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Desert tour

Desert tour

Overview: 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.

Start location
You'll generally be picked up from your lodge
End location
You'll be returned to your lodge at the end of the day
Meals included
Depends on itinerary but we've often enjoyed excellent lunches!
Duration
Variable, depending on the tour

Photo gallery

What to look forward to.


1 of 8
Enjoy a trip into the Namib Desert with an expert guide...
2 of 8
...you'll have the opportunity to learn about desert flora and fauna...
3 of 8
... from white lady spiders and tok tokkie beetles...
4 of 8
...to shovel snouted lizards...
5 of 8
...the endemic dune lark...
6 of 8
...the unusual welwitschia...
7 of 8
...'living rocks'...
8 of 8
...and mist gathering lichens, it really is a remarkable and varied ecosystem.

Enjoy a trip into the Namib Desert with an expert guide...

...you'll have the opportunity to learn about desert flora and fauna...

... from white lady spiders and tok tokkie beetles...

...to shovel snouted lizards...

...the endemic dune lark...

...the unusual welwitschia...

...'living rocks'...

...and mist gathering lichens, it really is a remarkable and varied ecosystem.

Desert tour reviews

26 independent first-hand comments from our travellers.


100%
8 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
8
Good
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Average
0
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0
Terrible
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safari loversfromUK

16 Mar 2020

"Exceptional "

"Spent a fascinating 5 hours learning about the flora and fauna of the desert... …" Read safari lovers’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs SfromOxon

21 Nov 2017

"Great day out with Bruno"

"Great day out with Bruno …" Read Mr & Mrs S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Prof B & Mr KfromDelhi

2 Feb 2017

"An extraordinary glimpse into the desert!"

"An extraordinary glimpse into the desert! …" Read Prof B & Mr K’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr ZfromMaryland, USA

23 Nov 2016

"Enchanting Welwichia"

"Enchanting Welwichia …" Read Mr Z’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

BrucefromHarrogate

7 Oct 2016

"Tommy's Amazing Tour"

"Tommy's Amazing Tour …" Read Bruce’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr A & Mrs LfromNorfolk

30 Oct 2013

"Fascinating"

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr M & Mrs JfromUK

18 Dec 2010

"Desert Tour"

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Desert tour reviews

Ideas for holidays which can include Desert tour

Add this experience to these trip ideas or contact us to start planning your own tailor-made holiday to Namibia.


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The quintessential Namibian self-drive adventure exploring the highlights from Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert to Damaraland’s wilderness and a safari in Etosha. A great mix of accommodation and excellent value.

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Brown Hyena Self-drive

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The perfect trip for those who want to mix the adventure and freedom of a self-drive with some of our favourite luxury camps in Namibia and a great mix of activities.

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Francolin Fly-in Safari

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Fly between northern Namibia’s highlights – Sossusvlei’s dunes, quaint Swakopmund, Damaraland’s mountains and a safari in Etosha – on this spectacular aerial adventure with a relaxed pace and luxury but good value accommodation.

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

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Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,420 - US$3,500 per person

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Pelican Fly & Drive Safari

10 days • 5 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

A unique itinerary visiting the must-see highlights combining the adventure of a classic Namibian self-drive with the ease and spectacular views of a fly-in safari.

US$5,570 - US$6,590 per person

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Quiver Tree Self-drive Safari

14 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

An offbeat Namibian self-drive adventure exploring the epic Fish River Canyon and fascinating Kolmanskop ghost town in the south, before turning north via the classic highlights of Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Damaraland.

US$2,260 - US$2,320 per person

Itinerary image

Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive

12 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

A classic 12-night self-drive adventure around the highlights of eastern and northern Namibia taking in Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha and a final stop at Okonjima. Comfortable lodges and great value.

US$2,820 - US$3,160 per person

Itinerary image

Rock Agama Self-drive Safari

9 days • 6 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Big on experience and light on time, this self-drive trip packs in Namibia’s highlights while staying in a selection of luxury camps and lodges for an unforgettable 10 days.

US$4,510 - US$5,440 per person

Itinerary image

Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look at Namibia from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,780 - US$6,090 per person

Itinerary image

Black-faced Impala Guided Safari

13 days • 6 locations
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A unique mix of luxury and adventure in our original, and perhaps most varied, destination on a privately guided Namibian overland safari. Perfect for families, friends or couples travelling together.

US$6,090 - US$8,490 per person

Itinerary image

Cape Fox Guided Safari

13 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

A classic clockwise circuit around Namibia’s northern highlights with a private guide and vehicle. We can’t think of a better way to see more in this timeframe.

US$6,100 - US$9,020 per person

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Scenic flights in Namibia

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Sperrgebiet tour

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Fish River Canyon day trip

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Namibia fact file

Useful information to help you prepare for your trip in Namibia


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