Southern Circuit - 23 days
Starting and ending in Johannesburg, explore Kruger - South Africa's flagship game park, marvel at the Blyde River Canyon and Victoria Falls, spot the black and white rhinos of Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe and the elephants in Chobe and opt to experience the spectacular Okavango Delta aboard a mokoro. Family Departures Available
Jo'burg - Kruger. Leaving Johannesburg we head towards the Lowveld and our camp situated within the border of the famous Kruger National Park. On our way we pass through the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking vistas. Our camp for the next two nights is a short drive from the Kruger Park Gate and has some interesting local residents that include hippo, giraffe, zebra and impala. On day 2 we take a night game drive.
The following day we further explore the amazing Kruger National Park in the truck. Covering 19 485 km2 - 60 km wide and over 350 km long, this conservation area has more than 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species. 23 000 different types of plants have been recorded. We spend the day driving around the park keeping an eye out for these.
Overnight: Kruger National Park | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Blyde River Canyon
Hazyview - Polokwane. Today we leave the Lowveld and head on the long, scenic drive to Polokwane. Along the way we stop off at some of the best scenery in South Africa, including the ever striking Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. Polokwane, capital of Limpopo, is the largest metropolitan complex in the north and a major economic centre.
Overnight: Polokwane | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Polokwane - Musina. Today we begin our journey north toward Zimbabwe. We have a long, relaxing drive where we get to sit back and enjoy the ever changing scenery. Tonight we’ll camp near to one of the hottest towns in South Africa, Musina, at the hot water spring resort – Tshipise. Situated between the rolling hills, the resort is well known for its natural hot water springs. Once we’ve set up camp, you’re free to enjoy the pools, walking trails or various other activities on offer here.
Overnight: Musina | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Musina - Masvingo (Zimbabwe). Today we enter Zimbabwe - a beautiful country rich in soul, culture and tradition. We make our way to the town of Masvingo - on the outskirts of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This was the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa, built by an ancient highly skilled civilization. The name Zimbabwe is derived from this ancient city and means “great stone houses” in Shona. The most notable artefacts found at the ruins were the 8 Statues of stone birds carved out of soapstone. Wander around these amazing ruins, before setting up camp at the foot of the hills.
Overnight: Masvingo | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Matobo National Park
Masvingo - Bulawayo-Matobo National Park. Leaving Msavingo, we head to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe’s second largest city. Bulawayo is noted for its exceptionally wide streets, which were originally designed to accommodate a full span ox wagon. The city also still retains much of its British Colonial character, evident by the many buildings maintained as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City Council. Interesting places to visit are the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, which employs over 70 people.
On day 8 we visit Matobo National Park, one of the last strongholds of both the black and the white rhino. This park is also well known for its high concentration of the elusive leopard and majestic black eagle. Rock paintings are to be found too, providing evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area. Cecil John Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) asked to be buried at the top of one of the sacred hills, (although there is some controversy over whether he will stay!) We spend the day exploring this unique geological, ecological and historic area.
Overnight: Bulawayo | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Bulawayo - Hwange National Park. We continue north-west to Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest reserve – the Hwange National Park. Hwange is well known for its abundance and variety of wildlife species including thousands of elephant, and rare antelope species such as the Sable and Roan Antelope. We enjoy a game drive (either late afternoon or early morning) to explore the wilderness in search of these, and the other resident wildlife species. On day 10 we have a full day in the Hwange area, and we partake in another game drive through Hwange National Park, in the hope that we spot as many wild animals as possible.
Overnight: Hwange NP | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Hwange National Park - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Leaving Hwange National Park, we head to Victoria Falls. Named after the famous World Heritage site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. A 20 minute walk from our campsite takes you to the entry point to view the falls, which are situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls, or exploring the many sights and delights of this town.
The following 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of optional excursions which include elephant back safaris, horseback safaris, walking with lions, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge or abseil down the Batoka Gorge. All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site and the white water rafting on the Zambezi is world class.
Overnight: Victoria Falls | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 1
Victoria Falls - Kasane (Botswana). After breakfast we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia. Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned its large elephant herds. This afternoon we take a boat cruise along the beautiful Chobe River. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the boat while we watch another glorious African sunset.
Overnight: Kasane | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kasane - Maun. Heading out early, we cross the western end of the Chobe National Park area along the main route in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. Maun is the starting point for travel into the Delta.
Overnight: Maun | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Maun - Okavango Delta (optional). From Maun we have the opportunity to take the optional 3 Day / 2 Night Okavango Delta Excursion. From Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where many families live in a traditional way. Some of the villages are very remote and can only be reached by the traditional mode of transport – the Mokoro (dugout canoes maneuvered through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds). At the Mokoro station, we meet our ‘polers’ head out into the waterways. After a couple of hours along the waterways, our guides find us a place to camp, and later in the afternoon we set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing us to experience The Delta wilderness.
Enjoy rest, relaxation and Delta experiences on day 17, when we have the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming, game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try our hands at poling our own mokoro! The following day there is a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. In the afternoon there's the opportunity to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional scenic flight.
For those not opting to explore the Delta, you can stay at the campsite in Maun relaxing by the swimming pool or playing volleyball.
Overnight: Maun OR optional Okavango Delta | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Maun - Palapye. Heading out early, we have a fairly long drive today to the small town of Palapye, situated about halfway between Francistown and Gaborone (Botswana’s Capitol). This popular ‘stopover’ town for those en route to South Africa, is well known for the Morupule Colliery coal mines which supplies Morupule Power Station, Botswana’s principal domestic source of electricity.
Overnight: Palapye | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Blyde River Canyon
Palapye - Blydepoort (South Africa). This morning we cross into South Africa, and continue to our camp overlooking the impressive Blyde River Canyon. Named for the Blyde River that runs through it, the canyon is 26km long, and averages 800m deep and forms the northern edge of the impressive Drakensberg Mountain Range. The main viewpoints along the canyon are the 3 Rondavels, named for the shape of the traditional huts or houses the indigenous people of the area used to live in; and Gods Window that affords a breathtaking view across the canyon and surrounding area.
Overnight: Blyde River Canyon | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Blydepoort - Kruger NP (Hazyview). Heading through the breathtaking Panorama Route, we stop off at various viewpoints today including scenic God’s Window, en route to Kruger National Park and our campsite on the border of the park. The following day we visit the amazing Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five that make this park their home. We travel in our truck along the main game viewing routes within the park and stop off at some of the camps along the way.
Overnight: Kruger National Park | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Wednesday. Kruger NP - Johannesburg. After breakfast, we begin our journey back to Johannesburg. Arrival into the city signals the end of our adventure. Consider extending your stay to explore the city and enjoy some of the optional activities on offer.
FAMILY FRIENDLY DEPARTURES Parents with children and teens aged 6 to 17 are welcome on selected Southern Circuit departure dates. Children under 12 get 5% off the trip price. See the Prices / Date tab above for details.