This affordable Southern Africa Camping Safari explores top wilderness areas, game parks and travel destinations in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.
Start at Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, viewing the spectacular Vic Falls. Cross into Botswana and take a Chobe River boat cruise and morning game drive in Chobe, then venture into the pristine Okavango Delta for traditional dugout canoeing and camping on a remote delta island. Travel into the barren Kalahari Desert and take a guided San Bushman walk.
Next this overland camping safari visits Namibia's capital city, Windhoek, continuing north to Etosha National Park for some excellent game viewing. From Etosha its off to dramatic Spitzkoppe and then south along the coast to Swakopmund for optional adventure activities and relaxation. Then this camping tour takes you into the world's oldest desert, the Namib, to see the tall, orange-red dunes and stark pans.
Lastly the Discover Southern Africa Camping Safari crosses into South Africa, via the Orange River, journeying to the Cederberg and on to our last stop - the beautiful city of Cape Town.
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 budget camping safari starts on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls in Livingstone, where we spend the first day. Our first campsite is set in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which can easily be explored on game viewing drives. The camp overlooks the Zambezi River where elephants can be seen crossing the river from Zimbabwe, along with giraffe, buffalo, white rhino, eland, warthog, hippo and various monkey species.
We begin with a visit to Vic Falls, one of the top natural wonders of the world. Considered the world's largest sheet of falling water at 1708m wide and 108m high - Victoria Falls is an awe-inspiring sight. When you witness the impressive spray rising from the Zambezi as it plummets over Vic Falls, you will understand why it is called the “Smoke that Thunders” or “Mosi oa Tunya”, as Vic Falls is called locally. When the Zambezi is flowing strongly the spray at Victoria Falls can be seen from as far as 20 km’s away.
While at Victoria Falls there is enough time to participate in one or two of the numerous exciting activities to choose from here. The adventure activities on offer here include white water rafting, scenic flights, bungee jumping, canoeing, game viewing, Zambezi River cruises and more. With so many activities to choose from we highly recommend that you arrange a few days at Vic Falls before the tour departs to give you more time for activities, exploring the area and visiting the Falls.
We depart from Livingstone after breakfast, taking the short drive to Kasane, gateway to Chobe National Park in northern Botswana.
Botswana’s premier game park, Chobe National Park covers 10566 km² of unspoiled wilderness in northwest Botswana. This diverse national park is best known for its big herds of elephants. Chobe game park is also home to lion, zebra, buffalo and a variety of antelope species, as well as an abundance of birdlife, including the African fish-eagle.
We take a late afternoon Chobe River cruise looking out for hippo, elephant, buffalo and a variety of birds along the river’s edge.
On day three, we embark on a open 4x4 game drive in Chobe, ranked one of the top game parks in Africa. Sightings include an array of large mammals, including predators such as lion, leopard and African wild dog.
Then we leave Chobe Park and make our way south, skirting the fringes of the dry Kalahari Desert to Elephant Sands, Nata in northeastern Botswana. En route look out for elephants and buffalo on the roadside. There are no fences surrounding our camp, so animals roam freely visiting the watering hole at the lodge. This offers a unique, unforgettable opportunity for close wildlife encounters.
Today we head west along the outskirts of the Kalahari Desert and salt pans en route to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta.
We overnight near the safari hub of Maun before our trip into the Okavango Delta. Either this afternoon or when we return to Maun after camping in the Delta, there is usually time to take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta – a breathtaking experience that enables you to view the vastness of this pristine wilderness.
The jewel in Botswana’s crown, the Okavango Delta is the world's largest inland delta, covering 1.6 million hectares of natural waterways and pristine wilderness. The delta, with its source in Angola, spreads out in an intricate web of channels on the flat plains of Botswana emptying into the desert.
This morning we drive to the fringes of the delta in a 4x4 safari vehicle, making our way to a mokoro (canoe) station. Knowledgeable and experienced local guides will accompany you in this extensive wetland system “poling” you through the labyrinth of winding channels and lagoons in traditional dugout canoes, called mekoros. You will also have the opportunity to explore the delta on a thrilling bush walk. Exploring the narrow channels of the delta we look out for wildlife including hippo, crocodile and an array of birds amongst the giant lily pads and tall grasses of the reed-fringed islands.
We spend a night camping in the Okavango Delta, experiencing this unique wilderness area up close. Our overnight tented camp is set on the banks of a tranquil lagoon, in an area of the watery Okavango Delta often visited by elephants. We stay in tents with twin beds and en suite bathrooms, at our basic but comfortable bush camp. At night you can hear the sounds of the African bush surrounding you for miles as you sleep under starry skies in this remote wilderness – the wildlife adventure of a lifetime!
Wake up in the Okavango Delta, surrounded by the untamed bush. Enjoy the natural setting at camp before we glide out of the delta in the mekoros, watching for animals and birds along the way.
Reaching the collection point beside the waterways we switch to 4x4 vehicle and return to Maun, arriving at camp in time for lunch. In the afternoon you can cool off in the pool and rest at camp, or head off on an optional scenic flight. The flight takes you over the winding waterways and wild plains of the unique delta, just visited. Elephants, hippos and other animals are often spotted from above so keep an eye out.
On day seven we leave Maun and drive southwest along the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Our next stop is the town of Ghanzi, sometimes called"The Capital of the Kalahari". At Ghanzi, situated “in the middle of nowhere”, we explore the area’s arid landscapes on foot. This wide-open and flat terrain is remarkable for its beautiful sunsets and open skies, a stargazer’s paradise at night. On our guided Bushman Walk we have the opportunity to learn a bit about the semi-nomadic San Bushmen that were once the only inhabitants of this desolate area.
Around the campfire at night, you can experience the ancient dance rituals of the San Bushman. On special occasions this could be a healing or trance dance, and is an intense spiritual experience for both participants and visitors alike.
In the morning we continue travelling west crossing into Namibia, where we make our way to Windhoek.
We stay in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, for the night and get to enjoy some nightlife after our days spent out in the untamed wilderness areas of Southern Africa. Eat out tonight (own account) and explore Windhoek, located in the center of Namibia, discovering its colonial German heritage and architecture.
Departing from Windhoek our journey takes us north to Etosha National Park, the "Great White Place" dominated by a vast saltpan. We stay inside Etosha for the next two nights, camping at one or two of the well-established rest camps. The camps feature watering holes, which are floodlit at night offering exciting nocturnal game viewing.
We embark on a short afternoon game drive upon arrival in Etosha and spend the whole of day 10 game viewing.
The 20 000 sq km Etosha Park is home to thousands of wild animals and is considered one of the most important game reserves in Southern Africa. This vast game park is inhabited by around 340 bird species and over 100 mammal species, notably the endangered cheetah and black rhino, as well as black-faced impala, tsessebe, roan antelope and gemsbok. In the rainy season shallow lakes form on the pan, with the watering holes supporting Etosha’s wildlife all year-round.
We leave Etosha National Park game viewing en route, to spot some animals not seen on the previous days. Next we make our way back south travelling through the eerie landscapes of the Spitzkoppe area in the Kunene Region.
The Spitzkoppe area is scattered with exposed granite formations that we explore to see the ancient rock paintings of Bushman tribes. The most impressive of these rock paintings is called “Bushman Paradise”. The peculiar rock formations reach up to 1728m above sea level, offering spectacular views. Explore this dramatic area of Namibia, soaking up its stillness. Witness the ever changing colours of the rock formations, especially at sunrise and sunset, when they take on intense red shades.
Our Spitzkoppe Camp, located at the base of the rocky mountain, is owned and maintained by the local community. All proceeds from our stay contribute to a better future for the local community at Spitzkoppe.
We drive along some of the striking Atlantic coastline, known as the Skeleton Coast en route to Swakopmund, located between the dry Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.
The quaint colonial town of Swakopmund is Namibia’s premier seaside resort, featuring palm-lined avenues and beachside promenades. Take a sightseeing stroll though the unique town and relax at one of the street-side cafes or get your adrenaline pumping on one of the adventure activities. There are plenty of adventure activities to choose from at Swakopmund including kayaking, quad biking, sand boarding and skydiving as well as scenic flights and guided desert walks.
Leaving Swakopmund we drive south, stopping to take snapshots as we cross the Tropic of Capricorn. Our next overnight stop is the smallest town in Namibia - Solitaire. Located in the Khomas Region, time slows down to a crawl in this remote settlement.
From Solitaire we continue our drive southwards heading into one of the oldest deserts in the world, the Namib Desert. We make our way to the Namib Naukluft Park, where we visit some of the world’s highest sand dunes, reaching up to 300m in the Sossusvlei area.
First stop in the Namib Naukluft Park - the towering Dune 45. Climb to the top of this much-photographed dune to view the immense expanse of dunes fields. This is one of the largest game parks in Africa and Namibia’s largest conservation area, covering 50 000 sq km of dunes, plains, mountains and pans. Following a hearty breakfast we drive further into the park to catch a shuttle and then walk to Dead Vlei. A walk amongst these tall, red-orange dunes provides ideal photo opportunities of Namibia's unspoilt natural beauty.
From the spectacular dunes and flat pans we travel to Sesriem Canyon to walk in the narrow gorge and see layer-upon-layer of sedimentary rocks revealed through erosion over the ages. Tonight we stay near Sesriem, at a camp with a watering hole where gemsbok are often spotted in the late afternoon.
Today we travel south through barren landscapes scattered with quiver trees. Next highlight - the Fish River Canyon, arguably the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest in the world. This beautiful natural wonder is around 500m deep and over 160km in length. We explore this scenic area enjoying spectacular views over the sharp “Hell’s Bend” corner of the canyon, another awesome photo opportunity.
We cross into South Africa leaving the unforgettable deserts and vast game parks of Namibia behind. Continuing south we drive to the Orange River, now called the Gariep River, camping in this dramatic setting overnight. With its source in Lesotho’s Drakensberg Mountains the Orange River, South Africa’s longest river, almost traverses the continent.
We camp on the banks of the Orange River on day 17 of this Overland Camping Tour, enjoying a marvelous African sunset. Here you have the option of hiking to the viewpoint above the campsite and taking an optional canoe trip on the Orange River, which is safe for swimming.
The camp is remote but not too basic, with facilities including hot showers, flush toilets and grass covered camping sites. Unwind at the camp's bar and soak up the peaceful river setting under a blanket of bright stars.
Leaving the rugged Orange River area we proceed south into the Namaqualand region of South Africa. Namaqualand is best known for its prolific display of blooming wildflowers in spring (best seen between August and October).
We overnight at a picturesque campsite near the Olifants River and enjoy the opportunity to sample some of the fine wines of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
We travel south passing the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal and admire the spectacular views as we meander down the Picketberg Pass towards Cape Town.
Lastly we reach the beautiful city of Cape Town, our final stop on this Vic Falls to the Cape via Namibia, Overland Camping Tour.
We recommend that you arrange to spend a few post-tour days in the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town has something for everyone, from outdoor activities and wineland tours to world-class shopping and a lively nightlife.
Please note that this tour comes with a highly-recommended Adventure Pass at extra cost. We strongly recommend this optional Adventure Pass as it includes major tour highlights and activities. This local payment can be purchased when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Adventure Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
Transport on this tour is in a 24-seater, custom-built safari truck. The self-contained truck is fitted with onboard tables, individual lockers (70-litre) and a freezer, as well as safety features. The safari truck also features plug sockets, a library and an i-pod jack. Other transport includes mokoro canoes and 4x4 safari vehicles.
The group prepares the included meals in camp and help with preparation is invited. Most dietary requirements can be catered for on the road, upon request at the time of booking.
Some of our National Park visits and game viewing drives are conducted using local services, to ensure the best quality game driving and to comply with local authority rulings. Using local African guides and service providers also adds to our safari experience and allows us to contribute to the local communities. These local services are included in the Local Payment of the tour.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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