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Ultimate Southern Africa Journey

Set off on an epic journey that combines the best of Southern Africa, from its vibrant cities and iconic landscapes to its multitudes of legendary wildlife. Begin this 30-day adventure in South Africa, experiencing Cape Town’s colourful culture, then continue to Kruger National Park to spot a dazzling array of creatures like the Big Five. Experience Namibia’s vast desert landscapes and Victoria Falls’ thunderous roar before exploring Zimbabwe and Botswana, which boast some of the richest wildlife reserves in the Africa.

  • Duration: 30 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Moderate%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: DSXNG/221294
  • Starts: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Finishes: Maun, Botswana
You will Visit
  • Cape Town
  • Johannesburg
  • Kruger National Park
  • Karongwe Private Game Reserve
  • Windhoek
  • Sesriem
  • Swakopmund
  • Twyfelfontein
  • Etosha National Park
  • Victoria Falls
  • Hwange National Park
  • Kasane
  • Okavango Delta
  • Maun

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Cape Town

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

02

Day 2: Cape Town

Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with an expert guide on a tour exclusively designed for our groups – the garden has been named one of the top gardens in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Continue on to explore vibrant Cape Town and Cape Point, with a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach.

03

Day 3: Cape Town

Enjoy a day of leisure and choose from a variety of optional activities, including Table Mountain or a Stellenbosch wine tour.
There is something for everyone in Cape Town. Visit Table Mountain, walk the V&A Waterfront or embark on a wine tour in and around Stellenbosch. For the adventurous, opt to go skydiving, abseiling, or, if you're really brave, cage diving for a close encounter with a great white shark. Wander through the city centre, which has some of the oldest buildings and gardens in South Africa. Check out the Cultural Historical Museum, Planetarium, and many other museums and theatres.

04

Day 4: Cape Town/Johannesburg

Fly to Johannesburg and transfer to the hotel. Meet your CEO and enjoy a traditional South African “braai” (barbecue) welcome dinner in the evening.

05

Day 5: Johannesburg/Kruger National Park

Enjoy a full day scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route with stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, and God's Window. Continue to our tented camp located just outside Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner on the deck or in the boma.

06

Day 6: Kruger National Park

Enjoy a morning wildlife safari drive through Kruger National Park in an open vehicle. Take in views of the abundant wildlife including elephants, lions and giraffe. In the afternoon, opt to take extend your safari drive, or head back to the lodge, where you can do a short nature walk, or relax on the deck with views of the surrounding area.
At over 19,000 sq km (7,500 sq mi), South Africa's Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most impressive animal reserves in the world. With 147 species, Kruger has more species of large mammals than any other park on the continent.

07

Day 7: Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, take in a lecture with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Cheetah Metapopulation Project who will share information about their efforts to protect cheetahs and other carnivores. This National Geographic-sponsored project is part of the Big Cats Initiative. After, the researcher will join us on our evening wildlife safari drive.
For the next two days, enjoy ranger-led morning and evening wildlife safari drives in an open safari vehicle in Karongwe Nature Reserve. Search for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa's famed Big Five. With over 9,000 hectares (22,240 acres) of supreme African bushveld, Karongwe Private Game Reserve is home to many creatures, and our safari drives provide several opportunities for wildlife viewing.

We use various accommodations within the reserve (the location is based on availability). During your time here, you will either stay in lodge rooms or very comfortable permanent tents (both of equal quality and with similar amenities).

08

Day 8: Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Enjoy early morning and afternoon safari drives with our local guides, searching for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa's famed Big Five. In our down time, relax at the camp, take a walk around the grounds or enjoy a cool drink on the deck.
Wake up before the sun (around 5am) and sip your morning coffee before heading out on a morning wildlife safari drive. Return to the lodge for brunch and some leisure time. Converse on the deck, walk the grounds and gardens, and enjoy high tea. Following tea, it's time for a late afternoon safari drive. After spotting tons of wildlife, it's time to return to camp and freshen up before dinner.

09

Day 9: Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg

After one last safari wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house.

10

Day 10: Johannesburg/Windhoek

Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore Windhoek in the afternoon and then meet your CEO and the rest of the group in the evening.

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Day 11: Windhoek/Sesriem

Enjoy the dramatic Namibian landscapes as we drive to the desert area of Sesriem, gateway to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Settle in to our desert lodge, relax at the pool or enjoy a cool drink watching the stunning sunset over the desertscape.
Enjoy postcard perfect desert scenery around Sesriem and Sossusvlei - vast desertscapes of reds and orange, stark camel thorn trees and towering dunes with dramatic curved ridges. Also keep an eye out for the surprising amount of wildlife that call this area home such as oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena.

12

Day 12: Sesriem

Embark on a scenic excursion into the national park to explore the Namib Desert. Visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burnt orange and red towering dunes; considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River.

13

Day 13: Sesriem/Swakopmund

Continue through changing desert landscapes, keeping an eye out for free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok and oryx. Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire for a break before heading out into the countryside. Here we meet a local to this remote region who takes us on a drive and talks about the survival strategies of ancient Bushmen who lived in the area. We also search out the smaller animal life who manage to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders and insects and learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.

14

Day 14: Swakopmund

Enjoy the morning free and opt to go quad biking or sandboarding or just take a walk in town. This afternoon, explore the township of Mondesa with a local guide, learning about its people and history. Visit the local market for an introduction to traditional food including Wild Spinach, Mopane worms and dried Kapenta Fish. Also visit an art and craft shop, meet with some locals, and then visit a family-run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.
Explore the town's unique mix of German and African culture and opt to visit curio shops, the museum and restaurants. Optional activities include sandboarding, quad biking, or if you're feeling brave, skydiving.

15

Day 15: Swakopmund/Twyfelfontein

Continue on to Twyfelfontein where we visit the ancient petroglyphs which were named Namibia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is thought to hold the largest concentrations of Bushman engravings in Africa, with over 2500 figures, ranging from 2000-5000 years old.

16

Day 16: Twyfelfontein/Etosha National Park

Depart early to visit the Petrified Forest national monument, a stunning site of fossilized tree trunks dating from approximately 280 million years ago. Continue to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area, considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. This afternoon, take an open vehicle wildlife safari drive to view the abundant wildlife who congregate around the park's waterholes.
After the vast desert, Etosha National Park, offers a contrast of wide open grasslands, a massive pan that covers 4731km² and tall camel thorn trees intermixed with Mopani trees. Combined with the vast amount of natural waterholes with this diverse vegetation, wildlife flock to the park. Some of the largest elephants in Africa can be found in areas of thicker vegetation, as well as leopard and the critically endangered black rhino. Lions, giraffe, ostrich and heard animals the grasslands, while birders will love the salt pans which attract flamingos in the rainy season. More than 340 bird species have been counted in Etosha National Park including the European bee-eater, the kori bustard and numerous migratory birds.

17

Day 17: Etosha National Park

Early this morning, embark on a sunrise wildlife safari drive in an open vehicle with a local guide through the park. There is abundant wildlife that congregate around the waterholes, so keep your cameras at the ready for elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. The remainder of the day is free to relax at our lodge, take a swim or join our CEO for a drive. Our lodge is perfectly situated, so sit back with a sundowner, and enjoy the sunset over the park. This afternoon or evening, opt to take another open vehicle safari drive.

18

Day 18: Etosha National Park/Windhoek

After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility to learn about the important research, conservation, and community outreach work they do as one of the world's leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Meet with a researcher for a lecture to learn about the various projects in the works, then enjoy a cheetah drive to view some of these amazing creatures up close. After, enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau. Continue on to Windhoek for our final evening.

19

Day 19: Windhoek/Victoria Falls

Fly to Zimbabwe. Gain insight into what life's like in Africa with a walk through a local market and dinner at a family homestead. Meet the family, learn their history, and share stories as you help prepare a traditional Zimbabwean dinner.
The mist off Victoria Falls can rise to a height of more than 400m (1312 ft). Local tribes used to call the falls Mosi-o-Tunya or “the smoke that thunders.” Explorer and missionary David Livingstone renamed the falls after Queen Victoria when he first saw them in 1855.

20

Day 20: Victoria Falls

Enjoy a morning tour of the beautiful Victoria Falls, then the rest of the day is free to explore the area. Take part in a river safari, cultural tours, whitewater rafting, canoeing, or a helicopter ride over the falls. Opt to take a day trip to the wildlife haven of Chobe National Park.

21

Day 21: Victoria Falls

Spend the day exploring your beautiful surroundings. Opt to visit Victoria Falls, go whitewater rafting, or take a helicopter flight over the falls.
The town of Victoria Falls is a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with Victoria Falls in view.

Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.

22

Day 22: Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park

Enjoy free time in the morning and opt to visit the falls. Later, visit the Painted Dog (Wild Dog) conservancy and meet with a conservationist to learn about the work being done to rehabilitate injured animals as a result of poaching. After, travel to Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park and enjoy a safari drive on the lodge concession, in search of wildlife. This evening, arrive at the lodge, located just outside the park entrance and enjoy dinner.
Examine the life and struggles faced by the Painted Dog (wild dog) population in and around Hwange national park and the efforts made by the conservancy to prevent poaching and the damage done by snare traps that have endangered the Painted Dog population in Zimbabwe. The ultimate goal of the project is to release rehabilitated animals back into the wild and to work with local children and communities in an effort to educate and shift behaviors away from poaching.

23

Day 23: Hwange National Park

Take a full day wildlife safari drive in the park which is home to large elephant herds, lions and the rare African wild dog. This evening, relax on the sun deck with a cool drink, keeping an eye out for local wildlife who visit the lodge's watering hole.

24

Day 24: Hwange/Chobe NP

Depart Hwange and head north, crossing the border into Botswana, and arriving in Kasane, gateway to stunning Chobe National Park. This afternoon, enjoy a boat safari on the Chobe River in search of bathing elephants, hippos and crocodiles.
Keep an eye out for Chobe bushbuck and puku antelope, which are found only in this part of Botswana. The Chobe River is home to the world's largest elephant herds; buffalo, hippos, and lions can also be seen here.

25

Day 25: Chobe NP

In the morning, continue our wildlife viewing with a safari drive along the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon, opt to take a photography river safari on a specialized photography boat.
Opt into the photo wildlife safari on the Chobe River at sunset; you'll be accompanied by an expert wildlife photographer and guide who will help you get the perfect shot.

26

Day 26: Kasane/Okavango Delta

Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into the remote camp in the wilderness. Enjoy lunch before taking a walk to the research camps of the National Geographic funded Okavango Wilderness Project. Meet with someone from the research team and learn about their work and projects in the area.

27

Day 27: Okavango Delta

Explore the stunning Delta Panhandle with expert local guides to enjoy wildlife viewing from mokoros, African dugout canoes, and on bush walks; also visit a fish monitoring station and a local village. This evening, we will enjoy a unique stay in a bush camp on one of the remote Islands within the Delta. Here we enjoy a 3 course meal around a roaring camp fire, sitting back and listening to the night calls of the Delta wildlife.
Tonight we enjoy a unique and adventurous stay in a remote bush camp (known locally as a fly camp). Accommodation will be in simple dome tents on cots, and facilities are wash basins and out house/long drop toilette (simple but clean) which are shared amongst our group. There is no electricity and lighting in the evenings is by lantern, so please bring a flashlight. While basic, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself into the wilds of Africa. Our local guides and staff add some comfortable touches, excellent food and spin some fantastic campfire stories.

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Day 28: Okavango Delta

Depart from our island camp and continue wildlife viewing on foot and by mokoro with our expert local guides. Return to the main camp later this afternoon and opt to relax or have a swim. This evening enjoy the deck overlooking the lagoon with hidden seating areas and a fire pit, perfect for stargazing.

29

Day 29: Okavango Delta/Maun

Transfer to the frontier town of Maun and enjoy an evening of culture and traditional foods with celebrated author Bonty Botumile and the Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers. This local enterprise is dedicated to preserving Botswana's heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Option to take a scenic flight over the delta.

30

Day 30: Maun

Depart at any time.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Guided Tour, Cape Town National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Carnivore Conservation Experience, Karongwe Private Game Reserve National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Mondesa Township Walk, Swakopmund National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Cheetah Conservation Experience, Windhoek National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Victoria Falls National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Painted Dog Conservation, Hwange National Park National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Okavango Wilderness Project Research Camp, Okavango Delta National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner, Maun
    • Arrival transfer
    • Orientation tour of Cape Town and Cape Point including Boulders Beach
    • Traditional braai (BBQ) dinner
    • Panorama Route scenic drive
    • Kruger National Park wildlife safari drive in open vehicle
    • Private nature reserve wildlife safari drives in open vehicles
    • Sossusvlei desert excursion
    • Desert excursion with a local
    • View the Twyfelfontein ancient petroglyphs
    • Two open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Etosha National Park
    • Tour of Victoria Falls
    • Open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Hwange and Chobe National Parks
    • Chobe boat safari
    • Wildlife excursions by boat and foot in the Okavango Panhandle
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotels/lodges (22 nts), guest house (2 nts), comfortable safari camps (4 nts), bush camp (1 nt)
    • 28 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 19 dinners
    Transport
    • Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, open safari vehicle, walking, boat, mokoro, plane
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local CEO in Cape Town, local guides and rangers
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Tour Highlights:
  • Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
  • Scan the horizon of Kruger National Park for the Big Five
  • Meet researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Carnivore Conservation Programme
  • Drive through Namib-Naukluft National Park
  • Visit ancient petroglyphs
  • Stroll through the cosmopolitan township of Mondesa
  • Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund
  • Help prepare a traditional Zimbabwean meal with a family in their home
  • Explore Zimbabwe's largest national park in an open safari vehicle
  • Cruise the waters of the Chobe River
  • Visit the research camp of the Okavango Wilderness Project
  • Spend a night in a bush camp in the Delta.