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Exotic Namibia

What People Are Saying About Us

Don’t just take it from us, let our participants do the talking!

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Moushumee K Jha
Mesmerising Ladakh
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This was the first time i have ever attended a workshop. I mostly travel alone as it keeps me calm and I am able to focus better.
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Dr. Poonam Singh
Mesmerising Ladakh
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Miss the snowfall slicking the high passes and clouds so low I close my eyes as if I am on a fatal edge..
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Supriya S.
Mesmerising Ladakh
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Ladakh is like the trip of a lifetime for most people. As a photography novice, there was no better place for me to learn the basics than in Ladakh
Read More…

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Tour Spotlight

● A ten-day unique experience of exploring the real Africa

● Climb some of the world’s highest free standing sand dunes

● Explore the coastal town of Swakopmund

● Visit Seal Colony at Cape Cross

● Visit a remote and authentic Himba Village

● Embark on exciting game drives within the Etosha National Park

● Game viewing at an active floodlit waterhole

● Session on Post Processing thrown in to help you understand this important aspect of photography workflow

● Daily evening Gup Shup Sessions where we discuss photos clicked during the day

Overview of the Photo Tour

Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million – one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an ‘ageless land’; visible through our heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the Organ Pipes and the Erongo Mountains. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.

The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.

You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari which is why we ensure that they are both personable and very professional.

Your Xploring Light guide will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. It goes without saying that they know exactly what a “True African Safari” is all about. Not only are our guides highly qualified, each has a specific area of expertise. Together they possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to allow them to answer questions and satisfy the particular interests of each of our guests. Your Xploring Light guide will turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!

Participation Fee:

USD 3500*

*This is subject to change based on Dollar Fluctuations

Booking Amount: Rs. 50000/-


8th April to 17th April, 2016

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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 (8th April 2016) Arrive in Windhoek

After landing at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, you will be welcomed by an Xploring Light / Chalo Africa representative who will transfer you to Galton House where you will stay your first night in Namibia. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and acclimatize from your long flight. This evening you will be met by your Xploring Light / Chalo Africa guides, who will brief you on some of the details of your safari, especially the first few days. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed at the guesthouse.

Windhoek Capital City: Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Located centrally, Windhoek is the starting point of an adventures holiday for many visitors to the country and an ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country. The city’s restaurants offer a variety of meals, ranging from international and continental cuisine to German dishes such as Eisbein with Sauerkraut and African delicacies such as Mopane worms.

Galton House: Named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, it has a relaxed but efficient style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. A mere ten minute drive from the centre of town and perched on the edge of Windhoek’s northernmost affluent suburb of Eros, guests staying here will be ensured of peace and tranquility. The nine rooms are all equipped with internet connectivity, satellite television, coffee/tea station and general guest amenities. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, dining room, swimming pool and garden. There is also delightful ‘al fresco’ dining area by the pool, serving freshly prepared and very tasty meals. There are also a number shops, restaurants and supermarkets within easy striking distance.

Overnight: Galton House

Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2 (9th April 2016) – Windhoek to Sossusvlei

This morning your guides will collect you from Galton House after breakfast. You then depart Windhoek in your safari vehicles and drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before you head down theGreat Escarpment into the Namib Desert below, stopping for a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. You arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the late afternoon where you will stay for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guides. Sossus Dune Lodge is the only lodge that affords you prime location within the boundaries of the Namib Naukluft National Park and allows pre sunrise and post sunset access to Sossusvlei. If there is still time today, your guides can take you on a visit into the dunes at Sossusvlei to see them while the shadows sharpen as the sun goes down and the light should be ideal for landscape photography.

Sesriem Canyon: Sesriem Canyon has evolved through centuries of erosion by the Tsauchab River which has incised a narrow gorge about 1.5 km long and 30 meters deep into the surrounding conglomerates, exposing the varying layers of sedimentation deposited over millions of years. The shaded cool depths of the canyon allow pools of water to gather during the rainy season and remain for much of the year round. These pools were a vital source of water for early settlers who drew water for their livestock by knotting six (ses) lengths of rawhide thongs (riems) together, hence the canyon and surrounding area became known as Sesriem.

Sossus Dune Lodge : Sossus Dune Lodge is built in an environmentally sensitive manner, primarily from wood, canvas and thatch, in an attractive ‘afro – village’ style. Situated within the Namib Naukluft Park, close to the Sesriem Canyon, and providing sweeping vistas of the dunes to the west, guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, or to stay until after sunset. Accommodation units are interlinked by elevated wooden walkways, and consist of 23 well-spaced en suite desert chalets, equipped with tea stations and small fridges, with an additional relaxation gazebo. All units offer magnificent open vistas of the surrounding landscapes. Sossus Dune Lodge offers a good base from which to go on guided excursions to Sossusvlei, Sesriem and the surrounding areas, as well as sunset drives and guided walks, to fully unleash the beauty and biological diversity of the desert environment.

Overnight: Sossus Dune Lodge

Full Board & Excursions (with guide)

Day 3 (10th April 2016) Sossusvlei / Namib Desert

Today will be a full day of exciting activities as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion into the dunes with your guides. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves, if you are prepared to get up early enough. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the area to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the early afternoon for lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon if you haven’t already done so the day before. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes).

Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot coloured sand dunes which can be penetrated by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth.

The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvleiwhich can be reached on foot over 1km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees; dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.

Overnight: Sossus Dune Lodge

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 4 (11th April 2016) Sossusvlei Area to Swakopmund

NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight or scenic light aircraft flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park before you depart for Swakopmund (optional extra at additional cost).

The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You aim to reach Swakopmund in the early afternoon where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. . There will be time this afternoon to wander around town if appeals, before heading off for dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty which specializes in fresh seafood.

NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Sossus Dune Lodge to Swakopmund you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast (optional extra at additional cost), allowing you a bird’s eye view over the dune sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour and salt pans before you land at Swakopmund Airport. Your guide will drive to meet up with you in Swakopmund later in the day.

Swakopmund: Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centers, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the German Reich erected the first building, a barracks for troops on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbor town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed. The advent of World War 1 halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.

The Beach Hotel Swakopmund : The Beach Hotel in Swakopmund is located on the beach front and has the added convenience of being close to the city centre. Facilities at Beach Hotel include an ‘a la carte’ restaurant with a sea view dining area, a cellar for wine testing and special occasions, a lounge with spacious seating, complimentary coffee bar and small library. The roof terrace offers a swimming pool, cocktail bar with all-round views of the city, desert and sea.

There is free WLAN throughout the premises (including the rooms), safe parking in the basement garage and complementary guest transport to/from the city centre in a motorized rickshaw.

Overnight: Beach Hotel Swakopmund

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 5 (12th April 2016) Swakopmund to Grootberg Mountains

After breakfast you head north up the coast via the fishing town of Hentiesbay and then past Cape Cross (for some seal photography at one of the largest seal colonies in southern Africa), before leaving the cooler coastal climate behind and departing for Damaraland and. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word ‘wilderness’. You will have lunch en route to arrive at Grootberg lodge during the late afternoon. If time allows this afternoon your guides will take you on a walk into the local area of this fascinating region.

Grootberg Lodge: Perched on the rim of the Grootberg Plateau, Grootberg Lodge offers unsurpassed views over the Klip River Valley below. Each of the charming en-suite rock and thatch chalets gaze out over the gorge, where black eagles hunt just below the level of your private deck. The lodge main area with restaurant, bar and swimming pool are also designed to maximize the stunning views. Grootberg Lodge is a landmark in Namibia for the tourism industry as it is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy. 12 000 hectares have been set aside by the local #Khoadi //Hoas community for conservation and tourism. The European Union funded the project through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s Development Programme with a donation of N$4.5 million to develop the 12 room lodge. The private sector was also called in to supply the training and management skills until the community becomes self-sustainable. This pristine wilderness can be explored either on foot or by vehicle to encounter the inhabitants of this remote biosphere. Desert adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, kudu, Oryx and lion are just some of the animals that roam this area.

Overnight: Grootberg Lodge

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 6 (13th April 2016) Damaraland to Southern Etosha National Park

This morning you will join a visit a local Himba settlement – you may have to search for a while as the semi-nomadic Himba people sometimes move location with no notice. They are one of the last truly traditional peoples of Namibia and have little time for conventional practices. Here you will learn about the customs and traditions of this very proud nation, and will be given insight into their beliefs, way of life and everyday routine. After visiting the Himba you will return to the lodge before heading east through the small town of Kamanjab, entering the Park through Andersson’s gate on the southern boundary and game drive your way through the Park to arrive at Okaukuejo Camp in the afternoon. You will be met by your additional guide as well as safari vehicle that will be joining you for the rest of your safari. The rest of the afternoon could be spent game viewing at the camp’s waterhole, or possibly heading out on a short game drive with your guides. This evening you can relax by Okaukuejo’s excellent floodlit waterhole where game comes and goes throughout the night.

The Himba: The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, they are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to tend from one watering place to another. They seldom leave their home areas and maintain, even in their own, on which other cultures have made little impression. For many centuries they have lived a relatively isolated existence and were not involved to any noteworthy extent in the long struggle for pasturelands between the Nama and the Herero.

The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly bearing. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung.

The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. Men, women and children wear body adornments made from iron and shell beads.

A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her toilette. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs and black coals to rub on her hair, and ‘steams’ her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are sought-after items.

Okaukuejo Resort: Okaukuejo was the first tourist camp to open in Etosha. It is famous for its floodlit waterhole where visitors can observe, at close quarters, a spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting. Facilities include accommodation in comfortable en-suite chalets located a short walk from the waterhole, a buffet restaurant, bar, swimming pool, curio shop, post office and viewing tower.

Overnight: Okaukuejo Resort (Waterhole Chalets)

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 7 (14th April 2016) Southern Etosha National Park

Today is spent game-viewing in the Etosha National Park from our private safari vehicles. You will be treated to an exciting morning guided game drive in the Etosha National Park, returning to Camp for a late lunch and time to relax by the refreshing swimming pool before you head out again for an afternoon game drive. The rest of the afternoon and evening can be spent game viewing at the camps floodlight waterhole.

Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park, translated as the ‘Place of Mirages’, Land of Dry Water’ or the ‘Great White Place’, covers 22 270 km², of which over 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of a huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha Pan is the largest of the pans at 4 760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centres on the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (Oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.

Overnight: Okaukuejo Resort (Waterhole Chalets)

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 8 (15th April 2016) Southern to Eastern Etosha National Park Boundary

Today is spent game viewing in the Etosha National Park from your private safari vehicles. You make your way through the breadth of the National Park, stopping at selected waterholes to observe the game gathered there along the way. Your guide will arrange lunch either at Halali Rest Camp or a picnic lunch en-route, stopping across via selected waterholes such as Goas which are normally particularly good for game viewing to Namutoni Resort in the east. You will have to leave the Park before sunset and go out to stay at Mushara Bush Camp, with enough time to relax and freshen up before for dinner.

Mushara Bush Camp: Mushara Bush Camp is the third addition to the outstanding accommodation of the Mushara Collection. The Mushara Bush Camp is on the same reserve as the Mushara Lodge, Villa Mushara and the Mushara Outpost. Mushara Bush Camp offers a down – to – earth tented bush camp experience which is well suited as an exceptionally affordable base for independent travelers exploring the Etosha National Park. The main Bush Camp area is thatched and has a true bush camp feel to it. The early evenings see a camp fire lit where guests can exchange stories of the day’s wildlife sightings.

Dinner, Lunch and breakfast are served on the thatched verandah with the bush being a mere step away. The 16 custom made en-suite tents are built from a combination of canvas and local limestone. With their own 8msq private verandah and roof to floor windows, these rooms are spacious and airy. Each large bathroom has an oversized window and shower looking into the surrounding bush. The brushed cement floors and lime stone walls keep the rooms cool from the afternoon sun with the help from floor fans. Four of these tents are ideally suited for families with small children.

Overnight: Mushara Bush Camp

Full Board & Excursions (with Guide)

Day 9 (16th April 2016) East of Etosha National Park to Windhoek

This morning you depart and head south back to Windhoek, via the towns ofTsumeb, Otjiwarongo & Okahandja, to arrive in the mid to late afternoon. You may wish to spend some time in Okahandja at the local craft market where you can do some last minute curio shopping. Upon your arrival into Windhoek you will be transferred to Galton House where you will stay for your final night in Namibia. Dinner tonight can be enjoyed at the guest house or out in town with your guides.

Okahandja: Directly north of Windhoek lies Okahandja, a town of great significance to the Herero people because it was once the seat of Chief Sameul Maharero. Every year on 26 August, referred to as ‘Heroes’ Day’, thousands of Hereros converge in the town to pay homage at the graves of their great chiefs. Some of the women are dressed in traditional red and black, others in green and black, while the men wear full military regalia complete with medals. Visitors are welcome to view this rich and colourful ceremony. According to historian Dr Vedder, the name Okahandja comes from Herero and means ‘small widening’, the place where the rivers meet. The earliest records of the town date back to 1843 when the first two missionaries arrived there. The year 1894, however, is regarded as the birth of the town as Okahandja became a military base in this year and a fort was built. On 26 August, 1923, the famous Herero Chief Samuel Maharero was laid to rest in Okahandja at a funeral attended by approximately 2 000 people. Since then this day has been celebrated annually at Okahandja by the Herero people. The town is an important centre for woodcarvers from the north. They practise their ancient skills at the wood and thatch Mbangura woodcarvers Market next to the main road, both at the entrance and at the exit of the town.

Overnight: Galton House

Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10 (17th April 2016) Departure

This morning you will be collected and transferred to Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for your ongoing flight.

This is officially the end of your Namibian Safari. We hope to see you again soon,

Bon voyage…!

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Your Tour Mentor

Jassi Oberai


Virtual Tour of Exotic Namibia

through the eyes of Xploring Light