Wild Namibia

£500.00£1,295.00

8 days (in-country)
Namibia
Medium
Desert travel skills, Tracking
12

The aim of the trip is for you to ‘go bush’ with as little western cushioning as possible, to walk, track, trap and hunt every day – learning expedition skills, field-craft and gaining the knowledge to travel safely in the veldt. This expedition focuses on traveling light-weight and living simply in the desert; using a blend of primitive skills, modern know-how and traditional bushman skills.

You will be spending everyday exploring, walking and living in the bush with the masters of this environment – the Bushmen.

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Description

Expedition Dates: 19th-27th October 2019

  • Depart London on the Fri 18th to arrive in Windhoek the following afternoon on the Sat 19th
  • Departing Windhoek on the afternoon of Saturday the 26th, to arrive in London on the morning of Sunday the 27th)

 

Duration: 8 Days (in country)

Group Size: 12 Max (+ 2 Leaders / Medics)

Accommodation:

  • 6 nights under stars
  • 1 night guesthouse

 

Climate: Hot and sunny

  • Day-time temperature approximately: 30° C
  • Night-time temperature approximately: 15° 

 

Price (exc. Flights):

  • Deposit: £500
  • Balance: £795
  • Total Cost: £1295

 

Your adventure will take place in the rugged Erongo Mountains, a wild and rocky landscape of steep escarpments looking out over the vast wilderness of the Namib Desert. A true truly ancient wilderness, made up of volcanic granite and basalts and slowly eroded for 130 million years, the Erongo Mountains are truly stunning. Small kopjes rise from the sand floor, covered in cliffs, boulders and slab rocks.

Here you will learn the art of light-weight desert travel and how to move safely and easily through the African bush. Trekking with a few essentials, you will learn desert survival skills, like how to find water in this parched landscape, light fires by friction, learn to trap small mammals and birds, how to process large game, as well as the art of tracking and protocols for wildlife encounters, and we will trek to undiscovered ancient Bushman rock art sites, far from the tourist trail, that few people have ever seen. 

The volcanic basin is packed with indigenous wildlife, from tiny dik-dik and klipspringer to hyena and leopard, to larger antelope like oryx and kudu, and the giants of the continent, the wild desert elephants. This is not a trip for the faint hearted! You will learn how deal with snake encounters, avoid scorpions, how to stay safe in big cat country and a myriad of other skills that enable life in the veldt.

This expedition is a hands-on, desert survival skills training course and you will be expected to hike, build, carry, gather, trap, dig and cook.

“Tracking is like dancing, because your body is happy. It is telling you the hunting will be good. You feel it in the dance. It tells you. When you are tracking, and dancing, you are talking with God.” – !Nqate Xqamxebe (a persistence hunter featured in the documentary film The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story)

Very few people get to experience the veldt in this way, so don’t be surprised when you fall in love with the desert – bewitched by her brooding tawny landscapes, the gentle peoples and her incredible wildlife.

Note: please do not book your flight until you have confirmed your place on the course with us and made email contact first – this trip will need a minimum number to run.

Highlights

  • Lightweight travel
  • Natural hazards
  • Wildlife hazards
  • Desert camping
  • Desert survival skills
  • Friction fire lighting
  • Natural cordage
  • San Bushman art
  • Game observation
  • Tracking skills
  • Hunting techniques
  • Trapping skills
  • Procuring water
  • Game processing
  • Making biltong
  • Security on steep ground
  • South African abseil

Inclusions

Included

  • Two Wild Human Expedition Leaders.
  • All food (snacks and meals) and soft drinks.
  • Internal transport as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special in-country permits and permissions.

Not included

  • International flights/ travel.
  • Travel insurance (obligatory).
  • Alcohol (Due to the remote nature of this Expedition no alcohol will be taken into the bush)
  • Personal equipment (full kit list in the Notes Section).

General Information

We will aim to cover the following:

Emergency Field Communications: Satellite phone numbers to be released at a later date

Personal Communications: If you have an international roaming agreement for your mobile phone, we have no objections to you using it on expedition, it is unlikely you will receive a signal in the bush.

Recommended vaccinations for Namibia: It is worth seeking medical advice at least a month and a half before travelling to Namibia, as some of the recommended immunisations require a course of injections, and some should not be given at the same time. If you suffer from any allergies, be sure to inform the medical staff before having any vaccinations.

All travellers should ensure that they have completed their British vaccination schedule and boosters – see www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

Medical support network: Expedition first-aid will be provided by the Wild Human team, who have been trained as Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians and hold the ‘Advanced Medicine for Remote Foreign Travel’ by Wilderness Medical Training. They also hold HSE recognised first aid certificates.

Through out the expedition we will have a reliable communications system and will be in reasonable proximity to medical care, never being more than six hours drive from Grootfontein’s private hospital.

Insurance: You must have robust medical travel insurance something like –http://www.voyagerinsurance.com/high-risk-voyager/ 

Travel documents and visas: You will require a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your intended departure date, to be granted entry into Namibia.

Nationals from all EU countries, USA and New Zealand do not need to arrange visas in advance to visit Namibia. You will be granted an initial 90 days visa stamp on entry to Namibia, free of charge.

Please note: It is advisable to make copies of the relevant pages of your passport, your flight tickets, and your travel insurance policy in case the originals get lost.Keep one set of copies with you, one set in your luggage and leave one set with a friend or family member at home. If possible, scan these documents, and email them to yourself, using an email address with sufficient memory storage (visit www.gmail.com for a free, large storage email account).

 

Physical Conditioning: Pre-expedition physical conditioning cannot lessen the body’s need for water, but the amount of electrolytes lost and the efficiency of the sweating apparatus can be optimised. Prior to the trip we recommend that you begin a light aerobic fitness-training regime, working out at least three times a week. This will greatly improve your enjoyment of the course. If you are in any doubt about your ability to cope with a cardiovascular workout program, please consult your GP.

Personal Equipment:

Rip-stop cotton is ideal due to its evaporative ability, and long- sleeve shirts and trousers made from this material are excellent for desert conditions. Light earth-tone colours should be chosen, to help blend in with the environment, and to provide a degree of solar reflection. A fleece pile jacket or wool sweater is recommended for evenings and a raincoat is advisable.

A rule of thumb is “expose as little skin as possible.” The skin must be protected from heat, ultraviolet rays, insects, and water loss. A hat is an absolute necessity, and should be broad brimmed, to protect the neck and face. A bandana (or buff) soaked in water and placed between the head and the hat, can be useful as it can act as a solar air conditioner.

  • 3-season sleeping bag  – the weather will be about 30C during the day, dropping as low as 5C at night.
  • Rucksack – 60-70 lt. should be fine. Just make sure it is comfortable to walk with.
  • Cut-down cheap foam mat (if using with a thermarest, then just a yoga mat will do, to protect from thorns).
  • Thermarest (optional for comfort – a ¾ length would be best)
  • Head torch and spare batteries
  • Pee bottle (if there are scary things outside at night…we’ll buy some wide mouth coke bottles en-route)
  • Toothbrush and small paste
  • Small pack of wet-wipes
  • Small med kit and personal medication (I can send a suggested contents list if you’d like)
  • NB – there is no need for anti-malarial tablets; it is way too dry where we are going. You’ll see some crazy spiders (Camels and Kalahari-Ferraris) and other stuff, but no bugs.
  • Leather hiking boots, preferably over ankle… think snakes
  • Wool socks x 3 – ideally loop stitch merino
  • Cotton cargo trousers (no zip-offs… they rub) light colour… think thorns and snakes
  • Tough cotton shirt light colour… think thorns
  • Wide brim hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen – P20 works well
  • A large mug (can double as a bowl)
  • Knife / fork / spoon
  • Swiss army knife – for cutting biltong
  • Loud whistle – for geographical embarrassment
  • Compass – for geographical embarrassment
  • 4-liter water bladder (MSR and Ortleib are good)
  • 2 x 1-liter water bottles (At a push can be coke bottle bought in-country)
  • Foil survival blanket
  • 10 mt. Paracord, or similar light cord – for making a solar shelter from the blanket.

 

Optional Extras

  • Camera / phone / battery pack
  • Binoculars
  • Kindle
  • Sheath knife – hopefully we’ll dismantle and eat a small antelope, warthog, porcupine or something similar
  • Folding saw
  • Solar umbrella – Golite used to make a chrome-dome
  • UV torch (key-ring size) for spotting scorpions at night

 

In town –

  • Swimmers and Towel – there is a small pool at Chameleon.
  • Shorts – not for the bush
  • Sandals, light shoes – not for the bush
  • Civvies – travel clothes
  • Wash kit
  • Cash for beers / curios

Background:

San (Bushmen): Southern Africa’s earliest inhabitants were the San, a nomadic people organized in extended family groups who could adapt to even the severest terrain. San communities later came under pressure from Nama groups. The Nama were a tribal people who raised livestock rather than hunted, and who were among the first pottery makers in the archaeological record books. They came from the south, gradually displacing the San, and remained in control of Southern Namibia until around 1500 AD. Descendants of the Nama and San people still live in the country, but few have retained their original lifestyles. The Bushmen make up only 3% of Namibia’s population.

Geography: The volcanic Erongo mountain range rise to 2,320m above sea level. This roughly circular massif dominates the flat plains and is flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and a mixed, woodland savannah to the east.

The mountain is an eroded relic of a volcano that was active some 140-150 million years ago. It collapsed in on its magma chamber, allowing the basin to fill with slow-cooling igneous material. The resulting hard granite-like core, that withstood the erosion, washed away the surrounding rock.

Climate: Predominately a desert region, Namibia has clear and windy weather. The area we will be visiting has a rainy season from October to April. There is an average of 2mm of rain in October at our location and 10 hours of sunlight a day.

Flora: The Eastern area that we shall visit is predominately tree dotted bush- land, grassland and semi-arid scrub savannah.

Fauna: This rare confluence of ecosystems is home to a vast array of plant, reptile, mammal and bird species, and some endemic to Namibia. There will be time set aside for wildlife watching. Wildlife in the Erongo area includes large carnivores, like leopard, caracal, cheetah and hyena and large game species such as giraffe, desert elephant, rhino, blesbok, waterbuck, impala, warthog, baboon, aardwolf, porcupine, mongoose, honey badger, kudu, oryx, eland, mountain zebra, klipspringer, springbok, steenbok and Africa’s smallest antelope, the dik-dik.

Amongst the nearly 200 varieties of bird species recorded here, include the rare black eagle, yellow-billed hornbill, the colourful lilac breasted roller and crimson bou bou.

We will not be visiting any game parks, and the whole course will be conducted in unprotected bush-land or unfenced farmland. These areas are home to numerous antelopes, carnivores and reptiles.

Accommodation: The first night of the expedition will be spent bush camping in lightweight netted tents at a rustic campsite, with shower and toilet facilities. Allowing time to recuperate from the flight, cover the initial safety briefs, have a beer, eat and relax. The next five nights will be spent under your nets, looking up at the stars, camping in the bush.

Base-camp latrines will be expedition-style, screened and seated long-drop toilets. There will be an ample supply of water available for personal washing, and a screened expedition shower will be provided. In the bush, you will be expected to use personal cat-holes.

The final night will be back in Windhoek to ensure everyone makes their flights home, staying at Chameleon, a relaxing guesthouse in Windhoek, with an evening meal at the famous Joe’s Beer-house.

Meals: All of the food on the expedition will be cooked outdoors over an open fire, as the favorite way of preparing meals in Namibia is on the braai (barbecue).

Food will be largely seasonal, local and where possible organic, with some of the food produced on the farm. The wild game / meat options are truly delicious, with barbecue and steak being an option most nights. Vegetarians / vegans are also well catered for.

Namibians are not particularly adventurous when it comes to their food; meat is pretty much the standard, however there is a post-colonial German influence on the food available. Vegetables are not popular amongst the majority of Namibians, and are viewed as the poison of the cultural imperialists. Vegetarians can be catered for, but please bare in mind that the choice of vegetables will be limited. Tinned fish will be made available as an alternative to meat.

Spending money: The Namibian dollar (N$) is only available in Namibia – you will not be able to order any Namibian currency from a UK burro-de-change. However, the Namibian dollar is interchangeable with the South African Rand at a rate of 1:1, so if you want have some cash in your pocket when you arrive, you can change some of your money into South African Rand before leaving the UK. The exchange rate is roughly £1 = N $18, for current exchange rates visit www.xe.com

It is best to withdraw your cash in small denominations for making purchases out of the city.

Time difference and jet lag: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) + 1 Hour Namibia is only one hour ahead of the UK, so jetlag is not a problem.

Water: Tap water town is generally safe, if heavily chlorinated. Borehole water on farm is considered generally safe to drink, provided the tank is in good order.

On the trek we will visit water caches on a daily basis. You are advised to filter and treat all surface water collected away from these areas with iodine or a good micro filter.

Alcoholic Drinks: You will be expected to pay for your own alcoholic beverages. You are asked not to drink alcohol whilst we are in the bush.