This Okavango Delta, Zimbabwe & Kruger Safari journeys overland through Southern Africa, visiting top safari destinations.
Experience the best of Botswana's wilderness and wildlife destinations, starting with the arid Kalahari Desert before venturing into the watery Okavango Delta in mokoro canoes and on foot. Go wildlife viewing in Moremi Game Reserve, then gaze across the open Makgadikgadi Pans and explore Chobe Park on a 4x4 game drive and boat cruise. Witness the natural wonder of Victoria Falls and embark on a wildlife adventure in Hwange Park, Zimbabwe's leading national park. Go on to discover the cultural and historical highlights of Matobo Hills and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.
Then travel back into South Africa to enjoy superb game viewing in the world-famous Kruger Park, taking a bush walk and game drives, as well as visiting the scenic Panorama Route, before driving back to Johannesburg.
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 Okavango Delta, Zimbabwe & Kruger Safari leaves Johannesburg city in South Africa on the morning of day one, travelling through the North-West Province towards the Botswana border. After completing border formalities we cross into neighbouring Botswana and proceed along the Trans-Kalahari Highway.
We spend our first camping at a lodge in the village of Kang, gateway to the Kalahari Desert.
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.
This morning we have breakfast and continue our journey into the Central Kalahari Desert which covers some 360 000 sq mi (930 000 km²) of the inland plateau in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. A vast semi-arid region of sandy plains and low hills, the Kalahari is technically not a desert despite appearances.
Making our way into the Central Kalahari we pass through sparsely-populated and featureless dry landscapes en route to our camp near Ghanzi. Sometimes called the capital of the Kalahari, Ghanzi is a popular stopover in this remote part of western Botswana.
In Ghanzi we encounter the San (also known as Bushmen) - the first inhabitants of Southern Africa. After lunch, we meet with local San guides who take us on a walk in this inhospitable environment and tell us how the San have managed to survive as hunter-gatherers in such harsh conditions for tens of thousands of years. Discover the traditional value of various kinds of flora and fauna used for sustenance and medicinal purposes by the semi-nomadic San.
In the evening we find out more about the unique culture and customs of the San, watching a San dance performance.
On day three we drive northeast to Maun, passing through rural Botswana. Maun serves as the gateway to the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta.
The Okavango River has no outlet to the sea, emptying into the sands of the Kalahari Desert and irrigating some 15,000 km² of Botswana. In the afternoon you have the chance to take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta, from Maun. Viewing the delta from above reveals the grand scale and beauty of this unique ecosystem, allowing you to spot wildlife from above.
We spend the night at a camp in Maun and prepare for our magical delta trip the following day. The guides will fill you in on what to expect in the delta and the activities lined up. Those opting for the Upgraded Delta Trip will drive from Maun into the Okavango Delta tomorrow morning to spend two nights at a remote camp in the wilderness.
Today we are up early for our full day of exploring the Okavango Delta by dug-out canoe (mokoro). Those of you embarking on the Upgraded Two-night Delta Trip set off for the remote Delta camp this morning and re-join the group on day six.
Travellers not taking the upgraded trip, 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 all about experiencing the beauty of the wild delta, rather than focussing on big game sightings. However, we may come across large wildlife species 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 the lodge in Maun.
Guests on the Upgraded Delta Trip stay at an intimate delta camp in a 100 000 hectare private concession area, offering a unique delta experience. The secluded camp looks out over peaceful delta waterways, blending in with the wild African bush around it.
What makes this exclusive camp particularly special is that it only caters for one group of travellers at a time, so you will only share your delta adventure with your fellow safari-goers. Exploring this private delta concession with our experienced guides, you won't come across other groups, allowing you to escape the crowds. This laid-back camp is located in the remote northern section of the delta, in a game-rich wilderness area attracting buffalo herds and other wild animals, as well as a wide array of birds.
Stay in pre-erected dome tents fitted with camping beds and mattresses, at this bush camp with a low environmental impact on the wilderness. The camp features ablution facilities with hot showers, a bar and lounge area, a plunge pool and a spacious, open-sided boma with kitchen facilities. The camp is ideal for immersing yourself in nature, listening to the lion's roar amid other sounds at night. Activities offered at the Delta camp include game drives, bush walks, mokoro trips, sunset boat cruises and sundowners on one of the islands, and boma dinners.
On day 5 the Activity Package includes a wildlife adventure in Moremi Game Reserve. Encompassing central and eastern parts of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Reserve is the only official protected area in the Delta.
This morning we drive to the southern gate of Moremi, setting off before sunrise. Moremi is renowned for its natural beauty and rich diversity of habitats, animals and plants. The game reserve is home to healthy populations of large mammals, including the Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) and African wild dogs. Our game drive reveals how diverse Moremi's ecosystem is, ranging from lagoons and savannahs to riverside forests and mopane woodlands. Your safari guide will select the best game drive routes in the bush, based on water levels, road conditions and animal sightings.
Those who chose not to join the Moremi Day Trip as part of the Activity Package, stay behind in Maun today. Those staying in Maun have free time to relax at the leafy camp, laze by the pool and take an optional flight over the Okavango Delta. The scenic flight offers sweeping views over the open plains and winding waterways, where wildlife can be spotted.
On the morning of day six, those who opted for the Upgraded Delta Trip get to wake up in the wild Okavango Delta, have breakfast at camp and transfer back to Maun. Once the group is reunited we board our overland truck and drive east along the northern reaches of the massive Makgadikgadi Pans passing big baobab trees along the way.
This afternoon the Activity Package includes a sundowner excursion to the salt pans of Nata Sanctuary to experience the vastness of this 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.
This morning we travel north to the town of Kasane, near Chobe National Park. Reaching Kasane we head to our safari camp, located along the Chobe River a few kilometres from Chobe National Park. We camp at a lodge, overlooking the Chobe River and surrounding bush, featuring a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
Next up, the famous Chobe National Park, home to one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. Chobe is best known for its huge population of elephants and is the second largest national park in Botswana.
First, we take a 4x4 game drive in Chobe - hosting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Driving through Chobe allows us to encounter a variety of animals and birds across the park's diverse habitats - from lush plains and wooded grasslands to dense forests and swamps. Later in the afternoon, we embark on a sunset boat cruise in Chobe Park which is known for its excellent boat-based game viewing. The boat cruise on Chobe River provides ideal opportunities for spotting wild animals up close, including hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, antelope species and elephants.
After our wild adventures in Botswana, we drive to Victoria Falls, crossing into Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is known as the Adventure Capital of Southern Africa with numerous thrilling activities on offer, as well as more laid-back options.
If you prefer to take it easy today you can visit a local craft market, explore the historic town of Victoria Falls or enjoy an old-fashioned high tea at one of the hotels this afternoon. Alternatively, you can tick an adventure activity off your bucket list. Tonight we go out for an optional dinner in Victoria Falls and your guide runs you through the adventure activities on offer, helping with arrangements for the next day.
Today is free for you to participate in some of the numerous exciting adventure activities available in the Victoria Falls area.
A popular choice is the Zambezi River White Water Rafting at Vic Falls, said to be some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. There are however plenty of other thrilling activities to choose from including helicopter and microlight flights over Vic Falls, zip-line rides, trips to Livingstone Island, skydiving and bungee jumping from Victoria Falls Bridge.
Our overnight stay is at the comfortable hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
On day 10 of this Botswana, Zimbabwe & Kruger Camping Safari we visit the mighty Victoria Falls waterfall to experience the "Smoke that Thunders" or Mosi-oa-Tunya as the locals call it. Witnessing the mighty falls is an awe-inspiring experience as the Zambezi plummets over 100 feet into the gorge below forming the largest curtain of falling water in the world at 1,7km wide. Listen to the thundering of Victoria Falls as you watch the amazing smoke-like spray rising up to 400 meters above the Falls making it visible from as far as 50 km away!
After visiting Victoria Falls, we travel south to Zimbabwe's flagship national park, Hwange National Park. This evening we sit back under the stars and enjoy dinner around the campfire.
A full day of wildlife viewing in Hwange is included in the Activity Package today. Set off in open 4x4 safari vehicles this morning for an exciting wildlife adventure in this top African safari destination.
Hwange National Park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa, as well as members of all of Zimbabwe’s endangered species. The game park hosts more than 100 mammalian species, including one of the world’s largest populations of endangered wild dog, and 400 bird species. The Big Five of Africa – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant - are found in Hwange alongside cheetah, hyena, zebra and giraffe. Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve, the 14650 km² Hwange Park is a real highlight on any safari in Zimbabwe.
Leaving Hwange Park behind today, we drive to the Matobo National Park, just south of Bulawayo. Here we embark on an afternoon game drive in search of wildlife and soak up the unique scenery. Matobo National Park covers some 44 500 hectares (424 km²) and is home to a variety of wild animals and birds.
The game park is home to black and white rhinos, which are often sighted on game drives. Leopard sightings are another game viewing highlight in the park. Matobo also hosts a range of antelope species, baboons, reptiles, rock hyraxes and birds. Black eagles sightings are another safari highlight in this Zimbabwean park, said to host one of the world's highest concentrations of black eagles, if not the highest. This scenic park also features one of the highest concentrations of traditional San rock art in Southern Africa. Established in 1953, Matobo National Park has several sites of historical significance, including the grave of the prominent settler, Cecil John Rhodes.
The Matobo Hills are regarded as a sacred site by the local Shona, who perform rituals in these ancient hills. The rain shrine of the Ndebele, dedicated to the god of the ancestors, is also found in these hills. The culturally important Matobo Hills consist of exposed granite boulders that were formed millions of years ago, forming a mysterious and surreal landscape.
Next, our journey through Zimbabwe takes us to another treasure of this fascinating Southern African country - the world-famous Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This afternoon we explore this famous historical site on a guided walk.
The impressive Great Ruins of Zimbabwe once served as a royal palace and the capital of the then Kingdom of Zimbabwe. Dating back to the Iron Age this World Heritage Site was built from the 11th century onwards. Legend has it that the ruins were once used by the Queen of Sheba. There has been much debate and speculation regarding the origins of these ruins, but the general consensus is that the structures were constructed by the forefathers of the Shona. The building was done without the use of mortar, standing testament to the skill of the builders. This extensive complex includes walls that tower up to 11 m high, measuring as much as 5 m in thickness.
The renowned bird carvings, out of soapstone, were found here at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Today these 8 carved birds are featured on the Zimbabwean National Flag and replicas are often carved by locals.
Today we head back into neighbouring South Africa, travelling into the beautiful Limpopo Province. Our next stop is a small resort town, called Tshipise. Here we unwind and enjoy the mineral hot springs in the late afternoon.
Established in 1936, Tshipise lies at the foot of Tshipise hill, surrounded by bush landscapes scattered with old baobabs and indigenous trees. The name, Tshipise, is said to originate from the meaning to “burn, be hot” in reference to the local hot springs that reach up to 65°C. We camp at the foot of Tshipise Koppie tonight.
On day 15 of our overland safari adventure, we drive south along the Great North Road as we head to Johannesburg.
Johannesburg is the economic heart of South Africa, as well as being one of the strongest commercial centres in Africa. The dynamic city of Johannesburg, commonly known as Jo'burg, is a great place to gain insight into the cultures and history of this colourful nation.
We arrive late in the afternoon, and this evening you can have dinner together at the lodge, which offers a traditional braai (barbecue) in real South African style.
Early this morning we depart from Johannesburg, heading east to Kruger National Park via the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Considered one of the best safari destinations in Africa, Kruger Park is recognised as a world leader in terms of its wildlife management practices and environmental policies.
In the afternoon we reach the world-renowned Kruger National Park, a vast wilderness hosting an abundance of wildlife and birds. Our next camp is in a private wildlife concession area within Kruger National Park, South Africa’s flagship game park. After setting up camp we embark on a sunset game drive in the concession area (included in the Activity Package), looking out for the Big Five and other African wildlife.
This evening we enjoy dinner around the glowing campfire under a blanket of stars.
On day 17 we explore Kruger National Park, which covers almost two million hectares of untamed South African Lowveld.
Our full day of game viewing takes us in search of the abundance of wildlife, including the Big Five of Africa (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo), found in this vast wilderness area. Kruger protects an unrivalled diversity of plant and animal species, including around 336 tree species, 49 fish species, 34 amphibian species, 114 species of reptiles, 507 bird and 147 mammal species.
The Activity Package includes a whole day of 4x4 game drives in open safari vehicles - a great way to take in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. The open 4x4 vehicles are designed to offer excellent visibility and better photographic opportunities than enclosed tour vehicles. For those that opted not to take the Activity Package a full day game drive in the safari truck is included in the tour price. Our elevated safari truck offers clear views out over the game park, improving your chances of sighting game and big cats that would otherwise be hidden in the bush.
Our rewarding game drive in this massive wildlife area is followed by a relaxing night at the safari camp inside Kruger.
This morning we get up bright and early for a bush walk in Kruger Park (included in the Activity Package). Venturing into the bush on foot provides a closer look at the plants, smaller creatures and signs of animal life. Walking in the bush is also an exhilarating experience as we may come across big mammals at any moment.
After our thrilling game walk, we visit the Panorama Route. We journey through the rugged northern Drakensberg mountain range, passing through one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa. Along the way, we stop to admire the sweeping views of the impressive Blyde River Canyon from God's Window viewpoint. We also stop to take in the stunning views of the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes formations in Blyde River Canyon.
At the end of our scenic exploration, we return to our camp in Kruger for a tasty dinner and a traditional dance performance.
On the last day of this fantastic Southern Africa Overland Tour, we venture back out into Kruger National Park in our safari truck. After our final game drive, we travel back to the vibrant city of Johannesburg. This affordable Botswana, Zimbabwe & Kruger Safari comes to an end when we arrive in Johannesburg.
Most tour groups choose to enjoy dinner together after the safari at the post-tour lodge which offers an optional braai (barbecue) that can be booked through your guide.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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