Self drive tour: Windhoek.
Self drive tour: Windhoek, Okonjima, Etosha, Botswana (Chobe, Savute, Okavango Delta) and back to Windhoek
Namibia’s capital Windhoek is often described as a city with a “continental” atmosphere. This can be ascribed to its to its architecture – historical buildings dating back to German colonial rule – as well as to its cuisine, culture, dress codes and educational institutions. At the same time Windhoek has the colour, sound and tempo of a modern African city. Pavement displays of African drums and woodcarvings from the north contrast with elegant shops offering sophisticated Swakara garments and Namibian gemstones set in individually designed pieces of jewellery. While some shops display clothing, silver and glassware imported form Europe, others stock casual and colourful cloths from West Africa.
Olive Grove is an upmarket Guest House, close to the city centre in a quiet, peaceful area. The indoor lounge is tastefully decorated, with comfortable chairs and a fireplace in front of which to relax and read a magazine. Whilst each room caters for the every need of the most discerning traveller, the emphasis remains one of simplicity and elegance. After all, luxury should be subtle. One of Olive Grove’s main features is the large veranda in front of every room, with tables and chairs for ‘al fresco’ dining. The plunge pool and tranquil garden invite the visitor to make the most of Namibia’s open skies, while the open-air spa bath and lounge area provide the outdoor indulgences.
Overnight at Olive Grove Guest House on a bed and breakfast basis
This morning you depart Windhoek travelling northwards via the town of Okahandja. The town is of great significance to the Herero People as t was once the seat of Chief Samuel Maharero who was buried here in 1923. Every year on August 26 – referred to as Heroes’ Day – thousands of Herero converge in the town to pay homage at the graves of their great chiefs. Some of the women are dressed in traditional red and black, others in green and black, while the men wear full military regalia complete with medals. The name Okahandja comes from Herero and means ‘small widening’, the place where the rivers meet. The earliest records of this town date back to 1844 when the first two missionaries arrive there.
The town is an important centre for woodcarvers from the north who practice their ancient skills at the wood-and-thatch Mbangura Woodcarvers Market next to the main road at both the entrance and exit of the town.
Okonjima, home of the Afri-Cat Foundation, is only two and a half hours drive north of Windhoek. Afri-Cat is a non-profit organisation committed to long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, especially cheetah and leopard. A visit to Okonjima will give you a chance to witness some of Afri-Cat’s valuable work. Accommodation is at Okonjima’s luxury Bush Camp, some 3 kilometres from Main Camp. Each chalet enjoys complete privacy and is a combination of earthy, ochre walls and khaki-green canvas, under a thatched roof. Bush Camp has 8 luxury, thatched African-style chalets, the front 180° of canvas panelling may be rolled up for a spectacular view. All chalets are between 80 -100 metres apart from each other.
Overnight at Okonjima Bush Camp in an en-suite room on dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Travel north, via Otjiwarongo today. As with most towns in central Namibia the name Otjiwarongo originates from the Herero language, which translated means “place of the fat cattle” or “beautiful place”. Given the central role that cattle play in the Herero culture, both meanings are appropriate. Continue via Tsumeb to the eastern section of Etosha National Park.
Onguma Tented Camp is a beguiling mixture of sophistication and relaxation, of elegance and the earth. With a stunning main building and seven tents providing private, exclusive accommodation, Onguma Tented Camp, certainly lives up to its name (from the Herero ‘place you don’t want to leave’).
Sit and relax in the flowing waters of the swimming pool while enjoying an ice cold cooler.
Onguma has also become part of an innovative custodianship project relating to the black rhino. Six black rhino were darted in Etosha National park and shipped to the reserve. Here they are protected and monitored. More than 300 bird species can be viewed at Onguma. The reserve boasts the biggest breeding colony of white-backed vultures in Namibia. During the summer months Onguma becomes a bird-watchers paradise with thousands of species migrating to wetlands created by the seasonal rains and ephemeral river systems. This part of Namibia has been identified as one of the key bird watching sites in Southern Africa.
Overnight in an en-suite room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Full day at Onguma participating in schedule activities. Overnight at Onguma Tented Camp in an en-suite room on a full board basis.
After a leisurely breakfast, head for the mining town of Tsumeb. Thanks to the wealth generated by the mines, Tsumeb is an attractive town boasting some fine old colonial buildings and a palm lined central park with spreading lawns. Departing from Tsumeb continue to Grootfontein which forms one of the trio towns of the maize triangle. North of Grootfontein you enter the communal lands of the Kavango and on to the town of Rundu for overnight at n’Kwazi Lodge in an en-suite room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
n’Kwazi is a secluded paradise, tucked away amongst lush riverine vegetation on the banks of the perennial Kavango River. Situated 20 kilometres north-east of Rundu, n’Kwazi combines the tranquillity of a tropical environment with the comforts of a luxury lodge. n’Kwazi’s much-praised cuisine – a scrumptious buffet in the evenings – is superb. Activities include canoeing, horse-back trails, bird watching, traditional dances and sun downer cruises.
Today you make for the Popa Falls area and Divava Okavango Lodge for overnight in an en-suite room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Divava Okavango Lodge and Spa, is a luxury lodge nestled amongst majestic trees on the banks of the Kavango River (it becomes the Okavango when it crosses into Botswana) a few hundred metres from Popa Falls. It is fondly referred to by the locals as Paradishi Ghomumbiru (Little Paradise). The Lodge offers an exquisite view over the River with excellent opportunities for bird watching. The lodge is only 14 kilometres from the Mahango Game Reserve, which is celebrated for it’s abundance of game species such as elephant, buffalo, sable and roan antelope, bushbuck, reedbuck and tsessebe. Divava Okavango Lodge and Spa offers 20 luxurious chalets, a bush bar, restaurant, swimming pool and a viewing deck overlooking the River. Enjoy a boat cruise to the Popa Falls to view hippo and crocodiles and game-viewing trips to the Mahango Game Reserve.
Wedged between Angola and Botswana, the 32 kilometre wide Bwabwata National Park extends for about 180 kilometres form the Okavango River in the west to the Kwando River in the east. While the park is a sanctuary to 35 large and numerous small game species, visitors with normal vehicles are not likely to see many of these animals, as traffic is restricted to the road between Kavango and Eastern Caprivi. As yet there are no tourist facilities in the Park. Because there is no surface water, most species congregate along the Okavango and Kwando rivers. As many as 339 bird species have been recorded in West Caprivi, which makes a drive through the park especially rewarding to birdwatchers.
Overnight at Lianshulu Lodge in an en-suite room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis
Lianshulu Lodge in the East Caprivi overlooks the pristine Kwando River and is situated on a private concession inside the National Park. Traditional flair and superb food combine with unobtrusive comfort and personal service. Individually styled chalets afford privacy and uninterrupted views. Experienced guides enhance a great wilderness experience. Cradled between the enigmatic Okavango River to the west and the mighty Zambezi River to the east, Lianshulu Lodge nestles beneath a canopy of shady Jackalberry and Mangosteen trees, on the banks of the meandering Kwando River. Here, in the heart of the Mudumu National Park, dry Mopane woodlands meet the allure of a fragile Kwando wetland ecosystem.
Nature drives in the National Park are conducted in open 4×4 vehicles. Other activities include guided morning walks in the park, bird watching, boat excursions and sunset cruises on the Kwando River. Optional night drives are offered between May and November. Although game populations fluctuate through the seasons, many typical savannah species occur in the area – this including buffalo, waterbuck and specials like Roan and Oribi, with Elephant, Zebra and Hippo being particularly abundant. Activities are conducted by experienced, resident naturalist guides. An optional visit to the Lizauli Traditional Village, a long-standing community tourism project, can be arranged.
Full day in the area at Lianshulu Lodge in an en-suite room on a full board basis including two schedule nature activities
Accommodation comprises three spacious suites, each with their own plunge pool, en-suite bathroom, a sala, an additional outdoor shower and a view of the waterhole in front of camp.
Little Ongava’s main area lends itself to relaxed, stylish dining under an African sky or under thatch. Lion, Elephant, Cheetah, Gemsbok, Springbok and Hartebeest can be seen at many of the water holes in the Park. The reserve has resident White and Black Rhino. Guests share a dedicated guide and open 4×4 vehicles, ensuring the optimum nature experience at one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations.
Activities include game drives into the Okaukuejo area of Etosha, day and night drives, hides at waterholes and walks with armed guides on the private reserve.
Travel to the town of Katima Mulilo and onwards to the border of Namibia, exit Namibia and enter Botswana, stay for two nights at Mowana Safari Lodge.
Spectacularly sited on the Chobe River, close to Chobe National Park, yet easily accessible, Mowana Safari Lodge stands at the point where four countries meet – and is the perfect setting for any Southern African experience. 104 luxury rooms with full en-suite bathrooms and 4 suites – all rooms are river facing with air-conditioning, mini bars, hairdryers, tea and coffee making facilities, ceiling fans, mosquito nets and electric insect repellents.
Facilities at Mowana include an outdoor swimming-pool, set in a natural landscape; the Serondela Restaurant offers the world’s best cuisine inspired by the many flavours of Africa and Savute Bar overlooking the ever-changing Chobe River.
Activities at Mowana include swimming, hiking, mountain biking, tiger fishing, bird watching, game viewing on a river cruiser or in open-air vehicles with expert game rangers and trackers, night game drives, breakfast and sunset cruises, and traditional theme evenings at the African Village.
Two overnights at Mowana Safari Lodge in a standard double room with private en-suite facilities inclusive of all meals and game-viewing
Depart Mowana, for Savute Safari Lodge. The Lodge peers out from ancient Camelthorn trees on the banks of the Savute channel, part of the dynamic Savute eco system – known for its large concentration of Elephant and large Lion prides.
Accommodation is in twelve tastefully furnished twin bedded Safari Suites. The unique design of the suites with their spacious interior and large glass sliding doors, which give the feeling of being part of the bush, sets the Savute Safari Lodge apart from typical safari accommodation.
The lounge, library and cocktail bar are situated in the thatch and timber main building, where an upstairs viewing deck allows Savute’s enchanting sunsets to mesmerize guests. A large fireplace downstairs is equally inviting on winter nights, while the delicious aroma of dinner and the prospect of candlelit, silver-service dining beckons the elegant dining room.
The game viewing offered by Savute is an experience not to be missed, especially if you are visiting in the summer months, after November’s first rains when thousands of animals are drawn to the area. Savute Safari Lodge’s highlights are its concentrations of Lion and Hyena, as well as its Leopard, Cheetah, Black-Backed Jackal and the many lone Elephant bulls, usually seen frequenting their favourite watering holes!
Two overnights at Savute Safari Lodge in a standard twin suite with private en-suite facilities inclusive of all meals, all local brand drinks, teas/coffees, snacks, game-viewing and laundry
Depart Savute Safari Lodge for the Moremi Game Reserve staying at Xakanaxa Camp. The Camp is one of the few Okavango lodges which can offer comprehensive year-round boating trips, as well as extensive nature drives into good game country. Xakanaxa (pronounced Ka-Kan-A-Ka) is set in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve, which is rated as being one of the finest game viewing areas in Africa, incorporating much of the Delta water and has a vast selection of exotic wildlife.
To the south and east, the reserve offers sanctuary to the most varied herds in southern Africa. To the north and west of the lodge are the permanent lagoons and waterways of the Okavango. The game drives in this sector of Moremi, take one through a large variety of vegetation types, down winding tracks, through mopane forests and across lush grasslands.
The waterways are either forded by vehicle or crossed on rustic log bridges. The camp faces out over the Xakanaxa Lagoon on the Khwai River, where boat trips lead into the sinuous channels of the Delta, one of Africa’s greatest natural wonders.
Birding in the area is excellent, especially in the spring and summer months, when the migrants are breeding. Boat trips and game drives are conducted by a team of experienced, professional game guides. The camp consists of luxury, spacious safari tents, with en-suite facilities. They are fully equipped and tastefully furnished. The dining room is open fronted with reed walls and a thatched roof, and has a fully stocked bar. Centrepiece in the dining room is a dining table, tailor-made in old railway sleeper timber. Wholesome meals, candle-lit dinners and a selection of fine wines will more than satisfy. The service is personalised and of a high standard. A rustic and friendly atmosphere prevails.
Two overnights at Xakanaxa Camp in a standard twin bedded tent with private en-suite facilities inclusive of all meals, all local brand drinks, teas/coffees, snacks, game-viewing and laundry
Depart back to Maun for an overnight at Maun Lodge
One overnight at Maun Lodge in a standard double room with private en-suite facilities on a bed and breakfast basis
Travel via Ghanzi to the Namibian border. Travel some 80 kilometres towards the town of Gobabis for overnight at Elandsbult Guest House in an en-suite room on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Here you are surrounded by primordial, enthralling savannahs while the ambience of the guest house itself is both natural and luxurious. You can relax in comfort while taking in a unique and unspoilt landscape- certainly the best of both worlds. The garden is shaded by worm-bark false-thorn trees (Albizia anthelmintica) and overlooks a floodlit waterhole where game and birds flock during the day. Natural building materials were used. The colours and patterns have an African feel and traditional Namibian cosiness. You are looked after by a husband and wife team assisted by well trained, friendly staff conversant in various European and African languages. The three-levelled thatched complex and 2 Chalets can accommodate up to sixteen people (plus 2 guides) sharing. There are eight bedrooms, two which are equipped with double beds, and all have en-suite bathrooms. The partly covered lapa can be referred to as the “heart” of the guest house with open fireplace, a kitchen and bar facilities. Activities offered: Game drives, animal tracking on foot, or evening cocktail stops are peppered with fascinating facts and a thought-provoking philosophy on man’s relationship with nature and the universe.
Leave for Windhoek, and Hosea Kutako International Airport in time for your outbound flight.
End of Self-drive Safari
Cost: from US Dollar 4 420 per person sharing
Rates are quoted subject to change – due to exchange rate fluctuations, and availability of accommodation.