Travel to Africa and jump onboard an exhilarating journey through the magnificent nations of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Southern Africa is bursting with a diverse array of wildlife, culture and landscapes - all waiting to be 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 water 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.

Start
Cape Town, South Africa
Finish
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Countries
Botswana,
Namibia,
South Africa,
Zimbabwe
Themes
Overland
Code
UBKEC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 13
Carbon offset
1 165kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Devour fresh seafood with great views in Lamberts Bay at an open air restaurant
  • Canoe along the picturesque Orange River on a half-day excursion
  • Experience an eerie silence at the Sossusvlei sand dunes from atop of dune 45
  • Spend 2 nights on a houseboat as your base for exploring the Okavango Delta
  • Drive through the Elephant Highway between Nata & Kasane
  • Relax on a sunset cruise along the Chobe River spotting bird life and hippos, watching the sunset with sundowner in hand
  • Learn more about the Kalahari from the knowledgeable San people as they sing and dance by the campfire
  • Head out on a morning game drive in open 4x4's in the Chobe National Park
  • The scale of Fish River Canyon is staggering, but stunning African birdlife and a colour-changing sunset makes it so much more than one of the world's largest gorges

Itinerary

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

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. For those with time here before the trip starts, highly recommended excursions include catching the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain, taking the ferry across to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years), or the day trip down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Peninsula.
Special Information
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.
Depart Cape Town and travel along the west coast to the small seaside town of Lamberts Bay (approximately 3–4 hours). Its white beaches, lobsters and incredible wildlife earned this place the nickname ‘diamond of west coast’. It's also simply a quaint fishing town tucked into the western Cape Province, best explored by foot. You'll visit Cape Gannet Island today. At the right time of the year, you might 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 Lambert's 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 see them wheel, land and settle into their designated positions. Sit down to a delicious feast at a local open-air restaurant, where the amazing ocean views are sure to dazzle.
Farewell your coastal retreat as you cross the border into Namibia. You should reach your destination on the banks of the Orange River by mid-afternoon. The border crossing and a few photo stops could delay this arrival a little. This is the longest river in South Africa, running from high up in the Drakensberg mountain range and on to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is significant for its role in transporting diamonds which in turn leaves deposits that are found along the Namibian coastline.
Kick things off with a half-day canoe adventure along the Orange River today. You will wind through the ancient Richtersveld Mountains.
The canoe trip will be done in 2 man canoes with a local guide. It is a slow paced trip covering approximately 10km and we should be travelling down stream for most or all of the trip.
After you have returned to land you'll venture to the Fish River Canyon, one of the biggest canyons in the world. Along the way you will stop at various lookouts, all great opportunities to catch this beautiful and gigantic gorge on camera. Look out for some exotic birdlife while you’re here: plovers, wagtails, hammerkops and herons. You might even catch a glimpse of a baboon or an antelope at dusk if you're lucky.
Head to the eastern edge of the Namib Desert today. This region of the world's oldest desert is known for its array of geological features. Take in the diversity and sprawling beauty of the scenery as you drive to your lodgings for the night.
Today you will make an early morning visit to Sossusvlei, which lies at the end of an ancient riverbed. If you find yourself in the mood, a climb to the top of Dune 45 will reward you with unparalleled views of the region.
After breakfast head to Dead Vlei. A clay pan well known for the iconic postcard like images taken here by many. The pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world, "Big Daddy" or "Crazy Dune" average about 350m.
If you'd like to avoid a long walk in the sun you can opt to pay for a 4x4 transfer from the 2x2 car park out to the Dead Vlei entrance point. This will cost approximately 100NAD per person.
In the afternoon you will visit Sesriem Gorge, tranquil natural corridor you can walk through and explore. The canyon was caused by a continental shift two to four million years ago in the 18-million year old rocks. The people who lived in the area used to pull buckets of water up from the depths with six knotted belts. Therefore, the canyon was named after the Afrikaans word “Sesriem” meaning “six belts”.
Depart your desert lodge and travel across the Namib Desert today, a trip culminating in the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean coastline. The drive goes through a beautiful, diverse, colourful landscape. You'll see the awesome Kuiseb Canyon along the way, before arriving at the beachside town of Swakopmund, located on the Skeleton Coast.
Special Information
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.
Enjoy some free time in this pretty coastal spot. Your accommodation is within walking distance of town. Perhaps go for a stroll along the beach, explore the open-air markets or visit the local museum. The Namibian National Marine Aquarium is also a good choice. There are plenty of options on offer at the local activity centre, which your leader will take you to.

Notes: We have not risk-assessed all activities, and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure about anything, please check with your local guide. Please note that it is against company policy for leaders or guides to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to our Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
Get off the beaten track and head into the heart of Damaraland. Today is a long travel day and you should arrive at your lodge early this evening. Accommodation for the next two nights is situated on the banks of the Hoanib River in the Khowarib Gorge. Ensuite tented chalets have viewing platforms over the riverbank with outdoor bathrooms.
Home to Namibia's highest peak, ancient rock paintings and petrified forests, the harshly beautiful and sparsely populated Damaraland region is a land of spectacular contrasts.
Today is a free day for you to explore this area and perhaps look at some of the optional activities that the lodge staff can organise for you including guided nature walks, a village visit to meet the local Himba people, or a 4x4 safari to track Elephants.
Daytime temperatures often peak around 30°C here, so sightseeing is best completed as early as possible, before the thermometer climbs too high. Spend the remainder of the day back at the camp, perhaps by the pool or relaxing in the shade.
This morning you'll visit surrounding sights such as Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest. Keep your eyes peeled for desert elephants, which you might be lucky enough to come across, depending on the season. There's also the black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik, all of which you have the chance to spot during game drives. 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 hard to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to allow for some sightings. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores here.
Many of the roads we travel on today will be untarred and often corrogated. They are some of the worst on this itinerary so be prepared from some extra bumps.
We will be accompanied by local guides at both the Petrified forest and the Twyfelfontein sites. The guided walks take between 30-60mins and although not difficult there are some steep rocks and hills at the Twyfelfontein site. It can get hot at this time of day so be sure to have a hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water with you.
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in the truck before returning to the lodge. You might like to finish up the day by taking a refreshing dip in the pool, or enjoying a drink with your fellow travellers to reflect on the day's adventure.
From Etosha National Park you will head to Windhoek, an old German colonial town, now a cosmopolitan centre. The Germanic colonial architecture of this city contributes to its charming feel. You'll arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. 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. This evening you may wish to join the rest of the group for an optional welcome dinner.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location.
Cross the border into Botswana and travel to Ghanzi, known as the "Capital of the Kalahari".
Accommodation tonight is at a community project in Ghanzi and a bit more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey, however the concept and experience of Dqae Qare San Lodge will be well worth it.

The Dqae Qare San Lodge is run and owned by the local San Bushmen people and supports the San D'Kar community through employment.
There is an impressive concentration of bird life here and you may wish to go for a walk before dinner to stretch your legs after the long driving day.

A 3 course meal prepared by the local women will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. There is also an 'honesty' bar with wine, beer and soft drinks available to buy.

Later this evening we will be treated to a real cultural experience and interaction with the local Bushmen. As we sit around the camp fire the Bushmen will share their extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari and culture through stories and traditional dancing.
Head to the Okavango Delta, where we board speedboats that will take us to your home for the next two nights, a houseboat in the middle of the Okavango Delta. Please note you will need to pack a small bag or backpack for this trip as we won't be taking all of our luggage with us.

Your floating home for the next 2 nights is the most incredibly peaceful way to experience the delta. The houseboat has twin-share cabins with bedding, towels and mosquito nets provided (no single supplement is available on these nights). Cabins are very small, and basic but we don't expect you'll be spending much time in there. There is also a dining area on the deck, tea/coffee making facilities and a small collection of books and board games.

This evening head to the deck where your captain will serve dinner, enjoy a sundowner, and listen to the sound of the Hippos along the waters edge.

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.
After breakfast we take a speedboat and 4x4 to a nearby poling station. From here you have the opportunity to experience the myriad waterways in traditional dugout canoes (mokoros) with a local guide. Your guide will take you on a nature walk around one of the many Islands in the Delta.
After a picnic lunch, return to the houseboat where you're free to relax, read a book or do some fishing. This evening grab a sundowner, pull up a chair and witness the often breathtaking sunset.
After breakfast, we leave our houseboat behind, and again board the speedboats to take us back to our truck, and then on towards Maun - the gateway of the Okavango Delta.
For those wanting more adventure, there's an opportunity to fly over the delta in a small plane for a bird's-eye view - a great way to appreciate the immensity of this watery world. Your leader can give you more information on this activity and how to book.
Otherwise the afternoon is free to sit by the pool, catch up on emails and laundry.
We depart from our lodge after breakfast and head towards north-east Botswana. Our next stop is the Makgadikgadi Pans; a large salt pan situation in the middle of the dry savanna is located. This pan is now all that remains of the former Lake Makgadikgadi.
Our accommodation tonight is at the magnificent Nata Lodge, which is located on the edge of the pans. Sit by the pool or relax in the lounge area and take in your surroundings after a long day.
Head out to the Makgadikgadi Pans for an afternoon excursion in open 4x4's to one of the largest salt flats in the world before heading to our lodge. Enjoy a sundowner while watching the impressive sunset.
This morning we make tracks after breakfast and travel towards Kasane on the edge of Chobe National Park.
The stretch of road between Nata and Kasane is known as the 'Elephant Highway'. With no fences elephants are free to move between Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and Botswana. So keep your eyes peeled for roadside elephants.
Botswana's first national park, Chobe, is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants.
On the morning of Day 8, you will wake early and take a dawn game drive in Chobe National Park, where you may see elephants drinking at the waters' edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impala within the park. In the afternoon you’ll take a breathtaking cruise on the Chobe River, ideal for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, crocodiles and large families of elephants.
You will spend the next two nights in a lodge overlooking the Chobe River.
This morning we wake early and take a dawn game drive in Chobe National Park, where you may see elephants drinking at the waters' edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impala within the park.

In the afternoon you’ll take a breathtaking cruise on the Chobe River, ideal for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, crocodiles and large families of elephants.
Travel on to Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi. These falls are one of the natural wonders of the world and, when in full flow, form the largest sheet of falling water.

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.

A unique dinner at Boma restaurant is included, which specialises in Zimbabwean barbecue, is the perfect way to spend your evening.
Special Information
Notes: 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.intrepidtravel.com/animal-wel
Your adventure will come to an end after breakfast this morning.

No accommodation is included for tonight, but can be requested at your own expense.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
20 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 17 dinners
Transport
Canoe, Mokoro, Overland vehicle
Accommodation
Chalet (1 night), Guesthouse (2 nights), Hotel (7 nights), Houseboat (2 nights), Lodge (9 nights)
Included activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Lamberts bay - Cape Gannet Island
  • Fish River Canyon
  • Canoe trip - Orange River
  • Sesriem - Sesriem Canyon
  • Sossusvlei Dune 45
  • Etosha National Park - Game drives
  • Damaraland - Twyfelfontein Bushman Paintings
  • Damaraland - Petrified Forest
  • Central Kalahari - Dqae Qare San Cultural Experience
  • Nata Pan Excursion
  • Chobe - Game Drive (4x4)
  • Chobe - River cruise
  • Victoria Falls - Entrance

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please note: the single supplement does not apply to the nights spent on the House Boat (2 nights) and in Ghanzi (1 night)
2. An arrival transfer is included. Please advise flight details at time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel.
3. This is a combination trip made up of 2 shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Windhoek as some group members leave and new ones join you.

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 Amazing Southern Africa trips score an average of 4.86 out of 5 based on 7 reviews in the last year.

Amazing Southern Africa , July 2016

Amazing Southern Africa , July 2016