Ultimate Southern Africa Journey

National Geographic Journeys, Cape Town to Maun

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Set off on an epic journey that combines the best of southern Africa, from its vibrant cities and iconic landscapes to its multitudes of legendary wildlife. Begin this 30-day adventure in South Africa, experiencing Cape Town’s colourful culture, then continue to Kruger National Park to spot a dazzling array of creatures like the "big five." Experience Namibia’s vast desert landscapes and the thunderous roar of Victoria Falls before exploring Zimbabwe and Botswana, which boast some of the richest wildlife reserves in the Africa.

What’s included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Guided Tour, Cape Town National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Carnivore Conservation Experience, Karongwe Private Game Reserve National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Mondesa Township Walk, Swakopmund National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Cheetah Conservation Experience, Windhoek National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Victoria Falls National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Painted Dog Conservation, Hwange National Park National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Okavango Wilderness Project Research Camp, Okavango Delta National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner, Maun Carte Blanche: Victoria Falls
  • Arrival transfer
  • Orientation tour of Cape Town and Cape Point including Boulders Beach
  • Traditional South African braai (BBQ)
  • Panorama Route scenic drive
  • Kruger National Park wildlife safari drive in open vehicle
  • Private nature reserve wildlife safari drives in open vehicles
  • Sossusvlei desert excursion
  • Desert excursion with a local
  • View the Twyfelfontein ancient petroglyphs
  • Two open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Etosha National Park
  • Tour of Victoria Falls
  • Open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Hwange and Chobe National Parks
  • Chobe boat safari
  • Wildlife excursions by boat and foot in the Okavango Panhandle
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Visit kirstenbosch national botanical garden
  • Scan the horizon of kruger national park for the big five
  • Meet researchers from the endangered wildlife trust's carnivore conservation programme
  • Drive through namib-naukluft national park
  • Visit ancient petroglyphs
  • Stroll through the cosmopolitan township of mondesa
  • Visit the cheetah conservation fund
  • Help prepare a traditional zimbabwean meal with a family in their home
  • Explore zimbabwe's largest national park in an open safari vehicle
  • Cruise the waters of the chobe river
  • Visit the research camp of the okavango wilderness project
  • Spend a night in a bush camp in the delta.

Itinerary

Day 1 Cape Town Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Arrival Airport Transfer (1.00 hour(s))
Day 2 Cape Town (1B) Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with an expert guide on a tour exclusively designed for our groups — the garden has been named one of the top gardens in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Continue on to explore vibrant Cape Town and Cape Point, with a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach. Included Activities: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Guided Tour Guided Cape Town Orientation Tour and Excursion to Cape Point Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 3 Cape Town (1B) There is something for everyone in Cape Town. Visit Table Mountain, walk the V&A Waterfront or embark on a wine tour in and around Stellenbosch. For the adventurous, opt to go skydiving, abseiling, or, if you're really brave, cage diving for a close encounter with a great white shark. Wander through the city centre, which has some of the oldest buildings and gardens in South Africa. Check out the Cultural Historical Museum, Planetarium, and many other museums and theatres. Additional Notes: If you are interested in visiting Robben Island - you must book it directly with the museum on their website prior to travel: http://www.robben-island.org.za Due to high demand, it is common that this tour can be sold out over one month in advance.
Day 4 Cape Town/Johannesburg (1B, 1D) Fly to Johannesburg. Enjoy a traditional South Africa Braai (barbecue) for dinner with your local CEO and fellow travellers. Additional Notes: Due to fluctuating flight times with the local carrier, there may either be some additional free time in Cape Town in the morning, or the opportunity to do a brief tour of Soweto when you arrive in Johannesburg. Your CEO will give you your flight times and full breakdown of what is possible, at your arrival meeting. Included Activities: Traditional South Africa Braai (BBQ) Transport: Plane (2.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Johannesburg/Kruger National Park (1B, 1D) Enjoy a full day scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route with stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, and God's Window. Continue to our tented camp located near the Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner in the boma. Additional Notes: Today is a very long driving day; however, we will make many stops along the way at sites along the Panorama Route. Included Activities: Panorama Route Scenic Drive Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00-8.50 hours, 500km)
Day 6 Kruger National Park (1B, 1D) At over 19,000 sq km (7,500 sq mi), South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most impressive animal reserves in the world. With 147 species, Kruger has more species of large mammals than any other park on the continent. Included Activities: Kruger National Park Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive - Half day Transport: Safari vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 7 Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D) For the next two days, enjoy ranger-led morning and evening wildlife safari drives in an open safari vehicle in Karongwe Nature Reserve. Search for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa's famed Big Five. With over 9,000 hectares (22,240 acres) of supreme African bushveld, Karongwe Private Game Reserve is home to many creatures, and our safari drives provide several opportunities for wildlife viewing. We use various accommodations within the reserve (the location is based on availability). During your time here, you will either stay in lodge rooms or very comfortable permanent tents (both of equal quality and with similar amenities). Additional Notes: Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and Shangaan trackers who will share their vast experience of the African bush. On some occasions, if space is unavailable, we may need to change accommodations or even use a different private reserve. In such a case, be assured we will choose other lodges or comfort camps (of equal quality) within the Greater Kruger area. Included Activities: Carnivore Conservation Experience Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 8 Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D) Wake up before the sun (around 5am) and sip your morning coffee before heading out on a morning wildlife safari drive. Return to the lodge for brunch and some leisure time. Converse on the deck, walk the grounds and gardens, and enjoy high tea. Following tea, it's time for a late afternoon safari drive. After spotting tons of wildlife, it’s time to return to camp and freshen up before dinner. Included Activities: Karongwe Private Reserve Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive
Day 9 Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg (1B, 1D) After one last wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house. Included Activities: Karongwe Private Reserve Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s), 500km)
Day 10 Johannesburg/Windhoek (1B) Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore Windhoek in the afternoon and then meet your CEO and the rest of the group in the evening. Transport: Plane (2.00 hour(s))
Day 11 Windhoek/Sesriem (1B, 1D) Enjoy postcard perfect desert scenery around Sesriem and Sossusvlei - vast desertscapes of reds and orange, stark camel thorn trees and towering dunes with dramatic curved ridges. Also keep an eye out for the surprising amount of wildlife that call this area home such as oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena. Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 340km)
Day 12 Sesriem (1B, 1D) Embark on a scenic excursion into the national park to explore the Namib Desert. Visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei — clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burnt orange and red towering dunes. It's considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After, visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River. Included Activities: Sesriem Canyon Visit Sossusvlei Dunes Visit Transport: Private Vehicle 4x4
Day 13 Sesriem/Swakopmund (1B, 1L) Continue through changing desert landscapes, keeping an eye out for free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx. Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire for a break before heading out into the countryside. Here we meet a local to this remote region who takes us on a drive and talks about the survival strategies of ancient bushmen who lived in the area. We also search out smaller animal life that manages to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and insects to learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. Included Activities: Living Desert Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 375km)
Day 14 Swakopmund (1B, 1D) Explore the town's unique mix of German and African culture and opt to visit curio shops, the museum and restaurants. Optional activities include sandboarding, quad biking, or if you're feeling brave, skydiving. Included Activities: Mondesa Township Walk
Day 15 Swakopmund/Twyfelfontein (1B, 1D) Continue on to Twyfelfontein where we visit the ancient petroglyphs which were named Namibia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is thought to hold the largest concentrations of Bushman engravings in Africa with over 2,500 figures ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 years old. Included Activities: Prehistoric Rock Engravings Guided Tour Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 350km)
Day 16 Twyfelfontein/Etosha National Park (1B) After the vast desert, Etosha National Park, offers a contrast of wide open grasslands, a massive pan that covers 4731km² and tall camel thorn trees intermixed with Mopani trees. Combined with the vast amount of natural waterholes with this diverse vegetation, wildlife flock to the park. Some of the largest elephants in Africa can be found in areas of thicker vegetation, as well as leopard and the critically endangered black rhino. Lions, giraffe, ostrich and heard animals the grasslands, while birders will love the salt pans which attract flamingos in the rainy season. More than 340 bird species have been counted in Etosha National Park including the European bee-eater, the kori bustard and numerous migratory birds. Additional Notes: Etosha is a very popular park with limited accommodation. While we aim to secure lodging inside the park, on some departures we will stay at lodges adjacent to the park (the park is unfenced allowing the animals to roam freely throughout the area) which still provides access to all safari activities and wildlife. Included Activities: Visit Petrified Forest national monument Etosha Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50-5.50 hours, 350km)
Day 17 Etosha National Park (1B) Early this morning, embark on a sunrise wildlife safari drive in an open vehicle with a local guide through the park. There is abundant wildlife that congregate around the waterholes, so keep your cameras at the ready for elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. The remainder of the day is free to relax at our lodge. Take a swim or join our CEO for a drive. Our lodge is perfectly situated so sit back with a sundowner and enjoy the sunset over the park. This afternoon or evening, opt to take another open vehicle safari drive. Included Activities: Etosha Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive
Day 18 Etosha National Park/Windhoek (1B, 1L) After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility to learn about the important research, conservation, and community outreach work they do as one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Meet with a researcher for a lecture to learn about the various projects in the works, then enjoy a cheetah drive to view some of these amazing creatures up close. After, enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau. Continue on to Windhoek for our final evening. Included Activities: Cheetah Conservation Experience Transport: Private Vehicle (4.50-5.50 hours, 415km)
Day 19 Windhoek/Victoria Falls (1B, 1D) The mist off Victoria Falls can rise to a height of more than 400m (1312 ft). Local tribes used to call the falls Mosi-o-Tunya or “the smoke that thunders.” Explorer and missionary David Livingstone renamed the falls after Queen Victoria when he first saw them in 1855. Included Activities: Zimbabwean Family Dinner Transport: Plane (3.50 hour(s))
Day 20 Victoria Falls (1B) Enjoy a morning tour of the beautiful Victoria Falls, then the rest of the day is free to explore the area. Take part in a river safari, cultural tours, whitewater rafting, canoeing, or a helicopter ride over the falls. Opt to take a day trip to the wildlife haven of Chobe National Park. Additional Notes: If you have an activity planned for this morning, we will reschedule your Falls tour for this afternoon, or tomorrow morning. Included Activities: Victoria Falls Guided Tour
Day 21 Victoria Falls (1B) The town of Victoria Falls is a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with Victoria Falls in view. Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner. Additional Notes: Want to do more with your tour? Pre-book any two of the following activities: Zambezi Whitewater Rafting, Victoria Falls Helicopter Ride, or the Zambezi River Sunset Cruise. Any optional activities listed on this day can also be booked upon arrival in Victoria Falls. Included Activities: Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos
Day 22 Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park (1B, 1D) Examine the life and struggles faced by the Painted Dog (wild dog) population in and around Hwange national park and the efforts made by the conservancy to prevent poaching and the damage done by snare traps that have endangered the Painted Dog population in Zimbabwe. The ultimate goal of the project is to release rehabilitated animals back into the wild and to work with local children and communities in an effort to educate and shift behaviors away from poaching. Additional Notes: Road conditions in the region can range from good to very poor. As such, we slow our traveling speed in the rough spots and enjoy some sand and bumps – all part of the adventure of traveling in Africa. Please note that hot water shortages, low water pressure and power outages can occur in Southern Africa. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control. Wifi is available in most places (extra charge may apply), but in remote areas there can be service interruptions. A/C is not generally available in the accommodations we use, really it isn't needed as evenings tend to cool down. Floor or ceiling fans are usually available. Included Activities: Painted Dog Conservation Wildlife Safari in Hwange National Park Transport: Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s), 104km)
Day 23 Hwange National Park (1B, 1L, 1D) Take a full-day wildlife safari drive in the park which is home to large elephant herds, lions, and the rare African wild dog. This evening, relax on the sun deck with a cool drink, keeping an eye out for local wildlife visiting the lodge's watering hole. Included Activities: Wildlife Safari in Hwange National Park
Day 24 Hwange/Chobe NP (1B, 1D) Keep an eye out for Chobe bushbuck and puku antelope, which are found only in this part of Botswana. The Chobe River is home to the world’s largest elephant herds; buffalo, hippos, and lions can also be seen here. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Zimbabwe - Botswana) Chobe River Sunset Boat Cruise Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 255km)
Day 25 Chobe NP (1B, 1D) Opt into the photo wildlife safari on the Chobe River at sunset; you’ll be accompanied by an expert wildlife photographer and guide who will help you get the perfect shot. Included Activities: Chobe River Drive
Day 26 Kasane/Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D) Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into our remote camp in the wilderness. Enjoy lunch before taking a walk to the research camps of the National Geographic-funded Okavango Wilderness Project. Meet with someone from the research team and learn about their work and projects in the area. Additional Notes: Planes used to fly into the Delta are small and weight restrictions are mandatory. For this reason luggage restrictions are 15kg per person for checked in luggage and 5kg for Hand luggage for a maximum of 20kg per person. As well, the airline requires the weight of each passenger, your CEO will collect this information from you privately, at the beginning of the trip. Included Activities: Okavango Wilderness Project Research Camp Transport: Plane (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 27 Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D) Tonight we enjoy a unique and adventurous stay in a remote bush camp (known locally as a fly camp). Accommodation will be in simple dome tents on cots, and facilities are wash basins and out house/long drop toilette (simple but clean) which are shared amongst our group. There is no electricity and lighting in the evenings is by lantern, so please bring a flashlight. While basic, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself into the wilds of Africa. Our local guides and staff add some comfortable touches, excellent food and spin some fantastic campfire stories. Included Activities: Okavango Delta Excursion
Day 28 Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D) Depart from our island camp and continue wildlife viewing on foot and by mokoro with our expert local guides. Return to the main camp later this afternoon and opt to relax or take a swim. This evening, relax on the deck. With views overlooking the lagoon, hidden seating areas, and a fire pit, it's the perfect place for stargazing. Included Activities: Okavango Islands Excursion
Day 29 Okavango Delta/Maun (1B, 1L, 1D) Transfer to the frontier town of Maun and enjoy an evening of culture and traditional foods with celebrated author Bonty Botumile and the Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers. This local enterprise is dedicated to preserving Botswana’s heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Option to take a scenic flight over the delta. Included Activities: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 30 Maun (1B) Depart at any time. Included Activities: Departure Day
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