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jojojhamb Jan 5th, 2009 02:37 AM

15 days South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Vic falls
Last year in March we traveled for 10 days to Tanzania. It was a great trip and that was because of the help we got here in this Forum.

Thank you everybody!

Now we are planning a 15 day trip for Southern Africa in the month of May or June 2009.Please help us in deciding the following:

1. Can we do South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Victoria falls in 15 days? As we are flying out from Bombay we have to fly in through Jo-berg in any case.

2. In Tanzania we did a very comfortable(1 night at Kibo palace, 5 nights at Serena Lodges, 1 night at Ndutu Lodge and 2 nights at Kusini camp)private safari with Roy safaris and that cost around 350$ per person per night, exclusive of air fares. What price range can we expect for this trip?

3. Can we go in for self drive, is it safe? Is it a cheaper option? Please note that we are a married couple aged 30 and 32 years.

4. Is May or June good time to travel in these parts of Africa? We can change to March / April also.

5. Any suggested names of Tour operators active in this area?

6. Any suggested Itinerary we can follow?



divine54 Jan 5th, 2009 08:27 AM

hello dhairya

please read in between your lines...

1. Can we do South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Victoria falls in 15 days? As we are flying out from Bombay we have to fly in through Jo-berg in any case.

>> of course it's doable but i would not recommend such a rush unless yopu just visit one or max two venues/parks in each country.
i would rather do a combo of SA/bot or SA/zam or any other combo incorporating tw countries.

is you budget 350maxpppd plus flights and car hire if applicable?

2. In Tanzania we did a very comfortable(1 night at Kibo palace, 5 nights at Serena Lodges, 1 night at Ndutu Lodge and 2 nights at Kusini camp)private safari with Roy safaris and that cost around 350$ per person per night, exclusive of air fares. What price range can we expect for this trip?

>>>all depending on your expectations.
if you stick to two countries or even better one country and e.g. self-drive in namibia or self-drive in south africa makes a difference.
if you want to do fly-in safari then it's getting a bit more expensive.

so better give a budget and interests - as much info as possible.

3. Can we go in for self drive, is it safe? Is it a cheaper option? Please note that we are a married couple aged 30 and 32 years.

>>> it's as safe as any other country as long as one uses common sense and some pre-cautions.
of course if you do self-drive with a roof tent it's about 150-200US/day for the car plus food and reserve fees and camping fees.
but i would not recommend to do a 4x4 drive thru botswana if you are not THAT experienced in driving difficult terrain.

4. Is May or June good time to travel in these parts of Africa? We can change to March / April also.

>>>may/june is fine for SA and namibia. botswana is also fine but that's after the long rains and so wilflife tracking might be a bit demanding due to long grass.

march/april is also good but even closer in the post-rainy season.

5. Any suggested names of Tour operators active in this area?

>>>we are FIT's and therefore we have no experiences with tour operators.
i am sure others join and deliver info on these.

6. Any suggested Itinerary we can follow?

>>>just post information on max budget for 2 excluding long-haul flights, main interests - as much info as possible.

happy planning!


canadian_robin Jan 5th, 2009 12:34 PM

"Can we do South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Victoria falls in 15 days? As we are flying out from Bombay we have to fly in through Jo-berg in any case."

I agree with Div - I think you are trying to do too much in 15 days. South Africa and Namibia go well together as do Botswana and Vic Falls. I would do one combination or the other.

"Can we go in for self drive, is it safe? Is it a cheaper option? Please note that we are a married couple aged 30 and 32 years."

Self-drive is certainly an option for both trips, although again I agree with Div - if you are first-timers, I think the South Africa/Namibia combination is a better choice. The self-drive option is usually cheaper (depending on your choice of camps/tours), but by no means cheap! We have always felt perfectly safe driving through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.

My husband and I are in our 50s, so if we can self-drive, you certainly can! ...and yes we are still happily married after many self-drive trips through Southern Africa!

"Any suggested Itinerary we can follow?"

A great self-drive through South Africa/Namibia which we have now done on three different occasions (2005, 2006, 2008) is:

A couple of nights in Cape Town

Drive to Karoo National Park (4hrs) - overnight in one of their lovely cabins (

Drive to Upington - overnight at La Boheme Guesthouse (one of the best B&Bs in Southern Africa)

Drive to and go on safari in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park for several days, staying at the wilderness camps (Bitterpan, Gharagab, Kieliekrankie etc) - see

From Kgalagadi, drive into Namibia and head to Fish River Canyon - stay overnight at Canon (not Canyon) Lodge or Canon Mountain Camp

Drive to Aus - stay overnight at Eagle's Nest Lodge at Klein Aus Vista - one of our favourite places in Southern Africa!

Drive to Sossusveli and spend a couple of nights in the dunes - stay at Kulala Wilderness Camp or Kulala Lodge - climb Big Daddy and do the balloon ride

Drive across the Namib Desert to Walvis Bay or Swakopmund and enjoy a couple of days on the coast.

Drive to Windhoek and head back home from there.

My husband and I completed a self-drive through Botswana to Vic Falls this past August and loved it. Here is the link to my trip report. It will give you a pretty good idea of what it is like to self-drive through southern Africa. It was our first visit to Botswana. The itinerary is outlined at the beginning and there are lots of photos.

"Is May or June good time to travel in these parts of Africa? We can change to March / April also"

I like the dry season (June July August in SA) when the animals are forced to congregate at waterholes - it makes the game viewing easier. So, I would stick with May or June. However, prices may be higher then as it is peak season.

"Any suggested names of Tour operators active in this area?"

As we have always self-driven, I will leave this question to the experts on this site to offer their opinion.

Hope this helps! Robin

Sorry - one last thing - don't be too long making your decision - the South African parks will be filling up quickly. You can view the availability at the camps on the sanparks website and book online there too. Avoid SA school holidays!!

linjudy Jan 5th, 2009 02:16 PM

Does the 15 days include travelling to Africa and back? If so, it's way too short. Assuming you stay at 3 camps in Botswana, that would be min 6, but better if there are 8-9 days. Namibia is another 3 days, that leaves 3 days to get to Africa and back.

So, I think you can do 2 areas, but not 3.

jrretired Jan 6th, 2009 08:10 PM

We visited the same countries you propose during a recent trip to Africa. We arranged our own air, but used a company from Capetown called They did a great job and tailor-made our journey a pleasant and easy one.

HariS Jan 6th, 2009 08:55 PM


Just one piece of advice - the SA consulate in Mumbai is really slow with processing visas. They are short-staffed and back-logged. Hence, advice 2-3 weeks of your SA visa.

cary999 Jan 6th, 2009 09:17 PM

CR - I just took a quick peak at your trip report on smugmug. It's Great!!! So nice the way you have photos with your narrative. I'm going back and read it entirely and slowly!!!!! And I'm sure I'll be back with questions. A drive like that through Botswana has to be fascinating and something we'd like to do.

Have you posted to the forum that this/your report is available?

regards - tom

canadian_robin Jan 7th, 2009 11:37 AM

Hi Tom! Glad you enjoyed the report. It is posted on this forum as "Pictures - Self drive: Nxai Pan, Moremi and Chobe - August 2008". I would provide you with the link to the thread, but I haven't a clue how to do that. :-) Robin

Momliz Jan 7th, 2009 02:49 PM

just click on the thread title:;tid=35168239

canadian_robin Jan 7th, 2009 03:11 PM

Thank you! Now I know! Robin

atravelynn Jan 7th, 2009 03:36 PM

Q1 Depends on what you wish to do.

1 Joburg arrival
4 Cape Town or Sabi Sands camp
1 to Namibia
3 Dunes in the desert
1 to Maun
3 Delta Camp in Botswana
2 Vic Falls

That's 15 days. I wouldn't do this much in a 15 day trip, but I think it's possible. It also would be mostly flying.

Q2 I believe it will be more than your per night Tanzania trip costs. A self drive in Kruger would reduce the cost. Lots of people self drive in Namibia. I've seen reports of driving from Sabi Sands to just over the border in Botswana to a camp called Mashatu. I don't know if you can hit all these places if you drive instead of fly.

Q3 No personal experience but it is common in South Africa and Namibia. Less common in Botswana, but Canadian Robbin and others have done it. They have a good deal more time for traveling around, though.

Q4 May-June is better

Q5 I wonder if Jrretired means Go2Africa in Cape Town. I've worked with Go2Africa, though I have not traveled with them, and they were prompt, professional, and helpful.
I've corresponded with Cardboard Box for Namibia and was very pleased with their responses to all my questions.

Q6 With this many countries, there are loads of options. For example, what do you wish to do in South Africa? Cape Town or safari or both? Would you want to get to the Okavango Delta in Botswana? In Namibia is it the spectacular desert scenery you want to see or the waterholes and wildlife of Etosha or both?

Good luck in your planning which will consist of lots of narrowing your options.

canadian_robin Jan 7th, 2009 07:48 PM

Lynn has made a very good point - (self) driving does eat up a lot of time. If you only have 15 days, you might be wiser to choose a trip that involves flying from place to place/camp to camp. Robin

jrretired Jan 11th, 2009 05:31 PM

Sorry for the typo. It is Go2Africa.

jojojhamb Jan 15th, 2009 02:10 AM

Hello everybody,

Thank you Div, Robin, linjudy, jrretired, Hari & atravelynn.

As per your suggestions we have limited our trip to South Africa and Namibia. Now we are planning 3 nights in Cape Town and 9 nights in Namibia starting on 24/05/09.

As suggested by Robin we are thinking of going in for self Drive and may be, if it saves lot of time, flying also.

In Namibia we would like to do Wildlife, Desert and (please suggest).

We have started talking to Go2africa and naturefriendsafaris. Please suggest any other reliable operators.

We have narrowed down our budget to 300US$ per person excluding the long Haul flights. I hope we are able to fit into this budget (we can strech it bit more).

Please suggest any particular sites / places /lodges / camps we should visit in Namibia.

Please suggest accomodation in Cape Town and things not to be missed in Cape Town.

Sorry for asking too much and thank you in advance.



atravelynn Jan 15th, 2009 06:20 AM

Your required reading on Namibia and deserts:;tid=34974237;tid=35113219;tid=35094467;tid=35113219;tid=34887084;tid=34839668;tid=34733247;tid=34954561;tid=34873895

Your required reading on Namibia and Etosha/wildlife;tid=35125347;tid=35124739

I asked this question about a non-self drive trip, but the answers would relate to a self-drive too;tid=34894397

I copied this from somewhere because I’d like to visit Namibia someday.

Etosha's drawback is that the only accommodations within the park are the three large rest camps that become especially crowded during regional school holidays. (Entry is by permit only - reservations should be made well in advance

Particular points of interest in Etoshainclude:
• Andoni (the northern most waterhole) - excellent birds
• Namutoni - the former imperial German fort, a good view from the ramparts and tower
• Klein Namutoni waterhole - the best place to see black-faced impala
• Fischer's Pan (near Namutoni) - excellent birds, good for springbok and wildebeest
• Bloubokdraai road - good for Damara dik-dik (Africa's smallest antelope)
• Chudob waterhole (near Namutoni) - especially good for eland and giraffe
• Batia (between Halali and Namutoni - near Springbokfontein) - elephant, blue wildebeest and springbok
• Halali - well shaded camp site in an area of dolomite outcrops
• The Charitsaub, Salvadora/Sueda waterhole cluster (between Halali and Okaukuejo) - excellent for plains game
• Oliphantsbad (near Okaukuejo) - excellent for elephant
• Okaukuejo ("the place of the women") - site of the Etosha Research Station, a good place for black rhino under the floodlights at night, has a good view from the water tower across to the Ondundozonananandana Mountains
• The Haunted Forest (near Okaukuejo) - a forest of legendary moringa trees (Moringa ovalifolia)
• Ongava Game Reserve - private reserve at Andersson gate on the southern boundary, night drives, game walks and the presence of white rhino are particularly good

Some more stuff on the more popular waterholes with public facilities:

Namutoni is situated on the eastern side of Etosha, and derives its name from the old German fort around which it is built. As a reminder of its military past, sunrise and sunset are observed by a bugler calling from the top of the watch tower, in the fort's north-eastern corner. The presence of the fort gives Namutoni more character than the other rest camps in Etosha, and in terms of accommodation this is probably the best of the three restcamps.
The downside of staying at Namutoni is that the spot-lit waterhole here does not get nearly as much activity as those at either Halali or Okaukuejo

Halali - The central rest camp in Etosha
This resort is the newest in the park and is strategically located halfway between Okaukuejo and Namutoni. It is surrounded by some of the most popular water holes in the Park. The resorts name, of German origin, is derived from the bugle call made to announce the end of a hunt.
Probably the best thing about Halali is the secluded and scenic flood-lit water hole. At Namutoni and Okaukuejo the waterhole is situated right in the midst of the camp, but at Halali the waterhole is situated a short walk from the camp.

The major benefit of this is that the human noise level at the waterhole is minimum and you will not be disturbed by the sounds of car alarms, screaming children or drunk overlanders.

Okaukuejo is the main area of tourist activity inside Etosha but visitors on holiday in Namibia can also choose to stay at either Halali or Namutoni Camp.
Okaukuejo camp is the oldest tourist camp in Etosha and it currently functions as the administrative hub of the park, and the home of the Etosha Ecological Institute. It is situated at the western end of the pan.
The main attraction of this camp is that it overlooks a permanent waterhole which is floodlit at night, giving you an opportunity to see some of the shy, nocturnal wildlife. The animals that visit the waterhole appear to be unaware of the Okaukuejo camp.
The waterhole at Okaukuejo is visited by a variety of wildlife and common sightings include buck species, herds of elephant, rhino and lion.
More stuff from another source:

There are three inexpensive, walled restcamps in Etosha, each with their own waterhole attracting animals. Namutoni is less successful, Halali's hole attracts a lot of elephants [picture above right] and giraffes, while Okaukuejo is the hands down winner, with superb huts [3, 5, 7 have the best views] and a wonderful waterhole with endless action, occasionally even getting lion kills.

Wild horses or at least semi-wild or feral horses are of interest to me so I thought about trying to incorporate them. I think you have to make an effort and design your itinerary around a visit to them.

Klein Aus Vista Lodge
Lodges in Southern Namibia
Klein Aus Vista is situated 2km from Aus in southern Namibia. Apart from offering accommodation the lodge also organizes mountain biking, horse riding and is the ideal place for hikers. One of the highlights of the area are the Namib Desert Wild Horses which are often found near the lodge. The lodge is situated on a 10 hectare farm that borders on the Sperrgebiet (forbidden diamond mining area). Accommodation is in self catering units and camping is also available. This is an ideal stop between Keetmanshoop (or Fish River Canyon) and Luderitz.
Eagle's Nest Lodge is set at the foot of the Aus mountains, 7km away from the reception and Restaurant complex and is yet easily accessible by sedan car in 10 minutes. With its idyllic setting and "far away'' feeling you can savour the solitude and tranquillity of the desert and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the restaurant by night and socialize at the Wild Horse Bar. At Eagle's Nest accommodation is offered in unique rock chalets built around gigantic granite boulders, each with en-suite facilities, own lounge, fireplace and a private verandah overlooking the seemingly endless Namib Desert. Each chalet also has an equipped kitchenette, but you are always welcome to enjoy our country cuisine at the Desert Horse Inn restaurant.


Namibia and South Africa report—just what you wish to do;tid=35087534


What to do in Cape Town?
Here’s what a safari guide suggests:;tid=35120876

I based myself in Simons Town, less than ½ an hour from Cape Town, because my “not to be missed” list included
Penguins at Boulders Bay
Walks with baboons through Baboon Matters
Great White Shark viewing and Seal Island in False Bay
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
Kirstenbosch Gardens (midway between Simons Town and Cape Town)
From the Waterfront dock in Cape Town I took a ferry to Robben Island, where Mandela was held prisoner.

Most people would include taking the cable car up Table Mountain and Chapman’s Peak as a “not to be missed” sites but due to technical problems and rock slides, those two things were out when I went.

I’ll stick in a link to my report on 9 days in Cape Town, but most was spent with the sharks.;tid=35151238

mongoose Jan 20th, 2009 03:58 AM

There are alot of accommodsation suggestions here, can any self-drivers recommend a guide book which lists all accommodation in South Africa, Namibia and botswana including lodges,guest houses and campsites with all the obvious info like address and phone number as well as ratings for each place such as ‘privacy’, ‘ambience’, ‘views’ etc? When we were in Namibia last year we met a couple with this guide book, about magazine size, which listed accommodation in Southern Africa, I’ve looked in many bookstores and searched the internet but can’t find a trace of anything similar. Can anyone help?
(I've aksed this question in another section so sorry to repeat if you've seen it before)

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