Self Drive Botswana in a Safari Camper - Part 3
On the first day, I came around a bend to find a herd of elephants in the road, gradually moving along munching at the roadside trees.
Before I knew it more emerged from the bush and they were all around me.
Let me tell you, when you’re surrounded by a herd of elephants and one turns directly towards you and from about 5 metres away throws his head back, raises his trunk, and blasts his trumpeting noise, oh wow that’s terrifying! I thought he would charge, but he went back to eating and I went back to snapping photos.
Self Drive Victoria Falls
Having your own wheels gives you the chance to be as adventurous as you like. You could fly into Namibia and rent a car for a week, and have an amazing mini-adventure.
Or you could go for months. I drove from Cape Town through Namibia, then to Zimbabwe for Victoria Falls, Zambia and a sunset dinner cruise on the Zambezi, before heading back into Botswana.
Vic Falls is stunning, but allow extra time for the border crossing and be very sure not to speed inside Zimbabwe. Watch out for police patrols especially along the road to the border.
Self Drive Botswana
Botswana has a lot to offer and has a very different feel to Namibia. The main roads are good tarmac, but be alert for wildlife and do not drive at night.
At night, the wildlife comes out to sleep on the warm tarmac. There are no street lights out there, and when I say ‘wildlife’ I’m not talking about rabbits. I passed dozens of burnt out wrecks where cars had been destroyed after hitting something big.
In Botswana, you can also get really close to the wildlife. Sometimes it feels a little too close!
You can also take to the air or the water, as I did, to experience the Okavango Delta. Self drive Botswana and you can join together your preferred choices out of all the most fantastic experiences in the area without being limited to a packaged offering.
After Botswana I visited Swaziland (surprisingly green and full of trees), Rorke’s Drift and Zululand, the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, and the stunning south coast back to Cape Town, with a quick visit to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa.
Every part of it was a delight but one of the real highlights was driving the incredible Sani Pass up into Lesotho and the highest pub in Africa.
The Sani Pass is breathtaking, driving it yourself is one of the most exciting things you will ever do in Africa, and the experience of spending a night at the top is unforgettable.
It’s wild and windswept at the top, but Sani Mountain Lodge is the highest pub in Africa, offers great food and a brilliant atmosphere, and you can spend the night in a traditional round hut with a roaring coal fire to keep you warm through the night while you listen to the howling wind.
I’ve travelled to 106 countries and ridden a motorcycle around the world, but driving a 4×4 through Southern Africa is one of the greatest adventures you could have, and to self drive Namibia is the ultimate.
The people are welcoming, the food is great, the scenery stunning, the wildlife unmatched, it’s cheap, and there is huge variety. Driving yourself is easier to arrange than you might think, and you will encounter dozens of others travelling in similar vehicles.
You only need to be as adventurous as your experience and bravery wants, and you can choose where to go and when to leave. With a safari camper you can be completely self-sufficient and not only avoid the need for expensive hotels but also have the chance to sleep under the stars.
Navigation is relatively simple because there’s generally only one road or trail to choose. The border crossings are not too stressful because they see so many 4×4 camping adventurers and the rental agencies supply the paperwork.
There is nothing that can beat the feeling of freedom, excitement, satisfaction and adventure that you will get as you brave the Skeleton Coast, cross the Namib Desert, drive between elephants and climb the Sani Pass, relying only on your own resourcefulness and spirit.
In future articles we’ll give you fully detailed guides for planning your own Africa Self Drive Safari, through Namibia, Botswana, to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, and South Africa.
We’ll cover all of this and more so bookmark To See the World, follow us on Twitter, and don’t miss out.
- Renting a Safari Camper in Africa
- Route plans and itineraries for self drive Namibia
- Route plans and itineraries for self drive Botswana
- GPS navigation and route planning for Africa self drive safari
- Etosha National Park self drive safari
- Guide to crossing borders overland in Africa
- Southern Africa overland routes
- Entering Zimbabwe with a self drive safari camper
- Namibia national park campsites
- Victoria Falls visitor guide
- Victoria Falls and Zambezi river sunset dinner cruise
- Driving Sani Pass in Lesotho
- Guide to Sani Pass
- The Highest Pub in Africa