Day 1 - Cape Town
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. For those with time here before the trip starts, highly recommended excursions include catching the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain, taking the ferry across to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years), or the day trip down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope Peninsula.
Day 2 - Lambert's Bay
Depart Cape Town and travel along the west coast to the small seaside town of Lamberts Bay (265km approximately 4-5 hours). Its white beaches, lobsters and incredible wildlife earned this place the nickname ‘diamond of west coast’. It's also simply a quaint fishing town tucked into the western Cape Province, best explored by foot. You'll visit Cape Gannet Island today. At the right time of the year, you might be lucky enough to view the spectacular flocks of gannet, which make use of the spot for breeding in August and September. For birdwatchers, the colony at Lambert's Bay is the most accessible of the six gannet colonies in South Africa and Namibia. They are a spectacular sight in their tightly packed community, and it’s an awesome experience to see them wheel, land and settle into their designated positions. Sit down to a delicious feast at a local open-air restaurant, where the amazing ocean views are sure to dazzle.
Day 3 - Orange River
Farewell your coastal retreat as you cross the border into Namibia (500km approximately 7hrs). You should reach your destination on the banks of the Orange River by mid-afternoon. The border crossing and a few photo stops could delay this arrival a little. This is the longest river in South Africa, running from high up in the Drakensberg mountain range and on to the Atlantic Ocean. The river is significant for its role in transporting diamonds which in turn leaves deposits that are found along the Namibian coastline.
Day 4 - Fish River Canyon
Kick things off with a half-day canoe adventure along the Orange River today. You will wind through the ancient Richtersveld Mountains.
The canoe trip will be done in 2 man canoes with a local guide. It is a slow paced trip covering approximately 10km and we should be travelling down stream for most or all of the trip.
After you have returned to land you'll venture to the Fish River Canyon (200km approximately 5hrs), one of the biggest canyons in the world. Along the way you will stop at various lookouts, all great opportunities to catch this beautiful and gigantic gorge on camera. Look out for some exotic birdlife while you’re here: plovers, wagtails, hammerkops and herons. You might even catch a glimpse of a baboon or an antelope at dusk if you're lucky.
Day 5 - Sesriem
Today is a long travel day. We head to the eastern edge of the Namib Desert today (610km approximately 9hrs). This region of the world's oldest desert is known for its array of geological features. Take in the diversity and sprawling beauty of the scenery as you drive to your lodgings for the night.
Day 6 - Sesriem – Sossusvlei
Today you will make an early morning visit to Sossusvlei, which lies at the end of an ancient riverbed. If you find yourself in the mood, a climb to the top of Dune 45 will reward you with unparalleled views of the region.
After breakfast head to Dead Vlei. A clay pan well known for the iconic postcard like images taken here by many. The pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world, "Big Daddy" or "Crazy Dune" average about 350m.
If you'd like to avoid a long walk in the sun you can opt to pay for a 4x4 transfer from the 2x2 car park out to the Dead Vlei entrance point. This will cost approximately 130NAD per person.
In the afternoon you will visit Sesriem Gorge, tranquil natural corridor you can walk through and explore. The canyon was caused by water erosion over thousands of years. The people who lived in the area used to pull buckets of water up from the depths with six knotted belts. Therefore, the canyon was named after the Afrikaans word “Sesriem” meaning “six belts”.
Day 7 - Swakopmund
Depart your desert lodge and travel across the Namib Desert today (280km, approximately 6hrs), a trip culminating in the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean coastline. The drive goes through a beautiful, diverse, colourful landscape. You'll see the awesome Kuiseb Canyon along the way, before arriving at the beachside town of Swakopmund, located on the Skeleton Coast.
Day 8 - Swakopmund
Enjoy some free time in this pretty coastal spot. Your accommodation is within walking distance of town. Perhaps go for a stroll along the beach, explore the open-air markets or visit the local museum. The Namibian National Marine Aquarium is also a good choice. There are plenty of options on offer at the local activity centre, which your leader will take you to.
Notes: We have not risk-assessed all activities, and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure about anything, please check with your local guide. Please note that it is against company policy for leaders or guides to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to our Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
Day 9 - Damaraland
Get off the beaten track and head into the heart of Damaraland (330km approximately 6hrs). You should arrive at your lodge this afternoon.
Your home for the next two nights is the Mopane Lodge, constructed in a semi-circle of interlinking pathways leading to a lavish swimming pool at its centre. Innovatively designed, each chalet has its own small garden planted with vegetables. Bright yellow sunflowers peep out between verdant spinach, beetroot and zany scarecrows, creating an enchanting lodge setting. A highlight end of the day is to ascend the hill to a viewing platform for a sweeping vista of the Mopane woodland illuminated by the setting sun. It also the best spot for a sundowner drink and to get a better view of the intriguing construction of the lodge.
Day 10 - Damaraland
Spend the morning visiting the surrounding sights such as Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest. Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of ancient rock engraving in southern Africa and is a fascinating insight into the past. The Petrified Forest looks back into nature’s history, where 280 million-year-old fossilised tree trunks lie.
We will be accompanied by local guides at both the Petrified forest and the Twyfelfontein sites. The guided walks take between 30-60mins and although not difficult there are some steep rocks and hills at the Twyfelfontein site. It can get hot at this time of day so be sure to have a hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water with you.
Daytime temperatures often peak around 30°C here, so sightseeing is best completed as early as possible, before the thermometer climbs too high. Spend the remainder of the day back at the lodge, perhaps by the pool or relaxing in the shade.
Day 11 - Etosha National Park
Depart our lodge this morning and head towards Etosha National Park (220km approximately 5hrs). Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores here.
We head out on a short afternoon Game Drive in our truck on arrival.
Day 12 - Etosha National Park
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in the truck.
Keep your eyes peeled for desert elephants, which you might be lucky enough to come across, depending on the season. There's also the black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik, all of which you have the chance to spot during game drives. Game viewing in the park is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large, sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is hard to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to allow for some sightings.
Head back to the lodge this evening. You might like to finish up the day by taking a refreshing dip in the pool, or enjoying a drink with your fellow travellers to reflect on the day's adventure.
Day 13 - Windhoek
From Etosha National Park you will head to Windhoek, an old German colonial town, now a cosmopolitan centre. The Germanic colonial architecture of this city contributes to its charming feel. You'll arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. The old German colonial town of Windhoek has been blended into a modern city. The German architecture of the older buildings lends the town a historic atmosphere. Good examples of this German architecture can be seen in a number of buildings, but the best are the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus. This evening you may wish to join new members of the group for an optional welcome dinner.
Day 14 - Ghanzi/Central Kalahari
Cross the border into Botswana and travel to Ghanzi, known as the "Capital of the Kalahari" (560km approximately 8hrs).
Accommodation tonight is at a community project in Ghanzi and a bit more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey, however the concept and experience of Dqae Qare San Lodge will be well worth it.
The Dqae Qare San Lodge is run and owned by the local San Bushmen people and supports the San D'Kar community through employment.
There is an impressive concentration of bird life here and you may wish to go for a walk before dinner to stretch your legs after the long driving day.
A 3 course meal prepared by the local women will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. There is also an 'honesty' bar with wine, beer and soft drinks available to buy.
Later this evening we will be treated to a real cultural experience and interaction with the local Bushmen. As we sit around the camp fire the Bushmen will share their extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari and culture through stories and traditional dancing.
Day 15 - Okavango Delta
Head to the Okavango Delta (400km approximately 7hrs), where we board speedboats that will take us to your home for the next two nights, a houseboat in the middle of the Okavango Delta. Please note you will need to pack a small bag or backpack for this trip as we won't be taking all of our luggage with us.
Your floating home for the next 2 nights is the most incredibly peaceful way to experience the delta. The houseboat has twin-share cabins with bedding, towels and mosquito nets provided (no single supplement is available on these nights). Cabins are very small and basic but we don't expect you'll be spending much time in there. There is also a dining area on the deck, tea/coffee making facilities and a small collection of books and board games.
This evening head to the deck where your captain will serve dinner, enjoy a sundowner, and listen to the sound of the Hippos along the waters edge.
Please note that on occasions our houseboat won't be available due to regular servicing and maintenance requirements. If this occurs the program will be replaced with alternate land arrangements.
Day 16 - Okavango Delta
After breakfast we take a speedboat and 4x4 to a nearby poling station. From here you have the opportunity to experience the myriad waterways in traditional dugout canoes (mokoros) with a local guide. Your guide will take you on a nature walk around one of the many Islands in the Delta.
After a picnic lunch, return to the houseboat where you're free to relax, read a book or do some fishing. This evening grab a sundowner, pull up a chair and witness the often breathtaking sunset.
Day 17 - Maun
After breakfast, we leave our houseboat behind, and again board the speedboats to take us back to our truck, and then on towards Maun - the gateway of the Okavango Delta (350km approximately 6hrs).
For those wanting more adventure, there's an opportunity to fly over the delta in a small plane for a bird's-eye view - a great way to appreciate the immensity of this watery world. Your leader can give you more information on this activity and how to book.
Otherwise the afternoon is free to sit by the pool, catch up on emails and laundry.
Day 18 - Makgadikgadi Pans
We depart from our lodge after breakfast and head towards north-east Botswana (210km approximately 4hrs). Our next stop is the Makgadikgadi Pans; a large salt pan situation in the middle of the dry savanna is located. This pan is now all that remains of the former Lake Makgadikgadi.
Our accommodation tonight is located on the edge of the pans. Sit by the pool or relax in the lounge area and take in your surroundings after a long day.
Head out to the Makgadikgadi Pans for an afternoon excursion in open 4x4's to one of the largest salt flats in the world. Here you’ll sit out in the wild enjoy sundowners and snacks while observing the amazing scenery. With the aid of trackers you may have the opportunity to spend some time in the company of the local meerkat colony, and look out for elephants that meander their way down to the watering hole to quench their thirst. Soak in this incredible place while the sun sets behind the old beautiful baobab.
Day 19 - Chobe National Park
This morning we make tracks after breakfast and travel towards Kasane on the edge of Chobe National Park (410km approximately 7hrs).
The stretch of road between Nata and Kasane is known as the 'Elephant Highway'. With no fences elephants are free to move between Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and Botswana. So keep your eyes peeled for roadside elephants.
Botswana's first national park, Chobe, is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants. You will spend the next two nights in a lodge near the Chobe River.
Day 20 - Chobe National Park
This morning we wake early and take a dawn game drive in Chobe National Park, where you may see elephants drinking at the waters' edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impala within the park.
In the afternoon you’ll take a breathtaking cruise on the Chobe River, ideal for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, crocodiles and large families of elephants. The boat trip will be a shared activity with other travellers. The boats used are large, usually with an upper and lower deck, bathroom facilities and a small bar so you can purchase a sundowner and watch the sunset over the river.
Day 21 - Victoria Falls
Travel on to Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi (100km approximately 2hrs depending on border formalities). These falls are one of the natural wonders of the world and, when in full flow, form the largest sheet of falling water.
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.
A unique dinner at Boma restaurant is included, which specialises in Zimbabwean barbecue, is the perfect way to spend your evening.
Day 22 - Victoria Falls
Your adventure will come to an end after breakfast this morning.
No accommodation is included for tonight, but can be requested at your own expense.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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