Desert tour

Desert tour

Experience the Namib Desert with an expert guide on one of the numerous desert tours. Each has its own unique focus: from seeking out the ‘desert little five’ to finding the endemic dune lark or marvelling at mist-collecting lichens, there are trips to suit many tastes. Speak to us for more details.

The options

There are many different variations of this trip, depending on your interests and how much time you have, but these are some of the highlights:

Wildlife

There is a surprising proliferation of wildlife in the seemingly barren Namib Desert. Some of the desert tours focus on these animals, and particularly on the ‘desert little five’:
  • The Namaqua chameleon is one of the fastest chameleon species and has several desert-specific adaptations.
  • The Sidewinder, also known as Peringuey's adder, is the second-smallest adder species, and ambushes its prey by burying itself in the sand.
  • The Shovel-snouted lizard, also called the sand-diving lizard performs a ‘heat dance’ when the sand is hot.
  • The wheel spider flips on its side and cartwheels down the dunes to escape danger.
  • The Palmato gecko has webbed feet to stop it sinking in the sand.
If birding is more your thing, there are tours designed with this in mind. Your guide might take you into Dorob National Park, to the Welwitschia Plains, the Kuiseb Delta and/or the Moon Valley. These ecosystems are home to species that include the Karoo eremomela, dune lark, Orange River white-eye, dusky sunbird and many more.

Plant life

Top of the list for most plant lovers is the welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis), which is both endemic to Namibia and taxonomically distinct: it is the only living plant species in its family, and one of only three in its order. It also has an exceptionally long lifespan; one specimen in the area is believed to be over 1,500 years old! But there’s plenty more desert-adapted flora to marvel at, including Namibia’s ‘living rocks’ or lithops, the hoodia cactus (Hoodia gordonii) and mist-gathering lichens.

Geology

As in many deserts, the lack of soil and plant life coupled with erosion puts the area's geology on display. Seek out the lunar landscape of the Moon Valley, a group of hills formed 460–500 million years ago, and eroded over time to create an otherworldly feel, making it a photographer’s paradise. Then there’s the Khan River Valley, which is rich in minerals such as tourmaline, rose quartz, marble and spider-web dolorite – which in turn have led to mining on both small and industrial scales.

With so much variety, it isn’t possible to see everything on one trip, but we can work together to ensure you get the right trip for you.

What to take: Regardless of the specific trip you book we would recommend taking sensible footwear for walking, plenty of sun screen, a hat and lip balm. It is also a good idea to wear long sleeves and trousers to protect you from the sun. You might also consider taking layers: it can be cold near the coast in the mornings but the temperature rises through the day.

Meals included: The meals included will vary depending on the trip you book, but we have enjoyed some excellent lunches in the desert on the longer excursions. Eating out in the wilderness of the Namib is an experience in its own right!

Please note: Expert Africa only books excursions as a part of a full, Expert Africa itinerary.