Etendeka Walking Trail: Our full report
Trekking on foot though the hills of the Grootberg Massive promises travellers a unique perspective on one ...... of Namibia’s most remote and untouched wilderness areas. An expert guide will be on hand throughout the 3-4 day walking trail to point out the flora, fauna and geology of this harsh but surprisingly verdant and undeniably breathtaking landscape.
We haven’t experienced this trek yet as the trail opens in June 2018 but here is what we know so far:
Etendeka Walking Trail is being set up by the same team as Etendeka Mountain Camp. Using the latter as their base Dennis Liebenberg and his team has been leading informative and rewarding walks in the 500km2 Etendeka Concession since the early 90’s. We are expecting this intimate knowledge of the concession to come to the fore in the guiding here and it should be a major draw for those seeking a genuine, multi-day walking experience.
The trail itself is likely to follow the below format:
A group of up to eight walkers will depart from the Palmwag Lodge at 4pm, where they’ll leave their vehicle and main luggage - a driver will deliver the luggage to River Camp, the first stop of the trip. From Palmwag it’s a relatively easy two - three hour walk to reach River Camp. A great way for travellers to ease themselves into the experience. Overlooking a waterhole River Camp is set to be a relatively simple bush camp – think bucket showers, meals cooked over an open fire and sleeping out on platforms under the vast Namibian night sky.
After a first night of stargazing and rest, a light breakfast will be provided before setting out for day two.
This will be the longest day of the journey with a walking distance of 15 to 20km. The reward after this long walk is the stunning views from Mountain Camp (not to be confused with the original Etendeka Mountain Camp). Offering the same back-to-basics wilderness experience as that of River Camp, Mountain Camp is located on the top of Crystal Mountain overlooking an abundance of crystals and rare rock formations. Again luggage will be transferred by vehicle to the camp so that walkers need to only worry about carrying a daypack.
Typically the third day will be the last of the trail, with a short morning walk to Etendeka Mountain Camp in time for a transfer back to Palmwag before the heat of the day. However there will also be the option of another day walking around Crystal Mountain with an additional night at Mountain Camp.
Accommodation at the two overnight camps consists of five sleeping platforms, each with their own toilet and basin. The simple but comfortable, open-air sleeping platforms include 2 sleeping ’bed rolls’ with inflatable mattresses, cotton linen and duvet. Furthermore we understand there will be a shade awning on each platform that can be deployed for a siesta in the heat of the day but folded away at night to make the most of the pristine skies. Communal open-air bathrooms with bucket showers are located between the platforms and environmentally friendly washing products are provided.
Guests will need to fully charge the batteries of the cameras and other electrical devices, as there won’t be any electricity or charging facilities at the overnight camps.
We have been told that walkers will need to be in good health and have a good level of fitness is a must to make the most of this unique experience.
A well ‘walked-in’ pair of hiking boots, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are essential items, whilst a torch, camera, binoculars and walking sticks are also recommended.
Note that between June and September – travellers should expect daytime temperatures to be fine and warm, but at night it can often drop below freezing, so it is wise to bring layers and warm cloths to wear at night.
From what we know from its sister camp, Etendeka Mountain Camp, this experience should be unforgettable. We expect the walking to be a real challenge but quality guiding in the untouched Namibian wilderness promises to make the challenge worth it. We can’t wait to give the trail a go ourselves.
Country manager: Namibia
- Damaraland, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- The trail lasts 2-3 nights although travellers may choose to add a night at Etendeka Mountain Camp for a bit of R&R after the walk.
- The start and end point for the walking trail is Palmwag Lodge.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Dinners are usually enjoyed around the open fire pit, breakfast and packed-lunch, under the shade of a tree during the trek.
- Drinks included
- Selection of local drinks and house wine available, tea and coffee included.
- The stunning scenery, expert guiding and raw wilderness experience of the Etendeka Walking Trail promises to be one of the most challenging and rewarding hiking experiences in Namibia.
- See ideas for Walking
- Attitude towards children
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children under 12 years old are not accepted. If children over 12 years old, they must be capable of completing the walking experience.
- Special activities & services
- Power supply notes
- No electricity or charging facility available on camps.
- No internet.
The guides have hand held radios to stay in touch with the camp if first aid or evacuation support is necessary.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Bathrooms equipped with bucket showers.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Patients in need of medical assistance would be driven back to Palmwag Lodge, or in an emergency flown to Windhoek, which would take about four hours.
Walking with an armed guide: at Expert Africa we strongly believe that when walking in an area with dangerous wildlife, it is normally important that you are accompanied by a trained and armed guide to protect you should you have a close encounter. While dangerous wildlife, such as lions, leopards, rhinos and elephants are found in the area around Etendeka, their densities are low and the terrain is generally very open. As such the chances of an unexpected encounter these animals is very slim.
The guides at Etendeka are experienced and highly skilled, but they don't carry rifles on walking safaris. Given the circumstances, we believe that the walks here as are safe as the walking safaris that we offer elsewhere, where guides are armed; the bush is thicker; and wildlife densities are higher. However, if you have any concerns please don't hesitate to discuss them with the team at Expert Africa - ultimately we would be happy to look at another experience for your to enjoy in Namibia if this isn't suitable.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Fire safety
Guided walking safari
Sleeping under the stars
- Disabled access
Other lodges in Damaraland
Alternative places to stay in this same area.