This overland safari in Africa was an amazing trip and the first of our 2016 bucket list. It was full of adrenaline, adventure but at the same time stress-free and relaxing. It was a life experience that we will never forget and will cherish forever. We recommend everyone wondering to do a safari and to expats living in Africa, it’s almost mandatory.
So, what exactly happened on this trip for it to be so good? Let’s see, we:
- Visited 4 amazing countries: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia (kind of);
- Met people from all over the world, USA, South Africa, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands;
- Traveled by car, truck, speedboat, helicopter, airplane, 4×4;
- Rafted in the Zambezi;
- Flew in a helicopter in Victoria falls;
- Went to the Namib Desert and drove in the sand dunes, did quad-biking and sand boarding;
- Went on a bush walk with the San Bushman;
- Saw Leopards, wild dogs, elephants, eagles, Hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles;
The trip started with an 8-day overland Safari from Windhoek (Namibia) to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Then we stayed in Vic falls 3 days, returned to Windhoek and finally visited Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, before returning to Luanda.
Why should you do an Overland Safari in Africa?
Our overland Safari was organized by Nomad Africa Adventure tours and we traveled in an adventure truck, accommodated in tents, huts and sometimes hotels.
It was the first time we did an overland organized tour. We usually prefer self-driving tours to have the flexibility to do our own itinerary at our own pace. Yet, this was a good decision, the roads in Africa sometimes aren’t in good shape and if you have car trouble in the middle of nowhere it can be a problem. Besides crossing borders and overall safety could be tricky and this made it all very easy. Also, we quickly found out this was a good way to meet people and have a stress free voyage, without worries.
Why did we choose to do this safari…? Basically their itinerary covered all the places we wanted to go, and the dates of the tour matched with our holidays; it was a good value for money.
We didn’t regret going on the tented version of the safari. Camping was an awesome experience, although our tent didn’t have the right pole sizes, and when it rained we were always wondering if it was going to rain in the tent. It did rain considerably twice and the tents resisted well.
The truck was cool, spacious, although the seats were a bit uncomfortable seeing we had to spend many hours sitting. Besides these small things we very were pleased with Nomad.
Overland Safari Itinerary
We started our voyage in Windhoek, a super calm city with a good vibe. Windhoek is a very clean city there aren’t many tall buildings, you see a few cars and few people on the roads. You can feel safe and stress-free.
We visited the Christ Church and the National Museum of Namibia that is free. Did some shopping (Angolan style). We ate in a very touristy restaurant, after all, we are tourists, Joe’s Beerhouse. This restaurant has a fantastic decoration and tasty food, mixture of African and German Cuisine, just like the rest of the country you can find a fusion of two so remote countries in different continents that sometimes it is weird.
The next 8 days were spent in the adventure truck 🙂 The tour started in Windhoek, from there we traveled to Botswana. A 530 km (329 miles) drive through the Kalahari Desert, land of the Bushmen. The scenery is dry, sandy and full of small bushes, acacias and donkeys (yes donkeys!) on the roadside. We overnight in Ghanzi Trail Blazers, sleep in a San Bushman hut ( that was so cool), and had an opportunity to do a bush walk and at night see a San Bushmen tribal dance.
Next destination was the Okavango Delta and we stayed there for 3 days. We spend the night camping in Sepupa in Swamp stop by the river. And the next day caught a speedboat and went to explore the Okavango. The Okavango was exceptional, it was the dry season so less water, giving us the opportunity to do trails that in the wet season it would be covered with water. Explored the delta in a Mokoro (small canoe) watching the hippos and crocodile. Fantastic 3 days in the oasis in the middle of the desert with plenty of wildlife. It made us appreciate how incredible nature is and will make you want to watch all the National Geographic/discovery shows about the region.
After the Delta, we headed to Caprivi Region (back in Namibia) and then Chobe National Park (back in Botswana). In the Chobe National Park, we spent an afternoon doing a boat cruise in the Chobe River, when in the middle of it started raining cats and dogs so we saw wet animals, and enjoyed the rainy view)
Next morning was stunning, we visited the Chobe National Park, we were always thinking, that we didn’t what it to end. We were able to see a rare black sable (that made our day, it’s the Angolan symbol), also leopard just sitting by the side of the 4×4 of the safari, saw wild dogs playing in a mud lagoon, vultures eating a dead elephant (this wasn’t so nice), Baboons eating fruit on top of a tree. We would have liked spending more time in the park, we just spend a morning there. Weirdly, we barely saw elephants in Chobe…
In the afternoon crossed the border to Zimbabwe and went to Vic Falls National park. The Vic Falls are massive, simply breathtaking, with a height of 108 mt and 1,708 mt wide. We stayed in the city for 3 days, so we could enjoy all the adrenaline the city has to offer. Unfortunately, the activities are so expensive that we could only choose two, but these were totally worth it. We spent half a day rafting in the Zambezi river and saw the view of the Vic Falls by helicopter.
From Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, we returned to Namibia to visit Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. We rented a car in Windhoek and went from Windhoek to Swakopmund (352 km), it took 4+ hours driving, 2 of them in the savage rain. Well, that was unexpected… We stayed in Swakopmund for 3 nights, 2 full days, had a marvelous time. Did sandboarding, quad bike, desert exploring, seeing the little 5 and meeting fantastic people:) (full Swakopmund travel guide here)
Unfortunately, on Saturday back to reality, Luanda, start working…
Economics of an overland Safari in Africa
How much does a Safari Cost? Africa isn’t cheap and we didn’t restrain ourselves much in this trip… so this was probably the most expensive holidays we ever did and a really bad example of budget holidays 🙂 Check our expenses during these two weeks in detail:
Total cost per person: 2726.69 USD in line with the 2750 USD initially budgeted.
Cost per person per day (all in): 181.78 USD
Overall trip value for money: 4 + out of 5, extremely high value but quite expensive.
Suggested Books to an overland safari in Africa
Long travels and books go together like peanut butter and jelly :). There were long hours of driving during this voyage, so we had many opportunities to read. We enjoyed the view of the desert, but after an hour it can become a bit monotonous:
We are both big fans of Forsyth and his stories about international espionage. The Afghan is about Islāmic extremism/terrorism and Al Qaeda’s plan to surpass 9/11. It was a nice read, but it’s not Forsyth’s best book.
Goodreads rating: 3.61/5
Couplertw rating: 3.5/5
Gabriel Garcia Márquez has a wonderful way of writing, so beautiful and realistic, makes you feel that you are “reading art”. Sometimes I got really frustrated with the characters, just wish to slap them in the face and say: “for god sake!”. I recommend it, not an easy read but worth it.
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5
CoupleRTW rating: 4/5
A good thriller book that will keep you gripped to the end. One of those books that you just can stop reading until you discover the mystery of the story. We liked it and will read the rest of Millennium saga.
Goodreads rating: 4.08/5
CoupleRTW rating: 3.5/5
Were we able to inspire you to do a Safari in Africa? We are already planning one to East Africa to Kenya and Tanzania.