Nature Reserves at the Caprivi Strip - Namibia with Botswana and Zimbabwe
This tri-state nature itinerary will take you to Namibia’s fauna-rich Etosha National Park, to the Mahango Game Reserve along the Okavango River in the western Bwabwata National Park as well as to the Mudumu National Park along the Linyati River in the eastern part of the Caprivi Strip (the Linyati is known in Angola as Kwando and in Botswana as Chobe). Game watching will be continued in the neighbouring Chobe National Park in Botswana, Wildlife observation by boat. The journey concludes with a visit to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Travel Information for Namibia and Botswana
1. Immigration Requirements
Visitors to Namibia and Botswana must be in possession of a passport with a validity of six months beyond the intended stay in the country and with at least four unused pages for entry and exit stamps. A tourist visa is granted free of charge on arrival. While tourists to Botswana are only granted a visa for a maximum of 90 days, a tourist visa to Namibia may be renewed at any office of the Ministry of Home Affairs for another period of 90 days.
Minors travelling to Namibia and Botswana require a child passport. Botswana also requires from minors under 18 years of age to produce an original birth certificate or a certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate stating the parents’ name. In the event that only one parent or any adult other than both parents is travelling with the child, the other parent’s affidavit or legal guardian consenting to such travel should be presented. In the event that parents are not entitled to custody, proof of legal custody by court order or any other official proof of legal custody has to be presented in its original form or a certified copy thereof.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, a dry climate prevails throughout the year in Namibia and Botswana. Cotton clothing is recommended for the warm summer (October – March) and can be purchased at local safari outfitters. During winter (April – September) evenings, nights and early mornings can be very cool with temperatures below zero, making a pullover or jacket and long trousers essential. Warm clothing and a windstopper jacket are recommended for the Namibian coastal area which can be cool and windy during all seasons. Dense coastal fog is possible in the mornings.
Leisure wear is primarily needed for an outdoor holiday in Southern Africa. Since formal wear is only required in luxury hotels and de-luxe trains, travellers are recommended only to take along the bare necessities.
A maximum of 23 kg luggage per person is permitted on independent- or private safaris with Safari 24. Soft bags are preferred for lodge safaris, however hard protective cases may also be used. On group tours with Safari 24 a maximum of 20 kg luggage per individual is permitted.
Such luggage requirements may appear to be limiting, however lodges and hotels have a laundry service so that only a limited amount of clothing should be brought along.
4. Recommended Equipment List
- Travel documents (passports, flight tickets) and cash
- Contact lens wearers and spectacle wearers should bring along glasses and reading glasses respectively
- Medication: pain medication, sticking plaster, antiseptic agent, anti-diarrhoeal agent, antihistamine cream or gel, prescribed medicine
- Sun protection (hat, sun glasses with UV protection factor, sunscreen agent with sun protection factor 50)
- Moisturizing cream
- Lip balm
- Insect repellent
- Antibacterial hand wipes
- Sober-coloured bush hat
- Walking or hiking boots
- Swimwear and bath towel
- Camera with sufficient film material or memory sticks and replacement battery
- Bird identification guide for Southern Africa
- Torch or headtorch
5. Means of Payment
The Namibian dollar (NAD) is the official currency in Namibia. The South African rand (ZAR) is also accepted as currency, however the Namibian dollar is not accepted as medium of exchange in South Africa. Business travellers from abroad and tourists are permitted to enter Namibia with infinite amounts of foreign currency, however specific amounts at a certain level have to be registered when entering the country.
There are bureaux de change at Windhoek International Airport as well as in all banks and in many hotels. Traveller’s cheques and foreign currencies can be exchanged in banks. All documentation relating to a money exchange should be retained until the end of the trip. Before departure an exchange from Namibian dollar to euro is only possible after passing airport passport and security controls at a bureau de change where proof of the original money exchange from euro to Namibian dollar has to be presented.
Mastercard and VISA are commonly accepted in Namibia, whereas American Express and Diners Card are seldom used. Cash withdrawals at ATMs in the amount of N$3000.00 (€300.00) are possible with EC Maestro Cards. A cash withdrawal in the same amount can be done on the same day. Each transaction costs approximately €4.50.
The pula (BWP) is the official currency in Botswana, where Mastercard and VISA are widely accepted in towns and cities. Traveller’s cheques are rather uncommon and should be denominated in euro or US-dollar. ATMs are available in larger towns. Cash withdrawals with Maestro Cards are possible at ATMs, however the amount of withdrawable cash is frequently limited to between approximately €100.00 to €500.00 per card and day in local currency.
When using automated teller machines in both countries, special attention should be paid to possible ATM fraud. At the end of month there are usually long waiting queues in banks and at ATMs. Shortages of hard cash are possible.
In Namibia malls are open on Saturdays and supermarkets on Sundays. Banks and post offices are open on weekdays from 08.30 a.m. until 05.00 p.m., and on Saturday until 01.00 p.m.
In cities such as Windhoek and Swakopmund many shops specialize in souvenirs like wood carvings from the Okavango, handmade Herero dolls, leather items, semi-precious and gem stones, jewelry and wool carpets. There are also renowned goldsmiths and furriers. Such speciality stores are usually closed on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as well as on public holidays.
All products and services in Namibia entail value added tax amounting to 15%. Visitors to the country can apply for VAT reimbursement at custom authorities at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek regional airport Eros and Walvis Bay airport. For more information contact the Ministry of Finance (Telephone: +264 61 209 2405, Fax: +264 61 209 2001).
When purchasing luxury items such as jewelry and fur coats a 30% luxury tax is remitted if tourists present their passports and flight tickets before making a payment transaction.
On trips with Safari24 through Botswana there are shopping possibilities in Maun, Kasane and in the Zimbabwean border town Victoria Falls.
In Namibia the official language is English, however German and especially Afrikaans are widely spoken. In Botswana the official language is English, however Afrikaans is also spoken in the western part of the country..
Delivery time for airmail from Namibia to Europe can last up to two weeks. Mobile telephone SIM cards are available for only N$10.00 at mobile telephone shops such as MTC or Telecom, post offices and supermarkets. Direct international calls are possible with Namibian SIM cards.
Please consult your family doctor by all means before travelling to Southern Africa. Please also consult your nearest institute for tropical diseases about any changes in health requirements.
In Namibia there is a world-class private healthcare system with general practitioners and medical specialists as well as private clinics and pharmacies available, in case a medical treatment might be necessary during your trip. In remote parts of the country there are government clinics which provide an above-average primary medical health care when compared the other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Tropical diseases typical of countries with higher rainfalls do not occur at all in arid Namibia, which is why only a malaria prophylaxis is recommended.
8.1. Malaria Prevention
Malaria infections are registered only in Northern Namibia. The peak season of malaria lasts from January until March. Due to very limited rainfall in Namibia, malaria usually poses no problem. In Botswana however there is a high infection risk during the rain season from November until May in the Northern Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park with its regional centre Kasane, Ghanzi, Ngamiland, Tutume Sub-District and Moremi Game Reserve.
Pregnant women are explicitly advised not to travel to high-risk areas as malaria infections during pregnancies can lead to serious health issues for both mother and child.
Mosquito bites can be prevented by using mosquito repellants generously. A locally- produced repellant is made available on all Safari24 tours, however clients should also bring their own repellant. Since 95% of all malaria infections occur between 08.00 p.m. and 06.00 a.m., long-sleeved shirts and long trousers should be worn in the evenings. Rooms or tents should be sprayed with an environment-friendly insectide to kill off any mosquitoes that may exist. Mosquito nets should be used if available. A tent’s zip fasteners should be closed completely especially at night to lock out bugs and insects. For a trip to Northern Namibia we recommend mosquito coils for outdoor use that can be purchased in supermarkets.
It is recommended to bring along an antimalarial medication as immediate-effect drug. Antimalarial drugs, which are available without prescription at pharmacies in Namibia, should only be taken in suspected cases and not as prophylaxis.
Malaria can also occur after the use of a prophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been registered. Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria occur in Northern Namibia and in Botswana.
In case of illness upon your return to your home country, please consult your family doctor immediately and inform him about your stay in a malaria area.
In contrast to Botswana tap water is drinkable in Namibia, although its chlorinated and mineral taste is conspicuous to travellers from Central Europe. It is recommended to drink at least two or three litres of water per day to avoid dehydration.
8.3. Sun Protection
Due to the high altitude of many regions especially in Namibia and the proximity of both countries to the equator, sun exposure is extremely high, making sun protection absolutely essential.
8.4. Food Intolerance and Illness
Travellers should inform Safari24 about any existing food intolerances and serious medical conditions before commencing a journey.
9. Insurance Coverage
We recommend a comprehensive international medical insurance and travel cancellation insurance. Health insurance should cover medical treatment as well as emergency evacuation and repatriation. Baggage insurance is meaningful when travelling with camera equipment. Articles of value should always be carried with hand luggage.
We recommend these lodges for this tour.
The Okaukuejo rest camp is known for its illuminated water hole and is also the administrative centre of Etosha. Most visitors travel through this camp, with its characteristic stone tower and the Etosha Ecological Institute, which is also in the camp.
The rest camp used to be a military outpost founded in 1901, and the tower was added in 1963. Okaukuejo is located in the south of Etosha National Park and is only 17 km from Anderson Gate. Okaukuejo offers a wide range of accommodation and all the necessary facilities such as a petrol station and a shop. The restaurant and bar offer refreshments and delicious dishes, while the swimming pool offers relief on hot days. The waterhole is a centre of animal activity that begins in the early morning hours. Particularly in winter, the wildlife diversity gathers in the immediate vicinity of the camp to quench thirst.
After sunset, spotlights illuminate the waterhole. This is the best time and place to see the endangered black rhino. This archaic mammal can often be seen drinking alongside lions and elephants. The number and interaction of the animals is the most important train number of the Okaukuejo rest camp in Namibia.
Onguma Bush Camp
Onguma, situated on the eastern side of Etosha National Park and adjacent to the "Fisher Pan", is one of Namibia's best kept secrets! Here you have the opportunity to experience Africa in all its beauty and diversity. The Onguma Game Reserve has more than 34,000 hectares of protected nature and wildlife.
In our nature reserve there are more than thirty different animal species, such as kudus, giraffes, eland and hartebeest, hartebeests, skewered bucks, zebras and impalas. Predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs are also inhabitants of this region.
The latest addition to the already diverse wildlife in Onguma Game Reserve is a family of rhinos! Also over 300 bird species can be observed in the Onguma Game Reserve. During the Namibian summer, the reserve turns into a paradise for ornithologists. Thousands of different bird species migrate to the wetlands formed by seasonal rainfall and ephemeral river systems.
Hakusembe River Lodge
Entering Hakusembe River Lodge at the end of the winding gravel track, you are greeted with a refreshing image of green lawn, large trees, a collection of thatched chalets and a strip of sparkling river. Instantaneously the fresh balm of beauty soothes your weary soul. You have reached the verdant Hakusembe river oasis. A feeling of calm descends. And it remains present for the time of your visit.
River birds fly up between the reeds, people row their dugout canoes on the river and soft muted sounds float over the waters from the villages on the far bank. As you sit on the floating deck, legs up, book in hand absorbing the peace to the accompaniment of bird calls and the gentle splashing of water, all worldly worries float away.
Mahangu Safari Lodge
The comfortably-styled, thatched Mahangu Safari Lodge is a new lodge in the Caprivi Region of Namibia, next to the Mahango National Park. The word "Mahangu" meaning "food of the local people". We offer our visitors clean and affordable accommodation as standard, Namibia typical dishes as well as impression and activities you expect from and in Africa. Besides, we consciously renounce on the "5-stars of luxury" to maintain our prices in a frame affordable for you.
The Lodge comprises of 18 Bungalows, 6 Safari Tents and 3 guide bungalows with shared facilities. All units are airconditioned and have 220V electricity 24/h. Activities include spectacular bird and game viewing by boat, excellent Tiger and Bream fishing. A good self drive activity is to visit the Popa Falls which are a 20 min drive from the Lodge. The Lodge offers beautiful campsites with power points next to the river.
Namushasha River Lodge celebrates the wonders of the Zambezi water world with accommodation fit for a king. There's a magic, a feeling or a charm that enraptures you in these northern realms. With elephants, hippos, myriad bird species, waterlilies and African bush, a visit to Namushasha provides an enriching adventure into Nature - to the accompaniment of the chiming of reed frogs, bird calls, hippo grunts and the soothing sound of a boat skimming through water. Namushasha's impressive central entrance, designed in true African style with a wooden chandelier and carved animals, leads guests into the attractive lodge set between the trees. The dining room, with its high thatched roof, is open on the sides to the river world, providing a suitable - and airy - welcome to wonderland.
One of the captivating Caprivi lodges, Namushasha River Lodge offers guests a superlative choice of exciting activities: Stroll past the green-lawned campsite to the traditional heritage centre; hop aboard the river boats for early morning or late afternoon river cruises to explore the channels and discover the diverse bird life; or take a trip to the Bwabwata National Park, first by boat along the waterways to later transfer to a game vehicle for an excursion into African bush. At the end of the day, there's nothing that can quite compare to a red Zambezi sunset. Whether teetotaller or not, you'll want to have something cool and refreshing on hand to toast the day.
Chobe Safari Lodge
Chobe Safari Lodge, located on the banks of the Chobe River in northern Botswana, is the best destination for serious game viewers. Situated in the town of Kasane, the lodge is close to where the borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia meet. The Chobe Safari Lodge is the ideal choice of accommodation if you were planning to visit the Chobe area, the majestic Victoria Falls or the Zambezi region (formerly named the Caprivi Strip).
The lodge borders on the Chobe National Park, which is part of the Chobe-Linyati-Kwando- river system. The series of islands, floodplains and lakes ensure an abundance of wildlife. The Park is home to over 80 000 elephants as well as numerous herds of buffalo. In the dry winter season the animals move closer to the Chobe River, so you will be able to view large herds of elephant and buffalo. Other plentiful game include lion, leopard, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, as well as puku, kudu and other antelope.
Ilala Lodge Hotel is a family-run hotel that offers luxury and comfort in the heart of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Nestled in attractive gardens, the well-appointed hotel is a mere eight-minute walk from Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Ilala Lodge Hotel is ideally located and it is very easy for guests to access all the historical sites, restaurants and activities available in Victoria Falls. The friendly and attentive staff of this welcoming hotel makes sure that your visit is perfect in every way.
The award-winning Palm Restaurant at Ilala Lodge Hotel is famous for its delicious gourmet cuisine and attracts guests worldwide. Diners can see the spray and hear the sounds of Victoria Falls, locally known as the ‘Smoke That Thunders’, while they enjoy the al-fresco dining under the starry African skies that the Palm Restaurant offers. Wild animals, such as warthog and impala, often graze on the hotel lawns and entertain guests during mealtime.
Located on the Zimbabwean side of the mighty Zambezi River, Ilala Lodge Hotel is geographically the closet hotel to the magnificent Victoria Falls and is easily accessible to the town centre. Explore the lush wilderness surrounding the town on a game drive, surf the rapids on a Zambezi River white-water rafting expedition, get your heart racing as you bungee jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge, or view the Falls from the exhilarating angle of Devil’s Pools on the edge of the plunging water. You can also enjoy a legendary Zimbabwean sunset from the comfort of the elegant Ra-Ikane river cruisers. Ilala Lodge Hotel’s Activities Desk makes it simple to plan your day.