Discover the desert’s unique treasures…
A world of infinite horizons, dramatic vistas and fascinating flora and fauna…
Do you believe that travel should be about more than “just looking” – and that every journey should be a life-enriching experience? Do you yearn to go off-the-beaten-track and to experience nature at its unspoilt best? If you answered “yes”, then our off- road Namib Desert tour is a MUST!
World’s Oldest Desert: Reported to be the oldest desert on earth, the Namib is approximately 80 million years old. Completely devoid of surface water, it is bisected by several dry riverbeds and is characterized by extensive, undulating dunes. The Sahara may be larger and Gobi more isolated, but the Namib is the very oldest, so on this trip, prepare for the best desert experience possible!
The Living Desert: At first glance, the Namib’s interior appears totally devoid of fauna & flora but look closely and you’ll finds that apart from the diamonds and uranium that have been mined here, the desert’s unique plant and animal life is definitely another of its infinite treasures. One outstanding living wonder is the famous Welwitschia mirabilis, a plant that can live for up to five hundred years. Although its tenacity and longevity are remarkable, the fact that it has the appearance of a heap of garden refuse means that instead of an earth-shattering visual experience you may want to concentrate on its remarkable age when taking pictures!
The “Sheltering” Desert: At the start of the Second World War, German Henno Martin and his colleague and friend Hermann Korn, feared internment in a camp for Nazis. Consequently, they escaped into the Namib Desert. For two and a half years they eked out a living in this harsh environment. In later years, Martin published his account of this experience, titling his book, The Sheltering Desert and later their story was also made into a film. As you drive along, or when setting up camp, imagine trying to survive here without the luxuries offered to you on this trip. You may see the Namib in a different light!
The Diamond Desert: The discovery of diamonds in 1908 around Kolmanskuppe initiated an uncontrolled rush of prospectors into the region. The German Government was forced to establish the so-called “Sperrgebiet” between 26-degree line of latitude and Namibia’s southern border, stretching 100-kilometres inland. As a result, independent prospectors were forced to turn northwards beyond this area. This resulted in the discovery of diamonds at Spencer Bay and between Meob and the Conception Bay area (Diamond Area no. 2) during December 1908. A total of 5000 diamond claims were registered in 1909 and hopeful fortune hunters tried their luck at Saddle Hill and Spencer Bay, also traveling via Swakopmund and Sandwich Harbour southwards towards Meob Bay. However, the small yields of diamonds from these claims meant few were successful in their pursuit of riches.
Custodians of the Desert – the Topnaar community: The !Nara fruit, a wild melon that grows in the Kuiseb River bed, is unique to the Namib Desert. For more than a thousand years it has been the traditional staple food of the Topnaar or ≠Aonin-people, one of the oldest communities of Nambia. The Topnaars belong to the Nama tribe, a Khoi group. Traditionally, the Topnaars acquired a lot of their food from the sea, spearing fish in the shallow water and hunting seals, birds and turtles. For this reason, they were also called Beachcombers by European settlers. Eventually, members of the tribe settled around the Kuiseb River, harvesting the !Nara and keeping livestock. Prepare to learn more about these fascinating people and their way of life as we journey.
The Desert of Everlasting Impressions: (extracts from our tour diaries):
- “The extent of what awaits you is hard to describe. It will change something about your humanity. Even if you only do one 4×4 adventure in your life, make sure this is the one.” (Barnie Louw, Editor DRIVE OUT)
- “Jy kan nie die Namib verlaat sonder dat dit ‘n indruk op jou gelaat het nie. Dit is ‘n ongelooflike ervaring wat jou ewig sal bybly”
- “If there is somebody who has not been in the Namib, I can only say: DO IT NOW!! It is one of the last places to experience the rawness of unspoilt nature”
- “It was nothing less than a truly brilliant experience and one that I would certainly do again.”
- “Ons kom op baie plekke, maar hierdie was die BESTE OOIT!”
- “Ek is ‘n 13-jarige dogter wat die Namibtoer saam met my ouers gedoen het. Dit is ‘n asemrowende ervaring – jy is weg van alles, en ek kon weer ‘n slag asemhaal en myself wees. Dit was my lekkerste vakansie ooit!!! Selfs lekkerder as my besoek aan Disney World in Amerika 2 jaar gelede. Dit is BESLIS een van die “TEN THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE”!!!
If this is your introduction to the Namib Desert, expect the exceptional. The emphasis of the tour is not only on the adrenaline thrill of dune driving, but a huge part of its focus is studying the plants, small creatures and wildlife all of which make this desert their home. Enjoying the Namib’s incredible views and history is also emphasized. Our guides will capture your imagination with their knowledge on the fauna and flora of the desert or historical facts. They will also “wow” you with their cooking skills, preparing three mouth-watering meals each day, and by making you chuckle constantly! Equally, if you are a seasoned desert traveller you will find our Faces-tour to be both an unparalleled adrenaline rush and a journey of discovery. The dunes along this stretch of the Namib are higher and more challenging than elsewhere. Driving here requires good technique and discipline to manoeuvre from one dune strait to the next. The magnitude of what awaits you is difficult to express in words. Although the tour’s emphasis is not solely on 4×4 and off-road driving, driving on and over the world’s highest sand dunes means previous experience and a proficiency in off-road driving are recommended. Beginners will be talked through each phase of the journey.