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  #1  
Old 01-10-12, 10:49 PM
codemann codemann is offline
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Default Planning a trip to Botswana/Namibia in 2013!


INTRODUCTION

After going to Namibia and Botswana in 2009, I've been telling so many stories to my friends that 4 of them want to go with me next year to discover those countries once again. Instead of the 4 weeks that I've spend there in 2009, it'll only be 3 weeks, but that shouldn't spoil the fun! We'll be renting two 4x4 campers.

I've been puzzling a bit the last days and I've come up with this raw draft that I'm going to present them next weekend.
All suggestions from you guys are off course welcome! If you're all good and help me out a lot, I'll make a nice report afterwards with lots of pictures!


THE FIRST DRAFT

10/08/2013: From Belgium to Frankfurt (20:10) and off to Namibia
11/08/2013: Arrive in the morning in Namibia (6:30), get campers, shop, ..., sleep at Kalahari Bush Breaks
12/08/2013: Cross the Botswana border, travel to Maun. Discover Maun, do a scenic flight, shop, ...
13/08/2013: Enter Moremi, start the game drives and spend the first night at Third Bridge
14/08/2013: Continue the game drive, sleepover at Xakanaxa
15/08/2013: Get up early for a mokoro trip, game drive to North Bridge or stay another night at Xakanaxa
16/08/2013: Game drive, destination Savute
17/08/2013: Game drive, destination Ihaha
18/08/2013: Game drive, stay another night in Ihaha
19/08/2013: A bit more game driving and travel to Chobe Safari Lodge, do a Boat Cruise at night
20/08/2013: A day to Vic Falls, spend another night at Chobe Safari Lodge
21/08/2013: Discover the Caprivi area and spend the night somewhere there (Ngepi Camp?)
22/08/2013: Some more Caprivi, fuel and shop, travel to the North of Khaudum
23/08/2013: Travel Khaudum from the North to the South camp
24/08/2013: Travel to somewhere around Grootfontein or Waterberg
25/08/2013: If Grootfontein, try to do a visit to the Bushmen people (Ju/'hoansi San village of Grashoek?), otherwise discover Waterberg or its surrounding
26/08/2013: Travel to Swakopmund
27/08/2013: Have fun at Swakopmund (quads, sandboarding, ...) and spend another night there
28/08/2013: Discover the neighbourhood and end at Sesriem to spend the night there
29/08/2013: Go to a nice luxurious lodge in the Kalahari and enjoy a relaxed last evening in Namibia
30/08/2013: Leave Namibia in the evening (21:15)
31/08/2013: Arrive in Frankfurt in the morning (6:10) and travel back to Belgium


MY REMARKS / NOTES / QUESTIONS :

- One of the remarks I got from some of the friends was that they didn't want to do gamedrives all the time, so I tried to mix it up
- I hope I can get them warm for Khaudum, if not I'm thinking about adding Makgadikga Pans/Kubu Island instead
- I've read that a lot of people seem to do a mokoro trip in Maun, but I thaught it would be nicer to do one in Moremi. I've seen a movie on YouTube from a mokoro trip in the morning and it's absolutely beautiful. Any feedback on that?
- Anyone has visited the Bushmen people, the Ju/'hoansi San village of Grashoek? Any feedback on that?


Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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  #2  
Old 01-10-12, 11:00 PM
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Hi,

Kasane to Ngepi is a lot in one day.

Same applies to Ngepi to North Kaudom (track from Main road to NP entrance is alone at least three hours)..

Kaudom South to Grootfontein or Waterberg is much too much for one day (apart from this, I wonder whether Waterberg needs a stop within such a short journey , but there are probably different opinions about this topic).

It is bloody difficult to see so many places in three weeks (I would take at least four, maybe five, but I am a lazy old man).

Cheers...
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Old 02-10-12, 09:44 AM
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Spending the same 3 weeks in Botswana, maun, third bridge, xakanaxa, savuti, chobe. Will keep an eye open for you.

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Old 02-10-12, 11:16 AM
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@Eric :
Thanks for the feedback! Waterberg doesn't need a stop, I just haven't found yet what we should do between Khaudum and Swakopmund and I'm leaving the options open. I'd love to visit that Bushmen village around Grootfontein, but I have to read more about it.
But anyways, I'm going to see how we can add some more time to our trip where you mentioned it.
And yeah, I wish I could go 4-5 weeks too (I'm a lazy young man ), but it just isn't possible this time...

@JohnnyD :
Let me know where you'll be and I'll keep an eye out for you too
It's a first draft, since the rest are first time visitors I'm letting them decide, I just try to push in the right direction
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Old 02-10-12, 12:07 PM
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Far too much for 3 weeks - try 3 months and you might be talking.

Been there, tried to do it and failed miserably.

Too beautiful a country to fly through.

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Old 02-10-12, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codemann View Post
@Eric :
Thanks for the feedback! Waterberg doesn't need a stop, I just haven't found yet what we should do between Khaudum and Swakopmund and I'm leaving the options open. I'd love to visit that Bushmen village around Grootfontein, but I have to read more about it.
But anyways, I'm going to see how we can add some more time to our trip where you mentioned it.
And yeah, I wish I could go 4-5 weeks too (I'm a lazy young man ), but it just isn't possible this time...

@JohnnyD :
Let me know where you'll be and I'll keep an eye out for you too
It's a first draft, since the rest are first time visitors I'm letting them decide, I just try to push in the right direction
Hi,

You can see everything you want about Bushmen in Tsumkwe, just when driving out of Khaudom.

I do not know whether you are an experienced bush traveller or not, nevertheless the average I calculate for driving (do not trust too much T4A):

- Tar: 80 kph
- Gravel: 50 kph
- Tracks: 20 to 30 kph maximum

Cheers..
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Old 02-10-12, 04:41 PM
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Why Kaudom? Rather think of Etosha then down to Swakopmund. On your way you can visit Twyfelfontein, Orrelpype and Brandberge. Nice to see

My sister was in Kaudom last week, very dissapointing, veld fires, very deep deep sand and nothing to see. So. Think about Etosha.

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Old 02-10-12, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witklipbank View Post
Why Kaudom? Rather think of Etosha then down to Swakopmund. On your way you can visit Twyfelfontein, Orrelpype and Brandberge. Nice to see

My sister was in Kaudom last week, very disapointing, veld fires, very deep deep sand and nothing to see. So. Think about Etosha.
My experience with Etosha in 2009 was very disappointing. After being in a relaxed atmosphere in Botswana you suddenly get back into the very commercial atmosphere. The lighted waterholes felt so fake (people in their most beautiful clothes with a glass of champagne where watching the animals, it felt like being in a zoo) and when we spotted a few lions under a bush, people were almost fighting to get the best spot with their car...

And I heard the opposite from Khaudum, that it was very rough and you could spot a lot of animals there. But off course I could be wrong there?

But, thanks for the feedback, I'm thinking about making a few route suggestions for my friends!
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Old 02-10-12, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witklipbank View Post
Why Kaudom? Rather think of Etosha then down to Swakopmund. On your way you can visit Twyfelfontein, Orrelpype and Brandberge. Nice to see

My sister was in Kaudom last week, very dissapointing, veld fires, very deep deep sand and nothing to see. So. Think about Etosha.
Hi,

There are most different opinions about Khaudom:

Last April, at first the guy who runs Nunda Safaris and Lodge, Cameron, told me it is fantastic, must be done...Some days after the guy who runs Shamvura camp (Caprivi, I intended to drive to Khaudom the day after) told me it were uninteresting, no animals to be seen due to thick bush and not working waterholes (nobody cares about them), very think sand (which is not the problem for me), so I decided not to go to Khaudom.

Some days after I heard from people who had been there shortly it was fantastic....and I must say, now i wish I would have tried...

It is all a matter of personnal taste, but I must say I share the feeling our friend has about Etosha..I travel Southern Africa to be in the wild, and having to share the tracks with buses, as well as having 10 cars and two buses stopping at the same spot to see animals is not very pleasant. I was very disappointed as I overnighted at Halali in 2008, for me it has a taste of an holiday resort, with lots of young people drunked before the restaurant (which is not good value for money)...Only good thing at Halali is the waterhole, you can see lots of animals....together with lots of tourists..

Maybe I came the wrong day ?? And maybe I am spoilt as well..

Cheers
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Old 02-10-12, 06:43 PM
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Hallo

In my opinion this is way too much driving.......6 weeks needed for this trip.

This is like flying to Paris spending the night, taking the train to Brussels and then off to Amsterdam the next day, spend the night, off to.......you get the idea.......

In places like Moremi and Savuti 2 night is the minimum....but 3 is the best. You are likely to put up camp and break camp more than you will be game viewing....and will see nothing in the end.

Spend 2 days in Vic Falls, not just a pop-in but a proper visit.

My opinion, been there done it.....changed my habits from trying to see everything to seeing it properly.

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Old 02-10-12, 08:52 PM
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Please read here, a trip report about Kaudom
http://4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php?t=111360

It looks good.

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Old 03-10-12, 10:39 AM
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The Bots part of your trip seems ok to me but the Namibian part feels too cramped. Can't comment on Kaudhum as I've never been there, but I wouldn't trade it for Etosha either. Botswana feels so much wilder as you've already stated. In Namibia I'd focus a bit more on Sossusvlei than you've already done and include a night at Spitzkoppe for the fantastic views. Brandberg is very interesting as well but can be a 2 hour stop on a day of travelling. Don't know if it still exists but Roy's Rest Camp near Grootfontein was a wonderful place, should you be looking for a place to stay over.
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Old 03-10-12, 11:02 AM
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Thanks for all your feedbacks, keep em coming so my head can keep working

Yeah, if possible I sure would like to add some days in Chobe or Moremi, but that all depends on what the group wants.
Since my friends want more than just game drives (if it were my I would just do Moremi, Chobe, Caprivi, Khaudum), I'm thinking about adding a day to Caprivi and then start heading as soon as possible to the coast (while probably skipping a few cool things, but you can't have it all) to end the holiday a bit more relaxed at the coast (Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, ...).

Haven't had time yet to see if it actually fits our time schedule, but if we skip Khaudum we should gain enough time to do that.

They are all now reading about the countries so they can tell what they want to see. I'm very curious, I'm sure it'll be a giant list and I'll have to calm them down just as you guys are doing with me now.
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Old 03-10-12, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregoire View Post
The Bots part of your trip seems ok to me but the Namibian part feels too cramped. Can't comment on Kaudhum as I've never been there, but I wouldn't trade it for Etosha either. Botswana feels so much wilder as you've already stated. In Namibia I'd focus a bit more on Sossusvlei than you've already done and include a night at Spitzkoppe for the fantastic views. Brandberg is very interesting as well but can be a 2 hour stop on a day of travelling. Don't know if it still exists but Roy's Rest Camp near Grootfontein was a wonderful place, should you be looking for a place to stay over.
Hi,

Roy's Camp still existed last May (I was already there in 200. It is actually one of my favourite stops in Nam. For campsites, only pop in, you do not need to book.

From a general point of view it is (unfortunately) not much frequented, due to the lack of touristic activities in the vicinity..

Cheers..
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Old 03-10-12, 03:06 PM
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Good to hear, Eric. Last time I was there was back in 1999! Went back to Namibia in 2007 but we stuck to the western parts mostly and didn't get anywhere near Roy's place. I remember it fondly!
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Old 03-10-12, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregoire View Post
Good to hear, Eric. Last time I was there was back in 1999! Went back to Namibia in 2007 but we stuck to the western parts mostly and didn't get anywhere near Roy's place. I remember it fondly!
Hi,

Is Gregoire your family name or given name (I know a Gregoire family in Brussels, 50% Wallon 50% DRC).

Cheers..
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Old 03-10-12, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric60260 View Post
Hi,

Is Gregoire your family name or given name (I know a Gregoire family in Brussels, 50% Wallon 50% DRC).

Cheers..
Family name. I'm 100% Dutch though (sorry ). My wife works for the Dutch foreign office. Before Brussels we lived in Paris ('05-'09) and Strasbourg ('04-'05). That was the time when we revisited Botswana ('05) and Namibia ('07) after having explored both in 1999. We'll be heading back into Chobe next year: our mutual gift for having been married for 10 years by then...
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Old 03-10-12, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregoire View Post
Family name. I'm 100% Dutch though (sorry ). My wife works for the Dutch foreign office. Before Brussels we lived in Paris ('05-'09) and Strasbourg ('04-'05). That was the time when we revisited Botswana ('05) and Namibia ('07) after having explored both in 1999. We'll be heading back into Chobe next year: our mutual gift for having been married for 10 years by then...
Hi,

Europe is very small, I live in Chantilly (50 km North of Paris), my friend in Brussels (Vorst), my Gregoire friends in Uccle, used to live in Francfort and Duesseldorf, have kids in Munich and a Landy 110 in L' Stone..

Cheers.
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Old 04-10-12, 02:57 PM
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Back tot he initial question, a suggestion for this time slot:
21/08/2013: Discover the Caprivi area and spend the night somewhere there (Ngepi Camp?)
Ngepi is too far west and you'll miss out the Eastern Caprivi - try Mudumu, Mazambala or Kwando before crossing the strip.

22/08/2013: Some more Caprivi, fuel and shop, travel to the North of Khaudum
Now Ngepi could come in or alternatively the other side of the river the community camp close to the state prison, overlooking the Popa falls.

23/08/2013:
Travel Khaudum from the North to the South camp
This would fall awy if your friends do not want to rough it too much.

24/08/2013:
Travel to somewhere around Grootfontein or Waterberg
Waterberg has a good reputation for different resons, a bit of physical exercises to climb the rock through the gorge, good view or simply relax in a pleasant atmosphere.

The Bots part look fine to me given the time contraints you face.

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Old 04-10-12, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
Back tot he initial question, a suggestion for this time slot:
21/08/2013: Discover the Caprivi area and spend the night somewhere there (Ngepi Camp?)
Ngepi is too far west and you'll miss out the Eastern Caprivi - try Mudumu, Mazambala or Kwando before crossing the strip.

22/08/2013: Some more Caprivi, fuel and shop, travel to the North of Khaudum
Now Ngepi could come in or alternatively the other side of the river the community camp close to the state prison, overlooking the Popa falls.

23/08/2013:
Travel Khaudum from the North to the South camp
This would fall awy if your friends do not want to rough it too much.

24/08/2013:
Travel to somewhere around Grootfontein or Waterberg
Waterberg has a good reputation for different resons, a bit of physical exercises to climb the rock through the gorge, good view or simply relax in a pleasant atmosphere.

The Bots part look fine to me given the time contraints you face.
Thank you very much!
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Old 07-10-12, 08:34 AM
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Come stock up in Katima, then the Kwando and further. But you don't leave yourself a lot of time to experience places.

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Old 22-10-12, 10:31 AM
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Update!

We finally got together again yesterday to plan the trip a bit more.

One day was added, so we're leaving on Friday now instead of Saturday, Khaudum was dropped, and we're considering 1 or 2 days extra if it brings some more rest to our holiday.

When travelling back to Namibia we want to relax a bit more, visit a Guest Farm (2 nights), spend some time at and around Swakopmund (3 nights) and end in a nice lodge close to Windhoek.

Is this more relaxed as you guys suggested?
If you would be able to add 1/2 more days, where would you add them?
What Guest Farms would you suggest?
Any other suggestions?


This is the new route :

09/08/2013: From Belgium to Frankfurt (20:10) and off to Namibia
10/08/2013: Arrive in the morning in Namibia (6:30), get campers, shop, ..., sleep at Kalahari Bush Breaks
11/08/2013: Cross the Botswana border, travel to Maun. Discover Maun, do a scenic flight, shop, ...
12/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Third Bridge
13/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Xakanaxa
14/08/2013: Game Drive (and maybe a mokoro trip), spend the night at Xakanaxa
15/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Savute
16/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Ihaha
17/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Ihaha
18/08/2013: Game Drive and travel to Chobe Safari Lodge, do a Boat Cruise at night
19/08/2013: A day to Vic Falls, spend another night at Chobe Safari Lodge
20/08/2013: Travel to and discover East Caprivi
21/08/2013: Travel to and discover West Caprivi
22/08/2013: Travel towards the Guest Farm, this will depend mainly on which GF we will choose
23/08/2013: Travel to the Guest Farm, do an activity there in the afternoon
24/08/2013: Activities and another night at the Guest Farm
25/08/2013: To Swakopmund
26/08/2013: Discover the area around Swakopmund or have a relaxed day
27/08/2013: A sporty day at Swakopmund (quads, sandboarding, parachute, ...)
28/08/2013: Travel to Sesriem to visit the dunes in the morning
29/08/2013: A nice luxurious lodge around Windhoek to have a last relax evening and night
30/08/2013: Leave Namibia in the evening (21:15)
31/08/2013: Arrive in Frankfurt in the morning (6:10) and travel back to Belgium
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Old 22-10-12, 10:39 AM
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What are your plans for the Caprivi? Where can we assist?

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Old 22-10-12, 10:46 AM
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No plans yet for the Caprivi, we have to dig into that. The part after Kasane was a bit too fast in our previous planning, so we tried to make it more relax.

And one of my friends suggested to visit a Guest Farm in Namibia, so basically we now put 3 nights between Kasane and that Guest Farm, leaving us enough time (I think) to discover the Caprivi and get to the farm.


Last time I got a lot of reactions telling that we were going too fast, so I'm very curious what you guys think now?

Also, we can still at add 1/2 more days to the holiday, so I'm curious where you would add them?

And what Guest Farms would you recommend (somewhere between Caprivi and Swakopmund)? Maybe even one where you can visit some Himba (or other) village?

And off course any other suggestions you feel you want to share with me after reading my post
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Old 22-10-12, 10:59 AM
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For Caprivi I would suggest one of the lodges in the eastern area coming from Kasane. Do a sunset cruise or something like that.

Leave early the next day for the western part where you select from those lodges in the area. Do a game drive through Mudumu or the other parts, depending where you'd stay. Not as many animals as Chobe, but beautiful nonetheless.

Don't know any game farms, but Himbas are too far away. Look at Grootfontein, Tsumeb, Otavi or Otjiwarongo area. It will be a long drive from the Caprivi. Alternatively you can stop over near Divundu (Ngepi or other) and continue from there.

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Old 23-10-12, 09:34 AM
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All of a sudden it really looks like a wonderful itinerary! You could still sleep a night at Spitzkoppe on 23/08. It's close enough to Swakopmund and you could climb the Spitzkoppe and have a view of the surroundings as an afternoon activity.
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Old 23-10-12, 12:20 PM
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Good to hear that I'm getting more approval now

We're thinking about doing a guest farm between Caprivi and Swakopmund. We read good things about it, it's something else then the standard game driving, you can do some hikes there, ... In short, something different
Is that a good idea, something you guys would recommend? And if so, are there any guest farms that you would recommend in that wide area?

EDIT: Let me open that question up a little bit. It doesnt have to be a guest farm, a lodge is fine too. We just want more options then just game driving (hiking, a nice tour, a visit to a local village, ..) and we wouldn't mind a beautiful pool either

Last edited by codemann; 23-10-12 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 23-10-12, 01:15 PM
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Yeah, I think it's a good idea. I always like a night of R&R in-between. Soak in a pool, have a cold beer, not having to cook, not having to worry. Only place I know along the way you're travelling is Roy's Rest Camp (see some earlier comments; http://roysrestcamp.com) but it's a bit near the Caprivi. You could spend a night there and a night between it and Swakopmund (ok, I won't mention Spitzkoppe again )

Another wonderful place is Koiimasis: http://www.namibia-farm-lodge.com. You'd have to completely change your itinerary, so I won't recommend it now but keep it in mind for another time. Secluded, at the edge of the mountains and the desert, it's got a charm of its own. One of the best stops I had in two trips to Namibia.
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  #29  
Old 23-10-12, 06:03 PM
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Hello,

10/08/2013: Arrive in the morning in Namibia (6:30), get campers, shop, ..., sleep at Kalahari Bush Breaks
You can also do your shopping in Gobabis, you will maybe save time avoiding Windhoek? I'd prefere Zelda Guest Fram rather than Kalahari Bush Break.
No time to enjoy anything this day.

11/08/2013: Cross the Botswana border, travel to Maun. Discover Maun, do a scenic flight, shop, ...There is not much to discover in Maun town! Hopefully you will be on time for a scenic flight. I'm not so sure.
Maybe a 2nd day with nothing to enjoy.

12/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Third Bridge
13/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Xakanaxa
14/08/2013: Game Drive (and maybe a mokoro trip), spend the night at Xakanaxa
15/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Savute
16/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Ihaha
17/08/2013: Game Drive, spend the night at Ihaha
18/08/2013: Game Drive and travel to Chobe Safari Lodge, do a Boat Cruise at night
19/08/2013: A day to Vic Falls, spend another night at Chobe Safari Lodge

OK. In my opinion one night in Ihaha would be enough. There aren't many possibilities of game drive around.

20/08/2013: Travel to and discover East Caprivi
Say "hi" to Curt on my behalf!

21/08/2013: Travel to and discover West Caprivi
I think you should spend a bit of time in Nkasa Lupala NP (ex- Mamili) and/or in the Susuwe triangle.

22/08/2013: Travel towards the Guest Farm, this will depend mainly on which GF we will choose
23/08/2013: Travel to the Guest Farm, do an activity there in the afternoon
24/08/2013: Activities and another night at the Guest Farm
25/08/2013: To Swakopmund

Depends on which Game Farm... What kind of activities do you intend to do? I don't really understand. Caprivi to Swakopmund is a long road anyway. And you will miss the Damaraland.

26/08/2013: Discover the area around Swakopmund or have a relaxed day
27/08/2013: A sporty day at Swakopmund (quads, sandboarding, parachute, ...)
2 nights in Swakopmund, OK. 3 nights is maybe one too much seing the previous days.

28/08/2013: Travel to Sesriem to visit the dunes in the morning
29/08/2013: A nice luxurious lodge around Windhoek to have a last relax evening and night

Sesriem in the morning and the road to Windhoek the same day? Again, it's short, short, short...

Hoping I've helped a bit...
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  #30  
Old 23-10-12, 07:28 PM
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Stay at Caprivi House Boats. At least one night.

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  #31  
Old 23-10-12, 08:26 PM
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If you are looking for somewhere to overnight near Grootfontein you can't do better than Roy's Camp. You can arrange a trip to the Bushman village from there as well. Don't miss the meteorite at Hoba as well, A short detour gets you there.

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  #32  
Old 24-10-12, 01:04 PM
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We just returned from 10 days camping in Namibia - Roy's is still great option. Also camped at Waterberg Plateau Campsite. 12 campsites with clean ablutions & lots of hot water - each campsite is allocated its own toilet/shower area. They also have 2 lodge options and offer game drives & nature walks. Very nice venue - much better than NWR down the road.
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  #33  
Old 24-10-12, 04:43 PM
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Ditto on Roys. If you want somewhere really special in Windhoek at the end - Hotel Heinitzburg

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Old 27-10-12, 06:09 AM
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We spent 3 nights at Nhoma camp in 2009 which is next to a Bushman village and had a great cultural experience. Our host, Arno, also led us into Kaudom for a day. After weeks in Namibia doing commercial safari, we found Kaudom refreshing. Not much other wildlife than elephants, but for Namibia that was an amazing experience. It inspired us to do Botswana in 2011. After Bots, however, I think maybe Kaudom would be less exciting. But a great place to have to yourself!
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  #35  
Old 29-10-12, 09:10 PM
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We're adding an extra day at the beginning to make it less busy and enjoy our trip properly. And we're probably changing 1 night in Savute and 2 nights in Ihaha to 2 nights in Savute and 1 night in Ihaha.

Someone also suggested to add one night in Magotho. It sounds like a very basic but beautiful place to say, but I'm starting to become worried if we can do all this with one diesel tank of 140L (Toyota Hilux 2.5L Diesel):
- 1 night @ Third Bridge
- 2 nights @ Xakanaxa
- 1 night @ Magotho
- 2 nights @ Savute
- 1 night @ Ihaha

I could use the experience of you guys... How do you "calculate" your fuel consumption because you basicly have no idea how much game driving you'll do?
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