This Southern Africa tour encompasses the natural and cultural highlights of four distinct countries. Beginning in Cape Town, you'll head north to Namibia to hike up Dune 45 for sunrise and safari in beautiful Etosha National Park. From there, journey to Botswana for a traditional Mokoro ride through the Okavango Delta and finish with a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River before ending at iconic Victoria Falls.

Highlights

  • See how Rooibos Tea grows on an informative Farm Visit
  • Take a Guided Desert Walk with a local expert
  • Learn about Makgadikgadi Pans salt on a day excursion
  • Relax and enjoy a Boat Cruise through Chobe National Park
  • Go on safari and spot the Big 5 in Chobe National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 South Africa - Cederberg Region Cederberg
Day 2 Namibia - Gariep (Orange) River Orange River
Day 3 Gariep (Orange) River - Fish River Canyon Klein Karas
Day 4 Fish River Canyon, Quiver Tree Forest, Giants Playground Klein Karas
Day 5 Namib - Naukluft National Park Namib - Naukluft National Park
Day 6 Sossusvlei Dunes - Namib - Naukluft National Park Namib - Naukluft National Park
Day 7 Swakopmund Swakopmund
Day 8 Swakopmund Swakopmund
Day 9 Swakopmund to Brandberg Uis
Day 10
Twyfelfontein to Kamanjab
Kamanjab
Day 11 Etosha National Park Etosha National Park
Day 12 Etosha National Park Etosha National Park
Day 13 Windhoek Windhoek
Day 14 Botswana - Ghanzi Ghanzi
Day 15 Okavango Delta Okavango Delta
Day 16 Maun (Moremi Game Reserve) Moremi
Day 17 Nata Nata
Day 18 Chobe National Park Chobe National Park
Day 19 Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls Victoria Falls
Day 20 Victoria Falls  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: South Africa - Cederberg Region

Hikers enjoying the Cederberg region

Leaving Cape Town this morning we make a last stop for a look back at Table Mountain from across Table Bay.  The Cederberg region has spectacular mountains and orange farms, and is also the home of the Rooibos bush. Today we will visit a working Rooibos tea farm and see the plants of Rooibos and Buchu that occur naturally in the wild. Indigenous to the mountain slopes of the Cederberg, this herbal beverage has earned an international reputation as a healthy and refreshing alternative to regular tea.

A dinner at our overnight stop, offers an opportunity for us to get acquainted while enjoying some South African hospitality.

Day 2: Namibia - Gariep (Orange) River

Vistas of Namaqualand

Namaqualand presents us with our first experience of desert vistas that will accompany us in the days ahead. We continue our journey north and travel to our camp on the banks of the Orange River.

If you are traveling in the spring months (July to September), you may encounter the wildflowers that have made this region famous. Crossing the border this afternoon, we enter Namibia and settle in on the banks of the Gariep River.

Day 3: Namibia - Gariep (Orange) River - Fish River Canyon

Aerial views of the Gariep River

The Orange River was named after the Dutch Royal House. Recently, it is referred to by its original name of Gariep, which means “river” in the KhoeKhoe indigenous language. The Gariep originates in the mountains of Lesotho and is the longest river in South Africa, offering a unique contrast to the desert landscapes along its banks.

The best way to experience the river is by getting out on the water. This morning we have the opportunity to join an optional canoe trip. Around midday, we depart the Orange River and head inland to our overnight stop where guests will be able to enjoy the Ais-Ais Hot Pools.

Day 4: Fish River Canyon, Quiver Tree Forest, and Giants Playground

Stargazing in the quiver tree forest
Stargazing in the quiver tree forest

We rise early this morning and drive to the rim of Africa's largest canyon—Fish River Canyon.  We will have time to watch the morning sun rays filter through the canyon.  After stretching our legs with a gentle walk along the rim of the canyon, we turn west and head for Keetmanshoop.

Our afternoon will be spent meandering through the Quiver Tree Forest and The Giants Playground named for the way in which the massive dolerite boulders have been placed on each other, creating rock formations and a series of mazes.

Day 5: Namib - Naukluft National Park

Oryx walking on the Sossuvlei dunes
Oryx walking on the Sossuvlei dunes

Every overland journey has some long travel days and today is one of those as we venture deeper into the Namib Desert. Our destination is the Dune Fields that cover the western reaches of the desert. Long dusty roads and sparsely populated farmlands offer us insight into the vastness of rural Namibia. From the grasslands in the east to the red dunes of the west, the slowly changing landscapes represent the many faces of this desert country.

Tonight we camp on the doorstep of the dune fields and fall asleep to the unique calls of the elusive Barking Gecko.

Day 6: Sossusvlei Dunes - Namib - Naukluft National Park

Vistas of the renowned Dune 45

A brisk climb up Dune 45 offers us the perfect vantage point to marvel at the changing colors of the desert. Afterward, you will descend this famous dune and enjoy a hearty breakfast before catching a 4×4 transfer into Sossusvlei. Upon arrival,  we will spend time on foot visiting the pans at Sossusvlei and Deadvlei.

Tonight we empty the red sand from our shoes and spend the night under the magnificent desert stars, knowing that we have spent a full-day enjoying the wonders of this harsh land.

Day 7: Swakopmund

Group of flamingoes in Walvis Bay lagoon
Group of flamingoes in Walvis Bay Lagoon

Today we continue west and make our way to the coastal town of Swakopmund, where adventure and a dose of civilization await. Our day in the desert ends as we join a local expert for an educational desert excursion and after, continue making our way across the Tropic of Capricorn to the Atlantic Coast. We make a brief stop at the Walvis Bay Lagoon to see if we get lucky and catch a glimpse of the flamingos that feed in the shallows.

Upon arrival in Swakopmund, we have the opportunity to book some of the many adventures on offer. Tour ends.

Day 8: Swakopmund

A hot air balloon floating over Swakopmund

Swakopmund offers plenty of adrenaline-fueled adventures as well as activities for those who want to have a more relaxed time. Today take the opportunity to explore the town at your leisure.

There is a great selection of famed coffee shops and bakeries that offer a delightful range of German-inspired treats that you don't want to miss. Swakopmund offers all the conveniences of a small city, and is the perfect launching pad for the journey through the northern reaches of the land.

Day 9: Swakopmund to Brandberg

Brandberg White Lady archaeological site
Brandberg White Lady archaeological site

The Brandberg Mountains (Burning Mountains) are the highest in Namibia and home to the famous White Lady, one of more than 45,000 rock paintings in the area. This morning we will make the 1-hour hike to visit the painting that is said to be around 2,000 years old.

Please be advised that the hike does traverse rough terrain along the gorge of the normally dry Tsisab River. After our exploration, our journey continues to the area of Kamanjab.

Day 10: Twyfelfontein to Kamanjab

Incredible Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings
Incredible Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings

Today our journey takes us to the area of Kamanjab.  On route, we will explore the Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings in the Kunene Region. This area has been inhabited for 6,000 years by the Khoi San. The Khoi San used the site to conduct shamanist rituals and during their processes, 2,500 rock paintings were created. This site displays one of the largest concentrations of rock petroglyphs in Africa.

Day 11: Etosha National Park

An elephant in Etosha National Park

Rising early this morning, we drive to Etosha National Park. Etosha is the venue for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. In the afternoon, we will reach the park and begin with our first game drive as we make our way to camp.

Day 12: Etosha National Park

A pair of rhinoceros at sunset
A pair of rhinoceros at sunset

Our second day in Etosha allows for a full day of driving through the park to see what wildlife will see. Each day on safari is different. The suspense of what will be our first sighting and the possibility to see one of the Big 5, keeps us on alert and motivated.

Day 13: Windhoek

Views of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia

An early morning game drive wraps up our visit in Etosha National Park. From here, we will make our way to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Once in Windhoek, we will take a short walk through the city center and have the opportunity to view some of its better-known landmarks.

Day 14: Botswana - Ghanzi

Today we travel east to neighboring Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. Starkly different to the Namib Desert, after which Namibia is named, the Kalahari is no less dramatic and covers over 347,492 square miles (900, 000 square km). The San people have long been associated with this harsh environment. Tonight we enjoy an evening of dance that provides an insight into their culture of song, dance, and story-telling.

Day 15: Okavango Delta

An aerial view of the Okavango Delta

The most rewarding and enjoyable way to experience the beauty and serenity of this intricate system of lily covered channels and lagoons is by mokoro—a wooden-style canoe—typical in the Okavango Delta.  We will meet the crew and fellow guest. Then, we'll go by safari vehicle to the poling station, approximately a 1-hour drive. Here we will meet the polers, who will be escorting us through the Delta. The polers will steer us through the narrow, reed-lined channels, which open onto beautiful lagoons.

Reaching one of the many islands, a nature walk may be taken with your poler. After the walk, we return by mokoro back to the mooring station. While the mokoro route is not primarily a game viewing activity, wildlife may be encountered in this pristine wilderness area, including elephant, giraffe, kudu, impala, and zebra.

Day 16: Maun (Moremi Game Reserve)

A herd of buffalo grazing at a watering hole
A herd of buffalo grazing at a watering hole

Guests who have purchased the activity package will be collected from the hotel before dawn.  We will drive to the South gate to enter Moremi Game Reserve. As the lagoons and channels form a vital section of the Okavango Delta eco-system, sightings of bird and animal populations become more frequent as the day progresses. The game viewing routes will be chosen by the professional guide. During high floods, there may be road closures or some routes that are impassable. 

Guests who have not purchased the activity package have the day to relax.

Day 17: Nata

Makgadikgadi Pan
Makgadikgadi Pan

Leaving Maun behind us this morning, we make our way towards the town of Nata. We will spend most of the day in our truck as we journey across the northern reaches of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Today we will have the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon guided game drive in the Nata Sanctuary, which is a breeding ground for a host of water birds, including pelicans and flamingos.

Day 18: Chobe National Park

Rise early this morning as we continue north to our camp on the banks of the Chobe River. The afternoon is set aside for exploring the Chobe National Park.  Our exploration begins in 4×4 vehicles, allowing us an up-close and personal experience with the many elephants that frequent the Chobe River in the afternoons. The afternoon ends with a leisurely boat cruise,  followed by a meal served around the campfire.

Day 19: Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls

Double rainbow over Victoria Falls

With the memories of our wildlife encounters firmly etched in our minds, we cross the border to Zimbabwe this morning, and travel the short distance to Victoria Falls. Today you have the opportunity to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls, also known by the local name of “Mosi-oa Tunya” (The Smoke that Thunders).

While much of today is dedicated to viewing the mighty Zambezi River as it drops into the Batoka Gorge below, the bustling adventure town of Victoria Falls offers a range of optional activities for those wanting a dose of adrenaline in the afternoon. For the more relaxed traveler, there are craft markets and coffee shops on offer.

Tonight your guide will assist you in deciding on the many options available for dinner out on the town.

Day 20: Victoria Falls

Sunbathers enjoying laying atop the ridge of the Falls

Your tour comes to an end after breakfast. Today is the perfect day for the adventure that most suits your style with many activities available in Victoria Falls. You may want to go rafting down the mighty Zambezi River or enjoy a flight over the falls. This is your opportunity to enjoy the attractions on offer in Victoria Falls.

Map

Map of Explore Southern Africa: Cape Town to Victoria Falls - 20 Days
Map of Explore Southern Africa: Cape Town to Victoria Falls - 20 Days