Travel tips/ Travel diary Namibia/ Botswana/ Zambia
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 1:52 PM Last Post By: sjk373
Oct 21, 2012 1:49 PM
Travel tips/ Travel diary Namibia/ Botswana/ ZambiaHey!
I just came back from an awesome trip coming up from Cape Town through Namibia and Botswana and ending in Livingstone, Zambia at the Victoria falls. I made some notes in my lonely planet which I would like to share with you.
Cape Town, South Africa -> Windhoek, Namibia -> Sesriem/ Sossusvlei, Namibia -> Swakopmund, Namibia –> Etosha National Park, Namibia –> Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek -> Maun, Botswana (Okavango Delta) –> Kasane, Botswana (Chobe National Park) -> Livingstone, Zambia (Victoria Falls)
First part: Dunes and WIldlife of Namibia
Cape Town to Windhoek with the Intercape Sleepliner: I can definitely recommend this transportation option despite the fact that it takes 19 hours to get to Windhoek it is a very comfortable option to travel and the high elevation in the upper part of the bus allows you to have some nice views of the landscape of the Western and Northern Cape. When arriving in Namibia in the evening unfortunately it is already dark. A ticket is about R500- R800. Try took book in advance to get cheap tariffs.
We rented a car in Windhoek and used it to get around. Make sure that you have a full spare tyre and that it has enough air. Dirt roads are rough by principle but our VW Polo Vivo faced all challenges and drove us safely all the way. If possible stick to the larger roads. Take at least 5 l water per person along.
Sesriem: We stayed at the Sesriem Campsite inside the Nationalpark. Bookings have to be made prior to the arrival at NWR and as Sossusvlei is the top tourist destination in Namibia reservation should be made well in advance. The campsite is beautiful located each site below a camel thorn tree. Ablution blocks are perfect and the nearby bar and restaurant serve good food and drinks for reasonable prices. Note: It is absolutely recommend bringing food and drinks as the only place to buy something is the Engen one stop petrol station. A very nice pool offers the possibility to cool down during day time. Advantage of this camp site is that you are allowed to enter the park earlier than other customers who stayed outside the park so you will have a unforgettable sunrise sitting on top of a dune.
We stayed at “Desert Sky Backpackers”. This place was wonderful and had everything a backpacker could dream of. Very good kitchen facilities completely equipped, outdoor Braai, nice campsite and dorms and safe parking inside the backpackers. The price slightly changed A campsite is N$120 and a dorm N$130 pp and nigh.
In Windhoek and Etosha we stayed with some friends so unfortunately no tips there.
Sossusvlei is the place to be in Namibia. Seeing the sunrise from on top of Dune 45 is amazing and a must see.
Is a very nice little town surrounded by dunes to stroll around. It still has a bit of the German culture hear and there and it is great to experience this. If you can manage it try the Schwarzwälder Kirsch cake in the art cafe. The Hansa Brewery obviously changed their location as we could not visit them anymore.
Etosha National Park offers first class game viewing. We entered from Andersson Gate and drove up to Halali camp where you can have a nice dip in the pool. Best time to go is the dry season at the end of winter. We stayed 1 hour at a waterhole and we´ve seen almost every species. Avoid the small road from Halali camp to Etosha pan look out if you do not have a high clearance vehicle.
Try to get on top of the hill with water towers (Hügelstreet) and enjoy the view with some sundowners.
Second part: Through the delta up to the falls
Public transportation options between Windhoek and Maun are rare. We took the very comfy Tenna Express (email@example.com , http://www.tennaxp.com.na/) which is a private shuttle services. The tour with pick up in Windhoek and drop off in Maun costed US$100.
The direct route from Maun to Kasane is only negotiable with a proper 4x4. You have to carry all provisions and fuel for all the way!
We took the Bus from Maun via Nata to Kasane. It took about 8 hours and it costed BWP160. The buses were OK and reliable. Make shure that you take the first bus in Maun.
In Maun and Kasane the local taxis are good options to get around.
Old bridge Backpackers, Maun, Botswana:
This Backpackers was very nicely located close to the river in Maun. The bar is frequented by foreigners and locals so there is always someone to chat. The Backpackers has already a bit of safari vibe and it´s great place to meet up with fellow travellers.
Unfortunately the kitchen facilities are very restricted and cutlery and crockery is very rare. Luckily Tee/ coffee is available as well as a stove and kettle.
Chobe Safari Lodge, Kasane, Botswana:
The Chobe safari Lodge is directly situated at the Chobe River and has an own jetty. The pool and dining facilties are very classy but the lodge has also budget camping sites which are very well sorted with very good ablution blocks. Note that beside Braai (BBQ) spots no kitchen facilities are available.
To book tours in Chobe and vic falls (Rafting) walk down the road main road from Chobe Safari Lodge and take the office on the left named NKWE. The small lady offers very good budget options for both boat cruise and game drives and is very well connected to all other operators.
Supermarket and ATMs are very nearby (2 min walk)
Jolly Boys Backpacker, Livingstone, Zambia:
We stayed 2 nights in the Jolly boys which has been rated 3 times best hostel of Africa in the latest years. We have been very curious how this place looks like and we haven´t been disappointed. It has a lovely set up with chill out lounge, pool, bar etc. The inside travel agency offers budget tours to the falls and combo tours together with rafting etc. Checkout latest offers.
Though a nice place as there are staying lots of backpackers one should be very concerned about valuable items and do not leave them without attraction.
The kitchen facilties are good though too small for the big number of customers. If available bring pots and stove.
If you stay in the dorm a mosquito net will safe your life - or at least let you have some sleep
Mokoro tour in the Okavango delta
We booked a mokoro tour in the delta in advanced (2 nights, 3 days) and it was very well organised (Booked through the Old Bridge Backpackers Website). The hostel offers even self catered options and offers all equipment. If you choose the self catered option make sure that you have enough food also for your local guides! Good tip in the camp to get rid of some mosquitoes is to lit dry elephant dung which produces a repellent like smoke. Ask your guide if he can catch some fresh fish which you can cook on the open fire.
Bring teabags and chlorine tablets as there is no fresh drinking water. We cooked or treated water from the swamp and stayed fine. The colour and taste of the water though was not very pleasant.
If available a spade and a axe are helpful.
Chobe River Front and Chobe Nationalpark:
A must do is a drive in a boat in the afternoon on the Chobe River. During dry season all animals of the park walk down to the water to drink and offer awesome possibilities to see them closely. The animals are used to boats so encounters can be very close (for example 1 m to a croc or 2 m to an elephant)
To see some cats a morning drive in the park is a good opportunity. We travelled with Peace Shamuka (www.last-edensafaris.com, +267 71770324) which is a local tour operator running his own business. The morning drive includes a nice little break with a cup of tea at the waterfront. Peace is an awesome tour guide with an incredible eyesight, spotting a giant owl in the very top of a tree while passing it in the Bakkie.
Victoria Falls I - Under the Spray
Totally recommendable is the under the spray tour of Mundu Tours. The guides take you below the falls and you can jump into the cold pool and look up the falls. This tour is only possible in the dry season.
Victoria Falls II – Rafting
We did the full day rafting with Saf Par. The tour was well organized with knowledgeable guides. Do not expect a first class lunch. Half day customers have to face a very steep and in the midday sun very hot climb out or into the gorge so bring water and a hat for that hike.
The rafting is great fun and Zambezi River is a great opportunity to do so. Luckily big crocs die while falling down the falls so there have been no incidents with crocs so far.
Victoria Falls III – Devils Pool
Do it – you will not regret it.
Keywords: Cape Town, Victoria Falls, Namibia, Botswana, Livingstone, Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park, Swakopmund, Mokoro tour, Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Kasane
Edited by: Geerg
Edited by: Geerg
Oct 31, 2012 8:16 AM
Oct 31, 2012 9:18 AM
Nov 1, 2012 12:58 AM
Nov 13, 2012 1:52 PM
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