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15-day Ultimate Wildlife & Birding Safari (Self-drive)

When we say ultimate, we mean ULTIMATE. Hence the capitals. You’ve got a smashing road trip ahead of you. 3 countries too. Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Sand, sea, rivers, dunes, animals and birds. Don’t forget the birds. Look, listen, love it.

Price from USD 3,321 pps
Duration 15 days
Tour Type Self-drive
Highlights Victoria Falls (Zim), Chobe National Park, Caprivi, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Walvis Bay
Includes

Accommodation; Meals (SQ); Vehicle hire; Vehicle drop-off; Meet and Greet; Airport Transfers; Shared road transfers; 24-hour support; Comprehensive tour file with detailed itinerary, map, route descriptions, booking vouchers, contact numbers and useful information

Excludes

International flights; Personal travel insurance; Entry visas; Fuel; Park entry fees; Staff gratuities

So, are you a birder or a twitcher? If you’re travelling with an ornithologist you could begin by saying, “Some say there is only one truly endemic bird species in Namibia, the Dune Lark, what are your thoughts?” If they hit you on the head with their Newman’s bird guide you know you’re in for a fun ride. You’ll see a lot of Namibia. From Walvis Bay to Victoria Falls with Etosha thrown in for good measure. 15 days, 14 nights. Go with someone you like.

Itinerary Details

Pink flamingos on a backdrop of blue. Walvis Bay lagoon blue. This place is an important sanctuary for both resident and migrating birds. There are thousands of them. 150,000 of them. And they love it. Frankly, it’s their Magaluf. They just love spending their summers cheeping, chirping, tweeting and twittering. Maybe the odd hoot and caw too but thankfully no twerking.

On the way:
You’ll be met by Simone who will help you with the car rental paperwork. She’ll also give you your travel documents and welcome pack. Hold it tight because we’ve just given you a little piece of joy. This welcome pack guy is gold dust. Spend today relaxing, wandering, gazing. Feet up. You’ll have a luxury room with breakfast included.

When you're there:
You have the whole day to explore here. You could go on a dolphin cruise around the lagoon, kayak with seals and/or visit the glorious Sandwich Harbour, part of the Namib Naukluft Park. Stunning place where huge sand dunes run straight into the sea. Or, tour the Skeleton Coast - go down to Cape Cross seal colony and back again. But listen, it’s day one. DAY ONE. Ok? Awesome, If you want to go crazy, go crazy. Quad biking, sand boarding, sand skiing, parasailing. Or hurl yourself out of an aeroplane screaming “I LOVE YOU ALL!!!” You may get chatting with some birds as you sky dive down. If you’re the designated driver on this holiday, for goodness sake be careful. You won’t want a cricked neck. If you’re the co-passenger, who cares, crick away. Choose somewhere nice for lunch and/or dinner and compare notes.

Luxury Accommodation

Let the road trip begin in earnest. You’re about to journey to the centre of the Earth. Well, central Namibia. But with a backdrop of the Erongo, Brandberg and Spitzkoppe mountains it will feel pretty epic. Omaruru’s the town at the centre of it all and serves the surrounding farms and cattle ranches. We easy you in with this drive. Walvis Bay to Omaruru, it’ll take 3-4 hours, 285km.

On the way:
Take the B2 road baby and chug alongside the South Atlantic Ocean. After about 35km, there it is, Swakopmund, the largest coastal town in Namibia. You thought Walvis Bay was the business but it’s actually Swakopmund. Known as the activity centre of Namibia. It’s a popular holiday resort so have coffee, beer, milkshakes, whatever you fancy before you head back into the car and drive on to Usakos. A place originally built as a railway station between Swakopmund and Windhoek. Stand in the right place and you can waste hours staring at the long, uninterrupted horizon. Then it’s on to Karibib - another place which exists thanks to railroad development - in fact, it’s railway building is a national monument. Finally, it’s on to your lodge, just outside of Omaruru. You’re there. Park up.

When you're there:
Omaruru is a small town at the base of the Erongo Mountains. Spend the afternoon as you please. If you want to stretch your legs, go on a guided nature walk. It’s included in the tour. Omaruru offers excellent bushveld birding. The confluence of ecosystems results in great biodiversity which birds give the thumbs up to. Look out for Bearded Woodpeckers and Lesser Honeyguides. You’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast here.

Standard Accommodation

Not a mammoth drive today but you are heading to a wildlife mecca. Etosha. It means ‘great white place’ and this refers to the large salt pan which forms part of the Kalahari Basin and is almost entirely within the park. You’re looking at a 4 hour drive from Omaruru to Etosha (south), 275km.

On the way:
Have breakfast. Brush teeth. Head off on a morning walk. You’ll be driving north today, firstly via Kalkfeld. Now, if you happen to be a palaeontologist, stop. Right there. Sniff the air. Can you feel it? Can you feel it? CAN YOU FEEL IT? Ladies and gentlemen, the Jackson 5! Ok. But what we’re talking about is the 25m long dinosaur which took a walk on the wild side near here. A few years back now. A few million years back. But here. In Kalkfeld. The evidence remains. Incredible really. Now, carry on to Outjo. Pop into the museum which was built in 1899 and then keep driving until you reach Etosha.

When you're there:
Depending on how often you stop on the way, you should arrive at your lodge in time for lunch (optional extra). The Anderson Gate is right there. It’s the southern entrance to Etosha. If you’re up for it, go on an afternoon game drive. Your first stop when you go in is Okaukuejo where you pay your entry fee (included) and you can stock up at the shop. Drinks, snacks and a map of the waterholes would be good. Check through your faithful welcome pack too as there’s lots of good stuff in it which will be useful here. Lots of animals to see as they gather at the water holes. And the summer is ideal for birding. 340 species, look out for eagles and vultures, flamingos and grebes. There are even eight species of owl - eight? Yup, eight.

Have dinner and head to bed.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

In the morning, head for breakfast. It’s included. Itching to get going? You’ll be quite the dudes on the open Etosha roads. From one side of the park to the other is a full day’s game drive. Etosha south to Etosha east. Dinner and bed & breakfast.

On the way:
So, there are options. 1 full day is set aside but you could break it up with afternoon and morning drives. Cruise slowly east stopping at waterholes along the way. If you’re just doing a morning drive go for a packed lunch (optional extra) overlooking a waterhole. Watch out for those cheeky jackals, they might want to nose around your sandwiches. Look at the map, take cold drinks, aim for the waterholes - man made or natural. Get your pen out and start circling the animals you see. Do not take that last sentence literally.

When you're there:
Go bird watching. There are more than 340 species, 46 of which are raptors. Look up. There! Flying high, in the sky... eagles and vultures and thousands of flamingoes. They love munching on that delicious algae at the water’s edge. If you spot a Caspian plover you have seriously lucked out. Animals too. The Big 5. Tick. Hang on, hang on. Buffalo? Buffalo? Nope. They have no time for Etosha. But you’ll see them in a bit in the Caprivi.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

Talking of which, today’s the day to head Caprivi way. Rundu’s the name of the place for today’s stop. A quiet place beside the Okavango River. Think crocodiles and hippos. And Angola. It’s right there. The drive from Etosha (east) to Rundu will take about 5 hours, it’s 420km.

On the way:
Drive east from Etosha to Grootfontein. 80,000 years ago it would definitely have been a good idea to look up. Oh. That’s a big meteorite. And it’s hurtling towards your head. Rats. It’s the world’s largest, a heavy lump at more than 50 tons and 3 metres long. You can go and visit it. It loves life on the farm Hoba, about 20kms from Grootfontein. Then carry on driving. North to Rundu and on to your lodge for the night.

When you're there:
When you arrive, chill out for the rest of the day. Rundu is a good place to unwind after all that Etosha excitement. It’s green and rather lush. Taking a walk along the river would be a rather splendid. The Open Market might be worth a look too. Namibian crafts and local food. You have dinner and bed & breakfast included.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

Wake up early and read up on your next stop. The Caprivi. It’s wet, green and very much alive. Year round. That’s pretty much unique in Namibia. And very attractive to flora and fauna. Birds consider it a paradise too. A strip of land, 280 miles long. It’s a pretty quick drive - Rundu to West Caprivi is 220km away and will take you approximately 3 hours.

On the way:
Compass out, you need to head east to Bagani which is close to the Popa Falls. Bit of an exaggeration as they’re rapids really but they are one of the main attractions of the area.

When you're there:
Want to keep driving? Then spend the afternoon on a game drive or just meander about bird watching along the river. The Caprivi Strip is one of southern Africa's top birding spots. A full day is set aside for a drive to the Mahango and Buffalo Game Parks too. Don’t forget a look at the Popa Falls and if you want to see this place at night go for a sunset boat cruise (optional extra). The Kavango Village trip is another option - it’s one of those Living Museum experiences - the locals will show you how they grow crops, prepare food, basically how they live. You’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast during your stay here.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

Yeeeeeha! What a blast. Music on, windows down. Take a deep, clean breath of fresh air and drive along from West Caprivi to East Caprivi. It will take approximately 3 to 4 hours, 250km.

On the way:
After breakfast, head east. You’re off to the Bwabwata National Park. It’s been called ‘a people’s park’ as it supports both wildlife and the rural community. When you get to the Kwando River Bridge, you’ve made it. Welcome to East Caprivi.

When you're there:
It’s wild and beautiful. Please yourself this afternoon. Relax at the lodge - you’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast here. You could go on a boat cruise, a guided walk or a game drive (all optional extras). Or just take off and explore. Drive around slowly. Look, listen. There is wildlife everywhere. Elephant, elephant, lion, leopard and, wait for it... BUFFALO! Get the list, quick, quick, check. Phew. Relax. The variety of birds is excellent too.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

Time for another country. Adieu to ieu Namibia, why hello there Botswana. Coffee? Let’s go. And let’s talk Chobe. Botswana’s first national park and a place of great diversity. It takes its name from the Chobe River, which flows along the park’s northern boundary. This is the heart and soul of the place. Brace yourself, 120,000 elephants like it so much they call it home. Drive to Katima Mulilo. From East Caprivi it’s about 150km and will take approximately 2 to 3 hours.

On the way:
When you reach Katima Mulilo, the Namibia section of this holiday ends. You did it. Wow. Professional road tripper you. But no resting as it’s time to meet your next great country, namely Botswana. Go to Caprivi Adventures and drop the car off. They will transfer you into Botswana and drop you at your lodge in Kasane - the town closest to the Chobe National Park.

When you're there:
Of course, you’ll be exploring the national park - check out Leopard Rock - the place to go if you want to spot these elusive cats. But before you leave Kasane check out the incredible baobab tree - right behind the local police station. There’s also the Chobe crocodile farm and the Kasane hot springs. You’ll be in a luxury room here with dinner and bed & breakfast. You’ll also have 2 activities included - a guided game drive into the Chobe National Park and a game viewing boat ride on the Chobe River. There’s no rush as a full day is set aside but please note Chobe National Park entry fees are not included and payable direct. They cannot be arranged in advance and can change at any time.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

If you’re sick of all that amazing wildlife how about a great shock of water? Victoria Falls. One of the seven natural wonders of the world. Nearly 550 million litres of water crashes over 100 metres into the chasm below. Every minute during peak flow. The spray constantly nourishes the surrounding forest. Happy days.

On the way:
Quick, another country. Zimbabwe today. Enjoy your breakfast and pack up. You’ll be collected from the lodge and transferred to Victoria Falls. Your driver will help with the border crossing into Zimbabwe. We are delighted to report that this is an experience in itself...

When you're there:
Victoria Falls this afternoon. Either on your own or arrange to go with a guide. The falls is made of five different ‘falls’. Four of these are in Zimbabwe. David Livingstone’s statue is at the left end near the Devil’s Cataract viewpoint - a stunning place. End your day with a sunset Zambezi boat cruise. It’s an optional extra but it’s frankly delightful. For dinner options, head for The Boma Restaurant. African flavours, action and music. If you’ve had enough noise for one night, head to bed. You’ll have breakfast included in the morning.

Standard Accommodation
Luxury Accommodation

Oh no. You’re done. The ultimate trip is over.
It’s day 15. The one you were dreading.

On the way:
If there’s time, squeeze in a morning activity. There are lots to choose from. Then you’ll be driven from the lodge to the airport in time for your departure flight.

When you're there:
At the airport, chat, laugh, reminisce and hurl your photos all over social media. Make everyone you know hate you as muse over your time spent on this ultimate ride.

welovethe15dayultimatewildlifeandbirdingsafari


Prices

Guests Accommodation Season (2019) Amount
2 Standard Low Season USD 3,945 pps
2 Standard High Season USD 4,118 pps
2 Luxury Low Season USD 5,863 pps
2 Luxury High Season USD 6,901 pps
Guests Accommodation Season (2020) Amount
2 Standard Low Season USD 4,107 pps
2 Standard High Season USD 4,257 pps
2 Luxury Low Season USD 5,742 pps
2 Luxury High Season USD 7,127 pps
4 Standard Low Season USD 3,321 pps
4 Standard High Season USD 3,427 pps
4 Luxury Low Season USD 4,955 pps
4 Luxury High Season USD 6,297 pps
  • As a rough guide Low Season throughout the region is from 1 January to 30 June and High Season is from 1 July to 31 December.
  • We give indicative Low and High Season rates on our website and exact prices in your quote when your travel dates are set.
  • These prices are based on two adults sharing accommodation unless otherwise stated.
  • Please treat all pricing as a guide only. Read more about our pricing.
  • Contact us for a personalised quote now.

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About Us

Staff party photo from 2019 showing all staff smiling
  • Wilmari Wilmari
  • Bianca Bianca
  • Ulrike Ulrike
  • Chantelle Chantelle
  • Ashlee Ashlee
  • Bonique Bonique
  • Tessa Tessa
  • Janine Janine
  • Carmen Carmen
  • Anja Anja
  • Kirsti Kirsti
  • Petra Petra
  • Leandrie Leandrie
  • Jessica Jessica

“NTS was AMAZING! Special thanks to Wilmari for the best trip we have ever taken. 100% recommend!”

“This was a "bucket list" trip for us. It could not have been better. HIGHLY recommend you ask for Bianca.”

Ulrike helped us plan our safari for 2 years... patience of a saint and the insight and knowledge of a true local.”

“Ask for Chantelle, a true legend of patience, availability and efficiency. Will highly recommend.”

“I cannot say enough about this great company and Ashlee herself... best honeymoon we could have wished for!”

Bonique's recommendations were perfectly tailored to our needs with foresight and local knowledge... flawless.”

“The service and help we got from Tessa was fantastic, as a result we had a tremendous trip.”

Janine proposed us a great trip and it was nice to meet with her in Swakop. Definitely recommend!”

“I have no words to express my gratitude to Carmen and the NTS team for their excellent work.”

“Our family would like to thank Anja and everyone at NTS for organising such an incredible trip for us.”

Kirsti arranged the best family holiday we have ever had... highly recommended.”

“We worked with Petra and everything went flawlessly... can't recommend NTS highly enough!”

Leandrie was very patient listening to my needs and catering to my budget... Everything worked perfectly!”

Jessica was AMAZING and so helpful with all of our concerns and questions - we had the most amazing trip.”