Zimbabwe & Botswana Self Drive
Highlights of Zimbabwe & Botswana Self Drive 16 days
This great value self-drive itinerary takes in the very best of Zimbabwe's and Botswana's game parks with superb opportunities for animal and bird encounters combined with spectacular landscapes. Travelling at your own pace, this is the perfect trip for independently-minded travellers.
- Spectacular wildlife
- Africa's Big Five
- Amazing landscapes
- Mighty Victoria Falls
- Independent travel
- 15 nights' accommodation
- Meals as shown in itinerary
- Game drives and excursions as shown in itinerary
- Car hire
- Return flights Maun-Moremi Crossing
ITINERARY15 Nights 16 Days
- Days 1-2 | Chobe River Front
- Days 3-4 | Victoria Falls
- Days 5-7 | Hwange National Park
- Days 8-9 | Matobo National Park
- Day 10 | Francistown
- Days 11-12 | Gweta
- Day 13 | Maun
- Days 14-15 | Okavango Delta
- Day 16 | Maun
Chobe River Front
Arrive at Kasane Airport and transfer to Chobe Safari Lodge for two nights on full board basis.
The Chobe Riverfront is an elephant mecca; home to the largest density of African elephants in the world. It will leave you feeling tiny as giant elephant bulls stroll up next to your vehicle or snorkel alongside your boat. It will make you feel lost as hundreds of hippos and buffaloes crowd you out on the floodplains. It will put your heart in your throat as prides of lions stalk antelopes by the water’s edge, and it will leave you alone with your thoughts while the classic red sunsets melt over the river to a soundtrack of whistling fish eagles.
Included here are two game drives, two boat cruises and park fees.
Pick up your rental vehicle and drive across the border into Zimbabwe and on to Victoria Falls where you will stay at the A'Zambezi River Lodge for two nights on a bed and breakfast basis.
There is lots to see and do in Victoria Falls. Viewing the Falls on foot is a must-do activity, but they can also be seen from helicopter rides. There are boat cruises and a host of adrenaline activities such as bungee, zip-wire and white-water rafting. It is also possible to visit the national park.
Hwange National Park
On day 5, drive to Hwange National Park, where you will stay at the Ivory Lodge for three nights on a full board basis.
If you have dreamt of an Africa with expansive plains and wide horizons, where elephant and buffalo traipse in huge numbers towards waterholes and giraffe browse from flat topped acacias while a blazing sun sets behind them… you can find it in Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest national park.The sight of hundreds, if not thousands of elephants and buffalos streaming towards you as you sit at a waterhole is indescribable. There is nothing like the sound of elephants' peaceful rumbling or the deep thundering of buffalo hooves on hard ground when they spook, wary of lions that may lie in wait.
Hwange’s diverse habitats mean that it offers large numbers of desert adapted, plains and woodland animals. The famed elephant population is one of the largest in the world and it has plentiful predator populations such as lion, leopard and cheetah. Hwange also boasts one of Africa’s last strongholds of endangered African wild dogs, as well as a variety of rare antelope such as eland, sable, roan and if you are lucky the desert-adapted oryx (gemsbok).
Optional activities include game drives and guided walking safaris.
Matobo National Park
On the morning of day 8, drive from Hwange to Matobo Hills (3-4 hours), where you will stay at Camp Amalinda for two nights on full board basis.
With balancing boulders, standing stones, massive monoliths and precariously perched pebbles; the granite formations of Matobo (also known as Matopos) hills are among the world’s most spectacular geology. Here one can marvel at ancient Khoi-San rock art and visit Malindidzimu ‘The Hill of spirits’ a sacred site to indigenous peoples and the grave of Cecil Rhodes; an important reminder of the country's colonial past.
Matobo National Park’s main attraction is its natural beauty and historical significance; however, wildlife can also be seen throughout the park. The park is said to have the highest density of leopards in the world, although they are hard to spot. Within the park is an "Intensive Protection Zone" where the best game viewing can be found, including a sizeable population of the highly endangered black and white rhinoceros, which are successfully breeding. The park also hosts numerous small species and magnificent birding, from the many rock dassies (hyrax) and colourful agama lizards that scramble across the rock faces.
Optional activities include rhino tracking, cave paintings and village tours, bush walks around the camp.
On the morning of day 10, drive on into Botswana to the Francistown area, where you will stay at the Tantebane Resort at Tsamaya, some 40 km east of the city.
This is a perfect stopover area, home to an abundance of birdlife and game, including giraffe, antelope and kudu. Here, you can relax and even play golf on the lush 9-hole course.
Drive on to Gweta for two nights at Planet Baobab on a full board basis. Activities on offer at Planet Baobab include guided walks and quad bike trips into the bush and the Pans with knowledgeable guides. Here you can discover the geological origins of what was once the world's largest ever super lake and you can follow the Palm Trail created by elephant droppings as these ancient creatures trekked across the arid waste when the super lake dried up.
On the morning of day 12, wake up early, before the sun rises and head off to the vast grasslands, past lonely baobab sentinels to the edge of Ntwetwe Saltpan. Along the way, your Guide will explain and search for the incredible adaptations of the species that are unique to the Kalahari Desert environment. As the day starts jump off your vehicle, stretch your legs and crunch your picnic breakfast. Get up close and personal with a resident gang of habituated Meerkats; see how these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals interact with each other and their environment. You also get the chance to view the desert through the eyes of a Meerkat - which, despite the fact that it's only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana.
Dry season vs wet season and related activities: Please note that the dry season in Botswana typically runs from May through October and the wet season from November through April. Changing weather conditions have resulted in unexpected rainfall throughout the year which makes some activities hazardous and detrimental to the sensitive ecology of the pans. In wet conditions the camp will automatically revert to the wet season itinerary. Activities are subject to change at the discretion of the camp manager.
Drive on to Maun to stay at the Thamalakane River Lodge on bed & breakfast basis.
This is a comfortable lodge with river views from both chalets and public areas. There are spectacular sunsets and some great birdwatching opportunities.
Leave your car at Maun and take a flight to Okavango Delta and transfer by boat to Moremi Crossing for two nights on a fully inclusive basis.
Moremi Crossing is located on an Island called Ntswi near the most southern part of Chief’s Island. As you fly over the Delta you can see the intricate twisting and turning of the waterways and the ever-changing colours where dry land meets Delta. The main area consists of a large open plan deck that has a spectacular view over the River onto the largest island in the Delta – Chief’s Island.
The area hosts a wide variety of animal and bird species. Moremi Crossing offers different activities in the form of mokoro trips, game and bird walks, sunset motorboat cruises and island camping. All these activities give the guests a chance to experience the Okavango Delta and its wildlife from a very different, slower and closer perspective. On Chief’s Island guests have the opportunity to get a closer view of animals, elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, red lechwe and less commonly lions, leopards and wild dogs have been spotted in the area.
After breakfast, transfer by boat to the Airport for your flight back to Maun and onward or return travel.
Your Itinerary Accommodation
Planet Baobab, Makgadikgadi Pans
Along the cracked and crop-less landscape on the road between Maun and Francistown you will find the intriguingly named Planet Baobab camp, the Baobab capital of the world where the average age of each tree is 4000 years.
At Planet Baobab you will find the largest and coolest pool in the Kalahari and the funkiest bar, a well known watering hole for travellers of every description and colourful characters from throughout Maun, plus a beautiful restaurant serving interesting and delicious dishes from all across Africa.
There are a number of accommodation options including traditionally styled Bakalanga or Baobab huts with en-suite showers, dome tents with fully made up stretcher beds or you can even pitch your own tent or park your own 4x4 in our shady campsite.
A stay at Planet Baobab is one full of fun, relaxation and adventure. You can spend your evenings round a camp fire or the communal blaze in the lelwapa enjoying a cool drink, and spend your days getting up close and personal with super-friendly habituated meerkats, touring the local village and learning about Batswana culture, visiting a local cattle post or visiting Nxai Xini Pan to seek out ancient stone tools and fossils.
You could quad bike across the Makgadikgadi Pans n the dry season, sleeping under the stars or take a 5 night quad bike expedition to the remote and mysterious Kubu Island.
During the wet season see can see the spectacular migration which is host to between 35-75000 zebra and wildebeest, Southern Africa’s last and little-known annual migration.
Botswana has the largest variety of mammals in Africa & the Kalahari is the desert with the greatest species diversity in the world.
Chobe Safari Lodge
Located in Kasane on the banks of the Chobe River this delightful camp which offers a variety of accommodation options is perfectly situated for the Chobe National Park and is within close proximity to 3 different airports making it one of the most accessible lodges in the area.
Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia meet right on the doorstep of Chobe Safari Lodge so it is an excellent getaway location for guests looking to explore all of the marvellous areas associated with these regions - including Chobe, Victoria Falls and Caprivi.
Accommodation at Chobe Safari Lodge is provided in 46 Luxury Safari Rooms, 22 Luxury River Rooms and 8 Rondavels.
The luxury Safari Rooms at Chobe Lodge offer the utmost in safari opulence, with air-conditioning, luxurious en-suite bathrooms, satellite TV, elegant furnishings including large comfortable beds and private patios with stunning views over the river.
The twin-bed River Rooms are just as luxurious, also boasting en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning and private patios. The River Room complex also has its own riverside garden where guests often take time to photograph the resident monkeys and mongoose.
The Rondavels - the original Chobe Safari Lodge accommodation - are located a very short walk to the main complex and offer traditional style accommodation for guests looking for a more authentic safari experience. These thatched units are all elegantly furnished and have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms.
There are also camping options available so your choice of accommodation is endless.
The main area of the complex offers a beautiful restaurant where delicious home-cooked meals are served daily, a stunning swimming pool for relaxing in the warm African sunshine, 2 bars including a wonderful cocktail bar overlooking Caprivi flood plains, a health and beauty salon and a curio & crafts shop.
The complex also has its own boats on which guests can enjoy wonderful dinner cruises. You can dine under the stars as the boat cruises on the Chobe River between the shores of Botswana and Namibia - offering the ideal way to unwind and enjoy the unique surroundings of Chobe by night.
Other activities on offer at Chobe Safari Lodge of course also include morning and afternoon game drives. Chobe National Park boasts the largest concentration of elephant in Africa, along with many other species of big game, and you can choose to witness this amazing spectacle via game drive, boat cruise or even on a scenic flight. Other activities available include sunset boat cruises, private boat hire, Victoria Falls day trips, fishing and Namibian village walks.
This newly constructed camp right on the border of the Moremi Game Reserve combines luxury with simplicity and is a 100% eco-friendly development.
Lying on a palm fringed island in the Okavango Delta the camp is surrounded by the Moremi's game-rich seasonal floodplains and overlooks the beautiful Chief's Island.
At this abundant oasis amid the vast plains and pans of the desert that covers most of Southern Africa you will find accommodation for 34 people in 16 luxurious en-suite tents which have been raised on decks to ensure spectacular views of Chief's Island. Each tent has its own eco-friendly shower heated by solar power, delightful furnishings and private veranda.
The main building consists of a large open plan deck that has a spectacular view over the Boro River on to Chief's Island. A large thatched roof houses the welcoming dining room, bar and lounge area. You will also find further small private lounge areas which have been created for guests to enjoy a private moment as they take in the beautiful surroundings. There is also a luxurious swimming pool for cooling off after a long day of wildlife viewing and a curio shop full of traditional mementos to remind you of your stay.
Due to the proximity to the Okavango Delta the Moremi Crossing Camp offers many water-based activities for guests to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities include Mokoro excursions where you will be transported through the bustling river life on traditional dug out canoes - with a picnic lunch for those who want to make a day of it - and motor-boat sunset cruises where you can explore the crystal clear channels of the Boro River with just the sounds of the nearby hippos for company. Other activities include bush walks where you can encounter large game in their natural habitat and island camping where you can spend the night on a wilderness island and get up close to Africa's nocturnal wildlife.
Ivory Lodge, Hwange
Ivory Lodge is set on its own 6000-acre conservancy bordering Hwange National Park which is the largest National Park in Zimbabwe. Ivory Lodge is built in the treetops of giant teak forests – diverse habitats attract a variety of wildlife and bird life.
This camp offers personal attention to a maximum of 20 guests in 7 standard treehouses, of which one is a family unit, and 2 tented suites. The elevated en-suite rooms are positioned with sweeping views of the waterhole that is floodlit by night. The central dining area, bar and library are set around the deep blue pool - a welcome haven from the scorching midday heat. Bush cuisine offers campfire barbeques under a massive blanket of stars.
Ivory Lodge also has a hide next to a waterhole where a heightened wildlife experience is within a stone’s throw away. Activities on offer are walking and game drives in both the concession and Game Park. Night drives in the concession can also be arranged on request.
Camp Amalinda, Matobo
Camp Amalinda is situated just outside Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe and is nestled in the granite domes and kopjes of the Matobo Hills and has some of the most majestic rock scenery in the world. This exclusive safari lodge is tucked away in an ancient Bushman’s shelter within the Matobo National Park. Camp Amalinda echoes the essence of tranquillity and the majesty of untamed Africa.
Amalinda consists of nine individually thatched rooms including two honeymoon suites, which are set into the huge boulders and have a panoramic view of the Matobo Hills. The camp has a central area with a library, a chess room located amongst the treetops, and an open-air dining room with a huge teak table. There is a natural cave wine cellar, and a “boma” area with a fireplace. The camp has a swimming pool overlooking a waterhole where resident wildlife comes to drink, and a heritage spa.
Mammal and bird species are prolific and include the highest concentrations of leopard and black eagle in the world, as well as a healthy population of the endangered black rhino. Activities include game viewing by foot or vehicle. You can track the endangered black rhino or drive through the granite hills in the footsteps of Cecil John Rhodes and visit his world famous tomb known as the “View of the World”. Matabele cultural visits are also on offer.
Thamalakane River Lodge, Moremi
Thamalakane River Lodge is ideally located an easy 20-minute drive from Maun Airport en route to the famous Moremi Game Reserve. It is a secluded haven of tranquility nestled in a grove of mature riverine trees on the bank of the Thamalakane River.
All chalets and common areas have terraces that take advantage of the 180 degree view of the riverbanks lined with fluttering reeds visited by an ever changing array of water fowl and birds. Accommodation is in a range of chalets and tents, all with en-suite facilities.
A'Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls
A'Zambezi River Lodge is located in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 25km from the airport, nestling on the banks of the Zambezi river within the periphery of the Zambezi National Park. The imaginative architecture with its sweeping curve of grass thatch blends well with the lush green lawns. A'Zambezi is the perfect retreat to relax and unwind in the quiet ambience of the African wild life and nature, whilst enjoying renowned services.
87 well appointed and air conditioned rooms including 44 doubles, 37 twins, 2 luxury King Suites, 2 Queen Suites and 2 paraplegic rooms. Nonsmoking rooms available. Majority of the rooms have balconies facing the river and swimming pool whilst the rest face the National Park and the gardens
Tantebane Resort, Francistown
A delightful resort, set in open countryside at Tsamaya, near Francistown, on the road from Bulawayo to the Makgadikgadi Pans park. There is superb birdwatching within the area and other game viewing, as well as a 9 hole golf course
There are five self catering chalets, each with outside shower, plus camping facilities.
What Our Customers
Botswana was everything we wanted it to be....spectacular wildlife everywhere and couldn’t believe how close we were! Thank you to your team for all your help in making it possible.
I just want to say a massive thank you for organising our trip to Botswana. From our very first conversation, I knew we were in safe hands, you were so knowledgeable and super-efficient that I had no doubt this was going to be the holiday of a lifetime and it was! Our two children loved every minute, especially the meerkats at Jack’s Camp so thanks for the recommendation and who can forget the bungee jump at Vic Falls!!!! We can’t wait to start planning our next family adventure with you, thank you so much.
There were so many highlights, where to start! Seeing Victoria Falls for the first time, the hot air balloon ride over the delta, watching wild dogs chase a leopard at Selinda, quad biking over the Salt Flats, the list goes on. This really was a trip that will stay close to our hearts for a very long time. The whole Wildfoot Team went the extra mile for us from beginning to end and we can’t thank you enough, we will happily recommend you to friends and family in the future.
The tented camps worked well and the bathrooms were more civilised than expected so feel we made the right choice after all. Really enjoyed the range of activities offered at each of the camps, the mokoro ride and walking safaris being particular good. Got lucky and saw a pride of lions take down a buffalo at Savuti and a wild dog kill at Mfuwe. No lucky with cheetah unfortunately, but now we have a reason to go back!
As expected, I have fallen in love with Botswana, without a doubt head and shoulders above any other safari experience. I was so lucky with wildlife with big cat sightings most days, several packs of wild dog and even a pangolin! There is nothing I would have wanted to change, a fantastic holiday from beginning to end, thank you so much for all your help and guidance thorough out.
It was a real privilege to have such an outstanding and knowledgeable guide - he was excellent company. The tents and camps were first-rate in terms of comfort, service and location.
We have recently returned from a holiday to Botswana that you organised for us and we just want to say thanks for all the work that you put into it. The holiday was fantastic - hotels/lodges were great, wildlife spectacular, people friendly, guides flexible and knowledgeable and the variety of locations perfect. The time of year was ideal for seeing the beginning of the change in the landscape at the start of the rainy season. All the arrangements ran like clockwork and there was even somebody there at Maun airport at the end of our trip to ensure all had gone well. We will certainly consider using Wildfoot again for our future travel plans.Thank you again.
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