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Rondreis door Namibië

1 – 15 september 2022


Geologische rondreis onder leiding van de Namibische/Duitse geologe Nicole Grünert-Ulrich. Zij is afgestudeerd als geohydroloog aan de Universiteit van Aken en sinds begin jaren 90 woont en werkt ze in Namibië. Ze heeft een geologisch reisboek over Namibië gepubliceerd: Namibia – fascination of Geology – A travel handbook. Iedere deelnemer die zich aanmeldt ontvangt een exemplaar van de Engelse versie. De voertaal tijdens de excursie is Engels. In 14 dagen leidt ze u door dit fascinerende land, niet alleen met oog voor de geologie en landschap, maar ook voor wildlife en  geschiedenis en bevolking. De voertaal van de excursie is Engels

Waarom deze excursie?

  • interessante geologie
  • prachtige landschappen
  • wereldberoemde wildparken


Geologically speaking, Namibia is undoubtedly one of the most interesting countries in the world. Here the visitor finds the oldest desert, one of the largest canyons, some of the highest desert dunes and the largest iron meteorite. Besides these superlatives, Namibia offers a large diversity of lesser known, but also fascinating geological attractions. Geological features are immediately obvious and dominate the character of the country. The particularly sharp and clearly visible rock formations allow a view into a history of the earth, which reaches from the present day back to the beginning of our planet. As relics of this geological history, Namibia’s bizarre rock formations and beautiful landscapes show evidence of various important geological processes: from ongoing weathering and erosion, previous huge mountain building events and sea level changes to gigantic volcanoes and the collision of whole continents. In addition, the rocky remnants exhibit evidence of all imaginable climatic extremes, which Namibia has experienced in its history; from ice ages and sub-polar conditions to hot tropical humid climates and hot dry red deserts. Therefore, Namibia represents a unique ‘geological Eldorado’ for professional geologists as well as for the nonprofessional. Participants will all receive a copy of Nicols book “Namibia – Fascination of Geology”

Geological tour to north-western Namibia
Included visit to  two World Heritage Sites and three National Parks

Geological Highlights

Day 1:

  • Windhoek Graben

Day 2:

  • Introduction to the Geology of Namibia – Geological Map of Namibia – Crustal Evolution of Southern Africa
  • Naukluft Geology – Blässkopf – Tufa Formation

Day 3:

  • Naukluft Geology – Nappe Tectonics
  • Nama Group – Stromatolites – Namacalathus hermanastes

Day 4:

  • Namib Desert – Morphology of the Namib Desert – Dune types – Sesriem Canyon – Sossusvlei

Day 5: 

  • Namib Desert – Tsondab Sandstone Formation
  • Great Escarpment – Post-Gondwana Development – Kuiseb Canyon – Cenozoic Succession
  • Coastal Geology – Long Shore Drift – Lagoon Formation

Day 6:

  • Coastal Geology – Lagoon formation
  • Scenic flight (optional) – Dune Formation – Coastal Geology

Day 7:

  • Post Karoo Complexes – Erongo Geology – Granite Weathering – Minerals

Day 8:

  • Post Karoo Complexes – Spitzkoppe Geology – Granite Weathering – Minerals – Brandberg

Day 9:

  • Post Karoo Complexes – Brandberg Geology – Granite Weathering – Minerals – Goboboseb Mountains – Minerals

Day 10:

  • Uis Tin Mine • Karoo Sequence – Petrified Wood – Karoo Glaciation – Twyfelfontein Formation
  • Etendeka Group – Gondwana Separation
  • Huab Metamorphic Complex – Snowball Earth

Day 11:

  • Etendeka Group – Gondwana Separation
  • Huab Metamorphic Complex
  • Snowball Earth

Day 12:

  • Kalahari Group – Morphology of the Kalahari – Geology of the Etosha Pan

Day 13:

  • Tsumeb Mine
  • Otavi Mountains
  • Hoba Meteorite
  • Karoo Sequence – Geology of the Waterberg

Day 14:

  • Waterberg Trust
  • Dinosaur Footprints of Otjihaenamaparero

Day 15:

  • Geological Museum of Namibia

Summary of the geological history of Namibia.

The geological development of Namibia dates back tot he  Middle Precambrian period, more than 2500 million years ago. At this time, the face of the earth looked completely different. Huge oceans covered the globe. The first mainland cores, cratons, lay scattered like islands in the endless water sheets.  Life was restricted to microorganisms like bacteria and algae living solely in the oceans. Oxygen, indispensable for higher organisms was missing almost entirely. Consequently, a protective ozone layer could not form, and the strong radiation of the sun hit the surface of the earth with its full force and development of life outside of water was hardly possible. Two mainlands were lying in the vicinity of southern Africa: the Kalahari Craton in the Southeast and the Congo Craton in the North. These cratons form the continental cores and are among others the prime components of the entire African continent.

Cratons of South Africa

The first mountain-building event took place between 2600 and 1800 Ma ago involving rocks called the Vaalian and lower Mokolian. The surface occurrences are, however limited. The oldest rocks have a confirmed age of 2645 million years!

In the second period of mountain building, between about 1800 to 1000 Ma ago, the formation of the middle and upper Mokolian rocks took place. These metamorphics were folded onto the cratons. Interspersed with granites and volcanics they form to day the subsurface of southern Namibia. As mountain building events occurred worldwide in the end the supercontinent Rodinia was formed.

The third evolution event began around 900 Ma. This was the start of the Damara age and very important for the development of the present landscape of Namibia. Between the two cratons the Damara Sea developed. The Adamaster Ocean, a precursor of the present Atlantic, was situated to the west and separated the cratons of Africa and South America. In the following 250 Ma the cratons plate tectonics drew the cratons nearer to each other. The oceanic crust of the narrow Damara Sea was pushed further and further under the plate of the Congo craton. Finally the three cratons finally crashed in enormous collisions. The marine sediments, former erosion products of these continents, were pressed vigourously upwards between the cratons. Numerous magmatic bodies rose deep out of the earth interior. They intruded into the piled up sediment mass. So the huge folded mountain belt of the Damara Mountains was formed. The plate tectonic processes in the west ended in the formation of the Gariep moutain belt. At present the erosional remnants of these mountains are found in many places in Namibia as mountain chains, scattered hilltops, or leveled peneplains.

Only 300 million years ago, the fourth development phase commenced in Namibia, the Karoo times. All the (worldwide) tectonic movements led to the formation of the supercontinent Gondwana on which Namibia was situated much closer to the South Pole than today and southwestern Africa was completely covered by huge inland glaciers. These Gondwana Ice Ages ended around 280 Ma when part of the giant continent drifted away from the South Pole by plate tectonic processes. The melting ice masses left huge amounts of glacial drift (moraines). The climate changes was an extreme different change. Within 100 million years, a huge, dry, hot, inner continental desert spread over the area. Where there used to be ice masses and glacial lakes, now dune fields covered the land. The petrified dune sands in central Namibia and the impressive red rocks in the west give evidence of this great climatic change.

Approximately 132 Ma ago an event started which changed the face of the country and the whole world again. What at first began with the formation of plateau basalts in NW Namibia ended with the entire breakup of the giant continent and the opening of the Atlantic Ocean. The formation of the Namibian coast began. The break-up of Gondwana caused further magmatic events in Namibia. In large parts of the country volcanoes formed and granite bodies arose during these Post-Karroo times. Numerous magmatic dykes were pressed out of large magma chambers and into already existing country rocks.

Another result of the separation of Africa and South America is to be seen along the western edge of Namibia. After the individual continents separated from each other, the continental edge of Southern Africa rose upwards by a tectonic equalizing (isostatic) movement, so that a kind of “bowl” was formed, the core of which is marked by the present Kalahari basin. The edge of this bowl is named the Great Escarpment, which is continuously being pushed further east into the interior by retreating erosion.

The fifth formation phase started approximately 65 M years ago, at the beginning of the Tertiary. Sediments formed in this period are called the Kalahari Group. The interim time was characterized only by erosional processes. The enormous rock layers formed in Karroo times were leveled down and disappeared completely in many regions. It is for this reason that very ancient rocks in Namibia are so well exposed for the visitor interested in geology.

Much of the erosional material ended up in the Atlantic, but some was deposited at the base of the great escarpment. The red dunes in the Kalahar basin are a typical form of this sequences. Also calcretes covering large areas nowadays are also typical for the rock formation in this time.

During a very dry circle in the climate, 20-14 M years ago, massive wind blown sand dunes were formed. These are now fossilized dunes and they form the subsurface of wide areas of the present Namib Sand Sea. Some 14 Ma ago a more humid climate occurred and the erosional and transportational power of the rivers increased whereby Tertiary gravel deposits and river terraces were formed.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek.

After meeting your geology guide Nicole Grünert at the airport we will leave for Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. You will be taken to a pension in the city centre. The afternoon is at your own leisure. We will have an early dinner at the famous Joe’s Beerhouse to get ready for a morning departure on the following day.

Day 2: Exploring the Naukluft Mountains.

We will leave for the Naukluft, a wild mountain region with spectacular geology. On the way you will see fascinating tufa waterfalls and limestone deposits. With a little bit of luck we can even encounter some mountain zebra or antelope on the way. We will sleep over at the Büllsport Guestfarm. Approximate driving time: 4 hours.

Tufa waterfall

Day 3: Oldest fossils in the world.

This will be an exiting day, as we are going to see the oldest hard shelly fossils in the world. They age more than 500 million years and survived ice-cold times of the Snowball Earth Period! These little creatures are visible in spectacular mountain scenery together with fascinating stromatolite reefs. The overnight stay is at the cosy Zebra River Lodge. Approximate driving time: 2 hours.



Day 4: Conquer the Namib Desert.

Today we will head for the Namib Desert and visit the world famous Sossusvlei. En route we will walk through the Sesriem Canyon and study the ancient forces of water in this desert landscape. At the Sossusvlei you have the opportunity to climb the dunes which are amongst the highest in the world and enjoy a spectacular view. Along the route different desert adapted antelope can be discovered. We will sleep over at the Namib Desert Lodge at the edge of the dune fields. Total driving time: ca. 4 hours.

Petrified dunes behind the lodge

Petrified dunes

Walvis bay lagoon


Day 5: Crossing the Namib Desert.

After getting to know why the Namib is regarded the oldest desert in the world we will leave for the coast. Along the route we will not only cross the Tropic of Capricorn, but also visit some spectacular desert geology. At the coast we will stop at the Walvis Bay Lagoon and besides geology we can spot sea birds such as pelicans or flamingos. The rest of the day is at your own leisure in the cosy coastal town of Swakopmund. After a good dinner in a local restaurant we will stay at Pension Rapmund for the next two nights. Total driving time: 4 hours.

Day 6: Activities at the Coast.

As Swakopmund and surroundings have a lot to offer we will have a geology free day! Options are plenty, such as a morning catamaran cruise ex Walvis Bay or an afternoon scenic flight over the Namib as far as Sossusvlei. (Scenic flight at extra costs). Alternatively the day can be spent by a visit to the museum, aquarium, snake park or just relax at the beach or at one of the café’s. After an exciting day we will meet at the Tiger Reef Bar for a sun downer before we enjoy a good dinner in one of the numerous restaurants.

Mineral vendors

Day 7: Explore the mountains of the west.

In the morning we will visit the Crystal Gallery, which shows a display of huge quartz crystals, amongst others. After crossing the Namib, this time from west to east, we will head for the Erongo Mountains which are well-known for their richness in minerals. We will explore some spectacular granite weathering formations and discover the origin of this former volcano. Depending on the time we can also find some bushman paintings hidden in this mountain landscape. This night we will sleep over at Ameib Guest farm. Approximate driving time: 2 hours.


granite weathering

Day 8: Vast landscapes and mountains.

Today we head towards the Brandberg, the highest mountain in the country. After having the opportunity to purchase mineral specimen from local vendors, we will drive past Spitzkoppe, the Matterhorn of Namibia. In the afternoon a visit to the abandoned Uis Tin Mine is planned, which was once the largest hardrock tin mine in the world. We will sleep over at the unique Brandberg Restcamp in the former mining village of Uis. Total driving time: ca. 3 hours.


Day 9: The Brandberg, highest peak in Namibia.

The Brandberg area is one of the most fascinating geological regions of the country. We will observe evidence of volcanic action separating the Gondwana Continent, visit some small scale miners and also see the world famous Welwitschia mirabilis plant, the living fossil of the Namib Desert. After an exciting day we return to the Brandberg Restcamp for the night. Total driving time: ca. 4 hours.


Day 10: Damaraland, World Heritage Site Twyfelfontein and Petrified Forest.

Besides visiting the Petrified Forest we will explore the 1. Namibian World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein with its fantastic rock engravings made into 180 million year old desert sandstone. The larger area is home to desert adapted elephants, black rhino and lions, although spotting these animals is quite unlikely. We will sleep over at the beautiful Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. Appr. driving time: 3 hours.



Petrified wood

Day 11: Etosha National Park.

The next two days are reserved for game viewing in the world known Etosha National Park. Besides numerous game species we hope to spot some black rhinos at the floodlit waterhole at the Okaukuejo Camp at night. Please be aware that it is forbidden to exit the vehicle within the park (except the camps). Therefore we will be driving most of the next two days.

Day 12: Etosha National Park.

Also the Etosha Park has several geologically interesting sites to offer. However, we will spend the day crossing the park in an easterly direction looking for antelope, zebra, lion, elephant, rhino and other interesting species. In the late afternoon we will leave the park for our accommodation at the Sachsenheim Guestfarm outside the eastern border of Etosha.

Day 13: Tsumeb, a mineral collector’s paradise.

Today we will visit the mining town of Tsumeb. Besides having been important from an economic point of view, the Tsumeb mine is world famous for its wealth of fascinating mineral specimen. These are displayed at the Tsumeb Museum, which also offers a good insight into the colonial history of Namibia as well as the different indigenous cultures living in the country. In the afternoon a visit to the largest iron meteorite is scheduled before we head towards the Waterberg Mountains, were we will climb the plateau and enjoy a spectacular overview of the savannah landscape. Our last stay in the bush is at the Waterberg Restcamp. Total driving time is about 3.5 hours.

Hoba meteorite

Day 14: Heading back South.

Every tour is coming to an end and we have to drive back to Windhoek via the main B1 tar road. The long drive (app. 4,5 hours) is interrupted by a visit of the dinosaur footprints of Otjihaenamaparero. If time permits we will also stop at the woodcarvers market in Okahandja. In the afternoon we will check in at a pension in town and you have the opportunity to explore the Namibian capital on your own. In the evening we will have dinner together in a local restaurant.

Day 15: Geological Museum and Departure.

Before we take you to the International Airport we will visit the Geological Museum in town. Interesting displays of Namibian earth history, the mineral and fossil richness as well as information about the major mines will bring memories back of our geological tour through Namibia.



  • Een paspoort is vereist. Het document moet nog minimaal 6 maanden geldig zijn na vertrek uit Namibië. Een visum is niet nodig voor een verblijf van maximaal 3 maanden.


  • Een fooi is niet verplicht (maar wordt wel zeer op prijs gesteld vanwege de lage lonen).


  • Namibische dollar (NAD).
  • Het Namibische dollarteken is $, soms uitgebreid tot N$ ter onderscheiding van peso’s en andere dollars.
  • De Namibische dollar is gekoppeld aan de Zuid-Afrikaanse rand.
    Vaste koers: 1 NAD = 1 ZAR.


  • Pinpassen (zowel bankpassen als creditcards) worden geaccepteerd bij automaten met het logo dat op de pinpas staat.
  • Grote hotels, restaurants en winkels maar ook safaribedrijven en autoverhuurbedrijven accepteren creditcards, tankstations meestal niet.
  • Let op:De meeste banken zetten bankpassen voor gebruik buiten Europa standaard uit om misbruik tegen te gaan. Informeer bij je bank en laat je bankpas zo nodig activeren.

Contant geld

  • In de grote steden zijn er geldautomaten.
  • Ook als je met een bankpas geld opneemt, kun je het beste kiezen voor de keuzemogelijkheid van een creditcardaccount.
  • Wissel bij een bank, Wisselkantoren en vooral hotels wisselen doorgaans tegen een ongunstiger koers.
  • Ook de gelijkwaardige Zuid-Afrikaanse rand wordt overal geaccepteerd als betaalmiddel.
  • Zuid-Afrikaanse rands zijn gemakkelijker weer om te wisselen dan Namibische dollars.


  • Internationaal toegangsnummer: 264.
  • Vanuit Nederland naar Namibië: 00 – 264 – netnummer  zonder nul – abonneenummer.
  • Vanuit Namibië naar Nederland: 00 – 31 – netnummer zonder nul – abonneenummer.

Mobiel bellen

  • Raadpleeg je provider voor de roamingkosten.


  • Voltage 220 volt


  • Stopcontacten zijn geaard en hebben drie ronde gaten.
  • Je hebt een adapter type D (India), type M (Zuid-Afrika) of een universele wereldstekker nodig.
  • Een adapter of wereldstekker is onder meer verkrijgbaar in de ANWB-winkels en via nl/webwinkel.

Heeft u wel belangstelling maar schikt de datum niet, of wilt u bijvoorbeeld met een eigen groep, klik dan hier.


Reisdata basis reis:

  • Heen donderdag 1 sep 2022
  • Terug donderdag 15 sep 2022


  • Nicole Grünert-Ulrich (locale Namibisch/Duitse geologe)
  • Sjoerd Wendelaar (Georeizen representative)

Prijs:   € 3460,- + €7,50 (GGTO garantiefonds)


  • Geologische begeleiding door Nicole Grünert – bij boeking ontvangt u een exemplaar van het boek Namibia
  • 14 overnachtingen in tweepersoons kamers, inclusief ontbijt. éénpersoonskamer toeslag (€ 210,- pp)
  • 7 diners, de andere 7 diners zijn voor eigen rekening
  • Lokaal vervoer – inclusief airport transfer
  • Alle activiteiten zoals in de reisbeschrijving (dag-tot-dag programma)
  • Alle toegangen tot nationale parken, genoemde musea en game reserves
  • Excursiegids

Niet inbegrepen:

  • Retour vlucht  Amsterdam – Windhoek. KLM vlucht kost ongeveer €1000.-, anderen zijn goedkoper
  • Lunch
  • Drinks
  • Additionele activiteiten, bv. vlucht over de woestijn
  • Persoonlijke uitgaven
  • reis/annuleringsverzekering,

Aantal deelnemers reis:

minimaal 15 – maximaal 20


*) Let op! Prijswijzigingen voorbehouden, zie verder het Reisreglement en kijk ook bij de tab Overige informatie.

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