Search for Desert Rhino & Other Rare Wildlife on an Exclusive Fly-In Adventure
The itinerary below is for our 2017 trips. 2016 safaris are one day shorter and do not include an overnight in Windhoek.
Our Namibia wildlife safari begins in Windhoek, a modern walkable city with an urban African flair and an eclectic skyline peppered with German castles, glass skyscrapers and cathedral spires. We meet our Expedition Leader on arrival and settle in to one of Windhoek’s leafy and tranquil neighborhoods at the contemporary Utopia Boutique, a small luxury hotel. Over a leisurely dinner, get acquainted with fellow travelers and learn about the vast landscape and wildlife we’ll be encountering during an orientation provided by our Expedition Leader.
After breakfast, a mid-morning flight by light aircraft lands us at Little Kulala, a luxury desert retreat inside the private 90,000-acre Kulala Wilderness Reserve at the edge of Namibia’s great sand sea. The word “namib” in the Nama language means “vast,” an apt name for this ancient arid expanse—the world’s oldest desert. Wildlife drives at first light take us into the shape-shifting, ochre-colored dunes at the Namib Desert’s lonely center. Framed by intense blue skies, the world’s tallest dunes glow deep red, changing minute by minute as the sun rises. Inside are diamonds, tucked into the sand mountains by currents, waves and wind. Remarkably, these dunes are home to a host of desert species, including oryx and ostrich, springbok, spotted and brown hyena, aardwolf and bat-eared fox. The rare dune lark’s entire habitat is confined to this area. We discover the desert’s subtle magic on short walks and safari drives. From Little Kulala’s profoundly secluded vantage point, we’ll experience some of Africa’s most arresting vistas, including vermilion sunsets and unparalleled stargazing.
Today we board a light aircraft that takes us north. Our destination, Desert Rhino Camp, lies inland, in the heart of the private million-acre Palmwag Concession. Few safari locales can offer the level of privacy and isolation found here in one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. This desert reserve has several freshwater springs that support healthy populations of wildlife including the camp’s namesake, the rare desert-adapted black rhino, which we track in the company of rhino experts and researchers based at the camp. We also find desert-adapted elephants, endemic Hartmann’s mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and greater kudu. Namibia’s second-largest predator population thrives here, which includes lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Birds are abundant, including a number of southern African endemics.
Transfer by light aircraft to the Ongava Game Reserve on the border of Etosha National Park. The Etosha Salt Pan is the remnant of a huge lake that existed here two million years ago. Bare and dry today, the depression offers Namibia’s best wildlife viewing, with elephant, black and white rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, oryx, kudu and the diminutive dik-dik drawn to its life-sustaining waterholes. Birdlife is abundant, and we may see ostrich and raptors. We stay on the private reserve adjacent to the park and far from any other accommodations. From camp we take guided walks (safety permitting) and night drives on the reserve, venturing into the park by day.
Our Namibia safari comes to an end as we fly from Ongava back to Windhoek today to connect with departing flights.