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Our Africa Plan

I can’t believe we are going back to South Africa. It was almost three years ago when I was getting ready for my big adventure, a seven-month trip across southern Africa.

Now we are returning for a six week tour across South Africa and Namibia. We’ve lucked into some free lodging and as a result we’ve had to do something we rarely do: make a plan. Here it is…

Week 1 – Kruger NP

You’ll be missed

We leave home on leap day, the 29th of February. We are flying into Johannesburg where our rental car will be waiting. Sadly, we couldn’t afford a 4×4 truck with a rooftop tent. We are too cheap to pay $100 a day for a vehicle. Instead we will have a tiny car for $20 a day. At least we will have air con this time.

We will spend our first week in Kruger National Park, entering through the South end at Malelane gate. From there we will have seven days to get to the north end, about 350km (217 miles) away. I am planning on producing a Kruger Long Way Up video, and will be reviewing the campsites along the way.

Week 2 – Kgalagadi Transfontier Park

The climax of our Kruger adventure will be a 2-night stay at The Outpost, a luxury lodge set right at the north end of the park.  A luxury lodge? Didn’t I say we are cheap? Hal won a competition with Getaway Magazine and this is the amazing prize. Stay tuned for our next 60-second video review!

Lions at Kgalagadi

Exiting the park from the Pafuri gate we will start our 2-day drive to the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park where we will spend a week camping. We are planing to do a few night drives because it is a great place for big predators, especially wild cats. We also want to capture the magic of a Kalahari night on video. This will hopefully mean brilliant stars, whooping hyaenas and barking geckos.

Week 3 – Namibia

Our third week will be half spent in the Kgalagadi and the rest of the week we will cross into Namibia and drive north to Etosha NP. We’ll spend two nights in the Namibian Kalahari.

On our way to Etosha we are planning on stopping by the Cheetah Conservation Fund, to visit the facilities and learn more about their work in cheetah conservation.

Week 4 – Etosha NP, Namibia

This is Etosha National Park week. We’ll spend nine nights in Etosha, the first seven camping and the final two at another beautiful lodge (another great free stay, more on that later). While in Etosha we will produce a video and an extensive article reviewing the three campsites, Namutomi, Halali, and Okaukuejo. I love all of them but one stands out from the rest. It must have been the baby lions we saw last time.

Week 5 – Desert Adventures in the Namib

Time to start our drive south. We will drive through the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain where we will hopefully catch a glimpse of the desert elephants. Then we’ll continue driving west,  hopefully through the Messum Crater, and stop at Cape Cross visit the seals, jackals and, if we are lucky, one or two brown hyaenas, We’ll reach the coastal town of Swakopmund where we will have a piece of the best carrot cake in the world (no kidding).

At the end of our fifth week, we will do a tour with Desert Living Adventures where we hope to see animals like chameleons, sand diving lizards, and the Namib Dune gecko. Our last day is reserved for a kayak trip outside Walvis Bay with Namyak Namibia where we will be kayaking with the seals.

Week 6 – Spitzkoppe


This could possibly be the highlight of the trip. We are spending two nights at Spitzkoppe, one of my favorite places in the whole world. Last time we were there, our dinner under the stars was interrupted by a leopard who was watching us from very near by. The leopard just sat there as we ate our dinner. She must have walked by our car (or even scent marked it) during our stay. This time we are bringing our camera trap to set up in our campsite. I am hoping to get a leopard walking by our tent.

After Spitzkoppe it will be just drive, drive, and drive to the airport. Where did all the weeks go?

Cristina Garcia

Zoologist and wildlife photographer. She has worked in the field with jackals, wolves, cheetahs, & leopards. She serves on the Board of Directors of SEE Turtles, a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization.

Read her posts at Travel For Wildlife and see more of her work at Truly Wild, & Our Wild Yard.