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
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBOO
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
513kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Stay two nights at Victoria Falls – enough time for just a glimpse of everything this amazing destination offers.
  • You will visit the only place in Botswana where both the white and black Rhinoceros’ still remain: the Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
  • Camping on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget. You can sleep under a sky bursting with stars!
  • Get your paddles out and navigate a mokoro through the Okavango Delta.
  • Try and spot the famous elephants of Chobe National Park swimming in the river – which boast the largest concentration of African elephants in the world.
  • Explore the magnificent Makgadikgadi Salt Pans; one of the largest in the world. Just don’t get caught by a mirage!

Itinerary

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
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 your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip 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 so please ensure you have all details on hand 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.
Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (600 km, approx 8-10 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 destination today is Maun (550 km, approx 8-9 hrs).
Maun is the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies needed for the journey.
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.
Camp on the outskirts of town at a simple campsite with shared facilities.
The camp has the option to upgrade and access to WiFi.
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).
Visit a local rural village for an insight into life in the Okavango Delta.
Camp on the outskirts of town at a simple campsite with shared facilities.
Once again upgrades and WiFi access are available.
Up early this morning we hit the road for Nata. (Approximately 305kms, 6-7 hours drive).
Nata is a small town located close to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans - some of the largest salt flats in the world, covering around 12,000 sq km.
This afternoon you have the opportunity to explore the pans 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.
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.
Hit the road bound for Chobe National Park ( 315km, approx 6-7hrs ).
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.
The camp tonight has WiFi access, upgrades possible and is close to a supermarket.
Travel on to Victoria Falls (Approximately 100kms, 2-3 hours). 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.
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.

The Victoria Falls campsite has an ATM on site, WiFi available and upgrades possible.
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.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

For those of you who are planning on spending a few extra days in Vic Falls there are various activities and excursions available - either on the water, on land or high above it all. Choose from white water rafting, canoeing, the flying fox, or gorge swinging (please see the 'Optional Activities' below for more details on what you can see and do around Victoria Falls).

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.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
Transport
Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with shared facilities) (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)
Included activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Game drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro trips & bushwalks
  • Maun - Local village visit
  • Nata Pan Trip
  • Chobe River Cruise
  • Victoria Falls

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.

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 Okavango Experience trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 126 reviews in the last year.

Okavango Experience , April 2016

Okavango Experience , April 2016

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