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Travel to ancient deserts, remote wilderness areas, scenic rivers and Big Five game parks of Namibia and Botswana, staying in comfortable lodge accommodation along the way to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
This easy-paced Deserts, Rivers & Wildlife African Safari is designed for budget-conscious travellers over the age of forty.
During this trip you are likely to come across activities that encourage tourists to participate in lion, elephant or other wildlife interaction. This includes walking with lions, riding elephants and any other tourist operation putting travellers in close contact with animals that would normally live wild and separate from human contact.
We absolutely do not encourage or endorse this type of wildlife interaction operation. For more information on why this is not good for Africa's wild animals, please see our detailed blog post on the subject.
This 16 Day Deserts, Rivers & African Wildlife Safari starts in the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek.
Spend the first afternoon exploring this charming city on foot and visiting some of its numerous sights and attractions. Windhoek features a unique mix of African and German influences, with its distinct colonial feel and many old German style buildings. Sit at a street side cafe, browse the local markets and do some shopping, easing yourself into African time.
On the second day of this Accommodated Budget Safari, we begin our journey, setting off from Windhoek at 10:00 am in the morning.
Our next overnight accommodation is located on the outskirts of the vast Namib Desert, one of the oldest deserts in the world.
Day three is spent exploring the dramatic scenery of this massive desert region, visited by photographers from across the planet. We rise early in the morning to make our way to the Sossusvlei Dunes area of the Namib. Along the way, we stop in the dune fields to admire some of the world’s highest sand dunes, as the sunlight changes the shades of the sand under shifting shadows.
Then we embark on a 5km walk to the famous Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, taking in the stark contrasts and deep silence of this ancient desert terrain. Later in the afternoon, we venture into Sesriem Canyon to explore this geological gem on foot.
Today we travel north to the coastline of Namibia visiting Walvis Bay, where we pause to have lunch and watch the numerous waterbirds and flamingos at the lagoon.
After viewing the flamingo flocks we continue our drive north to coastal Swakopmund. The afternoon and following day are free for you to explore Namibia's top holiday resort town. Enjoy the colonial German-influenced architecture and atmosphere of quaint Swakopmund, or experience some of the numerous optional adventure activities (own expense) available here.
Activities in Swakopmund, the adventure capital of Namibia, include sandboarding, skydiving, kayaking, quad biking, dolphin boat cruises, hot air balloon rides and scenic flights over the expansive Namib Desert.
Saying goodbye to the west coast of Africa we head inland to the remote Damaraland area in the Kunene Region of Namibia.
This striking semi-desert region consists of a combination of open plains and rugged mountains. The dramatic landscapes range from gravel-covered plains to arid valleys and sandy riverbeds scattered with vegetation.
In the afternoon you are free to explore the Damaraland area or unwind at the lodge pool. Our next overnight safari lodge is located on a mountaintop overlooking the surrounding area.
Today our Deserts, Rivers & African Wildlife Safari takes us to Etosha National Park, Namibia's top game park and one of Africa's finest wilderness areas.
Arriving at the 'Great White Place' as Etosha is known, we embark on an exciting game drive in search of wildlife. In the evening we relax at our camp's floodlit waterhole, looking out for the variety of wildlife drawn to the water.
Etosha Park is dominated by the large flat expanse of the Etosha Salt Pan - a wide open space where spotting wildlife in the dancing mirages of the African heat is easy. Etosha is considered one of Africa's most important wildlife reserves, providing sanctuary for thousands of wild animals, including wildebeest, springbok, zebra, kudu, giraffe, lion, cheetah, leopard and elephant.
We spend day eight of our budget lodge safari game viewing in Etosha Park, exploring the western and eastern sections of the reserve. Later this afternoon we exit the park and proceed to our overnight lodge nearby.
On day nine we travel northeast into the narrow part of Namibia lying between Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola. We drive along the uncharacteristically fertile Caprivi Strip of Namibia, spending the night in a lush setting overlooking the Okavango River.
This afternoon on our budget African safari you can embark on a sunset boat cruise along the Okavango River (own account), or relax at the lodge in the rural Caprivi area.
Today we travel further east, making our way along the Caprivi Strip and cross into Botswana, travelling to the edge of the Delta. Here we board a boat to transfer to Pepere Island, our base for the next couple of days.
Our time in this pristine oasis is spent wildlife viewing from mokoros (traditional, dug-out boats), as we are poled through the waterways by local 'gondoliers'. We take bush walks on Pepere Island and other small islands, as well as travel further into the Delta on boat tours.
We transfer by boat back to the boating station and meet up with our vehicle to transfer back into Namibia. We continue to the eastern side of the Caprivi Strip and arrive at our overnight lodge overlooking the floodplains of the Kwando River.
Our overnight lodge is set beside the Kwando River in a game-rich part of Namibia. In the late afternoon, you can join an optional game drive (own expense), going in search of a variety of animals and birds in the bush.
We cross into neighbouring Botswana today, travelling through Chobe National Park to our lodge. Our next overnight stay is on the banks of the Chobe River, the only permanent water source in Chobe Park during winter.
Chobe Park is renowned as one of the best places in Africa to see elephants and is also famous for its lovely scenery. The game park hosts one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. In Botswana's Chobe game park you can expect spectacular sunsets and outstanding game viewing.
We take a relaxing sunset game-viewing cruise on the Chobe River, keeping our eyes open for the abundance of wild animals and birds found in the Chobe wilderness area. On day 14 you can take an optional game drive (own account) in Chobe Park.
Crossing into Zimbabwe on day 15, we head to our final safari stop, Victoria Falls. The town of Victoria Falls is located on the Zimbabwean side of the famous Victoria Falls - one of the most unforgettable natural wonders in Africa.
Visit the largest sheet of falling water in the world to see why the impressive Victoria Falls waterfall is called the 'Smoke that Thunders" (own cost).
Spend the last day on safari, exploring Victoria Falls and browsing the local markets, as well as experiencing some of the exhilarating adventure activities on offer here (optional extras). Optional activities available at Victoria Falls, the adrenalin capital of Africa, include white water rafting on the Zambezi, bungee jumping, micro lighting, aeroplane or helicopter flights over Victoria Falls, bush walks and trips to local villages (own expense).
Today our memorable Accommodated Budget Safari from Windhoek to Victoria Falls ends after breakfast in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Pre-tour and post-tour accommodation and return airport transfers can be pre-booked for Windhoek and Victoria Falls through African Budget Safaris.