HIGHLIGHTS OF NAMIBIA AND BOTSWANA
20 Night / 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.
Day 1-5 | Namibia
- Windhoek: National Gallery, Botanic Garden of Windhoek
- 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, game drive, village visit (all optional)
Day 11-12 | Botswana
- Chobe National Park: Game drive, river cruise
Day 13-14 | Zimbabwe
- Victoria Falls: Visit to the falls, boat cruise, white water rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, elephant ride, scenic flight (all optional)
Day 15-19 | Botswana
- Nata: Salt pans, guided tour to the salt pans, Nata Bird Sanctuary (both optional)
- Okavango Delta: Flight into the delta, mokoro excursions, nature walks, game drives
- Ghanzi: Craft shop
Self-Drive Safari: Highlights of Namibia and Botswana
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private safari
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: from 63,700 NAD
Single Supplement: from 20,200 NAD
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner | 2 scheduled activities daily
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.
Day 15 | Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Nata, Botswana
Transfer Batonka Guest Lodge – Kasane; driving time approx. 2h
Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 2 scheduled game activities daily, 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
Important: On all light aircraft flights in Botswana, the luggage, including camera equipment and hand luggage, is restricted to 20 kg per person.
- Additional flights (international and domestic)
- Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Beverages (alcohol 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.