Namibia

A Geological Safari

Windhoek to Windhoek

10 - 24 June 2020
£TBC
Includes 2 National Parks and 1 World Heritage Site
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 4 - 7
Includes bed and breakfast accommodation, transportation, entrance fees and geological guiding. Lunches and Dinners are not included.
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room.  Single supplement applies(£TBC) for the trip.

Geologically speaking, Namibia is undoubtedly one of the most interesting countries in the world. It not only offers the oldest desert, one of the largest canyons, some of the highest desert dunes and the largest iron meteorite, but also a large diversity of lesser known, but equally fascinating geological attractions.

Geological features are immediately obvious and dominate the character of the country, allowing a view into a history of the earth. As relics of this geological history, Namibia’s bizarre rock formations and beautiful landscapes show evidence of various important geological processes: from ongoing weathering and erosion, previous huge mountain building events and sea level changes to gigantic volcanoes and the collision of whole continents. In addition, the rocky remnants exhibit evidence of all imaginable climatic extremes, which Namibia has experienced in its history; from ice ages and sub-polar conditions to hot tropical humid climates and hot dry red deserts. Therefore, Namibia represents a unique ‘geological Eldorado’ for professional geologists as well as for the non-professional.

Naukluft Mountains. Day 2
Soussusvlei sand dunes. Day 4
Gravel plains of the Namib Desert. Day 5
Namibia from the air. Day 6
Mineral vendors. Day 7
Spitzkoppe. Day 8
Goboboseb. Day 9
Petrified wood. Day 10
Etosha National Park. Days 11-12
Etosha National Park. Days 11-12

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek. After meeting your geology guide Nicole Grünert at the airport we will leave for Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. You will be taken to a guest house in the city centre. The afternoon is at your own leisure. We will have an early dinner at the famous Joe’s Beerhouse to get ready for a morning departure on the following day. 

Day 2: Exploring the Naukluft Mountains. We will leave for the Naukluft, a wild mountain region with spectacular geology. On the way we stop at the Aris Quarry. With a little bit of luck we can even encounter some mountain zebra or antelope on the way. We will sleep over at a guest farm. Approximate driving time: 4 hours.

Day 3: Oldest fossils in the world. Today we see the oldest hard shelly fossils in the world. They age more than 500 million years and survived ice-cold times of the Snowball Earth Period! These little creatures are visible in spectacular mountain scenery together with fascinating stromatolite reefs. The overnight stay is at a cosy lodge. Approximate driving time: 2 hours.

Day 4: Conquer the Namib Desert. Today we will head for the Namib Desert and visit the world-famous Sossusvlei. En route we will walk through the Sesriem Canyon and study the ancient forces of water in this desert landscape. At the Sossusvlei you have the opportunity to climb the dunes which are amongst the highest in the world and enjoy a spectacular view. Along the route different desert-adapted antelope can be discovered. We will spend the night in a lodge near the dune fields. Total driving time: c. 4 hours.

Day 5: Crossing the Namib Desert. After getting to know why the Namib is regarded the oldest desert in the world, we will leave for the coast. Along the route we will not only cross the Tropic of Capricorn, but also visit some spectacular desert geology. At the coast, we will stop at the Walvis Bay Lagoon and besides geology we can spot sea-birds such as pelicans or flamingos. The rest of the day is at your leisure in the cosy coastal town of Swakopmund. After a good dinner in a local restaurant, we will stay at a pension for the next two nights. Total driving time: 4 hours.

Day 6: Activities at the Coast. As Swakopmund and surroundings have a lot to offer, we will have a geology-free day! There are plenty of options, including a morning catamaran cruise around Walvis Bay or an afternoon scenic flight over the Namib, as far as Sossusvlei. (These activities are at extra costs). Alternatively the day can be spent visiting the museum, aquarium, snake park or just relaxing at the beach or at one of the café’s. At the end of the day, we will meet at the Tiger Reef Bar for a sun-downer before we enjoy a good dinner in one of the numerous restaurants.

Day 7: Explore the mountains of the west. After crossing the Namib, this time from west to east, we will head for the Erongo Mountains which are well-known for their richness in minerals. We will explore some spectacular granite weathering formations and discover the origin of this former volcano. Depending on the time we can also find some bushman paintings hidden in this mountain landscape. Tonight we sleep at one of the guest farms in the area - typical of Namibian hospitality. Approximate driving time: 2 hours.

Day 8: Vast landscapes and mountains. Today we head towards the Brandberg, the highest mountain in the country. After having the opportunity to purchase mineral specimen from local vendors, we will drive past Spitzkoppe, the Matterhorn of Namibia.  In the afternoon, we visit the abandoned Uis Tin Mine, which was once the largest hard-rock tin mine in the world. We will spend the next two nights nights in a lodge near Brandberg. Total driving time: c. 3 hours.

Day 9: The Brandberg, highest peak in Namibia. The Brandberg area is one of the most fascinating geological regions of the country. We will observe evidence of volcanic action separating the Gondwana Continent, visit some small scale miners and also see the world famous Welwitschia mirabilis plant, the living fossil of the Namib Desert. At the end of the day, we return to our accommodation for the night. Total driving time: c. 4 hours.

Day 10: Damaraland, World Heritage Site Twyfelfontein and Petrified Forest.  Besides visiting the Petrified Forest, we will explore Namibia's first World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein, with its fantastic rock engravings made into 180 million year old desert sandstone. The larger area is home to desert-adapted elephants, black rhino and lions, although spotting these animals is quite rare. We will spend the night at a lodge. Approx. driving time: 3 hours.

Day 11: Etosha National Park.  Today reserved for game viewing in the world-renowned Etosha National Park, looking for antelope, zebra, lion, elephant, rhino.. Besides numerous game species, we hope to spot some black rhinos at the floodlit waterhole at the Okaukuejo Camp at night. 

 Day 12: The Otavi Mountains and Hoba Meteorite. In the afternoon a visit to the largest iron meteorite is scheduled before we head towards the Otavi Mountains. Our last stay in the bush is at a guestfarm.

Day 13: Dinosaur Footprints and Erindi Game Reserve. Today we visit the dinosaur footprints of Otjihaenamaparero, before reaching Erindi Game Reserve, where we have another opportunity for game viewing.

Day 14: Travel back to Windhoek. Today we drive back to Windheok, but before we leave an optional additional game drive (at extra cost) can be made at Erindi or alternatively you can have a lie in.

Day 15: Geological Museum and Departure. Before we take you to the International Airport we will visit the Geological Museum in town.  Interesting displays of Namibian earth history, the mineral and fossil richness as well as information about the major mines will neatly summarise our geological tour through Namibia.

Hoba meteorite. Day 13

PICTURES AND REVIEWS FROM PREVIOUS TRIPS

PHOTO GALLERY 2019 - CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

"I recently took the Namibian tour. It was very good. James found the best person on earth to conduct this tour: geologist Nicole Grünert, a resident of Namibia for over 25 years and the author of two popular books about Namibian geology. Namibia is full of world-class geosites and we visited a lot of them.

Nicole is a living encyclopedia of Namibian geological knowledge and presented it in a way that the layman could understand and the professional geologist would appreciate. As we traveled through the amazing Namibian landscape between geosites, Nicole kept us informed about the country’s flora and fauna, history and culture. 

In addition to all of the geology, there were visits to ancient rock art sites, opportunities for wildlife viewing and more."

Joseph Motter, USA. 27 April 2019