I Bots-wana safari all the way from South Africa to Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and back again

Four countries, eight national parks, 17 days, hundreds of animals, thousands of birds, and one unforgettable journey from South Africa through Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe and back. Rhino-tracking, 4x4 safaris in search of the Big Five, and the size of Kruger – southern Africa's biggest national park – will blow your mind. Botswana’s Khama Rhino Sanctuary specialises in rhinos at dusk, the Okavango Delta is great at hippos and mokoros, Bagani does a mean brew and some sweet handicrafts, Chobe National Park does a sweet giraffe, ostrich, zebra, elephant combo, while Vic Falls is perfect for a misty shower.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Johannesburg, South Africa
Destinations
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
18 to 29s
Code
UBYSC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18, Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Travel solo, together

You're never alone when travelling solo with Intrepid

Why you'll love this trip

  • Ever helped save a Rhino? Well you can answer ‘yes, thanks’ to that once you’ve been to Botswana’s Khama Rhino Sanctuary

  • Try and tell the difference between your buddy’s snores and the sound of wild hippos while camping in the heart of the Okavango wilderness

  • There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro, eyes closed while your expert poler propels you through the Okavango Delta

  • Elephants might never forget, but you’ll get the unforgettable experience of cruising down the river in Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants

  • Victoria Falls is made for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Peer over the edge of this crazy cascade, then stay on for adventures on land and in the sky

  • Pay the famous elephants and lions of Hwange National Park a visit from an open-air 4x4 vehicle

  • Take your safari game to the next level by tracking rhinos on foot with an expert local guide in Matabos National Park

  • What is the sound of a roaring lion if not a sweet soothing lullaby? You'll be camping right in the grounds of Kruger National Park (OMG), so you be the judge

  • Forget the Grand Canyon – Blyde River Canyon's is gigantic AND lush and green, pure photo-op gold

Is this trip right for you?

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

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

  • This is a participatory camping trip, so team spirit is key. You'll be helping out with camp setup, food preparation and cleaning.

  • While the overland vehicles 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

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2018 itinerary
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Touch down in Jo’burg (as the locals like to call it). You’ve got the whole day free to explore the capital city (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a 6 pm welcome meeting tonight. If you do find yourself with time to kill, perhaps head to the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is also well worth your time.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Johannesburg - Jozi by Foot Urban Adventure - USD41
  • Johannesburg - Cycle Soweto Urban Adventure - USD95
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 on where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. We recommend your wear a money belt, walk with purpose and avoid ostentatious displays of wealth (leave the Rolex at home, bud).
See ya South Africa – cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). It sits on the Kalahari Desert, and is an old hunting area transformed into a into a conservation project. It now protects what’s left of Botswana's black and white rhino populations, but there are plenty of other beasties hanging around too – zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which chill out around many natural waterholes. Not only do you get to check out awesome animals here, but you’ll also be benefitting local communities and helping protect the white rhino. When the sun begins to set, hop in a jeep to see the rhinos at their most active. About 35 rhinos roam around this 400ha community-based reserve. Don't forget your binoculars, or you'll be getting them confused with big rocks. At your camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Get up real early, jump aboard the truck and head to Maun (approximately 7-8 hours). Catch up on your beauty sleep or kick off the most epic game of I Spy you've ever played. This journey also includes a free massage service (the road might get a little bumpy). In Maun there’s the chance stock up on any supplies you might need for the journey ahead – maybe hats, sunscreen and scarves (for the morning chill and the afternoon sun). Maun’s the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This is a one-of-a-kind kinda place – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and loads of wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But honestly it's not really the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incredibly diverse ecosystem and atmospheric waterscapes. Tonight you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, wi-fi and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Plane Scenic Flight - From USD75 - USD390
  • Okavango Delta - Helicopter Scenic Flight - From USD150 - USD450
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Make your way to the north-western part of the Okavango Delta, close to the Pan Handle. The drive is a not so whopping 300 kilometres and will take you about 6 hours. Now’s the time to find out everything about your fellow travellers – you’ll be old mates by the end of it. Leave the truck at some secure parking and take a 4x4 transfer for the last 12 kilometres. Your final destination for the next two nights sits on the edge of the Guma Lagoon area. Set up camp and relax on the edge of the lagoon for the rest of the afternoon, then fall asleep to the sounds of the African bush at night – is that noise a hippo or your mate snoring?
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today you get to paddle the mighty Okavango Delta. There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe), while your expert poler propels you down calm waters through papyrus and reed beds to lily covered lagoons and islands. Watch out for elephants, lechwe, warthogs, sitatunga and other plains game in the open. Stop at one of the islands for a picnic lunch before returning to camp in the late afternoon. Take a swim or ask you leader about taking a walk around the area. If you are interested in the culinary side of Southern Africa, feel free to join your cook for an in-depth cooking class while they prepare tonight's meal.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro Safari & Nature Walk
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Cook-led Cooking Class - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning it’s back in the 4x4s and a drive back to the truck. Then you’ll make your way to the border to cross into Namibia. The drive is approximately 150km and will take about 4 hours, including the border crossing. You’ll drive through the Mahango Game Reserve on the Namibia side on the way to the camp for the night. The camp is on the banks of the Kovango river, within the Caprivi Game Park strip of Namibia. This strip of land is sandwiched between Botswana and Angola, and connects with Zambia and Zimbabwe at its end. In the afternoon you’ll head out on a guided excursion through the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe Bushmen tribes, exploring local life up close. Look out for some Botswana Baskets – some say they’re the finest craft works in Africa!
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ngepi - Village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today is another drive of approximately 300 kilometres and about 5 hours, before reaching your next camp on the banks of the Kwando River along the border with Botswana. After settling in you can either relax or jump on one of the optional activities available here, such as a late afternoon boat trip, or a game drive in Mudumu Game Park (look out for buffalo, elephants, loads of antelope species, and zebra). You could also take a village tour, chill with another mokoro ride, or join in on a fishing trip – the locals will give you the heads up on the best spot. Just have a chat with your leader and they’ll let you know what’s what.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kwando Camp - Sunset Cruise - NAD395
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Zip over to the edge of the Chobe National Park, where you’ll spend the night. The approximately 5-hour drive takes you further through the Caprivi Strip and back into Botswana. Cruise into Chobe Park on the only stretch of tarred road before reaching your camp. Set up then choose whether you’d like to head out on an optional late afternoon boat cruise on the Chobe River. The Chobe River has a huge range of wildlife, all packed into a tiny area, making it unlike anywhere else in the world. If you choose to cruise you’ll get up close and personal with hippos, buffalo, crocodiles and a mind-boggling array of water birds. But elephants are the big stars here, and don't they know it. Parading around in big groups, showing off their cute babies and tearing down enormous trees limb by limb. While the cruise isn’t included in your trip price, we think it’s worth the extra cost. If you’d prefer, you can kick back at camp with a book and relax.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River Cruise - BWP410
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
This morning there'll be time to join an optional game drive in the Chobe National Park. Then it’s onto Victoria Falls this afternoon (approximately 2–3 hours). You will cross the border into Zimbabwe and arrive in the early afternoon. This afternoon you’ve gotta make your way to Vic Falls itself. The entrance fee is a bit steep, but for the Kanye West – no, the Lady Gaga of waterfalls – it’s well worth it, so make sure you’re cashed up. The sound of 19 million cubic feet of water throwing itself over a mile-long edge every minute will be music to your ears. It looks pretty sweet too.

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)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location.

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
Guess what? You’re at the edge of the greatest curtain of falling water in the world. After a leader-led orientation walk of the town, enjoy a day of free time to take up one of many activities on offer in the area including a flying fox, helicopter flight, gorge swing, or even a white-water rafting experience! There are many ways to take in the thundering sight and sound of the falls. These staggering cascades are about a mile wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray rises high and the falls become a torrent; in the dry season, the lack of spray gives way to a nice view of the little islets in the river below. Meet up in the afternoon for a local brewery tour and tasting in town and get to know your new travel pals. Then perhaps kick on with an optional sunset cruise down the Zambezi River .
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Zambezi Sundowner Cruise - USD42
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (half day) - USD100
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD334
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD175
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (half day) - USD140
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (full day) - USD140
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD110
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. We have not completed a risk assessment on all activities and only those listed in the above trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure about a certain activity, please discuss it with your leader. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not do not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
Leave Victoria Falls behind and head to Hwange National Park (approximately 5 hours, depending on traffic), and en route, stop via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – one of the Intrepid Foundation’s 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. Afterwards, explore the stunning wildlife arena of Hwange in an open 4x4 vehicle. This national park 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 massive selection of wildlife, with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. But it's the elephants this place is famous for – here you'll find one of the largest elephant populations in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange National Park - Game drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight's camp, there is wi-fi as well as optional accommodation upgrades (subject to availability).
Make tracks for Matobos with a short detour through Bulawayo, checking out its cool colonial buildings, 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 Matobos 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. For those interested in the culinary side of southern African food, tonight your cook can provide an in-depth cooking class while you help prepare this evening’s delicious meal.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matobos National Park - Cook-led Cooking Class - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground has shared facilities, wi-fi access and some optional upgrades.
Good morning from mighty Matobos. You’re free to do as you please, but what is highly recommended is heading to Matobo Hills and spending the day tracking rhinos and other game animals with the help of your guide on an optional tour. The park is home to much wildlife, including to klipspringers, leopards, warthogs and springhares. Along the way, learn about the flora in the area. After your tour lunch, head to another region of the park to find old bushman paintings, see rock formations and learn some history of the area. Then it's off to nearby African villages to meet some of the local community. It’s definitely a day you won’t want to miss.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Open Safari Vehicle Park Visit & San Rock Paintings - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Up early, today will be a long day with a very busy border post – the only direct border crossing between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The drive is approximately 400km long, but it can take us anything between 6 and 8 hours to reach our destination. Today’s destination is the Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa. This park is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is an open, expansive savannah landscape at the intersection of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers. Sip sundowners overlooking the rivers or visit Mpungubwe Hill, where a far developed African civilisation prospered in the 13th century. The Interpretation Centre is the ideal place to catch up on all of this.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mapungubwe National Park - Entrance Fee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
On occasion we are unable to secure campsites within the Mapungubwe National Park. In this instance we will camp outside the park.
After breakfast, set off for renowned Kruger National Park. This world-famous park is known for the Big Five game of Africa – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. On top of that, it's home to some 336 kinds of trees, 49 fish species and over 500 species of bird. See how many of these you can spot on a game drive, in the group's own vehicle. You cover over 300km, but taking all day, you’ll be sure to spend time staking out the locals. Continue from your safari to your overnight camp, where there's the option of a further game drive – this time at night. You never know what’s going to come out and play on your safari after dark!
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
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • 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.
Wake up early for a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a full-day game drive in the truck. Today is another full day in Kruger Park – you'll spend the day in the group vehicle, heading down to the central part of the park, for a last overnight stop. Stop at some of the designated picnic spots for a bite to eat en route to camp. Depending on the season, you might catch a saddle-billed stork with its colourful red beak, or maybe a blue waxbill. In the afternoon when it's warm, take some time out to chill out. This evening again there will be 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
  • 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.
Venture out for one last safari adventure this morning and soak up all Kruger has to offer. Keep your eyes peeled, ‘cause you’ll never know what will pop out from behind the shrubs! Continue back to Johannesburg (approximately 9–10 hours). On your way, stop at the stunning Bourke's Luck Potholes and God's Window outlooks to stretch your legs and get see some awesome views. This trip finishes on arrival in Johannesburg at a designated hotel drop-off point.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
No accommodation is provided for tonight, however if you’d like to spend more time in Johannesburg, we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're planning on catching an outgoing international flight today, it's important to book it for 10 pm or later, to allow for delays and transfers to the airport.

Meals

16 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 13 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, Mokoro, 4WD Safari Vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (1 night), Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro Safari & Nature Walk
  • Ngepi - Village visit
  • Hwange National Park - Game drive
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
  • Mapungubwe National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Kruger National Park - Overland Vehicle Game drive

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival in Johannesburg on Day 17. Please do not book any flights until after 10pm this evening.
3. 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 in a bordering private game park.

Essential trip information

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