Travel report: Namibia-Botswana Self-Drive Round Trip


My conclusion after my 3.5-week trip to Botswana could be something like this. Botswana is a special country dedicated to animal welfare and the slogan “low capacity high value” . Without animals – no tourists. What that means? Fewer tourists, less stress for animals, less accommodation, and these are then more exclusive and cost more money.

But despite the high costs, I would like to travel to Botswana again immediately. I have never been able to experience such large herds of animals live on any of my Africa trips.

Here you can find my personal travel report for three and a half weeks in Botswana and Namibia with a rental car from/to Windhoek.

Including information about the places visited, our route, distances, activities and where we stayed.

Why Botswana as a travel destination?

Why? Quite simply: I love southern Africa, I love animals, nature, and adventure! Botswana has it all in abundance! Especially elephants!

Everything is exclusive, because compared to the neighboring countries Namibia and South Africa, the prices for self-drive with roof tents on campsites are not without. But you are not surrounded by crowds of tourists during peak travel times. You hardly see any other cars at national parks. Except at the hub in Kasane, where not only visitors to the Chobe National Park cavort, but also day trippers for the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia.

I really wanted to drive myself and take on the new challenge of deep sandy tracks. Wanted to stay in the roof tent to get a better view of the skies over Africa, but also visit some more luxurious accommodations.

The incredibly fascinating landscapes that seem barren and deserted during the dry season. Nevertheless, so fascinating and varied. Whether Central Kalahari, salt pans, Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park.

A mixture of adventure and even more adventurers.

Our route: Namibia-Botswana road trip

In 25 days from Windhoek (Namibia) via the Zambezi region (Caprivi Strip) to Botswana and back

Botswana is as big as France and Belgium combined. Despite almost 4 weeks’ time I only saw a fraction of the country. We covered the route marked on the map in 25 days. We drove a total of 3619.7 km. Without slabs or getting stuck in deep sand.

  • windhoek
  • Waterberg Plateau
  • Rundu (on the Okavango)
  • Kongola (Zambezi formerly Caprivi Strip)
  • Chobe National Park, Kasane with  Day Trip to Victoria Falls  (Zimbabwe)
  • Chobe National Park, Savuti
  • Moremi, Third Bridge
  • Okavango Delta
  • maun
  • Gweta incl. 1 night Ntwetwe Pan
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve
  • Ghazni
  • Windhoek

(Click on the links to read detailed travel reports on the individual places. All other articles will follow as soon as possible)

Notes:  Next time I would follow my original plan and spend more time at the Caprivi, planning more overnight stays at campsites in Chobe National Park (Linyanti, Savuti) and Moremi. Then I dare to drive through the CKGR instead of staying in a lodge outside. Although the lodge was great. The drive from there to the entrance takes 1.5 hours and is just exhausting.

Setting a route is not that easy

It’s not easy to decide which places to visit when traveling through Botswana. The country is huge, there are many impressive places to choose from, and the distances are great. In any case, a single trip to Botswana is not enough to visit all the highlights and my desired places.

Windhoek – perfect starting point for a road trip

Like so many other tourists, Windhoek serves us as the start and end point of the trip. With around 250,000 inhabitants, the capital of Namibia is quite cozy and very relaxed for an African city.

We collect our rental car from Asco Car Hires, buy supplies (especially water) for our road trip in the supermarket and enjoy the evening in the cozy Joe’s Beerhouse with friends. Here tourists mingle with locals in a rustically furnished beer garden.

Read the full report on Windhoek with tips and places worth seeing here.


Accommodation in Windhoek:

After arriving in Germany, we stayed for one night in the cozy but very modern Villa Moringa Guesthouse in Klein Windhoek.

Before our return flight to Germany, we spent one night in the  Naankuse Charity Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary , which is luxuriously situated in the nature of Namibia.

Waterberg Plateau – Table Mountain of the Kalahari

The next morning, we drive well rested to the Waterberg Plateau – the “table mountain of the Kalahari”, which is 1,900 m above sea level and 48 km long. We leave Windhoek heading north. The road is paved except for the last few kilometers of gravel and sand and is in good condition. The journey takes about four hours.

Read more: Complete report on the Waterberg Plateau


Here we spend the night at the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge on the edge of the mountain in the Waterberg Wilderness private nature reserve. Endangered animal species such as the rhinoceros brought from South Africa and resettled here find protection. There are also eland, giraffe and dik dik. Unique for Namibia there are buffalo here.


The Waterberg owes its name to the springs on the southeastern slope. In the  Waterberg Wilderness Lodge there is excellent drinking water from the tap, which you can also buy in bottles.

Historically, the plateau gained notoriety. The biggest battle between the Herero and the German Schutztruppe took place here in 1904.

Rhino Drive in the afternoon

In the afternoon we take part in a Rhino Drive . The private game reserve has three rhinos, which we are now going to look for. Hornbill birds, wildebeest, impala, mongoose, giraffe and last but not least the rhino are seen.


Eventually we stop, the rhinos have been found. We walk the last few meters. We get incredibly close (about 5 meters) to the endangered animals. I keep a respectful distance and go to the 2nd row.


For the sundowner there is Savanna Dry and in the evening we eat a multi-course menu together with the marketing manager of the lodge, until we fall into bed, dog-tired from all the impressions.

After a hearty breakfast in the morning, we continue to Rundu in northern Namibia.

About the Rhino Drive: The Rhino Drive takes 2-3 hours.

Accommodation on the Waterberg Plateau: Waterberg Wilderness Lodge

The lodge is situated in a scenic valley surrounded by shady trees. Once farmland, the nature reserve is now being used to provide employment for the local people and at the same time to reintroduce the native game that had been wiped out.

The extensive self-sufficiency through solar power and hot water with firewood from clearing testifies to the ecological concept of the lodge. Due to the spring in the immediate vicinity, you can even drink the water from the tap. The venison in the restaurant is also only available from stocks of the regulation of the animal population.

Link to the lodge’s website

Read the full Waterberg Wilderness Lodge report here

Waterberg Wilderness Lodge view


On the way to Rundu we get further and further into untouristy Namibia, a picturesque but barren landscape of box savannah. The colors remind me of my autumnal homeland.

The Hakusembe River Lodge is located 17 km outside Rundu directly on the Okavango River. When we arrive, it was extremely hot and the air was dry.

Due to the location directly on the Angolan border, the number of Angolan populations is increasing here. Although there is not much else to see in Rundu there are a number of lodges located here including Hakusembe River Lodge which is 17km outside of Rundu. Here we check in.

Hakusembe Lodge is located directly on the Okavango River

The lodge offers more luxurious rooms as well as a beautifully situated campsite. We choose the campsite. Campsite 1 is ours overlooking the Okavango and Angola which is only a few meters away.

The luxurious thing about the campground: the neighbors are more than 100 m away and each campground even has a lockable shower and washroom with an outside washbasin, electricity and a grill. An ideal place to make a stopover before continuing our journey across the Caprivi Strip to Botswana.


Our 1st night in the roof tent on the Okavango River:

The view from our roof tent of the Okavango River and Angola

We take a sunset cruise on the Okavango. From time to time you see hippos (unfortunately we didn’t) or crocodiles. But mostly birds. The region is therefore quite popular with bird lovers.


From the boat you can watch Angolans on the other side of the river, who master their everyday life. Till fields, wash clothes in the river, feed cows or children who wave at us. I feel a bit like in the zoo because our guide stops exactly where the people are. I would have imagined the tour a little differently. The other tourists on board like it, while I feel increasingly uncomfortable.

Children on the Anglo side wave at us. Their parents wished we could throw them something to eat. Unfortunately this is not possible for us.

At sunset, anglers gather in their mokoro (dugout canoe) to catch a fish or two. The Okavango a fascinating river. The sunset is beautifully intense and the campsite is a dream.


The night is short as I keep waking up to the wind whipping against our tarpaulin. But the mattress and the roof tent were super comfortable! I’m excited.
From 6 o’clock in the morning, loud dancehall music echoes from the Angolan neighboring bank and a rooster starts the day with his loud crowing.

But the music drowns everything out, so we get up just before 7 a.m. and take down the roof tent. It’s surprisingly quick, we can even leave our pillows and blankets inside. Perfect!

After breakfast at the lodge, we continue to Kongola in the Zambezi region (formerly the Caprivi).

Accommodation in Rundu: Hakusembe River Lodge Campsite

The Hakusembe River Lodge is ideal if you want to stay overnight on the way to the Caprivi (now the Zambezi region). The lodge and the campsite are idyllically situated on the Okavango River. If you arrive in the early afternoon, you can take the sunset cruise and continue the next day.

There is not much more to experience here. The lodge is middle class, the campsite for us first class and really recommendable!

Link to the lodge’s website

Kongola (Zambezi region, formerly Caprivi)

The drive from Rundu to Kongola takes us through the Zambezi region, which today is often called the Caprivi Strip. But the name was actually changed. Here communities and animals’ live side by side in harmony with nature.

The drive through the Caprivi Westlands Paradise and the Bwabwata National Park (formerly Caprivi Camp Park) takes us to Divundu on a good tar road for two hours.


On the left and right of the road there are small huts made of straw, wood and clay. Firewood and straw are sold. The preferred building material for building fences or for the roofs of the huts.


After a total of five hours drive, we reach the Namushasha River Lodge on the Kwando River. The campsite has 16 pitches, each with its own hut for sink, shower, bath, toilet and electricity. Setting up the tent we are even faster today.

The lodge offers game drives in Bwabata National Park and boat cruises on the Kwando River. We are participating in both as we are staying here for two nights.

Large herds of elephants can be found on game drives in the Zambezi region

We also do a nature walk to a small heritage center where we can experience how people lived here until a few years ago.

They sing, dance and laugh in their traditional attire. The project is supported by the lodge to involve the communities. This is the only reason why we visit this place, since it is already very touristy.


The Zambezi region is a foretaste of what awaits us in Botswana: lots of elephants, hippos, giraffes, wildebeests, impalas, tsessebe, herds of buffalo and African fish eagles.


Unfortunately, we miss lions and wildcats by a few hours. The only remnant of the hunt: a small baby elephant. Hollowed out and eaten down to the bone, the lifeless shell lies in the bush – undiscovered by hyenas.


Accommodation in Kongola – Zambezi Region: Namushasha River Lodge

Here we spent one night on the campsite and one in a room in the lodge. The campsite was beautifully situated on the river. The rooms just a few meters further with almost the same view.

I can recommend both, depending on the type of trip, the lodge is a beautiful place to explore the Zambezi region.

Link to the lodge’s website


Kasane: Chobe Riverfront and Victoria Falls

It took almost four hours for the 253 km via Katima Mullio and the border at the Ngoma Bridge to Kasane. At last, we arrived in Botswana! At the border crossing we have no problems as everyone is sleepy in the midday heat – after we have registered, passports are stamped and road tolls are paid – we are waved through.

We checked in at the Chobe Safari Lodge campsite right on the Chobe Riverfront, probably the largest hotel in town.

We weren’t afraid of the hippos and crocodiles – the monkeys are a nuisance!

You have to be particularly careful of monkeys here. They are really a nuisance and very aggressive when you are about to prepare a meal. Also at the lodge, no items of clothing are safe on the balcony, no matter what floor.

In Kasane, we take a boat tour on the Chobe River and a day trip to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe with a helicopter flight (there is not enough time in Zambia). On the last day, we stock up on our food and water supplies. We also fill up the car and withdraw cash from one of the many ATMs.

Tip for local activities:

  • Sunset cruise on the Chobe Riverfront with Sidodu Island. Cost: 235 BWP or $36. Here you can see what is probably the largest herd of elephants in the world. You don’t know where to look first. Elephants as far as the eye can see. That’s not an exaggeration!
  • Full Report: Excursion to Vitoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Before proceeding to Savuti:

  • Refueling in Kasane or Kazungula (if the diesel runs out in Kasane like we do)
  • Stock up on groceries in the larger local supermarkets (Choppies & Spar)
  • Withdraw cash at the numerous ATMs (also in the supermarkets)

Accommodation in Kasane: Chobe Safari Lodge

The Chobe Safari Lodge, which is far too large for my taste, would not have been my first choice. However, due to our stay in Kasane during Botswana’s 50th National Day, all local accommodation was fully booked. For the first two nights we were able to get the last place on the campsite, the third night we were allowed to move into a room.

The lodge offers boat cruises on the Chobe River as well as numerous other activities. In the lodge’s travel agency you can also book trips to Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls. On request with a helicopter flight over the falls, which we did.

Link to the lodge’s website

Savuti (Chobe National Park)

Before leaving Kasane we say goodbye to our families via email and Whatsapp messages.

Because: From now on it gets wild – we drive right into the rough wilderness and the sandy landscape of Savuti.

After the tar road ends in Kachikau, we let air out of our tires. It goes on demanding (very demanding) deep sand slopes! The story of the trip is a longer one, I will report on it in detail (with video). A tip in advance: In the dry season, definitely take the route via Linyanti, not the direct route to Savuti. You can probably guess which ones we took by now…


In any case, I earned a lot of respect from a local guide when I arrived at the Ghoma Gate in front of him. Without getting stuck, without plates! Uff.

The sand road to Savuti is deep and very bumpy!

When we reach the entrance to the Savuti Campsite, I’m relieved. As a reward, I treat myself to a cool Savanna Dry. We grill sweet potatoes one night and corn on the cob the next. There is also a salad and we watch the hustle and bustle on the campsite, because here too there is deep sand and unfortunately men forget that it is better to put the reverse gear in place than to accelerate.

In any case, the Landcruiser of our campsite neighbors digs deeper and deeper into the sand (oh the Germans, we grin and have fun).

Herds of elephants, zebtra, wilderbeest, impala and warthogs pass by the dried-up riverbed of the Savuti Channel in front of our campsite.

Before we crawl into the tent, I enjoy the view of the starry sky, which is clearer here than at any other place on our trip. At night we hear lions roar, hyenas howl and in the morning a large elephant leisurely walks past our tent. There is nothing nicer than lying in the roof tent and being able to observe animals.

The sunset in Savuti is – as always in Africa – wonderful and cannot be captured with the camera.

Incidentally, nowhere else are the chances of sightings of lions and leopards as high as here. Unfortunately, we only hear these at night while others are more fortunate. However, it is also difficult to concentrate on the deep sand and at the same time on seeing animals. Especially in the dry season when the grass is burnt yellow and relatively tall.

Here we stay for two nights before heading to Moremi National Park. Game drives are possible here on countless sandy slopes. Park entrance rangers are aware of most sightings and trail conditions. They always provide information, albeit often bored.

Accommodation in Savuti: Savuti Campsite

According to Botswana fans who have been here many times, the campsite has suffered from its charm because the abolution block was surrounded by a high concrete wall. The elephants had repeatedly trampled on this area to get the water from the showers. We found our campsite beautiful, only the other cars were a bit annoying from time to time.

I think that the noise from “toilet tourism” (that’s what we called it, since you are officially not allowed to go to the Abolution Blocks without a vehicle – we did it anyway) discourages animals from closing the camp during the day to visit. In addition, permanent tents were installed at the entrance. These were probably the most popular places to stay at one time. The nightly lion roar came mostly from this direction.

Accommodation must be booked through SKL Camps (website). When I asked, the first thing I got was a refusal. Arrived on site, there were suddenly several places available on the campsite.

Savuti Camp to Moremi National Park (Third Bridge)

The night before leaving for Moremi we hear elephants horns and lions roar twice. We leave before 8 a.m. The best dry season route is the Marsh Route – also the nicer one as it follows the Savute Marsh. So we take this little detour and don’t regret it. The track is beautiful and much less sandy.

Almost every minute we sight animals: impala, elephants, kudu, giraffes and suddenly there is a pack of wid dogs right next to the slope! The dogs are critically endangered and extremely rare. The fact that we see a whole pack – even with young ones – is all the more unique.

A lone elephant meets us on the Marsh Route in Savuti

At some point there will be no more signs. We can’t find the junction marked on the map either. After we’ve gone in a circle once, I give up. I decide that we will take the further detour and the worse and above all sandy dirt road over the Sandveld Road. Across a mix of deep sand and bumpy slopes, we reach Mababe Gate 5 hours later (much later than planned). Still, the ride was very nice.

One of my favorite pictures of this trip: A herd of zebras

After two more hours we reach the North Gate. Another hour later and after crossing the Third Bridge, which is only half standing, we finally reach the Third Bridge Campsite. Our night quarters for today.

Moremi National Park: We cross the first bridge directly at the North Gate
Third Bridge in Moremi: Here you have to go through/over if you want to go to the Third Bridge Campsite

Accommodation in Moremi National Park: Third Bridge Campsite

Third Bridge Campsite is located west of Moremi National Park on the Moanachira River. Of course there are also hippos and since there is water, lions often sneak around here.

The camp site is booked via the Xomae Group by email (link to the website) .

The starry sky and the Milky Way over the Third Bridge Campsite
Our place for one night at Third Bridge Campsite

Okavango Delta (Flight)

After a very short night, we really don’t need an alarm clock at 5.30 am. I urgently needed to go to the toilet and every time I wanted to go I heard new animal noises. Especially hyenas and hippos, which made the 500m walk to the Abolution Block impossible. We have to leave very early. Why? The previous day we found out that our flight from Maun to the Okavango Delta was already taking off at 11:50 am. We need to be at the airport by 11am.

So we leave and don’t do a leisurely game drive with photo stops on the way to Maun. I steer us more and more safely through the sandy mogul slopes. It’s even fun! When we reach the gate, we don’t know how incredibly bad the road to the tar road is.

I don’t believe the official at the gate at first when he says “unbelievable bad and bumpy. Very bad road”…at first it’s okay. I slalom around the potholes. But at some point the piste turns into a sand piste with edges that appear to have been broken off. Deep sand, potholes and we don’t have time to drive comfortably…

10:21 unbelievable but true. We can’t believe it and wonder whether we can see a tar road in the distance or not… Yes, we did it: Shorobe and the tar road to Maun. I accelerate even if I have to be careful because we still have too little air in the tires (because of the deep sand).


11:03 a.m. airport parking lot! We reached our destination almost on time and 139 km later! Exhausted, we grab our backpacks and go to the Moremi Air office. This small airline takes us directly to Gunn’s Camp in the Okavango Delta!

Okavango Delta Botswana from above

Okavango Delta Botswana

After a flight of only 25 minutes over the almost completely dried-up Okavango Delta, our destination: Gunn’s Camp! Glamping at its finest overlooking marshland where a herd of elephants cool off and feed.

A herd of elephants greets me in front of my glamping tent at Gunn’s Camp

I can’t imagine a nicer reception! Here we stay for two nights enjoying walking safaris, mokoro rides, and boat game drives on the delta’s main Boro River. This flows into the Northern Okavango and then towards Maun becomes the Thamalakane River.

Mokoro rides on the Boro, which has little water in the dry season.

Then we move to the neighboring lodge for another 2 nights. Activities are offered here the same. The difference is only in the size of the lodges and the groups during the activities. Whereby we ourselves travel in small groups on the Mokoro Walking Tour. Here we again meet large herds of Elephants, Hippos, Lions, Impalas, Kudu, Zebras, Giraffes, Buffalo, and numerous birds. The delta is a bird paradise during the dry season.

I liked the Bush Walks on Chiefs Island best. You never know which animals you will meet. Like the last day, when suddenly everything is exciting.

First, we meet a family of giraffes who are curiously looking in our direction.

The giraffes see us from afar and continue on their way in the opposite direction.
The giraffes see us from afar and continue on their way in the opposite direction.

Then we meet several groups of zebras that group together protectively to appear larger.


Followed by an elephant cow with her little one, who are quickly approaching us. From the other side another cow with her little one. We quickly move away, as female elephants are unpredictable with young.


Then events unfold. Suddenly we encounter a drag mark on the ground that even I can recognize: a leopard has dragged its prey away, presumably to hide it in a tree from other predators.

But where is the killer and where is the prey?

We follow the trail with sharpened senses. The animals around us also sense the presence of a killer and run away from all directions, guinea fowl flee into trees. Baboons run away and impala also run away. On the right sits a rare milk owl, which stands out because of its pink eyelids and is beautiful. We don’t stop and continue to follow the tracks on the sandy ground.

Milk owl in the Okavango Delta

After another 19 minutes we discover the victim: Impala. Our ranger Luckson takes a closer look at the dead animal. The leopard had just started cutting up the animal into smaller pieces to carry it up the tree to safety from other predators. We probably bothered him.

A leopard’s victim: an impala. The body is still warm. Adrenaline on a walking safari.

We proceed cautiously, the leopard must be somewhere in the immediate vicinity of us…we could see other fleeing animals a few meters in front of us. But the grass of the savannah is high and meeting a leopard on foot who just wants to hide its prey is not easy either.

I think Luckson is deliberately leading us a bit away from the site, not following fresh but older tracks. Nevertheless, we are all wide awake. A few meters further we can see the boat on the shore. So close yet so far. We drive off slowly and search the shore with binoculars. But no leopard is in sight.

Then it’s off to shower and pack. The time in the Okavango Delta is coming to an end. At 2:30 p.m. we fly back to Maun in a small 4-seater plane.


Accommodation in the Okavango Delta: Gunn’s Camp and Moremi Crossing

Overlooking legendary Chief Island on the edge of the Moremi National Park border, Gunn’s Camp (website) and Moremi Crossing (website) is perfectly situated lodges.

Gunn’s Camp

Gunn’s Camp is one of the last luxury and classic safari camps in the Delta. Here you are offered luxury in a family atmosphere without missing the sightings of the animals.

Moremi Crossing

Moremi Crossing is almost around the corner. It’s not all that familiar here, as everything is a little larger so that tour groups can also stay overnight in the Okavango Delta. The tents are also spread out along the river here, so that you can experience the safari feeling up close.

My tent at Moremi Crossing Camp in the Okavango Delta Botswana


When we arrived in Maun, we found our car just as we had parked it in the airport parking lot. We stay in Maun for two nights to recharge batteries, do a little work and plan and book the next accommodations and change the original plan.

Accommodation in Maun: Old Bridge Backpackers

In the accommodation Old Bridge Backpackers , which I got recommended from several sources, we spend one night in a roof tent and one in a permanent tent (with sockets and private bathroom). The food is ok and so is the internet (preferably in the morning).

Otherwise, Maun doesn’t have much to offer. For backpackers and travelers without a 4×4, Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta. From here you can also take day trips. However, we continue to travel in the other direction.

Link to website

From the tent you have a beautiful view of the Old Bridge

Nwetwe Pan

After three hours, the road separating the Magkadigkadi Pans and the Nxai Pans leads us to Gweta. Here we book a room at Planet Baobab (a tip from Brits we met on the way) for one night. The other night we spend under the stars of the Nwetwe Pan. As there is no room available upon arrival, we do the tour on the first day. It’s scalding hot. Temperatures around 40 degrees only allow me to sneak around slowly and lazily.

The name of the accommodation says it all – there are big baobab trees everywhere:


We pack a small backpack and off we go to the next adventure: on the way to the meerkats, we see elephants (I didn’t expect them here), lots of ostriches, cows and donkeys.

If you want, you can continue with the quad from the visit to the meerkats, which are really cute to look at. I’ll stay in the front of the Landcruiser.


Refreshing towels and drinks are provided when you arrive at the camp. Add popcorn and eat at some point (steak, pumpkin, potato, tomato, mozzarella salad and cornbread). Everything tastes twice as good around the campfire. After that we are silent. It’s dead quiet. no noise Insanity!


The crescent moon hangs over us like a lantern – I could have left the headlamp in the car Wow!


When I wake up in the night and the moon has set, I see the constellation Cassiopeia above me. The stars twinkle in the sky and envelop us like a blanket! I’m so mesmerized that I don’t take pictures with the camera on the tripod next to me. I feel weightless in a vast universe. Only my breath can be heard. Otherwise, there is an unbelievable silence.

This mix of salt flats, solitude and silence is a must for anyone who loves whimsical landscapes! Now and then a mild breeze blows around my face. But it stays pleasantly warm.



We’re back at Planet Baobab for breakfast . We move into our room and spend the day relaxing by the pool reading about the further route and the condition of the route. Because the next demanding drive into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CLGR for short) and over 60 km of sand are waiting for us.

It’s extremely hot and dry again. During the day the thermometer shows more than 40° degrees again. Our hut is unbearably hot at night. Even with the windows open (despite mosquitoes, which we don’t care about) we only get cooling from 4 a.m. at night.

Planet Baobab is nice to rest for a day or to do excursions from here. Unfortunately, a group of G-Adventures Americans breaks the silence and a German tour group also has unpleasant guests on board who are staring at us. I’m looking forward to the Kalahari.

Link to Planet Baobab website

There are baobab trees everywhere around Planet Baobab – I found a great hammock to relax in front of one.

Central Kalahari

Today’s stage takes us from Gweta to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to the Haina Kalahari Lodge , where we stay three nights. For the 288 km we need a little more than five hours.

On the drive through the national parks of the salt pans to Rakops we meet over 30 ostriches, giraffes, oryx and of course impala. On the way, oncoming friendly locals flash their headlights to announce speed cameras. We drive adapted. It’s back to sand for the last two hours. We let air out of the tires and I take the wheel. Now we have a routine in it.

At the Haina Lodge we are greeted warmly and given a snack to welcome us. Our glamping tent is beautiful.


We freshen up and after coffee and cake we go to the game drive at 42 degrees in the park.

We encounter kudu, zebra, vulture, dyker, ibex and wildebeest. All the animals stand in the waterholes to cool off, which I can understand.


On the penultimate day, we decide to drive to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve for a day ourselves. Deception Valley, Leopard Pan and Sunday Pan fire my thirst for adventure after two days of game drives as a passenger.


Even the sandy slopes hardly cause us any headaches. Only the respect for a breakdown in this wasteland remains. For this, the staff at Haina Lodge packed us a huge package with food and a cooler with too many drinks. For emergencies.

The CKGR impresses me, especially since I finished reading the book by the two American researchers “Cry of the Kalahari” at the same time (absolute reading recommendation). Unfortunately we must have missed a leopard family by a few minutes in the Leopard Pan. But we’re not in the zoo. After all, this is where I saw bat-eared foxes for the first time. In addition, four sitting giraffes, because they too are simply too hot.

Bat-eared Fox
All animals hide in the shadows. Every tree is used.
All animals hide in the shadows. Every tree is used.

The day trip ends at half past six in the evening. With temperatures above 40 degrees, it was again a very strenuous but deeply impressive experience. I would like to come here again and drive through slowly with a four-wheel drive vehicle and a roof tent. A big question mark before the trip, I now trust myself to be able to do this trip.

As we are about to get up at the last dinner at Lodge, a flashlight goes on. “Come here, a lion is at the waterhole”. At first we think it’s a joke, but everyone stands up. Indeed: a 3-year-old lioness, normally hanging out with her mother and brother, appears at the waterhole.


She seems very thirsty and relaxed. Lies down in between to go back to the waterhole and continue drinking. She seems to have eaten very well before that. Then she disappears in the direction of our tents. Unfortunately, we didn’t see them again.

A great farewell on the last real day of the trip. The rest is transfer and an overnight stay in Ghanzi as driving to Windhoek in one would be too far.

Accommodation at the Central Kalahari Game Reserve: Haina Kalahari Lodge

The lodge is approximately 45 minutes from the CKGR gate. It offers beautiful and comfortable tents. Glamping – luxury tents – as it is now called. In your own game reserve you go on game drives and take part in great places for sundowners. The waterhole at the main building is frequented all day by animals that need to cool down and drink water in this very dry region.

Link to the lodge’s website


The drive to Ghanzi takes us almost three hours over a bumpy sandy track along the fence to the CKGR. We have to pass a final veterinary check before we reach Ghanzi, 1.5 hours on a good tar road.

Our destination, the Tautona Lodge , is unfortunately just as rocked as the reviews in internet forums or on Tripadvisor are. We relax by the pool and eventually go to dinner, which feels like we have to wait two hours. There are certainly better places to stay for one night. Actually we wanted to rebook for Ghanzi. But since the nice and helpful manager of the Haina Lodge said that her predecessor managed it now and that it was really nice there, we left it at the booking. If only I had listened to the tips.

Link to Tautona Lodge website


The next morning, we drive tired and exhausted from the many impressions of the last few weeks to Windhoek via the Kalahari Highway. Which, by the way, is much less frequented than expected. It’s also dead at the border crossing. So we drive on a fairly monotonous route in the direction of Windhoek to the  N/a’an ku sê Charity Lodge & Wildlife Sanctuary .

For one night we live here in a huge house with three bedrooms and a large kitchen, fireplace and a large terrace with a wonderful view. So, on the last day we can once again soak up the dry and barren landscape of Namibia before we head to Germany.

Our accommodation: Large open living room with kitchen, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a room for three children and a great terrace. Much too big for us!

On the last morning before departure we bring our rental car back to Asco Car Hire. Super easy and done in minutes.

Road trip checklist for Botswana

To make sure you don’t forget anything, I’ve created a  checklist for a road trip  .

Other articles that are interesting for a Botswana trip:

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