Day 1 - Arrive in Windhoek

We will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your Hotel in Windhoek. You have the day to rest and explore Windhoek.
Overnight in a Hotel or Guesthouse in Windhoek.

Day 2 - Wereldsend

We pick you up either in Windhoek (it is essential to have an early start as this is a long drive) and travel to Wereldsend, historic base camp of IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation) from where the now national community-based conservation program was piloted in the early 1980s. See the graveyard of bones, a reminder of the massive commercial poaching of the 70s and early 1980s that came close to wiping out the desert adapted elephant, black rhino and other megafauna. Hear how rural communities turned this situation round. We camp at Wereldsend, which is not a camp site open to anyone. This is an educational stop and serves to place the entire conservation of Kunene in context. Enjoy a short evening walk and a sundowner. Our friendly and professional back-up crew will set up camp and prepare a mouth watering dinner over an open fire to welcome you on your first night in the bush.

Overnight: Camping at Wereldsend

Day 3 - Torra Conservancy

We have an early start with Torra Conservancy game guards looking for desert-adapted black rhino and other fascinating animals and plants. This might entail covering some of the terrain on foot; stout walking shoes are essential. Later we head north via the village of Sesfontein (which means six springs). The route takes us through typical basalt hills, a signature feature of Damaraland. We travel north via Sesfontein and into the dry bed of the Hoanib River, a linear oasis with majestic Ana, Leadwood and Camelthorn trees marking its course. The remainder of the day is spent exploring, searching for elephants, lions, giraffe, oryx and other wildlife which seasonally use this ephemeral river's resources. In the late afternoon we climb out of the river bed and make our camp at the foot of high hills providing us with a fantastic view across the Hoanib Valley.

Overnight: Bush camping in the Hoanib

Day 4 - Puros Conservancy

Our morning will be spent searching for elephants, lions, giraffe, oryx and other wildlife which seasonally use this magnificent ephemeral river's resources. Then we head north, across magnificent landscape, towards the 3568 square kilometre Puros Conservancy. This vast area, with a population of less than 300 Himba and Herero herders, is one of the conservancies that own our company and we will be hosted here tonight. Spend the evening around the campfire in the Puros Conservancy Campsite, where elephants may stroll past your tent. This is a good opportunity, if you are interested, to obtain insights into the real conservation problems and their local solutions.

Overnight: Camping at Puros Community Camp Site

Day 5 - Puros Village

Set out early with our conservancy guide for the Hoarusib Canyon, searching for elephants, lions and other animals. Seeing how domestic stock and wildlife share the land will provide us with a better understanding of the challenges of making a living in Puros Conservancy. Call in at the local shop and perhaps meet the local teacher who will share with us the challenges facing the school in this remote settlement. See Puros village which has elephants to thank for the water tank and taps in the settlement. Visit a small business run by Himba women and take advantage of a shopping opportunity.

Overnight: Camping at Puros Community Camp Site

Day 6 - Okonjombo Conservancy

We take a scenic drive up the Hoarusib River, past the mountain "Karonda Namanga" which means "you cannot climb it with a spear", then cross the flank of the Etendeka Mountains and descend into the Khumib dry riverbed, into scenery reminiscent of the Wild West. Our route, through dramatic landscapes, passes small Himba settlements and we may see goats browsing with springbok nearby or a line of ostrich high-stepping past peacefully grazing cattle. We plan to explore the little known Okonjombo Conservancy. Our host will meet us somewhere along the way and we will find out what's happening when we get there.

Overnight: Bush Camping in Okonjombo Conservancy

Day 7 - Etambura Camp

After breakfast, we drive on a little known route through Okonjombo Conservancy. We learn about Himba cattle culture and the challenges facing these people and the environment. Depending on the season, we might see cattle being watered from deep wells in the dry river bed. This rough and rugged track, a challenge in itself, takes us through some dramatic scenery towards the Onjuwa Plains. We traverse the "holy" plains normally dotted with livestock and springbok peacefully grazing side by side until we reach Orupembe Conservancy. Here we will spend the next three nights at "Etambura Camp" on a hilltop with views that will take your breath away. Relax in comfortable accommodation units, each with an en suite bathroom and private deck area. Meet our conservancy hosts and spend an interesting evening at the fire talking to Himba game guards or conservancy staff.

Overnight: Etambura Camp

Day 8 - Marienfluss Conservancy

Today we will be traversing the rocky Hartmann's Pass to Red Drum, a major intersection in the middle of nowhere! Now we are in the Marienfluss Conservancy, another owner of KCS. See the mysterious Fairy Circles and experience an unparalleled sense of space. Enjoy the solitude of remote plains dotted with ostrich, springbok and gemsbok. You may see giraffe, zebra and kudu. If time allows we will stop at one of the really remote Himba villages for a social exchange. This route takes us to the perennial Kunene River, the border between Namibia and Angola. This incredible wild river, which has gouged its route through a desert, has its origin in the Angolan Highlands and abounds with crocodiles. It is a lifeline for both people and animals in Angola and Namibia. Elephants used to live here but were poached in the 1960s and 70s. The safety of elephants has been secured in the Hoanib and Hoarusib Rivers and now an ambitious elephant corridor project implemented by IRDNC and the conservancies hopes to entice these great beasts back to the Kunene River. We visit the rapids looking for birds and crocodiles before making our way up the breathtaking Marienfluss Valley past the Holy Mountain. One is overcome by a sense of vastness with red sand and grass-covered plains stretching as far as the distant Otjihipa Mountains. We then meander through granite hills returning to Etambura via the Hartmann's Pass.

Overnight: Etambura Camp

Day 9 - Himba people

There is time for an unhurried breakfast before visiting a herding settlement. People here don't rise before the sun is up. The Himba are semi-nomadic so depending on the season and the pattern of rain, we may need to drive to a camp in a remote location, or the village may be a short stroll away. The people we will meet are owners of KCS so our cultural exchange is imbued with mutual dignity; you are a guest not just a tourist. Here too we may be able to watch cattle being watered in this dry world where every drop counts or just sit down and talk to people outside a dung-plastered hut. Our translator will be at your side and there is time to ask questions and gain real insights into how people live here. Remember that your lives are as interesting to your hosts as theirs are to you so be prepared to answer their questions. In the months of December to April, we may be able to take part in the annual harvest of resin from commiphora wildii - the perfume plant or myrrh made famous by the Bible's three wise men. Hear how IRDNC, the local support NGO, has assisted conservancies to earn a regular yearly income by sustainably harvesting and marketing this valuable product to international cosmetic companies.

Overnight: Etambura Camp

Day 10 - Ganamub Mountain Camp

After a hearty breakfast, we head south, traversing vast and silent plains. We once pause briefly in Puros, before following the course of the Gomatum River and cross the spectacular Giribis Plains with its mysterious Fairy Circles. We overnight at Sesfontein Conservancy's Ganamub Mountain Camp built on a hillside among granite boulders. Immerse yourself in the sounds, scents and flavours of an African night around a crackling campfire, knowing your presence is making conservation sustainable for the people and animals who share this vast region.

Overnight: Ganamub Mountain Camp

Day 11 - Sesfontein and home

After an early start we travel via Sesfontein and past the game-rich Palmwag Concession area back to Windhoek and the airport for your evening flight home.

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