Pg 1 – Itinerary for our 4×4 road trip (3 weeks)

How this road trip came about ~

We were having a good old South African braai with friends when they asked us if we would consider joining them on their road trip to Namibia and onwards to Zambia, or at least, to join them for a portion of it.

The route they were planning appealed to us in so many ways as we have yet to travel some of these roads. We would be having a vacation with some friends while enjoying nature at its best and going to the most remote places in the heart of the bush within Khaudum National Park as well as Mamili (Nkasa Lupala) National Park where you require more than one 4×4.  You also needed to be entirely self-sufficient for as many days as possible.  We were so excited to be a part of this journey with our friends, even though we were only going to be spending half our trip together.  They would be venturing up into Zambia.  Our time frame couldn’t take the extra kilometres up and back down, so we were to explore the Caprivi Strip and cross over into Botswana for some game viewing at the Chobe National Park.

Namibia is a beautiful and close getaway for us South Africans, with it being only 700 kilometres from Cape Town to the Namibian border.

~  22 days Road trip  ~

~ South Africa, Namibia & Botswana ~

Destinations we travelled to, places we’ve stayed at and the sights along the way.

The Itinerary below is just a quick glance at our road trip which is we will cover in depth with memories, as much information as possible, pictures and videos galore, which you will find when you move through the subcategories from this main page in the menu bars above, alongside or below.

  • Cape Town to Namibia and Orange River,  camped at Amanzi Trails in Noordoewer, Namibia ~ Day 1 & 2 ~ On the banks of the Orange River with the spectacular Richtersveld Mountain Range across the river from the campsite.
  • Orange River to Quivetree Forest Rest Camp in Karas, Namibia ~ Day 3 ~ On the edge of Quivertree forest and within a few minuites drive from Giants Playground you’ll find Quivertree Forest Rest Camp where Coenie and Ingrid Nolte have their farm Gariganus.  Coenie allows you to join him in the late afternoon to feed the Cheetahs, and you’re invited to stroke one if you wish. It is situated 13km from Keetmanshoop on the road, M29.
  • Quivertree Forest Rest Camp to Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Gobabis, Namibia ~ Day 4 ~ We took the roads less travelled and ended up setting up camp with the lions roaring in the background.
  • Harnas Wildlife Foundation to the 4 x 4 Baobab Trail and camping at Tsumkwe Country Lodge, Tsumkwe, Namibia ~ Day 5 ~ We had a good day driving and finding a place to stay for the night which was as close to Khaudum National Park as possible.  Tsumkwe runs successfully by using renewable energy with its Solar/Diesel Hybrid Project for this off-the-grid, rural village. The closest electricity to Tsumkwe is 270 km away! Today Tsumkwe has electricity 24 hours/day of which 200 kWh is produced by solar panels and with the power stored in batteries. The diesel generator provides backup when needed.
  • Tsumkwe to Khaudum National Park, Kavango, Namibia ~ Day 6 & 7 ~ The Kalahari Sandveld, a semi-desert region with an area of 3900 square kilometres (min of two 4×4 vehicles needed to enter the park).  We could expect abundant game viewing, bird watching, star gazing, peace, wild camping with the animals and being self-sufficient in all our needs ~ we are finally in the bush, living alongside the wildlife!
  • Khaudum National Park to Ngepi Camp, Kavango ~ Day 8 ~ On the banks of the Cubango river with its closest town being Divundu. It is lush with trees and birdlife with the most inventive outside ablution facilities where you can sit on the rightful throne, high up overlooking the plains.  It has a lovely caged off area in the river where you can swim without the fear of the crocodiles or hippos.  It also has some innovative renewable energy programmes running on their site.  The reception, bar and restaurants walls are full of quirky quotes, and even our Dear old Mr Mandela has his prime spot.
  • Ngepi to Mamili National Park, Caprivi ~ NOW KNOWN AS ~ Nkasa Rupara or the Nkasa Lupala National Park ~ Day 9 & 10 ~ One of the smallest, swampland type game parks in Namibia covering an area of 320 square kilometres.  It has two islands, the Nkasa and Rupara, and two rivers, the Kwando and Linyanti (only 4×4’s allowed). There are more bird species recorded here than anywhere else in Namibia. It a great place to be for anyone who relishes the adventures of a raw and real African experience which is just the type of adventure we were wanting.
  • Mamili National Park to Island View Lodge, Caprivi ~ Day 11, 12 & 13 ~ On the banks of the ‘upper’ Zambezi river.  Ian caught his first Tigerfish.  We gave ourselves and our vehicle, Gem, some rest, relaxation and tender loving care at our fantastic, shaded campsite.
  • Island View Lodge via Salambala Conservancy, Namibia and over the Ngoma Border post into Botswana ~ Day 14 Sightseeing ~ a lunch stop, 47km north east of Katimo Mulilo along the Ngoma Road in the Caprivi region. This Conservancy covers 14 000 hectares of pure nature and is one of the most biologically diverse areas.
  • Chobe National Park, Botswana ~ Day 14 Sightseeing ~ The incredibly fun 4×4 route through Chobe National Park, as we entered it from the Namibian side ~ it was spectacular approaching it from a high viewpoint while your eyes look over the never-ending plains of lush green land with large herds of game and wildlife everywhere! The animals are much calmer around visitors as they will hold their ground, right alongside the road without any fear in the world.
  • Thebe River Safaris, Kasane,  Botswana ~ Day 14 ~ We had finally arrived in the town of Chobe,  just after sunset.  Ian and I had decided to treat ourselves and to book into one of the Spa Hotels for the night.  We went from lodge to lodge only to find out that everywhere we went, they were all full, even in their camping sites were full, all due to a big conference going on in town! We felt very lucky when we came across Thebe Safaris, who had room for us,  situated on the banks of the Chobe river, although we had no view of the river and had to search around to see it.  We enjoyed our stay.
  • Senyati Safari Camp, Chobe, Botswana ~ Day 15, 16 & 17 ~ We had such an enjoyable stay, right in front of the waterhole, inside a comfy chalet that had a thatched veranda where we enjoyed watching the wildlife in all its glory.  We had a few elephants walking right past our porch, only a metre away from where we were standing. On both nights, we were fortunate enough to encounter a herd of about 400 buffalo that came to the waterhole just after dark. We had heard them before we saw them as the ground was echoing with a rumbling roar as they approached closer, with a huge dust cloud floating up into the sky from behind them.  Senyati Safari Camp is a very special place.  Ian had to give our GEM a bit more TLC as she wasn’t handling the potholes very well. We had travelled kilometres of seriously hard, corrugated, soft potholed sand that took an incredible amount of strain on our vehicle.  I’ll explain more in depth later as to what our problem was, but fortunately, Ian managed to fix our GEM with the help of a local business on the road between Botswana and Zimbabwe.
  • Senyati Safari Camp, Botswana back into Namibia via Ngoma Border Post to Nambwa Camp, Namibia ~ Day 18 & 19 ~ Camping on the banks of the Kwando river in the Kongola, Susuwe, Caprivi area of the Bwabwata National Park (the former Caprivi Game Park).  With its Strangler Fig Tree and a large variety of bird and wildlife. We had the elephants in our campsite, right next to our vehicle.  These elephants later chased some nearby hippos away as they trumpeted their calls, so loudly while running into the river, chasing the hippos to the other side of the river.  We appreciated this as we didn’t have any hippos or crocodiles coming up onto our campsites river bank during the night.  A Leopard had made its tracks shown in a campsite a few sites up from where we were camping. It was incredible being one again with nature and experiencing all life has to offer.  Ian and I walked the park and enjoyed the raised, tar pole look out deck with a drink in our hands.  This campsite is only accessible with a 4×4 and is well worth a visit.
  • Nambwa Camp to Samsitu Riverside Camp, Rundu, Namibia ~ Day 20 ~ On the banks of the Cubongo river in the Kanzoni, Owamboland area near to Rundu with Angola across the river ~ A gem of a find right next to the San living museum.
  • Samsitu Riverside Camp via The Hoba Meteorite, Otjozondjupa, Namibia to Weavers Rock Guest Farm, Otjozondjupa, Namibia ~ Day 21 Sightseeing ~ It was so incredible to witness just how huge this meteorite is.  It was quite hard to find with our GPS sending us the wrong way.  Thankfully our instincts told us something was wrong, and we turned around, asked and finally found it! We needed a place to stay, on the way to Windhoek.  We found this campsite just before sunset where we enjoyed another lovely evening while watching the sunset together, drink in our hands and a braai on the go, trees overhead and a beautiful gorge behind us.  There are a few ostriches and ponies on their farm. They have taken the effort to level the campsites which are situated on the edge of the hillside, looking out into the expanse of land down below and as far as your eye can see with a few hills and mountain ranges in the distance.
  • Weavers Rock Guest Farm via Von Bach Dam & Nature Reserve to Casa Piccolo, Klein Windhoek, Namibia ~ Day 22 Sightseeing ~ Situated on the road between Okahandja and Windhoek. The park covers an area of 4 300 ha.  The dam can hold a capacity of 50 million cubic meters. The dam is Windhoek’s primary source of water.
  • Casa Piccolo, Klein Windhoek ~ Day 22 ~ Our final night, for now, in Namibia.  We were leaving our vehicle GEM in the safety of the airports secure parking ~ to be returning for our second leg of our vacation in a few weeks time

If you would like to read our full road trip report with pictures, videos, maps, GPS coordinates and more information for the Itinerary stated above then please follow the menu to the next page under the main menu for this trip and work your way down from our day to day breakdown.

A point of note:  You can enlarge our pictures by clicking on any one of them.  You will be able to click to the right of the image to view the next one.

Namibia 2013 - Senyati Safari Camp, Botswana - 16 Aug 2013.008Sunrise over Senyati Safari Camp.

Namibia 2013 - Senyati Safari Camp, Botswana - 16 Aug 2013.009

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