Namibia is known for its seemingly never ending landscapes, its picturesque sceneries of dunes and rivers, and for its great variety of wild animals all across the country. Those, who have been to Namibia, know that seeing the entire country in one week is barely possible and limited to only seeing the main tourist attractions and missing out on the real adventure and wildlife that Namibia has to offer.

The best way to experience game and the Namibian bush at the same time is to plan ahead and to focus on specific parts of the country. Knowing this, Gondwana Collection Namibia, together with their car rental service Namibia2Go, has created the ideal itinerary which allows you to view and capture as much wildlife as possible with your camera, in only twelve days. So, are you ready to Go Wild?

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

The great thing about this itinerary is that you can either drive this tour on your own or you can book a guided tour with your personal tour guide. The self-drive tour includes airport transfers, accommodation (bed and breakfast), as well as premium cover insured vehicle rental, while the guided tour rate includes accommodation (dinner and breakfast), the vehicle with a Tour Guide, fuel, activities, and park entrance fees.

If you want to plan to Go Wild, here is an outline of what you can expect on this trip:

Day 1-2: From Windhoek to Etosha National Park

The tour departs from Windhoek, and the itinerary leads you to Okahandja, where you turn off to drive towards Otjiwarongo. You can stop there for a short lunch, before you continue to drive to the small town of Outjo. After that, it isn’t far anymore before you reach your home for the next two days, just outside the Etosha National Park.

©Shawn van Eeden

What you will see along the way:

  • The local woodcarving market in Okahandja : A great chance to buy local souvenirs.
  • The Omatako Mountains, a well-known pin point visible on the road to Otjiwarongo.

Where you will stay:

Etosha Safari Camp – The colourful restaurant and quirky “shebeen” bar have become the highlight of travelers’ and bloggers’ itineraries. Enjoy a delicious dinner feast outside under the star sprinkled sky as you listen to the Etosha Boys strum their guitars and sing local melodies. Here you will stay for two nights, which is the perfect opportunity to visit the close-by Etosha National Park and view some of Namibia’s best known antelopes, wild cats, and even some of the Big Five animals on a game drive.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Day 3: Etosha King Nehale – Gondwana Collections’ newly opened lodge

On your third day, your trip continues through the entire length of the Etosha National Park. Enjoy the game viewing and it is recommended that you take your time here to spot exciting and rare animals on your way, until you reach your next destination, not far from the northern gate of the Park.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Where you will stay:

Etosha King Nehale – This brand new Gondwana Collection lodge opened in June this year and provides you with well deserved comfort and unique style. Embellished with both royal and African flourishes, this lodge ends your Etosha sojourn on a high note, while you look out onto the Andoni Plains from the comfort of your private plunge pool. Here, you have the perfect once-off opportunity to get to know the Owambo culture, and maybe you will find a special handmade gift in the lodges’ curio shop for your loved ones.

Day 4: From Etosha to Hakusembe River Lodge

Departing from Etosha King Nehale, take the turnoff onto the M121 just before Ondangwa and travel northwards to Eenhana. Follow the B10 road that leads to the glittering Okavango River. Ten kilometers before the junction with the B8 on the outskirts of Rundu, you will find the turn off to Hakusembe River Lodge, a green oasis on the banks of the river.

Where you will stay:

Hakusembe River LodgeEnjoy the peaceful surrounds of this relaxing lodge on an afternoon boat cruise or drink a glass of wine on the wooden deck as the sun sinks into the horizon. You will also have the opportunity to view some extraordinary wildlife and maybe some larger animals, as well.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Day 5-6: The Zambezi region

After a night at the Hakusembe River Lodge, your itinerary will lead you towards the lush north-eastern corner of Namibia. The Zambezi Region is an area that is covered with both trees and constantly forking river arms. It is also home to a fascinating group of people and an abundance of wildlife and birds. Bwabwata National Park runs from the Okavango River to the Kwando River and is home to both people and wildlife, who manage to live side by side. Driving slowly will give you a better opportunity to see elephants and wild dogs near the settlements. As you reach Kongola, turn right onto the C49 towards your next accommodation.

Where you will stay:

Namushasha River Lodge – This is a lodge that resonates with the true Zambezi character, as it is set on the riverbank, surrounded by trees. The lodge comes alive at dusk with the sound of hippos grunting and birds chirping. It is the perfect place to immerse in the beauty of this area of Namibia.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Activities for wildlife viewing and cultural experiences that are recommended:

  • You can take a leisurely boat trip on the Kwando River and relish the magic of this water paradise. Have your binoculars ready to look out for the abundant bird species, crocodiles, and pods of hippos.
  • Take part in a guided trip into the Bwabwata National Park, beginning with a boat cruise on the Kwando River. Downriver, you will switch from the boat onto a game-viewing vehicle which takes you into the national park and includes a drive to the popular elephant-viewing spot at Horseshoe Bend. After celebrating the afternoon with sundowner drinks and snacks, you return to the lodge by boat, enjoying the magnificent setting sun.
  • If you are comfortable with 4×4 driving, visit the nearby Mudumu National Park for a day trip with a picnic lunch.
  • Visit the Nkasa Rupara National Park and stop along the way at the small Livingstone Museum, but make sure to phone ahead to arrange a suitable time. You will need off-road expertise for this day-trip and caution is advised when driving in muddy conditions.
  • Visit the Mashi Crafts, located across the road from the Kongola fuel station.
  • For a touch of local culture, pop into the Namushasha Heritage Centre, a short distance from the lodge away, to learn about the intriguing culture of the Eastern Zambezi region.

Day 7: Chobe River

Day seven leads you directly to the Chobe River. From Namushasha River Lodge, drive in an easterly direction along the C49 to Katima Mulilo. The road passes through the Mdumu and Nkasa Rupara National Parks. Here you can see plenty of wildlife, including big herds of elephants, which are often seen along the roadside. From Katima Mulilo, the B8 leads southwards to the Ngoma border post, which is the gateway between Namibia and Botswana. Four kilometers before Ngoma you turn towards your next camp for the night.

©Anna Heupel

Where you will stay:

Chobe River Camp – This Gondwana Collection accommodation is exactly across from the Chobe National Park. Dine outdoors in the open lapa under the stars, listen to the song tracks of nature and revel in the calm beauty of this refreshingly simple African camp.

Activities you will enjoy:

  • The boat trip at the camp is said to be one of the finest excursions in the country to spot buffalo, elephant, water-adapted antelope and a variety of birdlife, a perfect combination of a wildlife experience.
  • In drier times of the year, a guided nature drive along the river course provides opportunity for game viewing. You can join an excursion and indulge in bird viewing for hours.

Day 8-9: The Zambezi River

With only a short drive from Chobe River Camp, your itinerary takes you further North to the turnoff onto the D3508 road. Your next accommodation is approximately 40 kilometers east of Katima Mulilo. A boat trip from Zambezi Mubala Camp is the only way to reach the attractive Zambezi Mubala Lodge. Mubala means ‘colour’ in the local Silozi language, which is a reference to the harmony that exists in the colours of nature and reflection in the river waters.

Where you will stay:

Zambezi Mubala Lodge – On the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, have your dinner outdoors and take in the luxurious Mubala tranquility. It is very possible that you may be tempted to relax on your balcony afterwards to overlook the river and get lost in daydreaming.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Activities, perfect for a relaxed wildlife viewing:

  • Enjoy a sundowner cruise after an afternoon spent relaxing at the pool. The Zambezi River is popular for fishing, birding, boating and photography.
  • Take a stroll to the carmine bee-eater colony. The birds can be seen between mid-August and December.
  • Try your luck on the river for tiger fish (on a catch and release basis) and hop aboard the boat to explore the river. Home to a wide variety of birds, Zambezi Mubala Lodge is a treat for all nature lovers.

Day 10: The Kwando River

Katima Mulilo is a good place to fill up with fuel and pick up any essentials that you might need before you follow the B8 to Kongola and the C49 to your next destination.

Where you will stay:

Namushasha River Lodge- This is your home for the night as you begin to slowly make your way back to the starting point of the trip. It’s a welcoming return to the loveliness of the lodge and the wild and wonderful Kwando River.

Day 11: The Kavango Region

As you drive away from the Zambezi Region, you travel westwards to the Kavango Region for your last night.

©Gondwana Collection Namibia

Where you will stay:

Hakusembe River Lodge – Take the last opportunity to enjoy a relaxed evening and dinner on the deck, where you can overlook the river before you say your good nights for sound night’s sleep to the accompaniment of river lullabies.

Day 12: Back to Windhoek

The last day of the GO WILD tour takes you back to Windhoek. Breakfast packs are available at the lodge on request to make your eight hour drive more comfortable. With a whole day ahead, you can enjoy your drive back to the capital city and use the time to mentally revisit the enriching wildlife experience and the 12 day adventure that you went on, one more time.

GO WILD – Photograph colourful bird, view elephants and hippos through binoculars, and spot rhinos and zebras on a game drive through Namibia’s national parks. If this tour is something you have always dreamed of experiencing, don’t hesitate too long. Some things in life have to be grabbed by the hand, as Edward Abbey once said: “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”

Author – Hi! I am Elke, a born and raised German-Namibian. I love to travel around and explore different cultures and places, but my home country always magically draws me back home again. Oh, and if it involves food, count me in on the adventure.