- Track and monitor cheetahs, leopards, and rhinos with researchers
- Set out on safari in Etosha National Park
- Get to know the Bushmen and their traditions
- Go sandboarding on the dunes of the Namib Desert
Wildlife biologist and National Geographic grantee Florian Weise will join this trip.
Itinerary 21 Days
The landscapes of Namibia are stunning, stark, and home to a wealth of desert-adapted wildlife that National Geographic scientists are hard at work protecting. Work with National Geographic grantees in the field on two important conservation projects that are part of the Society’s Big Cats Initiative; and participate in rhino protection efforts. Along the way, encounter elephants, giraffes, and oryx on safari; go whale-watching on Walvis Bay; and climb the dunes of the Namib Desert, the oldest in the world.
Windhoek and N/a’an Ku Sê
7 days. Our expedition begins in the capital city of Windhoek, located at Namibia’s geographic center. Visit Christuskirche and Heinitzburg castle, remnants of the German colonial era, and meet with local conservationists to discuss their efforts to integrate conservation and sustainable development in rural Namibia.
Get settled at the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre, where National Geographic grantee and lead researcher Florian Weise has developed an innovative approach to protecting predators while reducing attacks on local livestock. With Florian’s guidance, learn about the use of GPS and Google Earth to track leopards and cheetahs, and head into the field with local researchers on game counts, collar-tracking exercises, or to set up camera traps at watering holes. Help prepare meals for animals at the rehabilitation center, and spend a day at a preschool running an environmental education camp.
Swakopmund, Namib Desert, and Damaraland
6 days. Our next base is the seaside city of Swakopmund, a lively hub of surfers and adventure-seekers. Visit Cape Cross to observe a vast breeding colony of some 100,000 Cape fur seals. Venture into the Namib Desert to learn about its unique ecology and the animals that have adapted to its harsh conditions, and take in the sunset on the dunes. Try your hand at sandboarding - a popular adventure sport on Namibia's dunes. Then go on a whalewatching cruise on Walvis Bay and keep an eye out for turtles, seals, sunfish, and penguins too.
Journey into Damaraland, where the stark desert is dotted with unusually succulent plants fed by Atlantic mists. Here, we’ll visit a Save the Rhino Trust base camp on the banks of the Ugab River. The Trust collaborates with local communities to protect the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Meet with senior researchers and set out on patrol with trackers to search for rhinos.
Etosha National Park and Grootfontein
5 days. April to October is Namibia’s dry season, when herds of plains game flock to the waterholes of Etosha National Park, and their predators– lions, leopards, and cheetahs—are close behind. Enjoy three days on safari here, looking for big cats, giraffes, oryx, the rare black-faced impala, and endemic birds like the bare-cheeked babbler. Stop at waterholes to observe flocks of flamingos, zebras at the water’s edge, and elephants splashing in the shallows.
Then travel to Grootfontein and encounter a fascinating culture on a visit with the San Bushmen. Learn how these hunter-gatherers survive in the desert and discuss the challenges they face as the modern world encroaches on their traditional lifestyle.