Baobab Self Drive
Budget Self Drive including Namibia, Vic Falls & the Okavango Delta
This 20 day accommodated self-drive tour has a similar theme to the Jackalberry itinerary but for those who have more time available. It is a circular route that incorporates the main highlights of central and northern Namibia as well as both Vic Falls and the Okavango Delta in Botswana, before returning to Windhoek. The accommodation options are for the more budget conscious. A myriad of different landscapes and experiences awaits - the serpentine sands of Sossusvlei; the harsh Atlantic coastline; ancient rock art; the dusty white plains of Etosha with plentiful wildlife; the lush riverbanks of the Zambezi region; the thundering waters of Vic Falls; and finally the tranquil, pristine wilderness of the Delta.
The trip starts by heading south to Sesriem, the entry point to the Namib Park and the dunes at Sossusvlei, that are often synonymous with imagery of Namibia. Sossusvlei is remarkable for its huge red sand dunes and breathtaking scenery. The views from the top are stunning. Colours vary from apricot to orange and from red to maroon, especially at sunrise and sunset, the best times for photography. Desert wildlife includes springbok, oryx and ostrich.
For the next couple of days you head to the coast where there are numerous activities on offer, whether you fancy a little bit of an adrenalin kick or prefer something a little more educational. During summer months it is also the perfect place to cool off and relax.
The next leg of your trip takes you north, first to the ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, a World Heritage Site, and then to Etosha National Park, one of southern Africa's best game viewing destinations, especially during the drier months. You will spend 3 nights in and around Etosha, the first two within the park itself and the last night at a private lodge on the Eastern edge of the park. Okaukuejo's waterhole is well known for its extensive game viewing and offers great opportunities both day and night. Game-viewing is generally conducted in your own vehicle but guided tours can also be arranged.
The next part of your journey takes you through the Zambezi Region, the long arm of Namibia that separates Botswana from Zambia and Angola. In contrast to the stark and often dusty landscape of Etosha, you are now faced with the lush riverine environment of the Kavango, the Kwando, the Chobe and the Zambezi rivers. Activities focus around the water and game viewing is typified by hippos, crocs, buffalo and roaming elephants, as well as an amazingly rich diversity of birdlife. From the oryx and springbok of the more arid areas, the wetlands and surrounding grasslands attract reedbuck, tsessebe, red lechwe, bushbuck, sitatunga, roan and sable.
Day 12 sees you crossing the border into northern Botswana and then to Kasane, the town that presides over Africa's 'Four Corners', the place where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia converge. Situated along the banks of the Chobe River, Kasane is the gateway to both the national park of the same name and to Vic Falls. Chobe National Park is known for its high concentration of game, especially elephants. If you are more interested in bird-watching and animals then you may decide not to worry about visiting Vic Falls and spend longer in this area, allowing you time for both river and land activities in and around the park.
The return journey starts with a night in Nata and then on to Maun, the hub for anyone wanting to visit the Okavango Delta. Due to its lack of accessibility, the islands and numerous channels that make up the Delta are a paradise for wildlife, the reason it is such a major attraction for tourist coming to Botswana. This has been left till the final part of your trip as we hope it will be one of the real highlights of your holiday.
In contrast to the lush and verdant landscape typified by the Okavango Panhandle, the final part of your journey is once again to a more arid environment, that of the Central Kalahari. Thakadu is situated just south of Ghanzi amongst shady trees and looking on to a waterhole that attracts a surprising amount of game.
The final day sees you leaving Botswana and re-entering Namibia, heading back to the capital and the end of your tour.
While it is possible to book this itinerary 'as is', all our self drive safaris are customisable, we can add or delete days, change the accommodation used and generally design the tour to suit your individual requirements. If you do not like the idea of driving yourself the itinerary could easily be used as the basis for a guided safari.
- Day 1: Windhoek - Sossusvlei
- This morning, head south-west via Rehoboth and then along gravel roads into the desert. It is just over a four hour drive but allow longer as it is worth considering a stop at the top of the Spreetshoogte Pass, which offers beautiful views over the Namib plains and rolling dunes. We suggest staying at Desert Quiver Camp this evening as it is close to the park entrance gate which means there isn't so far to drive if wanting to see the dunes in the early morning when light is at its best and in summer temperatures are bearable.
Accommodation: Desert Quiver Camp
- Day 2: Sossusvlei
- It is an hour's drive from the Namib Park entrance gates at Sesriem to Sossusvlei so this morning is an early start. Either stop at the 2x4 car park and walk along the dry river bed into Sossusvlei or take a shuttle unless you have a 4x4 and feel adventurous. With the growing number of tourists visiting this iconic location, if you are interested in appreciating the desert without hordes of other people you may want to avoid both Deadvlei and Sossusvlei. Just remember to take stock of your surroundings before disappearing into the desert.
In the afternoon you can relax around the pool before heading to the nearby Sesriem Canyon.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Desert Quiver Camp
- Day 3: Sossusvlei - Swakopmund
- Heading north your route will take you via a scenic stretch of road as far as the Kuiseb Canyon, then you have a vast stretch of gravel plains until you reach Walvis Bay. It often takes 5 hours to drive this section so allow plenty of time and snacks/drinks as there is very little en-route until you reach the coast. You may also want to allow enough time to drive to Walvis Bay Lagoon to see the flamingos, pelicans and other aquatic birdlife. The salt works just south of the lagoon are also worth seeing, a slightly surreal crystalline landscape of pastel pinks, blues and greens. It is then a short hop up the coast to Swakopmund. After settling into your accommodation, head out and enjoy an evening meal.
Accommodation: Alternative Space
- Day 4: Swakopmund
- There are a number of interesting day trips that can be arranged from Swakopmund ranging from sandboarding to exploring the desert on a night walk. Otherwise you can simply relax and wander around the town which has some interesting examples of German colonial architecture. Namibia's coastline does not offer typical beach tourism as normally it tends to be too cold and misty, a wondrous change from the heat of the interior if visiting during the summer.
Accommodation: Alternative Space
- Day 5: Swakopmund - Twyfelfontein
- Today is a long drive, around 4.5 hours directly via Henties Bay and Uis, and an additional couple of hours if you decide to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross. Once again there are not many options for places to stop en-route so either pack food for lunch or make a plan that includes either Cape Cross Lodge or one of the few options in Uis.
It is worth arriving as early as possible at this evening's destination if you want to visit the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, as they are best viewed in the afternoon (if not summer months and therefore too hot). Twyfelfontein contains around 2,000 rock carvings and in 2007 UNESCO approved it as a World Heritage Site. The site is one of the largest and most important concentrations of rock art in Africa. Tonight's accommodation does not have a restaurant so you may want to bring provisions for dinner from Swakopmund.
Accommodation: Madisa Camp
- Day 6: Twyfelfontein - Etosha
- Today you head to Etosha, a massive game park that is dominated by a 4731㎡ salt pan and is home to a multitude of animals and birdlife. As one of the most established camps, Okaukuejo attracts an enormous amount of game and your evening might best be spent relaxing at the waterhole here.
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp
- Day 7: Etosha
- For the most part game viewing is best done early in the morning and in the cooler hours before the sun sets. The edge of the pan often attracts good sightings but remember that it is worth being patient and stopping off for a while at one spot. Also make sure you pack your binoculars and a Southern African bird book is also a valuable resource.
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp
- Day 8: Etosha
- Your accommodation this evening is in the central Etosha camp, the smallest of the 3 main camps along the pan and know for having some of the best sightings for leopard. Unlike Okaukuejo, the waterhole is set away from the accommodation and therefore tends to have a more tranquil atmosphere.
Accommodation: Halali Rest Camp
- Day 9: Etosha - Grootfontein region
- You have around 300kms to cover today so you should have plenty of time to include a leisurely drive out of the park before heading towards Rundu. The most likely route will take you via the small and relatively pretty towns of both Tsumeb and Grootfontein where you may want to have a stop for lunch. Roy's Camp is situated 55kms north of Grootfontein and offers guests simple, rustic accommodation with a quirky twist. There is a small waterhole close to the accommodation that attracts antelope and smaller game such as warthog.
Accommodation: Roy's Camp
- Day 10 & 11: Grootfontein region - Divundu
- Heading further north, your next destination is around 400kms away. Once you have crossed the vet fence (a boundary to help prevent diseases such as Foot and Mouth) the scenery changes and you pass numerous villages with traditional huts and kraals.
Ngepi is nestled among the trees along the Kavango River and a good base from which to explore Popa Falls and Mahango Game Reserve. Boat and mokoro trips, fishing, guided walks and village tours can be arranged from here.
Accommodation: Ngepi Camp (treehouse)
- Day 12: Divundu - Kasane
- There are both a lot of kilometres to travel and borders to negotiate, so an early start is definitely recommended. Crossing the Zambezi Region / Bwabwata National Park (formerly the Caprivi Strip) watch out for elephants as they are often munching only metre away from the road. After crossing into Botswana via Ngoma, you have a short drive to Kasane, a small town that is basically the junction point for Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana and where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet. Activities centre around the river and it is definitely worth considering a boat trip. Depending on the time of year you are likely to see elephants, buffalo, hippo and crocs as well as a rich variety of birdlife. The other option is to arrange a game drive into Chobe National Park, which is home to Africa's largest elephant population but this should be arranged for when you have a full day free.
Accommodation: Old House
- Day 13: Kasane - Vic Falls - Kasane
- Due to the hassles of taking a vehicle into Zimbabwe, we strongly recommend arranging a day trip to see Vic Falls, if you want to include this Natural World Wonder in your itinerary. Even crossing the border with a guided trip requires a fair degree of patience and fortitude and normally means forking out a fair amount for a Zimbabwe visa. You can visit from the Zambia side but the views are not as spectacular. Once over the border it is an hour's drive to Victoria Falls. If rains have been good then it can often be difficult to see the falls in April and May due to the amount of spray created. The water is at its lowest during October and early November so generally the best time to visit is sometime between these two extremes. The park is close to town and is an easy stroll with many great locations to take shots of the falls. For the more adventurous there are various adrenalin activities such as white water rafting, high wires and bungee jumping. Return in the late afternoon back to your base in Kasane.
Accommodation: Old House
- Day 14: Kasane
- Because of the long drive to Kasane and the lack of time to book any activities other than an evening boat trip, today is open for doing activities in Chobe.
Accommodation: Old House
- Day 15: Kasane - Nata
- Hit the road again, commencing the return loop of your trip. It is not that far to Nata (just over 300kms) but the road condition can make this section slower than you might expect. For those who are keen on birding, the Nata Sanctuary is just 20kms south of the town and has 165 species of birds including flamingos, pelicans and the rare crowned crane. As well as the amazing birdlife, there are also a variety of antelope, zebra, wildebeest and other smaller animals. You can either drive yourselves or take a guided tour.
Accommodation: Nata Lodge
- Day 16: Nata - Maun
- Similar in distance and time to your previous day's journey, you head directly west along the A3 to Maun, the hub for trips into the Okavango Delta and Moremi. There is not much to really see in Maun itself so we suggest just having a relaxing evening.
Accommodation: Audi Camp (en-suite tent)
- Day 17 & 18: Okavango Delta
- For the next 2 days we suggest booking either a trip into the Delta or into Moremi. The former is about being gently poled around the meandering water channels in mokoros, enjoying the rich birdlife and idyllic scenery. The latter is more a land based trip that concentrates on game viewing, of which there is an abundance. We have quoted on the cheaper Delta trip.
Meals: Breakfast at Audi and all meals included whilst on tour
Accommodation: Audi Camp
- Day 19: Maun - Ghanzi
- Today is roughly a 3-4 hour trip to Ghanzi, trying to avoid the goats and cows who tend to wander in the road throughout Botswana. Just before you reach Ghanzi, the small settlement of D’kar is well worth visiting for its museum and cultural centre, housing a history of the San people and a variety of local crafts. You can also see work by local San artists, for which D'Kar is well known. For those who are further interested in the Bushman traditions, your accommodation this evening offers a Bushman walk that demonstrates some of their tracking and food gathering skills. This must be booked in advance.
Accommodation: Thakadu (meru tent)
- Day 20: Ghanzi - Windhoek
- Heading back to Windhoek this is a long day of driving (roughly 6 hours if the border crossing goes smoothly) so we suggest a reasonably early start. There is not much reason to stop en-route and not much in the way of recommendations for lunch stops so a packed lunch may be advisable.
- All your meals and activities as specified.
A welcome pack including maps and vouchers for the places that you'll be visiting.
See the individual lodges for precise inclusions & exclusions
A 24 hour emergency assistance phone number
- Vehicle & Fuel
Park entrance fees (these need to be paid on arrival).
Tips and gratuities (which are optional).
Any meals or activities not specified.
See the individual lodges for detailed inclusions & exclusions.
- Although we have excluded the cost of renting a vehicle from the quoted rate we are happy to advise you on the best possible vehicle and arrange a rental for you. For an idea of what is available have a look at our car hire in Namibia section
3 Days - A short visit to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei
3 Days - Get away to Swakopmund on the coast - includes sandboarding on the Namib Dunes as well as a dolphin cruise
4 Days - A game viewing trip to the famous Etosha National Park
8 Days - Combines a visit to Etosha National Park, with some time at Swakopmund and then the dunes at Sossusvlei
9 Days - Southern Namibia: Fish River, Luderitz, Sossusvlei with some self catering accommodation.
10 Days - The classic northern and central Namibia trip. Includes Waterberg Plateau, Etosha National Park, rock art in Damaraland, Cape Cross & Swakopmund and ends with two night near the dunes at Sossusvlei.
10 Days - A combination of Namibia & Botswana. Highlights include game viewing in the Etosha Park & a trip in a traditional dug out canoe in the Okavango Delta Panhandle.
14 Days - Two weeks worth of travel allow you to visit everything that is included in the Camelthorn Self Drive and add the vast expanses of southern Namibia. Additional stops include Luderitz, the Fish River Canyon and a night in the Kalahari Desert
20 Days - This includes Waterberg, Etosha, a visit to the densely populated Owamboland region on the Angolan border, Kaokoland and the nomadic Himba People, rock art and desert elephants in Damaraland, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Luderitz, the Fish River and Kalahari.
20 Days - A circular route that includes Sossusvlei, the highlights of Northern Namibia, the Zambezi region and Chobe, Vic Falls and the Okavango Delta in Botswana