Etosha Damaraland Victoria Falls And Botswana Self Drive – 1 night Windhoek | 2 nights Etosha | 3 nights Damaraland | 1 night Erongo Mountains | 2 nights Victoria Falls | 3 nights Chobe | 3 nights Okavango Delta
The guests wanted to exchange a cold winter Christmas for a warm sunny safari for their annual leave. This was their first visit to Africa and they were initially a little overwhelmed with the choices available. After discussing a few options, the guests decided on a self-drive tour with scheduled transfers combination with good quality standard accommodation and this helped to keep within their budget. The guests were happy to arrange their own regional flights and arrangements were made around their schedule and time available.
- Self Drive Touring
- Etosha National Park
- Victoria Falls Adventure
- Chobe National Park
- Big Five Game Viewing
- The Vastness of Namibia
- Damaraland Elephant & Rhino Tracking
- Essential Botswana Experience
- Okavango Delta
- Boat Cruises
On arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met by our representative who will hand over your documents and assist you to the ORT Gautrain station to you make your way to your hotel near the airport for your overnight stay.
This morning is an early start as you make your way to Johannesburg OR Tambo airport for your flight to Windhoek. Upon landing, you collect your hire car from the Bidvest kiosk. From the airport you will drive to your guesthouse, a small and informal retreat. You meet with a representative who will hand over your welcome pack and answer any last-minute questions regarding the Namibian section of your tour.
This afternoon is at leisure to wander into the city centre, or relax by the pool. Alternatively join an optional township tour, horse ride, or even head out for a birding trip.
This morning you check out of your hotel and set off on your drive to Etosha. The drive takes you north to Otjiwarongo, where you can buy water and fresh supplies, before continuing to Otavi and Tsumeb. You enter the park at the Von Lindequist gate and game drive your way to Namutoni Resort – your base for tonight. If time allows you can opt for an afternoon game drive by yourself or with the lodge in open game drive vehicles (at additional cost).
In the vast arid space of Northern Namibia lies one of Southern Africa’s best loved wildlife sanctuaries. The Etosha National Park offers excellent game viewing in one of Africa’s most accessible venues. Zebra and springbok are scattered across the endless horizon, while the many waterholes attract endangered black rhinoceros, lion, elephant and large numbers of antelope. Etosha, meaning ‘place of dry water’, is encloses a huge, flat calcrete depression (or pan) of about 5,000km². The ‘Pan’ provides a great, parched, silver-white backdrop of shimmering mirages to an area of semi-arid savannah grassland and thorn scrub. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.
Game drive to the south side of the park today, perhaps head around Fischer’s Pan – flamingos migrate here in the rainy season for breeding. Continue with your game drive to Okaukuejo and later in the day relax by the floodlit waterhole and see what game comes to drink. During the dry season, Okaukuejo waterhole is generally very active with hordes of animals wandering out of the bush to congregate to drink, as dust rises from hooves, and animals call across to each other, large herds of plains game such as springbok, zebra, wildebeest along with giraffe and kudu come to the fore. Around sunset it is common for herds of elephant, as well as the endangered black rhino to enter the fray. Lion and other predators are of course, frequent visitors as well.
The national park can be accessed via the southern entrance at Andersson’s Gate and the central point is Okaukuejo Resort. Visitors can catch a glimpse of abundant wildlife including: lion, giraffe, elephant, white and black rhino, and a multitude of plains game. Popular activities include: game drives, tracking rhinos on foot, guided nature walks, or watch the sunset over this magnificent landscape. Just outside the national park is the upmarket Ongava Private Reserve, as well as a number of mid-level accommodation and camp sites.
This morning, you exit the park at the Anderson’s gate and continue your journey to Northern Damaraland. This is a community-based establishment, where plateaus reach high on skyline and strange plant life dominates the stunning and ancient landscapes; perched on the edge of the plateau this lodge sits in a fantastic location and offers superb optional activities such as desert rhino or elephant tracking, traditional village visits, game drives and nature walks.
Huge, untamed and ruggedly beautiful Damaraland is an exceptionally scenic landscape of open plains and spectacular rock formations.
Some regard the highlight of the region as Twyfelfontein – Namibia’s first World Heritage Site and one of the largest collections of rock etchings in Africa. There are a number of sites worth exploring in the region and depending on how much time you have – Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain, the Erongo Mountains with its granite formations and conservancy programmes, then Spitzkoppe offering incredible rock formations as well as rock paintings.
Engage with local communities around the area including the Damara people and perhaps visit Damara Living Museum located close to Twyfelfontein.
Ultimately, this area is also home to free-roaming desert elephant, black rhino and desert-adapted lion (along with a number of other species including giraffe, mountain zebra etc), and some lodges offer superb activities enabling visitors to track these incredible animals.
This morning you say goodbye to Damaraland and depart for Erindi Old Traders Lodge, situated on a private reserve full of enticing game such as elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and even endangered wild dog, not forgetting hippo and crocodiles. This afternoon perhaps enjoy an optional game drive, heading off into the veld in search of some of species of game and birds before returning to the lodge around sunset. The waterhole at the front of the lodge is particularly active and attracts plenty of animals. Alternatively, sit by the swimming pool or your room overlooking a floodlit waterhole and watch the game come to quench their thirst.
This morning is an early start as you leave Erindi behind and embark upon you journey back to Windhoek and on to the international airport for your onward connection. You will need to check in for your direct flight to Victoria Falls.
On arrival in Victoria Falls, you are met by a driver and transferred to your lodge for your two night stay.
Driving time: Erongo to Windhoek Airport – Approx. 2 hours’ drive from the city.
Flight time: Windhoek to Victoria Falls – 1 hour and 35 minutes
Transfer time: Victoria Falls Airport to your Victoria Falls (Livingstone) hotel – approx. 20 minutes
Besides being one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls is the unchallenged adventure capital of Africa with more than 50 activities available.
At 1708 metres wide, Victoria Falls is the most expansive curtain of water in the world and drops more than 100 metres into the sheer Zambezi Gorge. Straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, these Falls and the Zambezi River are the central points in an area of spectacular scenic beauty: from the Falls themselves to the broad, picturesque course of the Zambezi River upstream, the rainforest adjacent and the stark jagged gorge downstream, the power and timelessness of nature’s forces are evident throughout.
This morning you enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel before you are collected from reception for your transfer to your lodge along the banks of the Chobe River (near the Chobe National Park) where you enjoy a three night stay.
Transfer time: Victoria Falls to Chobe Bakwena Lodge – approx. 1½ hours (plus border crossing)
Chobe National Park on Botswana’s north-west border is a pristine wilderness of open plains, baobab trees, ancient woodland, swamps and flood plains and is home to the greatest concentration of game in the entire southern African subcontinent. One of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe River forms the Park’s northern boundary. The Chobe riverfront area is most famous for its large herds of elephants and buffalo, which come down to the river in huge herds to drink during the dry winter months. During this season, one may see hundreds of elephants at one time. Other species include waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys and baboons, along with the accompanying predators lion, leopard, hyena and jackal. Over 460 bird species have been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird Safaris. A highlight of Chobe is taking a river cruise, which allows you to get up close with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds. You also get really close to animals that come down to the river.
This morning you are transferred from Chobe Bakwena to Kasane Airport for your shuttle flight to Kadizora airstrip. Your lodge will advise you of the time of departure. On arrival at Kadizora airstrip, you are transferred to your lodge for your three night stay
Transfer time: Chobe Bakwena Lodge to Kasane Airport – approx. 45 minutes
Flight time: Kasane to Kadizora – approx. 50 minutes
Transfer time: Kadizora airstrip to Kadizora Camp – approx. 30 minutes
The Okavango Delta in Botswana with its richly diverse wildlife species is one of the premium destinations in the world for a dynamic safari experience. This 22,000 square kilometre area offers a truly unique wilderness safari in Africa. The Delta forms where the Okavango River disappears beneath the sands of Botswana. Although the periphery is semi-arid, the Okavango Delta itself is a patchwork of cool clear streams, lagoons, floodplains and forested islands. In the dry winter season vast numbers of wildlife flock to where the floodwaters infiltrate the delta, providing one of the world’s most spectacular sights.
This morning you enjoy an early breakfast before you check out and are transferred to the Kadizora Camp airstrip to connect with your light aircraft transfer to Maun airport. Your lodge will advise you of the departure time from your lodge.
On arrival in Maun you check in for your return flight to OR Tambo International Airport; Johannesburg.
On arrival in Johannesburg, you make your way to your airport hotel where you check in for your overnight stay.
Transfer time: Kadizora Camp to Kadizora airstrip – approx. 30 minutes
Shuttle flight time: Kadizora to Maun – approx. 30/40 minutes
Flight time: Maun to Johannesburg – approx. 2 hours
Namibia: Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel
Windhoek Gardens Boutique Guesthouse is located five minutes away from the centre of Windhoek, making it a practical base for exploring the city, there are 28 uniquely Namibian themed rooms, each with complimentary high speed internet and an ample workstation. All rooms are twin bedded and have en-suite bathrooms. The modern, fitted rooms combine with a restful and rustic setting, there is a breakfast room and outside tables and chairs to relax around. The restaurant has dinner facilities but if you want to dine Joe’s Beer House is a popular choice.
Etosha National Park: Etosha East: Namutoni Resort
Namutoni Resort forms part of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts group of rest camps and is located within the Etosha National Park. The resort centres around an old German fort overlooking the King Nehale waterhole which provides some of the best sunset views of Etosha. An elevated wooden walkway links the fort which houses the restaurant, shop and bar area to the rooms and swimming pool. The resort is home to resident families of banded mongoose and jackal that are often seen around the camp.
Accommodation is provided in comfortable double rooms or bush chalets. The double rooms and the spacious bush chalets are equipped with an en suite bathroom, a fridge, a tea station and private areas for relaxation. Namutoni is situated on the east aspect of Etosha National Park with entry/exit via Von Lindequist Gate.
Etosha South: Okaukuejo Resort
Okaukuejo is located 17 km from the southern entrance of the park, and famous for its flood-lit waterhole, where visitors can observe at close quarters a spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting – this is an incredible sight during the dry winter months and one of best places to see herds of elephant, black rhino and large herds of plains game.
The spectacle starts at dawn, with animals coming in large numbers to quench their thirst and continues throughout the day until late at night. In the early evenings, it is not uncommon to have black rhino, elephant and lion all drinking at the same time.
Damaraland: Grootberg Lodge
Thanks to funds donated by the European Union, the 16 chalet Grootberg Lodge was built. It was the first lodge to be wholly owned by the community and this in turn has brought employment and a more sustainable income to the members, as well as revenue to aide and promoted social initiatives and resources. A reform in conservation efforts and education placed the community as custodian and beneficiaries to the area and the value of conservation became understood. With community members comprising of up to 98% of the employees, even former poachers became conservationists particularly for those with excellent bush and tracking skills, superb knowledge of the area, these people became the best candidates for the job. An environmental award-winning lodge, increasing wildlife numbers in the conservancy, superb location and game such as black rhino, desert-adapted lion and elephant and sustainable tourism makes this a truly worthwhile lodge to visit and is one of our favourites as a 3* destination. The lodge itself perches on the edge of the plateau with incredible vistas, and has an infinity pool, thatched bar, lounge and dining area, along with a small curio shop and internet facilities. There are 16 en-suite chalets in total – 14 twin/double, plus two family chalets, each with its own deck and view with a tea/coffee station and mosquito nets.
Erongo Mountains: Erindi Private Game Reserve: Old Traders Lodge
Erindi Private Game Reserve is a jewel in the heart of the wild Namibian landscape. The reserve of 70 000ha is situated 40km east of the town of Omaruru. Old Traders Lodge provides the accommodation at Erindi. This impressive lodge comprises the main dining room and viewing deck as well as 35 well- appointed suites that all have views of a waterhole and is located about two hours drive to/from Windhoek so this is an ideal stopover.
Erindi falls within the Nama Karoo biome and is arid to semi-arid characterized by scattered low dwarf shrubs interspersed with grasslands and has an amazing array of diverse landscapes including mountains, riverine thickets, inselbergs (“island mountains”) and grassland savannahs for as far as the eye can see. Game includes big cats such as lion, leopard, and cheetah, and the opportunity to see wild dog – one of the few locations in Namibia where you can spot these magnificent and endangered animals. Elephant, rhino, giraffe and a plethora of plains game also make their home here along with a conservation project dedicated to leopard running in the area.
Victoria Falls: Avani Victoria Falls Resort
Avani Victoria Falls Resort is a superior 3* hotel located right on the edge of the Eastern Cataract of the falls and reflects the richness and diversity of the land’s heritage. The architecture of the hotel was inspired by the timeless African tradition. Simple, rustic, and welcoming, its unique styling offers visitors the experience of truly being in the heart of Africa.
The 212 en-suite rooms have private balconies that allow the morning sun in and are tastefully decorated with an African flavour with mosaics and earthy coloured fabrics. Facilities at the hotel include an in-house restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool.
The Victoria Falls National Park borders the front of the property and wild animals often graze on the hotel lawns, with the spray of the falls in the background. The hotel is within walking distance of the Falls.
Chobe National Park: Bakwena Lodge
Bakwena Lodge is an intimate, privately owned eco-lodge on the banks of the Chobe River. Bakwena has 15 individual chalets designed and decorated in a manner befitting our environment; they offer a cool and comfortable escape. There are two room types at Bakwena Lodge consisting of ten river-view chalets, which are all facing the magnificent Chobe river and five treetop chalets which are elevated 3.5m above the ground with views of the treetop canopy.
Bakwena offers guests an inclusive safari option in an area with some of the finest game viewing to be had. Chobe is well known for its predators and has the home of most of Botswana’s estimated 200 000 elephants. Activities are naturally focused on the land and water based safaris, all based in-house, a host of other activities are also on offer from fishing trips to guided bicycle tours or a sundowner cruise to the meeting place of four countries, (the only one in the world). Chobe and the lodge are host to a huge variety of bird species that can be enjoyed from your private deck, on foot or the comfort of one of their comfortably appointed game viewers or boats.
Okavango Delta: Kadizora Camp
Kadizora Camp truly offers the ultimate Okavango Delta experience, with a wide range of activities, a beautiful location, diverse wildlife and warm, local hospitality. Kadizora Camp is situated between the Vumbura River and Selinda Spillway. It lies in the remote northern part of the Okavango Delta over-looking a panoramic seasonal floodplain. Giant Marulas, Sycamore figs, Jackalberries and Rain trees provide a canopy of shade throughout the camp.
The bar, lounge, reception and dining area form a horse-shoe shape around the sandy fire pit. From there, a decked walkway leads you to an inviting swimming pool with a view over the floodplain.
The camp’s accommodation consists of eight luxury tents and four standard tents’ with either twin or a conversion to a double bed. Each tent is well-positioned for ultimate privacy and seclusion. All tents feature a luxurious en-suite bathroom and outdoor decking, with spectacular views for a true ‘Out of Africa’ experience.
Kadizora Camp also facilitates open vehicle safaris, walking safaris and boating. Mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions provide a fabulous and traditional way to explore the meandering water channels. Float quietly amongst the water-lilies and experience a spectacular bird lovers’ paradise.
The bar at Kadizora Camp is on a raised deck with a panoramic view of the floodplain. Enjoy a picturesque Delta sunset, with your favourite sundowner, watching the colours intensify long after the sun has set. The inviting camp fire is the focal point from dawn to dusk, and it is the perfect place to chat about the day’s adventures.
SUGGESTED Windhoek: City Tour & Adventure Activities
Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised, with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops, and the widespread use of the German language – though English is the official language. The city has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a look, including the Alte Feste (Old Fort), the 1896 Christuskirche (Christ Church), and the more contemporary Supreme Court.
You can also enjoy various activities in and around Windhoek itself such as horse rides or a birding tour.
SUGGESTED Etosha National Park – Etosha East: Self Drive or Guided Game Drive
This expanse of land fringing the ancient Etosha salt pan itself, is world renowned for the plethora of wildlife and bird life that frequents the waterholes all year round. Nothing grows in the salty, lime-rich pan except algae, but some of the surrounding smaller pans are surrounded by grassland, mopane shrublands, and some woodland which sustains a remarkable variety of life. Of the big five, only buffalo don’t reside here – and that is more than made up for by exceptional sightings of black rhino, seldom seen in most other safari destinations. The park’s 300-odd lion (the country’s core population) are relaxed around vehicles and regularly seen. Slinky, secretive leopards are of course harder to see but certain waterholes are known to have a resident spotted cat. It is worth remembering that Etosha really is an arid place, a harsh landscape that some might find unforgiving. Towards the end of dry season, grazing around waterholes is depleted and hooves clatter on stones as animals come down to drink. It is quite primordial in ways; but foregrounds the natural cycles that allows life to flourish even in tough places like this.
SUGGESTED Etosha National Park – Etosha South: Daily Safari Programme at Okaukuejo Resort
Okaukuejo Resort which opened in 1955 is located 17 km from the southern entrance of the park and is the oldest as well as largest rest camp in Etosha National Park. It is famous for its flood-lit waterhole, where visitors can observe at close quarters a spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting – this is an incredible sight during the dry winter months and one of best places to see herds of elephant, black rhino and large herds of plains game. The spectacle starts at dawn, with animals coming in large numbers to quench their thirst and continues throughout the day until late at night. The camp is close to Andersson Gate and the waterholes in the area are extremely popular for game and bird viewing alike. The grassy stretches west of Okaukuejo attract game in large numbers after the rains, and are a calving hotspot for antelope.
Many of the area’s waterholes have a distinct character and are known for particular sightings which provides incredible photographic opportunities on self or guided drives. There is nothing better than settling into a quiet spot to sit and listen and watch and wait for action around the water – this can be watching herd animals such as zebras, springbuck and wildebeest jostling for a drink, flocks of gorgeous sandgrouse flying in as black-backed jackals try and snap them from the air, or sudden drama as elephant arrive in rumbling groups to quench their thirst.
SUGGESTED Damaraland: Desert Elephant & Rhino Tracking
Enjoy optional activities such as guided rhino tracking in the Klip River which is a mixture of 4×4 game drive and tracking on foot, with the possibility of between 1-3 hours walk and at lunch time there will be a stop near the springs. It can be almost a full day activity travelling on bumpy roads and walking in rocky terrain and note that sightings are not guaranteed.
Alternatively, you may choose to enjoy searching for the famous desert elephant – a morning activity venturing to local communities and tracing the giants from here as they vend their way through the region and a real chance to see them in incredible habitats along with learning about the lifestyle of local people.
SUGGESTED Victoria Falls: View the Falls
The Victoria Falls’ local name, Mosi-Oa-Tunya – “the Smoke that Thunders” – more accurately defines the essence of the place: the rising, shining spray that can be seen 30km away. This vapour has the effect of adding moisture in the form of humidity to the air in the “splash zone”, so that a unique, small rainforest ecosystem clings to the edge of the Falls, providing a toehold for no less than 70 shrub and 150 herbaceous species, as well as trees such as pod and Natal mahogany, ebony, Cape and strangler fig and Transvaal red milkwood. There are two National Parks in the vicinity: the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe and the Mosi-oa-Tunya Zoological Park in Zambia, which means that herds of big game such as elephant and buffalo, as well as smaller species and even predators such as lion persist in the area.
SUGGESTED Victoria Falls: Adventure Activities
Victoria Falls is the unchallenged adventure capital of Africa with more than 50 activities available. Here is our selection of the best:
Spend a half day on the Zambezi River fishing for one of the great freshwater game fish – The Tigerfish. These powerful, swift predators are truly thrilling to catch.
Paddle slowly down the Zambezi River in a canoe with some of the best wildlife guides in Africa and enjoy the beauty, peace and wildlife of this unique place. Explore islands and waterways and learn about the birds and animals you come across along the route.
Flight of Angels Helicopter Flip over the Falls:
At ground level you can feel the enormous power of the Victoria Falls as tremendous volumes of water pound into the chasm below. But it is only when you take to the air that you can take in the whole panorama and enormity of this mighty spectacle.
Bungi jump off the 111 metre high railway bridge into the Zambezi gorge, stopping just metres from the rushing water of the Zambezi River. This is a wild jump! There are two bungi options: A single jump on your own or a tandem jump with a partner.
White Water Rafting:
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River is acclaimed as the best one day white water rafting trip available in the world. There are different options for rafting depending on the time of year and the level of water in the river.
Jet Boat Extreme:
Speedboats powered by huge jet engines shoot down the rapids below the Victoria Falls at 100 km an hour. Enjoy a thrilling half hour spent “flying” over the water.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Victoria Falls: Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River
Follow in the footsteps of David Livingstone and travel up the Zambezi River above the Falls. There are several companies offering boat trips on the Zambezi River. Especially recommended is an evening sundowner boat cruise or a dinner cruise. As afternoon fades into twilight, animals come down to the river to drink as you go by.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Chobe National Park: Daily Safari Activities at Chobe Bakwena Lodge
Bakwena is the proud owner of four game vehicles allowing extended drives to suit guests and the chance to linger longer at game sightings. Bakwena Lodge is approximately a 15-20 minute drive from the main entrance to the Chobe National Park.
Early bird and sedate afternoon drives ensure every box is ticked. Experienced guides with extensive knowledge of the Chobe National Park provide an entertaining and educational addition to your safari. You meander through the bush and along the banks of the river.
There are boat cruises then there are Chobe cruises. Exquisite and beyond comparison the Chobe river boasts one of the highest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. Float in a 24 seater Noah’s Ark past every creature on this continent great and small.
Time stands still, mirages of herds of elephant swimming and predators in slow motion. Salute the break of dawn with a strong brewed coffee or swirl gin and tonic at the pace of a setting sun.
Okavango Delta: Daily Safari Programme at Kadizora Camp
Famed for its big cat and bird population, the Okavango Delta is a peaceful haven where animals have been protected for decades and know they will not be disturbed. At Kadizora Camp, you have the opportunity to see animals up close with your expert guide on morning and evening game drives in open 4 x 4 vehicles. A night game drive is the perfect means to see some of the nocturnal animals one wouldn’t see during the day time. During higher water levels game drives will be combined with motorised boating excursions. (Night drives are seasonal, depending on water levels.)
Because the camp is set in a private concession, there is the opportunity to get very close on foot in perfect safety with one of our guides. Find out how to track and follow even the most elusive of animals in the Okavango. One of the best ways to see the wildlife around the Camp is in one of the locally made dugout canoes, known as mokoros. These used to be carved from ebony but are now made from commercially grown wood and fibreglass to protect the fragile environment of the Okavango. In one of these traditional crafts it is possible to float around the waterways and lagoons that make up the delta, looking for hippos and crocodiles in the water, but also getting a remarkable view of the plains game from a new and exciting angle.
David & Marilyn O, Switzerland,
Thank you very much for your support in organizing our trip. We had a fantastic time and were positively surprised about how well everything was organized and how smooth it all went. We are experienced and flexible travellers and could adapt to the unexpected flat tyre and slightly longer driving distances.