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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Experience the diverse landscapes of Namibia, from the wildlife-filled waterholes of Etosha National Park, to the colourful and stunning sand dunes of Sossusvlei

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

  • 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.

  • 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 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
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'. Alternatively, your leader will be able to recommend a range of other activities that are available.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
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 - Village & township tour - USD61
  • 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) 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 the trusts role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care. Continue your journey to Botswana's first national park, 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)
Included Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Rise and shine for 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 Open Safari Vehicle 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 (without 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 (without facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Cross the border back into Namibia and 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 situated 50 km outside of Grootfontein (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 six hours to Etosha National Park, making a short detour to stop by Hoba Meteorite, the biggest meteor that has been found on earth. While Etosha National Park is home to a wide range of Southern Africa's wildlife, including 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 - Overland Vehicle 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, rich in plant life and with 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 hues of orange and red.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Spitzkoppe - San People rock painting guided walk - ZAR50
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 - 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 - Seal and dolphin cruise - USD60
  • Swakopmund - Horse riding - USD65
  • Swakopmund - Fishing trip - USD120
  • Swakopmund - Swakopmund Museum - USD2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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 – the highest in the world – are stunning, with magnificent burning tones created by the brightly coloured sands.
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 your camp past the small town of Bethanie (approximately 6 hours). 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
Check out the town of Bethanie before 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 riverbed 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 you watch the colour 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 in southern Namibia (approximately 5 hours). Pitch your tent on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River, which stretches 2200 kilometres (1367 miles), is the longest in Lesotho. The river source is high up in the Drakensberg mountain range, 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 your camp first thing in the morning and head to Klawer, a town named after the Afrikaans word for a wild clover blooming after rainfall. The surrounding countryside is beautiful, and if there's time, you’ll have the opportunity to explore some of it. Perhaps take a delightful walk around the nearby mountains and farms before settling in for a relaxing 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 - Harbour cruise - ZAR200
  • 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
  • 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

  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
  • Chobe National Park - Dawn Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
  • Grootfontein - San Bushman cultural experience
  • Etosha National Park - Overland Vehicle 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

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