Africa Safari -- Namibia 2024

We first visited Africa in 2008 for our one and only African Safari. It was obvious from the start that we loved it too much not to return, and return we did. Our 2024 African Safari is our 25th African trip and believe it our not they keep getting better year after year.

Our Safari truck rental company for this milestone year is a company we first found/used in 2020. Safari Car Rental keeps getting better and better every year too. So we are proud to say we are a repeat customers for the 4th time. Without fail they meet us at the airport upon arrival and drive us the short distance to their location. The Safari Car lot is just a few kilometer down the B6, about half way to Windhoek.

Route of Safari

Day #1=>Depart SFO, on British Airways for a over-night (red-eye) to London's Heathrow Airport. Over the years we have used many different airlines (United, KLM, Qatar, South African, BA, etc) for our trip to and from Africa. Our favorite is BA which has a lot to do with how their staff treats the passengers. The other airlines we have used are not bad they just are not as consistantly good as BA. Unfortunately complication from COVID has made it impossible for us to use BA since 2020. So we are excited to returning to BA on this trip and hoping that the COVID years did not impact the quality of their service (fingers crossed).

Day #2=>We touch down the morning of day#2 where we have a multi-hour layover before boarding another red-eye/non-stop to Johannesburg, South Africa. For us Heathrow has been a very comfortable airport when long layovers are required. We have learned from experience some airplanes have better seat/storage space than others. So when we have the choice of multi-flights (normal for Heathow to Johannesburg) then we alter our flight time accordingly, which may mean an even longer layover. But when getting on your 2nd red-eye in two days comfort is priority #1.

Day #3=>Arrival at Johannesburg is mid-morning. Our prior norm when flying BA was to wait for the next Air-Link flight to Windhoek. But then COVID happened which required that you use United for a few years. United had its pros and cons. United's route required a stop on the east coast which we are not a fan of after being impacted by east coast weather in prior years. But the good part is after leaving the east coast it is one flight (red-eye) to Johannesburg. The one eye-red is definately better than the two on BA but United should really take lessons from BA on how to treat their passengers. The timing of the United flight into Johannesburg meant we could check into airport lodging for some quality sleep before taking our Windhoek flight. So now that we are back to BA we have decided to continue using airport lodging in Johannesburg. Which means today after clearing passport control we will walk through the airport to City Lodge. The food at City Lodge is very good despite the fact that any food would be good after two days of airplane food.

Our African Safaris are normally split into three segments: 1) days before the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 2) days in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and 3) days after the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The map to the right shows our route after picking up our Safari Car truck. The locations of the lodges we will visit on the 1st segment of this trip are labeled with letters that will be referred by the following day by day itinerary. The letter "D" on this map represents all our lodges for the 2nd segment of this trip which are in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is actually in South Africa and Botwanna, the straight black border line with a star pointer is the Namibian border. The non-straight black line that runs through the "D" pointer is the South Africa and Botswana border. During our days in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we will alternate between being in South Africa or Botswana. However all of our lodges inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are in and operated by South Africa, thus we will technically only be in the west side of the Kgalagadi park.

Day #4 and #5=>Our 3rd and final flight is to Windoek, Namibia. Upon arrival in Windhoek we will be picked up by a representative of Safari Car Rental for the short drive to their location. After the rental check-out we will immediately head back toward the airport on the B6. Long before the airport is the C23, a shortcut gravel route to the Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge, point "A" on out route map. This will be our 3rd time to stay at this lodge. Their chalets are big with a/c and a stocked frig and their food is very good. This is a great place to catch our breathe after our flights from SF.

Kitchen-51 Kitchen-51 Day #6=>After a couple days to re-coup, we need to get ready for our Kalahari days. Since COVID we have found the city of Upington (in northern South Africa) to be an excellent location to acquire the provisions we will need. Although it is possible to drive to Upington in a day we prefer to break it up over two days. So today we are going about half the distance to lodge outside of Keetmanshoop. This will be the first time staying at Kitchen-51 Lodge, point "B" on our route map. We saw this lodge for the first time in 2023 when we were doing this exact drive.

River Manor Lodge River Manor Deck Day #7, #8 and #9=>Our Upington lodge is a favorite we have used on many trips, River Place Manor Lodge; point "C" on our route map. This lodge is on the Orange River, home to Orange River Winery (renamed the Hedgehog Winery). For dinner at this lodge we have the choice of going down to their restaurant or having them server dinner on our private deck. A third option is to prepare our own using their BBQ on the lawn just outside our room. Another option is to drive a mile or so to the Kalahari Mall and get take-out. We plan to spend three nights at this lodge to have time to get all the supplies we will need for our 26 days in the Kalahari.

Day #10 thru #35=>The next 26 days will be in the Kalahari referenced as point "D" on our route map. Accommodations in the Kalahari are mostly government run(South Africa National Parks) which typically means not fancy. The location is everything and thus these are some of the hardest reservations to get in our entire trip. The Kalahari is the best place in the world to see cheetah and leopard hunting and the big black main lions. Camps in the Kalahari are UNFENCED, thus accommodations are either raised or have some fencing around each unit. During our days in the Kalahari we will utilize a number of lodges which are detailed below.

Kieliekrankie Deck Kieliekrankie Room Day #10 thru #15=>Our first Kalahari lodge is our favorite, Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp. Kieliekrankie is a self catering wilderness camp on top of red sand dunes, with endless views of the red Kalahari sands. The camp has 5 dune cabins. Each unit has 2 single beds, a bathroom, a kitchen equipped with gas fridge and freezer, solar power for lights, gas for hot water and bbq facilities on a deck.

Grootkolk Room Grootkolk Lion Day #16 and #17=> Our 2nd Kalahari Lodge is the first in the Nossob river basin Grootkolk Wilderness Restcamp. Grootkolk Camp consists of only four chalets or Desert Cabins, made from canvas and sand bags. This camp is neither fenced nor raised and lions love it. Claw mark in the sand bags reminds you to ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings.

Nossob Chalet Nossob Chalet Nossob Chalet Day #18, #19 and #20=>Our next lodge in the Nosob river bed, is the Nossob Rest Camp. We have never been very successful at animal viewing in the Nossob river basin but hoping our luck will change this trip. We love to come here because the River Chalets are so nice and they have a/c, a great kitchen and deck for animal watching.

Urikaruus Honeymoon Urikaruus Room Day #21 thru #26=>Our next Kalahari lodge is another one of our favorites Urikaruus Wilderness Camp. We were able to book the honeymoon chalet this year. Just like Kieliekrankie, it is located in the central Auob river basin area and only has 5 chalets. Besides its location, Urikaruus has one of the best waterholes in the Kalahari which is exclusive only for Urikaruus guests. The camp is centrally located in one of the best animal activity areas.

Kieliekrankie Deck Kieliekrankie Room Day #27 thru #32=>Then another 6 night visit back at Kieliekrankie Wilderness Camp.

Twee Rivieren Grounds Twee Rivieren Rooms Day #33, #34 and #35=>Our next Kalahari lodge is the largest Kalahari camp located at the southern gate, Twee Rivieren Rest Camp. This camp is the administrative headquarters of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park and has a restaurant. From Twee Rivieren camp you have a choice of doing a safari drive up the Nossob river bed or the Auob river bed.

Route of Safari Alte Kalkoefen Day #36 and #37=>After our Kalahari days are over we will exit the park through the southern gate and then head straight west for the Namibian border, as the route map to the right shows. Following the route map we are leaving point "D" and proceeding to a new lodge for us, Alte Kalkoefen Lodge, point "E".

Kairos Cottages Kairos Room Day #38 and #39=>Our next lodge is in the city of Luderitz, which is right on the Altantic Ocean. We are staying at a lodge we used in 2018 the Kairos Cottages, point "F" on route map above. Kairos Cottage is a unique bed and breakfast accommodation boasting stunning sea views and a lovely breakfast. While in Luderitz we plan to visit Kolmanskop a ghost town that was one of the richest towns in Africa in 1910.

Eagle's Nest Chalet View from Eagle's Nest Day #40 and #41=>Our next lodge is an old favorite of ours Eagle's Nest Chalets, point "G" on route map above. It has forever landscapes, solitude, silence and sunsets. Eagle Nest is a self-catering getaway with eight individually-built rock chalets.

Kronenhof Kronenhof Day #42 and #43=>Our next lodge is another new one, Kronenhof Lodge, point "H" on route map above. We have booked their "Mountain View Villa" which has 4 bedrooms, a private indoor pool, a full kitchen, braii, pizza oven, and more. It sounds like it could be a do-over kind of lodge.

Dead Valley Dead Valley Day #44 and #45=>Dead Valley Lodge will be our next stop, point "I" on route map above. This lodge has 20 chalets each with a panoramic view of the Namib Desert with towereing red sand dumes and rugged mountain ranges. This lodge is located inside Sossusvlei Dunes Park and thus has early access.

Rostock Ritz Rostock Ritz Day #46 and #47=>Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge is our next stop, point "J" on route map above. We have driven by this lodge many times and always wanted to stay here. This lodge has 19 chalets and includes breakfast and dinners. Like most lodges in the area this lodge also has stunning views of the Namib desert.

River Crossing Dining River Crossing View Day #48=>Our last lodge is just outside Windhoek the River Crossing Lodge, point "K" on route map(DBB). This lodge is conveniently located on the east side of Windhoek on the B6, same as the airport.

Day #49=>After breakfast and checking out we have a short drive back to "Safari Car Rental" where they will shuttle us to the airport to catch our flight to Cape Town, South Africa. This year Cape Town is where our annual Namibian trip will end. After collecting our luggage we will locate our transfer to our Cape Town lodging to begin our WineMaker Magazine Wine & Safari Tasting Vacation.