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Namibia - Botswana - Zimbabwe - Botswana - Namibia


Namibia

Ruacana Border Crossing.
No problems with either the laid back Angolan officials (who ignored the fact that we were well over the Transit Visa time limit) and the efficient and friendly Namibian officials.

Ombalantu. This fast expanding small town has all you need: banks, supermarkets, shops selling vehicle accessories and spares, in fact shops of every type. We stayed at the Outapi Town Lodge GPS S17 30.013’ E014 58.957’ on the right hand side of the main road as you enter the town from Ruacana. The brand new lodge offers B&B for a reasonable price, good rooms and service, a swimming pool and a reasonable restaurant.

Kunene River Lodge. GPS S17 21.270’ E013 52.924’.
Signed, from time to time, on the piste that runs alongside the river; no real need as you can’t miss it. For us, the perfect place to wind down after the previous 8 months; location, food, bird life, etc. The facilities are spotless and outstanding; electricity hook up, hot water, showers and sinks, braai stand for each pitch, good restaurant, cold beer and excellent advice from the managers/owners about travelling in NW Namibia.

Enyandi. Deserted/unmanned campsite. GPS S17 08.922’ E013 31.702’.
We didn’t use it (lunch only) but it looked a good prospect. Signed on the right 100m after crossing a stream, follow the track down to and through the palms to the Kunene river bank. Great shade under huge fig tree, but no facilities at all and calling it a campsite is over doing it, more properly it is a bush camp site.

Bush Camp. GPS S17 05.987’ E013 31.197’.
Great location on sandy river bank overlooking the river, we were able to wash and swim in the river.

Epupa Falls. Overflow section of the Community Campsite. GPS S17 00.147’ E013 14.682’.
Check in at the main campsite and ask to go to the overflow site if you want to avoid the tour groups. If you are a social animal this quieter option may not be for you; exactly the same facilities with ablutions (cold water only) and braai stand and riverside location. Epupa also has one of the very few cell phone masts/reception in NW Namibia.

Bush Camp. GPS S17 30.622’ E12 56.408’.
En route to Van Zyl’s Pass and to the east of Okauwe. To the left of the track; a hill top location and near an old Himba livestock pen with great views of the sunset.

Van Zyl’s Camp Site. GPS S17 38.533’ E12 44.961’.
We didn’t use this campsite (we didn’t know it was there!); it is to the right of the track and close to the start of the ascent, it looked well maintained and is in an ideal location for making an early morning crossing of the Pass. The Pass itself is not that testing on the ascent, the views stunning and for parts of the descent your passenger will need to get out and guide you.

Okarohombo Community Campsite. GPS S17 15.042’ E012 26.250’.
Signposted as you approach the three huts that constitute Okarohombo and is an excellent campsite. The site is a fine example of the Namibian/Kakaoland community campsite. It is spotlessly clean and has recently up graded/replaced the ablutions, now with hot water. There are good riverside pitches with braai stands and spectacular mountain views.

Bush Camp. GPS S18 27.427’ E012 28.784’.
In the dried river bed of the Sechomib River, off the D3707. The couple of bushy ‘trees’ there gave the only (limited) shelter from the biting wind. It is close to the Skeleton Coast so be prepared for late evening/overnight fog.

Chumib River.
This dry river bed is cut by the D3707 at GPS S18 38.669’ E012 40.091’; to see a group of very relaxed, easy to spot and photo giraffes, turn west and drive along the river bed. Good picnic/bush camp areas on the ‘banks’.

Purros. Community Campsite.GPS S18 43.969’ E012 56.517’
. Signposted on the outskirts of the village; it is not in the village but about a Km to the east. The site is up to the high standards of the other community campsites and good guides available to track the local desert elephant and lion. When leaving, if you are following our route, don’t miss out on the river gorge/canyon.

Sesfontaine. Community Campsite.GPS S19 07.475’ E013 37.155’.
Only signposted at the entrance to the site; it is on the right of the main road and as you approach the centre of the settlement. All the good, standard community campsite facilities. There is a small supermarket in Sesfontaine, but the cash machine will not accept non-Namibian cards. Fuel is also available.

Outjo.Etosha Garten Hotel. GPS S20 06.429’ E016 09.410’.
Well signposted from the main street in the town. Good restaurant, pool and staff and located in a town that has most everything you have missed on the way south! There is a fabulous bakery, with internet, opposite which is a garage with a good reputation. Elsewhere are well stocked supermarkets, banks and a superb butchery (try the biltong!).

Etosha National Park. Okaukuejo Rest Camp. GPS S19 10.862’ E015 55.050’.
All the facilities you would expect at this well run campsite: electricity hook up, braai stand, well maintained ablutions with hot water, swimming pool, restaurant and bar, shops (selling wood for the braai) and post office and ATM. The big draw is the water hole, illuminated at night and a great magnet for game.

Grootfontein. Roy’s Camp. GPS S19 13.969’ E018 29.912’.
On the left of the B8 leading to Rundu and about 50 Km north of Grootfontein. Signposted immediately before the entrance on the left hand side of the road, follow the track to reception. A tranquil and shaded campsite with electricity hook up, braai stand, good ablutions with hot water; there is also a bar and restaurant. A very good site with plenty of birdlife around and Eland at the waterhole.

Okavango River. Ngepi Camp. GPS S18 06.790’ E021 40.007’.
Signposted at the turn off from the D3402 in a fantastic location on the banks of the Okavago, south of Popa Falls and about 25 minutes from the Mahango National Park. Great riverside pitches with amusing and quirky but very good ablutions; also has electricity hook up, braai stand, hippos and bird life, etc. There is a swimming pool in the river, a good bar and restaurant and plenty of game/bird viewing activities on offer.


Botswana

Mohembo Border Crossing. GPS S18 15.612’ E021 45.723’.
Namibia and Botswana are part of the COMESA customs union, so no need for the carnet to be stamped. The crossing was quick and the officials excellent, all reminiscent of Europe!

Tsodilo Hills. Malatso campsite. GPS S18 43.680’ E021 43.787’. The Malatso campsite is in many ways a return to bush camping. It is about 5 km from the main campsite at the Park HQ, with no facilities but a fabulous, remote location right up against the Female Hill. Normally you will be the only people there, we didn’t have to book it. The Bradt Guide route ( the central approach on a reasonable dirt road) and relevant GPS data are sound, the Park gate is unmanned, so open it yourself and head for the Park HQ; here there are staff, guides and the main campsite with reasonable ablutions.

Maun. Riley’s Hotel. GPS S19 59.342’ E023 25.578’
. Easy to find as the hotel is beside a (the only) major roundabout on the A3 in central Maun. A grimly functional campsite-cum-car park without shade, but with security and good ablutions. However it is ideally located for banks, supermarkets, internet cafes etc, etc and, should you not have time to go elsewhere, it’s OK for a one night stop over. The pricey hotel restaurant is best avoided!

Kasane. Toro Safari Lodge. GPS S17 47.752’ E025 14.394’.
About 5km before Kasane and signposted on the right of the main road into Kasane, just after a left turn at an Engen fuel station. Very good overall standard; tour groups leave for their next destination at early o’clock but are otherwise quiet. Ideally located for Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, the road to the border leads from the same Engen fuel station.

Zimbabwe

We went to Victoria Falls from the Toro Safari Lodge and had no problems with the border crossing on our way in or out and we obtained a visa for Zimbabwe at the border. You may be approached by a vehicle insurance rep who will ask if you have car insurance for Zimbabwe. We didn’t, bought it from the rep and were asked to show proof of insurance by the police when leaving the border post.

Victoria Falls. Spray View Hotel. GPS S17 55.887’ E025 49.714’. Signposted on the left as you begin to enter Victoria Falls proper and are descending the hill. Good hotel rooms at all too easily reduced prices, however the included breakfast is very basic so the reduction was necessary! Unsurprisingly: very few guests, but the staff were so very welcoming and helpful. As for the spray, in the distance and only when the Zambezi is in full flood!

Botswana

Kasane. Chobe Safari Lodge. GPS S17 48.561’ E025 08.728’.
It is situated on the right (and unmissable) after the left hand turn for the Chobe NP Sedudu Gate. The campsite is popular, with good facilities including electricity hook up and a good bar and restaurant in the Lodge. You may wish to stay here for the excellent afternoon/evening river trip, if not then go directly to the Sedudu Gate (see next entry).

Chobe National Park. Ihaha Public Campsite. GPS S17 50.342’ E024 52.691’.
Just follow the main route through the Chobe riverfront area (or the good Bradt Guide map!), the campsite is signposted at the right hand turn to the campsite. The campsite ablutions are in need of repair, etc; if you want a warm shower in the light then go before nightfall! We booked on the day at the Sedudu Gate and had to take pot luck with those pitches not pre-booked/occupied; to ensure you get a pitch get to the gate before midday(ish).However, as this is the most fabulous river facing, open and unfenced site, each pitch is great. Try to avoid camping under the large trees, these are baboon sleeping quarters and beware the savvy vervet monkeys – they have followed the baboon example and learnt to steal food from open vehicles and unguarded tables. It is probably the only public campsite in Chobe where you and the wildlife live side by side. Go there, enjoy your own very rewarding game drives and forgive the lion, elephant, buffalo and Hyena for keeping you awake at night!

Kavimba. Kavimba Community Campsite. GPS S18 02.564’ E024 36.243’.
We passed this basic looking campsite on our way to Savuti. Contrary to the doubts expressed in the Bradt Guide, it does exist and is on the right hand side of the road about 4 km before you come to Kavimba itself. The location, overlooking the edge of the Chobe floodplain, looked interesting and there were obviously elephant and antelope around. It also could be a reasonable stop over on the way to, or from, Savuti were you pressed for daylight hours.

Savuti. Savuti Campsite. GPS S18 33.903’ E023 46.303’
. Not signposted, but as it is in the middle of this very small settlement it is hard to miss. Ample and necessary shade and good facilities, but no electricity hook up. Ensure you shower before it gets dark, there were no lights in the ablutions when we were there! We pre-booked this site, but there was no need to have done, provided you were there before mid-afternoon.

Kwai Community Concession. Bush Camp. GPS S19 09.109’ E023 46.303’.
We arrived too late to get into Moremi Game Reserve and got turned back at the gate. We opted for bush camping rather than the rather grim looking community campsite by the gate, we were lucky not to be asked to pay for the privilege (see below).

Moremi Game Reserve. Xakanaxa Campsite. GPS S19 11.067’ E023 25.016’
. Along with most everything else in the area, the campsite and its facilities were in the process of being upgraded/refurbished (and increased in price no doubt!). The location was ideal for touring the reserve, but, having seen the Third Bridge campsite, this latter site might have been a better bet both in terms of geography and game.

Kwai Community Concession. Bush Camp. GPS S19 06.531’ E023 50.055’.
Beside the Kwai River and with game that ignores the Moremi Reserve. If you want to be alone with lion, hyena, hippo, elephant, etc then opt for bush camping. You may incur a 275 pula charge (see the Journal)!

Ghanzi. Kalahari Arms Hotel. GPS S21 41.566’ E021 38.933’.
Leave the A3 as it bypasses Ghanzi, the hotel is in the centre and set back on the right. We found it a perfect stopover with secure parking, a pool and reasonable food.

Namibia

Trans-Kalahari Highway border crossing.
Just couldn’t be easier!

Windhoek. Roof of Africa. GPS S22 23.257’ E017 05.729’. The Bradt Guide map will get you to the hotel. We stayed here because they offered an internet connection, it didn’t work! The hotel seems to operate as a backpacker hotel and we didn’t really enjoy it.

Swakopmund. A La Mer. GPS S22 40.820’ E014 31.384’.
Again, the Bradt Guide map will get you there. Good basic accommodation with secure parking and a really very helpful and informative manager and Swakop is a good base from where to tour the area.

Namib-Naukluft NP (Northern Section). Ganab Campsite. GPS S23 05.779’ E015 30.750’.
Basic site that is signed on the left of the gravel track as you approach the site area and set back some 100m from the track. Great location in flat Sahel type plain with mountains in the distance.

Namib-Naukluft NP (Northern Section). Homeb Campsite. GPS S23 38.300’ E015 10.947’.
Homeb is signposted as you approach the river valley. A little less basic than the Ganab site, the site has good shade and is in a marvellous location surrounded by the Namib; red dunes one side of the dry river bed and sahel the other. We visited but didn’t stay here.

Bush Camp. Tsauchab River. GPS S24 31.175’ E015 48.767’.
Close to the Sesreim Campsite and about 200m upriver from the point that the C27 cuts the Tsauchab River and hidden from the main road. We arrived late at the Sesreim Campsite and with no booking; there was no space, so we used this bush camp to tide us over to the next day when there would be space. We were very discrete, unsure if we were on private land or not.

Namib-Naukluft NP. Sesreim Campsite. GPS S24 29.174’ E015 47.994’.
Good site, but not all pitches have shade, the pool is small but welcome. There is also a fuel station (diesel and petrol) just outside the site entrance. The site is a must if you want to get to Sossusvlei at around sunrise or before the day trippers.

Bush Camp. North of Rosh Pinah. GPS S27 39.429’ E016 47.895’
. Off to the right of the D463, before the line of telegraph poles. Great isolated location in a stream bed and sheltered from the cold coastal wind.

Fish River Canyon Conservation Area. Hobas Campsite. GPS S27 37.235’ E017 42.869’.
Well signed, with water and electricity hook up and good ablutions with hot water. This is a well shaded site and a good base for seeing the canyon. (The Ais-Ais Restcamp was closed and being refurbished when we were in the region.)

Noordoewer border crossing.
Again, just couldn’t be easier!


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