Have you ever wanted to do a 4x4 trip, but you didn’t own a 4x4? Here is the perfect opportunity?
In 2015 Temba Travel will be hosting a new
4x4 Safari. There will be space for 10 vehicles: 5 private vehicles as well as
our own 4 Land Cruisers and 1 Mitsubishi. Customers will be able to rent
the four Land Cruisers to participate in the Safari at very affordable rates.
What makes this tour special is that Andries Erwee will be touring with the group as the guide. Andries is a FGASA registered and UNISA qualified tour guide. He has a MBL degree from UNISA and he is in the final phase of his Masters’ Degree in Wildlife Management. If you join us on this journey you will have a highly qualified and entertaining tour leader.
We don’t believe that it is necessary to drive in a convoy. You will be able to follow the leader or you will be free to drive at your own pace.
This is a wild tour off the beaten track. Don’t expect a lot of tarred roads - rather very loose sand, water and other 4x4 challenges. You don’t need to be an experienced 4x4 driver. If you so wish, your tour leader and other guests will help you.
The tour will start at Victoria Falls and finish in Maun, with the possibility of an extension to Johannesburg. Our price of just R9 000 per person will include air-ticket from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg for those who hire a vehicle from us, excellent food, all camping and entrance fees.
DAY 1: Victoria Falls
You arrive in Victoria Falls with FlyAfrica and this afternoon you get the opportunity to visit the falls. You receive your vehicle at Victoria Falls Rest Camp.
We linger in the Zambezi Region. The region is of course better known as the Caprivi Strip, but the name was changed in 2013. The region is a narrow protrusion of Namibia 450km eastward from the Kavango Region, nudged inbetween Botswana, Angola and Zambia.
The area first gained prominence in 1890 when the German government occupied the East African island Zanzibar. The British were not amused and the matter was settled by swopping Zanzibar for this strip of land. The Germans named the area after the then German chancellor, who went by the lofty name of General Count Georg Leo von Caprivi di Caprara di Montecuccoli.
The Zambezi Region offers something for everybody. Although some parts are accessible in a 2-wheel drive (the Popa Falls and the Mahango Game Park), the eastern parts can only be explored in a 4-wheel drive. There are four perennial rivers (Zambezi, Kwando, Chobe and Linyanti) and four National Parks (Mamili, Mudumu, Mahango and Bwabwata). Because of the abundance of water, the region is home to 600 species of birds, four of the Big Five, and an amazing variety of flora.
DAY 2: Kwando Camp
We don’t want to drive too far in one day and we therefore decided to overnight at Camp Kwando. Kwando Camp is just outside the well-known Mudumu National Park in the Zambezi Region. This luxury camp offers spectacular views over the Kwando River. They offer game drives and game cruises on the Kwando River and in the Mamili and Mudumu National Park.
Situated between the main building and the island, the camping area is shaded by trees to provide relief from the heat during the hotter hours of the day. It allows for approximately ten camping sites on carefully maintained lawns. The facilities provide showers, toilets and washbasins as well as laundry facilities. Hot and cold water is available.
DAY 3-5: Nkasa Rupara (Mamili National Park)
The name of the park is derived from the last 7 chiefs who, since 1864, reigned over the Mafwe people in this part of the Zambezi Region. Up to 2012 it was better known as the Mamili National Park, but since then goes by the name of Nkasa Ruparara or Nkasa Lupala. The park was proclaimed in 1990 and is nestled in the curve that the Kwando River makes where it changes direction 1 000km from its source.
It is Namibia’s biggest wetland with conservation status and when the river is in flood, up to 80% of the park can be submerged. The Linyanti River is riddled with reed beds, papyrus swamps and twisting channels and the two islands of Lupala and Nkasa. It is a haven for birs and other animal species.
Mamili is a remote and seldomly visited 4x4-only country where special caution must be taken to avoid becoming stuck. Totally self-contained camping exist at Rupara, Shivumu Pool and Mparemure (no facilities).
DAY 6-7: Ngepi Camp
Ngepi Camp offers a Namibian river adventure the environmentally responsible way. The camp is situated on an island in the swampy northern reaches of the Kavango River in the Zambezi. Ngepi Camp borders on the Bwabwata National Park (a merger of the Caprivi National Park and the Mahango Game Park). Therefore, expect to see Sable antelope, hippos, lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and Roan antelope during your stay.
Ngepi’s camping sites are each provided with its own water supply and an environmentally friendly power point. The ablution facilities are equipped with solar hot water showers and the sites are lit at night by means of solar power.
Ngepi Camp boasts huge trees, which means that your tent will most likely be pitched in cool shade. The en-suite bush huts provide family accommodation, each with a double bed and two single beds. If you have never slept in a tree house before – this is your chance! Ngepi Camp offers a number of en-suite tree houses overlooking the Kavango River. As with the camping sites, the bush huts and tree houses are equipped with solar power.
DAY 8-10: KHAUDUM NATIONAL PARK
Khaudum National Park is one of Namibia’s wildest corners. Here, one can enjoy the real Kalahari far from the main tourist routes. In Namibian dimensions this is small, but the 3 841 sq km park offers the great opportunity to experience the unique flora and fauna of the “Northern Kalahari Sandveld”.
Khaudum is known for its rare Roan Antelope and Tsessebe; both are more common in the northern part of the park than in the south.
If you are lucky, you may also see the endangered African Wild Dog. Great numbers of elephants occupy the park during the dry season with over 3 000 animals counted during full-moon game counts. Giraffe, Eland, Gnu, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Gemsbok, Steenbok, Duiker, Bat-eared Fox, Hyena, Lion, Leopard, Jackal, Warthog, Vervet Monkey, Ostrich and Antbear populate the park throughout the year. The Nyae-Nyae area south of Khaudum is a real bird watcher’s paradise during summer.
The pan field is famous for its Flamingos and Cranes. Ducks, Spurwing Geese, Crakes, Egrets and Herons are common other water birds. Among others Blacktailed Godwit and
Great Snipe populate the area. A speciality of Khaudum is the Southern Ground Hornbill which, with some luck, can be spotted in Khaudum’s northern woodlands.
Khaudum is a wild place and so are its animals. Be aware that elephants may turn into aggressive giants when they are approached insensitively. The visitor should be particularly careful in winter, when water is sparse and the animals fight for the best places at the waterholes. In deep sand there is little chance to escape from a furious tusker, even if you drive the fanciest bakkie.
Track conditions depend on substrate, weather, frequency of vehicle use, and maintenance. As a tendency, deep sand tracks occur on red or white loose sands. Those tracks are easiest passed in early mornings, when the sand is still cool and firm. With minor silt contents sandy tracks are firmer, but they might become heavily corrugated, especially if they are on the main routes and when they haven’t seen a grader for a long time. Tracks on silty or clayey soils are quite hard when dry, but they may become very slippery after heavy rains. Potentially slippery soils are often indicated by their darker colors, but also the unconsolidated white lime soils in Khaudum Omuramba turn into an effective lubricant when they are saturated with water. Deep ponds that may fill up on tracks usually dry up quickly. Waiting a day helps to keep the shoveland rope packed.
With 12 official waterholes and 2 small natural springs Khaudum Park offers enough targets for game viewing. The remoteness, low numbers of visitors and minimal infrastructure might however help a little extra to make it a real safari. With 4x4 and some experience in sand driving you will enjoy a great park. Map 1 shows tracks and waterholes with the relevant way points given in Table 2. Besides the given tracks, the borders of the park act also as “roads” but their use is restricted to park staff.
The distances in kilometers along the tracks are compiled from several sources. Where a discrepancy occurred between sources, we have stayed on the safe side by giving the longer distance. Detailed topographic maps can be purchased from the Surveyor General in Windhoek. Maps 1820 DA Tamsu, 1820 DB Khaudum, 1820 DC, 1820 DD Nhoma, 1920 BA, Sikereti, 1920 BB Xawashe cover the largest part of the park in 1: 50 000 scale.
At the time of writing (July 2006) maps 1820BC and 1820 BD were out of stock. Maps 1920 Tsumkwe and 1820 Mukwe in 1: 250 000 scale provide overview maps. Please note that some tracks and waterholes are not on the latest level, e.g. the waterhole Baikiaea and Khaudum were repositioned after the print of the maps (2002).
DAY 11: Drotsky’s / Gcwihaba Caves
Certainly one of the wildest and most remote destinations in Botswana, Gcwihaba is a fascinating underground labyrinth of caverns and pits, linked passages, fantastical stalagmite and stalactite formations, and beautifully colored flowstones that appear like waterfalls of rock.
Moving from the more commonly used northern entrance, you’ll first come across thousands of bats hanging upside down from the cave walls. The most common species are the commerson’s Leaf-nosed Bat – the largest insectivorous bat in Southern Africa, the tiny Dent’s Horseshoe Bat and the Egyptian Slit-faced Bat. They are harmless, but as you approach, be prepared for a possible mass exodus– clouds of screeching, fleeing bats winging through the dusty darkness.
Some caverns are up to 10m high, some are so tiny that one needs to squeeze, or crawl on the belly, to get through them; and some stalactites measure up to 6m in height, meeting their cousin stalagmites to form organic columns that seem to support the entire cave roof.
The main cavern is called ‘Drotsky’s cavern,’ named after the Ghanzi farmer Martinus Drotsky, who was the first Westerner to be shown the caves by the !Kung San in 1934.
Unique ecosystems of flora and fauna have been recorded at Gcwihaba. These include the Namaqua Fig, only found at these hills and easily recognizable by its long trailing roots, the endemic aloe, tent tortoises, barking geckos, Ruepel’s parrot (also unique to this region) and barn owls which live in the caves.
Gcwihaba is a designated National Monument and a proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 12: Island Safari Lodge (Maun)
We overnight at the Island Safari Lodge and this is also where the tour comes to an end. Temba’s vehicles and the people driving their own vehicles must return to Johannesburg. We will arrange the transport and people who rented our vehicles will not have to pay extra, but you could also fly back from Johannesburg to Cape Town.