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Puku Self Drive

Mid Range Self Drive visiting Etosha, the Okavango Delta & Central Kalahari

This 10 day self-drive trip is a mid-market option designed for people with a limited time frame who are mainly interested in game-viewing and birding, with a good variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The semi-arid savannah grassland and thorn scrub of Etosha offers a good selection of plains animals such as zebra, wildebeest and numerous antelope species, as well as elephant, giraffe, rhino and cats. In contrast to this dry and harsh terrain, the more tropical riverine environment around the Okavango Panhandle offers an insight into a totally different ecosystem. Here game is not so abundant, especially when the water levels are high, but the birding is fantastic and you are likely to also see hippo and crocodiles.

After acclimatising in Windhoek and allowing recoverytime from any long flights, you head out to one of Namibia's most renowned wildlife areas - Etosha National Park. You will be spending 3 nights in this area, the first two close to the Okaukuejo side of the park which is the Western Central area and the last night at a private lodge on the Eastern edge of the park. African wildlife takes priority during the day at this Etosha camp, only 10 KM South of the Andersson Gate, the portal to the magnificence of the animal kingdom. Explore the national park on your own or join our professional guides for an enlightening and informative wildlife journey.

Although not one of Namibia's most scenic towns, Rundu sits on the banks of the Kavango River and provides a welcome break between Etosha and your next destination, the Okavango Panhandle. Due to the fact that Hakusembe is 15kms from town, it offers peaceful and pleasant surroundings.

The next day sees you enter Botswana and along the 'panhandle', giving travellers a taste for the serene and beautiful riverine scenery that typifies this area. Although this region is well known for its excellent tiger fishing, the meandering waterways that feed the Okavango Delta, fringed with papyrus, reeds, palms and forest, also provide the perfect home for an array of birdlife (350 of 500 species found in Botswana can be seen here). A full day excursion in a traditional dugout canoe, locally known as a mokoro, makes you appreciate the tranquillity and natural beauty of these surroundings.

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. Just north of Ghanzi, your accommodation is a small, intimate camp that overlooks a waterhole where you are likely to see gemsbok, eland, springbok, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra. One of the highlights of staying in this area is the chance to track white rhino on foot with your own personal Bushmen guide.

The final day of your trip is heading back to Windhoek where you can either catch an evening flight or stay once again in Namibia's capital city, a chance to pick up a few last souvenirs before heading home.

Self Drive Namibia & Botswana

  • Self Drive: Morning Mist Over Kavango River
  • Self Drive: Deck At Nxamaseri Lodge Looking Onto The Nxamaseri Channel
  • Self Drive: Elephants In Etosha National Park
  • Self Drive: Lounge Area At Nxamaseri Lodge
  • Self Drive: Rhino At Edo's Camp Waterhole
  • Self Drive: Bungalow At Hakusembe On The Banks Of The Kavango
  • Self Drive: View From Edo's Camp Deck
  • Self Drive: Mokoro Trip From Nxamaseri
  • Self Drive: Reed Frog
  • Self Drive: Giraffe Drinking At A Waterhole In Etosha
  • Self Drive: Room At Nxamaseri
  • Self Drive: Springbok In Etosha
  • Self Drive: Tented Accommodation At Edo's Camp
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Day 1: Windhoek
Situated in a quiet suburb of Windhoek, Terra Africa is the perfect place to unwind from a long flight and to acclimatise to your surroundings. They offer dinner on request so if you do not feel strong enough to explore Windhoek on your first night then we recommend arranging this option.
Meals: -
Accommodation: Terra Africa Guest House
Day 2: Windhoek - Etosha Park
Your first day's drive is 435kms (about 5 hours) so it is advisable to make a fairly early start in order to have some time within Etosha Park before sunset. Okaukuejo's floodlit waterhole attracts a large amount of game during the drier months and you are likely to see an abundance of antelope as well as zebra, giraffe, elephant, rhino and possibly lion.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Etosha Safari Camp
Day 3: Etosha Park
There are a network of roads that link the numerous waterholes around Etosha pan and you can explore these at your own leisure throughout the day.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Etosha Safari Camp
Day 4: Etosha Park - Eastern Etosha
Another day of game-viewing. From Okaukuejo it takes at least a couple of hours to get to your accommodation on the eastern side of the park, particularly if you spot anything of interest along the way. You can either decide to continue driving yourselves around for the day and use the lodge as just an overnight stop or you can arrange an afternoon guided game drive.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Mushara Bush Camp or Etosha Aoba (comfort bungalow)
Day 5: Rundu
It is about 415km drive from eastern Etosha to Rundu, driving through the towns of Tsumeb and Grootfontein. Once you pass through the veterinary check-point, the landscape changes quite dramatically and suddenly there are small, traditionally built huts along the side of the road and the comings-and-goings of village life.
Rundu itself does not offer much in the way of attractions for the average tourist so unless you require fuel or provisions we suggest that you head straight for your accommodation on the banks of the Kavango River, north-west of town. Here you can relax on an sunset cruise and enjoy the lush surroundings, home to numerous birdlife.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Hakusembe Lodge
Day 6: Rundu - Nxamasere, Okavango Panhandle
Although the drive today is not a great distance, around 275kms, the fact that you need to negotiate a border crossing and possibly a fairly long transfer to the lodge (depending on water levels), it is worth leaving Rundu with plenty of time to spare. It is also normally slower going in Botswana as the roads are not always in great condition and generally goats, cattle and donkeys roam idly about the roadside.
Nxamaseri is located on an idyllic island within the Nxamaseri Channel, one of the main water courses that flows in to the Delta. The lodge nestles amongst shady jackalberry trees, with a large wooden deck and communal area overlooking the water. The rustic thatched accommodation units are open-plan and basically open on one side.
In the afternoon, a sunset cruise gives you a taste of the beauty of this area and a good time to enjoy some of the rich birdlife.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Nxamaseri Island Lodge
Day 7: Nxamasere
Today is set aside for a full day mokoro trip, a traditional dug-out canoe (although nowadays, in an attempt to help save the woodland, a lot of the mokoros are now made from fibreglass). Gently being poled around the meandering channels with water lilies, reed frogs and numerous kingfishers, herons, storks and other waterfowl, with the possibility of also seeing hippo, crocodile, and otter, makes this a truly memorable excursion.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Activities: Mokoro day trip
Accommodation: Nxamaseri Island Lodge
Day 8: Nxamaseri - Ghanzi, Central Kalahari
After a leisurely breakfast, you head back to your vehicle and drive south to a lodge located between D'Kar and Ghanzi. This small, intimate camp is set in a private game reserve in the Kalahari and has only 4 Meru-style tents that face on to a permanent waterhole that attracts game such as zebra, wildebeest, springbok, gemsbok, kudu and eland. Today no activities have been arranged due to possible time restraints but a sunset or night drive can be added on.
If you are interested in local arts and crafts then it is worth stopping at the Kuru Museum and Cultural Centre in D'Kar which showcases a number of contemporary local San artists.
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Accommodation: Edo's Camp
Day 9: Ghanzi, Central Kalahari
Today, with the help of your personal guide, activities can be arranged to suit your main interests. These include a drive out to a San Bushman village, about half an hour from camp, where you can experience both a mix of their traditional lifestyle and some of the adaptations that have been made to the modern world. Another unique opportunity is to track white rhino on foot with Bushmen trackers.
Meals: All Meals
Activities: Custom-built for each group
Accommodation: Edo's Camp
Day 10: Ghanzi - Windhoek
It is around 550kms back to Windhoek and therefore one of the longest drives you will have to undertake. However, the road along this stretch is normally in good condition and after leaving Botswana, livestock wandering the roads should no longer be an issue. There is not much of interest along this route and not many places to stop for lunch (Gobabis is probably the only real option).
Your accommodation tonight is on the outskirts of Windhoek, set in the foothills of the Auas Mountains and offering an unexpectedly rural location considering its proximity to Windhoek. It is also conveniently positioned off the B6 which is the road from Botswana as well as the road on which the airport is located.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: River Crossing Lodge
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
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