Explore Four African Countries in One Easy Road Trip
By Joburg Post
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.
Get to experience scenes from the zambezi river with hippos sticking their heads out of the water to cool. Almost half of the Caprivi is national park territory, as crocodiles and hippo skim the upper reaches of the water, too, but these creatures are a small sampling of the wildlife wonders still to come.
Self-drive 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.
Namibia border-crossing essentials
Official vehicle documentation, owner permission and insurance consent are all necessary to take a vehicle into the country – this also goes for Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A valid international drivers licence is necessary, too. It costs R295 (£16) in cash (they accept South Africa Rand or Namibian Dollars) to pay road toll fees. Visit VisaHQ and select your country of origin for visa requirements (a Namibia tourist visa is not required for citizens of the United Kingdom for stays of up to 90 days).
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.
Don’t miss: A sundowner cruise on the Chobe River. Where else in the world can you witness the wild on a river safari and see elephants swimming across the water using their trunks as a snorkel?
Namibia to Botswana border-crossing essentials
Most nationalities do not require a visa for Botswana, however, consult this comprehensive visa guide to check. A vehicle fee of roughly P152 (£11) in cash (depending on vehicle type) is required on entering Botswana in the local currency.
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.
Don’t miss: Take a dip in nature’s most exciting infinity pool. Devil’s Pool will have everyone back home seething with envy. It’s a 100-metre drop over the edge, but guides expertly show you how to get there from Livingstone Island and where to sit safely. Here are more of the best things to do at Victoria Falls
Self-drive 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.
Botswana to Zimbabwe border-crossing essentials
The time it right. Lots of day trippers cross into Zimbabwe from Botswana to see Victoria Falls and queues can get ugly (usually, the border is busiest between 8.30am and 10am). A £40 vehicle crossing fee is required for carbon and road tax. Bring GBP or USD in cash into the country and small nominations to leave as tips. Most tourism operators take South African Rands, Euro or Botswana Pula, too. Visas are available on arrival at the Kazungula border post – specify a KAZA visa for £40, which grants access into both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Currently, the KAZA visa program is in the Stage 1 pilot phase, which means it’s a Zambia and Zimbabwe visa, and can also cover guests for day trips into Botswana. Stage 2 will see the visa extended to all five KAZA (which stands for Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) countries, including Botswana, Angola and Namibia.
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 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.
Zimbabwe to Zambia border-crossing essentials
To save yourself time and money, leave your car on the Zimbabwean side. Ask the lodge or hotel you’re staying at to help arrange a taxi to the border (it should cost about £3). Arrange a transfer in advance to have someone meet you at the Zimbabwe border and get a lift across the bridge to go through the Zambian border. Here’s an easy-to-use guide to applying for a visa to Zambia.