Namibia and Botswana camping safari

“Adventure levels are high - not just because of the locations, but the style of travel. Travel overland across desert and wetlands, camping on wild islands and mucking in each day.”

Highlights

Livingstone | Victoria Falls | Caprivi | Boat cruise to Popa Falls | Rundu | Etosha National Park | Desert elephants | Spitzkoppe | Swakopmund | Cape Cross seal colony | Sossusvlei | Windhoek | Kalahari walk with San bushmen | Mokoro canoe ride on Okavango Delta | Caming on remote Delta island | Makgadikgadi Pans | Game drives in Chobe National Park | Optional: white water rafting on Zambezi, bungee jump, quad biking, dune boarding

Description of Namibia and Botswana camping safari

There’s nothing quite as exciting as preparing for a Botswana and Namibia safari as you just know that three weeks in southern Africa is going to be one of those experiences that you’re never going to forget.

This camping safari in Namibia and Botswana combines all of the undisputable natural highlights of southern Africa alongside some extraordinary nature walks and wildlife drives, with the likes of the Okavango Delta, the Namib Desert and Etosha National Parks never failing to live up to expectations.

For two thirds of this safari tour (16 nights) you’ll be staying in organised campsites in or around the borders of national parks or townships. These sorts of campsites are equipped with showers, laundries and small on-site shops with facilities in Windhoek consisting of previously erected dome tents with shared washing facilities. The remaining overnight accommodation includes two nights wild camping along the Okavango Delta with basic facilities that have been set up by the travel team, and two nights in an en-suite twin bedroom in a lodge in Swakopmund.

Meals include: 20 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 12 evening dinners which will be prepped and cooked at the transport vehicle prior to being eaten around the camp fire or in the designated dining area. Some meals will be taken at local restaurants and are not included in the overall price.

Whilst on this Botswana and Namibia safari tour you’ll be travelling in 12-seater safari trucks which are designed to give passengers comfort over difficult terrain and throughout long distances. Transfers within the Okavango Delta leg utilise open-sided four-wheel-drive vehicles and are accompanied by local guides to maximise wildlife watching and gaining a deeper understanding of the surrounding landscapes and cultural history of the area.

Although the safari team are fully-equipped to deal with each and every situation it really does help if travellers lend a hand and get stuck in around the camp. Working on a washing up rota and helping to pack the truck each morning are just a couple of ways travellers can get more out of the experience and help in the smooth transition from one location to the next.

It’s possible to go on a Botswana and Namibia safari all year round with the rainy season, from December to May, providing glorious green foliage for migrating birds whilst the dry season, from June to November, offers milder temperatures as well as better game viewing around slowly drying water holes.

Day-by-day itinerary

Days 1 -2:After initially meeting in Livingstone you’ll have two days to discover the delights of the Victoria Falls with adventure activities, such as white-water-rafting, bungee jumping and swimming in the Zambezi River always a great way to start your southern Africa adventure as you mean to go on. (Overnight camping accommodation close to Victoria Falls with breakfast included.)
Days 3-4:From Livingstone you’ll cross the Zambezi at the north bank town of Sesheke via the Caprivi Strip whereupon you’ll continue your travels westwards across northern Namibia where a boat cruise on the River Kavango is a real highlight. (Overnight camping accommodation with all meals included.)
Day 5:This morning you’ll continue your Namibia safari west as you follow the River Kavango as it passes grass hut villages and local wooden craft stalls en-route to the market town of Rundu. This evening’s overnight camp in Rundu is usually accompanied by a fabulous sunset over the river. (All meals included.)
Days 6-7:For the next two days your Namibia safari really begins in earnest with Etosha National Park providing the wildlife watching potential as you undertake game drives around the watering holes from where elephants, antelopes and lions are well known to congregate after dark. Camping on the edge of the Etosha pan is a real pleasure with flood-lit watering holes at camps, such as: Namutoni, Halali or Okaukuejo, always making the animals the star attraction, even after sunset. (Overnight camping with all meals included.)
Day 8:The remarkable Ugab wilderness provides our platform for the next day’s adventure with a guided mountain walk unveiling an abundance of rock art prior to returning to the camp at Brandberg where the dry bed of the River Ugab conjures up some phenomenal sightings of lesser-seen desert elephants. (Overnight camping with all meals included.)
Day 9:Today you’ll continue south and into the desert landscapes and huge domed granite rock formations of Spitzkoppe whereupon the overnight camp will be set up giving travellers the chance to explore within the tranquil wide open spaces surrounding the mysterious boulder like peaks. (Overnight camping with all meals included.)
Days 10-11:Heading for the coast today gives you a chance to watch the horizon turn blue as you cross the flat plains en-route to the Cape Cross seal colony and the seaside town of Swakopmund. The rest of today is free to explore in Swakopmund or take part in an optional activity, such as quad biking or surfing over the sand dunes. Overnight will be at a local guesthouse with your evening meal to be taken at one of the local restaurants. (Breakfast and lunch included.)
Days 12-13:The landscapes surrounding Swakopmund are unique to say the least with lunar like rock formations and dusty plains forming the route out of town and into the soaring red sand dunes of the Namib Desert. This section of the safari in Namibia includes a walk to the salt and clay pan of Sossusvlei as well as a chance to explore within the Sesriem Canyon before ascending one of the sand dunes to watch the sun set over the folds of the desert. (Overnight camping with all meals included.)
Day 14:Today you’ll continue the journey east and away from the coast as you discover the charming city of Windhoek which manages to blend African culture with European style within a friendly and cosmopolitan setting. (Overnight camping tonight including breakfast and lunch.)
Day 15:Today is where the Botswana safari leg of your tour takes off as you cross the border from Namibia and take a guided walk with a local San Bushman who will impart a few bush skills before you head to your overnight campsite in the Kalahari. (All meals included.)
Days 16-18:In the morning you’ll begin to make your way from the Kalahari and into the Okavango Delta where you’ll be able to experience riding in a Makoro dugout canoe, bush walks, bird watching and wild camping on remote islands for the next two nights. This truly is a unique and relatively untouched natural area with beautiful scenery and clear water for swimming adding to the exhilaration of being on safari in Botswana. (Overnight camping and all meals included.)
Day 19:There’s just something about a panoramic African sunset over a shimmering lake that makes you glad to be alive which is why today’s overnight camp just outside the Makgadikgadi pans is such a surreal and almost ethereal experience. (Overnight camping with breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 20:Although this is the penultimate day of your Botswana safari there’s still plenty to get excited about with the trip to Kasane by means of Chobe Forest Reserve definitely no exception. An afternoon on a river boat cruise within the elephant and buffalo territories of Chobe National Park is always a fitting way to enjoy yourself prior to one final overnight camp in southern Africa. (Breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 21:Your Botswana and Namibia safari tour comes to an end today as you transfer back to Livingstone after breakfast and bid farewell to your travelling companions at midday local time.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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02 Oct 2016
€ 1990
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Our top tip:
Pack a headtorch, plenty of warm layers and earplugs. The bush can be surprisingly loud pre-dawn!
Trip type:
Small group camping safari, max 12 people. Min age 12.
Activity level:
Moderate/active.
Accomm:
16 nights campsites with showers, 2 wild camping, 3 guesthouse (ensuite twin room).
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single tents/rooms.
Included:
Accomm., camping equipment (except sleeping bags), transport, guides, listed activities
Meals:
All breakfasts, 17 lunches, 12 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Namibia and Botswana camping safari

Environment

Message from co-Founder of this Tour Operator. My name is Bruce and I am a founder of this tour operation. I believe that the old conservation tactic of the setting aside areas of "exclusion" for conservation are outdated.

The reality is that in order for effective, sustainable conservation to take place, there needs to be an interest from the society of that country, conscious effort from government and local "buy in" from the local communities. Sadly the world is in a place where economic benefit is the overriding driving force of action and as such conservation is directly linked to economic benefit. Sustainable tourism is therefore absolutely essential for conservation to be effective. Not only for local communities to see value in conservation, but for countries as a whole to place value in protecting their natural heritage.

I believe there is a deep and instinctual link between our humanity and our natural environment. Inherently we all want to know that the wild places are still out there. And Eco-tourism gives us that opportunity, as we so often hear, to "rebalance" or "rejuvenate".

The various promises and commitments detailed below are only a representation of what it is that we do. I sincerely hope that our tours offer our clients an opportunity to experience the wonders of the African continent, and in some small way through focusing itineraries around wildlife and national parks, we contribute to environmental conservation both economically and spiritually.

If you join one of our trips, and have practical feasible suggestions about our responsible travel practices, please contact us. We strive to improve our operation and if we can do more for conservation in Africa, then we're all ears!

Low impact tourism & supporting local communities:
• Small group travel: We specialise in small group travel with a maximum group size of 12 clients & minimum of 4. Small groups ensures a small impact on the destinations we visit when compared to larger groups. Smaller groups create an intimate safari experience, and mean that when we interact with local cultures and stay in environmentally sensitive areas, we do not leave a large footprint.
• Fuel consumption: By travelling in a small group your carbon foot print is approximately ½ of self drive safari. The average pick-up car hire runs on approximately 12ltr/100km with generally 2 people per vehicle and this equates to approximately 6ltr/100km pp. Our average safari truck runs on 25ltr/100km with an average of 9.5 clients per tour and this equates to 2.6Ltr/100km pp. So, by joining a small group tour, your fuel consumption is less than half of doing a self-drive 4WD or pick up trip.
• Cooking: We cook using gas as far as possible and, whenever feasible, avoiding cooking using fire or coal which depletes limited wood resources.
• Wooden carving curios: We do take clients to local curio markets to support the local communities. If they want to buy a carving, we encourage clients purchase only small wooden carvings instead of large pieces. This is in an effort to again conserve the forests around the carving markets.
• Waste: We ensure that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop, including oil traps, oil recycling, cleaning products etc).
• Entrance fees: All entrance fees for the national parks in each country are used by the local authorities to maintain the condition and infrastructure of the national parks, and run regular anti-poaching patrols. These are often supplemented by government grants. The national parks support a large number of local community members often providing housing and schooling for the staff families. For us as a tour operator, supporting the various national park boards is an essential element to each tour.
• Accommodation: On all tours wherever possible we use locally owned accommodation establishments which are involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. This provides direct benefits to local communities through employment. We avoid large hotel chains and more commercial properties but opt for simple self-catering lodge, B&B’s and tented camps for accommodation in rural areas. By doing this we create an intimate environment for group away from large scale tourism and the communities around the accommodation benefit directly through employment and this creates pride and further interest in sustainable tourism as the communities have tangible benefits from tourism. Our tours focus on out of the way destinations, and as such, our “spend” is distributed into rural areas.
• Drinking Water: Each client, drinking 5 litres per day from 1 litre plastic bottles produces 100 waste plastic bottles on a 3 week safari. On this calculation, we would pollute the environment (and waste energy resources in plastic production) with over 250,000 plastic bottles per year! So as solution, each of our vehicles has a tank of clean drinking water that is filled up along the journey. This is safe tap water. We do not provide bottle water we encourage clients to drink the local clean drinkable tap water wherever possible in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottle waste produced by the purchase of bottled drinking water.
• Water conservation: We are acutely aware that in many areas that we visit water is a scarce resource. Clients are encouraged to be conscious of water usage and not to take long showers or waste water.
• Wildlife: On all game drives, our trained and qualified guides ensure that our groups interact with wildlife in the appropriate way. Slow movements, no loud noises and to respect the animals “personal” boundaries. Our philosophy is that we are visitors in the amazing places that we visit, and we do not want our presence to impact the wildlife and environment in any negative way. We also enforce a policy of not feeding any wildlife (animals habituated to human feeding will turn aggressive in the future which often results in authorities being forced to kill that animal) and to appreciate the natural state of the areas that we visit and to leave the area in exactly the same condition that it was when we arrived.
• Local guides & communities: On each tour you will travel with two guides for the entire trip. In addition, we also employ local guides for certain activities on tour. These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times! The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These interactions also give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa, piece by piece.
We use local guides at:
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chobe NP, Ghanzi San Bushman excursion, national parks
South Africa: Mkuzi village walk, Qunu Mandela historical site, Kozi Bay
Swailand: Hlane walking
Lesotho: Malealea Lodge pony trekking guide
Malawi: Boat excursion on Lake Malawi
Mozambique: Dhow excursions
Namibia: Brandberg walk and drives (part of the Tsiseb Community Conservancy), Spizkoppe walk, Gariep River canoeing, Sossusvlei 4WD drivers,
Zambia: Lower Zambezi Canoe excursion, South Luangwa game walks and drives, Vic Falls optional activities
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Matobos NP, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls
For more information on each of the community projects please talk to your guide or contact us.
• Local crafts and produce: At all local markets where fresh produce and crafts are sold and produced, we encourage the clients to barter (gently and in good humour) with the local people. This not only allows the clients to get involved with the local way of life, and interact directly with the local people, but also provides them a platform to experience local life first hand. Having said that, we explain to the clients by bartering too hard for a good deal might seem like a lot of money at the time, but if the amount being haggled over is converted to either US$, Euro or GBP, it amounts to very little. This is the local livelihood and we advise them to keep this in mind at all times.
• Underprivileged Children Groups: We operate a number of tours into the national parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from schools based in Johannesburg, South Africa. PEN Organisation is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africa’s future and that environmental education is important. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife (perhaps for the first time), nature conservation at work, and also show them employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry, and possibly encourage them to follow a career in tourism (for this reason we aim these groups at 14-18 year olds).
• Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: We assist a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Springs, Johannesburg. Judy Davidson runs a licensed rehab centre from a small holding. A variety of birds are cared for, from injured barbets, doves, and crows to a brown snake eagle, a Gymnogene, and spotted eagle owls. All birds are treated in a small makeshift clinic, and then kept in aviaries until they have recovered. Once able to fly, or care for themselves again, they are moved to a 'flight' aviary, for a period until they have regained strength. They are then released back into the wild. Those birds which are unable to be released are kept in large aviaries and fed through various donations. We assist the project with donations of practical equipment including shade netting, paint and other items on their wish list.

Community

Okavango Delta: We use local community 'polers' to take us into the Okavango Delta. The polers have an intimate knowledge of the Okavango Delta, and their employment as guides ensure that the local community benefit from tourism and ensures that these areas are conserved for future generations.
The Okavango Delta, 1000th World Heritage Site, is an important wildlife refuge for many animals, both resident and migratory. It attracts thousands of tourists to Botswana annually, and maintaining the pristine nature of the environment is very important to the country. Water from the Delta is integral to the continued sustainability of the Botswana tourism industry. Without water, the environment would no longer support such diversity. There have been many talks about damming upper sections of the Kavango River which feeds the Okavango Delta. Should this go ahead it will disrupt the natural system of the Delta and adversely affect the wildlife and the industry as a whole. Tour leaders will explain all of this to clients so that clients are made aware of what potentially could happen if this plan is implemented. The more people who are made aware of the threats to this ecosystem, the less likely it is to happen. By people visiting the Delta, creating jobs, and allowing the delta to make much needed funds, the less likely it is that the planned dam will go ahead.

Okavango SOS trees project: Okavango Botswana: For hundreds of years, the local communities in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta have used the wood of the sausage tree to craft their traditional mokoro (dugout canoes). The knowledge and skill have been passed down from generation to generation and, up until recently, has been a sustainable practice. With increasing numbers of people visiting the Delta each year, more mokoro are needed and as a direct result, more and more Sausage Trees (Kigela Africana) are being felled and the tree is sadly disappearing from the region. A traditional wooden mokoro will have to be replaced every five years, thereby placing increased pressure on the dwindling Sausage Tree supply.
As a solution we have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fibreglass mekoros, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced with much less negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fibreglass mokoro is needed, and a portion of the tour cost will be donated to the project, but we also will offer our clients the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile cause. Please feel free to contact the our office for more information on the SOS Trees project or if you would like to make any contributions towards this project. It is something that is close to all of our hearts and we have been successful in replacing 30+ (circ. 2015) mekoro thus far.

Wild Camping in Botswana: As a camping tour this means our environmental impact is minimal. We stay in designated campsites, and leave it in a pristine condition. Litter is strictly policed. The potential of creating wildfires is great, so the group is briefed on smoking restriction and how to dispose of cigarette butts.
All camps are un-fenced, so the potential is there for the wildlife to come into camp and clients are briefed as to the restrictions of keeping to camp and not wandering away from the confines of the campsite.

Kalahari: Our visit to the Kalahari is for the express purpose to meet the San Bushman. These amazing people whose culture is under threat of being lost. Our bush walk with the San bushman teaches us how it is possible to find food and water in this harsh environment. The area that we visit in the Kalahari has been set aside for a small community of San Bushman so that they can live in their traditional way. Your visit not only brings in much needed money, but it helps to show the younger generations that there is still a lot of value to their traditional way of life.

Reviews of Namibia and Botswana camping safari

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The huge variety of places, parks and terrains we visited. Camping enabled us to stay in the national parks, so we didn't have as much travelling as the accommodated group on the same tour. The tour guides were superb.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


You will not regret it! Arrange your own airport transfer directly with the hotel in Livingstone, it's much cheaper than what the holiday providers charge.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes it supported local people, and we left each campsite and lunch spot without any evidence we'd been there. But using nearly 5000km worth of diesel may not have been good for the environment, but how else can you travel around?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was tremendous!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear John

Thank you so much for leaving your review on the Namibia Botswana Desert & Delta tour. I am so pleased you had such a wonderful tour and memorable experience and that you have taken the time to share your experience.

I will pass your comments onto the whole team.

As you mention, airport transfers can be booked through us or yourself and this is completely up to the discretion of the travelling. Our rate is dictated by the rate the transfer company we use.

With regards to the distance travelled on this tour. On average we carry 10 people per tour on this trip which then equates to only 500km per person. This means that group travel has a much smaller environmental impact than a self-drive.

This tour really does have a huge amount of variety and is a firm favourite with clients.

Once again thank you and we hope you choose to travel with us again.

Kind regards
Jayne Harley
Marketing Manager

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Climbing the Big Daddy dune

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


take earplugs, because the morning birdsong (at 330 sometimes) can be very loud
indeed!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


yes, obvious that lots of money was being spent locally, using local guides for
specific trips etc

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


excellent, but very tiring

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We loved the game drives! We loved how close we could get to wildlife and just being able to really observe various animals in their habitats.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do it! Especially if you enjoy wild camping--not the kind with running water and generators at each site but camping in places quite remote with few amenities.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Reduced impacts--we used a fraction of the resources travelers on supported safaris use. Supported conservation--national parks need responsible tourists paying park fees to do their work.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We loved it! The staff was so knowledgeable and we enjoyed the participation aspect of the trip. The people we met were great and it was really a bonus to meet people from all over the world.

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were just too many to give just one! Stunning sunsets every night, the clear starry nights, amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery, incredible people, and great company....

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take a head torch - it was absolutely invaluable. And believe the brochure when it says take warm clothes: it was absolutely freezing some nights. If you can, squeeze a sleeping bag in to your luggage. I'm not sure what the freezing point of washing up liquid is, but that's how cold it was. My other tip is that if you are a keen photographer, take the best photography equipment you can afford/borrow - the photo opportunities are endless.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - but maybe not as much as was advertised. Local people were certainly benefited, although I did wonder if the San Bushmen benefited as much as their translator. The information provided by the company suggested that we could drink the water from a tank on the truck to reduce the use of plastic bottles, but were advised by our guides that we should only drink bottled water.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was the most incredible, wonderful 3 weeks. Not perfect, but pretty close!

Read the operator's response here:

Yes, the truck has a 150ltr water tank which is always filled from a safe drinking source. We do, as company. Generally promote the refillable water bottles. I do not know why the guides would say not to drink that water, and I have a note to ask them about it when they’re next in the office?

Obviously the guides comments go against company policy, so I need their input as to why they gave this info (maybe they had had to fill the tank from a bad source). If no good reason, I’ll remind them of the environmental implications of plaster water containers.

We visit the Trail Blazers campsite near Ghanzi, where we have a walk led by the San people and Robert as the translator. Robert, although only part San, grew up with the San (but not this family) and speaks 4 different dialects of San. The money that we pay to Trail Blazers for the San guided walk goes to the San themselves. The camping fees we pay to Trail Blazers goes to the owners of the private farm on which the campsite is situated. The distribution of the funds for the San is not something I have a lot of detail on.

However, having experienced several of this type of “cultural experience” I felt that the experience provided at Trail Blazers was authentic and respectful. We therefore chose to use Trail Blazers.

I have spoken, through Robert, to two of the San elders at Trail Blazers – and they told me they were happy with their arrangement with the owners of the farm. Their main objective is to teach their younger family members some of the skills they have. That is why there are almost always younger San people tagging along on the walk. In the early days, sometimes several of the people at Ghanzi would go “walkabout”, and when we arrived, there would be no San to do the walk. In recent years, this has not been the case. Indicates to me that these San people are satisfied with their arrangement.

Please also remember that these San people live on the farm, and although dressed in traditional garb for the walks – many of the younger people wear western clothes in their village, and are attending school in Ghanzi. This is part that the visitors do not see. Support for San families comes from the walks at Trail Blazers, and is definitely uplifting the community as a whole.

Reviewed on 31 May 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Sleeping near hippos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be warned how very very cold it can be at night.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Wonderful in almost all respects.

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From £2250 - £2425 12 days excluding flights

Namibia small group guided holiday and safari

Namibia small group guided holiday and safari

A fabulous small group guided trip in Nambia

From £2165 13 days excluding flights

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