Itinerary

12 Days / 11 Nights

1 night Kalahari Desert – Kalahari Anib Lodge 

2 nights Sossusvlei – Kulala Desert Lodge 

1 night Swakopmund –  Strand Hotel 

2 nights Damaraland – Damaraland Camp 

2 nights Etosha – Etosha Mountain Lodge 

1 night Etosha – Andersson’s at Ongava 

2 nights Okonjima – Okonjima Plains Camp

I had always dreamt of self-driving through Namibia, and it finally became a reality in November 2019.

We began the long trip to Windhoek with a Virgin Airways flight to Perth, where we then connected with a South African Airways flight to Johannesburg. Upon arrival, we rested up briefly with a 5 hour stay in the Bidvest Lounge, before boarding our South African Airways flight to Windhoek.

Arriving at 11:45am, and keen to make the most of the day, we picked up our 4WD Ford Ranger “bakkie” (ute) and departed straight away on safari! We drove south for approximately 325 km (4 hours) on great all-weather tarmac roads, to our first overnight stop at Kalahari Anib Lodge, on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Located on a private concession, this was a great place to stop. We enjoyed a clean and comfortable stay and the following day, an early morning game drive.

After breakfast, we departed for Namib Desert and Sossusvlei. Here is where you realize why you need a good, air-conditioned 4WD vehicle- the desert temperatures can hit a scorching 48- 50 degrees centigrade during the summer months!

Our journey took us into the heart of the oldest desert in the world, the Namib. Taking just over 5 hours, our long drive took us to Kulala Desert Lodge, situated on over 27,000 hectares of private property and bordering the Namib Naukluft Park. Here, we enjoyed beautiful views of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei, as well as the magnificent mountainous scenery and vast open plains.

We enjoyed an afternoon game drive here, and although this part of the Namib does not have a lot of animals in the reserve, apart from some oryx and ostriches, it was good to see the sights. Here, the heat was intense, especially with no air conditioning. However, the lodge had a real African solution! In the rooms they had kitenge wrap arounds, which you could soak in water and wrap yourself in- creating a personal air conditioner!

The next day, we drove to the famous sand dunes. Sossusvlei is absolutely breathtaking! It is truly the most stunning desert landscape I have ever seen in Africa. It is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction- and for good reason. Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the beautiful morning and evening light.

Nearby, Deadvlei is a clay pan that is well-known for its dark, dead camel thorn trees that contrast against the white pan floor. The pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded, and the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. However, the climate changed, and the sand dunes encroached on the pan, blocking the river from reaching the area. The trees are estimated to be approximately 900 years old, however they have not decomposed due to the dry climate. Our visit was particularly memorable, with a dust storm hitting us as we were walking back to the car park!

Later that day we visited Sesriem Canyon, located approximately 4.5km from the entrance gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The Tsauchab River has shaped the Canyon over millions of years, and it is one of the few places in the area that holds water all year round. It is a truly breathtaking place of carved rock faces and long flowing waterways.

The following day, we packed up and began our drive via the Gaub and Kuiseb Pass to Swakopmund, a city located between the Atlantic Ocean and Namib Dunes. We checked in at the Strand Hotel, a contemporary hotel reminiscent of both German and Namibian interior and exterior architectural design. Before dinner, we enjoyed exploring the charming seaside village and wandering through a local craft market. Dinner was at an excellent seafood restaurant, where the portions were massive and the food divine!

After breakfast we began our drive north to Damaraland. Over 7 hours of driving. Thankfully, the roads were (mostly) good and the scenery amazing. We were warmly welcomed at the camp, with staff singing to welcome us- though we were quite exhausted after the long day!

The next day began with a surprise bush breakfast atop a cliff with stunning views of the valleys and mountain ranges. Afterwards, we drove a couple of hours through the reserve on our way to Twyfelfontein, which is home to one of the most extensive galleries of rock engravings in the world. We also visited The Organ Pipes which are a fascinating geological formation located near Twyfelfontein. Strikingly rich rusty colours are portrayed in long columns resembling those of a church organ, some rising up to 5m high. Afterward, we visited the Damara Living Museum, before heading back to the lodge for a quick lunch and then heading out on a game drive. We were lucky enough to spot both desert elephants and desert lions!

Next, we were heading towards Etosha Mountain Lodge, located on a private game reserve bordering Etosha National Park. We had the chance to enjoy two game drives whilst here, having incredible encounters with rhino, elephant and our very first brown hyena. Then, we continued to Andersson’s at Ongava, where we were able to enjoy an incredible array of game including lion and rhino.

The following day was a trip to Etosha National Park, before continuing towards Okonjima, which would be our last stop. We were staying at Plains Camp, which is a large 3-star property. Although very commercial in setup, it is known for its numerous walking trails and leopard tracking. On our second day during our morning game drive we witnessed an amazing sighting of a leopard stalking and then taking down a large adult warthog right in front of our vehicle! There was a surprising amount of other game too.

The next day was the beginning of our journey home. Although it was sad to leave, we had an incredible experience and my only regret is not spending more time there!

Rishikesh, yoga capital of the world. The city where people flock to learn the ways of this beautiful and ancient practice. A deeply spiritual and historic place. However, there is so much more to Rishikesh than just yoga. This week, we explore our top 5 reasons to visit Rishikesh (that aren’t yoga!).

Neer Garh Waterfall

Located just outside of Rishikesh is the stunning Neer Garh Waterfall. Within walking distance, or accessible by taxi or car, this natural beauty is a slightly more off-the-beaten-path experience. Enjoy an easy walk through the lush forest of Rishikesh to the base of this two-tier waterfall. The first cascade is found just a short 1km walk from the base. Here, you can dip your toe into the plunge pool, or for our more intrepid explorers, continue the short climb to the main fall. Here, you will find snack stands, and a larger pool. Let us tell you- there is nothing more refreshing than lounging in the crystal waters of Neer Garh. Especially whilst sipping on a delicious hot chai…

Experiencing a Ganga Aarti Ceremony

For those who have not experienced one, a ganga aarti ceremony is truly a spiritual and breathtaking ritual. An offering of fire made to the gods, these ceremonies occur at night and involve a series of chants, prayers and offerings of diyas (small lit candles) to the goddess Ganga. Ceremonies are performed in the holy cities, Hardwar and Rishikesh, as well as the famous Varanasi. Be sure to venture down to the banks of the Ganges as the sun sets, as this is one of India’s sacred experience you really cannot miss…

Safari in Rajaji National Park

One for the animal lovers, Rajaji National Park is famed for its biodiversity and elephant population. Home to leopards, tigers and spotted deer, as well as many other species, this park is an absolute must-see. With an incredible 400 species of bird known to be found there, bird lovers will also not be disappointed. ocated in the Shivalik area of the Himalayas and offers visitors an incredible insight into the lush landscape of Rishikesh.

Visiting the Beatles Ashram

Located close to the Ganges and set against the breathtaking mountainous backdrop of the Himalayas, the Beatles Ashram is a sight to behold, even despite its abandoned state. The ashram was previously known as Chaurasi Kutia. It was where students of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to learn his transcendental meditation technique. Inspired by his practice, the Beatles visited between February and April of 1968 and wrote many of the songs that would become the “White Album”. Abandoned in the 1990s, the ashram is now overgrown and derelict. However, it maintains much of its spiritual energy and is a great place to explore the city’s history, culture and religion.

Adventure Sports

Okay, we’ll admit it- this is one for the thrill seekers. However, Rishikesh offers some of the best adventure activities and most picturesque scenery in the world. Furthermore, it is something of a mecca for nature lovers. Available are white-water rafting, hiking, bungee jumping and paragliding just to name a few. Battle the turquoise rapids of the Ganges, visit traditional villages of the Himalayas and also explore the area on a mountain bike. No matter if you are a beginner or seasoned professional, there’s something here for everyone…

An otherworldly retreat in the mist shrouded hills of Hatton, a seaside getaway in the blissful Weligama or an intrepid- but luxurious- adventure in Yala National Park? With Resplendent Ceylon, you can have it all…

A series of three boutique accommodations, the Resplendent Ceylon properties showcase the best of Sri Lanka. The collection was created by the Fernando family, Sri Lankan tea producers and founders of the iconic Dilmah tea brand. The properties offer an authentic insight into the best of this enchanting country.

Explore the best of southern Sri Lanka with the Resplendent Ceylon properties. Located in the hilltop town of Hatton, the coastal Weligama and just outside the fascinating Yala National Park, there is something for everyone.

Tea Trails

Situated at a lofty altitude of 1250 metres, Ceylon Tea Trails is a true hideaway in the lush green tea hills of Hatton. Be transported back in time as you unwind in the period luxury of one of five restored tea planter bungalows. Offering 27 intimate rooms and suites, Tea Trails provides an incomparable level of service and care. Enjoy a personal butler, gourmet cuisine and opportunities to revel in the stunning scenery, with hiking, biking and kayaking. Furthermore, explore the historic tea factory, built in 1888, and visit the leopard conservation station nearby. On those days you want to unwind, relax with a spa treatment or indulge in sunbathing beside the pool.

Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Adjacent to the Yala National Park, Wild Coast Tented Lodge offers a truly unforgettable experience, as well as luxury and adventure. Feel at home in the wild, staying in unique structures that blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Furthermore, enjoy drinks and indulge in delicious cuisine in the breathtaking structure home to the Ten Tuskers bar and dining pavilion. Retreat after dinner to your secluded tented room. Spend the following days exploring the beauty of the Sri Lankan environment. Whether you choose to venturing out on a game drive or diving into the world around you in the naturalist library, there is no better place to discover the wilds of Sri Lanka…

Cape Weligama

Towering above it all, Cape Weligama sits atop a jutting promontory overlooking the Indian Ocean. The camp sprawls across 12 acres of tropical gardens and is also just 30 minutes outside Galle. This luxurious beachside accommodation is home to 39 private retreats, as well as breathtaking panoramas. Enjoy bespoke experiences such as clifftop dining and bike rides in the countryside. Alterntatively, spend the afternoon relaxing in the most luxuriously appointed villas and suites. With manicured gardens and an infinity pool blending seamlessly into the horizon, this truly is a piece of heaven on Earth…