The Chobe National Park, which is the second largest national park in Botswana and covers 10,566 square km, has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent. Its uniqueness in the abundance of wildlife and the true African nature of the region, offers a safari experience of a lifetime. A major feature of Chobe National Park is its elephant population currently estimated at around 120,000. The Chobe elephant are migratory, making seasonal movements of up to 200 km from the Chobe and Linyanti rivers, where they concentrate in the dry season, to the pans in the southeast of the park, to which they disperse in the rains.
From here we are off to Maun for two nights which we will use as a base and explore the Delta. The delta’s floods are fed from the Angolan rains, which start in October and finish sometime in April. The floods only cross the border between Botswana and Namibia in December and will only reach the bottom end of the delta (Maun) sometime in July. Taking almost nine months from the source to the bottom. This slow meandering pace of the flood is due to the lack of drop in elevation, which drops a little more than 60 metres over a distance of 450 kilometres. The delta’s water deadends in the Kalahari – via the Botetle river, with over 95 per cent of the water eventually evaporating.
During the peak of the flooding the delta’s area can expand to over 16,000 square kilometers, shrinking to less than 9,000 square kilometers in the low period. As the water travels through the delta, the wildlife starts to move back into the region. The areas surrounding the delta are beginning to try out (the rains in Botswana occur approximately the same time as in Angola) and the wildlife starts to congregate on the edge of the newly flooded areas, May through October.
The delta environment has large numbers of animal populations that are otherwise rare, such as crocodile, red lechwe, sitatunga, elephant, wild dogs, buffalo, wattled crane as well as the other more common mammals and bird life. The best time for game viewing in the delta is during the May-October period, as the animal life is concentrated along the flooded areas and the vegetation has dried out. We enter Namibia through the Delta and spend our first night in the Caprivi. Then we leave the Delta and head into the great dry Etosha Pan where we will spend two nights.
Etosha National Park is one of Southern Africa's finest and most important Game Reserves. Etosha Game park was declared a National Park in 1907 and covering an area of 22 270 square km, it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish. The Etosha Park is one of the first places on any itinerary designed for a holiday in Namibia. Etosha, meaning "Great White Place", is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The Etosha Pan covers around 25% of the National Park. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River. However the course of the river changed thousands of years ago and the lake dried up. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay which fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. This temporary water in the Etosha Pan attracts thousands of wading birds including impressive flocks of flamingos. The perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.
A San legend about the formation of the Etosha Pan tells of how a village was raided and everyone but the women slaughtered. One woman was so upset about the death of her family she cried until her tears formed a massive lake. When the lake dried up nothing was left apart from a huge white pan.
The game viewing in Etosha National Park is excellent, the best time being from May to September - the cooler months in Namibia. Visitors to Etosha Game Reserve can expect to see many buck species, elephant, giraffe, rhino and lions. More fortunate visitors will see leopard and cheetah. There is a network of roads linking the three campsites and subsidiary roads lead to various waterholes.
From here we move down into Namibia and spend a night at Brandberg to see the burnt mountain and take a look at the “White Lady” bushmen paintings. The Brandberg massif is famous for its thousands of rock paintings and engravings, most notably the 'White Lady', which is estimated to be about 2,000 years old. Guides accompany visitors on an hour walk to the Tsisab Ravine where the famous painting is located on an overhang under a shelter, surrounded by a variety of painted animal forms. Although faded over the years, the trip to see it is well worth the effort. Contrary to early belief, the painting is not actually of a white lady, but is the image of a male, the white colour of the body representing body paint, which suggests it is a medicine man. Since it was discovered in 1955, there has been a great deal of controversy over the meaning and origin of the painting. Brandberg's highest peak is Königstein, and at 8,550 ft (2,606 m) it is the highest mountain in Namibia.
We then move towards the coast and spend the next two nights at Swakopmund. Here we will explore the west coast and make our way up and into the Skeleton coast. One of the many highlights of this trip is a visit to a seal colony at Cape Cross, where you will see many seals at close quarters but also other animals like the many jackals that live off the seals. Our last night together will be at Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, and we plan on ending it with some good German (since Namibia is an old German colony) food and beer. Joes Beer House has become one of Windhoek’s land marks. The next morning after breakfast the guides will be on hand to help with transport to the airport or other accommodation should you choose to stay on in Windhoek.
Airline tickets back to Johannesburg can be organized at an additional price but our experience says that it is normally cheaper to include it with the booking of your main ticket.
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Africa Botswana Namibia Nature & Wildlife Ecotourism Wildlife Viewing