An adrenaline fuelled adventure in Namibia

Senior Sales Consultant, Lukey Bourne, reveals what she got up to during her exceptional journey through Namibia this summer.

  • SReynolds
  • 12th September 2019

Having been lucky enough to travel extensively throughout Africa, Namibia has always been one country that I’ve been keen to return to and see more of, in particular. When Ultimate Safaris kindly invited me to experience their exclusive guided tours, I didn’t hesitate to accept and ventured on the trip of a life time combining myriad of unforgettable experiences whilst enjoying the hospitality of a number of incredible camps and lodges.

Ultimate Safaris specialise in upmarket guided safaris by 4WD which can be combined with Namibia’s famous flying safaris.  Run from their head office in Windhoek, Ultimate are well known for their excellent guides and our own guide for the tour, Franco was no exception.  Knowledgeable, engaging, interesting and fun he was one of the best guides I’ve ever had, so much more than just a talking encyclopaedia, he guided us beautifully through Windhoek, Okonjima, Damaraland, Twyfelfontein, Swakupmond and Sossusvlei during our ten day adventure.

After a late arrival and a night to refresh in Windhoek, we woke early and drove to Okonjima, home to Africat, a non-profit organisation whose aim is the conservations Namibia’s wild cats, where we spent a magical afternoon leopard tracking. With 12 collared leopards tracked via radio, that afternoon we managed to see two magnificent cats which made for a very exciting start to the trip.

Following the traditional sun-downers and a delicious dinner, we headed out on a night drive to the lodge’s hide, where we saw a variety of nocturnal animals, including a baby porcupine and its mother, a brown hyena and a jackal.

We returned for a restful night’s sleep at the beautiful and very private Bush Camp and the next morning we set off for Damaraland, a long, but particularly picturesque journey.

That night we were hosted at the spectacular Damaraland Camp, a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the local people of the Torra Conservancy, before getting up with the lark to enjoy a dramatic sunrise walk.

This was one of the highlights of the whole trip for me. It was good exercise, we took lots of pictures, and the views and scenery were like nowhere else I’ve seen. After the walk we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the lodge before setting off for a full days drive along the sand river bed. The views were absolutely breath-taking from start to finish and we were entertained by a variety of settings and fauna along the way.

We arrived at our stop for the night, the exclusive Huab Under Canvas, set high above the invariably dry river bed. The camp was set up as a joint venture between the community and Save the Rhino Trust and thus the main activity here is rhino tracking which is done in the morning. The conservancy boasts nine black rhino and the local trackers head out after sunrise, radioing your guide when they’ve tracked a rhino. Guests are then driven to the location where they can walk out to see the rhinos. We were lucky enough to see five rhino including a baby from about 50-75 metres away, a really unique and memorable experience.


The following day we drove off road to the  Twyfelfrontien area, thankful for our experienced driver. That afternoon we visited one of Namibia’s two UNESCO world heritage sites, Twyfelfrontien, famous for it having one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs (rock engravings) in Africa, which is thoroughly worth visiting to follow the ‘Lion Man’ – a route showing off the best of the paintings.

The next day was my birthday and we drove back to Swakupmond, savouring a leisurely afternoon, followed by a spoiling celebratory dinner at Tug – THE place to eat out, and well worth booking in advance. We spent the night at The Strand Hotel, set right on the waterfront with the best views in town.

After a good night’s sleep and an amazing breakfast, we were delivered to the airstrip in Swakop for our flight to Sossosvlei.

The 1.5 hour flight was spectacular, offering amazing views over Walwis Bay, Sandwich Harbour (where we saw lots of flamingos), ship wrecks on the coast, and then over the dunes of Sossosvlei before landing.

We were welcomed at our lodge, Little Kuala, and set off for an afternoon’s quad biking, which was great fun and definitely worked up an appetite for a G and T when we reached our sun-downers spot in the dessert.

The next morning we took an excursion to the infamous Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes. With the main gate not opening until just after sunrise, and the Kuala private gate granting advance access you have a 10 minute head start over other visitors which is a huge advantage for the photographers among us. There are a number of different dunes, but ‘Big Daddy’ is the one to climb for kudos…

The base of the dune is located 1km from the car park, with short but powerful hike of 325m to the top, from where you can walk down to Dead Vlei, the area’s most famous salt pan.

After lunch we headed to Sossus Under Canvas which is a camp located on the 25,000 hectare Tsaris Conservancy. The land is privately owned and is being regenerated, and as with Huab Under Canvas is an exclusive use camp with eight tents in total. Activities here include excursions to the dunes, nature drives, trail biking and nature walks through some of Namibia’s most awe inspiring scenery.

The next day we embarked upon a beautiful early morning drive onto the plateau, with stunning views and a totally different landscape. After a bush breakfast on a viewpoint we waved sad goodbyes to our guide and took our charter flight to Windhoek, where we reflected on our trip, over our final dinner at Joes Beer House, (highly recommended for a typical Namibian dining experience!)

Now home after a busy and action packed trip, I am so grateful to all those involved and would like to thank everyone who made the trip so enjoyable. With a refreshed view of Namibia, I am thoroughly looking forward to utilising my in depth knowledge of the country and creating some a variety of unique itineraries for our clients, including many of the camps and experiences from this trip.



To find out more or to talk to Lukey about planning a trip to Namibia for yourselves then please get in touch.

Back to news home

Posts from the past

Come and see us at Cocklebarrow races

This Sunday 26th January we are delighted to be exhibiting once again at Cocklebarrow Races in Gloucestershire, set to be a fantastic day out for all the family. We’d love to see past and new Exceptional Travellers, so do...
Read more

South Africa with the Children

South Africa is well known as a the perfect destination for a family escape – be it February  or October half-term, or the Christmas or Easter holidays. At the end of 2019, our Senior Sales Consultant, Alex Bellew, packed...
Read more

Christmas Crackers

Toby – Norway For a traditional Christmas escape I can think of nothing better than packing up the family and taking them to Norway. Getting cosy by the fire while the snow falls outside is a pretty idyllic picture...
Read more

Myanmar’s Top Ten

Rudyard Kipling said ‘This is Burma. It will be quite unlike any land you know about.’ Just over a century later, the exotic and enthralling country of Myanmar offers travellers a blend of cultural influences and a traditional way...
Read more


Exceptional Travel and GenerationTusk invite you to celebrate the festive season whilst also supporting progressive conservation efforts across Africa. Join us for Christmas Drinks Gone Wild at the Maddox Gallery Westbourne Grove, showcasing the superb David Yarrow “Pride Rock”...
Read more

Oman’s Top Ten

With an impressive variety of luxury hotels and just 7.5 hours from London, Oman is an attractive option for that winter sun escape. Step outside the your chosen resort and you’ll discover far more than just world class hospitality....
Read more

Introducing the NEW Pods at The Lindis

The pods at New Zealand‘s The Lindis offer guests a truly unique accommodation experience. Nestled gently into the landscape — out of sight but only a stone’s throw from the main lodge, these cosy, compact structures bring the environment...
Read more

Dont forget your khakis

Exceptional Travel are delighted to partner with The Safari Store to prepare you for your holiday in the wild. The Safari Store is the brain child of African, Steve Adams.  Created for travellers, by travellers, it specialises in  providing safari clothing, luggage, and...
Read more

Rhino Relocation

As part of the efforts to repopulate the Serengeti with the critically endangered species, nine black rhino have recently been flown into Tanzania from a game farm in South Africa. Hunted and killed by poachers for their horn, prized...
Read more

Half Term not Half Time

From Mexico to The Maldives, we all need a little winter warmer to keep us going ’til spring. Here, we’ve picked some of our favourite family friendly holidays, perfect for your half term escape from the murky month of...
Read more

Exceptional Journeys

We are delighted to announce that Exceptional Travel have teamed up with world-class photographer, Paul Joynson-Hicks, to lead an exclusive wildlife photography tour to Brazil’s Pantanal. The Pantanal is home to one of the largest and, thanks to dedicated conservation teams, thriving jaguar...
Read more

An Exceptional Journey to Zambia and Malawi

Alex Bellew, one of our Senior Sales Consultants, along with her friend George, has just returned from an exceptional journey, and here she tells us about their amazing trip. We’ve just returned from a fantastic journey to Zambia and...
Read more

Feature in The Telegraph

We are delighted to have been featured in The Telegraph‘s encouraging article regarding the lifted FCO restrictions on travel to Sri Lanka earlier this year, and the fantastic opportunities available to travellers which wont be around for long. Read...
Read more

The First Decade of Exceptional Travel

This month Exceptional Travel is celebrating its 10th birthday, and we are extremely proud of how far we have come in our first decade, and as always we are extremely grateful to you, our trusted clients. Exceptional Travel began...
Read more

Our Favourite Tree Houses

Here is a look at two of the most exceptional tree houses in South Africa and Costa Rica, click on the property name to take you to it’s dedicated page and find out more: The Kingston Treehouse, Lion Sands,...
Read more

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Whether it be nearing the summit of a mountain, feeling the might of surrounding peaks, making your way through hidden rain forests or listening to the calls from animals echoing all around, there is nothing quite like the thrill...
Read more

Our Favourite Luxury Tented Camps

Here is a look at some of the most exceptional tented camps around the world, click on the camp name to take you to it’s dedicated page and find out more: Hoanib Valley Camp, Namibia This new camp opened...
Read more

The Myriad Landscapes of Latin America

With Spring starting to peep its head above the cold earth and the days getting longer, we are turning our attention to the other side of the world, where the bright colours of Autumn are in full display. Let...
Read more

Welcoming the newest member of our Exceptional team

We are very excited to welcome a new member to our Exceptional team this week, as Louise Russell-Pavier joins us as Marketing Manager. Louise joins us having returned last year from just over a year living in Sri Lanka...
Read more

An Exceptional Adventure in Sri Lanka

We have just returned from a spectacular journey to Sri Lanka with a group of eight, wonderful guests. The journey took us from Colombo up to the plains of Anuradhapura; by train through rolling hills draped in tea plantations...
Read more

Ice-Breaking News!

Almost unheard of at this time of year but news has it that a few cabins are now available on one of our favourite boats in the Antarctic. If you’ve finally had enough of Brexit and you’re looking for...
Read more

See The World For Less

As we kick off 2019 with U.K Parliament still in deadlock and amidst talk of ‘deal or no deal’, we thought we would reach for our tin hats early in preparation of what may lie ahead. With European holiday...
Read more

Private Villa in Mexico

Our first treat for 2019 is to let you know about a fantastic private villa on Mexico’s Caribbean coast that is (amazingly) still available for February half term. This delightful beach-front home is offering a complimentary chef and butler...
Read more

Our Top Destinations for 2019

If you’re feeling like you’ve gorged on a year’s worth of decadent food over Christmas and you need a plan to burn it off – look no further than Bhutan. This achingly beautiful country is next on our hot...
Read more

Our Top Destinations for 2019

Number three on our hot list for 2019 is Namibia. This wild and rugged land is one of the least populated places on earth and its vast expanses of deserts, dunes and deltas are teeming with wildlife. Exceptional Travel...
Read more

Our Top Destinations for 2019

Next up on our hot list for 2019 is Antarctica. However high your expectations, we can be pretty certain this white continent will exceed them beyond your wildest dreams. Want to combine two of the driest and most spectacular...
Read more

Our Top Destinations for 2019

The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe is the first on our list of top travel destinations for 2019. Dropped into the Atlantic off the west coast of Africa, these little lost worlds are swathed in UNESCO protected...
Read more

Launching our new website

After a year of hard work from our dedicated team, who bravely took on hours of research, writing new content for each region and carefully choosing and resizing over 7,000 images, today we are proud to launch our brand...
Read more

Gorillas On Your List?

Nothing can prepare you for the surge of emotion that takes over when you see a mountain gorilla for the first time. It is an experience that lasts for a lifetime and will, in some way, change you. As...
Read more

Don’t get left out in the cold…

The summer is officially over. If your memories of long, lazy days soaking up the sunshine are fading rapidly, below we have gathered a list of our suggested top five winter escapes.
Read more

A happy guest returns from Zambia

Renowned wildlife photographer Paul Joynson Hicks lead a small group of four guests to Zambia's South Luangwa National Park recently, and they sent in some examples of the fantastic shots they took whilst on safari.
Read more

The First Lady of Kenya starts 2018 Lewa Marathon

We were again delighted to work with Tusk and be involved with the Lewa Marathon, organising the travel arrangements for most of the international runners attending.
Read more

New Nasca Lines Discovered in Peru

Armed with satellites and drones, archaeologists discover new Nasca lines and dozens of other enigmatic geoglyphs carved into the earth.
Read more

October Half Term

You may well be all set for the summer, whether you are planning to make your way to The Maldives, settle in Scotland, pop over the pond or wind your way down to the West Country, but have you...
Read more

Astonishing Arabia!

Exceptional Travel's Susanna Reynolds returns to Oman, visiting Muscat, the desert, the mountains and the tropical shores of Salalah. Read her full trip report here.
Read more

Beautiful Botswana

Head of African sales Lukey Bourne returns from Botswana where she visited a selection of the best camps in the Okvanago Delta. Read her full trip report here.
Read more

Get in touch with us now to start planning your journey