Etosha elephants by Heribert Bechen

Cape to Victoria Falls Small Group Adventure Safari

Tour Length20 days
Priced from pps $4184 R58950 £3246 3704 A$5857 C$5540 NZ$6095 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Lodge Safari

  • Max. Group Size 12 Travellers
  • Departs from Cape Town, South Africa
  • Ends at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Accommodation Lodge
  • Transport Small Overland Vehicle / Game Viewing - Open 4x4
  • Wildlife Big 5, Elephant, Leopards, Lions, Rhino & More
  •  See Departure Dates

Quick Itinerary Overview

This excellent-value, small group tour offers an authentic overland adventure in a state of the art safari truck. Travel in a custom-built 4x4 overland vehicle designed to give 12 passengers extra comfort on the long roads of Africa. 

Journey from the bottom of Africa, setting off from the beautiful South African city of Cape Town into the rugged Cederberg Mountains. Drive through Namaqualand into Namibia, spending time along the Gariep River and the Fish River Canyon, before experiencing the ancient Namib Desert with its dramatic red-orange dunes and surreal salt pans. Stop in Swakopmund, sightseeing and doing optional adventure activities, then view ancient San rock art at Brandberg and Twyfelfontein. Then, head into Etosha National Park for superb game viewing in this dramatic wild setting. 

Get a taste of Windhoek before crossing into Botswana, where we walk in the Kalahari with the traditional San people. Next, we venture into the Okavango Delta in mekoros to explore the pristine and diverse wilderness by canoe and on foot. From watery delta, it's on to the stark salt flats of Makgadikgadi Pans and Nata. Lastly, in Botswana, drive to Chobe National Park for an unforgettable 4x4 game drive and a boat cruise along Chobe River. Finally, take the opportunity to visit the Victoria Falls waterfall in Zimbabwe and enjoy optional adventure activities galore.

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Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1: Cape Town to Cederberg Region – South Africa

On the first morning of this Small Group Adventure Safari, we set off from the city of Cape Town, known as the 'Mother City' of South Africa. Heading north we pause to admire the views of Table Mountain, Cape Town's most famous landmark. After taking some photos of the iconic Table Mountain, one of the natural wonders of the world, we drive to the Cederberg Region in our state-of-the-art adventure vehicle.

The Cederberg Mountain area of the Western Cape is famous for its rugged hiking trails and citrus farms, as well as the indigenous rooibos plants grown here. The endemic rooibos plants only grow wild on the mountain slopes here and are used to make a hugely popular, health tea. Arriving in the Cederberg we visit a rooibos tea farm to see these indigenous tea plants as well as buchu plants, also used to make herbal tea.

After visiting the rooibos farm we head to our first overnight guesthouse in the scenic Golden Valley of the Olifant's River. This evening we enjoy warm South African hospitality and our first dinner together at the lodge in Clanwilliam. After dinner, your guides will give you a full tour briefing.

  • Meals: Dinner
  • Activity Package: Rooibos tea farm visit

Activity Package:

This safari comes with an optional Activity Package at an additional cost. The itinerary includes these highly-recommended activities. Contact African Budget Safaris for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the Activity Package and see the Full Pricing Information above for the cost of the Activity Package.

Day 2: Cederberg to Gariep (Orange) River – Namibia

Today we continue north, journeying into ever-drier and more deserted landscapes. Our drive takes us via Namaqualand, an arid and sparsely-populated region of gentle hills and plains covered with low indigenous vegetation. This open area along the West Coast of South Africa is famous for its indigenous wildflower blooms in spring (around August and September). If it is springtime we may catch the spectacular multi-coloured flower show.

Later in the day, we reach the Gariep River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia. Crossing into Namibia we proceed to our overnight camp on the banks of the former Orange River, now called the Gariep.

  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 3: Gariep (Orange) River to Ais-Ais Hot Springs – Namibia

This morning you can set off along the Orange River in a canoe. Paddling along the river is a relaxing way to take in the rugged, desert scenery and spot birds. It is an easy paddle with only a few rapids.

After our morning at the Orange River, we drive up towards the Fish River Canyon in our 4x4 vehicle. We make our way to the Ai-Ais Hot Springs and our overnight accommodation close to the Fish River Canyon. At our resort in Ai-Ais, you can take a soothing soak in the hot springs, swim in the pool and relax at the bar.

  • Included Activities: Ais-Ais Hot Springs
  • Optional Activities: Half-day Orange River Canoe Trip
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4: Fish River Canyon, Quiver Tree Forest & Giants Playground – Namibia

On day four we get up early to visit the Fish River Canyon. We stroll along the rim of this massive canyon admiring the spectacular views in the glowing morning light. After capturing photos of the incredible canyon and soaking up the dramatic scenery we proceed west to Keetmanshoop.

This afternoon we visit the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground near Keetmanshoop. Some 250 quiver trees constitute this forest, declared a national monument in 1995. The quiver tree forest includes specimens between 200 and 300 years old making it an important ecological site. Giants playground is a bizarre landscape strewn with unusual stacks of large dolerite boulders about 160 to 180 million years old.

  • Included Activities: Fish River Canyon visit / Quiver Tree Forest & Giants Playground visit
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5: Keetmanshoop to the Namib Desert - Namibia

This morning we set off on our long drive north into the ancient Namib Desert of Namibia. Today's drive takes us through the changing landscapes of seemingly-deserted plains, farmlands and deserts revealing the sheer scale of Namibia's vast open spaces. The following day we will be visiting the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia’s most famous desert destination and natural treasure. The captivating Namib Desert is best known for the massive sand dunes of the Sossusvlei Dune area, with its iconic landscapes.

On day five we stay at a desert lodge just outside the national park, experiencing the vast star-studded skies and deep silences of the Namib Desert, punctuated by jackal calls and the barking of geckos.

  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6: Sossusvlei Dunes & Namib-Naukluft Park – Namibia

A full day of desert adventures awaits. We hop onto a 4x4 safari vehicle and mission into the Namib-Naukluft Park, one of Africa's largest national parks. The national park incorporates large swathes of the Namib Desert - the world's oldest desert.

First, we transfer to Dune 45 where you have the chance to climb up the iconic dune for amazing views over the stark desert and great photo opportunities. Back at the foot of the dune, we enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading deeper into the desert. We then take a 4x4 transfer to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Explore the dry pans on foot, absorbing the dramatic scenes of skeletal trees on the pale pan floors, surrounded by orange-hued dunes.

After surveying the sea of red-orange dunes we leave the Namib-Naukluft Park, stopping at Sesriem Canyon to see the ancient sedimentary rock layers of the narrow gorge before continuing back to the lodge. Tonight we soak up the stars and stillness at our desert lodge after a full day of admiring the stark landscapes of the Namib.

  • Included Activity: Hike up Dune 45, 4x4 Transfer to Sossusvlei & Deadvlei & Sesriem Canyon
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7: Namib Desert to Swakopmund – Namibia

On day seven we head into the Namib Desert on a guided walk with an expert from the area. Walking through the seemingly barren desert landscapes, we discover the rich variety of rare and unusual flora and fauna found here. As we walk, our local guide will share his detailed knowledge of the ancient Namib Desert with us, sharing the secrets of how the San (Bushmen) have long survived here.

After our desert walk, we drive to the Atlantic Ocean coastline, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn and pausing to take snapshots. Next, we break our drive at the Walvis Bay lagoon, stopping to watch the abundant birdlife drawn to this wetland system. The lagoon is an important birding site, sometimes attracting huge flocks of flamingoes. Then we proceed north to the coastal town of Swakopmund, known as the adventure capital of Namibia. Your guide helps you to select and book optional activities for the following day in and around Swakopmund.

  • Activity Package: Guided desert walk
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8: Swakopmund – Namibia

The premier seaside destination in the country, Swakopmund has plenty to offer visitors, in addition to adventure activities.

The town is infused with German culture, given its colonial past and large resident German population. Walking around the charming African town you can see examples of German architecture and visit cafes selling German-style pastries and cuisine. Historical buildings include the German Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bahnhof (Railway Station), Woermannhaus, Hohenzollern Haus, Alte Gefängnis (Old Prison) and Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht (State House). Go to the museum, the aquarium, the jetty and the lighthouse, strolling along the boardwalk next to the sea. Visit the local markets and take a township tour to meet some local people and gain insight into life in Swakopmund today.

For adrenalin seekers activities range from quad biking and sandboarding on the desert dunes to skydiving and scenic flights by plane, helicopter or hot air balloon. Other exciting options include sea kayaking, dolphin and seal spotting boat cruises, whale watching, fishing trips and a variety of 4x4 trails along the coast and into the desert.

Tonight you are free to eat out (own account) at one of Swakopmund's excellent restaurants.

  • Optional Activities: Sandboarding, dolphin cruises, skydiving, quad biking, dinner out
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Swakopmund to Brandberg – Namibia

After breakfast, we leave Swakopmund, driving inland towards Brandberg Mountain, Namibia's tallest mountain. Later we take a short hike to the famous White Lady rock painting of Brandberg. Our walk takes us through rugged terrain, along the typically 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 one of over 45000 rock paintings scattered across the Brandberg area.

After our short hike, we leave Brandberg which translates as 'burning mountain', so-named for the way its granite face sometimes glows brightly at sunset. Driving north we make our way to Kamanjab in the remote and sparsely-populated Kunene Region.

  • Included Activity: Brandberg White Lady hike
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 10: Twyfelfontein & Kamanjab – Namibia

On day 10 we visit the famous rock art of Twyfelfontein in the former Damaraland area of southern Kunene. The first UNESCO World Heritage Site declared in Namibia, Twyfelfontein hosts one of the highest concentrations of rock engravings (petroglyphs) in Africa. About 2500 rock engravings and paintings are found here. Most of the rock engravings and paintings were created by the Khoi San hunter-gatherers who lived here about 6000 years ago. The valley was later inhabited by Khoikhoi herders who added to the collection of rock art between 2000 and 2500 years ago.

After viewing the ancient rock art at Twyfelfontein we proceed to our overnight lodge near Etosha National Park.

  • Included Activity: Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11 & 12: Etosha National Park – Namibia

We get up early on day 11 and head to our first wildlife destination - Etosha National Park!

Etosha is Namibia's leading game park and one of Africa's finest. We spend the next two days exploring this rugged wild region, hosting an amazing array and abundance of large mammals, birds and other creatures.

On our game drives, we explore the open plains scattered with acacia woodlands, visiting waterholes and the dusty fringes of the Etosha Pan. The salt pan was once a massive inland lake, but today the flat expanse stands almost entirely dry, except for the shallow waters that sometimes collect during rainy seasons. When shallow pools form in the pans large flocks of birds can be seen and when short grasses sprout after the rains grazers make an appearance.

At the watering holes, wildlife watching is often particularly rewarding, given the congregation of herbivores and predators drawn to the precious water sources. Etosha is known for its dramatic wildlife sightings, not only because of the stark landscapes but also due to the intense competition that unfolds in its harsh environment, especially at the waterholes. With some luck, we are likely to encounter lions, rhinos and leopards. Chances of sighting elephants, zebras, giraffes, gemsbok, springbok and other antelopes are excellent, even all together at a watering hole.

Our evenings are spent relaxing at the rest camp in Etosha National Park, reliving the wildlife adventures of the day. The rest camps in Etosha feature floodlit watering holes where you can watch wildlife at close range after dark.

  • Included Highlight: Two full-day game drives in the luxury tour vehicle
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner (x2)

Day 13: Etosha National Park to Windhoek – Namibia

On day 13, we are up early again, for one last game drive in Etosha National Park. Last chance to spot the wild animals of Etosha and absorb the wide open landscapes. Leaving Etosha we drive south to Windhoek, the capital and largest city in Namibia.

Arriving in Windhoek, we take a walk around the bustling, yet orderly, city surrounded by hills. Windhoek is located in the middle of Namibia and serves as the economic, cultural and political centre of the country. Our short tour gives you a feel for the German-influenced capital, taking in some of the highlights and historic buildings.

Tonight you can eat out, usually at Joe’s Beer House, a funky restaurant famous for its tasty venison dishes.

  • Included Highlight: Short walking tour of Windhoek with your guide
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 14: Windhoek to Ghanzi – Botswana

Time to journey into our next African country - Botswana!

We drive east through rural Namibia, into the semi-arid Kalahari Desert. Travel through the secluded semi-desert landscapes of the Kalahari, admiring the low red dunes and inhospitable plains covered with hardy shrubs and tufts of dry grasses.

Tonight's accommodation is situated near Ghanzi, in the middle of the Kalahari Desert region of western Botswana. Here we experience Kalahari San culture, being treated to traditional dance, song and story-telling by the local people.

Later tonight those doing the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip get to prepare for the two-night excursion departing tomorrow.

  • Included Highlight: San tribal dancing
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 15: Ghanzi to Maun & Okavango Delta – Botswana

This morning we embark on a nature walk with the Kalahari San of the Ghanzi area. The guided walk with the local San is a rare and unusual cultural encounter, revealing the fascinating survival techniques and ancient stories of Southern Africa's oldest tribe.

This afternoon we drive north-east to Maun, the gateway to the pristine Okavango Delta of Botswana. The Okavango River has no outlet to the sea, emptying into the sands of the Kalahari Desert and irrigating some 15,000 km² of land, forming the largest inland delta in the world.

Arriving in Maun, clients taking the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip are dropped at the airport for their flight into the Okavango Delta. The upgrade entails flying to a remote tented camp and staying in permanent, en-suite tents for the next two nights (inquire for more details). The transfer flight is conducted in small planes offering expansive aerial views of this unique natural wonder. Those not taking the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip have the option of enjoying a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta this afternoon (time and weather permitting) at extra cost. Clients opting out of the upgrade spend the next two nights in Maun, embarking on a mokoro day trip in the Okavango Delta the next day.

  • Included Activity: Bushman (San) guided walk
  • Optional Upgrade: Okavango Delta Fly-in Trip
  • Optional Activity: Scenic Okavango Delta Flight
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 16: Okavango Delta – Botswana

A full day for exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Okavango Delta. One of the wildest places in Africa, the diverse delta hosts an abundance of unique and rare wildlife, birds and plants.

Early this morning we set off for the delta 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 board the traditional-style mekoros (dug-out canoes). Gliding along the reed-lined channels and tranquil lagoons dotted with lilypads is the ideal way to experience the tranquil Okavango Delta environment. Sit back and relax as your guide stands in the back of your mokoro and moves the vessel along gently with a long pole.

During your mokoro cruise, you typically stop at a natural island for a guided nature walk, encountering a rich variety of flora and fauna up close. On the bush walk, your guide tells you more about the plants, birds and creatures of the delta, showing you the small miracles and fascinating details of the delta. On our adventure in the delta, we are likely to come across numerous small creatures - insects, reptiles, birds and mammals, and perhaps even large animals. Large mammals include elephants, giraffes, zebras and antelopes such as kudu, red lechwe, tsessebe and impala; all of which may be encountered on our explorations. The Okavango Delta is also home to crocodiles, geckos, tortoises, chameleons and a variety of other reptiles, along with an incredible diversity of plants and insects. The delta is a birding paradise with more than 450 bird species recorded here, amongst them several rare and endangered species.

After the nature walk, your guide poles you back to the polers' station for the return road transfer to the lodge in Maun.

  • Included Activity: Okavango Delta Mokoro Day Trip
  • Optional Upgrade: Accommodated Fly-in Okavango Delta Trip
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 17: Maun to Nata – Botswana

This morning those who opted for the Fly-in Delta Excursion Upgrade wake up at the remote delta camp again and enjoy breakfast before flying back to Maun. Then we all board our comfy overland truck, leaving Maun for Nata, on the fringes of the famous Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. On our way east we see giant old baobab trees and snippets of the massive salt pan system, passing through parts of Nxai Pans and Makgadigadi National Park where we may come across roaming wildlife.

This afternoon the Activity Package includes a game drive in Nata Sanctuary to experience the vast space and silence out on this flat expanse. The Nata Pans are part of the extensive network of Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, once covered by massive inland lakes. This salt pan complex is one of the largest in the world and 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.

  • Activity Package: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (Nata Sanctuary) visit
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 18: Nata to Kasane & Chobe National Park – Botswana

On day 18 we are up early, travelling on to Chobe. Our next lodge sits on the banks of the Chobe River, just outside of Kasane.

In the afternoon we embark on a 4x4 game drive in Chobe National Park, Botswana's most renowned game reserve. Chobe is best known for its huge elephant populations, hosting one of the highest concentrations of elephants in Africa. Chobe Park game drives often provide sightings of lions, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, sable antelopes, kudus, impalas, wildebeest, warthogs and sometimes even leopards.

Chobe River forms the northern boundary of this 11700km² wilderness area, supporting high concentrations of animals and birds. Later this afternoon we set off on a sunset boat cruise along the scenic river, soaking up the beautiful scenery and sighting all kinds of birds, mammals and reptiles. Crocodiles, hippos, elephants and various antelopes are commonly spotted along the river, as well as baboons, lizards and birds galore. Keep an eye out for sacred ibis, cormorants, Pel’s fishing owls, carmine bee-eaters, kingfishers, rollers, storks and many other birds, listening for the cry of the African fish eagle.

Tonight we relax around the campfire at our laid-back lodge beside the peaceful Chobe River.

  • Activity Package: 4x4 Game Drive in Chobe National Park & Chobe River Boat Cruise
  • Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 19: Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe

Today we cross into the final African country on our adventure tour - Zimbabwe! Our last stop: the world-famous Victoria Falls.

Reaching Victoria Falls town, you can visit the natural wonder of Victoria Falls waterfall to admire the world's largest sheet of falling water up close. This is Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates as 'The Smoke that Thunders'. Standing before Vic Falls the mists rising off the waterfall rain down on you and the pounding of the Zambezi River plummeting 108 metres down fills your ears. Visiting Victoria Falls is an inspiring and unforgettable experience so don't miss out!

This afternoon you are free to unwind at the lodge, explore the town of Victoria Falls or jump into an adventure activity. Your guide can help you to select and book activities at Vic Falls, with a plethora of options available. Top favourite activities at Vic Falls include; white water rafting, bungee jumping, helicopter, small plane or microlight flights and gorge swinging.

On our last night, we have the option of eating out at a local restaurant (own expense) to celebrate our memorable African journey together.

  • Optional Activities: Victoria Falls National Park Entry Fees, Adventure Activities & Dinner out in Victoria Falls
  • Included Meals: Breakfast

Day 20: Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe

Our small group overland safari comes to a close this morning after breakfast at the lodge in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Spend the day participating in adventure activities and exploring the old colonial town on your own. There are so many exciting activities on offer here that we recommend spending an extra night or two at Vic Falls after your tour.

  • Optional Activities: Zambezi Sunset Cruise, Bungee Jumping, Helicopter Flights, White Water Rafting
  • Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary includes the Activity Package highlights. Should you wish to participate in all of the activities listed, then you will need to purchase the Activity Package.

Luxury Adventure Transport

This Cape to Victoria Falls Small Group Adventure Safari is conducted in a new custom-built 4x4 vehicle. The luxury overland vehicle comfortably accommodates a maximum of 12 guests, keeping the group size on safari small. These purpose-designed vehicles provide extra space and amenities, offering a more luxurious safari experience with all the adventure, but in added style and comfort.

Features of this state-of-the-art vehicle include an onboard toilet and a water filtration system for purified drinking water throughout the journey. The vehicle has reclining leather seats that rotate 180 degrees, locking into your desired direction (windows, front etc). Each seat has overhead air-conditioning vents that can be independently operated for individual control of air flow and temperature.

Every seat also features a USB port panel for charging your electronic devices and there is a reading light above each seat. Each seat has a safety deposit unit with individual key code access, for storing your passports, phones and smaller valuables.

Optional Extras and Excursions

For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.

  • Orange River canoe trip (half day)
  • Swakopmund tours & adventure activities
  • Upgraded Two-night Okavango Delta Trip
  • Okavango Delta scenic flight
  • Victoria Falls visit, adventure activities & tours
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+Where does the tour go to?
+Optional Activities & Day Trips
For confirmed pricing on these optional items, please drop us an enquiry
  • Orange River canoe trip (half day)
  • Swakopmund tours & adventure activities
  • Upgraded Two-night Okavango Delta Trip
  • Okavango Delta scenic flight
  • Victoria Falls visit, adventure activities & tours
+Included in the Tour Price
  • breakfast & dinner (as per itinerary)
  • accommodation in twin-share, en-suite rooms or permanent tents
  • qualified crew
  • transport in a 12-seater luxury 4x4 vehicle (with air-conditioning & onboard toilet)
  • highlights as per itinerary
  • entrance fees to national parks
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • personal items & snacks
  • drinks (alcohol, bottled water & soft drinks)
  • entrance fees for optional activities
  • tour Activity Package
  • Optional activities
  • Okavango Delta Excursion Upgrade
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