Visiting Namibia and Botswana

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In June 2022 I visited Namibia and Botswana with my dad and my husband, Joe. The idea of Namibia came from meeting a British couple when I was in Galapagos that had recently traveled there and raved about it. I am partial to the desert environment. There is something peaceful and calming about sand and lack of vegetation and the ability of animals to survive in such a hostile environment.

This trip combined the beauty of the Namibian desert with the riverine habitat of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. While in Namibia, we not only experienced uniquely adapted species like the desert elephant but also experienced the local tribal culture. Botswana was a completely different experience with species adapted for the Okavango River including the endangered wild dog. If you have an interest in this trip, please review the 19 day itinerary below. If you have a personal experience with this part of Africa, please post your experiences and recommendations in the comment section at the end.

Visiting Namibia and Botswana

ITINERARY

  • Leave from Washington Dulles Airport via Ethiopian Airlines with layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, then transfer to Eros Airport in Windhoek, Namibia
  • 3 nights in Windhoek at the Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel
  • 3 nights at the Onguma the Fort in Etosha
    • Morning and evening game drives
    • Guided bush walk
    • Visit to the on-site hide near a watering hole
    • Bush flight to Twyfelfontein airstrip
  • 3 nights at Mowani Mountain Camp
  • 3 nights at Little Kulala Lodge in Sossuslvei
    • Day & night drives
    • Guided bush walk
    • Quad biking
    • Hot air balloon ride
    • Transfer to Windhoek
  • 1 night at Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel
  • Depart Eros airport and arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa via South African Airways
    • 1 night at Protea Hotel
  • Depart Johannesburg, South Africa and arrive in Maun, Botswana via South African Airways
  • Bush flight to the Kwara airstrip
  • 4 nights at Splash Camp
    • Day and night game drives
    • Boat excursions
    • Mokoro excursions (canoe ride)
    • Fishing
    • Walking safaris
  • Return bush flight to Maun via Moremi Airlines
  • Depart Maun and arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa
    • 1 night at Protea Hotel
  • Return flight from Johannesburg via Ethiopian Airlines with layover in Addis Ababa Airport, then leave for Washington Dulles Airport

Day 1-3

On Tuesday, June 28, 2022 we took a flight on Ethiopian Airlines from Dulles International Airport to Addas Ababa Airport in Ethiopia. The flight was 13 hours long. We then had a 6 hour flight and arrived in Windhoek, Namibia on Wednesday, June 29th where we stayed at the Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel for 3 nights. The hotel was very nice and convenient to several restaurants within walking distance. That night we ate dinner at the Capetown Fish Restaurant at the hotel. The prices were very reasonable (I got a huge sushi plate for $15).

On Thursday, June 30th I got up and worked out at the hotel gym while Joe and my dad went into town. While in town they visited the National Museum of Namibia and took in the sights including Christuskirche church. There were several streets named after Cuba including Fidel Castro Street. Cuba and Namibia have a lot of history together. The afternoon was spent getting massages from the spa across from the hotel. Dinner was at the Butchers Block restaurant and was quite good.

Day 4

On Friday, July 1, 2022 we went to Naankuse wildlife sanctuary for a carnivore excursion. This was a last minute add on and well worth it. The sanctuary takes care of animals that cannot be released into the wild due to injuries, being orphaned, or donated from people who thought they would make good pets. We saw cheetahs, leopards, lions, a caracal, baboons, a brown hyena, and wild dogs. That night we ate at the Capetown Fish Market again.


Day 5

After breakfast, we left for a bush flight on a Cessna 210 for a 1 hour 45 minute flight to Etosha.

Our guide for our stay at Onguma the Fort picked us up at the airstrip. The hotel was very nice!

After a late lunch, we went on a sundowner drive where we stopped and had snacks and drinks. My stomach was not doing well so I had water. Joe and dad ate dinner and I went to bed feeling under the weather.

Day 6

On Sunday, July 3rd we had breakfast and set out for the hide excursion. The hide really is pretty cool although we mostly saw small animals when we were there with the exception of impalas and zebras. The dwarf mongoose stuck around for a while right near our window!

Fearing my illness was not getting any better I decided to take some Cipromycin that I had brought with me. I highly recommend you bring this with you on EVERY trip. It’s used to treat a variety of infections and you can usually get your doctor to prescribe it for travel.

After some down time, we went for a game drive in Etosha National Park at 3 pm. This was the only time we saw a rhino!

For dinner the chef made a special chicken dish for me to accommodate my food allergies. This camp was really good about finding substitutions for me at every meal. The night ended with sipping some tasty brandy in our room. I was never a brandy drinker but found it to be very good in all the camps we stayed at.

Day 7

On Monday, July 4th we woke up at 7 am and went for a safari walk where we learned about termite mounds, weaver nests, aloe plants, Acacia trees, and different kinds of scat (poop). Female giraffes have bullet shaped poop while males have round poop. Who knew? We also saw lion tracks as well as tracks from other animals.

After the walk we went back to our room to relax and watch the watering hole from our room.

We had a little bit of pool time before the night drive. This was the only time during our trip is was remotely warm enough to lounge around in our bathing suits. The pool was too cold to do more than wade in.

We set our for our sunset night drive at 4:30 pm.

As usual, we had cocktails and snacks at sunset. There were no 4th of July celebration fireworks to be had but the sunset view more than made up for it.

Day 8

On Tuesday, July 5th we left at 10:30 am via a very small plane to Mowani Mountain Camp. We were lucky enough to get a room with a plunge pool and amazing views.

After lunch (quinoa salad) we went for a hike around the property. At 6 pm we walked up to the sunset view where we were served drinks and appetizers followed by dinner in the dining area.

Day 9

On Wednesday, July 6th we woke up at 6:30 am, had breakfast, and set off for a 5 hour desert elephant tour. This was one of most memorable experiences of our trip. The elephants are very calm and walk right by your vehicle. I could have reached out and touched one they were so close!

The drive back to the camp was not without its own sruprsies.

After lunch, we enjoyed some free time observing lizards from our wading pool.

We went back up to the sunset bar to enjoy some more breathtaking views before heading to dinner.

Day 10

On Thursday, July 7th we at breakfast and headed out to Twyfelfontein to see the petroglyphs. There was quite a bit of hiking and traversing up and down rocks. The guide did a great job of explaining what they meant.

Our next stop was Burnt Mountain.

Our next stop was to see the organ pipe formation and the Welwitschia plant. On the way back to the camp we stopped to see a pictograph of a bushman.

Our last stop was at the Damaraland Living Museum.

We went back to our room, waded in our pool with some drinks and then went up at 6 pm for the sunset bar.

Day 11

On Friday, July 8th we left on a bush flight to Little Kululala camp. The room was wonderful. Unfortunately it was too cold to use the plunge pool.

After lunch we had an afternoon/sundowner game drive.

Day 12

On Saturday, July 9th we left the camp at 7:30 am to beat the crowd at Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. We walked up the big daddy sand dune, explored the 900 year old acacia trees at deadvlei and saw mountain zebras on the way back to camp.

After lunch we went on an evening game drive and met everyone from the lodge at an outdoor dinner/bonfire.

Day 13

On Sunday, July 10th we left camp at 6 am and headed out for a hot air balloon ride. The views were amazing and you really got a feel for just how vast the Namib desert is.

After we landed we all had a champagne breakfast!

Once we got back to camp we headed out for a quad ride in the desert.

After lunch we went to Sesriem Canyon where we hiked and got a close up view of two owls.

We managed to see quite a few animals that day.

Our day ended with another amazing sunset cocktail hour.

Day 14

On Monday, July 11th we took yet another bush flight to Windhoek. The plane was delayed so we drove around and I managed to get some last pictures of the wildlife in Namibia.

Or driver Gordan picked us up at the Windhoek airport. He was kind enough to drive us to Clicks (kinda like a CVS) where I got some hair conditioner and then we went to a local store we I purchased some sandals made from Eland leather. OUr next stop before checking into the AM Weinburg Hotel was for me to get a COVID test. This was needed to enter Botswana since I didn’t have a COVID vaccine.

Day 15

On Tuesday July 12th, Godfrey (Gordan’s brother) picked us up to take up to the airport. We took a flight to Johannesburg where we would stay for 1 night. We took a shuttle to the Protea hotel where we had to wait an hour to get a room even though we were there after check in time. The hotel had some issues during our stay including my dad’s toilet seat and shower door was broken and our thermostat didn’t work so we ended up sleeping with the window open. For dinner we had room service which arrived in a reasonable mount of time.

Day 16

On Wednesday, July 13th we took a flight with Airlink to Maun, Botswana. I had to take a COVID rapid test when I got there even though I had already provided negative test results. The cost was a whopping $120 which I was never notified of the results. From the Maun airport we took a bush flight to Splash Camp. We were greeted with drinks and snacks at the airstrip and then went on a safari drive before heading into camp. We got some of the best pictures since our trip started of the lions.

There were more elephants than we had seem all together.

There were other animals we were able to capture as well.

Day 17

Tuelo, our guide, woke us up at 5:45 am and escorted us to breakfast which was served around a fire pit.

We saw so much diversity of wildlife.

Our game drive ended at 1 pm when we ate lunch and went back to the room for some beer, wine, and wildlife viewing from our deck.

Joe and my dad decided to go fishing that afternoon. I decided to relax and take a nap in our room. They returned at 7 pm which gave them an hour to rest before an 8 pm dinner.

Day 18

On Friday, July 15th Tuelo, our guide, woke us up at 5:45 am to go on an early game drive and try and spot the wild dogs before they woke up.

We also saw some lions afterwards.

That evening we went on a game drive to see more wildlife.

Day 19

On our last day full day in Botswana we woke up early and went on a morning game drive. We were lucky to see a cheetah that had just made a kill.

We saw many other animals as well (but the cheetah was the most memorable).

After lunch we had some down time until our boat ride at 3 pm. We all gathered in the lodge before hand to have some cocktails and appetizers. The boat ride was enjoyable although a little cold but if gave us a different perspective of the area from the water.

Day 20

This was our last morning at Splash Camp and we took advantage of it by doing a morning game drive before heading on another bush flight to Maun and then on to Johannesburg and finally home.

This was yet another trip of a lifetime! We met so many wonderful people including other tourists, local guides and drivers. The amount of wildlife we saw was beyond what we could have hoped for all thanks to our amazing safari guides and trackers.

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