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Namibia’s Caprivi Strip

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

There is another side to Namibia which is greener, with wide rivers running through it and giant trees fringing the banks. This is home to about 70% of Namibia’s population and a fruitful land that supports both the people and its diverse bird and wildlife. This itinerary is a self drive one but could just as easily be a fly in or guided tour option. It also lends itself to combining with a visit to the Victoria Falls.

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Caprivi Strip

 

Day 1:              Okonjima

Day 2:              Rundu

Day 3:              Mahango

Day 6:              Mudumu/Lianshulu

Day 8:              Katimo Mulilo

Day 9:              River Cruise

Day 11:             Victoria Falls or Windhoek

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Description

 

This itinerary captures some of the iconic but less visited attractions of Northern Namibia. All along the river the giant trees and fast flowing waters attract a host of wildlife and birds. It is also home to 70% on Namibia’s population giving you the chance to meet and learn about the culture of Namibians.

 

Day 1

Pick up your vehicle and drive due north to Okonjima, the home of the Africat Foundation and a farm that has now become a leading animal conservation point in Namibia. Join in one of the activities that are on offer here, such as leopard tracking, learning about Africat or a night drive.

1 night Okonjima

Day 2

A long drive as you head due north until you reach Rundu which on the Kavango River and the border with Angola. Your stay will be overlooking the river and a cruise will bring the first of the crocodiles that you see. Local fishermen will be out with their nets and the different sized kingfishers coursing up and down the waters. Being on the river at sundown is a magical way to end the day.

You are now in a birder’s paradise with about 450 species found here.

1 night at Gondwana Hakusembe River Lodge

 Day 3

Today’s journey is a relatively short one but very different from other drives in Namibia in that you will pass through many villages, well tended fields and see so many more people. Ensure that you have a picnic lunch at the Popa Falls which is more of a cascade than falls but just as interesting. The shade from the big riverside trees will be welcome. Your destination is a lodge based on the river in or close to Mahango Game Park.

Explore this Park both by boat from the lodge or in a vehicle to make the most of your time here. Pods of hippo will be in the river close to the lodge and you could have otters rummaging about outside your room. Explore Bwabwata National Park (formerly Buffalo Park) which is not easy to find but well worth the effort. Good numbers of elephant and buffalo are found here as well as herds of roan and sable antelope. This area was the Special Forces area of the Apartheid regime and you come across deserted buildings and very overgrown cemeteries.

3 nights at Lianshulu Lodge

Day 6

Cross over the narrow Caprivi Game Park that is sandwiched between Zambia and Botswana watching out for game along the way. Your next stop is at the other end of the Strip in Mudumu National Park which has the Kwando River as its border. Again your stay will be besides the river and with a bigger Park to explore, the chance of seeing plenty of the same kind of game. Mudumu does also have sitatunga antelope living in the marsh areas. Take time to visit Nkasa Lupala National Park which has the feel of the Okavango Delta to it with oxbow lakes, channels, reed beds and islands particularly in the flood season.

2 nights at Camp Kwando

Day 8

Drive to Katima Mulilo and have a final night in the Caprivi Strip in one of the lodges along the river.

1 night at Caprivi Mutoya Lodge

Day 9

Drop off your vehicle at the airport and catch a flight to Victoria Falls, You have the option of either the Zambian side of the Falls or the Zimbabwe side. The latter has the biggest and most scenic portion of the Falls although the Devil’s Pool and Livingstone Island are on the Zambian side. The choice is down to what you want to see and do here. For those that like an adrenalin rush then the Zim side offers white water rafting (at certain times of the year), bungee jumping and a host of other such attractions. Both offer wild life experiences and perhaps finish your river odyssey with a night or two on a river boat cruising.

2 nights on the Zambezi Queen or Hotel at Victoria Falls

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Namibia

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Gems

Quietly following a pair of otters as they forage through the river banks and islands of the river. Hearing them whistling to each other and their excited cries when they find something to eat is fascinating. Then having to give way to a male hippo as we encroached upon his territory and he objected with a charge through the water.

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Southern Namibia and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Posted on:
Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

For those that like exploring the different kinds of deserts found in Namibia then this itinerary should satisfy their interests. It is an ideal self drive trip with stunning scenery and wildlife.

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Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

 

Day 1:       Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

Day 3:       Aus

Day 5:      Fish River Canyon

Day 7:       Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Day 12:     Kalahari, Namibia

Day 14:    Windhoek

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Description

 

A taste of all 4 deserts in Namibia and the wildlife that manages to survive in these harsh environments. Stunning scenery and the chance to explore the different types of desert make this a great self drive destination.

 

Day 1 – Sossusveli

Drive from the highlands of Windhoek down in to the Namib Desert with its giant red coloured sand dunes. Choose a lodge within the Park or on the edge to make the most of the changing colours of the dunes.

2 Nights in Sossusvlei Lodge

 

Day 2 – Sossusveli

An early start as you drive in to the Namib Park and the Dune fields as the sun rises. The changing colours are a photographers dream with the added bonus of animal and birds found here. Climb Big Daddy – allegedly the largest sand dune in the world! Perhaps take a balloon trip over the desert and note the star shaped dunes.

 

Day 3 – Aus

Your next stay is in the Aus Mountains on the edge of the Namib and Karoo deserts. Wonderful walks take you through the mountains with views in all directions or on to the plains, where the wild horses live.

2 Nights in Klein Aus Eagle’s Nest

 

Day 4 – Aus

Take a day trip down to Namibia’s second port. Luderitz. Just as you getting there turn off to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, once a diamond town with an opera house and thriving community. Wander through the houses and buildings that are slowly being reclaimed by the desert sands. The coast line is rugged and home to colonies of seals and penguins.

 

Day 5 – Gondwana

Your stay in the Nama Karoo is close the second largest Canyon in the world, Fish River Canyon. Look out for the quiver tree, an aloe indigenous to Southern Africa and dassies living amongst the giant boulders found in this area. Perhaps stay in one of the lodges that have its chalets interwoven with the boulders.

2 nights in Canon Lodge, Gondwana

 

Day 6 – Gondwana

Explore the area and certainly visit the rim of this gigantic canyon.

 

Day 7 – Kalahari

Drive to the SE border of Namibia and then cross in to South Africa and the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Stay in a couple of locations in the Park to make the most of the unique environment deep in the Kalahari Desert. Places to consider would be Two Rivers, Kalahari Tented Camp and Nossob.

2 nights in Kalahari Tented Camp

 

Day 8 – Kalahari

The huge dunes are linear here and there is good vegetation in between which supports a host of wildlife. There is a wildebeest and springbok migration in the area making the most of the infrequent rains and waterholes. This attracts the predators such as cheetah and lion. The male of the later are famous for their dark heavy manes.

 

Day 9 – Bitter Camp

Change camp and explore further in to the Park.

3 nights at Bitter Camp

 

Day 12 – Kalahari

Leave the Park today and start your drive back towards Windhoek. Break the journey with a stay in a private game reserve in the Kalahari. Go for a chalet perched on the top of the dunes for stunning views, particularly at sunset.

1 night at Bagatelle Kalahari Lodge

 

Day 13 – Windhoek

Overnight in Windhoek.

 

Day 14

Fly home.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Little Gems

Wander through the piles of giant boulders stacked one on top of another in the Giants Playground. This natural phenomenon is home to colonies of dassies which in turn attracts eagles that hunt them. The quiver trees that grow here add to the photo opportunities.

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Namibia Deserts

Posted on:
Posted by:

Avatar

 

A bespoke itinerary providing the opportunity to explore four totally different deserts in one country.

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Namibia Deserts

An itinerary providing the opportunity to explore four totally different deserts in one country.

Day 1: Kalahari
Day 3: Nama Karoo
Day 6: Succulent Karoo
Day 8: Namib Desert
Day 11: Windhoek
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Description

Day 1: Kalahari
From Windhoek, collect a hire car and head south. You will soon start to see the wildlife of Namibia with warthog, baboon and possibly kudu near the road. You will notice how well maintained the roads are and how empty they are in comparison to what we are used to. Some 250 kms from Windhoek will bring you to the Kalahari, your first desert. Here the dunes are in wave formation and some stretch 250 kms. The tops are bare red sand with the sides and troughs having grass and trees growing up them. Between the dunes, grassland supports a wide variety of wildlife and birds. Stay here for two nights at least to give you time to recover from your flight and to explore the surrounding desert. An evening sundowner drive is a must.
Two nights Kalahari

Day 3: Nama Karoo
The next part of the journey is a drive of 4 to 5 hours; you may find that the first half is a little monotonous but the bird life along the roadside is interesting. The scenery becomes more and more dramatic the nearer you get to the Fish River Canyon, with boulder strewn mountains and vast vistas. A stop to see the Quiver tree Forest and the Giants Playground is a rewarding detour and an ideal place for lunch. You may expect to see zebra, springbok and oryx.  The Canyon looks at its best in the morning sunlight. We would suggest two to three nights in this area; available activities include horse riding, sundowner drives, walking trails and scenic flights.

For the intrepid there is the chance to join a trek in the canyons leading to the Fish River Canyon and time down in the main Canyon. Camp out for 2 nights with your guide cooking you meals and mules to carry the heavy stuff. Truly getting away from modern life.
Three nights Fish River Canyon area

Day 6: Succulent Karoo
The next desert on this itinerary is one of the top 20 most important biomes in the world. The flora is rare and worth having an expert along to explain how it all interacts. With a backdrop of massive granite mountains and sweeping desert plains this is a land of far horizons. Added to the usual desert wildlife there are also the Namib Desert Horses to be sought out. Their ancestors made their break for freedom from the armies of the First World War and they have flourished ever since.
Two nights in Succulent Karoo

Day 8: Namib Desert
The fourth and final desert is famous for its red dunes and it is not long before you will see the first of these in your drive north. This is a wonderful scenic drive, which will tempt you to stop and take photos along the way.  There is plenty to do and see here; Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon – this is a photographer’s paradise, with the early morning being the best time to visit. Almost all the Lodges offer game drives and sundowners and you could see decent size herds of springbok and if really lucky, cheetah. Balloon over the dunes, quad bike or just simply relax.
Three nights Namib Desert

Day 11: Begin your return to Windhoek or onward
Head back towards Windhoek and your flight home (we would suggest a night or two as you wend your way back) or explore the Namib Desert even further by making your way to Swakopmund and the sea.

Fish River Canyon      Africa, Namibia. © 2004 Jan Jepsen / NTB

Peter - our Namibia expert      star dunes namib desert

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Little Gems

Early morning in the Namib desert is a very special time.  The park gates open at dawn and you need to be the first in to get those all important sunrise shots of Dune 45 and of course to enjoy sunrise with your breakfast picnic. Pick up your entrance ticket the night before.
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