Explore the contrasting lands of southern Africa

Experience the extremes of southern Africa's landscapes on this journey from the thunderous Victoria Falls to cosmopolitan Cape Town. Travel down lush waterways in the enigmatic Okavango Delta, cruise past elephants and birds on the Chobe River, climb giant sand dunes in Namibia, camp to the sounds of Africa's wildlife and spot big cats, rhinos, zebras and antelopes on Etosha National Park's arid plains. Visit the people who make their homes here, from cheerful delta mokoro polers to the San people. Get ready for this unforgettable tour through a land of contrasts.


Start
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Finish
Cape Town, South Africa
Destinations
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

Why you'll love this trip

  • Scramble to the top of Sesriem, one of the world's highest sand dunes

  • Visit the incredible seal colonies of Cape Cross near Spitzkoppe

  • Spot exotic wildlife on a full-day game drive through Etosha National Park

  • Learn about the hunter-gatherer traditions of the San people outside of Grootfontein

  • Glide down Botswana's Okavango Delta on a mokoro

  • Hear the roar of the mighty Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

Is this trip right for you?

  • To get to your Okavango Delta campsite, you'll travel by mokoro, a dugout canoe, to pass over the shallow waterways. They're small but stable, and local tribesman will be there to guide you.

  • Purpose-built overland vehicles are used for the duration of this trip. These multi-purpose trucks, equipped with large sliding windows, allow for excellent game viewing. There is no air-conditioning, however, so it can get hot and dusty inside.

  • The going can be slow over these long distances, and the roads can be bumpy. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful land!

  • This is a participatory camping trip, so embrace the team spirit. You will be expected to set up and take down your own tent as well as assist with food preparation and cleaning.

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on 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 Zanzibar to Cape Town trip.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Mhoro! Welcome to Zimbabwe. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 4 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. Those who arrive early can choose from many optional activities and sights to see around Victoria Falls. Upgraded accommodation is available – please ask at reception or speak to your leader. Wi-Fi is also available.

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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 you have the option of visiting the magnificent Victoria Falls. Spanning about a mile wide and falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below, the spray from the falls can sometimes be seen from kilometres away. 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. To fully understand the sheer force of this staggering curtain of water, it needs to be experienced in person. It's no wonder that the local name Mosi oa Tunya means the 'smoke that thunders'. Otherwise, a range of other activities are available through the local activity centre. Please keep in mind that 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD110
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD175
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD334
  • Victoria Falls - Village & township tour - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning is free for you to continue enjoying all that Victoria Falls has to offer. Afterwards, travel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (approximately 2–3 hours). Botswana's first national park is famous for its high concentration of elephants, so keep an eye out for them. They can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. Your camp, located outside of the park, has flush toilets, showers, Wi-Fi, ATM and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy an early-morning game drive. Adventuring through the park, you will have the opportunity to get up close to the wildlife. With some luck you will spot a variety of animals and any number of exotic birds. As well as the Chobe icon, the elephant, the river also attracts hippos and crocodiles; the latter like to sun themselves by the water's edge. Cheetahs also come down for a drink. The birdwatching is excellent here too – look out for eagles, kingfishers and marabou storks, among hundreds of other species. In the afternoon perhaps take an optional cruise down the Chobe River – one of the best ways to enjoy the park's animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - Dawn 4x4 game drive
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - Boat Cruise - BWP270
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will enter Namibia, driving from Kasane to Ngoma Bridge, and on to your camp at Bagani (approximately 7 hours). Bagani is a small, friendly town with some good hiking trails along the river. There are also plenty of nice spots in which you can simply relax and soak up the ambience. This area is the homestead of the local Mbukushu kings. You will have the opportunity to stop at an ATM and a market or shop today. Your camp has flush toilets, showers and Wi-Fi. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive across the border into Botswana and head south along the Okavango Panhandle (the narrowest part of the delta) to Seronga. Here you'll leave your vehicle and join your transport for the journey into the delta (approximately 4 hours). Take a boat across the swamps to Gao Island to meet your mokoro team and start exploring the Okavango Delta with them. Each mokoro (small dugout canoe) takes two people and is poled along through the waterways by a local tribesman. Reeds and lily pads line the streams, and birds startled by the mokoros rise out of the long grasses. Punting along, you'll hear hippos occasionally piercing the peaceful atmosphere with their grunts. On the first night here you'll camp on an island well away from civilisation.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue your trip around the delta and then return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp. This camp usually has hot showers, and there's a small bar at which you can relax and perhaps enjoy a refreshing sundowner. Today there is an option to take a nature walk with your guide. This is a great chance to discover the beautiful natural surrounds, gain some insight into the history of the local area and take some photos.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Return to Bagani to camp for the night. Various boat trips, fishing trips and guided hikes are possible from Bagani, so if you're feeling active, get out and make the most of it. Those who are feeling bold might even be able to challenge the local kids to a soccer match – don't expect to win though! Retire to your camp in the evening and enjoy this welcome break from the road.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bagani - Boat trip - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive to your camp outside Grootfontein for the night (approximately 7 hours). The town of Grootfontein, part of the Otavi Triangle, tends to get very green in the warmer months but dries out markedly in the winter. If it's springtime, you'll likely see jacarandas in bloom. There is the possibility of an accommodation upgrade here, but wi-fi will not be available. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Embark on a 180-kilometre (112-mile) round-trip to visit the San people. The oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, the San have lived in this region for at least 20,000 years. Listen to their stories and songs, and learn how those who still adhere to a traditional way of life emphasise the important of living in harmony with the environment.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grootfontein - San Bushman cultural experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel about five hours to Etosha National Park. The 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. Game viewing in Etosha 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. Embark on an optional evening game drive here in the evening, then spend the night at Namutoni. Accommodation upgrades are on offer here.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Etosha National Park - Evening Game Drive - ZAR550
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Enjoy a full-day game drive in Etosha National Park. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, which means significant numbers of elephants, antelope and other herbivores reside here. The park is also home to some 340 species of birds – keep an eye to the sky where you might spot a soaring eagle. Tonight you will stay at the particularly spectacular Okaukuejo Camp. The camp overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night. Upgrades are not available at this location tonight.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Etosha National Park - Full Day Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Etosha National Park - Evening Game Drive - ZAR550
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel to the mountain of Spitzkoppe, the 'Matterhorn of Namibia' (approximately 9 hours). The wild lands around this superb granite peak are some of Namibia's most stunning. The mountain itself is 700 million years old and 1987 metres/6519 feet high. Although you shouldn't try to climb to the top, there are some excellent hikes to do in the area, which is rich in plant life and has some bush paintings to be found. Be sure to look out for the sunset from your bush camp this evening – the landscape is known to take on dazzling hues of orange and red.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue to the town of Swakopmund (approximately 5-6 hours). Be dazzled by the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while you're travelling up the eerie Atlantic Coast. You'll be able to stop along the way to access an ATM or market if you need some supplies. Your accommodation for these nights is a simple, cosy lodge. Wi-Fi is not available at this location.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cape Cross Nature Reserve - Cape Cross seal colony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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 town to admire the beauty of the Germanic architecture and take advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Swakopmund - Fishing trip - USD120
  • Swakopmund - Swakopmund Museum - USD2
  • Swakopmund - Seal and dolphin cruise - USD60
  • Swakopmund - Sand boarding - USD50
  • Swakopmund - Quad Bike Trip (2 hours) - USD80
  • Swakopmund - Horse riding - USD65
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is another free day to enjoy this fun beachside town. If you're after a dose of history and culture, you can stop in at the lighthouse and visit the Swakopmund Museum. Active types and thrill-seekers might like to take advantage of the many outdoor activities on offer – this town is the adventure-sports mecca of Namibia.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Swakopmund - Sand boarding - USD50
  • Swakopmund - Seal and dolphin cruise - USD60
  • Swakopmund - Horse riding - USD65
  • Swakopmund - Quad Bike Trip (2 hours) - USD80
  • Swakopmund - Fishing trip - USD120
  • Swakopmund - Swakopmund Museum - USD2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It's important to check with your leader if you are unsure about the safety of any of these optional activities, as some may not be recommended by Intrepid.
Drive to Sesriem, your base for exploring the incredible Namib Desert region (approximately 6-7 hours). The most famous part of the Namib Desert is its vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon. This canyon was formed when the Tsauchab River carved a gorge 30 metres into the gravel deposits about 15 million years ago. Now the river flows out to the dune fields that stretch for hundreds of miles up the coast, and dries up in a clay pan at Sossusvlei. The dunes are stunning, with magnificent burning tones created by the brightly coloured sands. These are the highest dunes in the world.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up before dawn and scramble to the top of the dunes for a dramatic sunrise view across a vast sea of sand. The colour changes are simply incredible and provide a spectacular setting for your brunch. Afterwards you will jump in the back of a pickup truck for a trip to Sossusvlei, the incredible salt and clay pan just nearby (approximately 30 minutes each way). Enjoy some time to explore this incredible and mysterious desert oddity. Later, continue to the small town of Bethanie (approximately 6 hours), arriving in the afternoon. Your camp has basic facilities, with showers, flush toilets, Wi-Fi and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sossusvlei - 4x4 Tour
  • Sesriem - Sand dunes visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Heading further south, deeper into the vast desert lands of Namibia, drive towards Fish River Canyon (approximately 3-4 hours). At 500 metres deep and over 160 kilometres long, Fish River Canyon is one of the very largest canyons in the world. During the dry season, the river bed tends to dry out completely, leaving only a few puddles. In the wet season, after the summer rains, the river can turn into a spectacular raging torrent. At any time of year there are remarkable photographic opportunities here as we watch the color of the granite rocks change as the sun goes down. Note that upgrades and Wi-Fi are not available at your camp tonight.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fish River Canyon - Canyon entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Departing Fish River Canyon, travel to Noordoewer (approximately 5 hours). Pitch your tent on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River. Traditionally known as the Gariep River, the Orange River is the longest in South Africa, at 2200 kilometres/1367 miles. 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. Upgrades are possible tonight (subject to availability), though there is no Wi-Fi available. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Orange River - Canoe trip - NAD495
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
When 5 or more travellers participate in optional canoe trip the price will reduce to NAD280.
Depart first thing in the morning, heading to Klawer – a town named after the Afrikaans word for a wild clover blooming after rainfall. The surrounding countryside is beautiful. If there's time, you will have the opportunity to explore some of it – take a delightful walk around the nearby mountains and farms before retiring for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Klawer - Winery visit & tasting - ZAR100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Head to Cape Town (approximately 5 hours), where you trip ends upon arrival. With its stunning coastline, modern cityscape, nearby mountains and a plethora of nearby vineyards, this is one of Africa's most exciting cities. There's no accommodation provided for tonight, but this can be arranged – please enquire at the time of booking this trip.
Optional Activities
  • Cape Town - Bo-Kaap Museum - ZAR30
  • Cape Town - District Six Museum - ZAR25
  • Cape Town - Harbour cruise - ZAR200
  • Cape Town - Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens - ZAR45
  • Cape Town - South Africa National Gallery - ZAR35
  • Cape Town - South African Museum - ZAR27
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Hike - ZAR720
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Aerial Cable - ZAR250
  • Cape Town - Robben Island tour - ZAR260
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
It's important not to book any outgoing international flights for earlier than 7 pm to allow for possible delays.

Meals

19 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 16 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Mokoro

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (16 nights), Cabin (3 nights)

Included activities

  • Chobe National Park - Dawn 4x4 game drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
  • Grootfontein - San Bushman cultural experience
  • Etosha National Park - Full Day Game Drive
  • Cape Cross Nature Reserve - Cape Cross seal colony
  • Sossusvlei - 4x4 Tour
  • Sesriem - Sand dunes visit
  • Fish River Canyon - Canyon entrance

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information. Please note, the single supplement does not apply to nights 14-16 in Swakopmund.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival at our finish point hotel in Cape Town on Day 22. Please do not book any flights until after 7 pm this evening.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

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Vic Falls to Cape Town, August 2018

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Vic Falls to Cape Town, August 2018

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