Self Drive Group Expedition

6 Day Faces of Namib Self Drive Expedition

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 experience unspoilt nature? If you answered YES, then you MUST experience the Namib.

On the 6 Day Faces of Namib Self Drive Expedition, you will discover the desert on our unique 4×4 desert tour from East to West across the Namib. Faces of the Namib is a completely unique self-drive off-road tour through this incredible desert, specially designed to incorporate dune driving adrenaline thrills along with other unique Namib Desert highlights.

Faces of Namib Self Drive tour includes the marvellous Kuiseb River Canyon, ancient petrified dunes, haunting diamond mining villages of yore, fascinating shipwrecks such as the Shawnee and Eduard Bohlen, interaction with the indigenous Topnaar (≠Aonin) people, and the southernmost examples of the endemic Welwitschia Mirabilis plant.

*This is a self-drive guided tour
Travellers need to provide their own 4x4 vehicle & camping equipment or hire a fully equipped 4x4 camping vehicle from Getaway Africa.

*4x4 Experience Required
Although the tour’s emphasis is not solely on 4x4 and offroad driving, driving on and over the world's highest sand dunes means previous experience and proficiency in off-road driving are recommended. Beginners will be talked through each phase of the
journey.

Highlights of the Faces of Namib Self Drive:

  • Special Expedition into a restricted Namib area
  • Travel along old German settler routes
  • Breathtaking views of  the Kuiseb Canyon
  • Drive across the desert's ocean of sand dunes
  • Camping in the desert under the African sky
  • Visit deserted Conception Bay mining settlements
  • Drive along the Atlantic Ocean's beachfront on the edge of the desert

This special 4x4 expedition offers a unique perspective of Namibia that very few travellers get to enjoy in regions that are isolated from modern society.

See also the 7 Day Luderitz to Walvis Bay Self-Drive Expedition

Summary

Breakfast & Dinner

6 Days / 5 Nights
Self Drive

Namibia

Day 1: Arrive in Solitaire
We assemble at Solitaire late afternoon. This is the time to get last-minute supplies and fill fuel tanks to the brim. Remember you need fuel for five days. Since many group members may have been to Sossusvlei (one of the highlights of Namibia), a visit there is not included in our current itinerary. Tonight you will have the opportunity to meet your guides and fellow travellers. After a detailed briefing of what to expect the next few days, you will be treated to a lovely meal.
Included: Camping and dinner

Day 2: Solitaire to Kuiseb River Canyon
We depart from Solitaire and enter the Namib Nauklüft Park, 35km north of the town – a restricted Namib area. This is the start of a unique adventure offering you aspects of the Namib seldom experienced by tourists. We cross the Namib plains more or less on the same ox-wagon route followed by early settlers, German Schutztruppe (on horseback and camels) and ‘transport ryers’ in the late 1800s. The route leads to the Kuiseb River. The landscape gradually changes from the typical Namib plains into a colourful landscape of red sand dunes separated by grassy plains. The Kuiseb Canyon offers a unique scenery. Its southern bank is formed by massive red sand dunes and the northern bank by pitch-black rock formations, while the riverbed itself is overgrown with massive endemic trees. The dry sand bed creates a kaleidoscope of green and white tones. We now proceed westwards along the edge of the canyon until we reach a spot where the dunes fall right into the river, near Homeb. Depending on the status of the river (which may be in flood) we will ‘slip’ into the river enjoying its unique ecosystem. This includes a variety of trees and an abundance of birds. We will cross over onto the northern bank of the Kuiseb Canyon, enjoying breath-taking views.

On the northern side of the Kuiseb we will encounter the southern-most examples of the Welwitschia mirabilis plant, endemic to the Namib Desert. Although the plant looks as if it has many leaves, it has only two, shredded by the wind over the course of centuries. The plant’s scientific names are a combination of the first European to describe it, an Austrian botanist named Friedrich Welwitsch, and ‘Mirabilis’ which is Latin and refers to its marvellous ability to survive in harsh, apparently waterless conditions.
Included: Camping, breakfast and dinner

Day 3: Desert Crossing
The Namib Desert follows the coast of Namibia for approximately 2 000km. It varies in width from 80- to 200km where it meets the Namib escarpment. The most important climatic feature of the Namib Desert is its sparse and highly unpredictable annual rainfall which ranges from 5mm in the west to about 85mm along its eastern limits. Our aim with this trip is to drive across the desert from east to west experiencing the dramatic change in the environment. From Homeb, we head southwest into the ‘sand sea’. On the way to Conception Bay we negotiate massive dunes. Once again ever-changing scenery and beautiful landscapes are enjoyed. Drivers’ skills are bound to be improving as the dunes offer greater and greater challenges. The dune straits are massive, and the dunes themselves even more impressive. Most are in excess of 150m high. We set up camp amongst them, enjoying the unique thrill of desert camping.
Included: Camping, breakfast and dinner

Day 4 & 5: Conception Bay And Ghost Towns
In the area between Conception Bay and Meob Bay the mining settlements of Holsatia, Charlottenfelder and Grillenberger were established during the heyday of diamond mining. No form of engine-driven transport was available during the first 15 years of exploration. Transporting supplies and mining equipment happened mainly by ship from Swakopmund or using the cutter, Viking, travelling via Sandwich Harbour, Conception Bay and Meob Bay. Various shipping casualties occurred, such as
when the Eduard Bohlen was stranded near Conception Bay in 1909. This rusty wraith is something exceptional to behold! Between 1912 and 1913 a light railway from Conception Bay to Conception Water, and an 80km pipeline linking the settlements, were constructed. It is not clear how many prefabricated buildings were erected at the various settlements, as only the foundations of some of these are still visible today.

The exploration of Namibia by Europeans commenced from this coastline as early as 1485, although the inhospitable Namib Desert barred access to the interior. Probably the first European to set foot on Namibian soil was the Portuguese explorer, Diogo Cao or Diogo Cam, followed by Bartholomew Diaz two years later, on 8 December 1487. This date represented the holiday of ‘Maria's Conception’. Therefore, the bay received the name ‘Santa Maria da Conceicao’ (Conception Bay). Today you will most likely see vast flocks of birds, drive past Cape Fur seal colonies, visit the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen near Conception Bay and see various relics dating back to the diamond-mining era. In November 1914 all the people in this area were requested to stop operations and to proceed to Swakopmund. This order came as a result of an expected invasion of allied troops. This part of the journey is something history buffs will particularly enjoy … keep a lookout for wandering ghosts! For the following two nights, you will be camping at ‘Olifantsbad Camp’.
Included: Camping, breakfast and dinner

Day 6: Langewand To Walvis Bay
The dune belt opens up between Meob Bay and Conception Bay, but immediately after Conception, it stretches right onto the beach. From Conception Bay you will be driving on the beach. The scenery is truly magnificent. You will also experience driving freedom – BIG TIME!  We head northwards towards Sandwich Bay passing the wreck of the Shawnee, negotiating the famed Langewand where massive dunes come straight down into the sea. There are only four places in the world to see this natural phenomenon. Due to the tides, there is only a very limited time span to negotiate this stretch of beach. After Langewand the trail once again leads into the dunes, circumnavigating the salt pan ‘extensions’ of Sandwich Harbour. The dunes are still getting progressively larger, offering drivers an ever-changing dune driving experience.

From Sandwich Harbour the trail enters the roller coaster, a series of massive ‘roaring’ slip faces, not only giving you a thrilling experience but also offering breath-taking views of the harbour and a panorama of sandscapes on the way to Walvis Bay. The trip concludes over dinner at a restaurant in Walvis Bay. Accommodation for the last evening in Walvis Bay is included. The time has sadly come to say your goodbyes to new friends made during this adventure of a lifetime.
Included: Accommodation for the night, breakfast and dinner

Faces of Namib Self Drive

Rates in SA Rand Rates (Jan - Jun 2021)
SADC Nationals
Adult Sharing R 13,275 pp sharing
Adult Single R 15,025 pp
Child 16-17 yrs R 4,725 per child
Child 6-15 yrs R 3,650 per child
Child 0-5 yrs R 1,600 per child
Foreigners / International Travellers
Adult Sharing (Foreigner) R 13,525 pp sharing
Adult Single (Foreigner) R 15,275 pp
Child 16-17 yrs R 4,975 per child
Child 6-15 yrs R 3,900 per child
Child 0-5 yrs R 1,600 per child

Book Now

Need a vehicle and camping equipment?
Contact our travel experts for a quote on a fully equipped 4x4 vehicle

*Please note that no trailers are allowed on this tour.

Included:

  • Breakfast and dinner daily
  • Experienced guides with own vehicles
  • Two-way radios for vehicles
  • Camping and accommodation fees
  • Concession fees and levies
  • “Communal” camping equipment (e.g. braai grid, cooking facilities & equipment, tables, washup facilities, shower, toilet etc.)

Excluded:

  • Transport (Rentals Available on request)
  • Fuel
  • Lunch
  • Camping gear
  • Travel insurance and vehicle insurance (Required)
  • Items of a personal nature

Optional:

  • A thrilling Dolphin Cruise departs daily from Walvis Bay Harbour. This is something not to miss.
    Contact our office for bookings and the best rates.
  • Pre- and Post-tour accommodation. Contact our travel experts for all your pre-and-post accommodation bookings to ensure a hassle-free trip. Because of our buying power, we can offer excellent rates.

**Please note:
Although some experience of dune driving and previous ‘wild camping’ (no formal facilities at camp) are recommended this does not mean that this will be a ‘Dakar Rally’. The emphasis is definitely on what the Namib has to offer but crossing massive dunes and doing a lot of off-road driving forms a large part of this experience. Participants must have off-road endurance and a sense of
adventure!

Rates are subject to change due to increases in fuel charges and increases imposed by suppliers.

 

Departure Dates
*Seat-in-vehicle bookings available
  2021
January  
February  
March 03
April 18, 25
May 12
June 22
July 28
August 09, 18
September 15
October 19
November 06
December 05, 29

 

Travel Insurance & medical evacuation required
It is a booking requirement that you must submit proof of travel insurance when making your first payment. You will not be able to join the tour without travel insurance.

Clients need to take out their own travel insurance and emergency evacuation cover in case of a motor vehicle accident, heart attack or any other medical emergency. Please take out your travel insurance within 48 hours of making your first payment towards the tour. Please supply details of this information that we know whom to contact in case of an emergency.

Emergency contact number:
Should anybody wish to contact you whilst on the trip – we will be out of range of any cell phone reception or normal telephone services. A satellite phone will be available for emergencies and our Walvis Bay office will know how to reach the guides. We will supply the emergency number with tour documents should anybody need to get hold of you urgently.

Vehicle insurance:
Please check with your insurance provider that your vehicle is covered for an off-road trip through the desert. Should you have a breakdown we will assist with on-site recovery, but this will be at an additional cost and the account for this must be settled directly upon arrival in Walvis Bay.

Essentials
The following items are mandatory for each participating vehicle:

  • Spade
  • 60 litres water in total of which 20 litres will be used by the kitchen and the remainder will be
    for showering
  • Bottled water for drinking
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Pump to inflate tyres
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic bags to carry waste (e.g. empty cooldrink tins, etc.)
  • Brake fluid
  • Gear oil
  • Engine oil
  • Fuses
  • Spare V-Belt set (type of belt depends on your vehicle)
  • Sufficient Petrol / Diesel to cover the distance – 550km. Heavy sand driving conditions (+/-
    3km/l and +/- 5km/l consumption for larger petrol and diesel engines respectively) will be
    experienced. You will need to keep the extra fuel in your own jerry cans.
  • Vehicle to be fitted with points to attach tow ropes both in front and at the rear. NB!!
  • All equipment and luggage must be strapped in and securely fastened
  • Vehicle must be loaded in such a way to ensure that the vehicle is not ‘Top Heavy’ – e.g. only
    light items, camping gear on roof carriers
  • 2 Large bags of firewood per vehicle (supplied by you)
  • The trail passes through heavy dune area, which requires high flotation tyres (‘fat takkies’).

Optional:

  • Hi-lift Jack & Q20 Spray
  • Extra spare wheel (no 6)
  • Small broom and a small spade
  • Grass net for radiator

All you need:

  • Tent, folding chair and sleeping gear (bedroll, tent etc.) *Longer tent pegs are needed for
    pitching in the sand.
  • Eating utensils (cutlery, plate, bowl, glass and mug)
  • Provide your own lunch
  • Own snacks and refreshments (alcoholic beverages, cooldrinks etc.)
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Camera (extra memory cards and battery)
  • Sunglasses and sunblock
  • Clothing (suitable for hot days and cold evenings), toiletries and towels
  • Prescribed medication
  • Small bowl or collapsible wash basin

4x4 Driving - What to expect:
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 are also part of this trip.

Our guides will capture your imagination with their knowledge of the fauna and flora of the desert and historical facts. They will also wow you with their cooking skills, preparing two mouth-watering meals each day. 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 4x4 and offroad driving, driving on and over the world's highest sand dunes means previous experience and proficiency in off-road driving are recommended. Beginners will be talked through each phase of the journey.

Other:

  • Petrol cards are no longer accepted in Namibia for fuel purchases. Only cash/ debit/ credit cards will be accepted.
  • Children under 18 must have an unabridged birth certificate to leave/ enter South Africa at the border and at international airports.
  • New Namibian Traffic Regulation - Daylight Headlights: As from the 28th of July 2015, a person driving a vehicle during the day on a trunk road, main road and/ or a district road must switch on the headlamps on dimmed beam or daytime running lights.

 

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