Namibia - Botswana - South Africa by bicycle
Travelling through the Namib, Kalahari & Karoo deserts

General | The Route | Equipment | The Bicycle | Report 1 2 3 4

Had started a "desert trip" through southern Africa in 2000. Windhoek -
Namib desert - Fish River Canyon - Great Karoo semi desert - Kalahari
Gemsbock NP - Kalahari desert - Okavango Delta were the places
I had picked and that could be combined in an interesting big loop.

Where I really went? Have a look at the map.

As you can see it went all a bit different. First, my second passion -
travelling by train - took over and then later in Maun I happened to meet
this certain girl for whom I "extended" my stay a little ;-))
But read The Route for more details.

The day I'm back in Germany and have access to my diaries and
slides I will replace this here with a proper report and lots of beautiful

To keep it not all that boring here some pictures taken in the Okavango
Delta (Moremi Game Reserve). Shot during a visit of some relatives who
just wanted to see how I'm doing living in Africa.. :-))


Camp Okuti


Boat at landing-place

Acco at Camp Okuti

Remarks for cyclists in Botswana..:

Windhoek-Gobabis-Ghanzi-Maun is now tar all the way. About 100 km
west of Maun (at Sehitwa) turns off a small and also tarred route heading
north to Namibia (Popa Falls). Though still sand & gravel on the namibian
Heading straight east from Maun about 300 km on tar to Nata where you
meet the route Kasane-Francistown-Gaborone.
A new all-tar alternative for cyclists heading (south-)east: take the turn-off
about 100 km east of Maun towards Motopi, Rakops and Orapa/Lethlakane.
Then either east to Francistown or turn further south.
No cyclists allowed: Coming from Maun heading northeast direct to Kasane.
Some old maps show this as the only connection and even as tar! Nonsense!!
The first 40 km from Maun are tarred, it changes to gravel for a short while and
ends up being a very sandy track for most of the way. It runs through the
Chobe National Park, the reason why cyclists and motor bikers are banned.

For tours and safaris..:

One of the best places to go (and actually stay as well) is The old Bridge Backpackers.
You can camp (in your own tent, or rent one of the pre-erected ones) or even
book a chalet.
They're also a safari base for trips into the Okavango Delta. They offer boat cruises,
trips in a Mokoro [traditional dug-out canou] and one- and multi-day safari into
the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe National Park. If you want to know more,
check out their web pages @

They now also run Maun Rest Camp, which is a nice and quiet campsite for self-drives.
It's got spacious camping lots under big trees and is a favourite for birders. There is
no bar or restaurant but as the Bridge operates Maun Restcamp they run a boat
transfer across to the Bridge Backpackers.
email them at

For preparation..:

Not to much choice if you prefer tar - although it's getting better. Especially
Botswana keeps on taring more and more roads that were previously
not more than heavily sanded tracks.
Maps for Namibia: Official Roadmap. Smaller scale but very acurate and
highly detailed map. Only available in Namibia. World Mapping Project. Very
detailed and correct. One of the best. Road Atlas of Namibia. Including
 highly detailed maps of all parks. Probably the best for Namibia.
Maps for Botswana: Shell Tourist Map. Slightly outdated but still very accurate
and detailed. Available only in Botswana! Globetrotter Travel Map. Very good
scale. Very detailed. Lots of info. Freytag & Berndt. Very detailed map although
occasionally wrong. Maps for South Africa: Globetrotter Travel Map. Larger
scale. Doesn't show all roads/tracks but very good for planning & overview.
For bigger trips you will need Michelin: Afrika - Central  and South.
Also check locally as many new maps seem to hit the markets in
recent days.
Flights into the region mostly go to Windhoek. Air Namibia is worth
checking out, as is South African Airways (SAA) for flights via Johannesburg.
Another alternative is LTU that flies (from America to) Germany to Windhoek
and on to Cape Town. Cheap, excellent service, and the bike goes as
sports equipment!
Very important: precautions against Malaria. I'm not familiar with every
available prophylactic medicine that may be available in your country.
In any case: talk to a physician!

Helpful information..:

5000 km by Bike in Namibia and Botswana
Cycling Namibia

Sunvil Discovery Africa - Namibia - Guide On Line - Botswana
Botswana Map
Tourism - Republic of Botswana