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Best kept secret of Botswana 4x4 trails

Fascinating caves, flaming Kalahari sunsets and real bush camping under clear canopies of stars await avid 4x4 travelers and passionate bush babies on the Botswana 4x4 Isolation trail. The adventurous trail through the barren bushveld of the Kalahari Desert is a rewarding challenge for the ardent Botswana 4x4 safari Botswana lover. Beginning in Makalambedi, the Botswana self-drive route leads you into the heart of Botswana’s golden Kalahari plains before transporting you up into the lush green waterways of Namibia’s Caprivi Strip at Katima Mulilo. 

This is remote country, as wild as it is challenging and certainly not for the faint-hearted. A rough read of the 4x4 forum is strongly recommended. We've put together an overview of the route for your perusal. However, hire 4x4 in Botswana to explore this beautiful country. 

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Heading off from the tiny village of Makalambedi, your Botswana self-drive route takes you through the vast open savannahs and sand dunes of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Explore the fossilised river valleys and sparkling pans on the many Botswana 4x4  trails across the park. Driving through the flat bushveld and Mopane forests is the ideal chance for you to see giraffe, wildebeest as well as the elusive leopard on your Botswana safari.

Deception Valley

As you stand at the top of Deception Valley look out over the sprawling valley floor and flat bushveld of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and breathe in the spirit of the Kalahari, reveling in a unique Botswana tour experience. Follow the Botswana 4x4 tracks along the rim of the valley as it winds through desert dunes and across the park. Keep your eyes peeled for the gemsbok, lion and giraffe lazing in the shelter of the acacia trees before you set up camp round a roaring campfire and enjoy utter solitude.


Leaving the golden plains of the savannah it’s off to Maun to stock up on food and water supplies whilst browsing the local market and shops for some extra spice on your Botswana tour. The gateway to the Okavango Delta, Maun is a fascinating and booming little town. Learn about its history whilst enjoying a cold beer at the Best Western Riley’s Hotel.

Lake Ngami

Once you are rearing to go, follow the Isolation Trail west towards Lake Ngami. The shimmering shallow lake is a stunning fragmented reminder of the ancient Makgadigadi Lake. When the Angola rains have been good the lake bursts into life, teeming with flocks of flamingos and pelicans chasing schools of fish across the shallows. In the drier seasons, follow the Botswana 4x4 trail along the river banks and watch the dry river bed explode in a sea of yellow flowers.

Aha Hills

Aha Hills Sunset

From Lake Ngami the unspoiled, untouched wilderness of the Aha Hills call out to the brave Botswana 4x4 traveler. Ditch the 4x4 and hike across the marble and limestone plateaus in the most remote part of Botswana surrounded by a sea of dunes covered in scrubland.

The hills offer a spectacular position for one of the brightest Botswana safari sunsets overlooking uninterrupted Kalahari bushveld views in all directions.

Gciwihaba (Drotsky) Caves

Head south on your Botswana 4x4 tour and explore the labyrinth of linked passages, bizarre caverns and connected hallways of the Gciwihaba Cave system. There are fascinating frozen waterfalls, crazy rock formations and echoing hallways for you to see before you emerge at the top entrance of the caves for sunset.

Tsodilo Hills

Tsodilo Hills Rock Art

As your Botswana tour leads you further south on the Isolation Trail, the sheer cliff faces of the Tsodilo Hills will rise majestically out of the flat Kalahari bush before you. Standing in stark contrast to the surrounding savannah and shrouded in superstition the four hills are an ancient and sacred spiritual sight of the Basarwa (San) people.


After nearly three weeks of bush-camping Shakawe offers the chance for hot showers, cold beers and great tiger fishing.

Situated on the banks of the Okavango River, Shakawe’s riverine bush is a treat for bird-watchers looking to enjoy the diverse birdlife on their Botswana tour.

Katima Mulilo

Botswana 4x4 Hire

The capital of the lush Caprivi Strip, Katima Mulilo is the end of the isolation trail and your Botswana self-drive safari. From here you can cross the border into Namibia or turn back to Maun for a Botswana safari into the Okavango Delta.

Related articles


Botswana 4x4 routes worth exploring in 2017


A rough guide to Botswana’s Green Season


Botswana 4x4 safari - The road less travelled: Maun to Xakanaxa

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1 Response on this page.Add your own

  1. Gravatar Ann says:

    Hi I am looking for info on the 4x4 trail in Kgalagadi on the Botswana side.
    1. What is the cost of the trail?
    2. I believe there are 2 different routes the one going to Mabuhsahebu and the other returning to Nossob area.
    3. The return route is 2 nights, back to Nossob?  Is this correct?
    4.  The route out is only 1 night?
    5. How do I book?  I have the fax number is that the best option?
    Many thanks

    Reply to this comment

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