“Two weeks in Namibia, fully guided and staying in either lodges or campsites. The choice is yours. No matter where you wake up, it will blow your socks off.”

Highlights

Windhoek | Namib Desert | Sossusvlei | Swakopmund | Etosha National Park | Waterberg Plateau | Africat Foundation

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18 Dec 2016
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05 Feb 2017
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19 Mar 2017
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09 Apr 2017
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18 Mar 2018
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08 Apr 2018
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15 Apr 2018
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10 Jun 2018
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15 Jul 2018
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05 Aug 2018
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12 Aug 2018
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02 Sep 2018
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16 Sep 2018
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30 Sep 2018
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14 Oct 2018
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28 Oct 2018
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11 Nov 2018
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16 Dec 2018
US $ 2235
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Vacation type

Small group vacation

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.

Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Namibia safari

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
For lodge departures, we spend 12 nights in lodges, chalets or hotels. For camping departures, we spend 9 nights full-service camping and 3 nights in guesthouses. All of the accommodation we use is locally staffed and local produce and supplies are used, which benefits the wider community. Energy saving bulbs and water conservation signs are common in our permanent accommodations, whilst camping is a great way to reduce environmental impact in itself. We are careful with managing waste, litter and noise pollution. Meals will generally consist of fresh fruit, cold cheese and meat, bread rolls and more traditional dishes like Potjie (Stew) or Braai (BBQ). Where meals are not provided, we encourage clients to support local restaurants. In Windhoek, clients can even try local game meat varieties such as Oryx, Zebra and Crocodile!

Activity:
During wildlife safaris and game drives we behave responsibly with any wildlife we may come into contact with and this is reinforced by our staff and by an environmental code of conduct which is posted in every vehicle we use. Twenty-five percent of all park entrance fees paid is reinvested by the MET (Ministry of Environmental and Tourism) through the Game Products Trust Fund into essential infrastructure and services related to tourism in Namibia’s parks. So by running our game drives in Etosha National Park, we are contributing to local community initiatives and helping to fund the protection of the wide range of species which live there. Our optional activities on day 6 (deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, sand-boarding, quad-biking etc.) are also run by local businesses, so we encourage people to go on these excursions.

Conservation:
We stop at the headquarters of the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Otjiwarongo. The centre is a renowned research facility and home to leading conservation studies for the species. The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth, but also the most endangered big cat in Africa. You will have the chance to meet the animals that cannot be released back into the wild, as well as visiting the education centre and museum. By buying souvenirs and donating here, we are contributing to this impressive initiative.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

Community

A Fair Deal:
Our tour operators are 100% African owned and each member of staff has a huge passion and knowledge of Namibia. This is not only beneficial for our clients, who get real insider’s knowledge on our tours, but this benefits the economy by creating local jobs and ensuring that all income stays within Southern Africa. Our local employees are trained on responsible tourism issues and are given refresher courses regularly. When visiting places like Etosha, the Petrified Forest and the Twyfelfontein rock paintings, we employ an experienced guide from that area which helps surrounding communities benefit directly from our tours.

Local Craft and Culture:
We visit Swakopmund, which is a small German colonial resort town with quaint cake shops and coffee houses and a centre for adrenaline activities. This is a great chance to explore local businesses and learn about Namibian culture on an optional township tour. Clients can support the local economy by buying beer brewed in the area or – if you’re feeling brave- trying a regional specialty like Mowpane worms. There are also plenty of craft markets in Swakopmund, as well as on route to Etosha, selling wooden carvings, jewellery and material Herero dolls.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

Reviews of Namibia safari

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 16 Dec 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing a leopard "in the wild" for the first time. I have been trying for over 35 years! The group, including the tour guide and camp assistants, became like a family. The guys were magnificent, always having our interests and comfort in mind, sometimes in the most adverse conditions.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for the cold and the wind in the desert.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes I did.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


In the top three of the vacations I have been on.

Reviewed on 10 Dec 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The leader - Obi - knew his stuff. He could answer most questions so that we came away with a greatly enriched knowledge of wildlife & the country. He also had very sharp eyes. Wildlife is always a problem because there is no guarantee that the animals will turn up. However, Obi was constantly pointing out animals that I would have missed. The most memorable part of the vacation was spotting the leopard. We would have missed it & driven on, but the leaders saw it & we went back. We had to be patient because the leopard hid in a culvert, but eventually came out. Another tour group got inpatient & left without seeing it.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Not much because the trip notes covered most things. The only minor quibble is that during the last day we were supposed to stop at Okahandja for 2 hours to see the craft market. None of us were interested so Obi agreed to push on to Windhoek instead. Future travelers could be forewarned about this so they could choose to go to the craft markets, or somewhere en route instead.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I think so, we were able to tip individual guides etc & we were able to give a tip to the crew.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent!!!

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