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Self-drive Namibia, Okavango, Mara


alaskajohn907
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I am tentatively planning a multi-week self drive to visit several places, including Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania. I am a newcomer to this adventure and would appreciate feedback from more experienced travelers. I am comfortable with camping and 4x4 driving, but have limited knowledge of camps, routes, timing and special locations. My time period would be app. Dec-Jan '13-14, but that is flexible. Would this time period be in the wet period, and if so, how does that affect driving?

I am also a single traveler, and would entertain joining another vehicle for safety and company. Alaska has provided some great opportunities, and I am experienced in outdoor camping and traveling, although obviously not in these climes. My interests are viewing the wildlife available, and would especially like to view migratory concentrations.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions that can help me get this done. A life long dream will be addressed with this trip. I recognize this is an ambitious plan, however I may only get 1 opportunity to get this done.

  • Is this the best period for viewing? Would a better time offer more opportunities/
  • Any reccommendations on vehicle rentals for this area?
  • What is the best way to carry funds? Credit card or some cash?
  • Any specific areas that are a "must see"?

As you can see, I am a novice here and would appreciate whatever feed back you can provide. Thanks.

 

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just curious: do you plan this as a roundtrip (unlikely) or a one way trip (more likely) - if the latter: are you sure you'll find a dealer who lets you pick up his car and drop it off in Tanzania?! And even if you do, I wonder how high the one way rental charge would be...

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I have very limited experience of self-driving but I do have some experience of traveling with other (very experienced) drivers. Generally speaking the July to October timeframe is going to be better for you, especially if not planning to go off the beaten track in semi-desert areas (Namibia is generally-speaking not a worry because you do not need to offload much (if at all) to see what most people are there to see). There should also be more 4x4 traffic around at that time of year in case you do find an aardvark burrow or something.

 

You can likely get to most destinations in those countries in the wet, especially if your are experienced in those conditions (knowing to follow the fresh tracks or walk a puddle first before driving through; what speed to drive 'sideways', etc., etc.) but there is more of a risk of roads being closed or conditions being less than optimum for camping. Pluses might be public campsites that are not crowded and an adventure to remember.

 

I'm not really the person to be posting about this, but if you find this information useful/ useless it'll give others an idea of where you are at and what it might be useful to know. Knowing exactly what you are planning to see and what kind of vehicle you are planning to use might be useful information too.

 

There is a report from someone who did a self-drive trip from Southern Africa into Southern Tanzania here somewhere (or a link to one). Did you find that, because it is the part of the trip that will likely be most difficult to get info on?

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I think you are trying to fit in way too much in the time you have available. It's not clear whether you have one month or two- if one month then I think it's borderline impossible- Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania (and Kenya? You mention the "mara" in your title?).

 

Having an "ambitious plan" is all very well, but what do you want to get out of it? Do you want to be on the road all day every day, just so you can say you've done the journey? Or do you want to be able to stop and spend time actually enjoying what Africa has to offer?

 

I would say that if you have one month, then Botswana and Namibia is enough to tackle. @@ice makes a good point about rental- or do you intend to buy your own vehicle? Sticking to Bots and nambia will solve this problem as you can plan a route as a round trip.

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You might look at trip reports written by Canadian Robin here. We found them very helpfull in planning our self drives in Namibia and Botswana. The company they used may be able to help you as they cover the areas you mention. You are attempting to cover a lot of ground even in two months. Good luck. Pen

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I am not a self driver but having been driven in the past to various areas I am fully aware that the roads are not what we are accustomed too.

 

It seems that those who are more experienced think that Namibia and Botswana might be managed within your time frame. But I have a question for members.............

 

If there was sufficient time

  1. do you think that you could hire 4x4, do Namibia and Botswana. Fly up to Tanzania Hire another 4x4.
  2. and what happens if you want to go to the Mara- presumably you would have to drive a long way round as you cannot cross over from the Serengeti into the Mara.
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Thanks all that have responded. I appreciate it very much. Being a first timer requires a lot of things to consider. I will keep planning and see if I can sharpen the details some. Again, thanks.

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The most important question of all,what make 4x4 do you intend useing ?@@alaskajohn907

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