April to October
Namibia & Botswana Self-drive Safari
NAMIBIA – BOTSWANA – victoria falls
Adventure in the remote wilderness of Southern Africa through outstanding deserts, incredible wildlife and unforgettable sunsets!
Desert, wildlife, and the most spectacular waterfalls of africa.
Boasting the world’s most ancient desert, Namibia is considered unmatched in its raw, natural beauty. Its appeal lies in the rolling, red sand dunes of the Namib, extending inland from the cold Atlantic Ocean, to the rare desert elephants amble along Namibia’s dry riverbeds and the critically endangered black rhinos.
Botswana is one of the best wildlife destinations in Africa. From the immense emptiness of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans to the sheer natural beauty of the Okavango Delta, and untamed nature of wild camping in the famous Chobe, Savuti, and Moremi, 70% of the country is dedicated to national parks and protected areas.
Sossusvlei, meaning “dead-end marsh”, is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert. This area is characterized by high sand dunes of vivid pink-to-orange colour, an indication of a high concentration of iron in the sand and consequent oxidation processes. These dunes are among the highest in the world; many of them are above 200 meters, the highest being 388 meters high. It used to be an oasis with several acacia trees; then, the river that watered the oasis changed its course. The pan is thus punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes: a fascinating and surrealistic landscape.
ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
The Etosha National Park is a nature conservation area in northern Namibia and is one of the most significant game reserves in Africa. The name Etosha comes from Oshindonga word meaning Great White Place referring to the 5,000 sq km Etosha pan, a bright white salt lake. A network of waterholes dispersed among the bush and grasslands surrounding the pan, a blindingly white, flat, saline desert that stretches into the horizon, attracts enormous congregations of animals. During the dry season, animals gather around the few last waterholes, creating a truly memorable game viewing spectacle. Etosha is simply one of the best places on the planet for watching wildlife.
Among the most remote and inaccessible areas in the vast country of Namibia, the so-called Skeleton Coast is a 40 km wide and 500 km long treacherous coastal stretch, a hostile but fascinating area. It’s a murky region with rocky and sandy coastal shallows, where rolling fogs and swirling sandstorms encapsulate its ghostly, isolated and untamed feel. Here the cold and unpredictable Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean clashes with the dune and desert landscape of north-western Namibia. Despite the hostile character of the Skeleton Coast, there are quite a number of wild animals to observe: desert-adapted elephants, rhinos, desert lions, brown hyenas, jackals, giraffes, seals, oryx, kudus and zebras.
MAKGADIKGADI SALT PANS
The Makgadikgadi Pans are the largest salt pans in the world with an area of about 12,000 sq km. The name Makgadikgadi means “a dry thirsty place” in the language of the San people. The pans themselves are salty desert whose only plant life is a thin layer of blue-green algae. However, the fringes of the pan are salt marshes and further out these are circled by grassland and then shrubby savanna. The prominent baobab trees found in the area function as local landmarks and are protected as a national monument. During the rainy season, zebras migrate en masse, one of the great wildlife migrations in a continent of many. During the dry season, wildlife draws near to the rejuvenated Boteti River in similarly epic numbers.
Jutting out in the far north-east of Namibia is a peculiarly shaped stretch of land, the Caprivi Strip, that seems to defy any logical border definitions. This lush tropical strip of land is both fringed and crossed by wide permanent rivers, including the Zambezi, Kavango (Okavango), Chobe and Linyanti, whose very names conjure up images of lush green floodplains, herds of wildlife and ancient baobabs, a stark contrast to much of the rest of the country. The Caprivi is home to birds and animals that live almost nowhere else in Namibia. It provides significant habitat for the critically endangered African wild dog and it is a corridor for African elephant moving from Botswana and Namibia into Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The UNESCO’s World Heritage Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world at 15,000 sq km and none of the water reaches the sea: the large majority of it is either evaporated or transpired. Carrying water and silt from the Angolan highlands, Botswana’s Okavango Delta floods life into the Kalahari Desert. It contains a network of winding channels and small forested islands and this watery wonderland supports wildlife on an epic scale, from the Big Five to rare African wild dogs, crocs to catfish, and is fringed by countless local communities. It’s a pristine wilderness that can be explored on foot or by mokoro canoe through papyrus fringed channels, taking you closer to the wildlife and the immense landscape.
CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
Chobe National Park, known as ‘Land of Giants”, is is a true wildlife paradise and Botswana’s first and finest national park, also the most biologically diverse. Chobe National Park is extremely lush because of the many waterways. The dazzling, deep blue Chobe River flows through the park and draws many animals and birds during the dry season. The park is famed for some of the world’s largest herds of massive elephants: there are an estimated 120,000 Kalahari elephants living here, the largest in size of all known elephant populations. These gentle, graceful, gargantuan creatures have few natural predators and they wander the park in vast herds, causing significant damage to the vegetation in some areas.
One of the greatest attractions in Africa and one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world, Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, and it defines the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometre and a height of more than a hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest fall in the world. The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometres, while the spray and mist from the falling water are rising to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometres. No wonder that the local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.