Visit South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe for the ultimate southern Africa experience.

Visit Southern Africa and travel from Johannesburg, through the Kruger National Park, to Victoria Falls and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary before returning to South Africa. Here's a chance to witness golden sunsets, camp in remote wilderness, safari through African plains and cruise rivers filled with iconic wildlife. Journey through South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and be amazed by powerful waterfalls, enchanted by encounters with endangered species and inspired by the resolve of communities emerging from darker times. Experience Southern Africa and walk away with renewed hope, inspiration and a heart full of memories.

Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Johannesburg, South Africa
Countries
Botswana,
South Africa,
Zimbabwe
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBSCC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
760kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Camp under an Africa sky within Kruger National Park. You can’t get much closer to nature than that!
  • Stay on a working cattle ranch and Nguni stud farm. You will have the opportunity to visit and interact with local villagers nearby.
  • Spot wildlife in Chobe National Park during a sunset river cruise. This is the time many animals – such as elephants, cheetahs and lions – come to drink so get your cameras ready!
  • Experience untouched wilderness of Botswana's Okavango Delta by staying on a remote island bush camp. At night, the sounds of the African bush are the only things you will hear.
  • Visit the only place in Botswana where both the white and black Rhinoceros’ still remain: the Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
  • Cycle through the colourful streets of Soweto with a local and hear firsthand about the townships’ rough but inspired history.

Itinerary

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Johannesburg is a sprawling city of remarkable contrasts. In the townships, mansions stand alongside tin shacks and there are as many green parks on the outskirts of the city as there are conglomerations of concrete in the centre. This is a good place to spend a couple of days to get an insight into South Africa's history, and it's a great base for exploring the rest of the country.
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 is higher than what you are probably used to, and the risk can be minimised by getting local advice.
Leave Johannesburg and travel through the Mpumalanga Province, journeying along the famous Panorama Route through some of the most stunning scenery South Africa has to offer. The sights en route include God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels (Sisters) and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon (675km, approx 11-12 hrs).
One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.
Our wildlife experience begins as soon as we enter the park. We head straight into prime game viewing areas where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing animals found here.
Our campground within the park has shared facilities, hot and cold water and upgrades available (subject to availability).
Rise early and have a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a morning game drive in the truck. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints.
Tonight you will head out on an open vehicle night drive, an amazing experience and a chance to witness the nocturnal activities of the many animals within the park.
Enjoy a final game drive while travelling out of Kruger National Park.
Make our way towards the bushveld town of Mokopane ( 335km, approx 6hrs).
Mokopane is a vibrant town within the Limpopo region, with its rich mineral deposits and well established farm land contributing to the local economy.
Upgrades are possible tonight.
Tonight we set up camp just outside of Mokopane on a working cattle farm called Thabaphaswa. “Thabaphaswa” means in the local dialect, the black and white mountain and is located in a natural basin and surrounded by hills.
Tonight we experience South African farm hospitality on this operating Nguni Stud Farm. The Nguni is the most colourful cattle breed of Africa and is deeply intertwined with the traditions and cultures of the local people. We settle into our campsite before departing on a visit to one of the local villages not far from the farm where we visit a traditional artist and gain some more insight into the local culture. Feast on a traditional dinner prepared by our hosts in the village, before returning to our campsite for a night under the African skies.
Back on the road heading for Palapye (320km, approx 6 hours)
Our campsite tonight is at a cosy campsite in Palapye and only a short distance from town. Facilities include an evening restaurant, swimming pool, bar/lounge area and upgrades possible.
Today we drive from Palapye to Nata (380kms, approx 6 hours)
Our campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which makes up one of the largest salt pans in the world covering some 12,000sq km.

Facilities include a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM, bar/lounge area and upgrades possible.
While here you have the opportunity to explore the pans on 3hr excursion in open vehicles.

Surrounded by the Kalahari Desert 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. However they are seasonally covered with water and grass and as soon as the rains hit become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.
Travel on to Victoria Falls (380 km, approx 7-8 hrs). Cross the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi.
Visit the magnificent Victoria Falls.
The Victoria Falls are an enormous curtain of water, about a mile wide, falling 108 m into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 m and the falls are an impressive raging torrent. The spray from the falls can sometimes be seen from kilometres away. It's no wonder that the local name Mosi oa Tunya means the 'smoke that thunders'. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and it's possible to see little islets in the river below.
Our camp tonight has shared facilities, WiFi access, ATM and upgrades possible.
Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. We have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure please check with your leader.
Please 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 our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
If you are interested in the Optional Helicopter flight ( 12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange this activity.
Responsible Travel Note:
During your visit to the Victoria Falls area you may notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass this activity as it is contrary to Intrepid's Responsible Travel guideline stating that we 'actively discourage the participation of Intrepid groups in activities which exploit animals - wild or domestic.' Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans can shorten their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards lion research, we feel that the negative impacts on the lions' rehabilitation far outweigh this.

Safety Note:
While at Victoria Falls you may hear about Devils Pool. Intrepid does not recommend this activity due to the high risk involved. Our leaders cannot assist in organising this activity.
Travel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (90 km, approx 2-3 hrs).
Botswana's first national park, Chobe, 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.
Our camp is outside of Chobe National Park and has flush toilets, showers, WiFi access and upgrades available.
There's time for an additional game drive (optional) for those who would like to further explore this beautiful park.
Head to Maun (615 km, approx 10-11 hrs), gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta.
Camp on the outskirts of town at a simple campsite with shared facilities. Upgrades and WiFi are available.
** Please see Important Notes for revised itinerary**
Travel into the unspoiled wilderness for an adventurous bush camping experience.
Formed by the Okavango River as it flows from the highlands of Angola down to a basin on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta is unlike anything else in the world. The river has no outlet from the desert and spreads out into thousands of small streams to form a wilderness that is totally unspoilt. The 16,000 sq km maze of wetlands is a wonderland of clear meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and prolific wildlife. The delta is filled with a diversity of flora and fauna that includes hippos, crocodiles, elephants and the big cats. However, it's not for the game that we come as it can't always be found. The delta is about exploring one of the world's most fascinating ecosystems.
Traverse the waterways by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe navigated by friendly local 'polers'. With luck, you might spot some of the delta's unusual wildlife and prolific birdlife. Spend time exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot, led by experienced and knowledgeable guides.

Camp on a remote island in the heart of the wilderness. Dig a bush toilet and go without a shower, it's all part of the Okavango experience. At night, the sounds of the African bush are the only things you will hear - a true wilderness experience!
Wake up early and venture out on a sunrise walk hoping to catch a glimpse of some elephants and Cape buffalo. Returning to camp for breakfast, take the rest of the day to relax, take a swim or test your poling skills before heading out for an afternoon walk or perhaps another mokoro trip - the choice is yours.
After taking down our camp, take the mokoro back to the poling station before transferring back to Maun (60 km, approx 2-3 hrs).

Camp on the outskirts of town at a simple campsite with shared facilities.
Travel to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (550 km, approx 9-10 hrs).
Situated on the edge of the vast Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a result of local efforts to convert 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, which have all moved in and can be seen around the many natural waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities, as well as contributing to the protection of the highly endangered white rhinoceros.
Head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are at their most active before returning to camp. At camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Our campsite has shared facilities and upgrades available.
Please note: Our dusk game drive will be replaced with a dawn game drive if the tour arrives at the sanctuary late for any reason.
Cross the border into South Africa and travel on to Soweto, a township of Johannesburg (633 km, approx 10-11 hrs).
Johannesburg is a sprawling city of remarkable contrasts. In the townships, mansions stand alongside tin shacks and there are as many green parks on the outskirts of the city as there are conglomerations of concrete in the centre. This is a good place to spend a couple of days to get an insight into South Africa's history, and it's a great base for exploring the rest of the country.
Take to the streets of Soweto on bicycle and learn about the Soweto uprising and the resistance against apartheid, how the community has changed and developed to what it is today, and visit a former migrant workers' hostel and many other local landmarks.

We should finish our cycle adventure at around 3pm.

No accommodation is provided for the last day but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Johannesburg. Please ask at time of booking.

Please don't book any international flights until after 8pm this evening.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 12 dinners
Transport
Boat, Mokoro, Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (9 nights), Farmstay (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Hotel (1 night)
Included activities
  • Kruger Park - Game drive
  • Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint
  • Thabaphaswa - Village Visit & Dinner
  • Nata Pan Excursion
  • Victoria Falls Entrance
  • Chobe - River cruise
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro trips & bushwalks
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Game drive
  • Soweto - Cycle tour

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. This is a combination trip made up of 2 shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Victoria Falls as some group members leave and new ones join you.
3. This trip finishes in Soweto on Day 16 after our cycle adventure. Please don't book any international flights until after 8pm this evening.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Experience Southern Africa trips score an average of 4.75 out of 5 based on 8 reviews in the last year.

Experience Southern Africa , February 2016

Experience Southern Africa , February 2016

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