This 12 Day Overland Camping Tour from Victoria Falls to Swakopmund begins with a day exploring Victoria Falls town and the national park, as well as the craft markets. Take the opportunity to try some of the thrilling adventure activities on offer at Vic Falls, the adventure capital of Africa.
From Victoria Falls, we cross into Botswana and enter Chobe National Park for wildlife viewing and a sunset cruise on the Chobe River. While still in Botswana we relax in the tranquil, world-famous Okavango Delta, enjoying nature as we are poled by local 'gondoliers' through the channels in traditional dug-out canoes. From the Okavango wetland, we cross the Kalahari Desert, pausing to take a walk with the local San (Bushman) who entertain us with stories of their culture and age-old customs. Then it's on to the German-influenced city of Windhoek where we take a short, exploratory walk around the city before moving on to Etosha National Park and more wildlife viewing. Travelling through the arid, mountainous regions of Namibia we arrive at the country's highest mountain, Brandberg and an area famous for its rock art. We hike to admire the 2000-year-old 'White Lady' artwork. Our tour is winding down now as we leave this arid area and travel to the coastal town of Swakopmund. Plan to spend an extra day or two here to explore the town and enjoy more adventure activities.
This thrilling 12 Day Overland Camping Safari from Vic Falls to Swakopmund covers a variety of landscapes and activities that will remain with you always.
This 12 Day Overland Camping Tour begins in spectacular Victoria Falls, one of Africa's most famous natural wonders. Here the great Zambezi River tumbles over 350 feet along a width of over 5000 feet, creating the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. Known by locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or 'The Smoke that Thunders', the river sends a spray of mist kilometres up into the air and creates a natural rainforest. We spend a day exploring the town, its craft markets, Victoria Falls National Park and trying some of the adrenalin-inducing activities available here. Ideally, you should arrive a day before the tour begins, as there is such a variety of exciting activities to try that it's difficult to fit everything into one day. And a great way to relax after a busy day is to take high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel.
After breakfast this morning we cross the border into Botswana where we set up camp by the side of the Chobe River. Then, as part of the activity package, we hop into 4x4 safari vehicles and head to Chobe National Park for some wildlife viewing. Open since 1968, Chobe is one of the world's most well-known game parks, and for good reason! With its vast assortment of fauna - from grassland to woodland and marshes - it provides the habitat for a huge range of wildlife and birds. Beside all its antelope species, giraffe, zebra and big cats, the park boasts an elephant population of over 120 000. This is the stuff of safari dreams! But there's more, after our afternoon game drive we embark on a Chobe River cruise that takes us up close to the elephant population and birdlife that gathers alongside the river in the afternoon. Keep an eye too for hippo and crocs - a day of great photo opportunities.
This morning we drive south to Nata, on the outer fringes of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
This afternoon we take a sundowner excursion to Nata Sanctuary (included in the Activity Package) to experience the vastness of the harsh salt pan environment. The Makgadikgadi Pans complex is one of the largest salt pan systems in the world, covering 30 000 km² of Botswana. In winter the pans are dry and stark, whilst in summer short grasses and shallow pools attract an array of animals and birds. Nata is a breeding ground for waterbirds including pelicans and flamingoes so we may see flocks of these in season.
Day four sees us driving west to Maun. Our route crosses the northern limits of the Makgadikgadi Pans, passing big baobab trees along the way. Early this afternoon we arrive in Maun, the closest town to the Okavango Delta, leaving free time for you to relax or take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (time and weather allowing). Scenic flights are the best way to take in the sheer size of the delta system, offering beautiful views and a chance to spot wildlife from above. This evening your guide will fill you in on the details of our day trip into the Okavango Delta tomorrow.
On this tour, you can upgrade to a two-night Okavango Delta Trip as an optional extra. If you opt for the Upgraded Okavango Delta Trip you are transferred directly to the airport upon arrival in Maun for your flight into the Okavango Delta. The upgraded excursion entails flying into and out of the delta where you spend two nights at a remote tented camp (contact African Budget Safaris for more details).
Today we are up early for our full day of exploring the Okavango Delta by dug-out canoe (mekoro). We set off for the delta early this morning in our safari vehicle, heading to a polers' station about an hour from the lodge. At the polers' station, we meet our local guides and switch to mekoros. Gliding along the reed-lined channels and tranquil lagoons dotted with lilypads is the ideal way to experience the watery Okavango Delta.
Sit back and soak up the wild scenery from your traditional mekoros poled through the waters by local guides. Get a close-up look at the unique flora and fauna of the Okavango Delta as we move along slowly and quietly. Stopping at one of the delta islands, you can take a nature walk with your local guide. The bush walk gives you a chance to learn about the fascinating plants and creatures encountered, looking out for signs of wildlife. The mokoro excursion is not a big game viewing activity, it is all about experiencing the beauty of the wild delta. However, we may come across some wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras and antelopes like kudu and impala.
After the nature walk, your guide poles you back to the polers' station for the return road transfer to Maun.
This incredible area of waterways and islands covers up to 15 000 km2 during the wet season. None of this water reaches the sea, but instead, evaporates or transpires from the delta itself. It being a largely watery paradise, the Okavango is home to hippos, crocs and many fish. Many other of Africa's favourite animals call the Delta home, too. Zebra, rhino, buffalo, wildebeest and a number of buck species also live there, some seasonally, others permanently. And then, the birds... Incredible!
For those taking the Upgraded Delta Trip, your time in the Okavango Delta will be spent at a bush camp in a 100 000 hectare concession area, offering a unique delta experience. The secluded camp looks out over peaceful delta waterways and has a low impact on the environment, blending in with the wild African bush around it.
Stay in spacious, permanent Meru-style tents with en-suite bathrooms. These walk-in canvas tents feature comfortable twin beds, simple furnishings, mosquito netting and small outdoor areas with camping chairs. The tented lounge-dining area and outdoor boma are ideal for sitting back and taking in the sounds and sights of this untamed environment in comfort. Activities offered at the Delta camp include bush walks, mokoro trips, sunset boat cruises and sundowners on one of the islands.
This morning those who opted for the Upgraded Okavango Delta Trip fly out of the Okavango Delta, meeting up with the rest of the group in Maun. Back in Maun, we board our safari truck and drive southwest to Ghanzi, in the heart of the Kalahari Desert.
In the Kalahari, we meet some of the local San community (known colloquially as Bushmen) and learn about their culture and traditions. The traditional San people are indigenous to Southern Africa, having inhabited the area for over 30 000 years, surviving in harsh conditions as nomadic hunter-gatherers. In the afternoon we take a nature walk with the San in the Kalahari to find out more about their survival techniques using local flora and fauna. Their story is fascinating.
This evening we watch San traditional dancing and you can stay in a traditional hut (small extra cost) for a pukka San experience.
Rising early today we travel from Ghanzi over the border into Namibia and on to Windhoek. This is a long trip which gives us a glimpse of the vastness of Africa as we drive through breathtaking, enormous, plains.
Arriving in Windhoek, Namibia's capital city, we explore the city centre on foot. Your guide leads the walking tour, showing you some of the main landmarks and attractions of this orderly German-influenced city. After exploring on foot we head to our camp outside of the city.
Windhoek is a wonderful mix of African and European (particularly German) influences. Known for its safety and good upkeep, there's something for everyone. From the beautiful botanical gardens to the state museum at Alte Feste to the plethora of shops and restaurants, it'll be hard to decide which activities to pick!
Boarding our overland safari truck this morning, we leave Windhoek, travelling north to the famous Etosha National Park.
In the late afternoon, we arrive at Etosha, the top wildlife destination in Namibia. Entering Etosha Park the wildlife adventure begins as we proceed to our overnight camp, located inside the national park. We spend the next two nights of our overland tour at rest camps in Etosha, which feature floodlit watering holes offering excellent game viewing opportunities. Make your way to the waterhole after dark to watch for nocturnal wildlife and sit back around the campfire listening to the night sounds of the African bush around us.
Spend a full day wildlife viewing in Etosha Park today! We explore the fringes of Etosha Pan, spotting wildlife from the raised vantage of our safari truck.
On our game drive, we stop at watering holes and scan the dramatic plains for wildlife and birds. With its 120 km-long dry lakebed, Etosha offers phenomenal game-viewing, due to the sparse vegetation of the pan and the life-giving waterholes dotting the bush.
Etosha National Park is rated as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations, hosting a surprising abundance of animals and birds given the arid environment. Keep an eye out for elephants in the more bushy areas, as well as rhinos and elusive leopards. Common wildlife sightings in Etosha include lions and an array of herbivores - zebras, gemsbok, impalas, springbok and giraffes. Hosting over 340 bird species, birding enthusiasts will be rewarded with a variety of sightings, from the martial eagles and kori bustards to bee-eaters and ostriches.
Spend the evening relaxing around the campfire and watching for wildlife at the spotlit watering hole.
With its 120 km long dry lake bed, Etosha offers phenomenal game-viewing, due to its sparse vegetation. Camps are sited on the edge of waterholes providing for incredible game sightings as the animals come down to drink each day.
Early this morning we hop back on our safari truck and continue our search for wildlife and birds as we leave Etosha.
Exiting Etosha we make our way into the remote and sparsely-populated Kunene Region of Namibia. Passing through rugged, rocky landscapes snaked with dry-riverbeds we head to Kamanjab, south-east of Etosha.
On day 11 we travel to the Brandberg Mountains, Namibia's tallest peaks. This afternoon, we head out on a short hike to the famous White Lady rock painting of Brandberg. Our walk takes us through rugged terrain, along the usually dry Tsisab River gorge. After walking for about an hour we reach the well-known rock painting created by the San around 2000 years ago. This is the most famous of the over 45000 rock paintings found in the Brandberg area.
As evening approaches we watch a glowing sunset over Brandberg which means 'burning mountain' - so-named for the way its granite face reddens as the sun dips below the horizon.
Leaving Brandberg on our final morning, we continue across the arid gravel plains of former Damaraland, making our way to Spitzkoppe. Known as the Matterhorn of Namibia, the dramatic exposed granite peaks of Spitzkoppe form one of the most iconic landmarks in the country, rising up to 700 metres above the surrounding plains. Arriving at Spitzkoppe, we take a guided walk through the incredible towering rock formations in the middle of the otherwise flat plains. Walking around the foot of the granite massif with a local guide we stop to view old San rock paintings created by the original inhabitants of Southern Africa.
From Spitzkoppe we drive to the icy Atlantic coast and the quaint town of Swakopmund, where our 12 Day Overland Camping from VIc Falls to Swakopmund Safari comes to a close. Many groups choose to meet up for an optional dinner at a local restaurant this evening to celebrate our journey together.
We recommend booking an extra few days in Swakopmund after this safari in order to enjoy the exciting adventure activities available here.
Known as the 'Adventure Capital' of Namibia, this small coastal town offers a plethora of activities to keep the adrenaline junkies on their toes. From sandboarding to quad-biking and skydiving, the place pumps.
For those less inclined to jump out of planes, Swakopmund offers a rich and fascinating history. The town, which is small enough to be walkable, offers beautiful architecture, quaint shops and eateries filled with delicious cuisine.
This tour is available as an accommodated option.