Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020





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  1. #1
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    Default Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Hi.


    My partner and I are from Australia and first time 4x4 drivers going to Namibia,Botswana and maybe Zimbabwe. (We did Kruger 2 years ago in 2WD, hence the inspiration).


    We arrive to Windhoek on 18th May 2020 and leave from there on 26th June 2020. (40 days) Our 4x4 rental is a Toyota Land Cruiser 79, 180ltr diesel (crucam), hired from Bushlore. (already booked)


    We have an itinerary below that we wish to loosely follow, but have not yet booked anything and would much prefer not to. One of our main criteria when travelling is to never book ahead, as that allows us flexibility to adapt as we go, this has always worked best for us. But I am seeing this may be a problem, especially for Botswana and any parks, and wanted some advice on taking our normal approach (or against it). I would really hate to have to lock ourselves into camp/park bookings, but maybe we just have to do it and if so I will start that process.


    First issue - does our itinerary look hugely overloaded? The truth is we like to be lazy and hang about at places and then drop others if necessary, but in order to fit everything in that we liked the look of we have had to shove it all in to the 40 days and the below is my best attempt at that. (Culling anything on good advise is not a problem at this stage.)


    Secondly - any advise, or thoughts, or adaptations to the below itinerary would really help us make decisions about our planned trip. (Also we have yet to fully consider fuel, water and supply stops along the way, nor checked about Vet Fences yet.)


    OUR IDEAL TRAVEL CRITERIA:


    1. not booking anything, so that we can make choices as we go
    2. stopping in places for a few days when we find a place we like (impossible to predict until there).
    3. not driving long distances the whole time (2-3 hours is good, 6-7 sucks)
    4. preferring more animals in very quiet bush camps, and less people in noisy ones.


    OUR CURRENT (MOSTLY UNBOOKED) ITINERARY:


    (day number - poss date - route or camp)


    1 - 18th May 2020 - Winhoek Gardens Boutique (already booked)
    2 - 19th May - Urban Camp Windhoek (already booked)
    3 - 20th May - Swakopmund Tiger Reef camp
    4 - 21st May - Ugab Rhino Camp
    5 - 22nd May - Route: Doros Crater 4WD to Twyfelfontein to Damara living Museum
    5 - 22nd May - Fonteine Community Rest Camp
    6 - 23rd May - Hobatere Oasis Camp (Etosha Gate)
    7 - 24th May - (Might attempt to book into Etosha to camp if available and switch schedule)
    7 - 24th May - Epupa Falls Camp
    8 - 25th May - Route: from Epupa to Ruacana following 4WD along border
    8 - 25th May - Sachsenheim Guest Farm Camping
    9 - 26th May - Etosha NP (Okaukuejo if poss or outside a Gate if not)
    10 - 27th May - Etosha NP (Okaukuejo or outside South Gate)
    11 - 28th May - Etosha NP (Okaukuejo or outside South Gate)
    12 - 29th May - Ju/'Hoansi-San Living Museum Campsite
    13 - 30th May - Border crossing at Dobe from Nam to Bots
    13 - 30th May - Aha Hills camp (after border)
    14 - 31st May - Maun Sedia Riverside Camp (1/2 nights)
    15 - 1st June - resupply and sort Moremi park bookings if we can get them
    15 - 1st June - Maun Sedia Riverside Camp (2/2 nights)
    16 - 2nd June - 1/4 nights in Moremi NP
    17 - 3rd June - 2/4 nights in Moremi NP
    18 - 4th June - 3/4 nights in Moremi NP
    19 - 5th June - 4/4 nights in Moremi NP
    19 - 5th June - no idea what we do for fuel at this point (extra jerry cans?)
    20 - 6th June - Camp Savuti
    21 - 7th June - Ihaha Camp site
    22 - 8th June - Senyati Camp (1/2 nights)
    23 - 9th June - resupply day in Kasane
    23 - 9th June - Senyati Camp (2/2 nights)
    24 - 10th June - border crossing Bots to Zim
    24 - 10th June - Shearwater Explorers Village Camp (1/2 nights)
    25 - 11th June - Victoria Falls visit
    25 - 11th June - Shearwater Explorers Village Camp (2/2 nights)
    26 - 12th June - Robins Camp (Hwange NP)
    27 - 13th June - 2/4 nights at an Hwange NP camp
    28 - 14th June - 3/4 nights at an Hwange camp
    29 - 15th June - 4/4 nights at an Hwange camp
    30 - 16th June - Border crossing Zim to Bots (Pandamatenda border)
    30 - 16th June - Camp at Nata
    31 - 17th June - resupply in Nata
    31 - 17th June - Baines Baobabs camp
    32 - 18th June - Matswere Gate Rest Camp (or into CKGR if we can get a spot and have time that day)
    33 - 19th June - 1/4 CKGR Passarge/Piper ideally?
    34 - 20th June - 2/4 CKGR Passarge/Piper ideally?
    35 - 21st June - 3/4 CKGR Passarge/Piper ideally?
    36 - 22nd June - 4/4 CKGR Passarge/Piper ideally?
    37 (spare day I'd usually leave blank for unexpected issues when trying to get back on time)
    38 - 24th June - Ghanzi Tautona lodge or Thakadu camp (exiting CKGR from Tsau gate)
    39 - 25th June - Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel (already booked)
    40 - 26th June - return rental, and on to WHD airport for flight at 4pm

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Since no one has replied I will break my rule of never commenting south of the Zambezi...

    The only thing I will strongly advise is that it is essential to book campsites in Botswanan parks and reserves.

    It is more than likely that you are already too late to secure bookings in Chobe and Moremi for June 2020.

    Hopefully, the South Africans and/or Botswanans on this forum will assist with your other questions.

    Safari njema!

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Wazungu Wawili View Post
    Since no one has replied I will break my rule of never commenting south of the Zambezi...

    The only thing I will strongly advise is that it is essential to book campsites in Botswanan parks and reserves.

    It is more than likely that you are already too late to secure bookings in Chobe and Moremi for June 2020.

    Hopefully, the South Africans and/or Botswanans on this forum will assist with your other questions.

    Safari njema!

    Thanks for replying. Yes was a bit of a ghost town round here I thought it must have been something I said.

    Anyway, in the end I took it to Bushlore.com who we are hiring our vehicle with, so they are now looking into camps for us. And yes, they have come back to say Botwsana parks are fully booked already. Even so, they are looking at alternatives as I write this but I do not know what that means.

    But clearly it is necessary to book at least 12 months in advance to get a spot, and god knows where we will end up.

    What do you do if everywhere is full? I mean we have to camp somewhere in our 4x4 and roof top tent. Do you just drive off the road and hide behind a bush and hope not to get robbed? Seems kind of nuts. Not sure what we should be doing at this point if Bushlore come back and say they can't get us any camp-spot at any park in Botswana.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    We are travelling from New Zealand around the same time as you and used a booking agency called NDM to secure bookings to the Botswana parks. It is not unusual for the campsites within the national parks like CKGR to be booked a year in advance but you could ask NDM what camps are available for your dates within the parks you are interested in. Their email is [email protected]. Good luck

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by mdkb View Post
    Thanks for replying. Yes was a bit of a ghost town round here I thought it must have been something I said.

    Anyway, in the end I took it to Bushlore.com who we are hiring our vehicle with, so they are now looking into camps for us. And yes, they have come back to say Botwsana parks are fully booked already. Even so, they are looking at alternatives as I write this but I do not know what that means.

    But clearly it is necessary to book at least 12 months in advance to get a spot, and god knows where we will end up.

    What do you do if everywhere is full? I mean we have to camp somewhere in our 4x4 and roof top tent. Do you just drive off the road and hide behind a bush and hope not to get robbed? Seems kind of nuts. Not sure what we should be doing at this point if Bushlore come back and say they can't get us any camp-spot at any park in Botswana.
    It is absolutely not allowed to camp “behind a bush” in any national park. If you cannot get campsite reservations in any of the Botswanan national parks or reserves, you will have to change your route plan and visit another country. Have you thought about visiting Zambia?

    There is masses of information on this forum about all the countries you had intended on visiting. There are also recommendations of agencies to contact with regard to booking campsites in Botswana and Namibia.

    PS: you will also need to book campsites in Namibia (particularly Etosha) for June. It is the high season for tourists.

    Good luck!

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by paparata View Post
    We are travelling from New Zealand around the same time as you and used a booking agency called NDM to secure bookings to the Botswana parks. It is not unusual for the campsites within the national parks like CKGR to be booked a year in advance but you could ask NDM what camps are available for your dates within the parks you are interested in. Their email is [email protected]. Good luck
    thanks, will follow that up if bushlore fail to get us sorted with something.

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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Okay, the conclusion is that you left it too late for the bookings in Botswana. One year in advance is the cut-off time to get any chance to book what you intend to.

    However, it is not the final turn down as there are alternatives outside the parks and you can drive in or through for game viewing.
    It would need a bit of research to compile a proper route plan but here a first attempt.

    Maun to Kazikiini community cam close to Moremi South Gate.
    Trip into the park on daily base
    Then move over (you can do a day visit into Moremi and exit at North Gate, proceed to Kwhai community camp along the Kwhai river.
    Alternatives, Dijara / Tshaa or Dizhaana camps.
    Heading North you could think of Thobolo Lodge North of Ghoha gate after passing through Savuti, then Head to Muchenje and cover the Chobe along the Waterfront in a day trip to Kasane.

    On the return leg Elephant sands is an option, then Nata Sanctuary, Planet Baobab to visit Makgadikgadi Pans and Chapmans Baobabs.
    Then head on and see what camp sites are still available to cross through CKGR, to exit at Tsau or Xade Gate indirection of Ghanzi.

    If you contact any of the Maun based tour booking agencies, they will be able to assist.

    This if you intend to stick to your original tour plan as close as possible, alternatively look into Western Zambia.

    There is lots of info on the relevant section of this forum.

    Good luck, and if you need more inputs or assistance don't hesitate to drop me a PM.
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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Any advice on Nam-Bots-Zim 40-day self-drive trip in May/June 2020

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalahari Safari View Post
    Okay, the conclusion is that you left it too late for the bookings in Botswana. One year in advance is the cut-off time to get any chance to book what you intend to.

    However, it is not the final turn down as there are alternatives outside the parks and you can drive in or through for game viewing.
    It would need a bit of research to compile a proper route plan but here a first attempt.

    Maun to Kazikiini community cam close to Moremi South Gate.
    Trip into the park on daily base
    Then move over (you can do a day visit into Moremi and exit at North Gate, proceed to Kwhai community camp along the Kwhai river.
    Alternatives, Dijara / Tshaa or Dizhaana camps.
    Heading North you could think of Thobolo Lodge North of Ghoha gate after passing through Savuti, then Head to Muchenje and cover the Chobe along the Waterfront in a day trip to Kasane.

    On the return leg Elephant sands is an option, then Nata Sanctuary, Planet Baobab to visit Makgadikgadi Pans and Chapmans Baobabs.
    Then head on and see what camp sites are still available to cross through CKGR, to exit at Tsau or Xade Gate indirection of Ghanzi.

    If you contact any of the Maun based tour booking agencies, they will be able to assist.

    This if you intend to stick to your original tour plan as close as possible, alternatively look into Western Zambia.

    There is lots of info on the relevant section of this forum.

    Good luck, and if you need more inputs or assistance don't hesitate to drop me a PM.
    Thankyou that is really supportive information. Its been pretty confusing to know how to approach it all given there is actually conflicting information and the most frustrating thing is seeing how many people who have done the trip in high season, then say they either see lots of campsites empty because of bad booking management, or overrun by squatters because they know how to take advantage.

    We are flexible at this point, and I will probably actually take this rough itinerary suggestion to bushlore and see what they think. I havent heard back from them but I know they are trying to book us into campsites as I write this. Or so they implied. I will definitely now look at Zambia as up until now I had no idea it was an option. But it would be a shame to miss out on Botswana since that was the whole point of us going. Unfortunately it was not obvious how bad it was, until we had already booked flights and deposit on a vehicle else I might have approached it differently had I known the shortage of camp site availability. Thanks for your insights all the same, it has helped tremendously.
    Last edited by mdkb; 2019/11/04 at 01:38 AM. Reason: grammar

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