Brave the wilds of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa in style on an exhilarating adventure with lashings of comfort

Visit Africa and travel through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa on a tour from Windhoek to Johannesburg. Embark on a journey through bountiful Botswana, rich in natural beauty, thrilling wildlife encounters and fun local interaction. Experience exciting game drives, enjoy life aboard a houseboat, see ancient rock art and feel the power of Victoria Falls. Continue south to Hwange National Park, known for its elephant population, Matobo National Park to track rhinos and, finally, visit famous Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five.


Start
Windhoek, Namibia
Finish
Johannesburg, South Africa
Destinations
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Style
Comfort
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBKHC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Spend 2 nights on a houseboat as your base for exploring the Okavango Delta

  • Discover the beauty of Chobe River with a morning game drive in open 4WDs before spotting bird life and hippos on a sunset cruise with sundowner in hand.

  • Get drenched by the raw power of mighty Victoria Falls

  • Explore the Makgadikgadi Pans; scenery, sundowners, Baobabs and Meerkats!

  • Check out the large elephant populations of Hwange National Park on a 4WD game drive. Hwange also boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals.

  • Track rhinos on foot with an expert local guide in Matobos National Park – an exhilarating way to experience the wildlife of Zimbabwe - then witness ancient rock paintings and learn about the San people.

  • Experience Kruger with game drives in open-top 4x4 vehicles in both private game reserves and Kruger National Park.

  • Stay in comfortable lodges and hotels for the duration of the journey.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This itinerary includes 2 nights on a house boat at the Okavango Delta. Cabins are small and basic with shared facilities.

  • We use our purpose-built overland vehicles for the duration of this trip. It is important to note that while our vehicles are not air-conditioned, all windows do open to allow for fresh air. But please be aware that road travel in Africa comes with its fair share of dust, so while curtains are fitted to minimize the sun shine, it can get hot and windy.

  • This itinerary features some long travel days which can be exacerbated by bumpy African roads.

  • Our overland safaris do not necessitate exceptional fitness levels, but a general level of physical movement is required. For example, you need to judge yourself physically fit enough to handle entering and exiting our vehicles several times a day and must be prepared for some long travel days.

  • Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip. To see what you're missing out on check out our Best of Southern Africa trip.

  • Botswana is a very seasonal destination. What you see and experience can differ quite dramatically depending on the time of year you visit. Please consider this before you choose your departure date. See the 'Climate and Seasonal' section for more details.

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

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
On arrival in Windhoek, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel. Please arrive in time for the important 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.

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.

If you're interested in seeing a little more of Namibia before you head off on your Botswana Adventure, why not consider our Namibia Dunes Shortbreak (UBAS-C). The shortbreak starts and finishes in Windoek and gives you an opportunity to discover one of the most incredible landscapes in Namibia when you pay a visit to the barren dunes of Soussusvlei.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is 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.
Cross the border into Botswana and travel to Ghanzi, known as the "Capital of the Kalahari" (560km approximately 8hrs). Accommodation tonight is at a lodge just outside the small cattle ranching town of Ghanzi and a bit more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey, however the concept and experience will be well worth it. The lodge is situated in the Kalahari region of Botswana that is inhabited by a large portion of Botswanas’ San community. Unemployment is one of the main social issues that affect the San community, who have become an increasingly marginalized minority is Southern Africa . The lodge helps empower the community through employment. A traditional San/Southern African meal will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. There is also an 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 locals. Around the campfire, you will experience the ancient dance rituals of the San, with a chance to chat afterwards. On special occasions this could be a healing or trance dance, which can continue all night, and is an intense spiritual experience for both participants and visitors alike.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Central Kalahari - San Cultural Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Before breakfast this morning there will be a chance to go out on an optional walk with a member of the San community. The San are renowned as the most skillful trackers on Earth and have an extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari for both plants and animal tracking. Here you will be shown the wide variety of both edible and medicinal plants, while also tracking a variety of animals and learning about their habits. Of course, you will also spend quality time with your guide to understand their very different world view. Head to the Okavango Delta (400km approximately 7hrs), where we board speedboats that will take us to your home for the next two nights, a houseboat in the Okavango Delta Panhandle. 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 with shared facilities however 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.
Accommodation
  • Houseboat (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Speedboat Cruise
Optional Activities
  • Central Kalahari - Bush Walk - BWP80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast we take a speedboat and 4WD 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 short 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.
Accommodation
  • Houseboat (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Speedboat Cruise
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 (350km approximately 6 hrs). 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Speedboat Cruise
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Plane Scenic Flight - From USD75 - USD390
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
We depart from our lodge after breakfast and head towards north-east Botswana (210km approximately 4hrs). 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 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 4WDs to one of the largest salt flats in the world. Here you’ll sit out in the wild enjoy sundowners and snacks while observing the amazing scenery. With the aid of trackers you may have the opportunity to spend some time in the company of the local meerkat colony, and look out for elephants that meander their way down to the watering hole to quench their thirst. Soak in this incredible place while the sun sets behind the old beautiful baobab.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Makgadikgadi Pans - Meerkat Pan Experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Accommodation tonight is simple but comfortable rondavels which are equipped with ceiling fans, tea and coffee facilities, mosquito nets and outdoor enclosed shower & toilet.

During the wetter months the pan sometimes floods and the Meerkat Experience activity may not be available. In these instance this activity will be replaced with an afternoon game drive at Chobe National Park the following day.
This morning we make tracks after breakfast and travel towards Kasane on the edge of Chobe National Park (410km approximately 7hrs). 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. You will spend the next two nights in a lodge on the banks of the Chobe River.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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. The boat trip will be a shared activity with other travellers. There will be an opportunity to have a sundowner drink and watch the sunset over the river.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River Safari Cruise
  • Chobe National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Travel on to Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi (100km approximately 2hrs depending on border formalities). 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. 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. An included local brewery tour and a tasting paddle is a great way wash down the thrill of witnessing the magnificent falls.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Entrance & Visit
  • Victoria Falls - Brewery Tour and Tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
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.

Read more about animal welfare and our ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge here:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/animal-welfare
Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer. There will be another Welcome Meeting at 6pm to meet the new group members joining today. Please let you leader know if you will not take part in this meeting.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your 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 meet your new fellow travelers.
Depart Victoria Falls and hit the road to Hwange National Park (approximately 5 hours drive) via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, one of The Intrepid Foundation projects. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and their role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care.

In the afternoon enjoy a game drive within the Hwange National Park. Your vehicle of choice here is an open 4x4 vehicle that'll have you feeling like you're part of the action. Hwange, the largest park in Zimbabwe, was designated as a national park in 1929 after acting as the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century. The park is particularly famous for its elephants and is home to one of the largest populations in the world, as well as a huge variety of wildlife including over 100 mammals and nearly 400 bird species.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave Hwange in your dust as you make tracks for Matobo National Park. Shortly after leaving Hwange stop at the Painted Dog Conservation Centre. The loss of quality habitat and poaching are driving the painted dogs towards extinction. Learn about how they they protect and increase the range and numbers of painted dogs in Zimbabwe and the Hwange ecosystem as a whole. Then it's onto  Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. Take a stroll through the streets lined with old colonial buildings and stop in at a local resturant for lunch. Continue on to Matobo where you'll spend the next two nights. This area has great significance, both culturally and spiritually, to the local people and the rocks balanced in Matobo Hills are thought to be the seats of god and ancestral spirits. The park is home to the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company, and is especially known for its rhino population.

Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange - Painted Dog Conservation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you'll enjoy an unforgettable day tracking rhinos on foot with your local guides. You'll learn about the local plants and trees and their traditional uses, and there'll also be plenty of chances to spot wildlife other than rhinos. The park is home to leopards, hippos, antelope and more, and you'll also learn about the San people who have called this area home for thousands of years. Visit their rock paintings in the hills and spend some time in the nearby villages to meet some of the local community before returning to your lodge for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Open Safari Vehicle Park Visit & San Rock Paintings
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning the group will transfer to Bulwayo Airport and fly to Johannesburg. The afternoon Johannesburg walking tour is a great way to get under the skin of this changing city. With the help of a local guide this tour side skips the usual spots and embraces art, architecture, culture and history. Afterwards your leader will be happy to show the best place to purchase a local dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Johannesburg - Jozi by Foot City Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake early and drive to your lodge located in the Greater Kruger National Park. Arrive in time for lunch, setttle in, then head off for a late afternoon game drive through a private reserve. You'll be in open 4WD vehicles once again and searching for the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo. Enjoy a couple of sunset drinks by one of the waterholes then the game drive will continue into the night. Dinner will be a traditional meal around a fire at the lodge, and the evening is free for you to enjoy a book, chat with your fellow travellers or take a dip in the lodge's swimming pool. 
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Private Game Reserve - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Start the day early and head into Kruger National Park itself, one of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa. Here are some stats: over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species including, of course, the Big Five. Your wildlife experience begins as soon as you enter the park as you're taken into prime viewing areas. Enjoy a picnic breakfast before spending the rest of the day in this incredible park, with time spent watching game, birds and stopping at various waterholes as you go. The group will leave the park in the late afternoon and return to the lodge for another relaxed evening.


Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Another early start will see the group heading out on a bush walk within the property. You'll learn about this region's finer details, including bird, tree and spoor identification from a qualified nature guide. Afterwards, transfer back to Johannesburg. It's a long drive (approx. 9-10 hours) but will be broken up with a visit to the spectacular God's Window viewpoint & Bourke's Luck Potholes. On arrival in Johannesburg your adventure will finish.
Included Activities
  • Kruger Lodge Reserve - Morning Nature Walk
  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourke's Luck Potholes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If flying out tonight please do not book any international flights before 10pm.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 12 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, Mokoro, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Private vehicle, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights), Houseboat (2 nights), Lodge (9 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Central Kalahari - San Cultural Experience
  • Okavango Delta - Speedboat Cruise
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
  • Makgadikgadi Pans - Meerkat Pan Experience
  • Chobe National Park - River Safari Cruise
  • Chobe National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Victoria Falls - Entrance & Visit
  • Victoria Falls - Brewery Tour and Tasting
  • Hwange National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
  • Hwange - Painted Dog Conservation visit
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Open Safari Vehicle Park Visit & San Rock Paintings
  • Johannesburg - Jozi by Foot City Tour
  • Private Game Reserve - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Kruger National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Kruger Lodge Reserve - Morning Nature Walk
  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourke's Luck Potholes

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. This does not apply to the nights spent on the Houseboat (2 nights) and Ghanzi (1 night). Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel.

Essential trip information

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