The Marula is a 9 day self-drive accommodated tour that visits the highlights of southern Namibia. Accommodation is in a combination of comfortable lodges, guest houses and self-catering establishments, taking into account the varying days of either long drives or the cross-country route which eventually leads to the Namib Desert. One particular species of Marula, Sclerocarya birrea, a member of the mango family, produces aromatic resin and some are poisonous and can cause severe skin irritations.
Accommodation in Luderitz & Sossusvlei has been chosen for self-catering purposes. This is the perfect option for those early morning starts, picnic lunches and sundowner drives without sacrificing flexibility, value for money or a good night's sleep. Beginning in Windhoek there is a long drive on well-maintained tarred roads to Fish River Canyon,the 2nd largest of it's kind in the world. Stand at the edge on the main viewpoint and admire the stunning views. The Fish River is generally dry, but can change quickly into a raging torrent once the rains commence.
Some cross-country driving follows for the shorter journey to Luderitz, a former trading post, fishing and guano-harvesting town that exploded with the discovery of diamonds in nearby Kolmanskop in 1908. The ghost town is only a few km drive from Luderitz and was once a bustling little centre, providing shelter for workers from the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. It soon resembled a German town with large, elegant houses and a comprehensive array of amenities.
Canyon and coast make way for dunes and desert as you head to Sossusvlei, one of Namibia's most spectacular sights and the country's 2nd most popular tourist attraction. It is a clay, almost circular, hard-surfaced depression that is virtually surrounded by beautiful sharp-edged dunes. Beyond lies a formidable sea of rolling sand, stretching in unbroken immensity all the way to the coast. During exceptional rainy seasons such as in 2011, Sossusvlei will fill with water, although usually it is dry.