Namibia and Botswana camping safari
Min age 12
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.
|Days 1 -2:||LIVINGSTONE: The group will meet in Livingstone, in Zambia, at 14:00. We have 2 days to explore Victoria Falls, a natural wonder of the world, plunging into the Zambezi Gorge. Adventure activities abound, white water rafting on the mighty Zambezi, or a 111m bungi jump (own expense). [camping Bx1--] (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)|
|Days 3-4:||CAPRIVI: Heading out of Livingstone we cross at Sesheke into the Caprivi, a narrow strip of Namibian land that extends between Angola, Zambia and Botswana. An abundance of large rivers attracts a variety of animals and birds and we have 2 days to explore this remote and beautiful region, including a boat cruise on the Kwando River. [camping BLD]|
|Day 5:||RUNDU: After a morning enjoying the abundant birdlife that surrounds the camp, the road takes us directly west along the Kavango River. Villages of grass huts and local wooden crafts and carvings are a common sight. We stop for the night at our riverside camp in Rundu and enjoy a spectacular sunset. [camping BLD]|
|Days 6-7:||ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK: Etosha National Park, “the great white place of dry water”, in the game rich north west corner of Namibia offers a variety of wildlife. We take game drives around the huge dry pan to find the elephants, herds of antelope and lions around the waterholes before we camp at Namutoni, Halali or Okaukuejo with their flood-lit waterholes. [camping BLD]|
|Day 8:||UGAB WILDERNESS: Our next stop is the Brandberg where we camp next to the dry Ugab River bed, home to the rare desert elephants. We explore the mountains on foot with our local guides, who lead us through this region adorned with rock art including the “White Lady”. [camping BLD]|
|Day 9:||SPITZKOP: Our journey covers some beautiful desert landscapes as we move south towards the huge granite domes that rise out of the desert at Spitzkoppe. We set up camp at the foot of these massive domes, and take a walk to explore the area. The silence and wide open spaces add to the mystery and we enjoy a magnificent sunset. [camping BLD]|
|Days10-11:||SWAKOPMUND: We cross flat open plains to the coast where we visit the Cape Cross seal colony. Further south is the coastal town of Swakopmund. Day free to explore the town or try dune boarding or sea kayaking (own expense). We enjoy evening restaurant meals (own expense). [guest house Bx2 Lx1 -]|
|Days12-13:||NAMIB DESERT: The Lunar landscapes surround the town of Swakopmund and we visit these as we leave and head into the Namib Desert with its towering red sand dunes. We will walk to Sossusvlei, explore Sesriem Canyon and watch dramatic sunsets over the world’s highest sand dunes. [camping BLD]|
|Day 14:||WINDHOEK: The charm of the city of Windhoek lies in its harmonious blend of African and European cultures and the friendliness of its people. We arrive late in the day and enjoy a restaurant meal (own expense). [guest house BL-]|
|Day 15:||KALAHARI: Crossing into Botswana we overnight in the heart of the Kalahari. We take a walk with the local San Bushmen to learn fascinating bush skills. [camping BLD]|
|Days16-18:||OKAVANGO DELTA: We camp in Maun for a night in preparation before journeying deep into the Okavango Delta on mekoro (dugouts) - an experience not to be missed. We camp wild on remote islands for 2 nights and enjoy bush walks, swimming and the birdlife in this pristine wilderness area. [camping Bx3 Lx3 Dx2]|
|Day 19:||MAKGADIKGADI PANS: Feel the vastness of Africa under a big sky sunset. Depending on the season, the pans can either be a shimmering haze of dust or a vast shallow lake. [camping BL-]|
|Day 20:||CHOBE NATIONAL PARK: We turn north through the Chobe Forest Reserve to Kasane and our lodge. Chobe NP is famous for large herds of elephant and buffalo. Our afternoon is spent on an exciting wildlife boat cruise in the Chobe NP. [chalet BL-]|
|Day 21:||ZAMBIA - VICTORIA FALLS - TOUR ENDS: This morning we transfer to Livingstone where tour ends at +/- 12:00 noon at Livingstone Airport (LVI). [- B--]|
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9 Reviews of Namibia and Botswana camping safari
Reviewed on 08 Nov 2019 by Ruth LawThere was something special nearly every day, but for me the most thrilling experience was lying in the tent at night when we were camping in the Okavango Delta listening to elephants feeding round the campsite. Read full review
Reviewed on 18 Dec 2018 by Claire SmartI travel a lot but this is the most memorable, amazing, life changing experience I have ever had. I honestly cannot find a single fault with the way the operator managed this incredible trip. Read full review
Reviewed on 25 Aug 2018 by Susan ZilbersteinThe 'wild camping in the Okovango was wonderful....two days and two nights of solitude, with only the sounds of the hippos in the water nearby, an unidentified grunt or three, and an almost full moon....superb Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Oct 2017 by David LayneDune 45 was the highlight. The guides, Adolph an d Victor were terrific, my fellow travellers fun to be with, and we saw a lot of cool “stuff “. Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Oct 2016 by Averill marksWe went on the Cape Town to Victoria Falls Camping trip. Every destination exceeded my expectations. The scenery and wildlife was fantastic. Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Oct 2015 by John GreenwoodIt was tremendous! Read full review
Reviewed on 27 Oct 2013 by Gerard Thompsonexcellent, but very tiring Read full review
Reviewed on 30 Sep 2013 by Kelly TowleWe 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. Read full review
Reviewed on 23 Aug 2012 by Julia WardThe most memorable parts were... stunning sunsets every night, the clear starry nights, amazing wildlife, beautiful scenery, incredible people, and great company. Read full review
PlanetMessage 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.
PeopleOkavango 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.