Explore the incredibly beautiful and wildlife-rich region of Southern Africa on a budget.
Start you journey to Southern Africa's top safari destinations with game viewing in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary of Botswana. Go on to glide peacefully through the intricate maze of waterways in the pristine Okavango Delta and discover the magic of this unique wilderness area on foot. Stop in Nata and explore Makgadikgadi Salt Pans on an open-vehicle drive. Then, encounter huge herds of African elephants and an array of other wild animals, on a boat cruise in Botswana's Chobe Park.
Experience 'the Smoke that Thunders', visiting the awe-inspiring natural wonder of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Embark on a 4x4 game drive in Hwange National Park and explore Matobo National Park on foot, going in search of rhinos, other wildlife, birds and San rock art. Return to South Africa where this overland camping safari began, and head to a remote village for a memorable cultural experience. Finally, go game viewing in the world-famous Kruger National Park, home to numerous birds and an abundance of wildlife, including Africa's Big Five.
Welcome to Southern Africa! Your Overland Camping Safari begins in South Africa, with an important tour briefing at 6:00pm.
You are free to relax at the hotel and explore the bustling city of Johannesburg, before the evening meeting at the hotel on day one.
Johannesburg, known as the City of Gold, is a vibrant economic capital of Southern Africa. This cosmopolitan city is home to the largest urban forest in the world and offers a unique window into South African life, its turbulent history and melting pot of contemporary cultures.
We strongly recommend attending the tour briefing on day one, as this is when we collect your important contact information and insurance details from you. If your flight is set to arrive too late for the meeting, then we advise booking a flight for the day before the tour, so that you can join the meeting. Pre-tour accommodation can be arranged with us if required.
Our first day of travelling in Southern Africa sees us leaving Johannesburg and heading north towards neighbouring Botswana.
Crossing into Botswana we make our way to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, on the outskirts of the Kalahari Desert.
The Khama Rhino Sanctuary was established to protect black and white rhino populations and is integral to white rhino conservation efforts in Botswana. The Khama project practises wildlife tourism and sustainable natural resource management to deliver economic benefits to the local Batswana community. Our visit here helps support the local communities and protect the highly endangered white rhinos.
At dusk we embark on our first game drive, exploring Khama Sanctuary in search of rhinos, zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest. Sunset is an excellent time for game viewing as many animals are most active at this time of day.
Returning from our game drive in the evening we unwind beside the campfire and fall asleep under starry African skies.
Today we continue our journey north into Botswana, driving to Maun. The lively town of Maun is located in northern Botswana and serves as the gateway to the Okavango Delta.
The Okavango Delta is the world's largest inland delta, created by the waters of the Okavango River emptying into the arid Kalahari Desert from the Angolan highlands. This pristine wetland system is a one-of-a-kind natural phenomenon, forming a 16000 km² natural oasis in this otherwise arid desert region.
Over the next few days we will experience the beauty and diversity of the remarkable delta, soaking up the peace of its meandering waterways, remote islands and fertile flood plains. If we are lucky we will also encounter some of the wildlife inhabiting the scenic delta, from hippos and crocodiles, to elephants, buffalos and big cats.
Tonight we camp just outside of Maun, at a basic campsite with shared facilities.
Our two-day delta adventure begins on day four, as we head in to this watery wonderland to discover its unique magic.
We explore the intricate network of clear waterways by mokoro canoes, the traditional dug-out vessels used in the delta. The mekoros are poled along the tranquil channels and lagoons by local 'polers' who stand in the canoe and guide it through the waters with a pole, in a similar way to gondoliers.
We also experience the untamed delta ecosystems on foot, heading into the bush on guided nature walks with knowledgeable guides. Walking in this unspoilt wilderness is a great way to spot the unusual animals and abundance of birds inhabiting this watery maze. On day five we venture into the delta on a sunrise walk with experienced guides, going in search of numerous birds and wildlife, including elephants.
After our early morning bush walk we return to camp for a well-deserved breakfast. The remainder of the day is free for you to swim in the clear streams, walk in the unspoilt bush, try your hand at poling a mokoro and simply kick-back. In the afternoon you can choose to join a guided bush walk or set off on a mokoro ride to admire more of the rich flora and fauna.
Both nights are spent camping on a secluded island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Camping in the bush is an ideal way to immerse yourself in nature and get back to basics, with only a bush toilet and no showers. Our nights are spent under starry skies, taking in the sounds of nature in this truly wild place.
Today we break-up camp and glide out of the delta in our mekoros. Arriving back at the poling station we return to Maun, and our camp on the fringes of town. Then we visit a local village to get a glimpse of rural life in Botswana's Okavango Delta region.
We overnight at a simple camp with shared facilities, outside of Maun.
An early start on day seven sees us travelling east through rural Botswana to our next stop - Nata.
Nata serves as the base for expeditions to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, located in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana. Makgadikgadi is an ideal place for some peace and quiet with its 12,000 km² of flat, open landscapes, free of human development.
In the afternoon you can join an open vehicle drive out onto the salt pans to experience the vastness of this arid area where mirages dance. Once covered by one of Africa's largest inland lakes, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is one of the largest networks of salt pans in the world. The dry and salty earth of the salt pans supports little plant life, leaving the land largely barren. Rolling grasslands and some baobab trees grow along the fringes of the pans, supporting some animals and birds.
After the rainy season short grasses cover parts of the pans dotted with shallow lakes of blue-green water that attract migratory birds and even some animals.
Tonight we camp on the outskirts of the Makgadikgadi Pans near Nata.
This morning we drive to the world-famous Chobe National Park, located in northeastern Botswana.
Chobe National Park is best known for its huge elephant herds and is home to some of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. This was the first national park established in Botswana and covers diverse habitats.
This afternoon we take a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River, an excellent opportunity to get up close to elephants, as well as other wildlife and plenty of birds. As we cruise along we look out for elephants along the banks, or even swimming in the river, along with the abundance of hippos and crocodiles lurking in the shallow waters. Other wild animals that are often sighted on this laid-back boat cruise include lions, zebras, cheetahs, buffalos and a range of antelopes.
We are off to the mighty Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on day nine, stopping for lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River along the way.
Arriving at Victoria Falls, we head to the spectacular waterfall to discover for ourselves why this natural wonder is called Mosi oa Tunya, which means 'The Smoke that Thunders'. Victoria Falls is considered the largest sheet of falling water in the world, at 1.7km's wide and 108m's high - an awe-inspiring sight year round.
As the Zambezi plummets into the narrow gorge below Vic Falls sends up a magnificent spray reaching over 400m's into the air during the rainy season when it can be spotted from miles away. Although not as thunderous during the dry season, Victoria Falls and the gorge below are clearly visible at this time, because there is less mist rising off the falls.
We stay at a conveniently located campsite in Victoria Falls town, close to all the action and adventure activities. You have the option of upgrading your accommodation at the camp's reception (extra cost).
At this stage of our combination trip new travellers may be joining your group while some fellow travellers may be departing, and a new safari guide may also be taking over from Victoria Falls. A group meeting is held to brief you on the next stage of your tour and meet any new travellers joining the group.
During your time at Victoria Falls you may come across an optional 'Walk with the Lions' activity. We do not recommend this activity as professional wildlife conservationists advise that habituating lions to humans can shorten their life span and may lead to human-lion conflict.
For the optional Helicopter Flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we recommend using Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe and your guide can help make arrangements for this activity.
On day 11 we depart from the Adventure Capital of Africa, Victoria Falls, driving south to Hwange Park in western Zimbabwe. Hwange is Zimbabwe's leading game park and the largest reserve in the country.
We embark on a game viewing drive in Hwange Park, conducted in open 4x4 safari vehicles.
Hwange, like Chobe in Botswana, is famous for its huge elephant herds, hosting one of the largest elephant populations in the world. Hwange is also home to one of the largest remaining populations of endangered African Wild Dogs, featuring a wild dog conservation centre. Herds of buffalo, zebra and giraffe can be seen in Hwange, amongst its 19 species of large herbivores and eight species of big carnivores, which include leopard and cheetah. Each of the protected species found in Zimbabwe is found in Hwange National Park, covering some 14 651 km² of wilderness. A total of more than 100 mammals species inhabit the park as well as diverse bird life, numbering about 400 species.
Once the hunting grounds of Ndebele royal, king Mzilikazi, in 1929 Hwange was established as a national park.
This morning we continue south through Zimbabwe heading for the Matobo National Park, the country's oldest national park.
Our drive takes us via Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city after the capital of Harare. Bulawayo has a colourful past and once served as the capital for warrior king Mzilikazi. We pass through this laid-back urban hub, getting a feel for the pleasant colonial-influenced city, with its leafy wide streets.
We camp near Bulawayo at a campground with shared facilities (upgrades available), for the next two nights. On day 13 we make our way into the nearby Matobo National Park to soak up the unusual, yet beautiful scenery, view San rock art and admire the incredible rock formations. Then we visit nearby villages to meet the local people and get a glimpse into rural life in Zimbabwe. After lunch we head back into Matobo for guided bush walk in search of rhinos, other wildlife and birds, getting a closer look at the local flora and fauna.
The game park section of Matobo is home to a sizeable population of black and white rhinos, as well as some of the world's highest concentrations of leopards, black eagles and other raptors. Other wildlife includes zebras, giraffes, hyenas, wild cats, baboons and monkeys, along with plenty of antelope species such as kudu, eland, sable, duiker and waterbuck. Matobo Park is also home to a diversity of birds.
This Unesco World Heritage Site incorporates the mysterious Matopos Hills scattered with granite boulders formed by erosion over millions of years. The beautiful park is named after the surreal-looking boulder strewn kopjes, with Matobo meaning 'bald heads'. Matobo hosts an impressive collection of rock art and important sacred sites that make this a culturally and spiritually important place for the Zimbabwean people. Famous British settler and mining magnate, Cecil John Rhodes is buried in Matobo in keeping with his request, despite controversy around the location of his grave.
We hit the road early today, driving to Moremi Gorge, near the town of Palapye in southern Botswana.
Arriving at the campsite after our long drive you can visit Moremi Gorge and explore the scenic area on foot (time allowing). Tonight we camp at a basic campsite with no hot water or WiFi.
Today we get up early for the journey back into South Africa. We arrive at our next stop in the late afternoon. Our overnight camp is set at the foot of the majestic Blouberg (Blue Mountain) range in the Limpopo Province of South Africa
Arriving at the Blouberg Mountains we set off on a short guided walk in the scenic foothills, where some of South Africa's best rock climbing can be found. This area is rich in both natural and cultural diversity, and as we walk our guide shares tales about the local community and its traditions.
First we visit the old deserted village of Bochum, which was once a Lutheran mission station. After our glimpse into the cultural dynamics of the past we move on to a local village to experience the present. Here we stop in at an informal tavern, called a shebeen, to try out the locally brewed beer and meet the friendly locals. Then we tuck into a locally prepared dinner to sample traditional foods, including dishes such as chicken stew (Malana), maize, watermelon (Thopi) and a green vegetables (Marogo).
We visit the small Hananwa community on this unique cultural experience, encountering people who still live according to old traditional ways. The original lifestyles of some locals have been well preserved due to the remote and inaccessible location of the village, at the base of the rugged Blouberg where roads are absent.
On day 16 we drive to Kruger National Park, South Africa's premier safari destination and one of Africa's best game parks. Along the way we stop for supplies at a shop or market.
As we enter Kruger Park the Big Five game viewing adventure begins! Our game drive takes us to game-rich areas of this world-famous national park, in search of the Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), along with a staggering array of other wild animals and birds.
Day 17 begins early in the morning, with a refreshing coffee and some rusks (tea biscuits), before setting off into the bush on a game drive. Mornings are an excellent time for game viewing as many animals are at their most active in the early morning hours. The bulk of our day is spent exploring this untamed wilderness area on game drives, stopping at watering holes en route to spot wildlife and birds.
This evening you can embark on an optional night game drive conducted by a park's guide. These exciting night drives take you in search of the unusual and shy nocturnal creatures of Kruger Park.
Covering some 19 485 km² of African bush, Kruger is one of Southern Africa's biggest game reserves, inhabited by 150 mammal species, more than 500 bird species and 100 reptile species. In addition to the Big Five of Africa, Kruger is also home to endangered wildlife, including African wild dogs and black rhinos.
On both nights we camp inside Kruger Park at a campsite featuring shared facilities with hot and cold water.
On the final day of our Southern Africa Camping Safari we leave the African wilderness behind and make our way back to the dynamic city of Johannesburg.
We take a leisurely drive back to the city, travelling through the beautiful Blyde River Canyon on the Panorama Route. This is one of the most scenic parts of South Africa, blessed with plenty of spectacular scenery. Along the way we stop at some of the viewpoints to admire the breathtaking vistas over the deep canyon and rolling lowveld beyond.
Arriving at a selected hotel in Johannesburg our unforgettable overland safari comes to a close.
We recommend booking flights after 10:00pm on the last day, or staying in Johannesburg for an extra day or two after the tour to explore. Post-tour accommodation can be arranged with us, when you book your safari.
Activities listed as optional in the itinerary are not included in the tour price and are for your own expense. See Optional Activities & Excursions tab.
This tour includes 13 nights of camping accommodation (with facilities), 1 night of camping (with basic facilities), 2 nights of bush camping (with no facilities) and 1 night of hotel accommodation.
On this tour accommodation is primarily in two-man dome tents at basic campsites with shared facilities. Most of the camps offer WiFi access and the option to upgrade to fixed accommodation (subject to availability).
On this tour 17 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 14 dinners are provided. We recommend a budget of USD320 for meals not included in the itinerary.
This camping safari is an overlanding trip, which means that group participation is required along the way. Participation is usually in the form of helping with meal preparation and the setting up or dismantling of tents, and sometimes helping your guide/cook with shopping for supplies.
The above itinerary serves as a guide and is subject to changes (such as last minute route changes), due to factors including weather conditions and seasonal variation.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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