[meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner]
Our guide /driver* picks us up at our accommodation in Windhoek at about 8h00. An approximately 6 hour drive takes us southwards, mostly over gravel roads and through some scenic landscapes, to the
NamibRand Nature Reserve. Here the adventure begins. Before we start, we sort out our supplies and equipment, which have been brought along by our guide / driver, and distribute everything equally among all hikers. On the first 2 - 3 hours walk we enjoy the savannah-like red dunes landscape interspersed with camel thorn trees in the soft afternoon light. We might come across some oryx, springbok or some of the smaller creatures that call the dunes their home, like e. g. the famous fog-basking Tok Tokkie beetles. Before sunset, we will reach our first overnight spot. For dinner our guide will prepare a hearty hikers’ meal from the supplies we carry along. For most of us, the first night spent out in the desert will be overwhelming and unforgettable. If the sky is clear and moonless, we will quickly understand why NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of the few International Dark Sky Reserves and one of the best places to observe the night sky in the world. We might hear some Barking Geckos, owls or just deafening silence.
Walking time: 2 - 3 hrs; sleeping out in the open in your sleeping bag; no facilities; [LD], drinking water is available in the evening and at the start of the trail
The rising sun awakes us and after a cereal breakfast we start off early. Today, a long walk lies ahead of us: A picturesque mountain scenery accompanies us while we walk over rolling sand dunes, endless gravel plains and along and through dry river beds. First we climb up the “Schafsberg”. This mountain is not high, nevertheless it offers a spectacular view. Then, we cross the gravel plains at the foot of the “Schafsberg” until we reach the gorge of the “Gorrasis Mountain” which will be our way of ascent tomorrow. We climb up the gorge for about 100 metres and, if there is still time, we can explore the surrounding area until darkness falls onto the Namib. Although we are starting to feel like becoming part of the desert, we will realize that our survival depends on the water that has been deposited for us. This will probably heighten our admiration for the plants and animals that dwell here.
Walking time: 6 - 7 hrs, sleeping out in the open in your sleeping bag; no facilities; [BLD], drinking water is available in the evening
With an early breakfast we prepare ourselves for the toughest day of the trail. We continue our climb up the “Gorrasis”. “Gorrasis” means fountain in the local Nama language, and indeed, water is hidden in secret spots on the mountain, often indicated by majestic fig trees. The challenging, trackless way winds itself up for about 450 metres and includes some climbing over and up granite boulders. Flora and fauna change with the terrain. We might be lucky enough to come across a magnificent quiver tree or see a
klipspringer. The 360° view from the top of the mountain is overwhelming, rewarding us for the strenuous ascent. After lunch on a ridge with an amazing view, we embark on the steep descent covered with loose gravel and granite boulders. The terrain allows no incautiousness. Once at the bottom, a two hour walk through the “Horseshoe Wilderness Area” takes us across the dunes until we finally reach our overnight spot for the last night.
Walking time: 6 - 7 hrs; sleeping out in the open in your sleeping bag; no facilities; [BLD], drinking water is available in the evening
The last part of the hike again starts early and leads us through soft vegetated sand dunes, interspersed by camel thorn trees, providing welcome shade for a rest. Back at “Die Duine House” we can enjoy the luxury of a hot shower. A refreshing cold drink will surely be most welcome before we continue our journey to a lodge or guest farm in the Sossusvlei area. There we will have our well-deserved dinner and can enjoy the snuggly comfort of a bed.
Walking time: 2 - 3 hrs, overnight at a lodge or guest farm in the Sossusvlei area; [BLD]
In the early morning we enter the Namib Naukluft Park at Sesriem and drive along the Tsauchab river valley with the Sossusvlei dunes lining up alongside the road. The Sossusvlei, which means “gathering place of water”, is the delta of the Tsauchab River. The giant sand dunes block the course of the river so that it does not reach the ocean, when it flows. You will surely want to climb “Big Daddy”, often called “Crazy Dune” because it is believed only crazy people climb it. We will then visit the Dead Vlei, the old Tsauchab Delta. The unique atmosphere of this place is created by the old trees that died about 800 years ago when the dunes shifted the course of the Tsauchab towards the Sossusvlei. In the afternoon we drive to “Hiker’s Heaven” in the Namib Naukluft Park where we overnight in in our sleeping bags on bunk beds. “Hiker’s Heaven” is an old farmhouse where “wall paintings” tell tales of the adventures of the hikers before us. The farmers, who lived here before the Naukluft became a Park end of the 1960ies, tried to make a living from sheep farming. Once we have settled, we sort out our supplies and equipment again, and distribute everything equally among all hikers. Together with our guide, we will prepare a hearty meal to gain strength for the days lying ahead.
Walking time: 1-2 hrs; [BLD], overnight at Hikers Heaven in your sleeping bag; no facilities (simple shower); drinking water is available in the evening; [BLD]
The trail starts at “Hiker’s Heaven” and except for two fairly steep ascents, the first day’s hike covers easy terrain. Much of the trail’s route follows a zebra path with an easy gradient and we are rewarded with spectacular views of the wide valley some 300m below. The overnight stop, “Putte Shelter” takes its name from the nearby fountain, which is equipped with a hand pump, enabling us to obtain water. About six hours are required to hike today’s 14 km section. If there is still time, those who still have enough energy left can take a short climb to watch the spectacular sunset. Far away from all artificial light, we look into the universe and enjoy our dinner under the stars.
Walking time: 6- 8 hrs; climb 200m, overnight at Putte Shelter in your sleeping bag; no facilities; drinking water is available in the evening; [BLD]
Our second day’s hike mainly traverses the undulating plateau and once again it takes about six hours to complete the 15km stretch. About three hours after setting off, we reach “Bergpos”, where we start descending the spectacular “Ubusis Kloof” (gorge). Steep cliffs on either side, we have lunch at a rock pool with cold, crystal clear water, shaded by fig trees. After lunch we tackle the steepest parts of the descent with the aid of chains that have been anchored into the rock at critical points for safety. This descent down the gorge is difficult and not hazard-free, but a true adventure. When the gorge widens again, we are welcomed by groves of playfully growing fig trees. In the late afternoon, we reach “Ubusis Hut”, which used to be a holiday cottage before the land was acquired for the park.
Walking time: 7- 9 hrs; climb 120m, drop 400m; Overnight at Ubusis Hut in your sleeping bag; no facilities; drinking water is available in the evening; [BLD]
Our day starts with backtracking to Bergpos - all the exhausting way up again, followed by an easy route across the plateau to the “Adlerhorst Shelter”. We might be lucky enough to see Hartmann’s mountain zebra, oryx or kudu, which are often spotted in the area. We cover about 12 km which will take us 4 to 6 hours. There is a possibility to watch the sunset over the desert at approximately an hour’s walk from the shelter. The hiker’s meal our guide prepares from the supplies we carry along will appear to us like a first class dinner after the exhaustions of the day.
Walking time: 6- 7 hrs; climb 300m, drop 100m; Overnight at Adlerhorst Shelter in your sleeping bag; no facilities; drinking water is available in the evening; [BLD]
Today’s route is about 23 km long and therefore requires an early start. We walk along the plateau until we meet the “Waterkloof Trail” which will lead us back to “Hiker’s Heaven”. Following a usually dry river bed we will meet the route of the old German cannon road. We climb up and then meet the Naukluft River until the trail turns, leading us back to Hiker’s Heaven. From there we travel by vehicle to a nearby lodge or guest farm where nice shower and a snuggly bed are waiting for us.
Walking time: 8 - 10 hrs; climb 150m, drop 350m, overnight at a guest farm in the area; drinking water is available in the evening;[BLD]
After breakfast we are back on the road heading back to Windhoek, where our adventure comes to an end. If everything goes as planned we are in Windhoek in the afternoon.
Once the hiking trails are started, pulling out is difficult.
In case of emergency, rescue may be difficult (there is no mountain rescue service). Therefore, hikers must present a medical certificate no older than 40 days, complete an indemnity form and to take out medical and medical evacuation insurance with sufficient cover.
This tour poses special challenges to the fitness of the guests. As an indication, the Desert Experience Trail can be rated medium, the Naukluft Mountain Trek as medium to difficult. Surefootedness is essential and hikers must have not fear of heights!
Please note that there are no marked routes or tracks, apart from some occasional wildlife trails. Led by your guide, you will find your own way through the terrain, sand, loose gravel, rocks or boulders.
Extreme weather, such as flash floods, stormy winds, cold and rain occasionally can occur during the hiking season. Please note that the temperatures can be extreme. The Naukluft and the Namib are known for their heat but also icy cold. Please see the section on climate and our indemnity policy.
Due to limited availability bookings must be made in time.
There is limited privacy. During the hiking tours guests sleep in the open or in shared shelters. Rooms at the lodge/ guests farm might have to be shared with another same gender guest.
In the Naukluft the accommodation at the overnight stops consists of very basic shelters and huts, which are not cleaned regularly. If facilities are provided, they are very basic. On the Desert Experience Trail, we sleep in the open without facilities.
Especially after the rainy season, but also later, bees, red wasps (and other stinging insects) and flies might occur. It might be that we find them in the huts or under rocks. Especially, if you are sensitive to stings you might take this into consideration.
This tour can offer you unforgettable experiences but in order to enjoy it, you must love nature and
being outdoors without any comforts. It goes without saying that team spirit and being prepared to help
where needed are essential for the success of the tour.
Hiking with us means to be accompanied by a guide with all details of the hike being organized by us.
You can just focus on your hiking experience in Namibia’s south.
* A driver might bring you to the meeting point with your guide and back to Windhoek after the trail.