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The Hike

Everyone needs someone who will call and say, ‘Get dressed. We are going on an adventure’.

We invite you to join us on a fully catered, fully supported five-day slackpacking hike into the oldest desert on earth - the Namib. An area that answers to names like Forbidden Land, Sperrgebiet and Skeleton Coast - where numerous shipwrecks stand witness to the power of nature over man. The distance of a 100 km starts outside Walvis Bay and ends at the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen.

This hike is not the run-of-the-mill type of hike, but rather in the league of a bucket list hike with the likes of doing Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon or the Camino de Santiago. Although this is not a difficult and technical hike, you must be very well prepared - inner strength and a strong mind is just as important as physically doing the distance every day. Desert weather conditions are unpredictable and can vary from cool and mild to very hot, very cold and very windy. Our support team will be there to assist you all the way.

This hike is unique to Live the Journey and only allows a limited number of hikers to experience the epic Namib Desert on foot annually. As this is an ecologically unique area, every drop of water and every piece of food or firewood, must be carried into the desert by a support team with 4x4 vehicles.  We also don’t leave anything behind, only footsteps. The logistics behind this hike is mind-boggling!

Highlights:

• Carry only your day pack
• Experience day to day diversity that is beyond your comprehension of the word “desert”
• Walk the Langewand - where gigantic dunes walk into the ocean
• Stop to fully take in the abundance of bird life in the Sandwich Harbor lagoon
• Watch the peculiar pecking order of seals as you pass huge colonies basking in the sun
• Be enchanted by the fantastic micro world of insects, reptiles and plants
• Spot the tracks of a brown hyena (strandjutwolf), oryx or jackal
• Walk on pink salt pans – a magical place where you can see and hear every step you take
• Take in the silence and vastness
• See how the dunes, harsh and stark during the day, turns soft and glowing in the late afternoon
• During the night, the sky is a vast canvas of the galaxy
• Stand in awe of shipwrecks that loom unexpectedly out of the mist
• Renew and revive yourself
• Thanks to the cold sea current hugging the Namibian coast, temperatures are mostly cool and mild (see FAQ)
• Pitch your tent and enjoy your room with a view every night
• Enjoy desert hospitality from our excellent support team

In a nutshell:

Itinerary:

Day 0: Arrival Walvis Bay
It is recommended that you arrive in Walvis Bay at least one day prior to the departure of the hike. A communal dinner and briefing session will take place at Lagoon Chalets on day 0 at 19:00.

Day 1: Approximate distance 22 - 23 km, Elevation 411 m
The support vehicles will meet the group at Lagoon Chalets. The transfer from Lagoon Chalets to the starting point (50 kms) will be in special converted 4x4 vehicles. Today you will experience Sandwich Harbour’s huge and abundant bird and sea life. Sandwich Harbour was classified as a Ramsar wetland of international importance in 1995.

Day 2: Approximate distance 23 - 24 km, Elevation 72 m
Today you will pass huge seal colonies on your way to the Langewand where the dunes drop directly into the ocean. It is only possible to walk the Langewand at low tide as you will be trapped between the perpendicular dunes and mighty Atlantic during high tide.

Day 3: Approximate distance 20 - 21 km, Elevation 258 m
Today you will encounter the wreck of the Shawnee that stranded in 1976. The skeleton of this wreck will remind you that this coastline is the book of remembrance. You will also turn inland to walk the dunes. Standing on top of a dune will give you a different perspective, emphasizing how insignificant we are in the bigger picture.

Day 4: Approximate distance 19 - 20 km, Elevation 95 m
Today you will see a completely different face of the Namib. You move down from the dunes to a grit plain that will surprise you with its micro life - from the dancing white lady spider to the smallest of succulents. Your camp will be near one of the old mining settlements where wind-washed buildings are engulfed by Namib sand.

Day 5: Approximate distance 13 - 14 km, Elevation 113 m
Today you will turn towards the sea, crossing pink saltpans and ancient ocean floors littered with shells, occasionally catching sight of the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen in the distance, beckoning you to come closer. The Bohlen stranded on 5 September 1909, and it is also at the Bohlen where the hike ends. Enjoy this accomplishment as you end the hike with a glass of bubbly in your hand. After that we will start the drive back to Walvis Bay where our services conclude upon arrival. Board the 4x4 vehicles. This journey back to Walvis Bay will cement the hike in your mind as the drive will be along the route you have hiked the last few of days. The arrival time in Walvis Bay will be approximately around 18:00. Accommodation for this night will be for your own account. We can however assist with bookings. Our team will drop you off at your preferred overnight stop.

Day 6: Departure Walvis Bay
Transfers to the Walvis Bay Airport will be provided on this day.

** It is important to note that daily walking distances are an approximate distance only and will depend on the weather and suitable camp sites. Please use as a guideline only. **

2024 Dates

10 – 14 February 2024
11 – 15 March 2024
25 – 29 April 2024
19 – 23 August 2024
18 – 22 September 2024
18 – 22 October 2024
17 – 21 November 2024
2 – 6 December 2024

Group size: Min 18 - 24 Max
Duration: 5 days (travel time not included)
Distance: 100 km
Rating: Level 6 and 7 – although it is not a difficult hike, endurance and stamina is required

RATES FROM 01 NOVEMBER 2023 TO 31 OCTOBER 2024:
SADC Residents - R 26 100 per person(R 21 600 hike cost + concession fee R 4 500)
International Passport Holders - R 26 800 per person (R 21 600 hike cost + concession fee R 5 200)

*Prices for concession fees, taxes, park fees and fuel may be changed without prior notice. This is beyond our control and any increase levied will be passed to you.

All rates are quoted in South African Rand and subject to increase.

IT IS A BOOKING REQUIREMENT THAT YOU MUST SUBMIT PROOF OF TRAVEL INSURANCE WHEN MAKING YOUR FIRST PAYMENT; YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO JOIN THE TOUR WITHOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE.

Included:

• Return airport / hotel transfers as specified – dependent on your flight times.
• Current concession fees, park fees, camping fees, levies.*
• Three meals per day during the hike.
• Camping chair.
• Shower and chemical toilet set up each evening.
• Wood.
• Water for drinking and showering.
• Transport from Walvis Bay to the starting point of the hike and return from the Eduard Bohlen to Walvis Bay, all in convoy-style with 4x4’s.
• Support team and 4x4 vehicle convoy.
• Your luggage and camping equipment will be transported during the trip. Please make sure to pack light and use ‘soft’ baggage. You will only have to walk with your backpack.

Excluded:

• All pre- and post- travel arrangements (travel by road, flights, accommodation).
• Communal dinner and drinks at info session on day 0.
• Camping gear and bedding (can be hired at extra cost).
• Passport.
• Visa fee, if applicable.
• Comprehensive travel insurance (compulsory).
• Medical visit for doctor's clearance.

*Concession fees are paid to the Topnaars. The Topnaar community, proud custodians of the Namib Desert, received concession rights from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The concession rights allows the Topnaar community to control, protect and conserve the desert, the !Nara plants, Topnaar graves, historical homesteads as well as the fauna and flora of this area. In Live the Journey, the Topnaars found a worthy partner, a company that honours and understands the heart of the Namib Desert and all it holds.

The costs for park fees, local levies, concession fees and VAT can be increased without prior notice. This is beyond our control. Increases will be added to the published tour prices, and will be for the traveller’s account.