a VirtualTourist member
My wife and I are going to visit Namibia and Victorea Fall area for 28 days during mide June to mide July and would like to get your opinion in selecting between the following options.
First something about ourself; we take our time during traveling. We love watching animals, nature, different local cultures, local schools (my wife is a teacher of special education) etc.; as we are keen in photography, we are traveling slower than many other travelers.
I traveled in Namibia 4 years ago covering Windhoek, Sesriem, (little sossus lodge) Swakomund, Cape cross; skeleton coast, Damaraland; Palmwag lodge; Kaokland; Camp Aussicht, Opuwo, Epupa falls, Ermo and Etosha in 23 days, we did it with a 2x2 (Corola) and it was fine.
I didn't drive manual transmission for many years and my capability in driving in tough roads is minimal
Our basic itinerary is : Swakomund, Cape cross, North to the The Himba and Herero ; A private farm or two, Etosha, Victoria Falls (Zambezi cruise, Livingstone Island Chobe trip perhaps both Zim and Zam sides, maybe Mukuni Big Five Safaris) all this in approx. 28 days.(south Namibia is not desired now)
We start from Johannesburg; so we see two main options:
Fly JNB to WDH, rent a car at WDH (as we did last visit) do all the tour till Caprivi, return the car; find a way to ride to Victoria; visit the area and fly from Victoria to JNB and home
Option two: Rent a car at JNB; drive to Namibia (while visiting few interesting places on the way 3-4 days), do all the Namibia tour, drive to VF (via Bots and Zimb); visit the area and drive to JNB in 3-5 days in one of the two options:
We would like to get your opinion about the options.
If we rent the car in JNB we have to cross many boarders with the car (to Bots and to Namibia and to Bots, and to Zimb and to Bots again and to SA)
How complicated and expensive is all those borders crossing with a rented car?
In case you recommend this option, shall we select Bots or Zimb as main way south to JNB ? (I saw some post below with favore on Zimb)
Can all this be done with 2x2? (For the long drives; 2x2 is more comfortable and for 4 weeks it can be 1500-2000 USD difference with respect to 4x4.
Thank you in advance for your advice.
I would advice against driving a car up from Joburg and then back again. It sure is possible, but it would be an awful lot of driving - and you write yourself you do like to take your time when travelling. That time can be used way better than just by making miles. Also ... Rental companies do allow border crossing, but they make you pay a fee for it. Do it several times ... That could add up. So, I would do option one ... And you could actually drive yourself through the Caprivi Strip, stay in a hotel or guest house at the border and see the Victoria Falls on a guided tour. They also offer fly ins. As for the car: as you will know from Namibia, roads are good enough, so you don't need a 4x4. Botswana is similar ... With the exceptions of the National Parks inside. There some roads are pure sand (not even gravel) ... So, if you wanted to see the parks, you would want to take the excursions they offer there.
Myndo; Thank you. I got the impression that to enjoy the VF area (including Chobe trip)it is advisable to stay some 3 days in Victoria Staying in Namibia border side means missing the Falls late evening views, isn't it ? Have you experience with such few border crossing? Is it complicated? HPeri
I am sure, there would also be more than just day-trips :-), Also: I have seen some nice hotels at the Victoria Falls. As to the border crossing: No, not too complicated. It just takes some time. Make sure you have your passport with you (of course you have) and the car papers if you travel by yourself. They make you fill out some forms for exiting the one country and entering the other (and then vice versa), you must pay some fee (visa?, not so sure anymore), but it wasn't much. If you travel with your own car you may also have to pay a fee for the car - depending on it's size.
I did this trip a couple of years back, only starting in Cape Town and going in a circle - ZA, Namibia, along the Caprivi, Botswana (wrong ferry taking me to Zambia when I was Zimbabwe headed! and then back via Botswana to ZA.
The first thing I will say which will directly influence your trip / route is regarding hire car. Southern Africa share the same car insurance so where ever you hire the car from you will be covered in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. You will NOT be covered to drive into Zimbabwe at all. With very special permission, which has to be arranged in advance but will not be confirmed until you collect the car, you will be allowed to take the car across the border into the town of Victoria Falls (Zim) BUT you will NOT be allowed to stay overnight. You will probably not be insured to cross via the Kazungula ferry (against the terms of insurance to go on a boat... for good reasons if you have ever been on it!!!) or enter Zambia because the insurance is different (as you can see I made 2 glaring errors... but being Africa nobody seemed to care... although had the ferry gone wrong or something happened to the car in Zambia I wouold have been up **** creek without a paddle!!!)
Crossing the borders with the car can be lengthy (make sure you always have a pen!) and you will need to shoe documents over and over and complete many forms but par of the course... (make sure you keep all paperwork as you may be required to show some on leaving the country or re-entry etc...) (nb - I would not like to try to Kazungula ferry crossing with any vehicle that has low clearance and a 4WD would be preferable because the lorries make HUGE ruts in the sand)
I would recommend staying in Botswana before going to V. Falls because you can simply skip onto the ferry the next morning. I stayed in Kasane which was right on the river border crossing (Kazungula)... just be careful which ferry you slip onto - straight ahead is to Zambia (turn right at the police? hut for the ferry to Zimbabwe...
If you are driving in Botswana Nata makes a good place to stop en route to/from South Africa and I highly recommend staying at the rhino sanctuary in Serowe. You can do a 'safari' in your own car but, for what it costs, I cannot recommend more highly you take one with one of the rangers - it was fantastic!
I hope this gives you a bit of practical info.
P.S If you love nature - Chobe is absolutely chock a block full ,,, and staying around there eg Kasane, you will be staying in the bush, thus the animals, with Chobe not being an enclosed park, freely wander and you should be on your ware abouts at all times! :-)
Have an absolutely fantastic time. When we did the trip it was beyond amazing!