Namibia and Botswana are two of the most different but equally breathtaking countries we have visited.
Making a plan to travel around 1, not to mention 2 countries, is a ton of work! So, we put together an exciting 2-week road trip itinerary from Namibia to Botswana to inspire you.
Southern Africa is home to some of the most beautiful places on earth. During this visit, we were lucky enough to enjoy not one, but two neighbouring countries by road. Namibia and Botswana are such polarising countries in many ways. And in hindsight that makes them the perfect coupling for a road trip around Africa.
Last year, we enjoyed a 3-week road trip around the diverse country of Namibia. Inspired by that road trip, we decided to put together another 2-week itinerary of our most recent tour from Namibia to Botswana.
This itinerary has a bit of everything: diverse landscapes, exciting activities, interesting point of interest and most importantly an abundance of wildlife and birdlife.
Mapping it out.
Seeing a single country over 2-weeks is already a tough feat. That is why mapping out a two-country road trip over 2-weeks is very important, as time is limited and distances are a challenge.
For this trip, we made use of TomTom navigation devices. We tested out their app – TomTom GO Navigation– and we made use of one of their sat nav devices – GO Supreme, with Southern Africa maps downloaded.
We also made use of the RoadTrips by TomTom’s planning tool to map out our journey beforehand. This gave us an indication of travel duration and distance, so we felt prepared for our trip.
Overall we were very happy with the tools that we used to help in planning and driving our road trip. All products worked seamlessly together and helped us plan and navigate the best possible trip.
In total, we travelled over 2000km on this road trip.
Road Trip Map of Namibia and Botswana Destinations.
Best Time of the Year to Visit
The peak season for travel around this part of Southern Africa is June to September. This is the drier season, and you would have fewer worries about getting stuck in mud or a sinkhole.
We decided to do our trip in Summer, in the risky rainy season, however, we were fortunate with the weather! If you do travel between December and February, we highly recommend renting a satellite phone for your trip. You can literally go hours if not days without seeing another car on the road (especially in parts of Botswana).
During our trip, we heard many crazy stories about other travellers who got stuck in soft sand for days. As funny as these tales were to hear, we couldn’t imagine how it must have felt for the stranded travellers. Getting stuck in the wilderness, without access to help doesn’t sound like a good time.
Again, if you are going to take a trip from Namibia to Botswana, then be prepared!
A Glorious Rainy Day at Erindi.
Car and Equipment Rental
As with our previous trip, we can only praise and recommend our friends at ASCO Car Hire.
This time around, we rented a more powerful Hilux, as we knew that the terrain in Botswana would require it. This was definitely the right call, as the roads in Botswana are beyond difficult. We went with the Toyota Hilux Safari 4×4 Automatic 2.8 and we would highly recommend it. The higher front carriage is a must, as Botswana roads require a bit of offroad driving!
All equipment and bedding are included. The only additional items that we brought along was a mosquito net and an extra sleeping bag in case of rain or sudden cold.
The professionalism and expertise of the ASCO staff go beyond what you would expect. Every detail of the car and equipment is explained beforehand so that travellers set off feeling confident.
ASCO offers an airport pickup/drop-off service that is included. At the end of our trip, we paid a minimal fee for ASCO to come and collect our vehicle from Maun, as we didn’t make a roundtrip back to Windhoek this year.
Destination 1: Erindi Private Game Reserve
Duration: 4-nights (Camping)
Driving time: 2.5 hours from Windhoek
The first stop on our 2-week trip was Erindi Private Game Reserve. It is located perfectly for a first destination, as it’s only a 2.5-hour drive from Windhoek.
On our previous trip to Namibia, we also stayed at Erindi. We were so blown away by this location that it was a no-brainer that we would return given the chance.
The camping accommodation, Camp Elephant, is one of the very best that we have ever experienced. Each campsite has its own private spot with eating and showering amenities.
Not only are the facilities wonderful at Erindi, but animal viewing and landscapes are some of the most beautiful in the world! We highly recommend booking a couple of activities in advance.
Our favourite activity at Erindi is a private game drive. This gives you 1-on-1 time with a personal Field Guide, and unlimited time at a single sighting. For a photographer, this is the best way to spend your time and a bit of extra cash. However, keep in mind that the price is fitting of the experience that comes with a private game drive – Superb!
A Sleepy Male Lion, Erindi.
Destination 2: Onguma Nature Reserve, Etosha
Duration: 2-nights (Camping)
Driving time: 5 hours from Erindi Private Game Reserve
After a wonderful few days at Erindi, we were ready for a short stopover at Etosha before heading on to Caprivi and finally Northern Botswana. As with our previous 3-week visit in Namibia, we again chose to stay at Onguma Nature Reserve.
Tamboti Camp is also one of our favourite camping grounds. With private camping spots, as well as shower facilities, it’s easy to get comfortable. Onguma has recently upgraded the public area at Tamboti Camp by extending the deck, introducing a new bar and revamping the swimming pool! The restaurant is also really great, offering a variety of meals throughout the day, at affordable prices.
It’s not without reason that Etosha is famous for their 100+ herds of elephant. Seeing large herds in this area of Namibia is not uncommon but during this season, it’s tricky to see many other types of animals.
A 100-Strong Herd of Elephants, Etosha.
Destination 3: Divava Okavango Lodge And Spa, Caprivi
Duration: 1-night (Lodge)
Driving time: 5 hours from Onguma Nature Reserve
Next, after our time at Etosha, we began making our way East towards the Caprivi and ultimately, Northern Botswana.
The great distance from Etosha to the West Entrance of the Caprivi is a long and straight road. It’s incredibly easy to become tired or bored on the long straight roads, so be sure to take breaks or swap drivers if you can!
Originally we had planned to stay at a fun Treehouse lodging concept in the Divundu region, however, we were both recovering from some serious flu and the accommodation was too exposed.
Luckily, we came across Divava Okavango Lodge and Spa, and after arriving, we wished that we had booked to stay a second night.
Of all the lodges that we stayed at, the upkeep and cleanliness of the chalet was top of the crop for us. The lovely receptionist could see how tired we were from our journey and found us a lovely, quiet chalet to rest in.
We enjoyed the most delicious 4-course dinner and luxuriated in the massive comfortable bed. Needless to say, we needed a little pampering after camping for over a week!
In our honest opinion, driving across the Caprivi was the biggest disappointment of our trip. The drive is long and tedious, and we were expecting to see animals along the way.
The Namibian Government has offered consigned areas along the main road to tribes and people from the area. This means that majority of the wildlife doesn’t come close to the road that cuts through the area.
Walking to Dinner along the Cubango River, Caprivi.
Destination 4: Muchenje Safari Lodge, Chobe
Duration: 3-nights (Lodge)
Driving time: 5 hours from Divava Okavango Lodge and Spa
Muchenje Safari Lodge is a short 5-minute drive from the Ngoma Bridge Border Control. This is the border crossing that we would recommend using if you choose to cross from Namibia to Botswana.
Make sure that you have your travel documents in order, and the entire process shouldn’t take more than 1-hour. You do have to sign out and in at 2 different gates, so make sure to plan an extra hour into your travel times.
On arriving at Muchenje, we were blown away by the kindness and friendliness of the staff. The lodge is run in a family-style, where field guides and lodge managers integrate with the guests. We loved this concept, as guests become more open and social with one another.
The very best aspect of Muchenje is the variety of activities that they have on offer. Every hour of your stay is planned out for maximum experience and enjoyment. However, everything is optional, so if you need an afternoon to relax by the pool, that’s fine too.
Our favourite activity was the all day safari. It’s intense but well worth it!
You begin the day with an early morning drive in Chobe, which is followed by a mid-morning boat ride along the river. This was a life-changing experience for us. We never anticipated that we could be meters away from a herd of swimming elephants and hippos. We ate lunch and watched as herd after herd reached the river and cooled off in the water. After that, we took a casual drive back through the park to the lodge.
After a jam-packed day, we were exhausted by intensely happy.
We would 100% recommend staying at Muchenje. The entire offering is well-rounded and designed for travellers who want the most out of their stay.
Elephant bathing in the Chobe River, Chobe.
Destination 5: Savute Safari Lodge: Desert and Delta, Savuti
Duration: 2-nights (Lodge)
Driving time: 3.5 hours from Muchenje Safari Lodge
Next on the agenda was a “short” 3.5 hour drive in soft sand to Savute Safari Lodge.
We were not expecting this drive to be as easy as it was, however, there was a lot of soft sand and a few mid-deep water holes to drive through. So be prepared!
For us, Savute Safari Lodge had some of the most wonderful staff and public facilities. The deck eating area had been newly refurbished, and the meals were the absolute best of all of the lodges that we stayed at.
The private rooms were also glamorous and very open to the wild, which we loved. We had a great view of the watering hole and we had a friendly bird that visited our window daily. Overall, we were seriously impressed.
Our field guide was humorous and knowledgeable, which we loved. One thing which we didn’t enjoy, was the fact that there is zero control over reckless self-drivers in the region. We felt hounded by these vehicles, as they think the lodge guides know the spots to find the animals. These self-drivers are a menace and have no respect for the field guides, lodge guests or (most importantly) the animals.
We would say that the Botswana Government needs to tighten restrictions on this, as the result is a reduced number of wildlife and reckless endangerment of the animals.
Besides the pesky self-drivers, we had a wonderful stay at Savuti Safari Lodge and would highly recommend Desert and Delta as an accommodation provider.
Male Lion crossing the open plains, Savute.
Destination 6: Belmond Khwai River Lodge, Moremi
Duration: 3-nights (Lodge)
Driving time: 5 hours from Savuti Safari Lodge, Desert and Delta.
For the final safari spot on our itinerary, Belmond Khwai River Lodge. We were so excited as the area is renowned for its wildlife encounters.
The stories that we had heard about Moremi and Khwai were true, we had some of the best viewing moments of our trip here.
The landscape is diverse and abundant with cats and other beautiful wildlife.
On one occasion, we observed 3 lionesses until hours past curfew. The lionesses crossed a river, then hunted and caught an impala. This was a rare viewing opportunity that we will never forget!
While at Khwai, we also experienced some true seasonal storms, which were incredible to behold. We were truly in the middle of nature, which was what we had hoped for.
While here, we celebrated our birthdays and treated ourselves to the spa facilities, which were excellent.
Male Leopard on Patrol at Khwai River, Moremi.
Destination 7: Maun
Driving time: 5 hours from Belmond Khwai River Lodge.
After our adventurous road through Savuti to Moremi, we had thought our off-road driving was done. However, Botswana’s road had other plans for us!
Due to heavy rains during our stay at Moremi, the Transit Road was filled with mud, massive areas of washout, and of course waterholes. We had to drive extremely cautiously along the road and only had to make one stop with a health and safety station to clean our shoes.
Unfortunately, due to the extensive road damage and delayed travel time, we were unable to take our scheduled flight over the Delta. But if you manage to make the trip on time, we would recommend booking a sunset flight over the Delta with Helicopter Horizons.
When flying out from Maun to a larger airport, we highly recommend arriving well in advance to drop your bags off. The airport is tiny, but the service is slow. We were also surprised to learn that they do bag searches with larger checked-in luggage. The reason for this is to probably deter illegal trade of animal parts, although it does feel invasive. You should also be prepared to wait, as almost every flight departing from Maun never leaves on time. Keep this in mind, especially if you need to catch a connecting outgoing flight!
We hope that you enjoyed learning some tips and tricks by reading about our 2-week road trip from Namibia to Botswana. Please leave us comments or questions and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram: @themovinglens.
Hire a satellite phone if you are going to be travelling from Namibia to Botswana at a quiet or peak rain season time.
We recommend that if you are renting a car from ASCO Car Hire, to include a satellite phone to your bundle. So, if you get stuck in some soft sand or mud with no help options, the 9Euro per day rental fee will be well worth it!
If you want to get inspired to plan your next Road Trip by viewing our Landscapes Gallery.