Enjoy a wild African adventure from South Africa to Zimbabwe

Get set for an adventure packed with majestic wildlife, remote desert landscapes, semi-nomadic tribal communities and natural wonders. From the stunning beauty of Cape Town and a burnt orange sunset over Namibia's Fish River Canyon to a river cruise through Chobe National Park, this ultimate African Lonely Planet Experience will create memories to last a lifetime. Canoe down the Okavango Delta in Botswana, embark on a game drive in Etosha National Park and feel the raw power of Victoria Falls on this journey filled with the very best of southern Africa.


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

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Listen to the songs and stories of Namibia’s San people, the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, and gain an insight into their traditional customs and beliefs.

  • Enjoy a full-day game drive in Etosha National Park, home to a wide range of Southern Africa's wildlife, including the endangered black rhino.

  • Glide through the lily-pad clad waterways of the Okovango Delta on a mokoro (a small dugout canoe) and escape civilisation at with an overnight stay at your island camp.

  • Take an optional cruise down the Chobe River for the opportunity to get up close (but not too personal!) to cheetahs, crocodiles and the Chobe icon – the magnificent African elephant.

  • Be mesmerised by the staggering force and beauty of Victoria Falls, and experience first-hand why it’s renowned as the ‘smoke that thunders’ – a natural wonder that must be seen to be believed.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent (unless you’re on an Original or Comfort style trip), occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘big five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland

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

  • 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.

Itinerary

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. With its stunning coastline, modern cityscape and nearby mountains, Cape Town is one of Africa's most exciting cities. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm this evening. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you do happen to arrive early, why not get out and explore Cape Town, perhaps taking a walk in Newlands Forest, jumping on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, or heading down to the waterfront to see Cape Town Stadium up close.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Hike - ZAR720
  • Cape Town - Table Mountain Aerial Cable - ZAR250
  • Cape Town - Robben Island tour - ZAR260
  • Cape Town - False Bay by train and lunch Urban Adventure - USD59
  • Cape Town - Taste of Woodstock Urban Adventure - USD72
  • Cape Town - Salt River Street Art Urban Adventure - USD59
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Leaving Cape Town behind, travel up the Western Cape (approximately 6 hours). Sit back, relax and enjoy the sprawling scenery. Tonight, you will stay on a working farm with your small group. This is a great chance to gain an insight into everyday life in this remote part of South Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Klawer - Winery visit & tasting - ZAR100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has shared facilities. Accommodation upgrades are possible (subject to availability).
Journey to the Orange River, the beautiful natural border between South Africa and Namibia (approximately 9 hours). En route you will pass through Namaqualand, which is renowned for its wildflowers that spring up from late July to mid-September. 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has shared facilities and optional upgrades available (subject to availability).
This morning there is the chance for an optional canoe adventure on the Orange River. Floating leisurely down the stream is a great way to discover the beauty of this region. Head further west into the desert lands of Namibia towards Fish River Canyon (approximately 4–5 hours). At 500 metres deep and over 160 km long, Fish River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world. At any time of year there are remarkable photographic opportunities here as you watch the colour of the granite rocks change as the sun goes down.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fish River Canyon - Canyon entrance
Optional Activities
  • Orange River - Canoe trip - NAD495
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite tonight is equipped with showers and flush toilets.

When four or more travellers participate in the optional canoe adventure the price will reduce to NAD 280.
Be ready for a long travel day as you drive toward the fabled dunes of Namibia (approximately 10 hours). You will have the opportunity to stop at a market or shop to stock up on supplies before tomorrow's bush camp. Upon arrival, stretch your legs and take in the exciting desert scenes. You will be situated in the most famous part of the Namib Desert, among the vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon. Get an early night in preparation for your dawn hike tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp has shared facilities. Accommodation upgrades or wi-fi are not available.
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 as the sun creeps up above the horizon, and the views are nothing short of incredible, providing a spectacular setting for your brunch. The dunes themselves are some of the highest in the world and home to much animal life. Afterwards, 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). You'll have plenty of time to explore this mysterious desert oddity. In the afternoon, drive to your bush camp in the heart of the Namib Desert (approximately 4 hours).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sossusvlei - 4x4 Tour
  • Sesriem - Sand dunes visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue to Swakopmund (approximately 4 hours). Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an ideal place for outdoor activities. The township has an interesting German–Namibian atmosphere, which makes it a pleasant place to simply walk around and explore.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Your accommodation here is a cosy desert bungalow. Each of these bungalows sleeps six people, and bathroom facilities will be shared. Wi-fi is available.
With free time today, it's worth checking out the Germanic architecture and taking advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping. 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 - Swakopmund Museum - USD2
  • Swakopmund - Sea kayaking - USD85
  • Swakopmund - Seal and dolphin cruise - USD60
  • Swakopmund - Fishing trip - USD120
  • Swakopmund - Horse riding - USD65
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 activities, as some may not be recommended by Intrepid.
With another free day in this beautiful seaside town, you might like to do some reading, relaxing and swimming. Alternatively, you can venture further afield – perhaps to the Okakambe Trails or the Camel Farm (both located in the same area, around 12 kilometres east of town). A horse ride or camel ride is a great way to see the desert from a different perspective.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Swakopmund - Fishing trip - USD120
  • Swakopmund - Horse riding - USD65
  • Swakopmund - Seal and dolphin cruise - USD60
  • Swakopmund - Swakopmund Museum - USD2
  • Swakopmund - Sea kayaking - USD85
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Travel to Spitzkoppe (approximately 6 hours). Experience the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while travelling up the Atlantic Coast. Visit one of the most stunning areas of Namibia, the wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe, also known as the Matterhorn of Namibia. Although you shouldn't try to climb to the top, there are some excellent hikes and guided walks throughout the area, which is rich in plant life and even has some bush paintings to be found. The Spitzkoppe is known for its stunning beauty and the thousands of ancient Bushmen rock art paintings that are still viewable. Be sure to look out for the sunset from your bush camp this evening – the landscape is known to take on dazzling oranges and reds.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Cape Cross Nature Reserve - Cape Cross seal colony
Optional Activities
  • Spitzkoppe - San People rock painting guided walk - ZAR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, set off and travel to Etosha National Park (approximately 9 hours), stopping at a market or shop and ATM if required. Etosha is among the world's premier places to view wildlife. A wide range of southern Africa's wildlife roams here, including all the big carnivores and the five rare or endangered species: black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. Tonight, there is an option to take an evening game drive in the park before spending the night at the particularly spectacular Okaukuejo Camp. The camp overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Etosha National Park - Evening Game Drive - ZAR550
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that upgrades are not available at tonight's accommodation.
Enjoy a full-day game drive in Etosha National Park. Game viewing in the park is relatively easy due to the constructed 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, which means significant numbers of elephants, antelope and other herbivores reside here. This evening you will spend the night at Namutoni Camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Etosha National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight's accommodation, upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Leaving Etosha behind, visit Hoba Meteorite on the way to your camp for tonight. The Meteorite is the biggest meteor that has been found on earth until today. Continue to your camp which is located 50 kilometres outside Grootfontein (approximately 5 hours). This will be your base for visiting the San people tomorrow. Arrive at your camp, stretch your legs, perhaps enjoy a cool drink and kick back with your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight’s accommodation, there is the possibility of an upgrade, but wi-fi is not available.
Embark on a 180-kilometre round-trip to visit the San people. You will go out walking with some of the tribe, listening to their stories and songs. You'll soon discover that they communicate in a unique and fascinating Khoisan dialect, commonly known as a 'clicking' language. The San are the oldest ethnic group in Namibia, having inhabited southern Africa for an estimated 20,000 years. Around 30,000 of them live in Namibia, but only 2000 still follow a traditional way of life. The San have a deep understanding of nature and ecology, living in harmony with their environment.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Grootfontein - San Bushman cultural experience
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Head to Bagani, where you will set up camp for the night. Bagani is a small, friendly town with some good hiking trails along the river and plenty of nice spots in which to relax and soak up the ambience. This area is the homestead of the local Mbukushu kings.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has flush toilets, showers, wi-fi and optional upgrades.
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). Boarding boats out into the swamps, travel 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 meandering waterways by a local tribesman. Punting along past birds and lily pads, you'll hear hippos occasionally piercing the peaceful atmosphere with their charming grunts. On the first night here, you'll camp on an island away from civilisation.
Accommodation
  • Camping (without facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight’s accommodation, there’s no wi-fi or upgrades available.
Continue your trip around the delta and then return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp with its (usually) hot showers and small bar. 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 facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After your exciting Okavango adventure, return to Bagani for the night. There will be time to relax, or to take part in one of the many activities on offer. Bagani offers a range of boat trips and fishing excursions. There are also many excellent hiking trails to explore. Ask your leader about how to take up one of these options.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bagani - Boat trip - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp has flush toilets, showers and wi-fi. Accommodation upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Setting off from Bagani this morning, embark on a pretty long drive (approximately 8 hours). Don’t fear – your destination, the incredible Chobe National Park, will be well worth it. Enter Botswana at Goma border, which is also the gateway to the park. Once arrived, take an optional cruise down the Chobe River – one of the best ways to witness some of the park's many animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp is located outside of Chobe National Park and has flush toilets, showers, wi-fi and an ATM. Accommodation upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Enjoy an early-morning game drive. Adventuring through the park, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close to the wildlife. With luck you’ll spot a variety of creatures – lions, buffaloes and any number of exotic birds. 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. The river also attracts cheetahs, hippos, and crocodiles who like to sun themselves by the water's edge. In the afternoon, perhaps take an optional boat cruise to gain a different view of these amazing animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - Dawn Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - Boat Cruise - BWP270
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi. Though a visit to Victoria Falls' is optional, it is highly recommended – if you didn’t see the waterfall, have you actually been to Victoria Falls? The staggering curtain of water is about 1.6 kilometres and cascades 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres and the falls become an impressive raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see little islets in the river below. Gather your travel crew together tonight for dinner, celebrating the southern Africa adventure and memories you’ve shared.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your camp tonight has wi-fi, flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades available.

Victoria Falls entrance is not included, as it is mandatory for tour groups to have a local guide. Your leader will take you to an activity centre where activities will be on offer. We have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in Optional Activities are recommended. It is against Intrepid policy for leaders to help book any activities that have not been assessed or do not adhere to our Responsible Travel policy. This includes organising transport to and from these activities.

You may notice businesses offering an 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We ask all Intrepid travellers to avoid this activity as it is against our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is part of many itineraries, we strive to view animals in their natural habitats and to do so with the greatest level of respect. This industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time. Check-out time is 10 am. Those staying longer at Victoria Falls can choose from a range of activities and excursions – on water, on land or high in the sky. If you’d like to spend more time in Victoria Falls, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD103
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD165
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD299
  • Victoria Falls - Rafting & river boarding (half day) - USD218
  • Victoria Falls - Sunset cruise on the Zambezi river - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Village & township tour - USD61
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you are interested in a scenic optional helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes), choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), who we endorse exclusively.
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

19 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 16 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, Open safari vehicle, Mokoro

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (15 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Camping (without facilities) (1 night), Cabin (3 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

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

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

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 details. Please note, the single supplement does not apply for nights 7 to 9 in Swakopmund and 17 in the Okavango Delta.
2. This trip finishes in Vic Falls on Day 22. However, you may also want to try some of the optional activities on offer here before your adventure comes to an end.

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.

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