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Selfdrive Namibia and Botswana


Bjorn13

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Hello all, 

 

Next year september i'll be gooing to Namibia and Botswana on a selfdrive trip with my girlfriend. The trip is arranged by a small travel agency and I am very pleased with the route they gave us. Since the activities we will do are optional and the game drives we will do will be self driving, I have some question and will probably get more over the next year. I hope you guys can help me with these questions and answer them. I'll first tell some about our iternary so you guys know a little bit more. We will be going for 25 days. In the picture attached you'll see our route. 

For now I only have a few questions. 

- I saw on the map that on our way from windhoek to Waterberg NP there is a tiny game reserve, named Von Bach dam reserve. I was wondering whether this is a nice place to stop and have picknick?

- I found something on the internet about an activity in Waterberg NP. I saw that you can join the morning gamedrive, then stay at a hide for the rest of the day and then go back to the campsite with the afternoon drive. Has anyone done this and if yes, is this worth it?

- The last question for now, we have been to Africa multiple times but have never seen cheetah in the wild. Are there places in Etosha where there is a higher chance of finding Cheetah? and what about lions, leopards or hyena?

 

Kind regards,

 

Björn

image.png.b39e495d6130ba3cce62fe0848503c40.png

Edited by Bjorn13
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I have no experience with Waterberg NP, I´ll leave this to others...

 

But for Etosha I have. 

The plains between Halali and Namutoni use to be the most reliable place for them. I have also seen Cheetah here on my first trip to Etosha but not on my second. 

North of Namutoni they also see Cheetah from time to time. 

 

Scanning the plains between Halali-Namutoni is my best bet. Stop your car every now and then and use binocular as they can "disappear" in the grass. 

 

Lions and Hyenas you find "everywhere". Especially between Halali and Okaukuejo. Check waterholes along the way. Alot of Lion activity close to Salvadora/Charitsaub waterholes sometimes. 
Also area around Gemsbokvlakte use to be good for Lions. 

 

Leopards you preferable find where it is more bush. I have seen them at Halali waterhole at night and also along the road between Halali - Namutoni in the area with more trees and bush before you come to the big plains which is good for Cheetah. 

 

This is where I have had most success but remember that wildlife is what it is :) 

 

 

 

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@Antee's info about Etosha is same as ours. But it will be a good luck to spot a cheetah. Same goes for leopard.

 

May I ask you over how many days will be your round trip?

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3 hours ago, xelas said:

@Antee's info about Etosha is same as ours. But it will be a good luck to spot a cheetah. Same goes for leopard.

 

May I ask you over how many days will be your round trip?

 

I believe he wrote 25 days

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On 9/7/2019 at 6:16 AM, Antee said:

I have no experience with Waterberg NP, I´ll leave this to others...

 

But for Etosha I have. 

The plains between Halali and Namutoni use to be the most reliable place for them. I have also seen Cheetah here on my first trip to Etosha but not on my second. 

North of Namutoni they also see Cheetah from time to time. 

 

Scanning the plains between Halali-Namutoni is my best bet. Stop your car every now and then and use binocular as they can "disappear" in the grass. 

 

Lions and Hyenas you find "everywhere". Especially between Halali and Okaukuejo. Check waterholes along the way. Alot of Lion activity close to Salvadora/Charitsaub waterholes sometimes. 
Also area around Gemsbokvlakte use to be good for Lions. 

 

Leopards you preferable find where it is more bush. I have seen them at Halali waterhole at night and also along the road between Halali - Namutoni in the area with more trees and bush before you come to the big plains which is good for Cheetah. 

 

This is where I have had most success but remember that wildlife is what it is :) 

 

 

 

 Thanks for the usefull information. This will definitely help us.  

 

And yes we our trip will be 25 days. 

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  • 4 months later...

Hey guys,

 

Im back again with two questions.

 

The first is, are you allowed to self drive in the makgadikgadi pans national park, nxai pan national park and nata bird sanctuary?

The second question, i'm looking for a scenic helicopter flight over the okavango delta. Is this worth the money?

 

I hope you can answer my questions, 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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Peter Connan

Not 100% sure about the Nata Bird Sanctuary, but yes for the other two and highly likely for Nata too. Of course, no off-roading...

 

As for the helicopter flight, I don't know what it costs and anyway each person's idea of "worth it" is different. In 2010 we took a fixed-wing flight over the delta, and it is one of my fondest safari experiences. But I have a deep interest in aviation as well as nature.

 

If you feel you can afford it, then it's probably worth it. If you have to sell one of the kids, or cut a week off your safari to afford it, perhaps not?

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On 1/21/2020 at 7:20 PM, Bjorn13 said:

Hey guys,

 

Im back again with two questions.

 

The first is, are you allowed to self drive in the makgadikgadi pans national park, nxai pan national park and nata bird sanctuary?

The second question, i'm looking for a scenic helicopter flight over the okavango delta. Is this worth the money?

 

I hope you can answer my questions, 

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

You can selfdrive in both Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan. I have only done Makgadikgadi and stayed at Khumaga Campsite, which is just inside the park next to the river. We saw a lot of game like zebras, wildebeest and elephants. We only did 1 night, but I like the place.

 

We did a scenic flight in a small plane over Okavango which was definitely worth the money. We took the 1 hour. Saw again lots of game including 4 rhinos :) But if you have trouble with rollercoasters beware, my son got "seasick" and threw up (the pilot was used to it). The rest of the family was fine.  

 

If you don´t have any succes with Etosha for cheetahs, you have to go to Kgalagadi on your next trip. The best place for cheetahs in Africa (at least in my experience). You can see my trip report for Kgalagadi here www.safaritalk.net/topic/20371-kgalagadi-and-mabuasehube-selfdrive-the-adventure-of-a-lifetime/#comm . If you are going to Moremi, you will also have a good chance of spotting cheetahs there (maybe even better than Etosha).

 

Sounds like a great trip. I would like to see your complete itinerary :) 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/25/2020 at 9:21 PM, JayRon said:

 

You can selfdrive in both Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan. I have only done Makgadikgadi and stayed at Khumaga Campsite, which is just inside the park next to the river. We saw a lot of game like zebras, wildebeest and elephants. We only did 1 night, but I like the place.

 

We did a scenic flight in a small plane over Okavango which was definitely worth the money. We took the 1 hour. Saw again lots of game including 4 rhinos :) But if you have trouble with rollercoasters beware, my son got "seasick" and threw up (the pilot was used to it). The rest of the family was fine.  

 

If you don´t have any succes with Etosha for cheetahs, you have to go to Kgalagadi on your next trip. The best place for cheetahs in Africa (at least in my experience). You can see my trip report for Kgalagadi here www.safaritalk.net/topic/20371-kgalagadi-and-mabuasehube-selfdrive-the-adventure-of-a-lifetime/#comm . If you are going to Moremi, you will also have a good chance of spotting cheetahs there (maybe even better than Etosha).

 

Sounds like a great trip. I would like to see your complete itinerary :) 

 

 

Thanks for your answer. It is very helpfull. 

I read your entire trip report, it sounded awesome. 

It brought another question to me, I will also bring a camera trap. At what places did you aim the camera?

 

Our entire internary is as follows:

31 augustus

Windhoek

Klein Windhoek Guesthouse

1 September

Waterberg

Waterberg Camp, Campsite

2 September

Waterberg

Waterberg Camp, Campsite

3 September

Etosha NP

Okaukuejo Camp, Campsite

4 september

Etosha NP

Okaukuejo Camp, Campsite

5 september

Etosha NP East

Namutoni Camp, Campsite

6 september

Grootfontein

Roy’s Restcamp, Campsite

7 september

Mahangu

Mahangu Safari Lodge, Standaard room

8 September

Caprivi

Rupara Rest Camp, Campsite

9 september

Caprivi

Rupara Rest Camp, Campsite

10 september

Chobe NP

Ihaha Campsite, Campsite

11 september

Chobe NP

Ihaha Campsite, Campsite

12 September

Kasane

Chobe safari lodge, Campsite

13 september

Gweta

Planet Baobab Campsite

14 september

Gweta

Planet Baobab Campsite

15 September

Khwai

Khwai Campsite

16 september

Maun

Island Safari Lodge, Campsite

17 September

Okavango Delta

Mokoro Overnight trip

18 September

Maun

Island Safari Lodge, Campsite

19 september

Ghanzi

Thakadu Lodge, Campsite

20 september

Gobabis

Zelda guest farm, Campsite

21 September

N/a’an Kuse

N/a’an Kuse lodge, Chalet

22 september

N/a’an Kuse

N/a’an Kuse lodge, Chalet

 

 

Thank again. 

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14 hours ago, Bjorn13 said:

 

Thanks for your answer. It is very helpfull. 

I read your entire trip report, it sounded awesome. 

It brought another question to me, I will also bring a camera trap. At what places did you aim the camera?

 

Our entire internary is as follows:

31 augustus

Windhoek

Klein Windhoek Guesthouse

1 September

Waterberg

Waterberg Camp, Campsite

2 September

Waterberg

Waterberg Camp, Campsite

3 September

Etosha NP

Okaukuejo Camp, Campsite

4 september

Etosha NP

Okaukuejo Camp, Campsite

5 september

Etosha NP East

Namutoni Camp, Campsite

6 september

Grootfontein

Roy’s Restcamp, Campsite

7 september

Mahangu

Mahangu Safari Lodge, Standaard room

8 September

Caprivi

Rupara Rest Camp, Campsite

9 september

Caprivi

Rupara Rest Camp, Campsite

10 september

Chobe NP

Ihaha Campsite, Campsite

11 september

Chobe NP

Ihaha Campsite, Campsite

12 September

Kasane

Chobe safari lodge, Campsite

13 september

Gweta

Planet Baobab Campsite

14 september

Gweta

Planet Baobab Campsite

15 September

Khwai

Khwai Campsite

16 september

Maun

Island Safari Lodge, Campsite

17 September

Okavango Delta

Mokoro Overnight trip

18 September

Maun

Island Safari Lodge, Campsite

19 september

Ghanzi

Thakadu Lodge, Campsite

20 september

Gobabis

Zelda guest farm, Campsite

21 September

N/a’an Kuse

N/a’an Kuse lodge, Chalet

22 september

N/a’an Kuse

N/a’an Kuse lodge, Chalet

 

 

Thank again. 

 

Regarding the question about camera trap I try to put it somewhere near the campsite. I mostly used it at unfenced campsites, which you will have some of(Ihaha, Khwai and Rupara). If you have water near the campsite ,put it next to that. At places like Ihaha and Khwai you probably will have hyenas in the campsite when you go to bed, so find somewhere you can get pictures of them. 

 

I know you didn´t ask for comments on your itinerary, but here it comes anyway.  It looks great, but I would change a few things. I would cancel the night at Ghanzi and book one more night at Khwai. It take some time to get to from Maun and Khwai, so you won´t have much time to appreciate the area(which is stunning). And from Maun to Gobais is doable in one day anyway. And I would skip 1 night at Waterberg and get 1 one more at Etsoha. But I am also really into gamewatching, so I prefer the best places for that. 

 

But sound like an amazing trip :) 

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In addition to @JayRon advice to add 1 more night inside Etosha, try to get that night at Halali. Or change 1 night of Okakuejo with 1 night at Halali. Looking forward to read your trip report, Bjorn. Your overall itinerary looks amazing.

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@JayRon, thanks for your reply. Our itinerary was made by us together with a travel agency, and everything is booked already so we wont change a thing until it has a very good reason. The extra night in waterberg was something we asked for, since we stayed at waterberg before and we really enjoyed it out there. We want to do at least 2 gamedrives on top of the plateau and hike a little bit. I think Ghanzi was added because of the long drive and since it is our honeymoon we also like it to be a little relaxed some days. And since we are in National parks for so many days we are fine with that. 

 

@xelas What is the reason you say we can better stay at halali for one night? because if it is worth it I'll contact my travel agent. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Bjorn13 said:

What is the reason you say we can better stay at halali for one night? because if it is worth it I'll contact my travel agent. 

 

Halali is the best camp for wildlife sightings, IMO. Much smaller waterhole than at okakuejo but also much nicer folks around. And staying at 3 different camps will give you chances to visit more waterholes; one never knows where the best wildlife will be. So yes, contact your TA and change 1 night at Okakuejo with 1 night at Halali. At least, that is what I would do.

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Africalover

I agree with JayRon regarding Khwai, 1 night is simple not enough. It’s a fantastic place.

I always recommend people to stay at least 2-4 nights at the same campsite in nationalparks or reserves.

What  you don’t see the first day you might see the next day - the bush changes every day. Not to say the work of establish the camp and putting it down the next. Anyway have a great trip.

 

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Is there anyone who travelled the caprivi strip? Im trying to find some trip reports, but I can't seem to find any? It would be very nice to read about it and to see what I can expect:)

Thanks

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Peter Connan

Try SA 4x4 community forum @Bjorn13

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