Day 1 - Johannesburg
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Touch down in Joburg (as the locals like to call it). You’ve got the whole day free to explore the capital city (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a 6pm Welcome Meeting tonight (make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you). Maybe arrive a day early if you can’t find an on-time flight, and let the reception know if you’re going to be late. We’ll happily book extra accommodation for you. Until the meeting, hit the streets of this city of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps head to the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng, or head out to the Burma flea market for any last minute safari must-haves (t-shirts, hats, books). Grab a bite to eat while you're there. You'll find everything from Indian and Chinese to Turkish and South African food. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is well worth your time.
Day 2 - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
See ya South Africa – cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). It sits on the Kalahari Desert, and is an old hunting area transformed into a into a conservation project. It now protects what’s left of Botswana's black and white rhino populations, but there are plenty of other beasties hanging around too – zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which chill out around many natural waterholes. Not only do you get to check out awesome animals here, but you’ll also be benefitting local communities and helping protect the white rhino. When the sun begins to set, perhaps hop in a jeep to see the rhinos at their most active. About 35 rhinos roam around this 400ha community-based reserve. Don't forget your binoculars, or you'll be getting them confused with big rocks. At your camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Day 3 - Maun
Get up real early, jump aboard the truck and head to Maun (approximately 7-8 hours). Catch up on your beauty sleep or kick off the most epic game of I Spy you've ever played. This journey also includes a free massage service (the road might get a little bumpy). In Maun there’s the chance stock up on any supplies you might need for the journey ahead – maybe hats, sunscreen and scarves (for the morning chill and the afternoon sun). Maun’s the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This is a one-of-a-kind kinda place – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and loads of wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But honestly it's not really the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incredibly diverse ecosystem and atmospheric waterscapes. Tonight you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, WiFi and optional upgrades.
Day 4 - Okavango Delta
Make your way to the north-western part of the Okavango Delta, close to the Pan Handle. The drive is a not so whopping 300 kilometres and will take you about 6 hours. Now’s the time to find out everything about your fellow travellers – you’ll by just like old mates by the end of it. Leave the truck at some secure parking and take a 4x4 transfer for the last 12 kilometres. Your final destination for the next two nights sits on the edge of the Guma Lagoon area. Set up camp and relax on the edge of the lagoon for the rest of the afternoon, then fall asleep to the sounds of the African bush at night – is that noise a hippo or your mate snoring?
Day 5 - Okavango Delta
Today you get to paddle the river. There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro (a traditional dugout canoe), eyes closed while your expert poler propels you down the calm waters, through papyrus and reed beds to lily covered lagoons and islands. Watch out for elephant, lechwe, warthog, sitatunga and other plains game in the open. There are also heaps of birds around for all you twitchers out there. Stop at one of the islands for a picnic lunch before continuing on, returning back to camp in the late afternoon. Take a swim or ask you leader about taking a walk around the area.
Day 6 - Caprivi Strip
This morning it’s back in the 4x4s and a drive back to the truck. Then you’ll make your way to the border to cross into Namibia. The drive is approximately 150km and will take about 4 hours, including the border crossing. You’ll drive through the Mahango Game Reserve on the Namibia side on the way to the camp for the night. The camp is on the banks of the Cubango river, within the Caprivi Game Park strip of Namibia. This strip of land is sandwiched between Botswana and Angola, and connects with Zambia and Zimbabwe at its end. In the afternoon you’ll head out on a guided excursion through the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe Bushmen tribes, exploring local life up close. Look out for some Botswana Baskets – some say they’re the finest craft works in Africa!
Day 7 - Kwando Camp
Today is another drive of approximately 300 kilometres and about 5 hours, before reaching your next camp on the banks of the Kwando River along the border with Botswana. After settling in you can either relax or jump on one of the optional activities available here, such as a late afternoon boat trip, or a game drive in Mudumu Game Park (look out for buffalo, elephants, loads of antelope species, and zebra). You could also take a village tour, chill with another mokoro ride, or join in on a fishing trip – the locals will give you the heads up on the best spot. Just have a chat with your leader and they’ll let you know what’s what.
Day 8 - Chobe National Park
Zip over to the edge of the Chobe National Park, where you’ll spend the night. The drive takes you further through the Caprivi Strip and back into Botswana. Cruise into Chobe Park on the only stretch of tarred road, before reaching your camp. The drive is approximately 250 kilometres long and will take about 5 hours. Set up camp them head out on a late afternoon boat cruise on the Chobe River. The Chobe River has a huge range of wildlife, all packed into a tiny area, making it unlike anywhere else in the world. Here you’ll get up close and personal with hippos, buffalo, crocodiles and a mind-boggling array of water birds. But elephants are the big stars here, and don't they know it. Parading around in big groups, showing off their cute babies and tearing down enormous trees limb by limb.
Day 9 - Victoria Falls
This morning there'll be time to join an optional game drive in the Chobe National Park. Then it’s onto Victoria Falls this afternoon (approximately 2–3 hours). You will cross the border into Zimbabwe and arrive in the early afternoon. The trip finishes on arrival but you’ve gotta make your way to Vic Falls itself. The entrance fee is a bit steep, but for the Kanye West – no, the Lady Gaga of waterfalls – it’s well worth it, so make sure you’re cashed up. The sound of 19 million cubic feet of water throwing itself over a mile-long edge every minute will be music to your ears. It looks pretty sweet too. If you are departing this evening please do not book flights until after 9pm. There are tonnes of adrenaline pumping activities on around here, so why not stay on longer. There’s white water rafting, canoeing and flying fox rides. For an incredible scenic helicopter flight, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only Geckos-endorsed operator. Your leader can help you arrange all this.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Meals Included: Breakfast: 8 Lunches: 2 Dinners: 7
Ever helped save a Rhino? Well you can answer ‘yes, thanks’ to that once you’ve been to Botswana’s Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Try and tell the difference between your buddy’s snores and the sound of wild hippos while camping in the heart of the Okavango wilderness
There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro, eyes closed while your expert poler propels you through the Okavango Delta
Elephants might never forget, but you’ll get the unforgettable experience of cruising down the river in Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants
Victoria Falls is made for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Peer over the edge of this crazy cascade, then stay on for adventures on land and in the sky
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money