Cheetahs, Canyons & Coast - 33 days
Discover the best of Southern Africa with this epic trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. Journey through the Kruger and South Africa's canyons and wine regions, encounter the elephants of Botswana's Chobe National Park, explore the dunes of Namibia and explore Zimbabwe's Great Ruins.
Johannesburg - Kruger NP. Leaving Johannesburg we pass through the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking vistas, en route to our camp within Kruger National Park. We spend a relaxing evening around the camp fire before our game drive tomorrow, when we explore the amazing Kruger National Park in search of the Big Five.
Overnight: Kruger National Park | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Blyde River Canyon
Kruger - 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 - 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
Bulawayo - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Leaving Bulawayo, 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 - Chobe - Kasane (Botswana). After breakfast we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we have a chance to explore the town before our overnight excursion in the wilds of the Chobe National park. Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife while we game drive to our camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.
After our night in the bush, we head out early to continue our search for wildlife, before travelling back to Kasane. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Chobe (1), Kasane (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
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. From Maun we take a 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 18, 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!
Overnight: Okavango Delta | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Maun & Divundu
Okavango Delta - Maun - Divundu (Namibia). This morning we have a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. We arrive back in the afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional scenic flight over The Delta (dependent on weather conditions & availability).
Following the Kavango River, we enter Northern Namibia on day 20. We stop at Rundu for supplies before heading to our spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River.
Overnight: Maun (1), Divundu (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Divundu - Etosha. From Divundu, we head to Etosha National Park, Namibia’s premier nature and wildlife reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a large variety of animal and bird life, the extensive network of gravel roads affords us the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park. After lunch, we spend the remainder of the day exploring the park’s northern area. Keep an eye out for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks! After dinner why not head to the waterhole where you can sit and observe the animals may come to drink in the evenings.
Overnight: Etosha National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Safari in Etosha
On day 22 we make our way 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the various regions. After a full day of game viewing, we exit the park through Anderson gate and head to our campsite just 10kms away. The following day takes us further south through the Namibian countryside to a campsite, located in the vicinity of Etosha National Park.
Overnight: Etosha National Park area | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Etosha National Park area - Brandberg. Today we head down south to the area of the Brandberg. All depending on the time of arrival we will have the opportunity to explore the area.
Overnight: Brandberg (UIS) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Brandberg - Swakopmund. We travel on to Swakopmund via Spitzkoppe. Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants & bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit. The following day is spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of optional excursions which include sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, horse riding and more!
Overnight: Swakopmund | Breakfast x 2
Swakopmund - Sesriem. Leaving Swakopmund, we head south to the industrial Walvis Bay before turning inland and toward the desert. Continuing our journey, we enter the Namib-Naukluft Park in one of the oldest deserts in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a great place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300m high. We spend the afternoon exploring this amazing area.
Overnight: Sesriem | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Sesriem - Fish River Canyon. Heading out early, we see the sunrise over this beautiful area before we leave the serenity of the dunes to head south to the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it’s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving us access to several viewing points from where we can take in the spectacular vistas.
Overnight: Fish River Canyon | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Fish River Canyon - Gariep River (South Africa). This morning we continue south, where, after a short drive, we reach the Gariep River - the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa. We camp at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon we take a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Gariep River, affording us the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle.
Overnight: Gariep River | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gariep River - Cederberg. This morning we travel south through the Richtersveld and the mining town of Springbok, before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. We spend tonight in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms and have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains. Tonight is our last night under the stars!
Overnight: Cederberg Mountains | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Cederberg - Cape Town. We leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south towards Cape Town. We travel through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape’s wine growing regions. Our first sighting of the Mother’s City Table Mountain across Table Bay means we’ve reached our final destination.
Overnight: Cape Town | Breakfast
Saturday. This morning we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!