Highlights of Namibia and Botswana - Self Drive Safari

Introduction: 21 day Self Drive Safari - Accommodated
Experience the highlights of Namibia and Botswana on this 21-day self-drive tour. As the tour starts and ends in Windhoek, you will not need an “open-jaw” flight ticket, as well as no expensive one-way fee for the rental car, making this a very economical way to explore the highlights of both countries. Walk on the massive sand dunes of Sossusvlei, feel the ocean breeze in Swakopmund and see fascinating game in the world famous Etosha National Park. Drive through the picturesque Caprivi Strip to cross the border into Botswana. Cruise on the Chobe River and watch elephants, hippos, crocodiles and buffalo on the river bank. After a short visit to the thundering Victoria Falls, you drive via Nata, past the Makgadigadi Salt Pans to Maun. Enjoy breath-taking views of the inland delta while on a two day fly-in safari to the Okavango Delta. You will return to Maun, cross the border back to Namibia to spend a last night in the Kalahari.

The basics

How much: from ZAR 61 600 (see exact price info)
Single client: ZAR 19 300 (see exact price info)
How long: 21 days
Accommodation: This is an accommodated tour
Start point: Windhoek, Namibia
End point: Windhoek, Namibia
Meals: As indicated below
Countries: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe
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Itinerary l Highlights of Namibia and Botswana l Self-Drive Safari

Day 1 | Windhoek, Namibia
Distance approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1 h
Upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport, you pick up your rental car and make your way to Montebello Guesthouse. Once you have checked in, you can relax after the long flight or start exploring Windhoek. There are plenty of things to discover; the National Gallery (local artists), Botanic Garden (good for walks) and local restaurants for sampling Namibian cuisine. You will stay at Montebello Guesthouse for the night.

Day 2 | Windhoek, Namibia – Sesriem, Namibia
You leave Namibia’s capital and drive in a south-westerly direction, via Rehoboth and the Remhoogte Pass. This pass will take you from Namibia’s central plateau down to the Namib Desert. Today’s destination is Sesriem, the closest entrance to the massive dunes of Sossusvlei. You check in at Desert Camp and if there is time, you can take a drive into the Namib-Naukluft National Park to see the astonishing play of light and shadow during sunset. You will overnight at the Desert Camp where you have the choice of either self-catering (order a braai pack with salads and meats to grill on an open fire) or eat at the Sossusvlei Lodge. (Accommodation can also be booked on a half-board basis, if you wish.) Order your breakfast for tomorrow to be packed, so you can picnic at the dunes.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 | Sossusvlei, Namibia
The gate to the park opens at sunrise and you can drive into the Namib-Naukluft National Park to see the Sossusvlei, a large, white salt and clay pan in the middle of some of the highest dunes in the world. Park your vehicle and test your endurance by walking up one of these gigantic dunes. If ‘Big Daddy’ is overwhelmingly high, then perhaps Dune 45 will be the right one for you. Brace yourself for unforgettable views when you reach the top of the dune. Overlooking the ever-moving dune landscape is breath-taking. Other options for the day include visiting Sesriem Canyon (where you can also hike in the dry season), having lunch at Sossusvlei Lodge, quad biking and nature walks. Booking required. You will spend another night in the tented chalets of Desert Camp.
No meals

Day 4-5 | Sossusvlei, Namibia – Swakopmund, Namibia
Distance day 4: approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h
Today you will set off on a long drive on gravel roads towards the coastal town called Swakopmund. (Stop at tiny Solitaire on your way to try the delicious apple pie.) Swakopmund’s German colonial origins are noticeable in the architecture, cuisine and even the language – see the old court house and station building and enjoy an apfelstrudel and tea. The town also offers many activities, most based on the adventure into the Namib Desert – desert tours to see the ‘Little 5’, quad biking, dune boarding, camel rides and skydiving as well as boat trips to see dolphins, seals and seabirds. You will spend two nights at Cornerstone Guesthouse, situated within walking distance of the city centre and the beach. They can also book tours and daytrips. Taste Namibian cuisine or try the fresh seafood.
Meals: Breakfast (day 5)

Day 6 | Swakopmund, Namibia – Ugab Valley, Namibia
Distance approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
After breakfast, you leave the Atlantic coast and drive via Hentiesbaai inland. Past Brandberg, the highest mountain range in Namibia at 2480 m, you will drive in the direction of Khorixas. Along the way you can stop at the famous “White Lady” rock engravings. Your goal for the day is the Ugab terraces, a picturesque valley with impressive high plateaus. Explore the fascinating landscape on well indicated footpaths and visit the remarkable Vingerklip, a remarkable rock formation that resembles a finger. You will spend the night at Vingerklip Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7 | Ugab Valley, Namibia – Etosha National Park, Namibia
Distance approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 2-3h (excl. game drives)
After a leisurely breakfast, you will make your way to the famous Etosha National Park. You will enter Etosha at the Anderson Gate. The national park was proclaimed a game reserve in 1907, to conserve the wildlife and to protect the animals within the area and encompasses the 5,000 km² Etosha salt pan. In the summer months (December to February) it is best to see the 340 bird species of the park, but the dry winter months are ideal to see animals when they flock to the water points.

Animals that live in Etosha include giraffe, oryx, huge herds of elephants, lion, rhino, leopard, cheetah and the usual suspects – zebra, impala and wildebeest. To see nocturnal animals, book a night game drive with park ranger (optional). You will overnight at Okaukuejo Camp and have supper at the restaurant (own account). Spend some time at the floodlit waterhole in the camp to see animals drinking after dark.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 8 | Etosha National Park, Namibia
Driving time depends on choice of route
The early morning hours are one of the best times of the to see animals as they go about their daily routine, so venturing into the park as the sun rises is recommendable. You will be driving along the vast salt pan, the bottom of a great inland lake that has dried up long ago. There are several waterholes along the south side of the pans, attracting animals in the dry season. Drive to Rietfontein, Goas or Sueda to observe animals that come to drink. Stop for lunch in Halali or Namutoni but make sure you are at the Von Lindequist Gate by sunset. Mushara Bush Camp, your lodge for tonight, is just 10 km from this gate. You will stay in luxury tents and have a 3-course supper at the lodge’s fireplace.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 9-10 | Etosha Area, Namibia – Caprivi Strip, Namibia
Distance approx. 650 km; driving time approx. 7-8h
Enjoy a delicious breakfast with freshly baked bread prepared by the lodge’s expert chefs, before heading to your next destination. Today’s journey takes you via Tsumeb and Rundu into the Caprivi Strip. For decades this area was unsafe due to a war, so it has retained a wild, remote feel accentuated by the lush vegetation and sub-tropical climate. This area has over 400 bird species, four of the ‘Big Five’ (no rhino), baobabs, forests, swamps and savannah. River Dance Lodge is situated on the banks of the Kavango River, the green vegetation almost an oasis after the arid regions you have travelled through. The following day you can go on a boat trip or explore the Mahango Area of Bwabwata National Park (only possible with a 4×4 vehicle or on a guided tour), in the flood plains of the Okavango River basin. You can also visit a local village (optional) to learn more about the local culture and way of life. Enjoy an ice-cold drink while sitting on the large deck and watch the sunset over the river. You will overnight for two nights in a bungalow with a veranda overlooking the river at River Dance Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11-12 | Caprivi Strip, Namibia – Chobe National Park, Botswana
Distance approx. 450 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h
Today you will continue east through the Caprivi Strip. You will come upon goats wandering across the roads, women and children selling fruit along the way and many villages with makeshift stalls. Once you have crossed the border into Botswana, you will check in at Chobe Bakwena Lodge, situated close to Kasane just outside the Chobe National Park. Your package includes two scheduled game activities daily (game drive or river cruise) as well as the national park entrance fees. With more than 40,000 elephants, the Chobe National Park is probably the park with the highest density of elephants in Africa. During the river cruise you will most likely see buffalos, crocodiles, hippos and elephants as well as other animals that come to the river to drink. You spend two nights at Chobe Bakwena Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner | 2 x Scheduled activities

Day 13-14 | Chobe National Park, Botswana – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Transfer Chobe Bakwena Lodge – Batonka Guest Lodge; driving time approx. 2h
The next morning you will join another guided game drive in the Chobe National Park. The high 4×4 vehicle is the perfect vantage point for good photos of animals such as lion, hippos, kudus, elephant, reedbuck, buffalo and water birds. The park has 350 bird species – look for the African fish eagle and Pel’s fishing owl. After your game drive you will be picked up at Chobe Bakwena Lodge and transferred to Victoria Falls, while your rental car remains at Chobe Bakwena Lodge. You will spend two nights at Batonka Guesthouse a short taxi ride away from the falls, the largest curtain of water in the world. You will visit the 1,708 m wide Victoria Falls, also known as ‘Mosi oa Tunya’ – ‘smoke that thunders’. You can visit the falls on a guided tour or on your own, go for a walk in the town, join a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River or book a ‘flight of angels’ to view the falls from the air. There are also more adventurous activities, such as bungee jumping, river rafting or the historic bridge walk to choose from. You will overnight at Batonka Guest Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 15 | Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Nata, Botswana
Transfer Batonka Guest Lodge – Kasane; driving time approx. 2h
In the morning you will again be picked up at Batonka Guest Lodge in Victoria Falls and taken over the border to Kasane in Botswana. Upon your arrival you will get back into your rental vehicle and make your way to Nata. Your destination for the day is the Nata Lodge, a good base for bird watching trips to the Nata Bird Sanctuary, Sua and Ntwetwe Pans (all are only accessible with a 4×4 vehicle or on a guided tour – book at the lodge). The pans are famous for surreal rock formations, ancient baobabs and have viewing decks to see flocks of flamingos. During the winter season (June to August) these pans are dry. Alternatively, you can relax at the pool or the open bar restaurant and enjoy watching the helmeted guinea fowl, crested francolin, yellow hornbill, pied and arrow-marked babblers, glossy starling, Meyer’s parrot and paradise whydah, which have made this their home. You will overnight at Nata Lodge.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 16 | Nata, Botswana – Maun, Botswana
Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
Today’s route will take you past Gweta, one of the gateway to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which belong to the largest salt pans in the world, before you get to Maun. The rapidly growing frontier town is the base of many air charter companies operating into the Delta. It has not lost all of its old town charm, as many locals still graze their cattle in the area. You will overnight at the Thamalakane River Lodge on the banks of the Thamalakane River about 20 km from Maun. You can either relax at the lodge’s pool or drive to explore the town of Maun. Have supper (own account) at the lodge’s restaurant or in Maun.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 17-18 | Maun, Botswana – Okavango Delta, Botswana
After a leisurely breakfast, you drive to the airport, where you park your car and board a light aircraft. Your next destination can only be reached by air or boat as it lies in the heart of the huge Okavango delta. Enjoy the view over this watery mass and let this unique land take your breath away as you fly across the delta to your camp. You will spend the next two nights in luxury tents at Pom Pom Camp, located on an island within the splendid Okavango Delta. Due to its remote location, you will get an intimate safari experience unlike no other in the world.

You go on mokoro excursions to glide on the crystal-clear water of the narrow channels in a wooden canoe, explore the wilderness on foot or join a game drive in a 4×4 safari vehicle. The variety of animals includes elephant, bushbuck, tsessebe, reedbuck, red lechwe, leopard, zebra, buffalo, hippo, lion, spotted hyena and giraffe. Both nights will be spent at the Pom Pom Camp. All activities in the Okavango Delta are included in your package.
Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | 2 scheduled activities daily

Day 19 | Okavango Delta, Botswana – Maun, Botswana – Ghanzi Area, Botswana
Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4h
After breakfast in the delta, you will fly back to Maun. This gives you the opportunity to see the delta in the early morning light – a spider web of shiny waterways. You will pick up your car from Maun airport and on well-tarred roads make your way west to Ghanzi. There you have the chance to visit a Bushman Craft Shop or just relax at the pool at Thakadu Bush Camp. The Camp Restaurant offers a variety of game meat specialities.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 20 | Ghanzi Area, Botswana – Kalahari, Namibia
Distance approx. 450 km; driving time approx. 5-6h
After breakfast you will continue west and cross the border into Namibia. Your last overnight on this tour is the Eningu Clayhouse Lodge. You can explore the surrounding area on foot or just cool off in the pool of this unique lodge. An art exhibit (stone sculptures) of Dörte Berner on the neighbouring farm is well worth a visit. A scrumptious meal in the evening brings the day to a close.
Meals: Breakfast | Dinner

Day 21 | Kalahari, Namibia – Windhoek airport, Namibia
Distance approx. 70 km; driving time approx. 1-2h
After a hearty breakfast and another activity (if time permits) you return to Windhoek. You drop off your rental car at the airport and board your flight back home where you will arrive with a lot of good memories and new impressions.
Meals: Breakfast

Includes

  • Self-drive tour according to the itinerary
  • 20 nights’ accommodation in guesthouses, chalets, bungalows and lodges as indicated in the itinerary (or similar)
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • 2 scheduled game activities, national park fees, all soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks at Chobe Bakwena Lodge and Pom Pom Camp
  • Return transfer Kasane – Victoria Falls
  • Return flight Maun – Okavango Delta
  • All safari activities at Pom Pom Camp

Excludes

  • Flights (international and domestic)
  • Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
  • Fuel
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Beverages (alcohol and soft drinks)
  • Possible toll- and crossing border fees
  • National park fees
  • Optional activities
  • Visa, tips, personal expenses, travel insurance, etc.

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