Five Deserts 10 days / 9 nights

Accommodation choice of camping or chalets

Arid Savannah Biome: Kalahari Gemsbok Park / Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Nama Karoo Biome: Fish River Canyon and Augrabies Falls National Park

Desert Biome: Namib Desert and Luderitz Bay

Succulent Karoo Biome: Richtersveld National Park and Namaqualand

SHORTENED PROGRAM:

  • DAY 1 Upington – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
  • DAY 2 + 3 Kgalagadi
  • DAY 4 Kgalagadi
  • DAY 5 Kgalagadi – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park / Namibia
  • DAY 6 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – Luderitz
  • DAY 7 Luderitz – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park / South Africa
  • DAY 8 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
  • DAY 9 Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – Augrabies National Park
  • DAY 10 Augrabies Falls – Upington

DETAILED PROGRAM:

DAY 1 – Upington – Kgalagadi 260km

We depart 8h30 from your guesthouse / airport in Upington and drive 260km to Kgalagadi. This park is one of the last wilderness areas in the world, and a true unspoilt eco-system. After arrival at Twee Rivieren we do several game drives until the gates close. Optional night drives and morning walks are available.

Overnight: Twee Rivieren

Meals: B L D

DAY 2 and 3 – Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park

Game drive to Nossob 160km. This camp is famous for its large lion numbers, sometimes roaring right around the camp! A game hide and short hiking trails is available. Optional night drive with rangers.

Overnight: Nossob

Meals: B L D

DAY 4 – Kgalagadi TP

Mata Mata 150km Game drive via the long dune road.

Overnight: Mata Mata

Meals: B,L,D

DAY 5 – Kgalagadi – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

We enter Namibia and drive through the barren plains of Southern Namibia to the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Visit en route Giant’s Playground, Quiver Tree Forest and Namibia’s 2nd largest dam, the Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop. Drive to Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. This park spans some of the most spectacular scenery of the arid and desert environments in Southern Africa. Bisected by the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia, it comprises the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.

Some of the distinctive features in the area include the Ai-Ais Hot springs and the 2nd largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon. This awe-inspiring canyon measures 160 km in length, up to 27 km in width and reaches a depth of 550 m. This arid zone is further characterised by a unique and impressive variety of succulent plant species, which makes this park an undisputed biodiversity “hot spot”.

Enter the Transfrontier Park at Hobas. Visit the Fish River Canyon, with different viewpoints overlooking the canyon. Although the Park is not known as a game park, springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra, kudu, klipspringer and ostrich survive in this harsh land. Continue via the 102 000 ha private conservation area, Gondwana Canyon Park to Ai-Ais. Ai-Ais, which means, “burning water” in one of the local languages, refers to the sulphurous hot springs which are found in this area. One of these springs has its eye within the camp. Ai-Ais is situated at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. Enjoy the warm pools and spa.

Overnight: Ai-Ais Resort / Canon Lodge

Meals: B L D

DAY 6 – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park / Luderitz

We drive to Luderitz via Gondwana Nature Park. Proceed through the Namib Desert on the B4, which is the southern border of the Namib Naukluft Park, which covers an area of more than 45 000 square km to Walvis Bay in the north. The Namib is the oldest desert on earth and one of the most hostile areas on our planet.

We do a short detour to DIAZ POINT where there is a replica of the cross erected in July 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias on his return from the Cape of Good Hope, after navigating the first ship round the southernmost point of Africa. From the viewpoint one has a good view of Halifax Island, home to many Cape fur seals. Many flamingos can be seen in the area.

Overnight: Kratzplatz Guest House or similar

Meals: B L D

DAY 7 – Luderitz – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Today we visit the Diamond Ghost Town of Kolmans Kop. This is where we may see the Wild Namib Horses at Garub near Aus.

Drive on via Rosh Pinah to Sendelingsdrift Border Post through the vast barren plains of southern Namibia. Enter South Africa by crossing the Orange River by ferry. The Richtersveld Mountain Desert is regarded as the only true desert and one of the last wilderness areas in South Africa and was recently declared a world heritage site. The rainfall in some areas is less than 50 mm per annum. The Park nestles in a 100 km loop of the Lower Orange River, which forms the border with Namibia.

The Richtersveld is regarded as one of the world’s most prolific and richest succulent areas, nurturing 29% of South Africa’s succulent species, including 3 Quiver tree species and the very rare legendary “halfmens”. Although game is not the main attraction of Richtersveld Park, there is species such as the very rare Hartman’s Zebra, Grey Reebok, Klipspringer, Duiker, Steenbok, Leopard, Caracal, Black backed jackal, Baboons and Vervet monkeys. The park harbours a small number of indigenous people, who live their lives as goatherds, unchanged from the time when their hardy ancestors lived.

Overnight: One of the camps in the Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 8 – Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

We explore the Park by hiking or drives.

Overnight: One of the camps in the Park

Meals: B L D

DAY 9 – Ais-Ais/Richtersveld – Augrabies

We depart to Alexander Bay on the cold Atlantic Ocean. Visit the estuary at the Orange River mouth near Alexander Bay. This previous restricted diamond area is now open to public. The Orange River Wetland is declared as a RAMSAR site and is home to more than 60 bird species including pelicans and many flamingos. After a drive to the mouth we continue to the Lichen Hill. The Richtersveld vegetation has unique species with awesome adoptions to survive in its semi desert climate. One km outside Alexander Bay, a hill of 5 hectares is covered with lichen – the only one of its kind in South Africa. Lichen is neither plant nor animal, consisting of algae and fungi living together in symbioses. Continue south along the coastline to the small harbour town Port Nolloth, then Springbok, Pofadder and end at Augrabies.

Overnight: Augrabies Falls

Meals: B L D

DAY 10 – Augrabies Falls National Park – Upington

We can do the Dassie Nature trail, or game drive after breakfast. Visit the Augrabies Falls, which is the sixth largest waterfall in the world when South Africa’s largest river, the Orange is in flood. The word Augrabies derives from the Khoi meaning ‘place of great noise. Scenic – and game drive in this moon landscape-like land to awesome viewpoints such as Ararat, Oranjekom on the Orange River Gorge and the “Swartrante” (Black hills) from where one has a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.

Although Augrabies is essentially a scenic park, game such as giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra and klipspringer survive in this unique riverine ecosystem. Fish eagles and black eagles are common residents.

Arrival in Upington late afternoon. End of tour

Included: driver/guide, vehicle, fuel, meals, accommodation, cross border fees.

Excluded: daily conservation fees, optional activities.

  • Conservation fee of R300 per person per day payable Kgalagadi cash or credit card
  • Bottled water / soft – and alcoholic drinks / snaks in between meals (shops available at every camp)

ALTERATIONS TOURS: Accommodation may vary due to weather conditions and availability.


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