Experience Southern Africa

Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe,

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12 people
16 days
Code: UBSCC
Activity and Adventure, Camping, Discovery, Overland, Tours, Wildlife
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Overview of Experience Southern Africa

Visit Southern Africa and travel from Johannesburg, through the Kruger National Park, to Victoria Falls and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary before returning to South Africa. Here’s a chance to witness golden sunsets, camp in remote wilderness, safari through African plains and cruise rivers filled with iconic wildlife. Journey through South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe and be amazed by powerful waterfalls, enchanted by encounters with endangered species and inspired by the resolve of communities emerging from darker times. Experience Southern Africa and walk away with renewed hope, inspiration and a heart full of memories.

Trip Summary for Experience Southern Africa

Start Location: Johannesburg,   End Location: Johannesburg

Countries Visited: Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, 
Meals Included: Breakfast: 15   Lunches: 3   Dinners: 12
Highlights:

    • Camp under an Africa sky within Kruger National Park. You can’t get much closer to nature than that!
    • Spot wildlife in Chobe National Park during a sunset river cruise. This is the time many animals – such as elephants, cheetahs and lions – come to drink so get your cameras ready!
    • Experience untouched wilderness of Botswana’s Okavango Delta by staying on a remote island bush camp. At night, the sounds of the African bush are the only things you will hear.
    • Visit the only place in Botswana where both the white and black Rhinoceros’ still remain: the Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
    • Cycle through the colourful streets of Soweto with a local and hear firsthand about the townships’ rough but inspired history.
    • On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members – Group Leader, Driver and a camp assistant. Your Camp Assistant is responsible for setting up camp and preparing your meals so you can take extra time to relax at the end of your day.
    • Camping beds/stretchers are provided for most camping nights to provide an extra level of comfort.

 

Day 1 - Johannesburg
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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 for this, 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. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg, a city of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps visit the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is well worth your time.

Notes: Please make sure that if you explore Johannesburg on your own that you get local advice as to where it is safe to walk, especially in the evening. The level of crime here may be higher than what you are used to.

Day 2 - Kruger National Park
Travel to Kruger National Park (approximately 11–12 hours). You will leave Johannesburg and travel through the Mpumalanga Province, journeying along the famous Panorama Route through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. Sights along the way include God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels (Sisters) and the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. Your wildlife-spotting begins as soon as you enter Kruger – you'll head straight into prime game viewing areas. The park is home to some 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog. Arrive at your campground, which has shared facilities, hot and cold water, and optional upgrades (subject to availability).

Day 3 - Kruger National Park
Rise early for a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a morning game drive in the truck. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, birdwatching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints. Later on we take a night drive with the park guide. This is a great chance to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two – catch a lion or hyena out hunting, or an impala out in search of a late-night feed.

Day 4 - Mokopane
Enjoy a final game drive while travelling out of Kruger National Park. Make your way towards the bushveld town of Mokopane (approximately 6 hours). Mokopane is a vibrant town within the Limpopo region, known for its rich mineral deposits and well established farm land. Tonight you'll stay outside of Mokopane on a working cattle farm called Thabaphaswa (meaning 'black and white mountain' in the local dialect). It's situated in a natural basin surrounded by hills. Tonight you will experience South African farm hospitality on this operational Nguni Stud Farm. The Nguni is the most colourful cattle breed of Africa and is deeply intertwined with the traditions and cultures of the local people. Settle into your camp, then visit a nearby village to meet a local artist. For dinner, feast on a traditional spread prepared by your hosts back at the farm. Accommodation upgrades are possible tonight.

Day 5 - Palapye
Hit the road, this time for Palapye (approximately 6 hours). Your cosy campsite tonight is located just a short distance from town. Once you're settled in, perhaps take a stroll to town to stretch your legs. Make the most of the facilities of the campsite, which include a swimming pool, bar/lounge area and restaurant. Upgrades are possible here also.

Day 6 - Nata
Journey from Palapye to Nata (approximately 6 hours). Your campsite is situated on the edge of the amazing Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, one of the largest salt flats in the world (covering some 12,000 square kilometres). On arrival take a three-hour excursion in an open vehicle to explore these seemingly endless plains. Surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, the pans are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year. During this time the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as heat mirages disorientate the senses. Then, after the rains hit, it become a grassy refuge for migratory birds and animals. Facilities at your camp include a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM and bar/lounge area. Upgrades are also possible.

Day 7 - Victoria Falls
Travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 7–8 hours). You will cross the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the lovely Zambezi. Experience the roar of the falls, a gigantic curtain of water about a mile wide and dropping 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres, making them an impressive raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and it's possible to see little islets in the river below. Your camp tonight has shared facilities, WiFi access and an ATM. Upgrades are possible also.

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.

Day 8 - Victoria Falls
Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer. If you are interested in the Optional Helicopter flight ( 12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange this activity.

Day 9 - Chobe National Park
Travel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (approximately 2–3 hours). Chobe, the first national park to be established in the country, is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants, which can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts wallowing hippos, a variety of birdlife, and crocodiles which like to sun themselves by the water's edge. Cheetahs and lions also come down to drink. In the late afternoon you will embark on a scenic sunset cruise on the Chobe River – a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Your camp, located outside of the park, has flush toilets, showers, WiFi and optional accommodation upgrades.

Day 10 - Maun
There's time for an additional game drive for those who would like to further explore this beautiful park (this is optional). As well as elephants, you might see some of Chobe's other noble creatures – from giraffe and zebra to impala and tsessebe. Then it's time to head to Maun (approximately 10–11 hours). This town is the gateway to one of the world's most famous and most complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. Arrive, stretch your legs and set up camp on the outskirts of town at a simple campsite. Here there are shared facilities, WiFi and optional accommodation upgrades.

Day 11 - Okavango Delta
Travel into the unspoiled wilderness for an adventurous camping experience. The Okavango Delta is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and prolific wildlife. The delta is filled with a diversity of flora and fauna that includes hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But it's not the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incredible ecosystem. You'll explore the waterways by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe navigated by friendly local 'polers'. You'll also spend some time exploring on foot with your experienced and knowledgeable guides. Camp on a remote island in the heart of the wild. Toilets will be dug and there are no showers. Hear the nocturnal creatures of the African bush come to life as the sun goes down.

Day 12 - Okavango Delta
It's an early start this morning as you venture out for a sunrise walk, hoping to catch a glimpse of some elephants and perhaps the fascinating and rather noble-looking Cape buffalo. Return to camp to enjoy some breakfast and reflect on the morning's viewing with your fellow travellers. As it warms up, you'll have the rest of the day to relax. You might like to take a refreshing swim. There is also the option of an afternoon walk or another mokoro trip. You may notice that the mokoros of today are made with fibreglass but retain their original shape – this strikes a balance between tradition and sustainability.

Day 13 - Maun
After taking down your camp, it's time to return the mokoro to the poling station and board the vehicle once again. Travel back to Maun (approximately 2–3 hours). Though this town is best known as a stepping stone to the delta, it's worth a stroll around. Perhaps check out the Nhabe Museum if you feel curious and have time. Tonight you will camp on the outskirts of town at a simple site which has shared facilities.

Day 14 - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Travel to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 9–10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a conversion of a former hunting area into a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana's only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen around the many natural waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and contributes to the protection of the highly endangered white rhinoceros. In the evening you'll head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos (this will be replaced by a dawn game drive if the group arrives at the sanctuary too late). Your camp tonight has shared facilities and optional upgrades.

Day 15 - Soweto/Johannesburg
Cross the border into South Africa and travel on to Soweto, which is located in the Johannesburg area (approximately 10–11 hours). Johannesburg is a sprawling city of remarkable contrasts. As you come into town you'll likely see opulent mansions alongside tin-roof shacks, and verdant city parks alongside the concrete. About half of Jo'burg's 3 million residents live in Soweto and its surrounding areas. Enjoy a relaxing evening upon arrival.

Day 16 - Soweto
Take to the streets of Soweto on a bicycle and learn about the Soweto uprising and the resistance against apartheid. It's interesting to see how the community has changed and developed into what it is today. You'll also visit a former migrant workers' hostel and stop at many other local landmarks. Your cycling adventure should finish up at around 3 pm today. With no further activities planned, your trip comes to an end at this point. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip. If you are departing, it's best to book a flight for 8 pm or later.

Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities

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