by Ron Swilling
African Extravaganza makes travelling effortless with its range of tours that link up with the Sossusvlei Shuttle Tour, joining various destinations conveniently back to back.
The most inclusive is the ‘Grande’ tour for a more extensive dip into Namibia’s wonders. The two-night Sossusvlei Shuttle Tour including full board at the Namib Naukluft Lodge, a Sossusvlei tour and sundowners at the nearby Marble Mountain, has now become available daily with the shuttle from Swakopmund travelling the scenic Kuiseb and Gaub passes and the Windhoek route over the spectacular Spreetshoogte pass.
The Sossusvlei Shuttle Tour gives easy access to the wide open spaces of the Namib-Naukluft Park and the supremely beautiful excursion to Sossusvlei surrounded by burnt-sienna sand dunes.
This is ideal for visitors who want to see this spectacular part of the country without the paperwork and the organisation involved in hiring a car for a few days or the need to join a tour group. For travellers with three days available, every detail is organised from a pick-up at the guesthouse to the drop-off point two days later. Travelling couldn’t be easier.
The tour has the option of linking to a three-day Coastal Delight tour exploring Walvis Bay and Swakopmund either before or after the Sossusvlei Tour.
This includes a boat trip at Walvis Bay, possibly seeing dolphins and seals, and a visit to the moon landscape outside Swakopmund. An additional option to the Coastal Delight tour is a return train trip to Windhoek on the Desert Express.
This is a three-day tour that easily combines with the Sossusvlei Shuttle Tour or makes a relaxing trip on its own, visiting the winery in Omaruru, resting and exploring the Erongo Mountain terrain.
Realising how well their tours linked together, African Extravaganza began to make use of larger operators to provide travellers with the further options of a seven-day Southern Namibia trip, visiting the Fish River Canyon and the beautiful Namib-Naukluft scenery en route to Aus, before the stay-over at the lodge for the Sossusvlei excursion, and a four-day Etosha Safari Tour for an African animal experience with distinctive Etosha character.
All the tours fit together efficiently, giving a variety of destinations for the traveller to choose from, and can be booked individually or in combination to give a comprehensive experience of the country.
“Everything works together and floats into each other,” says Barbara Sturm of African Extravaganza.
The tours allow for extra days in Swakopmund or Windhoek. Barbara says she loves putting puzzle pieces together and can arrange chartered flights or special tours on request. She advises a first-time Namibian traveller with little or no travel experience to join one of the organised tours.
For those who prefer to drive through the country on their own, African Extravaganza draws up a self-drive itinerary, whether staying in budget or five-star accommodation, making all the arrangements including arranging the hire vehicle, giving a summary of the establishments, telephone numbers of the lodges and a route-description booklet. An after-hours telephone number is available in case of an emergency, allowing travellers a modicum of safety.
For a full Namibian excursion African Extravaganza offers a Grande Namibia 11-day tour, incorporating Damaraland, a visit to a Himba village, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. If bookings allow, entry into Etosha is via the western Otjovasondu gate, accessible only to Namibian tour operators.
This article appeared in the Dec ‘08/Jan ‘09 edition of Travel News Namibia.