Travel through South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and experience the Okavango Delta

Enter an aquatic wonderland on this adventure through south-east Africa's iconic waterfalls, rivers and inland waterways. Marvel at the crashing white water of Victoria Falls, the unique, sprawling Okavango Delta and the tranquillity of the natural waterholes in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. Pack a camera and an eye for adventure because these lush pockets of wilderness will reward travellers with exciting animal encounters, awesome photography opportunities and sweet memories to last a lifetime.


Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Countries
Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBOO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Support local conservation by visiting the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, the only place left in Botswana where both black and white rhinos reside

  • Camping on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget. As night falls, the sounds of the African bush are like nothing else

  • Get acquainted with the fine art of 'poling' as you ride a traditional dugout canoe through the lush waterways of the Okavango Delta

  • Go wildlife-spotting along the river at Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants

  • Stay at Victoria Falls to view this thundering spectacle and the enjoy the many optional adventures

Is this trip right for you?

  • Camping out in the Okavango wilderness means digging a bush toilet and going without a shower. For most travellers this is a small price to pay for such a gorgeous remote island location.

  • The African wild comes alive at sunrise, so there will be some early starts. The thrill of spotting your first lion or rhino is well worth any loss of sleep.

  • Purpose-built overland trucks allow for excellent game viewing, equipped with large sliding windows. This means they don't have air-conditioning, however, so they can get dusty and hot.

  • The going can be slow over the long distances and often bumpy roads. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful land.

  • This is a participatory camping trip, so team spirit is key. You'll be helping out with camp setup, food preparation and cleaning.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 04 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg, a city of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps visit the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is well worth your time.

Notes: Please make sure that if you explore Johannesburg on your own that you get local advice as to where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. The level of crime here may be higher than what you are used to.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Apartheid Museum - ZAR75
  • Gold Reef City and Heritage mine tour - ZAR360
  • Museum Africa - ZAR40
  • Art Gallery - ZAR60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a conversion of a former hunting area into a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana's only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen around the many natural waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and contributes to the protection of the highly endangered white rhinoceros. Later, head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are at their most active. At your camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Jump aboard the truck and head to Maun (approximately 8–9 hours). Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies you might need for the journey ahead. Maun is the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This place is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and prolific wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But it's not the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incrediblly diverse ecosystem and atmospheric waterscapes. Tonight you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, WiFi and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Traverse the waterways by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe navigated by friendly local 'polers'. With some luck, you might spot some of the delta's unusual wildlife and exotic birdlife. Spend time exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot, led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. Tonight you will camp on a remote island in the heart of the wilderness. In this far-out spot, facilities are non-existent, so you will dig a bush toilet and go without a shower. It's all part of the Okavango experience. At night, fall asleep to the humming and buzzing of the African wilderness.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up early and venture out for a sunrise walk. Along the way, keep watch for some elephants. You might also come across some Cape buffalo, if the timing is right. These rather noble-looking creatures are more dangerous than they look, and their horns make for a kind of bone shield that's fittingly known as a 'boss'. Returning to camp for breakfast, take the rest of the day to relax. A refreshing swim, or perhaps a nap, is a good idea in the warmer part of the day. Alternatively, take another mokoro trip to soak up more of that delightful river atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After taking down your camp, take the mokoro back to the poling station and then travel once again to Maun (approximately 2–3 hours). Today you'll visit a rural village and interact with some of the locals. This will give you an insight into daily life on the Okavango Delta and perhaps some background history on these awesome sprawling waterways that are the lifeblood of many. Tonight you will camp on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite which has shared facilities. WiFi and optional upgrades are available.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Maun - Local village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Get up early and hit the road for Nata (approximately 6–7 hours). This small town is situated just near the stunning Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, which are some of the largest salt flats on earth, covering some 12,000 square kilometres. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the pans in an open vehicle. The pans are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year. During this time the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as heat mirages disorientate the senses. At other times they take on a layer of grass, and as soon as the rains hit they become a refuge for migratory birds and animals. Your campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the pans. It has a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM and bar/lounge area. Upgrades are also offered.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nata Pan Trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Hit the road for Chobe National Park (approximately 6–7 hours). Botswana's first national park is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants, which can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts wallowing hippos, a variety of birdlife, crocodiles sunning themselves by the water's edge, and cheetahs and lions which come down to drink. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe River, a very relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Your camp tonight has WiFi access and optional upgrades. It's also close to a supermarket, so you can stock up on supplies while you're here.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travel on to Victoria Falls today (approximately 2–3 hours). You will cross the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi. Then it's time to experience the sight and sound of the mighty falls. This thundering curtain of water is about a mile wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres and the falls become an impressive raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see little islets in the river below. Your leader will also take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. Your campsite tonight has WiFi, an ATM and optional upgrades.

Notes: Intrepid has not risk-assessed all activities. If you are unsure about any, please check with your leader. Note that it is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to Intrepid's Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in Intrepid vehicles. You may also hear about the Devil's Pool. Intrepid does not recommend this activity, due to the high risk involved. Our leaders cannot assist in organising this activity.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Victoria Falls
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD110
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD175
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD334
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Responsible Travel Note:
You may notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We ask all Intrepid travellers to avoid this activity as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many of our itineraries, we strive to only view animals in their natural habitats and to do so with the greatest level of respect. The lion walking industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions. While activities like lion walking may appear fun and educational, or even claim to be working in the name of conservation, they are unnatural and stressful for the animals involved. Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans often shortens their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues.

Read more about animal welfare and our ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge here:
http://www.intrepidtra
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Those staying longer can choose from various activities and excursions, including white water rafting, canoeing and flying fox rides. For an incredible scenic helicopter flight, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only Intrepid-endorsed operator. Your leader can help you arrange this.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (6 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Game Drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro trip
  • Maun - Local village visit
  • Nata Pan Trip
  • Chobe River Cruise
  • Victoria Falls

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Okavango Experience trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 95 reviews in the last year.

Okavango Experience, November 2016

Susan Kamradt

Okavango Experience, October 2016

Kevin Sullivan