Last Modified: 30 Jan 2013
Amazing Southern Africa
Trip code: UBKEC
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Jump on board an exhilarating journey through the magnificent nations of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Southern Africa is bursting with a diverse array wildlife, culture and landscapes - all waiting to explored and celebrated. Travel through stunning scenery and watch as lush green landscapes give way to harsh desert dunes and rocky mountain peaks. Take to the waters on canoes and in a houseboat, embark on thrilling game drives, be immersed in unique ecosystems and be blown away by the sheer force of Victoria Falls. With welcoming locals and genuine experiences around every corner, this trip is full of surprises.
CHANGES TO THE TRIP FOR 2013:
Please note that this trip will be 1 day longer in 2013 ( 22 days instead of 21 ). Passenger feedback has indicated that Sossusvlei is a highlight of the trip and passengers would prefer to spend 2 nights here instead of just 1 so we have ammended the itinerary accordingly. This trip will still depart on Saturdays.
Table of Contents
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Day 1 Cape Town
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 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.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
With its stunning coastline, dominating mountain and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities. With vineyards on its doorstep, adventure activities around every other corner and plenty of restaurants and cafes to while away the time, Cape Town is a very easy city to spend some extra time in.
- Complimentary airport arrival transfer
- Table Mountain - Hiking, Cape Town - ZAR720.00
- Table Mountain - Cycling, Cape Town - ZAR550.00
- Table Mountain - Aerial cable, Cape Town - ZAR200.00
- Scuba diving (including gear), Cape Town - ZAR730.00
- Abseiling/kloofing, Cape Town - ZAR880.00
- Robben Island tour, Cape Town - ZAR260.00
- South African Museum, Cape Town - ZAR27.00
- District Six Museum, Cape Town - ZAR25.00
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town - ZAR45.00
- South Africa National Gallery, Cape Town - ZAR35.00
- Harbour cruise, Cape Town - ZAR200.00
- Bo-Kaap Museum, Cape Town - ZAR30.00
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Lambert's Bay
Depart Cape Town and travel along the west coast to the small seaside town of Lamberts Bay (370 km, approx 3-4 hrs).
Dubbed the 'diamond of the west coast' because of its white beaches, wildlife and lobsters, Lamberts Bay is a quaint little fishing town in the western Cape Province that's easily explored on foot.
Visit Cape Gannet Island. At the right time of the year you may be lucky enough to view the spectacular flocks of gannet which make use of the spot for breeding in August and September. For birdwatchers, the colony at Lamberts Bay is the most accessible of the six gannet colonies in South Africa and Namibia. They are a spectacular sight in their tightly packed community and it’s an awesome experience to observe their behaviour as they wheel, land and settle into their designated positions.
- Lamberts bay - Cape Gannet Island
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Orange River
Leave the coast and South Africa behind and head north-west, crossing the border to Namibia. Arrive at our lodge on the banks of the Orange River (460 km, approx 8-9 hrs) by mid-afternoon depending on the border crossing and photo stops along the way.
Traditionally known as the Gariep River, the Orange River is the longest in South Africa (2200 km). Its source is high up in the Drakensberg mountain range in Lesotho and it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay in South Africa. The Orange River is responsible for transporting diamonds and creating the deposits that can be found along the Namibian coast.
Cabin (1 nt)
Day 4 Fish River Canyon
Explore the beauty of the Orange River on a half-day canoe adventure through the Richtersveld Mountains, the oldest desert mountains in the world.
Head further west into the desert lands of Namibia towards Fish River Canyon (270 km, approx 4-5 hrs).
At 500 metres deep and over 160 km long, Fish River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world. There are remarkable photographic opportunities here.
Admire the canyon from the viewpoints. Some of the small mammals that live here - including Klipspringer antelopes and baboons - can be seen, especially around dusk, but birds such as herons, hammerkops, plovers and wagtails are more commonly sighted.
Stay in a unique lodge with twin share rooms and private facilities. ( Drive from canyon to lodge approx. 1-2hrs ).
- Orange River - Canoe trail (half day)
- Fish River Canyon
- Canoe trip
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 5 Sossusvlei
Travel to the eastern edge of the Namib Desert (580 km, approx 8-10 hrs), the oldest desert in the world which enjoys an array of geographical and geological features. This is an amazing drive in terms of contrasting scenery.
After arriving at the lodge and enjoying a refreshing swim in the pool, take a short walk to enjoy the sunset and sweeping views of the Namib landscape.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Swakopmund
Venture into the heart of the Namib where there's an opportunity to explore the dunes on foot, enjoying a fascinating desert walk around the scenic sandy desert surroundings.
Also visit the renowned Dead vlei and Sossusvlei ancient lakebeds in the middle of the desert with scattered skeleton camel thorn trees dating back over 1,000 years.
Continue on to the town of Swakopmund (360 km, approx 9 hrs drive).
Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an example of the extraordinary German culture that's found in all major settlements in Namibia. It's worth wandering around the town to admire the beauty of the Germanic architecture and take advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping.
- Sesriem Canyon - Desert dunes climb and walk
- Flying Fox, Swakopmund - USD70.00
- Parasailing, Swakopmund - USD70.00
- Sandboarding, Swakopmund - USD80.00
- Fishing trip, Swakopmund - USD115.00
- Scenic flight, Swakopmund - USD385.00
- Sea kayaking, Swakopmund - USD85.00
- Seal and dolphin cruise, Swakopmund - USD60.00
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 8 Windhoek
Head to Windhoek (360 km, approx 5-6 hrs).
The old German colonial town of Windhoek has been blended into a modern city. The German architecture of the older buildings lends the town a historic atmosphere. Good examples of this German architecture can be seen in a number of buildings but the best are the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 9-10 Damaraland
Get off the beaten track and head into the heart of Damaraland (430 km, approx 7-8 hrs). Today is a long travel day and we should arrive at our camp early this evening.
Damaraland is a region of contrasts. Home to Namibia's highest peak, ancient rock paintings, welwitchia plants and petrified forests, the whole area is a photographer's dream.
Go in search of the elusive desert elephants and other desert-dwelling wildlife.
Permanent tented camp (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Etosha National Park
Travel to Etosha National Park (400 km, approx 7-8 hrs), arriving in time for an afternoon game drive.
Etosha National Park is home to a wide range of Southern Africa's wildlife, including all the big carnivores and five rare or endangered species: black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. The wildlife is prolific and Etosha has every right to proclaim itself as one of the world's pre-eminent wildlife areas. Game viewing in the park is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is difficult to see through but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to usually allow for some sightings. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores.
Enjoy a full day of game spotting, before returning to our lodge outside the park and finishing up the day with a swim in the lodge pool.
- Etosha National Park - Game drives
Lodge (2 nts)
Day 13 Rundu
Head further north to the town of Rundu (580 km, 7-8 hrs).
Rundu is the capital of the Kavango region of Namibia, on the border with Angola. A centre of activity for Namibia's growing Angolan community this is a great place to explore. Why not check out the Khemo open market, and it's many Kavango woodcarvings. You also have the option of taking a sunset cruise, watch traditional dancing or soak up the local vibe in a restaurant.
Spend the night relaxing at our riverside lodge.
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 14-15 Okavango Delta
Cross the border into Botswana and travel to Sepupa (320 km, approx 5-6 hrs), where we board speedboats that will take us to our houseboat.
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.
Head into the delta by mokoro (a local dugout canoe), followed by a nature walk (around 2-3 hours in duration). After enjoying lunch travel back to the houseboat.
Our houseboat has twin-share rooms (no single supplement is available on these nights) and a dining area on the deck.
Please note that on occasions our houseboat won't be available due to regular servicing and maintenance requirements. If this occurs the program will be replaced with alternate land arrangements.
- Okavango Delta - Mokoro tours & game walks
Houseboat (2 nts)
Days 16-18 Caprivi Strip
Take a water transfer back to Sepupa (approx 2 hrs).
Crossing back into Namibia and on to the Caprivi Strip, we take a river drive through Mahango Game Reserve (320 km, approx 2-4 hrs) with the possibility of spotting sable and roan antelopes which the area is famous for. There are also plenty of elephants, lions, buffalo and giraffes.
Visit a local village where we'll get the opportunity to share some cultural experiences with the friendly villagers.
Drive through the Caprivi National Park to our lodge on the banks of the Kwando River, close to the town of Kongola (300 km, approx 4-5 hrs).
- Mahango Game Reserve - Game drive en route to Caprivi Strip
- Negepi - Village visit
Lodge (2 nts), Bungalow (1 nt)
Day 19 Chobe National Park
Crossing the border into Botswana, we have a short drive to Kasane on the edge of Chobe National Park (300 km, approx 4-5 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 cruise on the Chobe River, a very relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
- Chobe - Dawn game drive, Chobe National Park - BWP240.00
Lodge (1 nt)
Days 20-21 Victoria Falls
Travel on to Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi (115 km, approx 3 hrs).
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.
We'll share a final night dinner together.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
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, horse riding, abseiling 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.
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.
- Abseiling, Victoria Falls - USD55.00
- Flying fox, Victoria Falls - USD40.00
- Gorge swing, Victoria Falls - USD90.00
- Helicopter flight (12 mins), Victoria Falls - USD140.00
- Helicopter flight (25 mins), Victoria Falls - USD275.00
- Horseback safari, Victoria Falls - USD80.00
- Jet boat, Victoria Falls - USD95.00
- Rafting & river boarding combo (half day), Victoria Falls - USD180.00
- Sunset cruise Zambezi river, Victoria Falls - USD50.00
- Village & township tour, Victoria Falls - USD50.00
- Bungee jumping, Victoria Falls - USD130.00
Hotel (1 nt)
- UBKEC Single supplement (UBKEC)
- UBKEC Single supplement (UBKEC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Cape Town to Vic Falls (UXOF)
- Classic Southern Africa (UBKGC)
- The Best of Southern Africa (UBKAC)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are distributed directly into The Intrepid Foundation.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
The official currency of South Africa is the Rand (ZAR).
The official currency of Namibia is the Namibian dollar (NAD).
The official currency of Botswana is the Pula (BWP).
The Zimbabwe dollar is no longer in active use. The official currency of Zimbabwe is the US dollar (USD).
The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2004. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2004 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2003 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. The Single Supplement doesn't apply to nights spent on the houseboat.
Hotel (6 nts), Lodge (6 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts), Permanent tented camp (2 nts), Houseboat (2 nts), Bungalow (1 nt), Cabin (1 nt)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
20 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 8 Dinners
Boat, Overland vehicle
Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Intrepid’s fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. In Southern Africa some departures may use vans and luggage trailers subject to group size and vehicle availability. Your vehicle type may differ from those listed above.
There are many long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience which is right for you.
African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.
On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver.
Your Intrepid Group Leader’s role involves organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip and managing trip logistics.
Your Group Leader will work towards making the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid trips are built around the co–operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, especially when tracking and identifying game - we think it's the best of both worlds.
Our Group Leaders are chosen for their leadership skills and are wonderful ambassadors for our company and our beautiful continent and its people.
Your Driver’s main responsibility is to get you to your destination safely; they are also responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles along the way.
We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and driver; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Joining point description
The Hotel Graeme is a small, boutique style hotel located in Green Point, Cape Town, and just a short walk from Cape Town CBD.
Hotel facilities include swimming pool and jacuzzi, pub, laundry and dry cleaning service and wireless Internet access.
All rooms are equipped with ensuite, air-conditioning, satellite TV, tea and coffee making facilities and a safe.
Joining point instructions
If you have pre-booked a transfer, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area near the point you clear customs. Please look for our driver who will be holding a card with your name on it. The driver will wait for an hour after your scheduled arrival time.
If you are unable to find your driver you can call +27 11 4717400 during business hours, or +27 82 8229407 after hours. If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time, please make your own way to the hotel.
Metered official Airport Taxis are also available. The cost to the hotel will be approximately ZAR300 which is payable to the driver. The taxi rank is located just outside the arrivals area. Depending on traffic this should take between 25min and 1hr.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Elephant Hills Hotel
300 Park Way Drive
Finish point description
Elephant Hills Hotel is located on the shores of the Zambezi River, 3kms upstream from the falls.
The hotel has all the facilities you should need for your stay, including a pool and access to the internet.
Finish point instructions
If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time.
If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Citizens of Australia, UK and most EU countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to three months. Citizens of all countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate
As of October 1st 2011, A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is now required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through South Africa, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region. As of October 1st South Africa will also consider Zambia as a country infected by Yellow Fever even though the WHO does not currently list Zambia. All travellers from Zambia into South Africa will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
Currently visas are not required for most nationalities to enter Namibia. Please check with the relevant visa office before departure to make sure there has been no change.
Citizens of Australia, UK, and the US don't need visas to visit Botswana as a tourist for up to three months. Citizens of other countries, including most EU countries, should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
Entry Requirements :
If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you will be required to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate to be allowed entry into Botswana.
We have received unconfirmed reports from our local operator that as of December 1st, 2012 all foreign tourists under the age of 16yrs will be required to carry a copy of their birth certificate in order to enter Botswana. We recommend that passengers under the age of 16yrs carry a copy of their birth certificate just in case.
Zimbabwe visas are required by most nationalities, including from the EU, US and Australia. All nationalities should check with their nearest Zimbabwe Embassy for more information. For most nationalities, Zimbabwe visas are available at the point of entry. If you plan to purchase your visa on arrival you will need US$ cash. The cost is approximately US$30/45.
BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP:
Exit South Africa - Viooldrift
Enter Namibia - Noordoewer
Exit Namibia - Buitepos
Enter Botswana - Mamuno
Exit Botswana - Shakawe
Enter Namibia - Mohembo
Exit Namibia - Mohembo
Enter Botswana - Shakawe
Exit Botswana - Kazangula Road
Enter Zimbabwe - Kazangula Road
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
It is recommended that if you are travelling to Harare you make sure that your Typhoid vaccinations are up to date. There has been an outbreak of typhoid in parts of Harare, with over 1500 cases reported since October 2011. For more information speak to your doctor and see the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in South Africa include:
* Thusanani Children's Foundation works to prevent and treat developmental delay in orphaned and vulnerable South African children, aged 0-6, in Children's Homes (orphanages) where they live. Developmental delay in these children has a far reaching negative impact on their formal schooling in later years and they run the risk of being seen as children with special education needs. Treatment and prevention of developmental delay can set children on the right path that enables them to be contributing members of society, and break the cycle of abuse and poverty.
Carbon Offset C02-e 931.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.