Get set for an adventure packed with majestic wildlife, remote desert landscapes, semi-nomadic tribespeople and natural wonders. From the stunning beauty of Cape Town, to a burnt orange sunset over Namibia's Fish River Canyon, to a river cruise through Chobe National Park – this ultimate Africa tour 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.
Days : 22
Price : From AED 9,172*
*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
Trip Style : Basic
Trip Type : Individuals
Physical Grading : 2
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 6pm on Day 1. 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, 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, so please ensure you have these to provide to your leader.
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. This is a great chance to gain an insight into everyday life in this remote part of South Africa. Your camp tonight has shared facilities and 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 famous 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. Your camp tonight has shared facilities and optional upgrades.
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 we watch the color of the granite rocks change as the sun goes down. The camp tonight is equipped with showers and flush toilets.
Today's drive, toward the fabled dunes of Namibia, is quite long (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 desertscape. 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. Your camp has shared facilities, and no upgrades or WiFi are 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 are simply incredible and provide a spectacular setting for your brunch. The dunes are stunning, with magnificent red/orange tones from the brightly coloured sands. They are the highest in the world and home to a plethora of animal life. 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). 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).
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 town to simply walk around and explore. Your accommodation here is a cosy desert bungalow. Each of these bungalows sleeps six people, and bathroom facilities will be shared. WiFi 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. (It's important to check with your leader if you are unsure about the safety of any of these options, 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.
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 – '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.
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. 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 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. 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 (upgrades are available, subject to availability).
Leaving Etosha behind, we visit Hoba Meteorite on out way to our camp for tonight. The Meteorite is the biggest meteor that has been found on earth until today. Continue to your camp which is located 50km 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. 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 2,000 of them still follow a traditional way of life. The San have a deep understanding of nature and ecology, living in harmony with their environment.
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. Your camp tonight has flush toilets, showers, WiFi 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 (with no WiFi 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.
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. Your camp has flush toilets, showers and WiFi. Upgrades are available (subject to availability).
From Bagani you will embark on quite a long drive (approximately 8 hours). But 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. Take an optional cruise down the Chobe River – one of the best ways to witness some of the park's many animals. Your camp is located outside of Chobe National Park and has flush toilets, showers, WiFi and an ATM. Upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Enjoy an early-morning game drive. Adventuring through the park, you will have the opportunity to get up close to the wildlife. With some luck you will spot a variety of 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 chettahs, hippos and crocodiles; the latter 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.
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. 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. The Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip, as it is mandatory for tour groups to have a local guide escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted sensory experience. 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. Your camp has WiFi, flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades. Enjoy a final dinner tonight with your fellow travellers.
You are free to depart any time today, as there are no activities planned. 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 above it all. 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.
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*Per person twin sharing and excluding flights
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