25 Night Botswana & Zimbabwe Self-drive (Jnb-Jnb)

A self-drive itinerary focusing on Zimbabwe

Start and end in Johannesburg and explore the Tuli Block in Botswana as well as Matopos, Hwange, Chizarira, Matusadona, Mana Pools and Gonarezhou National Parks in Zimbabwe.

This itinerary is roughly a 60/40 split between camping and lodge-based accommodation.

*Indicative price is per person and based on 2 people travelling off-peak*


Mashatu, Matopos, Hwange, Chizarira, Matusadona, Mana Pools, Great Zimbabwe, Gonarezhou

Drive Botswana
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Drive Botswana


Day 1

After picking up your vehicle and camping equipment in Johannesburg, travel 2 1/2 hours north to spend the night at Matamba Bush Campsite in the Waterberg area, conveniently situated for entering Botswana the next day. Dinner is included on your first night camping.


Day 2 – 3

Cross into Botswana and drive to Mashatu Tent Camp. Mashatu is situated in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve with a swimming pool, and bar terrace area overlooking a waterhole.

Tuli is a place of rugged beauty – rocky outcrops, dry bushveld savannah and the Limpopo, Motloutse and Shashe Rivers with their pools of water, attracting a rich variety of wildlife.


Day 4

Drive north as far as Francistown, spending the night camping at Woodlands stop-over, just outside the town. Spend the night at Woodlands – a private farm by the dry Tati River.


Day 5 – 6

Cross into Zimbabwe and drive to the Matobo Hills area where you spend two nights at Big Cave Camp. Matobo Hills is a World Heritage site and Big Cave borders the Matobo National Park.


Day 7

Spend the next three days camping in the Hwange National Park. The first night is spent at Kennedy an exclusive campsite in the south of the park.


Day 8 – 9

Continue to Deteema Dam for the next two nights. Hwange National Park occupies roughly 15 000 sq km and game sightings are excellent especially in the dry winter months from May to October.


Day 10

Accommodation for the final night in Hwange is in a private concession outside the park at Sable Sands. Sheltered by Sikumi forest, with stunning views over the Dete Vlei, Sable Sands has 11 traditionally thatched rondavels.


Day 11 – 12

Leave Hwange and make your way towards Lake Kariba via Chizarira National Park. Spend two nights camping at the exceptionally scenic Mucheni View campsite. Chizarira is one of Zimbabwe’s off the beaten track destinations, but well worth a visit – the drive into the park is a rough track winding up the mountain through teak forest – a real journey of discovery.


Day 13

Continue to Kariba stopping off to camp at Gache Gache Lodge en-route.


Day 14 – 16

Drive to Kariba where you leave your vehicle and transfer by boat to Rhino Safari Camp in the Matusadona National Park. Rhino Safari Camp is an authentic bushcamp overlooking the lake, and offers guests a true walking safari and a taste of the traditional African bush experience.

Activities are centred on walking safaris, and guiding is of a very high standard.  The wildlife in the area is prolific and to track it each day on foot is a memory that will last a lifetime.


Day 17 – 18

After returning to Kariba, drive to Mana Pools, where you spend the next three nights. Mana Pools is a beautiful park, with Mana (meaning ‘four’ in Shona) referring to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the Zambezi. The river and its islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, ebonies and baobabs make for picturesque scenery – a perfect backdrop for wildlife photographs.


Day 19

The final night in Mana Pools is at the exciting Chitake Springs campsite in the middle of the park.


Day 20

Make your way south, overnighting at Pamuzinda Safari Lodge near the town of Chegutu.


Day 21

Drive to Masvingo where you spend the next night at the Lodge at the Ancient City – a unique hotel built around a granite outcrop in the same style as the nearby Great Zimbabwe ruins. The Lodge integrates seamlessly with the surrounding trees and boulders of the site with dry stonewalling and soaring thatch structures.


Day 22

The last three nights in Zimbabwe are spent in Gonarezhou National Park. Chipinda Pools campsite is 9km from the gate, and is the main campsite in the park as well as being the administrative headquarters. The campsites are attractively set overlooking the Runde River and have water and ablution facilities.


Day 23

The following night is spent at Chilojo campsites, spectacularly set along the banks of the Runde river, looking across to the cliffs on the far side.




Day 24

The final night is spent at Rossi Pools, 18km from Mabalauta along a gravel road. This is another picturesque site – very private and overlooking the Nuanetsi River and its rock pools several metres below. There is a basic thatched area which is useful for preparing meals, as well as a basic pit toilet.


Day 25

Leave Zimbabwe and cross back into South Africa where you spend the night at the African Roots Guest House in Polokwane – conveniently situated for getting back to Johannesburg the following day.


Day 26

Return the vehicle in Johannesburg before your flight out.


  • 26 days 4×4 vehicle and equipment hire incl one way fees (vehicle with R20,000 insurance excess)
  • GPS with Tracks4Africa
  • Satellite phone rental
  • All accommodation and camping fees
  • Meals where stated
  • Airport transfers
  • Guided activities at Mashatu Tent Camp & Rhino Safari Camp
  • 1x Guided Safari at Sable Sands
  • Boat Transfer to Rhino Safari Camp
  • Trip handbook, directions & maps


International flights; Personal insurance; Visa / border fees; National park / Reserve entrance fees