A Namibia Family Safari Holiday

A North London family's self-drive safari through Namibia


A Namibia Family Safari Holiday

A North London family recently did a wonderful Namibia family safari with Coral Tree. Below is a first person account of their trip. 

Our family safari in Namibia was a wild adventure filled with unexpected encounters and memorable moments. From traversing the never-ending expanses of the Namib to the spectacular wildlife of Etosha, the trip is sure to be one we’ll never forget. 

Arriving in Windhoek

Beginning our journey in vibrant Windhoek, we were swiftly met by a local representative who acquainted us with the local area and accompanied us to the Windhoek Luxury Suites. After the long journey a bit of rest and relaxation by the wood-decked pool was a welcome treat, and we ended the day with a delicious dinner at the nearby Stellenbosch Wine Bar. Feeling relaxed and recovered, we were ready to embark on our self-drive adventure through Namibia

The Open Road and Sunrise Balloon Adventures

O'Sullivan Namibia Safari Holiday

Departing Windhoek with nothing but endless gravel roads in front of you is both a liberating and unnerving experience but we were soon distracted by the spectacular scenery of the Spreetshoogte Pass, regularly stopping to take some pictures. 

Pulling into Namib Outpost in the early evening, we were greeted by refreshing cold towels as well as comfortable lodge rooms overlooking the desert and wandering wildlife.  The rooms even had sun loungers where you could top up your tan if you so wished!

After an early start, we set off for our exciting morning at Namib Sky. Enjoying coffee, cake and ginger shots as the balloons were assembled, we took off just as the spectacular sunrise peeked over the desert. Flying as a pair means that we got some beautiful shots of the sunrise, the other balloon, the landscape and the animals.

We floated over the mountains and after a breathtaking flight, we were indulged with a delicious champagne breakfast in the middle of the Namib Desert – a real highlight of our adventure!

The following morning, we got up early and our personal guide collected us at the lodge for our excursion to the world-famous Sossusvlei. We visited some of the smaller dunes, learning about the unique geology of the area, before tackling the ginormous Big Daddy dune – one of the largest dunes in the world. After a visit to the small circular valley called Deadvlei, with its spectacular remains of petrified ancient trees, we left Sossusvlei for the next stop on our trip – the unique imperial outpost of Swakopmund

Seaside Adventures in Swakopmund

O'Sullivan Namibia Safari Holiday

After a well-deserved night’s sleep at our sprawling ground-floor apartment on the Atlantic promenade, our adventure continued and we made our way to nearby Walvis Bay – literally translated as ‘Whale Bay’. 

Out on the water in a majestic catamaran, the crew worked their magic, coaxing three playful seals onto the boat. My wife and daughter have both always loved seals, and therefore were thrilled when they got the chance to interact firsthand. And the bay soon lived up to its name with a surprise appearance by a Humpback Whale, making the cruise a truly immersive wildlife experience, perfectly capped off with the simple luxury of champagne and oysters. 

To experience the true range that Swakopmund has to offer, we soon departed with our personal guide for a thrilling quad bike tour through the desert. Fun became an understatement as even my initially hesitant wife couldn’t resist the allure of the dunes. Our guide, a veritable desert whisperer, really went the extra mile, uncovering tiny wonders like a Lizard and a Sidewinder Snake. The windy day, while keeping many creatures in hiding, added an ethereal touch to the landscape, with waves of sand cascading over each dune, creating a mesmerising scene we won’t soon forget. 

The Ancient Treasures of the Damaraland

O'Sullivan Namibia Safari Holiday

Our journey through Namibia continued with a drive to Mowani Mountain Camp, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the rugged Damaraland. Eager to make the most of our stay, we arrived early, ensuring we had ample time to settle in and savour a refreshing drink while witnessing the breathtaking sunset from the camp’s panoramic viewpoint.

The impressive rooms perched on the mountainside simply blew us away, each featuring a balcony that overlooked the vast plains below. Our daughter even got upgraded to a mini suite in order to be closer to our lodge, and was thrilled with her private pool and outside chill out areas. Little did we know that this upgrade would also introduce us to the delightful world of rock dassies, who seemingly adored the mini-suite surroundings, much to our daughter’s delight.

The following morning brought an exciting wildlife excursion as we embarked on a guided drive with a knowledgeable local guide. After an hour of anticipation, our efforts were rewarded with a majestic sighting of a family of desert elephants, a truly awe-inspiring moment. Our journey continued to the De Riet village, offering us the chance to connect with the local community, purchase exquisite handmade jewellery, and gain insight into their way of life.

In the afternoon, our exploration led us to ancient rock carvings of Twyfelfontein, a Namibian treasure that, despite the challenging hike in scorching 30-degree heat, is well worth the effort.

Wildlife Wonders, Salt Pans, and Luxurious Retreats

O'Sullivan Namibia Safari

Our time in Etosha National Park was a wildlife spectacle. With the basic charm of Okaukuejo Rest Camp, our chalet balcony offered a front-row seat to elephants, giraffes, and black rhinos drinking at the nearby waterhole. The sunset with the animals’ reflections in the water was truly breathtaking.

Armed with a map marked with waterholes recommended to us, we explored Etosha freely, encountering elephants and zebras by the roadside. It was a truly novel experience to be allowed to drive through a National Park full of huge wild animals without a Ranger with us. And making time to visit the vast Etosha salt pan was a surreal experience that really added to the day, something we’d highly recommend to others. 

That evening we retreated to Onguma Bush Camp, a luxurious camp that really elevated our experience. Dining with a view of the waterhole, we marvelled at the animals gracefully passing by, treating us to a spectacular sunset. 

The following day, an experienced guide took us back into the Eastern side of Etosha, where rare sightings awaited. From a hyena near the park entrance to two cheetah brothers sunbathing on termite mounds, each moment unfolded like a scene from a wildlife documentary.

Conservation Oasis: Okonjima and Africats

O'Sullivan Namibia Safari Holiday

Our family’s trip through Namibia was an incredible adventure, brimming with unforgettable moments. And the thoughtfully organised and curated experiences crafted by Mike and the Coral Tree team definitely ensured that this was the family trip of a lifetime. 

As we reflect on the experience, we are sure that we have created family memories that will stick with us forever and we look forward to planning our next adventure!

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Author: Mike
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