The Self Drive Adventures 31 day trip through Namibia and Botswana started in Windhoek Namibia staying at Londiningi Guest House where we spent the first couple of days getting cars and filling the car with provisions.
Day 3 we got moving and headed to Ghanzi which is about 500km toward Botswana border and drove through part of the Kalahari desert. Stayed the night at Tautona Lodge and immediately upgraded to this room. A bit soft we know!
Day 4 was another bitumen leg of 290km to get us into Botswana and camped in Maun at Audi Campsite. Terry had mechanical problems with his gear box which luckily was easily fixed by a mechanic.The afternoon involved an exciting flight over Okavango Delta.
Day 5 was much excitement as we entered Moremi National Park in Botswana which involved 4wd mode through some sandy conditions and spent two nights camping and game viewing. Camp site was called Third Bridge which was great with showers, shop and plenty of nightlife to avoid. Stay in your tents!! 4 elephants wandered straight through our camp site one evening and then back around our site later that night under a full moon. Later that night a couple of lions were around camp as we could hear their noise as well as some other animals looking for food. Very special.
Day 6 was a full day of game viewing from Third Bridge with our super experienced guide Duncan. Game included leopard, elephant, zebra and others. Elusive lion not spotted here. In the afternoon while we were out viewing a few elephants wandered into camp, had a dust bath and then hung around until later that night. Exciting stuff having animals wandering around so close and reinforces not to get out of the camper at night!!
Day 7 we had an exciting 80 km 4wd trip over to Khwai Conservancy for 2 nights without any facilities. Drive included 2 river crossings and some challenging sandy road. An elephant was in the camp site when we arrived. During dinner a hyena strolled past us a few meters away while eating. A bit of a fright!
Day 8 was another slow going dusty and fun 4wd section of about 90km. Lots of sand and a couple of bogged cars to pass getting to Savuti campsite inside Chobe National Park. Day 9 spent on safari in Chobe involved another leopard spotting, elephant and 1200 year old boab tree.
Day 10, 11 and 12 were first a transition day from Savuti to Kasane, from there we spent 2 nights at the beautiful Victoria Falls Hotel, visited the magnificanet Victoria Falls and ended the day with a sunset cruise on the Zambezi. Daryl got very sick and had to pumped with all sorts of drips and injections in a 24 hour period to get him going.
More shots of the hotel and the merry group on the sunset cruise.
Day 12 included the drive back to Kasane for our sunset cruise which delivered a great spectacle of around 60 elephants walking along the river as we passed.
Day 13 and 14 involved leaving Botswana behind and a drive back into Namibia to Divundu which was about 450km to a unique and quirky tree house camp site called Ngepi. Great spot to relax for a day before continuing this great trip.
The following day 15 was a 500km trip mostly on bitumen to Grashoek to visit and stay at the traditional bushman Ju/Hoansi and visit their museum and participate in activities of their traditional life. A good fun event with Guido and Daryl partly making a bow and arrow and then “hunting”. Day 16 was a transition day to get us to Onguma via Groetfontein and resupply if needed. Very comfortable camp site at Onguma with some animal watching at their restaurant waterhole.
Days 17 and 18 were spent in Etosha National Park working our way through it at our own pace and exploration. A terrific park and spotted our only lion but from about 300m away! excellent game viewing of herds of giraffe, elephant, zebra, oryx and on it went. Spent the second night at Okaukuejo Camp and witnessed a great nights viewing at their floodlit waterhole which presented, elephant, giraffe, rhino and a few other smaller animals. Excellent setting and great to see the rhino.
Day 19 was an exciting day of 4wd as we left Etosha. Spotted some rhino in the distance so tried to access them but they scampered away. Our destination was Khowarib Waterfall Camp and the day was around 200km with much of it in 4wd. The ride into the camp after Etosha was great fun as we travelled down wide, dry, sandy riverbeds with the scenery changing a lot. Very interesting drive and great fun when a number of cars raced through the section Dave bogged in at the start. Scenery covered in last 50km or so was outstanding.
If Day 19 was fun then Day 20 was just even better. Not a long day as it was about 110km to the most amazing and desolate Armspoort Camp or Daves Camp. Along the way we stopped at Khowarib pre-school to meet the teacher and kids and drop some donations. Everyone very excited with the kids singing some songs for us. Then we headed off another exciting day of 4wd traversing ever changing landscape until arrival at our moonscape camp sit. Another great day!!
Day 21 travelled through some very variable dry landscape and finished winding our way down a very pretty river that required about 90 crossings. Very shallow but heaps of fun and pretty. Raced an ostrich at 40kmh. Dropped in at the Manchester United bar for a longneck beer. Staying at Puros tonight which is a shady camp spot with elephant roaming near by. Went on an evening search for desert adapted elephant and also stopped in at a traditional Himba community. A very meagre existence for people to choose in 2018… but happy I assume.
Day 22 and Day 23 were remote slow going 4wd (100km each day) driving in very barren rocky terrain. Very gritty, shaley 4wd driving and moving through some very desolate dry country south down Crowthers Trail. Camped in the middle of what was effectively the desert on a very windy cold evening. Great fun around the camp fire in middle of nowhere.Day 23 a relatively short drive but very slow going through some gnarly rocky trail that was ripe for causing punctures. Fortunately none happened. Again the country and hills kept changing from grassy plains to shaley mountains to vistas with significant mountains in the distance. Saw elephant and giraffe on the way to Palmwag Lodge. Stayed in some comfortable canvass huts overlooking a drinking hole, complete with elephant.
Day 24 was about 170km through the Valley of Desolation which was exactly that. Very stark, dry country that was again spectacular. Headed south through slow going tracks moving between high and low range 4wd. Guido got our one and only flat tyre. Tiring drive but plenty of variation to take in. Camped in a riverbed surrounded by mountains. Great camp site, 5 dampers were cooked, music playing and the drinkers drinking.
Day 25 was a continuation south to Swakopmund (270km) which started with the most amazing gorge/riverbed drive looking at the most stunning geography and geology. Slow going on rough rocky tracks. Great to arrive at our destination and shower and relax. Stopped at 2500 year old welwitschia tree and at at Cape Cross Seal colony and quick visit to a ship wreck.
Day 26 and 27 were rest days in and around Swakopmund and stayed at Meikes Guest House. Time included wandering around town, drinking coffee at a good coffee shop and of course dinners. Also had a great morning of quad biking and viewing 2500 year old skeletons people, whales and other animals and footprints of elephant, rhino , lion etc. Very interesting history and exciting to race around the dunes on quads.
Day 28 travelled to Sesriem; the home of the Sossusvlei Namib-Naukluft National Park red dunes which were viewed evening and morning of Day 29. Along the way we drove through Kuiseb canyon and Bad Lands, stopped at Tropic of Capricorn and at Solitaire for an apple pie at McGregors. A popular must do stop.
Morning shots of the dunes.
Day 29 was a short 120km day from Sesriem to a magic rocky camp site called Namibgrens. On the way a very steep Spreetshoogte Pass had to be driven with gradients greater than 20% all the way. A good challenge for Joy.
And then our trip finished on Day 30 with a drive back into Windhoek. A brilliant trip led by Dave Van Graan and outstanding itinerary put together by Self Drive Adventures. Every day on this trip was outstanding. Cant wait for the next African adventure.