Uncover the natural beauty of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe

Discover the allure of southern Africa as you roam from the golden plains of the world-famous Kruger National Park and the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls to the watery wonderland of the Okavango Delta and the teeming game parks of Botswana. Whether it's spotting the Big Five, relaxing by dreamy lagoons, experiencing tribal village life or cavorting near raging waterfalls, this adventure tour will fill your memories with the wonders of the African south.


Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Johannesburg, South Africa
Destinations
Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBOQC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

Why you'll love this trip

  • Stay two nights at Victoria Falls – enough time for just a glimpse of everything this amazing destination offers.

  • Get your paddles out and navigate a mokoro through the Okavango Delta.

  • Try and spot the famous elephants of Chobe National Park, which boasts the largest concentration of African elephants in the world.

  • Track rhinoceros on foot with a local expert guide in Matabos National Park, an exhilarating way to experience the wildlife of Zimbabwe.

  • Immerse yourself in the ancient culture of the Venda people at a two-night village homestay in South Africa's Limpopo province. Listen to stories of this community as you participate in meals, crafts and traditional activities.

  • Camp under an Africa sky within Kruger National Park. You can’t get much closer to nature than that!

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: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland

  • Camping on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget. However, there are no facilities. Dig a bush toilet and go without a shower, it's all part of the Delta experience.

  • The Limpopo Province stay, where you will meet and interact with the Hananwa people and their traditions, is a heavily culture-based activity. This is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of life – so keep an open mind.

  • Wildlife viewing requires some sacrifice, like getting up before day break for dawn game drives. However, the lack of sleep is worth it for the exhilaration and excitement of spotting your first lion or rhino!

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg, a city of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps visit the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is well worth your time. After the welcome meeting this evening, perhaps head out for an optional group dinner and get to know your fellow travellers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
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.

Please make sure that if you explore Johannesburg on your own that you get local advice as to where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. The level of crime here may be higher than what you are used to.
Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8-10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a conversion of a former hunting area into a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana's only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen around the many natural waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and contributes to the protection of the highly endangered white rhinoceros. Later, head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are at their most active.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At your camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Jump aboard the truck and head to Maun (approximately 8–9 hours). Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies you might need for the journey ahead. Maun is the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This place is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and prolific wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But it's not the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incredibly diverse ecosystem and atmospheric waterscapes.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, WiFi and optional upgrades.
Traverse the waterways by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe navigated by friendly local 'polers'. With some luck, you might spot some of the delta's unusual wildlife and exotic birdlife. Spend time exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot, led by experienced and knowledgeable guides. Tonight you’ll camp on a remote island in the heart of the wilderness. In this far-out spot, facilities are non-existent, so you will dig a bush toilet and go without a shower. It's all part of the Okavango experience. At night, fall asleep to the humming and buzzing of the African wilderness.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Wake up early and venture out for a sunrise walk. Along the way, keep watch for some elephants. You might also come across some Cape buffalo, if the timing is right. These rather noble-looking creatures are more dangerous than they look, and their horns make for a kind of bone shield that's fittingly known as a 'boss'. Returning to camp for breakfast, take the rest of the day to relax. A refreshing swim, or perhaps a nap, is a good idea in the warmer part of the day. Alternatively, take another mokoro trip to soak up more of that delightful river atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Sunrise Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After taking down your camp, return to the ‘poler’ station by mokoro, before continuing your travels to Maun by vehicle (approximately 2-3 hours). Today you'll visit a rural village and interact with some of the locals. This will give you an insight into daily life on the Okavango Delta and perhaps some background history on these awesome sprawling waterways that are the lifeblood of many.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Plane Scenic Flight - From USD75 - USD390
  • Okavango Delta - Helicopter Scenic Flight - From USD150 - USD450
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight you will camp on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite which has shared facilities. WiFi and optional upgrades are available.

During the Okavango Delta dry season, we may not be able to visit the rural village as we stay at a different camp.

The price of the optional scenic floights will vary depending on the number of passengers.
Get up early and hit the road for Nata (approximately 6-7 hours). This small town is situated near the stunning Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, which are some of the largest salt flats on earth, covering some 12,000 square kilometres. This afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the pans in an open vehicle. The pans are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year. During this time the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as heat mirages disorientate the senses. At other times they take on a layer of grass, and as soon as the rains hit, they become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nata - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the pans. It has a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM and bar/lounge area. Upgrades are also offered.
Hit the road for Chobe National Park (approximately 6-7 hours). Botswana's first national park 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 sunset cruise on the Chobe River, a very relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has WiFi access and optional upgrades. It's also close to a supermarket, so you can stock up on supplies while you're here.
Why not wake up early and see the Chobe National park from a different perspective, on an optional morning game drive. Afterwards, travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 2–3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe just in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi. Then it's free time to experience the sight and sound of the mighty falls. This thundering curtain of water is about a mile wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise 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.

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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - USD30
  • Chobe National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Morning Game Drive - BWP410
  • Victoria Falls - Sunset Cruise - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your campsite tonight has WiFi, an ATM and optional upgrades.

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.

Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip as it is mandatory for tour groups with pre-purchased tickets to have a local guide escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted sensory experience.
Today is a free day. There are many activities and sights to do and see 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD103
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD299
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD165
  • Victoria Falls - Village & township tour - USD61
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (full day) - USD130
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (half day) - USD130
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, 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.
Leave Victoria Falls behind and head to Hwange National Park (approximately 5 hours, depending on traffic) 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. At Hwange National Park, you will explore this stunning wildlife arena in an open 4x4 vehicle. It became the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century and was set aside as a national park in 1929. Today, Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. The elephants of Hwange are world famous – here you'll find one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. At tonight's camp, there is wi-fi as well as optional accommodation upgrades (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leave Hwange in your dust as you make tracks for Matobo National Park (approximately 5 hours). Shortly after leaving Hwange, stop at the Painted Dog Conservation Centre. The loss of quality habitat and poaching are driving the painted dog (also known as African wild dog) towards extinction. Learn about how 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 cafe or restaurant for lunch before heading to your camp for the next two nights. Home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros that can be tracked on foot, Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place. Your campground tonight has shared facilities, wi-fi access and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange - Painted Dog Conservation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning, have a unique experience tracking rhinos on foot with the help of your guides. Here there will be the chance to spot other game – the park is home to klipspringers, leopards, warthogs and springhares, among others. You can also learn about the various local plant and trees, wild pear and paperbark among them, while discovering San paintings and intriguing rock formations of the park. After a cold lunch, venture to nearby African village and meet some of the local people.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Open Safari Vehicle Park Visit & San Rock Paintings
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get up nice and early for a day of travel. You'll cross a very busy border post, the only direct border crossing between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The drive is about 400 km long (approximately 6–8 hours). Your destination today is Makushu – a small village in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Upon arrival to Makushu, you will be met by a local village guide, who will ensure you are well taken care of. You will be staying with homestay host mothers in their family homes. With your own room within the family home, you will get a true feeling of what it’s like in the village – certainly a unique and memorable experience for travellers.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
At your homestay tonight, each room is fitted with a double bed. Some of the homestay hosts have two or three guestrooms, ideal for family travels. On arrival to your home and meeting your host, you will receive a home stay kit. Each kit is fitted with clean linen (duvet, pillow, towel, face cloth, sheet), a roll of toilet paper, hand sanitiser, mosquito repellent, tea, coffee, cup, sugar and milk. No bathroom is conventional, which also applies to the setup in Makushu. True South African long drops situated outside of each home are available. These facilities are clean and well kept. Homestay hosts supply guests with hot water every morning and evening via portable bucket baths.
Rise and shine to the sounds of local village life – enjoy a day with your hosts in Makushu. As with any small town, no day is the same, but you will be involved in traditional village activities, depending on what tasks are required on that day. Some things you may get up to today include traditional floor making, beading, dancing, beer making and cooking. Today is a true opportunity to interact with the local villagers and learn of traditional Venda ways.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Makushu Homestay - Beading, Cooking or Dancing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Journey to Kruger National Park (approximately 8–9 hours). There will be an opportunity to stop at a shop or market for any camping supplies you or the group might need. One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog. Your wildlife experience begins as soon as you enter the park. You will head straight into prime game viewing areas, spotting anything from antelopes and eland to cheetahs and rhinos. Your campground, situated within the park itself, has shared facilities, hot and cold water, and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night 4x4 Game Drive (from price) - ZAR240
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
On occasion, especially during the peak months of May, June and July we are unable to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In this instance we will camp outside the park.
Rise early and have a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a full-day game drive in the truck. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints. Depending on the season, you might catch sight of a saddle-billed stork with its distinct red beak, or the blue waxbill which is commonly found foraging for seeds in the scrub. In the afternoon when it's warm, take some time out to relax. Later on, there is an optional night drive with the park guide to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night 4x4 Game Drive (from price) - ZAR240
  • Kruger National Park - Sunset 4x4 Game Drive (from price) - ZAR325
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
It's time to head to Johannesburg (approximately 9–10 hours). There's plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. You will take in amazing vistas at the viewpoint over Blyde River Canyon and Bourke's Luck Potholes. This trip finishes on arrival in Johannesburg at the finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip. If you're wanting to catch an outgoing international flight, it's important to book it for 10 pm or later, to allow for delays that your group may encounter.
Included Activities
  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourke's Luck Potholes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

17 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, Open safari vehicle, Mokoro

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (12 nights), Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Sunrise Walk
  • Nata - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
  • Chobe National Park - River Cruise
  • 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
  • Makushu Homestay - Beading, Cooking or Dancing
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive
  • Panorama Route - God's Window Viewpoint
  • Panorama Route - Bourke's Luck Potholes

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip, except for nights 14 & 15 where we stay in a homestay. The single supplement is subject to availability.
2. This is a combination trip made up of two shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Victoria Falls as some group members leave and new ones join you.
3. This trip finishes upon arrival in Johannesburg on Day 18. Please do not book any flights until after 10pm this evening.

Essential trip information

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