Tailored from £7,350 per family excl. flights
12 days Central Highlands, Etosha, Caprivi, Chobe, Victoria Falls
12 days Central Highlands, Etosha, Caprivi, Chobe, Victoria Falls
Begin in the country’s capital city of Windhoek, which is where the international airport is found and where you will pick up your hire car. Upon collection immediately head north into the heart of Namibia and start your safari experience straightaway on the Okonjima Nature Reserve, found in the Central Highlands. Continue driving north to the eastern edge of Etosha National Park for two nights at the family friendly Onguma Bush Camp, while you explore the main wildlife viewing destination in Namibia. This is as far east as the vast majority of people get to in Namibia, but you are heading into the thin strip separating Namibia and it’s bordering countries in the extreme north-east.
The tarred B8 road bisects the Caprivi Strip and it will lead you to your next lodge on the banks of the Kavango River, before continuing deeper into the Caprivi to explore the remote Nkasa Rupara National Park. Your penultimate destination is Chobe National Park in Botswana, famous for it’s massive herds of elephants. The trip then finishes at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, for another tick off the bucket list.
Upon arrival into Windhoek on an early flight you will be met by a transfer driver who will take you to the local office to pick up your hire car. A local representative of ours will be on hand to answer any questions that you might have about the itinerary and hand over your final travel documents.
Then you are all set! Head north out of the city to Okonjima Plains Camp, which will be your base for the evening. Located in the Central Highlands, this is one of the five accommodation options on the vast reserve and it is well suited to families. By the time you arrive it might be a little late to book onto one of the scheduled activities but you might like to head out on one of the self-guided walking trails, enjoy the view of the waterhole from the main area or simply relax in your spacious room.
*If required, due to preferences or flight times, we can include an initial night in Windhoek and adjust the itinerary as necessary.
With an early start this morning you might like to book onto a predator tracking activity with Okonjima. They have a number of radio-collared predators living wild in the reserve and you have a great chance of finding one, by going out on a game drive with an experienced guide from the lodge. Predators are by their very nature elusive so this gives you a great chance of seeing a leopard or a rare brown hyena and it ill certainly start your trip off with a bang. Return to the lodge for breakfast and jump back in your car to head north to the eastern side of Etosha National Park, the premier wildlife destination in Namibia.
Onguma Bush Camp is your next stop, staying in a family unit for the next two nights. Situated on the private Onguma Reserve, which shares a border with Etosha National Park, it is well positioned for game drives into the national park itself- which can either be done independently or with the lodge or for guided game drives around the private reserve. Take your choice this afternoon.
You have a full day on safari, whether you choose to drive yourselves around the national park or head out with the expert guides from Onguma, that is your choice and having that flexibility is one of the great things about Etosha.
Etosha National Park is one of the best game parks in all of Africa and it is the waterholes on the edge of salt pan that draw the wildlife, especially during the dry season. It is not uncommon to have a plethora of different mammal species around the same waterhole, just sitting patiently by one waterhole can yield some fantastic sightings. Testament to the Namibian governments conservation initiatives there is still a strong black and white rhino population in the park, while in other parts of the continent they have been all but wiped out.
It is a long journey today of around 6 hours, so it is worth getting on the road early as you head north-east and into Namibia’s Caprivi Strip or “Zambezi Region” as it is now known. Not only will you notice the environment change as you enter a landscape characterised by major rivers rather than the arid interior that you are leaving behind, but also you will start to see a more populous side of Namibia. Due to the more fertile conditions and availability of water the Caprivi is scattered with villages and farming communities and care is needed as you drive along as errand children and goats may run into the road!
Upon arrival settle into the relaxed atmosphere at River Dance, which is perched on the banks of the mighty, life-giving Kavango river. You might like to enjoy a dip in the pool this afternoon or maybe treat yourself to a massage after the long drive, before enjoying into dinner served on the deck as the river dances beneath you.
There are a variety of activities on offer from River Dance including village walks, hiking tours, boat cruises and even yoga lessons, daily on a lower deck, with views of the river beneath. Having the chance to get out on the water is very special and this can take the form of a breakfast cruise or a sunset trip with a cocktail. Some guests might also like to try their luck trying to catch a legendary tiger fish with a spot of fishing.
Game drives are also available into the Mahango National Park, which is a relatively small park around 40km away from the lodge or to the buffalo core area of the Bwabwata National Park, which is around 45km away from the lodge. It does require a bit of drive to and from the parks but they are very wild and under-visited parks and can yield some great bird sightings, as well as plains game and they have good populations of buffalo and elephant.
It is a relatively short drive today of only around three to four hours so you might like to enjoy a relaxed morning at River Dance before you depart or perhaps another activity.
Continue further east along the Caprivi Strip, towards the eastern edge of Namibia and to the remote Nkasa Rupara National Park. This stunning park borders some of the finest and most exclusive wildlife reserves in Botswana, separated by just the Kwando River. When the flood waters of the Kwando River are high, it also shares a similar delta formation as the famous Okavango Delta next-door. This is the largest wetland of conservation status in Namibia and a critically important area for birdlife and mammals alike. It contains the largest concentration of buffaloes for example.
Nkasa Lupala is in intimate tented lodge with 10 luxury tents built on Lupala Island. It is just 300m from the official border of the park, but there is no fence so animals can come and go as they please, often elephants enjoy the water in front of camp. Enjoy the peaceful location of the lodge or perhaps book onto one the activities on offer.
You have a full day to relax and explore this little visited corner of the Namibia and hopefully you will be rewarded with some special sightings. Since it was officially proclaimed on the 1st March 1990 the protection afforded to the National Park has seen wildlife populations
go from strength to strength. Alongside animals such as elephants, buffalo, hippo, impala and kudu, you know have a chance to seeing lion, leopard, wild dogs and even cheetahs move through the area.
Morning and afternoon game drives are on offer as well as night drives in the drier winter months. A boat cruise is also possible, depending on the season, on the Harubandi Channel of the Kwando-Linyanti River system and can be particularly good for bird sightings. Walking safaris and a visit to a local village are also on offer.
Say goodbye to Namibia and cross the border into Botswana at the Ngoma Border Post. The border isn’t normally too busy and it is quite straight forward, but prepare yourselves for a wait in case there is a queue. It is then around an hour drive to Chobe Bakwena, on the banks of the Chobe River.
During your two night stay all your activities are included, so make sure that you arrive by 2pm, for an initial exploration of Chobe National Park by the means of a game drive or a boat cruise. This eco-lodge is away from the busy town of Kasane, however it is still only a short distance from the national park. The lodge welcomes children of all ages, although for those families with children aged 11 and under it is compulsory to pay for private activities.
Chobe National Park is vast and in it’s entirety it covers around 11,700 square kilometres. Much of this is impenetrable shrubland and it is only the Chobe Riverfront and the Savuti Marsh where several luxury lodges are found. The Chobe Riverfront is where you will explore from Chobe Bakwena and you can do this in a vehicle or by boat. The riverfront draws the most wildlife, but the floodplains, mature woodland and thickets also support a diverse array of species. Chobe is synonymous with elephants and it is thought to hold the largest surviving elephant population in the world, estimated to be around 120,000.
The lodge also has strong links with the local community and you might like to soak up some culture with a visit to a local village. It also has 20 cruiser bikes, available to guests, if you would like to use pedal power to investigate the area around the lodge. The eco-pool is also definitely worth a dip, perhaps during the hottest part of the day and finish the day with a drink overlooking the river from the raised deck of the lodge.
This morning you will be met at Chobe Bakwena and transferred across the border into Zimbabwe. Sometimes the border can be busy so be prepared for a queue here, before you make your way to Victoria Falls town. Your hotel, Ilala Lodge is in the heart of the town and stay here for two nights in standard rooms on a bed and breakfast basis.
This modern hotel is within just a 10-minute walking distance of the entrance to the falls themselves, so it works perfectly as a base to see this natural wonder as well as to experience the sight and sounds of the vibrant town itself.
The Victoria Falls is formed where the Zambezi drops 100m into a narrow gorge and forms a border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Depending on the season it can be seen from either country and with a width of 1,708 metres it is said to be the world’s largest sheet of falling water. During months of peak flow up to 5 million cubic metres of water cascade over the falls every minute. The spray caused by the sheer force of the water can be seen from miles around and it isn’t hard to see where it’s traditional name, Mosi-oa-Tunya or “The Smoke That Thunders” comes from.
It is easy to explore the falls independently yourselves from Ilala Lodge or we can organise a guided tour of the falls or one of the many other activities available. This includes; river cruises on the Zambezi, helicopter or microlight trips over the falls or for the adrenaline junkie sky diving, bungee-jumping, visits to devils pool or a gorge-swing are possible.
Enjoy a relaxed morning with a pleasant breakfast in the beautiful, well-manicured gardens of Ilala Lodge, before meeting your transfer to Victoria Falls Airport, in time for your international flights home.