HIGHLIGHTS OF NAMIBIA AND BOTSWANA

21 Day Self-Drive Tour, 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 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.

Namibia and Botswana self drive tours

Highlights

Day 1-10 | Namibia

  • Windhoek: National Gallery, National Museum, Christ Church
  • Namib Desert: Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon
  • Swakopmund: quad biking, sand boarding, skydiving, scenic flight, day trip to the seal colony at Cape Cross
  • Etosha National Park: game drives, Etosha Pan
  • Caprivi Strip: boat cruise on the Okavango River, game drive in the Bwabwata National Park, visit to a local village

Day 11-12 | Botswana

  • Chobe National Park: game drive, river cruises

Day 13 | Zimbabwe

  • Victoria Falls: visit to the waterfalls, boat cruise, white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, scenic flight

Day 14-19 | Botswana

  • Makgadikgadi Pans: tour of the salt pans
  • Okavango Delta: light aircraft flights to and from the delta, boat cruises, mokoro excursions, nature walks
  • Ghanzi: Bushman Craft Shop

Day 20-21 | Namibia

  • Kalahari: walks, art exhibit

Facts

Self-Drive Tour: Highlights of Namibia and Botswana
Tourcode: SD21HINABO
From: Windhoek
To: Windhoek
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private tour
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: from 60,900 NAD
Single Supplement: from 11,100 NAD

Itinerary

Day 1 | Windhoek, Namibia

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

Upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport, you pick up your rental car and make your way to your accommodation in town, where you can relax after your long flight. Alternatively, take a walk along Independence Avenue and watch the busy goings-on. You can also visit sights such as the National Gallery with art by local artists, the Christ Church or the National Museum, where you will learn interesting details about Namibia’s history. We can recommend the popular Joe’s Beerhouse for dinner. You overnight at The Elegant Guesthouse.

Day 2 | Windhoek, Namibia – Namib Desert, Namibia

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

You leave Namibia’s capital and drive south via Rehoboth to the Namib Desert. Your home for the next two nights is The Elegant Desert Eco Camp, surrounded by the picturesque Tsaris Mountains and close to the Namib-Naukluft National Park. You have arrived in the desert! Explore the camp’s grounds on foot or book a guided nature drive and marvel at the fascinating play of light at sunset. You overnight at The Elegant Desert Eco Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 3 | Sossusvlei, Namibia

Distance approx. 160-200 km; driving time depends on choice of route

The gate to Namib-Naukluft National Park opens at sunrise and you can drive into park the to see the Sossusvlei, a large, white 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 hike in the dry season as well. After an exciting day of exploring, you drive back to The Elegant Desert Eco Camp. If you prefer to have a knowledgeable guide by your side, you can also book a guided day trip to explore Sossusvlei. You spend another night at The Elegant Desert Eco Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 4 – 5 | Namib Desert, Namibia – Swakopmund, Namibia

Distance on day 4: approx. 360 km; driving time approx. 5 hours

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 courthouse 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 Five’, quad biking, dune boarding 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 day trips for you. Taste Namibian cuisine or try the fresh seafood.
Breakfast

Day 6 | Swakopmund, Namibia – Ugab Valley, Namibia

Distance approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5-6 hours

After a leisurely breakfast, you leave the Atlantic coast and drive via Hentiesbaai inland. Past Brandberg, the highest mountain range in Namibia at 2,480 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 Valley, a picturesque valley with impressive high plateaus. Explore the fascinating landscape on well indicated footpaths and visit the Vingerklip, a remarkable rock formation that resembles a finger. You will spend the night at Vingerklip Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7 | Ugab Valley, Namibia – Etosha National Park, Namibia

Distance approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 2 hours (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 a park ranger (optional). Or spend some time at the floodlit waterhole in the camp to see animals drinking after dark. You will overnight at Okaukuejo Camp.
Breakfast

The large camps in the Etosha National Park are owned by the government. They are maintained and looked after by state employees who 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

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 pan, 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 comfortable tents and have a 3-course dinner next to the lodge’s fireplace. 
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 9 – 10 | Etosha Area, Namibia – Caprivi Strip, Namibia

Distance on day 9: approx. 590 km; driving time approx. 7 hours

Enjoy a delicious breakfast before heading to your next destination. Today’s journey takes you via Tsumeb and Rundu into the Zambezi Region – formerly known as 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. Riverdance 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 an optional boat trip or explore the Mahango Area of Bwabwata National Park on a game drive (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 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 spend two nights in a bungalow with a veranda overlooking the river at Riverdance Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 11 – 12 | Caprivi Strip, Namibia – Kasane, Botswana – Chobe National Park, Botswana

Distance on day 11: approx. 450 km; driving time approx. 5-6 hours

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 Chobe Bakwena Lodge, situated close to Kasane just outside the Chobe National Park. Your package includes two scheduled game activities daily. With more than 40,000 elephants, the Chobe National Park is probably the park with the highest density of elephants in Africa. During Chobe River cruises and game drives in Chobe National Park, you will most likely see buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, elephants and many more. You spend two nights at Chobe Bakwena Lodge.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | local beverages and two scheduled activities daily

Day 13 | Kasane, Botswana – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Transfer Kasane – Victoria Falls; driving time approx. 2 hours

In the morning, you will be picked up at your lodge and driven across the border to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls. Here, you will spend one night at the Batonka Guest Lodge, close to the Falls. In the afternoon, visit the world-known Victoria Falls, also known as ‘Mosi oa Tunya’, translated as the smoke that thunders. Take a walk along the waterfalls and, depending on season, watch masses of water thunder downstream.
Breakfast

Please note: If you would like to do activities, such as sunset boat cruises lasting several hours, white water rafting or bungee jumping, you’ll need to stay one extra night at the Victoria Falls.

Day 14 – 15 | Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Gweta, Botswana

Transfer Victoria Falls – Kasane; driving time approx. 2 hours
Distance approx. 410 km; driving time approx. 5-6 hours

In the morning, you will again be picked up at your accommodation at Victoria Falls and driven back to Botswana and the town of Kasane. Here, you will get in your rental car and drive south via Nata to Gweta and the Planet Baobab. This quirky camp will be your home for the next two nights and is the ideal starting point to explore the Makgadikgadi Pans (only accessible in a 4×4 vehicle or on a guided tour). Book a guided 4×4 tour the next day and discover the seemingly endless Ntwetwe Pan with wildlife living in its grassland, secret ‘islands’ and ancient baobab trees. We recommend booking this tour in advance.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 16 | Gweta, Botswana – Maun, Botswana

Distance approx. 220 km; driving time approx. 2-3 hours

After a relaxed breakfast, you drive to Maun. The rapidly growing frontier town has shopping centres and hotels and is the base of many air charter companies operating into the Delta. It has not lost all of its old town charm though, as many local tribesmen 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 dinner at the lodge’s restaurant or in Maun (own account). At the lodge, you will receive detailed information on your flight and departure time for your upcoming fly-in safari.
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. Alternatively, you can book a taxi transfer from the lodge. Look forward to an exciting fly-in safari as you board the plane which will take you to the heart of the Okavango Delta. During your flight, you can enjoy views across the biggest inland delta in Africa, home to spectacular wildlife; from different species of antelopes and elephants to lions and African wild dogs, just to name a few. The Okavango Delta is also a paradise for bird lovers. You will spend your time in the delta exploring your surrounds in mokoros (dugout canoes), on boat cruises or on guided bush walks. You will spend two nights at the unique Setari Camp. All activities in the Okavango Delta are included in your package.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | local beverages and scheduled activities

Day 19 | Okavango Delta, Botswana – Maun, Botswana – Ghanzi Area, Botswana

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

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 on well-tarred roads make your way west to Ghanzi. There you have the chance to visit the Bushman Craft Shop or just relax at the pool at Thakadu Bush Camp. The camp restaurant offers a variety of game meat specialities (own account).
Breakfast

Day 20 | Ghanzi Area, Botswana – Kalahari, Namibia

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

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.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 21 | Kalahari, Namibia – Windhoek, Namibia

Distance approx. 70 km; driving time approx. 1-2 hours

After a hearty breakfast 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 lodges, rest camps and guesthouses (depending on availability, accommodation of a similar standard will be booked)
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • All transfers according to the itinerary
  • Return flight Maun – Okavango Delta
  • Scheduled activities, national park fees, all soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks at Chobe Bakwena Lodge and Setari Camp

Important: On all light aircraft flights in Botswana, the luggage, including camera equipment and hand luggage, is restricted to 20 kg per person.

Excludes

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

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.

Highlights of Namibia and Botswana mp