Namibia and Botswana self drive holiday
Description of Namibia and Botswana self drive holiday
This 3 week trip takes you through the vast and ever-changing scenery in Namibia, venturing off the beaten track into the Caprivi Strip, where carts are pulled along the roadside by donkeys, goats and cattle wander free, and women wash clothes at the riverfront whilst children fish or play. Take in the culture as you drive through: this is no museum nor village visit: it is life, carrying on without intrusion. Experience the vast openness and serenity of the Caprivi Strip’s National Parks: lions hunting for prey, eagles soaring above, awaiting their turn, and the call of hippos and hyenas at night a reminder that you are in the wilds of Africa. Visit Chobe National Park, renowned for huge elephant and buffalo herds: take a sunset cruise, and you might catch a herd of elephants crossing the river to get to more succulent grasslands. Finally, cross the border into Zimbabwe: the roar of the Victoria Falls beckons: visit at sunrise for the best photography, and end the day on a sunset boat cruise: Africa will surely beckon you to return.
Namibia: a land of vast, open spaces, sweeping deserts, wild coastline, tall dark-sand dunes as high as skyscrapers, and diverse wildlife. Because of the mainly-gravel roads, we recommend a 4x4 vehicle to give traction and height which affords views across the expansive landscapes. This is not a mass tourism destination: roads are empty, lodges are small and distances to drive will range from 4 – 6 hours, but the rewards are great: the lack of light pollution makes star gazing immensely rewarding; seeing the sunrise over the towering sand dunes at Sossusvlei is a photographer’s dream; kayak alongside frolicking seals and dolphins off the coast; track desert adapted elephant on foot and in vehicle in the stark landscapes of Damaraland, and watch for predator activity in Etosha National Park: renowned for sightings of lion, rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, etc.
Botswana has a policy of minimising bed nights to keep mass tourism at bay: this itinerary suggests 2 nights at Chobe National Park, but you can also opt to fly into the true wilderness of the Okavango Delta, where camps are accessible only by light aircraft. The peacefulness of the waters on this landlocked oasis, and the succulent grasses attract multiple varieties of antelope – of course then attracting attention of predators.
We always offer small, locally owned luxury lodges for road trips around Namibia, with a focus on Namibian culture and cuisine. From our years of experience, we recommend that the best time to go to Namibia is during the dry season, June-October, as this is not only when temperatures are manageable but also when you will get the best wildlife viewing. During these months temperatures range from 20 °C-25 °C, although they do dip at night time. The temperatures start to soar as high as 40 °C during the rainy season which, in Namibia, is between Dec-March.
We will provide you with detailed maps, driving directions, mobile phone pre-programmed with all supplier contacts, and 24/7 support should you require it on the ground. You will cover some distance, but never feel rushed: the spectacular scenery, endless horizons and unique experiences make a road trip in Namibia one to remember.
Every effort has been made to ensure your self-drive holiday is a great success with ground handlers talking you through your itinerary at the start of the holiday as well as assisting with hire car contracts before you set off. Maps, cool boxes and route notes provide further confidence for first-time drivers in Namibia in addition to accommodation contact details pre-set in a local mobile phone. We suggest dropping the hire vehicle at the border to Botswana to avoid cross border fees, but also because transfers are easily organised between Botswana and Zimbabwe.
PlanetAll of Namibia is characterised by ecologically extremely delicate arid savannahs and desert landscapes. Rainfalls are scarce and annual fluctuations are considerable, temperatures are high and so is evaporation.
All of Namibia is characterised by ecologically extremely delicate arid savannahs and desert landscapes. Rainfalls are scarce and annual fluctuations are considerable, temperatures are high and so is evaporation.
The Lodges that we work with in Namibia are committed to ensuring that the natural and cultural environment in which they operate is ethically managed and profitably operated according to the highest possible international standards, practices and guidelines in sustainable tourism, environmental conservation and biodiversity protection and cultural heritage preservation. For instance, one lodge in the Caprivi Strip has ensured that the lodge blends into the environment by choosing appropriate Construction Materials?? (renewable materials - using as little cement and solid materials as possible and purchasing natural construction and maintenance materials harvested locally by communities, including reeds, thatch, mopane wood poles, etc.). The lodge has deliberately been designed to be small and low impact. It takes its water from it’s own channel, generates its own electricity and has its own solid waste and sewage treatment systems, to avoid putting pressure on local resources. The lodge uses solar panel produced electricity and is totally energy self sufficient, with water heated by solar power for guests and staff.
In Damaraland, one of the lodges we use reduces, reuses and recycles all refuse, and uses energy saving bulbs as well as solar geysers to reduce their carbon footprint. Lodge designs usually take this into account also, with high roofs and ventilation ducts resulting in a temperature change from outside to inside of no more than 5 degrees on hot days.
PeopleNature reserves, accommodation facilities, activities and the Self-Sufficiency Centre provide both jobs and opportunities for Namibians to improve their lives – this cannot be taken for granted at all in Namibia where unemployment is estimated at 30 to 40 percent. The lodges that we use employ local people and these salaries enable employees to feed their families and to send their children to school, too.
One of the lodge groups we use has gone a step further and invested heavily into training. Their training department, established in 2001, offers a comprehensive programme, from computer and language courses (English, German, Italian) to service training and HIV prevention, family planning and old age provision. Any employee can take part, hundreds have benefited. For specialised training in areas such as vegetable cultivation, cheese-making and butchery we invite experts from Europe. Several of their leading employees have completed internships in European hotels and restaurants - and thereby have been able for the first time to experience their guests' way of life.
We use accommodation that is small and locally owned, ensuring that the costs are retained in the local economy. Our local ground handler is particularly supportive of local community projects and the company has formed a partnership with the Windhoek SOS Children’s Village which offers a home to around 118 orphaned children aged between 3 & 18. We encourage our clients to bring a few gifts such as clothes, shoes, toys, English books, crayons and colouring books. In addition, SOS supports the local community to help children who have lost one or both parents to be cared for in their own extended families wherever possible. The aim of the trust is to give tangible assistance to African people and their environment in their efforts to achieve economic viability without doing harm to natural habitats and wildlife, thus utilizing both on a sustainable basis for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.