Trip to Namibia, Botswana +/- Victoria Falls...tour or self drive?

kpc

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Some help and advice please. We booked 2 award seats on the A380 from Syd-Jnb rtn in August 2024 for 19 days ...see Qantas upgrades SYD-JNB to A380 service.
I thought we would visit Namibia and Bostwana as we haver never been here before and started looking up tours. Seems there are organised tours (camping vs lodges / hotels...however, we are too old for camping) and found a small group tour that suits our dates for 14 days below:
More detailed itinerary here: https://www.onthegotours.com/Namibia/Namibia-Botswana-and-Falls-14-days/trip-notes

It ends in Victoria Falls (Zim side) where we have been before but i guess we could go back...it will cost A$15K for the 2 of us, including all meals.

My more adventurous better 1/2 said we could self drive, but that makes me very nervous as we will be driving in places I have never been before and some recommend a 4x 4 which I don't drive. I read some of the posts below...

Anyway, I think we will go with a tour to save the stress of driving; is A$15K for 2 for 14 days a reasonable price? ...I have no idea...I emailed a few tour companies and have been bombarded with replies. Is the tour linked above missing any MUSTS? Some companies said they can design a private tour for us but I reckon that is going to cost a lot more $$$$. Thoughts and advice please.... :)
 
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My husband and I did a self drive tour 10 years ago in Namibia. A few touts trying to sell you things you don't really want but never felt unsafe. You definitely need a 4wd because a lot of the roads outside main towns are not paved and it just makes the trip more comfortable in a 4wd.
 
Mr LL and I are in the early planning stage of a trip to South Africa (Safari) in mid-Sept 2024 (unfortunately we will not be flying F on QF - the reward seats seem to be gone and we don't have sufficient QF points) so will need to go via SIN on SQ J.

We have been to Africa twice in the past (once to Kruger, Vic Falls and Botswana and the other to the Serengeti) - IMO $1000 per day for 2 persons is at the very low end of the non-camping tours - so don't expect luxury. (Our first quote from a TA was $68,000 for 9 days !!! when we told them this exceeded our budget they came back with different lodges for $50,000 for 9 days !!) - we know are there are better value options so we're still researching - there are 100's of lodges - so if anyone can recommend a TA which specialises in safaris (not group tours) we'd welcome your suggestions. (Sorry to take your post a bit OT)
 
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We have used africasafaricompany an Australian company. There is another company of a similar name but not in Aus. We have had 2 visits to Zimbabwe and Botswana with each costing around $1000 per day but all inclusive and very comfortable.
The more recent was 2 weeks ago. We are happy with the service they provide.
Each time we stayed 3 nights at 3 different lodges.
 
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We are looking at some thing, but 2025 (2024 got hacked by a river cruise)
Botswanabudgetsafaris.com have so far offered a decent mix of private lodges/concessions and per day rate.
Not a recommendation but an option perhaps?
 
We have used africasafaricompany an Australian company. There is another company of a similar name but not in Aus. We have had 2 visits to Zimbabwe and Botswana with each costing around $1000 per day but all inclusive and very comfortable.
The more recent was 2 weeks ago. We are happy with the service they provide.
Each time we stayed 3 nights at different lodges.
Just emailed them for suggestions and quotes. Thanks
 
We did a Namibia and Botswana self-drive in June 2019 and had no problems whatsoever. Those countries are really sparsely populated and we never felt unsafe, although we did taxi home at night in Windhoek rather than walk after advice from the hotel clerk. But other than Windhoek and Swakopmund we didn't stay in any larger towns. The roads were in good condition with the odd corrugated dirt stretch depending on how recent a grader had been through.

We did a mix of camping in NPs balanced with nice lodges every third night or so. The rental Hilux with the tent on top was fine, only got bogged once in Chobe NP. Most cars in Chobe were larger safari jeeps with higher clearance, was a bit dodgy because lions were around but the tour guide who snatched us out said the animals were well fed and not interested :cool:. Actually Chobe had such a huge concentration of animals it was a bit like a zoo, I think they were planning on doing an elephant cull.

Anyway I can't recommend having your own wheels enough. We enjoyed every minute of the 4000km or so we did from the red dunes of Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast, Etosha NP up to the Caprivi Strip, Chobe etc. it was really good bang for your buck. I wanted to drive down from Vic Falls through Hwange to Bulawayo but there were chronic fuel shortages in Zim at the time so we dumped the car in Kasane and bussed across the border. The vintage Rhodesian Railways sleeper train to Bulawayo turned out to be a highlight too.
 
I covered Namibia in the TR TR: Namibia, South Africa and Israel - A lengthy journey

In short, driving in Namibia is easy! Same side as the road as us. Unsealed roads are generally in decent condition. No need for a 4 wheel drive. We did it in a little hatch back. Namibia has the most friendly and genuinely warm people.

Just looking at hiring a vehicle for 6 or so day self drive around Namibia.. I've read several websites that say in some places you won't be able to even go in if you don't have a 4WD, but I am thinking of just renting an SUV..

From your experience will that be enough for most places to be able to see most of the good stuff?

Probably more of Windhoek down south and then back up through Swakopmund etc...
 
I didn't go to the south. Basically up to Etosha and then across the Swakopmund and back to Windhoek. All done in a this little car
1698553279401.png

Not sure what places the websites were referring to, so I can't comment on that. Also, keep in mind that distances between places can be quite far. If you're looking to do all that in 6 days, you might just be spending your holiday in the car.
 
20 years ago did Windhoek-Sossusvlei-Walvis Bay - Swakupmond-WIndhoek in a similar vehicle, no problems. A few corrugations on the road to Walvis Bay but nothing the car couldn’t handle. Although 20 years on …
 
+1 & I did a trip to Kruger in late 2016 and returned to S Africa, Namibia and Victoria Falls in Feb/Mar 2017. We hired cars in SA and a 4x4 in Namibia.

We managed to get a 4x4 at a reasonable price through Britz in Capetown. If you can hire a 4x4 at the right price, I'ld recommend taking it.

Here is a link to my trip report: Kruger and Southern Africa
 
Yeah a 4x4 would be tempting, but the SUVs seem such better value in terms of cost... But not great value if there is lots of places they won't let you go...

And I can only drive an automatic anyway, so that is straight away bumping up the prices for rental vehicles...
 
Corrugations?

On the roads pictured, very minimal. You could see for miles and the roads were really wide. Could easily cruise at 100km/h plus most the time. Way better than unsealed roads in Australia. Also, light traffic.

Now I might have got lucky with them having been recently graded....but if that's the case I got lucky on a lot of roads around the country.
 
On the roads pictured, very minimal. You could see for miles and the roads were really wide. Could easily cruise at 100km/h plus most the time. Way better than unsealed roads in Australia. Also, light traffic.
In fact, far better than many sealed roads in Australia.
 
I flew to Vic Falls from JNB. I used Velocity points on SA Airways.
My intention was to drive back through Zim. I cannot remember exactly why I did not, I think it was something to do with the situation in Zim.

I ended up getting a lift from Vic Falls to Kasane and then rented a car from there and drove around Botswana without issue. Then a cheap flight from Francistown back to JNB and picked up another rental. Found driving around both countries easy.

It seems dropping the car off in a different country from where you pick it up is a bit challenging.
 
Some help and advice please. We booked 2 award seats on the A380 from Syd-Jnb rtn in August 2024 for 19 days ...see Qantas upgrades SYD-JNB to A380 service.
I thought we would visit Namibia and Bostwana as we haver never been here before and started looking up tours. Seems there are organised tours (camping vs lodges / hotels...however, we are too old for camping) and found a small group tour that suits our dates for 14 days below:
Did you find anything that suits? I'm starting to research for next year
 
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