SOSSUSVLEI DUNE ADVENTURE
Experience one of the world's most dramatic desert landscapes in luxury by joining a game drive, stargazing in an observatory, brunching on the high dunes, and zipping about on a quad bike.
Day 1 - Thursday, February 12, 2015
After disembarking from the ship in Walvis Bay, you transfer to the Walvis Bay Airport for a charter flight to Sossusvlei. Upon landing, you will transfer in a 4-wheel-drive open-air vehicle to the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.
Nestled deep in the heart of Namibia's hauntingly beautiful Namib Desert in Southern Africa, the secluded lodge is a serene oasis that overlooks awe-inspiring dunes and stony outcrops. The area's tranquility and extraordinary clarity of light make it one of Africa's most compelling landscapes.
After checking into a luxurious private suite with a skylight over the bed for stargazing, you will then embark on an afternoon game drive accompanied by an expert guide. Driving along in an open-air vehicle ideally suited for viewing, you will look for indigenous desert wildlife.
You may spot the iconic oryx, an antelope with bold black and white facial markings and sweeping horns. The desert is also home to mountain zebra, cheetah, baboon, springbok, Cape fox and ostrich. There is no telling what you will encounter or see, as you explore the fascinating and varied terrain.
Later, you will dine on delectable African cuisine and then head for the lodge's observatory, which houses the most powerful electronic telescope in Namibia outside the National Observatory. The crisp, dry desert air provides unrivalled opportunities to be mesmerized by the Milky Way, when the weather permits. To help you get the most out of your viewing, knowledgeable field guides will point out the highlights in the southern skies while elaborating on the cosmos.
Afterwards, you will retire to your suite for the evening.
Day 2 - Friday, February 13, 2015
Your adventure begins in the coolness of the early morning, as you board a 4-wheel-drive open-air vehicle and set out to explore the Sossusvlei Desert Mountains. The orange sand dune belts of the NamibRand Nature Reserve are magnificent and among the world's highest, offering an incredibly panoramic view of the serene desert below.
Here, in this rare dramatic setting, you will enjoy brunch, followed by a visit to the Dead Vlei, which is Afrikaans for "dead marsh." Once irrigated by a river, which dried up about 900 years ago, this part of the desert is so dry that the trees not only died, they turned black in the intense sunlight. Yet, they still stand as eerie monuments to the harsh climate as it's too arid for them to decompose.
By the late morning, you will return to the lodge and settle in to enjoy several hours of free time. Afterwards, you can participate in an activity such as a dune walk, during which you might see a yellow-flowered quiver tree and animals resting in cool burrows. It's also possible to arrange an expedition to the nearby San cave to see the ancient paintings on the cave walls. Or you might ride a four-wheel quad bike along the desert trails, accompanied by an expert guide.
Come evening, you'll enjoy dinner before retiring to your suite, where you might stargaze in private through the skylight above the bed.
Day 3 - Saturday, February 14, 2015
While most of the day while be spent traveling back to the ship, you will have time for an optional game activity in the morning. Afterwards, you will transfer to the airstrip for your charter flight to Walvis Bay and then connect with your scheduled flight to the Cape Town International Airport. From there, you will transfer to Cape Town harbor and re-join your cruise ship.
Overland Program Step by Step: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The indicated times are approximate, provided here only for general reference and are subject to change.
TBA Depart Walvis Bay Harbor and transfer to Walvis Bay Airport
TBA Charter flight from Walvis Bay to Sossusvlei.
TBA Arrive at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge and check-in
3:30pm Afternoon tea
4:00pm Afternoon game drive
6:30pm Sundowner drinks
7:30pm Dinner and stargazing
Overnight at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
5:00am Early-morning wake-up call
5:30am Sossusvlei desert excursion
11:30am Return to the lodge
12:00pm Free time
3:30pm Afternoon tea
4:00pm Afternoon game activity
6:30pm Sundowner drinks
7:30pm Dinner and optional stargazing
AM Leisurely morning with an optional game activity, followed by breakfast
TBA Check out
TBA Transfer to the airstrip for the charter flight to Walvis Bay
TBA Flight from Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay
12:00pm Arrive at Walvis Bay Airport
2:00pm Fly from Walvis Bay to Cape Town
4:00pm Arrive in Cape Town
5:00pm Transfer to Cape Town harbor and re-join the ship
Note: Flight details are to be announced and are subject to change.
South Africa's seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Midwinter is in June and midsummer in December and January. The climate varies from region to region but is generally mild throughout the year.
At Sossusvlei, the weather in February tends to represent the middle part of the wet season, although in the desert there is only a low chance of occasional overcast skies and light showers. Daytime temperatures should peak around 31°C/88°F, with nights dipping to 16°C/61°F.
What to bring:
Khaki, brown, white and beige-colored clothing. No bright colors. Light cotton tops and cotton trousers and shorts in summer. Safari trousers and warm fleece tops for evenings and cooler days. Swimwear, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, camera, film and batteries (including spare batteries), and personal toiletries.
The monetary unit of South Africa is the Rand, divided into cents and abbreviated as R and c. Notes currently in circulation are to the value or R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins are in denominations of R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, and 5c. All major credit cards are accepted at most establishments, although Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted cards.
South Africa's electrical system is 220/230 volts A/C 50 cycles. Most accommodations have hair dryers and plug adaptors in the bedrooms.
Due to the charter flight on a 12-seat C208 plane (subject to change), luggage weight is restricted to a maximum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) per person, including hand luggage.
**Luggage must be soft-sided.
Weight restriction on charter flight:
Guests cannot weigh more than 100 kilograms (200 pounds) each. Weight restrictions do not allow for guests to compensate their weight with fellow travelling guests.
Documents and visa requirements:
South African Immigrations requires that you have at least two consecutive double-blank pages in your passport, or entry to the country could be denied. Passports should also be valid for more than six months at the time of travel. Please consult your local embassy for all visa requirements pertaining to South Africa.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (suites)
IMPORTANT NOTES, OBSERVATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
"Guests are not permitted to use cellular phones during activities, nor speak loudly or stand up on the game drive vehicles, as it will disturb the animals.
"Smoking is not permitted during the drives.
"It may be difficult for some guests with walking difficulties to get in and out of the open vehicles.
"The roads in the game reserve are gravel. Certain parts of the drive can be bumpy. The program is not recommended for guests with back problems.
"Comfortable clothing, binoculars and a sun hat are strongly recommended.
"For safety reasons, no children under the age of 6 years are allowed on the open vehicles.
"Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.
"Please consult your local embassy for details on the latest visa requirements for Namibia.
"Only one soft-sided bag of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) per person is allowed.
¢2 nights at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge on a fully inclusive basis (accommodation, all meals, local beverages and activities as mentioned above).
¢Transfers in Walvis Bay and Cape Town in luxury touring vehicles with air-conditioning and PA-system.
¢Registered English-speaking driver-guide on transfers
¢One 500-ml (17-ounce) bottle of mineral water per person on transfers
¢Porterage for a maximum of one piece of soft-sided luggage per person
¢Charter flights between Walvis Bay and Sossusvlei
¢Scheduled flight from Walvis Bay to Cape Town
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
¢Meals not listed above
¢Gratuities for drivers, guides and lodge staff
¢All other drinks, including champagne and premium-brand spirits and liquor
¢Personal expenses such as telephone calls, shop purchases and laundry
¢Any other services not mentioned above
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing such as caps, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
$2,999 Per Guest