Namibia’s Tok Tokkie Trails have stolen top place on our list of the most spectacular walking trails in the world! Still dusty from the desert, Emma explains why you need to hike these trails!…
Driving through Namibia, I’m always captivated by the ever changing landscape of mountains and dunes, gravel plains and fascinating rock formations. The sheer variety of scenes I’m treated to leaves me agog; wide eyed and inspired. But getting out and exploring this entrancing landscape on foot is something else entirely; just when I thought Namibia couldn’t get any better, she did and I fell a little more in love. You will too.
From the moment we met our smiling trekking guide, Sebastian, we knew our walk on the Tok Tokkie trails would be great fun. Sebastian’s easy manner and vast knowledge, collected over 10 years of guiding the route, put us instantly at ease.
The Tok Tokkie trails, named after the beetles with mottled shells and spindly legs who live in the dunes, take you on a loop of around 20 km through the spectacular protected area of the NamibRand. The trail is broken by two overnight stays in carefully designed, comfortable, desert wilderness camps.
The trail is ideal for walkers who enjoy nature, and are curious to discover more about Namibia’s fascinating and beautiful desert. Each day is planned to avoid the midday heat and our first day saw us walking for 1-2 hours through the cool of late afternoon to our first camp. And what a camp…
We loved our open air ‘desert suite’, with military style, and surprizingly comfortable, camp beds topped with a bed roll. Snuggling inside our delicious cotton duvets at night, we rested under a sky glittering with stars. The NamibRand is naturally one of the darkest places on earth and you can see the Milky Way, the Southern Cross and Scorpio as well as many other starry delights; the area is so special it was named Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve.
Lulu and Willy, our Tok Tokkie super camp team, really knew how to look after us. From moving our luggage every day, to handing us a cold sundowner from the ‘desert bar’ after a dusty walk, miraculously serving fresh, hearty 3 course meals in the evening, handing us a hot cup of coffee with our wake up call, and heating water for our bucket showers…these guys run a top notch desert camp, literally in the middle of nowhere!
On the second day of the Tok Tokkie trails we walked for around 4 hours, setting off after breakfast at around 7am. To do the trail you do need a reasonably good level of fitness as the first and last parts of the trail take you over several small, vegetated sand dunes. The middle part of the walk takes you over a low mountain col, the path rocky but following an easy gradient.
The walking pace is gentle and all you need to carry with you are your sunhat, suntan lotion, water bottles, binoculars and cameras in small day sacks as the Tok Tokkie super team take your main bags from camp to camp.
Other than enjoying the obvious highlight of the tremendous scenery, Sebastian brought the detail of the desert alive for us by explaining how plants and animals, from the smallest beetles to the abundant oryx, live in the dry conditions. We walked through great patches of mysterious fairy circles, hearing the various theories on how they are formed; marvelled at enormous nests built by sociable weaver birds; and indulged in one of my favourite Namibian past times, reading the morning news, written in footsteps across the sand. From golden moles to hairy footed gerbil and Cape hare, night is a busy time judging from the prints and signs busily scuttled across the sand .
Our second, and last morning, comes all too quickly and we’re off, through the dunes and back to base, the walk taking 2-3 hours.
The two night guided Tok Tokkie walking trail is included in our Namibia Self-Drive Guided Walking Holiday. It can also be included in any tailormade holiday to Namibia so do give us a call on 01768 721040 to put together your own bespoke trip with our Namibia experts.
All our holidays are carefully designed to make sure your money directly benefits the small local communities you share your experiences with, and walking the Tok Tokkie trails is a great example of this.
The Tok Tokkie trails are only open between mid Feburary and early December to avoid the hottest parts of the year.