In the Footsteps of Tusk – Namibia
Remote, vast, and lesser known than it's neighbours, Namibia is a country that takes you further off the grid than you thought possible. Towering terra cotta sand dunes, coastal deserts, Etosha National Park with desert adapted wildlife and a specialist area where Tusk supported project Save the Rhino Namibia, are leading the way in conserving the critically endangered black rhino.
Day 1 - 3
NamibRand Nature Reserve
The NamibRand is home to collection of dessert adapted wildlife including springbok, oryx and the lesser spotted aardwolf. The light here is heart stopping as it rises, reflecting off the sand and lighting the desert grasses. Access to the terra cotta dunes of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei is nearby where you can witness, and climb, Big Daddy with 360 degree endless views. The rest of the day is spent exploring with your professional guides. As sun sets and the fires flicker, your evenings end under the expansive, star filled skies.
Day 4 – 5
Damaraland is home to Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, a Tusk supported project, whose mission is to protect the critically endangered desert-adapted black rhino, ensuring security of it’s habitat and a sustainable future for local communities. Here, we can arrange the opportunity to track these black rhino across the plains and search for other uniquely desert-adapted species . With less than 5,600 in the wild and poaching a constant threat, Tusks funding towards the monitoring and anti poaching teams is crucial. © Dana Allen, Wilderness.
Day 6 – 9
The skeleton coast is one of contrast and your journey here, past rock formations and desert elephant digging for water, is especially scenic. Here vast sand dunes meet the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean with a shoreline of seal colonies and wrecks of ships that met their doomed fate. Slightly inland lies a vast playground for quad biking, walking and exploring the clay castles. The skeleton coast is however a very good location to enjoy the surroundings from the comfort of your lodge. © Natural Selection
Day 10 – 12
The salt pans of Etosha is filled with rare and endemic wildlife thanks to the large number of waterholes. Springbok, elephant, giraffe, dikdik and crowds is the a great way to pull together all you have experienced to date in Namibia in their incredible research centre and fantastic photographic hide. Enjoy the unique hides that can be enjoyed 24×4 to watch day and nocturnal wildlife coming into the watering hole as well as the neighbouring Etosha National Park with it’s abundant wildlife, including the desert adapted elephant and vast salt pans.
The NamibRand Nature Reserve, located in southern Namibia, is a private nature reserve established to help protect and conserve the unique ecology and wildlife of the south-west Namib Desert. Offering high quality, low impact tourism, the reserve has been designated a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve by the International Darks Sky Association; only the second place on earth to achieve this status.
Wildlife: The Reserve is a conservation success story with all its profits dedicated to conservation. Home to a large number of oryx and springbok as well as Kudu, zebra, giraffe and small antelope. Predators include leopard, spotted and brown hyena, black-backed jackal, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, African wildcat, caracal and genet but it is important to note that the main wildlife here is Oryx and not the main area for wildlife sightings.
Nearby is Big Daddy, the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area. This magnificent dune is situated between Sossusvlei and Deadvlei and at 325 meters it dwarfs the other dunes. Should you want the challenge, take a lot of water and trek to the top of Big Daddy for a perspective on the landscape that most safari-goers in vehicles miss.
Hot Air Balloon high above the NamibRand © Wolvedans
Stay in accommodation that merges into the surroundings. © Wolvedans
Watch as the sun sets and the sand cools. © Wolvedans
Rhino Tracking: A highly specialised experience that cannot be guaranteed as these desert adapted rhino are wild. However, the excitement is in the tracking, looking for signs of where they have spent night, where they have grazed and then, with hope, a sighting.
Conservation: Tusk’s original support to Save the Rhino Trust Namibia was directed to the monitoring teams, in particular the camel unit, helping the game guards to monitor rhino across the vast areas that cannot be reached by vehicle. In recent years Tusk’s focus has moved to the anti-poaching work providing support for the operational costs. This critical black rhino population, which had been steadily recovering since the 1980s, is now facing a renewed threat from poaching. We must continue supporting the vital work of SRT to keep these precious animals safe.
There’s nowhere on the continent quite like the Skeleton Coast. It’s a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness, where towering dunes and wind-swept plains roll as far as the eye can see, buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas. Our accommodation partner is uniquely designed around the enigmatic shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. © Natural Selection
Seal Colonies found along the wild Atlantic Coast. © Natural Selection
Wrecks: Remnants of ship wrecks are littered along the shoreline. The Atlantic Ocean is unyielding to ships that sail to close to the shoreline. Many have paid the ultimate price. © Natural Selection
Wildlife: Opportunistic scavenging on the beach is a treat for this jackal. Brown hyena are also in the area, although highly elusive – always take binoculars as you never know. © Natural Selection
Dominated by an enormous mineral pan, visible from space, the park is a magnet for a huge range of wildlife, which crowd around Etosha’s many waterholes throughout the year.
Wildlife photography: it is hard to know where best to look!
Just outside of Etosha is Ongava, a hugely impressive private concession. Here there are more activities and privacy than when staying in Etosha, including a pioneering research centre. The team are dedicated to unlocking natures mysteries in the area by merging modern technology with traditional field-based research. © Ongava