In her latest contribution to the internationally award-winning travel blog Culture Trip, Melanie van Zyl inspires readers to go on the ultimate self-drive safari that covers four African countries in one week on just one tank of fuel. We have pulled out some of the highlights below from this seemingly impossible adventure story titled Explore Four African Countries in One Easy Road Trip.
No signpost indicates the exact spot, but in northern Botswana near a place named Kazungula, four countries meet at the convergence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers. This is the African Quadripoint, where Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana all flow into one border. Technically, it’s just water, but this quirky confluence occurs nowhere else in the world.
The Kazungula Bridge Project will eventually join these notable points, but the only way to experience this confluence today is by boarding the Kazungula ferry across the Zambezi River. It’s a border crossing for the bold, requiring time, hustle and patience. Luckily, there is another, much easier way to reap the rewards from the proximity of these four extraordinary countries.
Cruise your way across watery wonderlands, spend two nights in every country and explore the only international quadripoint in existence starting with Namibia. Anyone can tackle this easy tarred road trip route on one tank of fuel in roughly a week.
Namibia’s serene Zambezi Region
Previously named the Caprivi Strip, the Zambezi region is a narrow 500-kilometre-long finger of land that hovers between Botswana and Zambia. The Caprivi (as it’s still primarily known around there) is home to four different rivers, but the most magnificent has to be the broad Zambezi, which is where this epic journey begins.
Self-drive safari guide to the Zambezi Region
Stay here: To get to Zambezi Mubala Lodge, and for the ultimate aqua stay, you’ve got to board a boat. Spacious cabins face the Zambezi River and porthole-shaped windows, plus watercolour decor, reinforce the feeling that you’re floating on water. For those on a tighter budget, the more rustic, neighbouring tented camp is equally charming.
Elephants everywhere in Botswana’s Chobe district
Driving the short 70 kilometres south from Katima Mulilo, villages line the tarred B8 road. Look out for sand sleighs specific to this area. They are pulled by handsome cattle to more efficiently transport goods than any wheelbarrow could in this thick river sand. Cross into Botswana at Ngoma border post.
Self-drive safari guide to Botswana
Stay here: Closest to the Chobe National Park, Chobe Safari Lodge is Kasane’s oldest tourism establishment and has riverfront views. Book an original 1960’s era rondavel room, which has been modernised on the inside, but feels like a traditional safari stay on the outside.
Zimbabwe’s natural wonder at Victoria Falls
Onwards from Kasane, the abundant Chobe waters merge with the Zambezi River before the border crossing into Zimbabwe. Mosi-oa-Tunya, or “The Smoke that Thunders”, is the local name for Victoria Falls in the Lozi language and the next destination. A natural world wonder, bucket list tick and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the majority of the 1,7-kilometre-wide Victoria Falls is seen from the Zimbabwean side.
Self-drive safari guide to Zimbabwe
Stay here: Sip a Zambezi Lager at sunset and watch the wildlife drink at the waterhole from the sprawling deck above at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. Bushbuck, guinea fowl and more walk the grounds, but the daily vulture culture feed will be the most memorable wildlife encounter. Critically endangered, the lodge has been feeding these curious birds for 19 years and every afternoon, they fly in from far and wide for a free feast.
Adventure abounds in Zambia’s little town of Livingstone
After seeing Victoria Falls from the many meandering viewpoints on the Zimbabwean side, the spectacle of spray and scenery is best appreciated from the sky. Breathtaking doesn’t begin to describe the half-hour helicopter flight with Batoka Sky that takes you looping above the wide waters of the Zambezi River before dropping right down into the untamed Batoka Gorge.
Self-drive safari guide to Zambia
Stay here: Another great hydrous hotel, the Victoria Falls Waterfront is perched on the banks of the Zambezi and offers adventure alongside creature comforts. The Explorer Club Africa is the on-site hub from which to organise any Livingstone exploits, from white water rafting to sunset cruises on a wooden-decked 1950s-era boat. There’s also a daily shuttle to see the Victoria Falls from the Zambian side or to explore the town of Livingstone, which is a little too far for walking.
Whether you are interested in taking this exciting self-drive safari or experiencing beautiful Botswana by itself, contact us to book your stay in Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta.