Southern Africa Highlights

Southern Africa Highlights

From $ 9,445 AUD

Description

Visit Africa and travel through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa on a tour from Windhoek to Johannesburg. Embark on a journey through bountiful Botswana, rich in natural beauty, thrilling wildlife encounters and fun local interaction. Experience exciting game drives, enjoy life aboard a houseboat, see ancient rock art and feel the power of Victoria Falls. Continue south to Hwange National Park, known for its elephant population, Matobo National Park to track rhinos and, finally, visit famous Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five.

Trip Name
Southern Africa Highlights
Last Updated
2020-02-25
Days
17
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Spend 2 nights on a houseboat as your base for exploring the Okavango Delta
  • Discover the beauty of Chobe River with a morning game drive in open 4WDs before spotting bird life and hippos on a sunset cruise with sundowner in hand.
  • Get drenched by the raw power of mighty Victoria Falls
  • Explore the Makgadikgadi Pans; scenery, sundowners, Baobabs and Meerkats!
  • Check out the large elephant populations of Hwange National Park on a 4WD game drive. Hwange also boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals.
  • Track rhinos on foot with an expert local guide in Matobos National Park – an exhilarating way to experience the wildlife of Zimbabwe - then witness ancient rock paintings and learn about the San people.
  • Experience Kruger with game drives in open-top 4x4 vehicles in both private game reserves and Kruger National Park.
  • Stay in comfortable lodges and hotels for the duration of the journey.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. NAMIBIA AND BOTSWANA IN PEAK SEASON Namibia and Botswana are becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations. Despite the influx of travellers, bed numbers are not being increased to match the demand. This intentional move is aimed at minimising the environmental impact of tourism and keeping the destinations exclusive. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult for us to confirm our allocation with our usual suppliers, particularly in peak season. We may use alternative accommodation which could affect driving times and distances listed in the Essential Trip Information. However we will always use properties of the same standard and ensure that no included activities will be affected. ROAD CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA: Roads in Africa are often in very poor condition, which makes it hard on our vehicles. Our vehicles are serviced regularly and are generally in good condition, but breakdowns can and do happen. Sometimes the going on this trip is quite tough, the distances covered fairly large and some of the roads and tracks are not exactly smooth or free from dust, but the rewards are exceptional. The travelling times indicated in our Essential Trip Information is just a rough guide and is dependent on various factors that may be outside our control, such as road conditions, weather and time spent at borders. DRIVE TIMES: The travel times listed in the day to day itinerary are a guide only. Please be aware that delays may occur and please be patient - it's all part of the experience afterall! Additionally, the travel times do not include time spent on game drives as these can vary with each departure.

Day 1 - Windhoek
On arrival in Windhoek, you will be met by an Intrepid representative and transferred to your hotel. Please arrive in time for the important 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. 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 the rest of the group for an optional welcome dinner. If you're interested in seeing a little more of Namibia before you head off on your Botswana Adventure, why not consider our Namibia Dunes Shortbreak (UBAS-C). The shortbreak starts and finishes in Windoek and gives you an opportunity to discover one of the most incredible landscapes in Namibia when you pay a visit to the barren dunes of Soussusvlei.
Day 2 - 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 lodge just outside the small cattle ranching town of Ghanzi and a bit more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey, however the concept and experience will be well worth it. The lodge is situated in the Kalahari region of Botswana that is inhabited by a large portion of Botswanas’ San community. Unemployment is one of the main social issues that affect the San community, who have become an increasingly marginalized minority is Southern Africa . The lodge helps empower the community through employment. A traditional San/Southern African meal will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. There is also an 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 locals. Around the campfire, you will experience the ancient dance rituals of the San, with a chance to chat afterwards. On special occasions this could be a healing or trance dance, which can continue all night, and is an intense spiritual experience for both participants and visitors alike.
Day 3 - Okavango Delta
Before breakfast this morning there will be a chance to go out on an optional walk with a member of the San community. The San are renowned as the most skillful trackers on Earth and have an extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari for both plants and animal tracking. Here you will be shown the wide variety of both edible and medicinal plants, while also tracking a variety of animals and learning about their habits. Of course, you will also spend quality time with your guide to understand their very different world view. 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 Okavango Delta Panhandle. 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 with shared facilities however 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.
Day 4 - Okavango Delta
After breakfast we take a speedboat and 4WD 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 short nature walk around one of the many Islands in the Delta Panhandle. 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 5 - 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 6 hrs). 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 6 - 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 4WDs 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 7 - 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 on the banks of the Chobe River.
Day 8 - 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. There will be an opportunity to have a sundowner drink and watch the sunset over the river.
Day 9 - 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. An included local brewery tour and a tasting paddle is a great way wash down the thrill of witnessing the magnificent falls.
Day 10 - Victoria Falls
Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer. There will be another Welcome Meeting at 6pm to meet the new group members joining today. Please let you leader know if you will not take part in this meeting.
Day 11 - Hwange National Park
Depart Victoria Falls and hit the road to Hwange National Park (approximately 5 hours drive) via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, one of The Intrepid Foundation projects. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and their role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care. In the afternoon enjoy a game drive within the Hwange National Park. Your vehicle of choice here is an open 4x4 vehicle that'll have you feeling like you're part of the action. Hwange, the largest park in Zimbabwe, was designated as a national park in 1929 after acting as the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century. The park is particularly famous for its elephants and is home to one of the largest populations in the world, as well as a huge variety of wildlife including over 100 mammals and nearly 400 bird species.
Day 12 - Matobo National Park
Leave Hwange in your dust as you make tracks for Matobo National Park. Shortly after leaving Hwange stop at the Painted Dog Conservation Centre. The loss of quality habitat and poaching are driving the painted dogs towards extinction. Learn about how they they protect and increase the range and numbers of painted dogs in Zimbabwe and the Hwange ecosystem as a whole. Then it's onto  Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city. Take a stroll through the streets lined with old colonial buildings and stop in at a local resturant for lunch. Continue on to Matobo where you'll spend the next two nights. This area has great significance, both culturally and spiritually, to the local people and the rocks balanced in Matobo Hills are thought to be the seats of god and ancestral spirits. The park is home to the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company, and is especially known for its rhino population.
Day 13 - Matobo National Park
Today you'll enjoy an unforgettable day tracking rhinos on foot with your local guides. You'll learn about the local plants and trees and their traditional uses, and there'll also be plenty of chances to spot wildlife other than rhinos. The park is home to leopards, hippos, antelope and more, and you'll also learn about the San people who have called this area home for thousands of years. Visit their rock paintings in the hills and spend some time in the nearby villages to meet some of the local community before returning to your lodge for the evening.
Day 14 - Johannesburg
This morning the group will transfer to Bulwayo Airport and fly to Johannesburg. The afternoon Johannesburg walking tour is a great way to get under the skin of this changing city. With the help of a local guide this tour side skips the usual spots and embraces art, architecture, culture and history of Maboneng Cultural Precinct & Main Street. Afterwards your leader will be happy to show the best place to purchase a local dinner and craft beer.
Day 15 - Kruger National Park
Wake early and drive to your lodge located in the Greater Kruger National Park. Arrive in time for lunch, setttle in, then head off for a late afternoon game drive through a private reserve. You'll be in open 4WD vehicles once again and searching for the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo. Enjoy a couple of sunset drinks by one of the waterholes then the game drive will continue into the night. Dinner will be a traditional meal around a fire at the lodge, and the evening is free for you to enjoy a book, chat with your fellow travellers or take a dip in the lodge's swimming pool. 
Day 16 - Kruger National Park
Start the day early and head into Kruger National Park itself, one of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa. Here are some stats: over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species including, of course, the Big Five. Your wildlife experience begins as soon as you enter the park as you're taken into prime viewing areas. Enjoy a picnic breakfast before spending the rest of the day in this incredible park, with time spent watching game, birds and stopping at various waterholes as you go. The group will leave the park in the late afternoon and return to the lodge for another relaxed evening.
Day 17 - Johannesburg
Another early start will see the group heading out on a bush walk within the property. You'll learn about this region's finer details, including bird, tree and spoor identification from a qualified nature guide. Afterwards, transfer back to Johannesburg. It's a long drive (approx. 9-10 hours) but will be broken up with a visit to the spectacular God's Window viewpoint & Bourke's Luck Potholes. On arrival in Johannesburg your adventure will finish.
Day 18 - Johannesburg
Your trip comes to an end in Johannesburg today. There are no activities planned and you're free to depart at any point in the morning.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
26-03-202011-04-2020AUD $ 9,610-
14-05-202030-05-2020AUD $ 9,445-
28-05-202013-06-2020AUD $ 9,530-
04-06-202020-06-2020AUD $ 9,445-
02-07-202018-07-2020AUD $ 9,820-
16-07-202001-08-2020AUD $ 9,820-
30-07-202015-08-2020AUD $ 9,445-
03-09-202019-09-2020AUD $ 10,115-
10-09-202026-09-2020AUD $ 9,530-
24-09-202010-10-2020AUD $ 9,445-
26-11-202012-12-2020AUD $ 9,445-
21-01-202106-02-2021AUD $ 9,865-
08-04-202124-04-2021AUD $ 9,865-
06-05-202122-05-2021AUD $ 9,865-
03-06-202119-06-2021AUD $ 9,865-
01-07-202117-07-2021AUD $ 9,865-
15-07-202131-07-2021AUD $ 9,865-
05-08-202121-08-2021AUD $ 9,865-
09-09-202125-09-2021AUD $ 9,865-
18-11-202104-12-2021AUD $ 9,865-

Accommodation

Hotel (5 nights),Houseboat (2 nights),Lodge (9 nights)

Transport

Overland vehicle,Mokoro,4x4 Safari Vehicle,Private Vehicle,Plane

Map