of the Huab River Valley. Wonder at the extraordinary flora and fauna that survives is the desert, including the fascinating welwitschia plants, which are known as living fossils and may be up to two centuries old.
Return to Kuidas Camp for lunch before setting off on another scenic flight along the coast to Terrace Bay in the Skeleton Coast National Park. Once again, you will get the opportunity to photograph the many shipwrecks along this part of the rugged coast, including the famous wrecks of the Montrose and the Henrietta.
Once at the coast, you will land and set off to explore the dunes by Land Rover. Lose yourself among soaring mountains of sand and enjoying the grand sight of wave after wave of dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Back on the beach, a profusion of multi-coloured pebbles made up of agate, lava, granite and quartz, as well as the old bleached whale bones scattered along the beach above the high tide mark provide even more photographic opportunities.
Returning to the aircraft, fly north along the coastline and then turn into the interior to land at Leylandsdrift Camp in the Hoarusib Valley, where you will spend the night.
Day 4: Hoarusib Valley
This morning you will be driven through the scenic Hoarusib Valley to visit a settlement of the nomadic Himba people. Be sure to keep your camera on the ready in case you are lucky enough to come across desert-dwelling elephant that frequent this valley and remember to ask your guide to obtain permission before you take photos of the traditional dress of the Himba.
Once you have finished exploring the river valley, you will take to the skies once again as you fly northwards along the coast again, heading for the Kunene River, which marks Namibia’s border with Angola. Once again, you will have the opportunity to photograph the Kaiu Maru shipwreck, as well as the various pieces of old sailing vessels that lie scattered along this part of the coast.
Once you have landed near the Kuiseb River, you will explore the rugged mountains and the gently sloping dunes of the Hartmann Valley as you are driven further inland. Stopping frequently to admire the spectacular scenery, you will reach Kunene River camp in the late afternoon.
Day 5 -6: Kunene River
This morning you will enjoy a dramatic change of scenery as you set off on an early morning boat cruise along the Kunene River. Enjoy the miracle of water in the craggy desert landscape and take the opportunity to photograph the colourful local birdlife and maybe even some of the river’s crocodiles.
After lunch at the camp, you will climb back into the aircraft and retrace your scenic route along the coast back to Swakopmund, arriving in the late afternoon. A member of the &Beyond team will be waiting at the airport to collect you and drive you to the beautiful Hotel Zum Kaiser.
Swakopmund is a charming little seaside town on Namibia’s western coast that retains a strong German flavour, from the cobbled streets and picturesque buildings to the typical German restaurants and pubs.
The town provides many opportunities for adventure sports and is the ideal place to relax after a few days in the desert. The spectacular sand dunes that line the dry bed of the Swakop River are the site for sand boarding, quad biking and many other thrilling activities, as well as providing some beautiful photo opportunities. Visit the nearby seal colony at Cape Cross, which you would have seen from the air, for some closer sightings of these playful animals, or explore the Swakopmund Sand Works or the Walvis Bay Lagoon in search of unusual birdlife, including the majestic flamingos.
Wander the streets of Swakopmund taking photographs of the quaint German architecture, which looks so incongruous in its desert setting. The town’s prison, which dates back to 1909, as the public library, built in 1906, are two of the highlights but there are many more worth photographing.
Don’t forget to sample some of the finely-brewed local beer and taste local fare such as fish, lobster and the utterly delicious Swakopmund oysters.
Spend two nights at the Hotel Zum Kaiser in a suite with ensuite bathroom. Your stay includes breakfast.
Day 7 - 9: &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
Today you will be collected from your hotel and driven to the airport, where you will board a short flight to Sossusvlei Airstrip.
Situated at the heart of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is an unbelievably romantic base for a series of incredible desert adventures. Unwind for three nights in a desert villa with an ensuite bathroom and a private veranda. Your stay includes three meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, refreshments on game drives, laundry, safari activities and one Sossusvlei excursion per person.
Any stay at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge includes an opportunity to explore the famous Sossusvlei, the biggest dune field south the Sahara. An endlessly undulating landscape of sand dunes heaves and tosses above the rocky desert floor, coloured a thousand different shades of orange, amber and ochre. Some of the highest dunes in the world rise on both sides as you drive deeper into the dune field. The gold rays of the rising sun set the eastern faces of the mountains of sand on fire as their western slopes remain in deep and dramatic shadow. In the cool of the morning sun, slither and slide your way to the top of Big Daddy and gasp in awe as the full extent of this majestic sea of sand is unveiled. Travel even deeper into the dune field and you will discover the hauntingly named Dead Vlei, where the dead branches of camel thorn trees, bleached a fine white by decades of sun and sand, stretch out in a strangely graceful dance.
A hot air balloon flight allows the opportunity to soar over dunes and crags, soaking up the many moods of the desert and keeping a watchful eye out for gemsbok, zebra and ostrich
Other adventures include scenic drives with an opportunity to encounter a variety of desert-adapted animals such as gemsbok, zebra, springbok, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, caracal and jackal. Guided hikes visit ancient Bushman paints, while a variety of hiking trails are available and quad bike adventures in the dunes set the pulse racing. Photograph the fascinating petrified dunes and explore the massive boulders of Bushman’s Koppies, haphazardly strewn one on top of the other.
The lodge is situated in an International Dark Sky Reserve and its private observatory boasts one of the biggest privately owned telescopes in the southern hemisphere. Explore the night sky under the guidance of a professional astronomer or try your hand at some photographing the stars.
Day 10: Departure
After a mouth-watering breakfast, we wave a fond farewell as you board your light aircraft for your transfer back to Hosea Kutako (Windhoek) International Airport
- WildlifeOryx gazelle (gemsbok or oryx), springbok, kudu, Hartman's and Burchell's zebra, giraffe, klipspringer, steenbok, hartebeest and baboon, leopard, spotted and brown hyena, black-backed jackal, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, African wildcat, caracal and genet. More than 150 bird species.
- Travelling with ChildrenNamibia is a wonderful destination for a family safari and there are plenty of activities for children, like sand boarding, quad biking, fishing and mountain biking.
- &Beyonds Treat10% off any wellness treatments booked directly at the Olive Exclusive. Glass of house wine, per guest, for guests dining at the Hotel Zum Kaiser Bistro. One balloon safari, per person, per stay at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
- Don't Leave withoutSeal and Dolphin Cruise in Walvis Bay.
Photographic cultural tour in the company of an experienced local photographer (Swakopmund)
Where to Stay
Learn more about the luxurious &Beyond properties available for your trip.
Namibrand Nature Reserve
Rates & Terms
- Meet and Greet service at Hosea Kutako International Airport
- Accommodation inclusions as per itinerary above
- Scheduled road and light aircraft transfers as specified in the itinerary
- Scheduled activities as specified in the itinerary
- Laundry at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
- Emergency medical evacuation insurance
- 10% off any wellness treatments booked directly at the Olive Exclusive
- Glass of house wine, per guest, for guests dining at the Hotel Zum Kaiser Bistro
- One balloon safari, per person, per stay at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (not valid in July or August and is weather dependant). Ballooning is also closed 15 Jan – 15 Feb annually
We have many activities to keep you busy during your stay. See our destination pages for more information.
Enhance Your Experience With
- Explore Windhoek
- Walvis Bay Marine Desert Adventure
- Sandwich Bay Desert and Wetland Tour
- Tandem Skydiving
- Sossusvlei Hot Air Ballooning
- Living Desert Adventure
Ready to start planning your adventure?