By Matty Kaminzi
If there is anything we can all agree on is that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought so much to stand still, and travelling is one of them. Am certain just like me many cannot wait for when the pandemic comes to end so we can move freely again, and get that sense of adventure once again.
Well before this became a pandemic I had the chance to travel to different places here in Namibia and even got to cross over to Botswana. So if you are looking for travel destination ideas I have a few you should consider.
We start off our road trip from Windhoek heading up north to the Okavango Region, but of course, when you are into an adventure like I am, the adventure begins immediately as you enter the car. The road heading up north is quite a sight as well as the changing landscape and vegetation as you move from one region to another, the animals you come across, the sunrise and sunsets. It is really quite the sight. The fact that we didn’t receive much rain last year was sad as it was not as green as it would normally be but am sure if you get to take the trip sometime this year you would definitely experience the beautiful greenery as the country received a lot of rainfall.
We arrived in the Okavango region in the afternoon and we booked into the Okavango River Lodge. It’s a small but beautifully put together lodge situated just near the Okavango River in the capital town of Okavango West. Their apartments are properly furnished but I would say maybe not spacious enough. The staff there are quite helpful and they did make sure their rooms are clean. The lodge does have an incredible view of the Okavango River so I think it compensates for space. Their restaurant is so cleverly designed that when you are seated whether outside at the bar area or inside in the dining area you have a perfect view of the river. I only got to try their breakfast which I can say was pretty decent, the food was properly prepared.
Still in the Okavango West Region, I got to visit the Hakusembe River Lodge situated on the south bank of the Okavango River, 16 km west of Rundu (it is under Gondwana so if you have a membership card you get discounts). It was a day visit, so we only got to have lunch there, but it was enough to explore the lodge and see what they had to offer. At first glance, it is a beautiful lodge, lots of greenery, it is quiet so you can hear nature and the views are just breathtaking. The road getting there is not good at all as it has no tar which means you come across many potholes so take a car conducive to such roads. The service at the Hakusembe lodge is excellent, but I must admit their food takes forever to arrive but when it does arrive one can say it is worth the wait.
Once we had finished our adventures the Okavango West, we headed off to the Okavango East Region. We stopped in Divudu at Popa Falls Resort. It is under NWR so do not forget your membership cards if you want those discounts! The resort is surrounded by nature you can hear the birds and the water from the falls as you are at the reception. It has views that will keep you engaged, they have both a campsite and rooms available, we got to stay in their rooms and boy are they inviting. When we left I wanted to take the bed with me that is how comfortable I was. The food, however, was not good at all it was rather disappointing, you have the option to prepare your own food outside as they have cooking areas. Overall it is a great place to visit if you want to experience nature.
Our trip, of course, did not end there, we went on to the Caprivi Strip (present-day Zambezi Region). There we did not book into any lodge but we did go on a day visit to another Gondwana Lodge/Camp. We visited Chobe River Camp, where it was hard to get a booking I should add as they were refusing to let us book for a day visit, saying that they have had past experiences where someday visitors would make noise disrupting the peace of those staying there. Despite that, we did manage to get a booking and it was worth it, the camp is so beautiful, the views even better, it is so quiet you can hear the crickets, as you sit and have a drink by the bar or have your meal at their restaurant you can see the Chobe River and the animals that come with it. The hippos and elephants are quite regulars we were told.
To conclude our trip we crossed over to neighbouring Botswana where just as you leave the border post you are welcomed by elephants which is quite the sight. In Botswana we stayed at the Chobe Safari Lodge is suited in Kasane (Botswana) on the banks of the Chobe River and shares a border with the Chobe National Park. It is the oldest lodge in Chobe (established in 1959). Despite how long it has been around the lodge still looks great, and its views amazing. Their rooms are just perfectly placed so that you get to the balcony or take walk outside and view the Chobe River and the beautiful sunsets it comes with. Their meals are all self-serve and it would not be fair if I did mention how good they are, I truly enjoyed the food there. I also got to go their games drives in the Chobe National Park, which would say are a must go as you will get to see so many animals, from the impalas to the giraffe to the cape buffalos and so many more.
So if you love to travel and love to experience nature and breathe taking views do consider visiting one of those places or you could visit all, why not? Am sure you will have a great time.