Southern Africa: Desert, Wildlife & Falls
27 days from Johannesburg to Maun
From $ 11149
Duration27 days

Whether it’s the roar of a lion or the roar of Victoria Falls, there are bound to be many memorable moments on this 27-day southern African journey. Spot wildlife on a thrilling safari in Kruger National Park, marvel at Namibia’s undulating dunes in the world’s oldest desert, and explore Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a traditional dugout canoe. From spectacular South Africa to the wilds of Zimbabwe, an unforgettable adventure awaits.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 27 days
    Service level: Upgraded
  • Starts in: Johannesburg
    Physical Grading: Light
  • Ends in: Maun
    Ages: 12+
Southern Africa: Desert, Wildlife & Falls - Tour Map

Itinerary

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Day 1: Johannesburg
Arrive at any time. Transfer to hotel. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) welcome dinner. If you are interested in spending more time in Johannesburg, it is recommended to book pre-accommodation to enjoy the sights of the city at your own leisure.
Meals: D
Day 2: Johannesburg/Kruger National Park

Start place: Johannesburg

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 near the Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner in the boma. Today is a very long driving day; however, we will make many stops along the way at sites along the Panorama Route.

End place: Kruger National Park

Meals: B, D
Day 3: Kruger National Park

Start place: Kruger National Park

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.
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 extend your safari drive or head back to the lodge where you can take a short nature walk or relax on the deck with views of the surrounding area.

End place: Kruger National Park

Meals: B, D
Day 4: Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Start place: Kruger National Park

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).
Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, meet 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. Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and Shangaan trackers who will share their vast experience of the African bush.

On some occasions, if space is unavailable, we may need to change accommodations or even use a different private reserve. In such a case, be assured we will choose other lodges or comfort camps (of equal quality) within the Greater Kruger area.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Karongwe Private Game Reserve
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.
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.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg
After one last wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house.

End place: Johannesburg

Meals: B, D
Day 7: Johannesburg/Windhoek

Start place: Johannesburg

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.

End place: Windhoek

Meals: B
Day 8: Windhoek/Sesriem

Start place: Windhoek

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.
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.
Meals: B, D
Day 9: 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. It's considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After, visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River.
Meals: B, D
Day 10: 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 smaller animal life that manages to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and insects to learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.

End place: Swakopmund

Meals: B, L
Day 11: Swakopmund

Start place: Swakopmund

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.
Enjoy a free morning. Opt to go quad biking, 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, then visit a family-run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.

End place: Swakopmund

Meals: B, D
Day 12: Swakopmund/Twyfelfontein

Start place: Swakopmund

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 2,500 figures ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 years old.
Meals: B, D
Day 13: Twyfelfontein/Etosha National Park
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.
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. Etosha is a very popular park with limited accommodation. While we aim to secure lodging inside the park, on some departures we will stay at lodges adjacent to the park (the park is unfenced allowing the animals to roam freely throughout the area) which still provides access to all safari activities and wildlife.

End place: Etosha National Park

Meals: B
Day 14: Etosha National Park

Start place: 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.

End place: Etosha National Park

Meals: B
Day 15: Etosha National Park/Windhoek

Start place: Etosha National Park

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.

End place: Windhoek

Meals: B, L
Day 16: Windhoek/Victoria Falls

Start place: Windhoek

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.
Fly to Zimbabwe. Gain insight into what life is 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.

End place: Victoria Falls

Meals: B, D
Day 17: Victoria Falls

Start place: 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. If you have an activity planned for this morning, we will reschedule your Falls tour for this afternoon, or tomorrow morning.

End place: Victoria Falls

Meals: B
Day 18: Victoria Falls

Start place: Victoria 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.
Spend the day exploring your beautiful surroundings. Opt to visit Victoria Falls, go whitewater rafting, or take a helicopter flight over the falls. Want to do more with your tour? Pre-book any two of the following activities: Zambezi Whitewater Rafting, Victoria Falls Helicopter Ride, or the Zambezi River Sunset Cruise.

Any optional activities listed on this day can also be booked upon arrival in Victoria Falls.

End place: Victoria Falls

Meals: B
Day 19: Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park

Start place: Victoria Falls

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.
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. Road conditions in the region can range from good to very poor. As such, we slow our traveling speed in the rough spots and enjoy some sand and bumps – all part of the adventure of traveling in Africa.

Please note that hot water shortages, low water pressure and power outages can occur in Southern Africa. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control. Wifi is available in most places (extra charge may apply), but in remote areas there can be service interruptions. A/C is not generally available in the accommodations we use, really it isn't needed as evenings tend to cool down. Floor or ceiling fans are usually available.

End place: Hwange National Park

Meals: B, D
Day 20: Hwange National Park

Start place: 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 visiting the lodge's watering hole.

End place: Hwange National Park

Meals: B, L, D
Day 21: Hwange/Chobe NP

Start place: Hwange National Park

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.
Depart Hwange and head north, crossing the border into Botswana and arriving in Kasane, gateway to the stunning Chobe National Park. This afternoon, enjoy a boat safari on the Chobe River in search of bathing elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.
Meals: B, D
Day 22: Chobe NP
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.
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.
Meals: B, D
Day 23: Kasane/Okavango Delta
Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into our 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. Planes used to fly into the Delta are small and weight restrictions are mandatory. For this reason luggage restrictions are 15kg per person for checked in luggage and 5kg for Hand luggage for a maximum of 20kg per person. As well, the airline requires the weight of each passenger, your CEO will collect this information from you privately, at the beginning of the trip.

End place: Delta de l'Okavango

Meals: B, L, D
Day 24: Okavango Delta

Start place: Delta de l'Okavango

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.
Explore the stunning Delta Panhandle with expert local guides to view wildlife from mokoros (African dugout canoes) and on bush walks. This evening, we will stay at a unique bush camp on one of the remote Islands within the Delta. Here, we enjoy a three-course meal around a roaring campfire, sitting back and listening to the night calls of the Delta wildlife.

End place: Delta de l'Okavango

Meals: B, L, D
Day 25: Okavango Delta

Start place: Delta de l'Okavango

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 take a swim. This evening, relax on the deck overlooking the lagoon with hidden seating areas and a fire pit — perfect for stargazing.

End place: Delta de l'Okavango

Meals: B, L, D
Day 26: Okavango Delta/Maun

Start place: Delta de l'Okavango

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.

End place: Maun

Meals: B, L, D
Day 27: Maun

Start place: Maun

Depart at any time.

End place: Maun

Meals: B

Inclusions

Included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Carnivore Conservation Experience, Karongwe Private Game Reserve Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Mondesa Township Walk, Swakopmund Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Cheetah Conservation Experience, Windhoek Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Victoria Falls Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Painted Dog Conservation, Hwange National Park Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Okavango Wilderness Project Experience, Okavango Delta Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner, Maun Your Foodie Moment: Traditional South Africa Braai (Barbecue), Johannesburg Your Discover Moment: Victoria Falls
  • Arrival transfer
  • Traditional South African braai (BBQ)
  • Panorama Route scenic drive
  • Kruger National Park and 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
  • Transport

    Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, Open safari vehicle, Walking, Boat, Mokoro, Plane
  • Accommodation

    Guest house (2 nts), Comfortable safari camp (2 nt), Comfortable tent or chalets (2 nts), Hotels/lodges (19 nts), Bush camp (1 nt)

Dates & availability: Southern Africa: Desert, Wildlife & Falls

Departing Finishing Catalog Price Sale Price Seats left
Departing Thu, 10/22/2020 Finishing Tue, 11/17/2020 Catalog Price $ 11999 Sale Price $ 11999 14 Book
Departing Thu, 11/12/2020 Finishing Tue, 12/08/2020 Catalog Price $ 11599 Sale Price $ 11599 14 Book
Departing Thu, 11/19/2020 Finishing Tue, 12/15/2020 Catalog Price $ 11599 Sale Price $ 11599 12 Book
Departing Thu, 12/17/2020 Finishing Tue, 01/12/2021 Catalog Price $ 11999 Sale Price $ 11999 14 Book
Departing Thu, 12/24/2020 Finishing Tue, 01/19/2021 Catalog Price $ 11999 Sale Price $ 11999 14 Book

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