Caprivi road trip, including Chobe park and Victoria Falls. Namibia guide

Mocoro trip along Kavango river at Ngepi.
Mocoro trip along Kavango river at Ngepi.

Our trip from Windhoek through Caprivi strip, Namibia to Chobe National park was a highlight of our Namibian experience. Caprivi was completely different from what we’d seen in Namibia before plus we visited two different but equally incredible places; Chobe park (Botswana) and Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe). We hope our Caprivi road trip guide will help you to plan your trip to this amazing area. For complete Namibia trip itinerary go HERE.

Caprivi region, Namibia

We were not sure about going to Caprivi it seemed too far and completely out of the way. Our original plan didn’t include the North of Namibia never mind Victoria Falls (Zambia – Zimbabwe) and Chobe National park (Botswana). We tried to find info online and ask people about Caprivi and we did get some details. In the end we decided to go as you know you always regret more about things you haven’t done than about those you’ve done.

If you doubt to go or not to go to Caprivi here are our reasons why to go:

  • Caprivi is very different from the rest of Namibia; wetlands, dense forest, very green, many birds animal and insects as well.
  • If you want to see many hippos and elephants (even in rainy season) Caprivi is a place to go. We did see many of both and the coolest thing you don’t even need to go to National park, you can see them driving (elephants) or camping next to the river (hippos).
  • Caprivi is a Namibian gateway to Victoria Falls so you can combine it with your road trip.
  • If you want to chill out next to the river, do some boat trips or watch birds it’s a good place.
  • If you want to go a bit off the bitten trek and do something beyond the standard tourist program.

And more reasons…

Caprivi road trip map, Windhoek to Victoria Falls.
Caprivi road trip map, Windhoek to Victoria Falls. Total distance 1431km.

Need to know before you go

Caprivi is in a malaria area the number of affected people varies from year to year. You have more chances to get it during rainy season. Malaria precautions are recommended just remember with any pills you have to start taking them at least 2 weeks before and after your visit. We didn’t take any medicine since our Caprivi trip was a spontaneous decision and luckily didn’t get it though it was a bad malaria period in the area.

Being a wetlands there are many mosquitoes in Caprivi so bring repellents otherwise they’ll eat you alive!

If you’re planning to cross to Zambia/Zimbabwe from Caprivi with your own or rental car check first the requirements for these countries as they can be slightly different from Namibian.

Caprivi trip budget 7 days, 2 people

These 7 days were the most expensive part of our Namibian trip but it was worth of money!

  • Petrol – NAD1726/US$137
  • Accommodation (6 nights camping) – NAD1680/US$133
  • Food, drinks – NAD1300/US$103
  • Entrance fees – NAD485/US$38
  • Car fee to enter Botswana – NAD190/US$15
  • Activities (boat tour at Ngepi) – NAD400/US$32

Total: NAD5780/US$458 or NAD412/US$32 per day per person.

Plus Day trip to Victoria Falls about  US$100 per person.

Caprivi road trip

Day 1

Windhoek – Okahandja – Otjiwarongo – Otavi – Meteorite campsite (Grootfontein), 444km, 4h30min.

Practical info

  • On the road from Windhoek to Otavi watch for speed cameras and road police in the bush.
  • Okahandja (73km), Otjiwarongo (250km), Otavi (369km) – supermarkets, petrol stations, ATMs.
  • Road – tarred all the way.
  • Drinking water – better to bring with you. Don’t refill water at Fruit and Veg in Windhoek it’s terrible rather do it at SPAR.

Easy drive on a tarred road all the way except last 5km on a gravel to the campsite. The part from Otavi to Grootfontein is a scenic drive between small mountains and corn fields.

We camped at Meteorite campsite a very nice place with good facilities, NAD100/US$8 pp.

Meteorite campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – No
  • Other – tables and benches, space under the rood for cooking and washing dishes with a braai place.

Hoba meteorite

Here you can see Hoba the largest meteorite in the world, 60 tonnes, size 2,95, by 2,84m. It fell on Earth 80 000 years ago, it’s age estimated between 190 and 410 million years. It’s located 5km from the campsite on a private farm, to see it you pay entrance fee NAD30/$2 pp, opened from 8am to 5pm.

Hoba Meteorite, Grootfontein. Namibia road trip guide
Hoba Meteorite, Grootfontein. Caprivi road trip
Meteorite campsite, Grootfontein
Meteorite campsite, Grootfontein

Day 2

Meteorite campsite – Grootfontein – Rundu – Divundu – Ngepi campsite, 471km, 4h30min.

Practical info

  • Rundu – supermarkets, ATMs, petrol stations.
  • Divundu – petrol station, ATM (FNB bank), local shop with very limited choice.
  • Road – all the way tarred.
  • Drinking water – at Ngepi campsite there is free filtered drinking water.

Before you hit Caprivi don’t forget to stock food supplies you can do it either in Grootfontein or in Rundu, both have good supermarkets. After Rundu next proper supermarket will be in Katima Mulilo, 515 km from Rundu.

Popa Falls

5km after Divundu there is Popa Falls National park/campsite our advice don’t even bother to go there. We don’t understand why that “fall” even has a name it is just a small rapid on the small river. You pay NAD20/$1,5 to see it. The campsite at the fall is quite expensive, NAD170/US$13.

This is Popa Falls, you see what I mean! Caprivi road trip
This is Popa Falls, you see what I mean! Caprivi road trip

Ngepi campsite

It’s something special and worth of driving all the way from Windhoek just to spend a couple of days here! Ngepi campsite, NAD150/US$11 pp., is our favorite place in Namibia and one of the top in the world! It’s located on the river bank right where hippos live.   You will be impressed and surprised with this unique campsite.

Ngepi campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes, at sites
  • Outlets – Yes, at sites
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – Yes, at the reception
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – Yes, filtered water
  • Other – bar/restaurant, decks with couches and hammocks, tour desk.
Funny signs cheering you up already on the way to the campsite.
Funny signs cheering you up already on the way to the campsite.
Our camping spot at Ngepi campsite. Caprivi road trip
Our camping spot at Ngepi campsite. Caprivi road trip
Fantastic jungle shower, Ngepi campsite
Fantastic jungle shower, Ngepi campsite
Unreal Moon nights at Ngepi campsite.
Unreal Moon nights at Ngepi campsite.

Things to do

  • Take a boat/mokoro trip to see hippos and birds. We took mokoro (local canoe) it’s smaller and can take only two people and a guide so you get. We saw many hippos from quite close, some birds the trip was definitely worth of doing. There are morning and evening trips we’d recommend the evening one for the sunset. Price NAD200/US$16 pp for 2 hour trip.
  • Do a guided walk.
  • Swim in the pool.
  • Fly fishing.
  • Chill in a hammock etc.

 

Mokoro trip along Kavango river at Ngepi.

We spotted many hippos during the trip.
We spotted many hippos during the trip.
A local man in a traditional wooden mokoro, Kavango river
A local man in a traditional wooden mokoro, Kavango river

Day 3

Ngepi – Mahango National park – Ngepi, 20km.

The place is really amazing most guests come here for one day (we among them) and end up staying for two or three.

Mahango National park

We went to Mahango park which is about 10km from the campsite. The park is quite small you’ll need about 3-4 hours. Entrance fee NAD40/$3. You can drive through in a 2×4 car but if it rains a lot it can be a bit difficult. There are two trails 15km and 10km (one way) the best to see animals is 15km one. On that trail we saw one elephant (from closeby), many springboks and kudus, some buffaloes, wildebeests and many birds. There is a giant baobab tree here you can walk around and even climb it just make sure there are no predators near by!

The 10km trail ends at the waterhole where we saw nothing but on the way we saw many elephants from close by, two giraffes (one baby), many baboons. There was a lot of water in the park so animals didn’t need to come to the waterhole.

Giant baobab in Mahango National park. Caprivi road trip
Giant baobab in Mahango National park. Caprivi road trip
Finally elephants!!! Mahongo National park, Caprivi
Finally elephants!!! Mahango National park, Caprivi
Who is watching who?! A buffalo and a kudu.
Who is watching who?! A buffalo and a kudu.
Giraffe in the bush, Mahango park
Giraffe in the bush, Mahango park
Many springboks everywhere!
Many springboks everywhere!
Three big kudu males, Mahango park
Three big kudu males, Mahango park

Day 4

Ngepi – Divundu – Kongola – Katima Mulilo – Caprivi Houseboat lodge, 329km, 4h.

Practical info

  • Kongola (217km) – petrol station, local shop with even less stuff than in Divundu.
  • Katima Mulilo (329km) – supermarkets, ATMs, petrol stations.
  • Road – ok tarred road all the way.
  • Driving from Divundu to Kongola we saw many elephants and ostriches along the road as well as some springboks. Watch for animal road signs!

We spotted some ostriches on the way to Katima Mulilo. Caprivi road trip

Many elephants along the road having dinner.
Many elephants along the road having dinner.

Caprivi Houseboat safaris lodge/campsite

Houseboat safaris campsite, NAD120/US$9 pp camping, is an amazing place on the bank of Zambezi river just outside Katima Mulilo! The campspots,  are spacious surrounded by trees and bushes which gives you more privacy, nice garden and many different birds around. Some tourists come here just for bird watching. Free tea and coffee in the morning. Except for all these it has a cool and very chilled vibe and it’s absolutely beautiful!

Caprivi Houseboat safaris campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes, at sites
  • Outlets – Yes, at sites
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – Yes, at the bar
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – Yes, filtered water
  • Other – bar/restaurant, decks with couches, free tea/coffee in the morning.

Things to do

  • You can do a boat trip to see hippos and crocodiles.
  • Chill out at the deck-bar.
  • Go fishing.
  • Sitting next to the fire, chatting, drinking beer.

 

Caprivi Houseboat safaris lodge, Katima Mulilo

Day 5

Katima Mulilo – Bukalo – Ngoma border post – Casane (Botswana) – The Big Five Chobe lodge, 137km, 2h-2h30min.

Practical info

  • Ngoma border is opened from 7am to 6pm.
  • To cross both borders takes about 30min.
  • To enter Botswana you pay BWP150/NAD190/US$14 road fee for your car.  They accept Namibian dollars. You pay this fee every time you enter Namibia or Botswana. The payment is valid for 90 days only if you stay in the country. Keep your receipt till you leave the country sometimes at road blocks they can ask for it.
  • You are not allowed to bring any raw food to Botswana be it meat, eggs, fruit or vegetables. They do check your car when you enter but mainly cooler boxes.
  • In Botswana be careful with road police if there is a speed limit sign, stop sign or any other just follow them. And if they stop you to check your documents make sure you put on your sit belt on before you start your car!
  • Road – all the way tarred.
  • Casane – supermarkets, petrol stations, ATMs.
  • Don’t bring Namibian dollars with you it’s difficult to exchange them.
  • Power outlets in Botswana are the same with Naimibian, V220, type M.
    Namibian outlets and plugs, type M
    Namibian/Botswana outlets and plugs, type M

If you’re planning to visit Chobe National park the same day it’s essential to start your day very early that at 7am you are already at the border. The park is opened from 6.00am to 6.30pm (from 01 April to 30 September) and from 5.30am to 7.00pm (01 October to 31 March). As you know a visit to a game park can take a whole day for this reason we’d recommend rather relax in a lodge/campsite and go to Chobe the next day as we did.

The Big Five Chobe lodge

The lodge is 11km outside Kasane towards Vic Falls in a quite place at the river. We found a cheaper option Kubu lodge for BWP85/US$8 pp for camping but their campsite was closed and they couldn’t tell us when it will be opened again. The Big Five campsite is a bit expensive BWP130/NAD160/US$12,5 pp but it’s really good and worth of money. First of all the place is save it means you can leave your tent and other camping stuff or even your car and go to Chobe or Vic Falls for the whole day without being worried about it. Second, the facilities are amazing and area is huge and grassy with many trees that make nice shadow. And third the view on Chobe river from the restaurant is beautiful.

The Big Five Chobe campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes, each site has its own
  • Flushing toilets – Yes, each site has its own
  • Electricity – Yes, at sites
  • Outlets – Yes, at sites
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – Yes, at the restaurant
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – No
  • Other – bar/restaurant, tour desk.
The Big Five Chobe lodge, Kasane
The Big Five Chobe lodge, Kasane. Caprivi road trip

Day 6

The Big Five Chobe lodge – Chobe (Sedudu Gate) – the lodge, 30km plus drive in the park.

Practical info

  • Kasane – supermarkets, ATMs, petrol stations.
  • The closes to Kasane park entrance is Sedudu gate, 6km.
  • Road – inside the park is quite bad, muddy with big potholes.
  • Only 4×4 vehicles allowed in the park.
  • The park is opened from 6.00am to 6.30pm (from 01 April to 30 September) and from 5.30am to 7.00pm (01 October to 31 March).
  • Park entrance fee – BWP110/NAD135/US$10 pp + BWP70/NAD86/$6,5 per car, only Botswana Pula accepted, can be paid by card.

As it’s known the best time to visit National parks is early morning for this particular reason we started our day quite early. But to be honest the best part of our day in Chobe was about lunchtime when we saw the most animals.

From Kasane you drive to Sedudu Gate, sign in and pay entrance fee. If you don’t have your own 4×4 you can do a tour in the park. Our advice bring food and water with you there is no shops or restaurants in the park. Supermarkets is Kasane open after 7.30-8.00 am so if you want to go early it’s better to do shopping the day before.

Safari in Chobe National park

Short resume of what we’ve seen in Chobe; two lions (the highlight), thousands of springboks, many elephants, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, buffaloes, banded mongooses, roan antelopes, fish eagles and many other birds, baboons,  some zebras and wildebeests, one  and a crocodile. The most we saw around lunchtime on the trail along the river there were all different animals together (except lionesses we saw them earlier on the road) drinking and bathing.

We spent in Chobe about 7-8 hours and saw a lot of animals it was the most successful National park for both of us. Definitely worth of visiting.  For more details about Chobe park, different routes and photos go HERE.

Caprivi road trip, Namibia
The highlight of Chobe, two lionesses! Caprivi road trip, Namibia
Many giraffes in the bush! Caprivi road trip
Many giraffes in the bush! Caprivi road trip
Baby elephant with his mother.
Baby elephant with his mother. He was a bit naughty and chased our car away!
Buffalo at Chobe park.
Buffalo at Chobe park. I don’t know what this guy is eating but he definitely doesn’t enjoy it too much!
A curious warthog. Caprivi road trip
A curious warthog. Caprivi road trip

Day 7

Victoria Falls from Botswana

Actually we didn’t go to Vic Falls in the end! It was too expensive for us and we were there a couple of years ago. To give you an idea of how much you’ll pay, first to get to Vic Falls from Kasane will cost you between BWP350-500/US$35-50. It depends if you take a shuttle or get to the border and negotiate with taxi drivers. Second, you pay US$30 for your visa to Zimbabwe, citizens of some countries pay more, some (SA, Namibia) don’t pay at all. And third, the park entrance US$20. This part you can cut if you want. You can see the waterfall from the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe for free but only a small part of it! In total a day trip from Kasane to Vic Falls will cost you between US$85 and US$100 (add US$50 more for US and Canada).

Going to Vic Falls with your own car

About driving with your own car even locals don’t do it because from their words; first, it’s expensive you pay about US$100 (we don’t know for sure it’s what everybody said when we asked) to drive into Zimbabwe. And second there are road police blocks all the way to the Falls and they’re full of nonsense and just want to “fine” you for nothing.

Do we think it’s still worth to go to Vic Falls? Yes, we do, especially if you’ve never been there before and live somewhere far far away from Zimbabwe!

Vic Falls from the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe during dry season. Photo from our previous trip
Vic Falls from the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe during dry season. Photo from our previous trip

Driving back

That was the of our amazing Caprivi trip. From here you can drive the same way or through Botswana back to Windhoek or continue exploring Africa. We drove back through Caprivi since some road in Botswana were flooded after heave rains and some National parks were closed for the same reason. In total we spent in Namibia about 6 weeks and visited quite a few places check our Namibia road trip guides HERE.

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