Wonders of Caprivi Safari: Eight Game Reserves in Two Weeks

A 14 day trip to Namibia 
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Off the beaten track and brimming with highlights, this unique journey takes you across Namibia to the majestic Victoria Falls. Eight unique national parks and game reserves are included, each unveiling the captivating beauty and dramatic wildlife of the country. You won't see other tourists and it's a truly regal experience. Rugged, wild, and bursting with inimitability, this itinerary symbolizes the very best of Southern Africa.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Central Highlands, Okonjima Reserve, Ongava Game Reserve, Etosha National Park, Popa Falls and Mahangu Game Park, Bwabwata National Park, Caprivi Strip, Nkasa Rupara National Park, Mudumu National Park, Victoria Falls, Livingstone

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Days 1 – 2: Leopards and Cheetahs in the Central Highlights

There's nothing like arriving in a country and having your preconceptions shattered. All the advice reminds you to be patient on safari, and not think that all of Africa resembles a scene from the Lion King. Yet within three hours of touching down you’re face to face with a leopard. Just north of Windhoek, Okonjima Reserve proves that the dreamy version of Africa actually exists. Take a moment to admire the exquisite fur, follow the lucid eyes as they search for a meal, and watch in silence as the leopard drops into the grass and starts a hunt. And you've only just arrived! Cheetahs are Okonjima's other forte, a rehabilitation center revealing how to reintroduce sick cats into the wild.

Drop to sleep with nature's soundtrack perforating through the windows, suggestive calls indicating the life that wanders beneath moonlight. Then wake and find the culprits, the nearby waterhole teeming with life as the sun bursts onto the horizon. After a long flight and yesterday's excitement, you may still need some hours to settle into Namibia's laid-back rhythm. Day two is gentle and relaxed; a couple of easy game drives delivering shocks of wildlife drama, and the safari experience surrounding your opulent lodge. So sit back and watch a new four legged world coast by, your unique journey only just beginning.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives

Day 3: Walking with White Rhinos in Ongava Game Reserve

Anticipation mingles with trepidation as you lace up the boots and step out into Ongava, a hundred thoughts racing thought your mind. Let's start with some facts. The average male white rhino weighs a couple of tons and 60 centimeter horns dominate their snout. The first few steps are going to be a little tentative; after all, tracking white rhinos on foot isn't your everyday activity. It's only possible in a few places on the planet. Skilled guides pick up on clues, analyzing their behavior and leading the path towards these majestic beasts. Stay quiet, don't use the flash, and obey the guide's instructions. It's very safe, as long as you respect the fact that this is their environment. 

From a distance the size impresses, enormous hulks of gray grazing on the short grass. Stay downwind and approach from the front; no rhino likes something sneaking up on them. If the rhinos accept your presence it's time to creep closer, but if they indicate irritation then it's time to withdraw. Most visitors reach a dazzling proximity; emotion can be read on tiny eyes, horns admirable and glinting with color, three toes made out on each stumped foot. Rhinos aren't the only highlight here, although it's hard to really appreciate the ungulates when one of nature's most endangered has captivated your heart.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives

Days 4 – 5: Spectacular Big Game Safari in Etosha National Park

Etosha reminds you that safari is always unpredictable, its sparkling assortment of characters reaching into all corners of the park. Game drives weave between herds, every corner offering a different species to learn and admire. Marvel at red hartebeest as they elegantly gambol across the plains, stand beside elephants as they tear holes in the forest, and gaze across the vast salt pan, picking out herds that contrast the whiteness. Lions are among them, prides crossing the ivory landscape and bullying anything near the waterhole. Track their journey, watching the impalas' panicked escape and the zebra herd that raises the alarm just in time. Keep following their paw prints, and then wait in silence as the lionesses decide that here is where they'll start a hunt.

Early mornings and late afternoons are when Etosha is most active, predatory instincts to the fore and a battle for survival raging around the waterholes. Despite the drama there's a serenity to safari here, the shimmering salt pans providing a soothing backdrop to every game drive. They reflect the sun, a floating mirage blurring the silhouettes of distant giraffe. Drive away from the pan and into the woodlands, each tight turn bringing new delights and an aching proximity to Etosha's wildlife. Over 100 different mammals can be discovered here and two days of safari should teach you some spotter's instincts; kudu, gemsbok, springbok, caracal, bat-eared fox, spotted hyena...it won't be long before you're picking up the clues and shouting out the sightings from the Land Rover.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives

Day 6: Riverside Beauty in Rundu

After five days of seemingly nonstop safari, today is the longest journey on the itinerary. You're heading east, crossing into Namibia's pan handle and familiarizing yourself with the waterways that run along the Caprivi. This part of the world is dominated by rivers, the permanent water putting the Caprivi on the route of nomadic wanderers. Elephants and zebra are the main beneficiaries, although the resident hippo pods don't give up their wading space without a loud grunt and boisterous display of power. Your overnight stop is in Rundu, idyllically situated along the river and offering the equanimity you'll come to expect of the region. Sit back, watch the wind ripple through the reeds and the sun gently bounce off a hippo's snout...soothing isn't it?

What’s included: transfer, accommodation

Day 7: Lost in the Delights of Popa Falls and Mahangu Game Reserve

Some may have heard of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, a famed haven for migratory herds. Well you're traveling along the Okavango River, following its descent from Angola. On one side is Namibia, across the water is Botswana, and in front of you is fifteen hippos wading around. They're the beasts of Mahangu, the alpha mammals that patrol the water; although,the Nile crocodiles would probably have something to say about that. While the hippos bump and barge their way into the water, the prehistoric predators lie in wait, snapping up unsuspecting antelopes who dare to cross.

Popa Falls and Mahangu are two different attractions, both along the Okavango River. First head out to the photogenic rocks and gushing water of Popa, the waterfall a perfect place for a lunchtime picnic. Then slowly roam the game reserve, identifying the unusual and charming. Lechwe, tsessebe, Roan antelope, oribi, sitatunga; Mahangu has an abundance of characters you probably won't have encountered yet on this trip. Tracking your progress and throwing their weight around, the hippos offer a constant reminder of whose home you're exploring. Pugilistic males jostle for position in the pod, youngsters offer the cuteness that make these creatures such a household favorite, and a hippo charging into the water is one of nature's most inspiring sights.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives

Day 8: Elephants and Hippos in Bwabwata National Park

Now the Okavango swings and plunges into Botswana. Just up ahead is another of Africa's great hippo infested rivers, the Kwando. Bwabwatu National Park sits between these picturesque waterways, a lush landscape in a region of arid dustiness. Down this channel come the elephants, moving back and forth between Angola and Botswana, always stopping in Namibia to smash down a few more trees. Cruise down the river and marvel at them splashing in the shallows, and then drive alongside the adorable babies that plod along, massive trunks far too long for their bodies. The surrounding region contains the world's largest wild elephant population, over 100,000 that also happen to be the world's biggest elephant subspecies. So don't expect to photograph a handful or a few dozen. Expect to see so many pachyderms that the novelty almost - but doesn't - wear off.

Elephants are known for their intelligence and perhaps that's why so many other species follow their footsteps. African buffalo aren't far behind, another of the Big Five to be found in Bwabwata. Sable antelope share tracks with the zebra, while wildebeest try avoiding their constant nemesis – lions. A combination of game drives and small boat cruises fill these two days. One is bumpy and rugged, sandy trails meandering across savannah and woodland. The other brings serenity and enchantment, the gentle pace indicative of the graceful mammals that drink along the shore. Bwabwata covers a large area, from Mahangu reserve in the west to the Kwando River in the east. Two days ensure your safari adventure can go at an idyllic pace.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives, safari cruises

Days 9 – 10: An Animal Party at Nkasa Rupara and Mudumu National Parks

Out on the marshes an animal party is taking place. Hippos wade beside migrating elephants, gemsbok and Roan antelope graze in the distance, and the dozing lions seem to be opting for a fashionably late arrival. Nkasa Rupara is Namibia's wettest and most fertile national park, the extensive marshlands and floodplains providing a wholesome meal for the masses. Joining the party is the small and enchanting, like puku or red lechwe. Even the buffalo are joining in, although they stick together like schoolgirls at their first school dance. Providing the insatiable soundtrack are some of Africa's rarest birds, an assortment of colorful wings flickering above the river channels: wattled crane, fishing-owl, yellow-billed oxpecker, and the antics of a black coucal. Keeping everything in check is a roaming assortment of predators, African wild dog among the party crashers that scatter wildlife for miles. In Nkasa Rupara you often don't need a game drive. Just stop beside a wetland area and spend a few hours enjoying the view. 

Nkasa Rupara and Mudumu are jigsaw pieces in Africa's largest wildlife area: The Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. Everything is completely unfenced, the gushing rivers providing natural boundaries, as well as stunning boat safaris. Yet Mudumu couldn't be any more different from adjacent Nkasa Rupara. Suddenly it's dry again, the shrub savannah poking out from gray plains. After the animal party you're now witnessing the battle for survival, each species scavenging and searching. Leopards wait on low tree branches, meerkats rise to attention, eland run from the sprinting cheetah, and giraffe tower above it all. During wet season, Mudumu briefly floods, bringing liquid goodness and swampy trails that make for exhilarating drives. For the other nine months it's a telling reminder of the authenticity of Namibia's national parks.

What’s Included: accommodation, game drives, safari cruises

Days 11 – 13: Serene Adventure at Victoria Falls

After running the length of the Caprivi you leave Namibia behind, crossing into Zambia and following the trail of another river; the mighty Zambezi. Elephants still dot the main road, occasionally crossing over with little regard for the highway code. But even they wouldn't dare cross the Zambezi, especially as the water hurtles down towards the abyss. You can hear it before you see it, the cacophonous soundtrack omnipresent. Volume intensifies and mythical clouds become real, each mile bringing you closer to the Victoria Falls. Let's use its local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the “smoke that thunders” to give its literal translation. That evocative rumbling sound comes from behind the mist, from a gaping valley that cuts a scar across the landscape. Waterfalls may be higher or wider, but none are more powerful than Victoria Falls. 1000 tons of water drop over the edge every single second! That doesn't sound comprehensible on paper, and is even more unfathomable from up close.

On day 12 you experience the power from eye level, crossing Knife-edge Bridge and getting soaked by the torrential downpour of mist. Bridges connect orphaned cliffs, running parallel to the falls and offering a dozen different viewpoints. For the iconic Victoria Falls vista you need to be in the sky, following the river with your eye and admiring the cataclysmic canyon it plunges into. Ride a helicopter above the falls and capture jaw dropping panoramas of this natural wonder, the peaceful juxtaposition of colors obliterated by Mosi-oa-Tunya. The thunderous soundtrack even reaches your lodge along the Zambezi, another indelible lullaby to keep you company at night. Despite the adventure, Victoria Falls is a tranquil destination, running at a sedate pace that's perfect for the end of a vacation.

Whats Included: accommodation, helicopter tour

Day 14: Depart For Home

Today you depart for home with lasting memories of your safari to Namibia. If you want to add on to your trip, read the Namibia safari tour reviews for ideas and traveler reviews.

Price

Starting Price 

$6,295
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.