HIGHLIGHTS OF NAMIBIA AND BOTSWANA

20 Night / 21 Day Self-Drive Safari, Accommodated

safari-Button

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 Zambezi Region (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 Makgadikgadi 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.

Highlights

Day 1-5 | Namibia

  • Windhoek: National Gallery, National Museum, Botanic Garden
  • Namib Desert: Dunes of Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon
  • Swakopmund: Quad biking, sandboarding, skydiving, day trips (all optional), colonial architecture

Day 6-10 | Namibia

  • Etosha National Park: Game drives, Etosha Pan
  • Caprivi Strip: Boat cruise on the Okavango River, game drive in the Mahango Area of the Bwabwata National Park

Day 11 | Botswana

  • Chobe National Park: Game drive, river cruise

Day 12-13 | Zimbabwe

  • Victoria Falls: Visit to the falls, boat cruise, white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, elephant ride, scenic flight (all optional)

Day 14-20 | Botswana

  • Nata: Bird watching, guided excursion into the Nata Bird Sanctuary
  • Okavango Delta: Flight into the delta, mokoro excursions, nature walks, game drives
  • Ghanzi: Craft shop
  • Kalahari: Hiking, scenic drive, horse riding

Facts

Self-Drive Safari: Highlights of Namibia and Botswana
Tourcode: SD21HINABO
From: Windhoek
To: Windhoek
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private safari
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: from 49,400 NAD
Single Supplement: from 15,900 NAD

Itinerary

Day 1 | Windhoek, Namibia

Distance approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1 h

Upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport, you will go through immigrations and collect your rental car. You drive to ‘Klein Windhoek’, a little suburb just outside of the city centre, but close to shops and restaurants. Relax at the pool after your long flight, stock up on snacks for the road or see the city centre. Explore art galleries, museums, see historical buildings or take a stroll in the Botanic Garden. You will overnight at the Casa Piccolo. Try Namibian cuisine at a local restaurant.

Day 2 | Windhoek, Namibia – Sossusvlei – Sesriem, Namibia

Distance approx. 350km; driving time approx. 5-6 h

You leave Namibia’s capital and drive in a southwesterly 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.

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 breathtaking. Other options for the day include visiting Sesriem Canyon, where you can also hike in the dry season. 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 – visit the famous Woermann House, the old court house and the old station building. 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 the Cornerstone Guesthouse, situated within walking distance of the city centre and the beach. They can also book tours and day trips. Taste Namibian cuisine or try the fresh seafood.

Breakfast (day 5)

Day 6 | Swakopmund, Namibia – Vreugde Guest Farm, Namibia

Distance approx. 450 km; driving time approx. 5-6h

Today you will leave the coast and continue your trip inland. Stop at Outjo’s bakery for some fresh-baked pastries before you continue to Vreugde Guest Farm. Relax in the shady garden or at the pool after your long drive. On this typical Namibian farm you see daily life and enjoy some home-style traditional cooking. Go for a walk on the farm or join a guided drive (optional). You will overnight at Vreugde Guest Farm.

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7 | Vreugde Guest Farm, Namibia – Etosha National Park, Namibia

Distance approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1 h (excl. game drives)

After a leisurely breakfast, you will make your way to the famous Etosha National Park, situated a mere 45 minutes’ drive away. 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 vast Etosha Pan of nearly 5,000 km². 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 mammals 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 a park ranger (optional). You will overnight in a chalet at the Okaukuejo Camp and have supper at the restaurant (own account). Spend some time at the floodlit waterhole in the resort to see animals drinking after dark.

Breakfast

The large camps in Etosha National Park are owned by the government. They are maintained and looked after by state employees which are sometimes not as enthusiastic about their work as we wish they were. Accommodation ranges from basic chalets to standard self-catering units. There are, however, more luxurious lodges outside the park from where you will do day trips into the park. Should you be interested in this option, please let us know and we will gladly amend our offer accordingly.

Day 8 | Etosha National Park, Namibia – Mushara Bush Camp, Namibia

Driving time depends on choice of route

The early morning hours are one of the best times of the day 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.

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 9-10 | Mushara Bush Camp, Namibia – Caprivi Strip, Namibia

Distance day 9: approx. 600 km; driving time approx. 6-7 h

Today’s journey takes you via Tsumeb and Rundu deep into the Kavango Region, which is part of the Caprivi Strip. The vegetation in this whole area is lush due to the rivers Kavango, Kwando, Zambezi and Chobe. There are five reserves within the region, home to hippos, crocodile, waterbuck, sable, buffalo and other big game, which are not usually found anywhere else in Namibia. The Nunda River Lodge on the Kavango River is a welcome green respite to the arid region you came from. Relax on the lodge’s deck after your long drive today. Options for the next day include a boat trip or fishing on the river, game drives with the lodge’s 4×4 vehicle into the Mahango Area of the Bwabwata National Park or visiting a local village to experience daily life. You will overnight in one of the river-facing bungalows at the Nunda River Lodge.

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11 | Caprivi Strip, Namibia – Kasane, Botswana

Distance approx. 450 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h

Today you will continue east through the Zambezi Region. 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 Bakwena Lodge, situated close to Kasane just outside the Chobe National Park. Your package includes one afternoon river cruise on the Chobe River and one morning game drive 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 the night at Bakwena Lodge.

Breakfast | Dinner | 2 x Scheduled activities

Day 12 – 13 | Kasane, Botswana – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Transfer Bakwena Lodge – Ilala Lodge; driving time approx. 2h

The next morning you will join a 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 the Bakwena Lodge and transferred to Victoria Falls, while your rental car remains at Bakwena Lodge. You will spend two nights at Ilala Lodge close to the falls. 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 Ilala Lodge

Breakfast

Day 14 | Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Kasane, Botswana

Transfer Ilala Lodge – Bakwena Lodge; driving time approx. 2 h

After breakfast at Ilala Lodge in Zimbabwe you will be taken back to the Bakwena Lodge in Botswana. The afternoon is free – relax at the pool or deck overlooking the river or book another river cruise or game drive (both optional).

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 15 | Kasane, Botswana – Nata, Botswana

Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5 h

After a leisurely breakfast, you make your way to Nata. Your destination for today is Nata Lodge, a good base for bird watching trips to the Nata Bird Sanctuary at the northeastern border of the Sua Pan, breeding place for flocks of flamingos. In the afternoon, you can join an optional excursion to the sanctuary. 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.

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 16 | Nata, Botswana – Maun, Botswana

Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4 h

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.

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 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 any other. You go on mokoro excursions to glide on the crystal-clear water of the narrow channels, 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.

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | Scheduled activities

Day 19 | Okavango Delta, Botswana – Maun, Botswana

After breakfast in the delta, you will fly back to Maun. This gives you the opportunity to see the delta in the morning light – a spider web of shiny waterways. You will pick up your car from Maun airport and return to Thamalakane River Lodge to spend the night. Alternatively you may want to stock up on supplies in Maun before the last stretch of driving to Namibia.

Breakfast

Day 20 | Maun, Botswana – Kalahari Bush Breaks, Namibia

Distance approx. 550 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h

After breakfast you drive on a good tar road via Sehitwa and Ghanzi to the Kalahari Bush Breaks in Namibia. About 300 km from Maun you can stop in Ghanzi to refuel or to see the craft shop with textiles, woven materials and jewelry made by the local San people. Continue to the Namibian border and then to Kalahari Bush Breaks.  The lodge is situated on a 4,000 ha farm next to the border on the Namibian side. Explore one of the walking trails, some leading to ancient bushman engravings, observe game from a hide overlooking a waterhole, join a nature drive or a horseback safari (for experienced riders only). Dinner and overnight stay at Kalahari Bush Breaks

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 21 | Kalahari Bush Breaks, Namibia – Windhoek, Namibia

Distance approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 2-3 h

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.

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
  • 1 x game drive and 1 x river cruise in the Chobe National Park incl. national park fees
  • 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

Gallery

Lodge Gallery

Casa Piccolo

Desert Camp

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Vruegde Guestfarm

Okaukuejo Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

Nundu River Lodge

Pom Pom Camp

Nata Lodge

Chobe Bakwena Lodge

Ilala Lodge

Kalahari Bush Breaks

Frequently Asked Questions

In general Namibia and Botswana are not a lot more dangerous than other countries in the world. Most crimes and acts of violence take place in the townships of bigger cities. Public areas around shopping centres, restaurants, banks etc. as well as the countryside are very safe. Nevertheless you should stick to a couple of rules to avoid risky or dangerous situations. This includes staying away from dodgy areas, walking in the dark, carrying a lot of cash or expensive cameras on you, wearing flashy jewellery and leaving bags or valuables in the car.

Although Namibia and Botswana generally have a good infrastructure, the roads are not always in the best condition. Most of the roads are good gravel roads and only the highways and a couple of the main roads are tarred. In Botswana you will also have to look out for animals on or next to the road and we therefore urge you to drive with caution. Try not to drive at night.

Fuel stations can be found alongside all major routes and highways as well as in cities/villages. Have cash, as not all fuel stations accept credit cards.

In cities and villages there are well-stocked shops selling basic foods, water and medicine. Many petrol stations also have a little convenience shop.

Left. In Southern Africa vehicles are right-hand drives hence driving is done on the left-hand side of the roads.

Each person who wants to drive a rental vehicle in Namibia must have a valid national driver’s license which needs to be carried along at all times and must be produced when requested (vehicle hand-over, police control).

If your national driver’s license is not in English and does not include a photograph of you, you will additionally need an international driving license. Please take note that the international driving license is only valid in conjunction with your national driver’s license.

Furthermore, you must be in possession of a credit card when picking up the rental vehicle. The main renter must be the credit card holder.

Yes. In most of Namibia’s national parks, the roads are tarred or good gravel and all are accessible to normal sedan cars. Please however take note that you have to adhere to the rules of the national parks at all times. These include: remaining in your vehicle unless you are in a designated area, sticking to the speed limit and not littering.

In the Etosha National Park, guided game drives in open safari vehicles are available.

A 4×4 vehicle is required to enter the national parks in Botswana and in the Caprivi. If you are not travelling with a 4×4, you can book guided game drives at the accommodation you are staying at.

Along with your travel documents you will receive detailed directions and contact details for all the pre-booked accommodation.

Some rental car companies provide road maps but as not all of them do, it is advisable to bring a good map with a map scale of at least 1:1,5 million.

Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary.

Breakfast at your overnight accommodation usually consists of a full English breakfast and cereals, breads, cheese, jam, fruits, juices, tea and coffee. You may also ask for a packed breakfast if you need to depart very early.

Since most days are spent on the road or in the national parks, lunches have only occasionally been included.

At places where you can cater for yourself or you have a variety of restaurants to choose from, dinner has been excluded. Where dinner at a lodge is included in the itinerary, it usually consists of a set menu with local meats, vegetables and rice or potato dishes. Alternatively, a buffet dinner is served.

You can either exchange your own currency for Namibian Dollar at one of the exchange bureaus at the airport or in town or you can draw cash at the current exchange rate at a local ATM with your credit card or Maestro card (PIN required).

Credit cards are also widely accepted in bigger shops and shopping malls but some smaller shops and all fuel stations do not accept credit cards, so always have some cash on hand.

As Malaria is a concern in some areas of Namibia, we recommend that some precautionary measures are taken. Please speak to your doctor or travel clinic about the different prophylaxes and their effects and side effects. In general, prevention is better than cure and the best prevention is to avoid bites. Apply mosquito repellent and wear long trousers, socks, closed shoes and long-sleeved tops when being outdoors in the morning and evening hours.

Furthermore it is recommended that you have your regular vaccinations updated – tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B and polio.

Namibian custom officials require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.