A comprehensive Southern African Budget Safari travelling from Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls to Cape Town in South Africa.
Highlights on this affordable Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa Camping Tour include:
A scenic, cultural and wildlife adventure through Southern Africa's diverse landscapes from rugged plains, towering mountains and desert dunes to the watery delta, deep canyons, game-rich national parks and mighty Vic Falls waterfall.
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.
Our Victoria Falls to Cape Town Camping Tour begins at the spectacular Victoria Falls, one of Africa's most famous natural wonders. Here the great Zambezi River tumbles over 350 feet along a width of over 5000 feet, creating the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. Known by locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or 'The Smoke that Thunders', the river sends a spray of mist kilometres up into the air creating a natural rainforest around it.
Today you can visit Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world, walking to viewpoints to admire the mighty waterfall and take photos. You can also explore the town of Victoria Falls, have high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel or do optional adventure activities. The area offers a huge range of activities - from bungee jumping to white river rafting and gorge swinging. Book a couple of days at Vic Falls before our safari begins if you'd like to do more of these.
Tonight you can enjoy an optional dinner out in Victoria Falls town. We stay in en-suite rooms at a comfortable hotel next to the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe.
This Safari comes with an optional Activity Package. This is an additional payment that covers what we consider to be ‘essential activities’ on our tours. This itinerary includes these items. Ideally, we would include all of these, but not everyone can afford this, so you can pick and choose. African Budget Safaris will give you a detailed breakdown of what is included in the Activity Package, once we hear from you. See Full Pricing Information on the Pricing Tab for the cost of the Activity Package.
We cross the border into Botswana and spend the night in Kasane, near Chobe National Park. We camp at a lodge with a swimming pool so take a refreshing dip.
After lunch served from the safari truck at camp, we embark on a 4x4 game drive in Chobe Park as part of the Activity Package. This is one of Africa's top game parks, famous for its massive elephant population and large buffalo herds. Wildlife sightings include large predators - lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals and spotted hyenas, and game such as zebras, giraffes, waterbuck and kudus.
In the late afternoon, we take a sunset boat cruise in Chobe National Park (included in the Activity Package), looking out for the numerous birds and animals drawn to the river. From the water, we get up close to plenty of wild animals such as hippos, antelopes, buffalos, crocodiles and elephants. The park covers 11 700 km² and is known for its wide range of fauna and abundance of wildlife. Keep your cameras ready - this is Big Five country.
Open since 1968, Chobe is one of the world's most well-known game parks, and for good reason! With its vast assortment of fauna - from grassland to woodland and marshes - it provides the habitat for a huge range of wildlife and birds. Beside all its antelope species, giraffe, zebra and big cats, the park boasts an elephant population of over 120 000. This is the stuff of safari dreams!
This morning we drive south to our camp in Nata, on the fringes of the arid Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
This afternoon we take a sundowner excursion to Nata Sanctuary (included in the Activity Package) to experience the vastness of the harsh salt pan environment. The Makgadikgadi Pans complex is one of the largest salt pan systems in the world, covering 30 000 km² of northern Botswana. 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.
Day four of our Overland Safari sees us driving west to Maun. Our route crosses the northern limits of the Makgadikgadi Pans, passing big baobab trees along the way. Early this afternoon we arrive in Maun, the closest town to the Okavango Delta, leaving free time for you to relax at camp or take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (time and weather allowing). Scenic flights are the best way to take in the sheer size of the delta system, offering beautiful views and a chance to spot wildlife from above. This evening your guide will fill you in on the details of our day trip into the Okavango Delta tomorrow.
On this tour, you can upgrade to a two-night Okavango Delta Trip as an optional extra. If you opt for the Upgraded Okavango Delta Trip you are transferred directly into the Okavango Delta by safari vehicle. The upgraded excursion entails driving into and out of the delta where you spend two nights at a remote camp (inquire for more details).
Today we are up early for our full day of exploring the Okavango Delta by dug-out canoe (mokoro). We 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 not a big game viewing activity, it is all about experiencing the beauty of the wild delta. However, we may come across some wildlife 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 where we camp for a second night.
This incredible area of waterways and islands covers up to 15 000 km2 during the wet season. None of this water reaches the sea, but instead, evaporates or transpires from the delta itself. It being a largely watery paradise, the Okavango is home to hippos, crocs and many fish. Many other of Africa's favourite animals call the Delta home, too. Zebra, rhino, buffalo, wildebeest and a number of buck species also live there, some seasonally, others permanently. And, the birdlife is incredible!
This morning those who opted for the Upgraded Okavango Delta Trip will drive out of the Okavango Delta, meeting up with the rest of the group in Maun. Back in Maun, we board our safari truck and drive southwest to Ghanzi, in the heart of the Kalahari Desert.
In the Kalahari, we meet some of the local San community (known colloquially as Bushmen) and learn about their unique culture and traditions. The traditional San people are indigenous to Southern Africa, having inhabited the area for over 30 000 years, surviving in harsh conditions as nomadic hunter-gatherers. In the afternoon we take a nature walk with the San in the Kalahari to find out more about their survival techniques using local flora and fauna. Their story is fascinating.
This evening we watch San traditional dancing and you can upgrade to a traditional hut (small extra cost) for a pukka San experience.
Rising early today we travel from Ghanzi over the border into Namibia and on to Windhoek. This is a long trip which gives us a glimpse of the vastness of Africa as we drive through breathtaking, enormous, plains.
Arriving in Windhoek, Namibia's capital city, we explore the city centre on foot. Your guide leads the walking tour, showing you some of the main landmarks and attractions of this orderly German-influenced city. After exploring on foot we head to our lodge outside of the city where we stay in en-suite rooms.
Windhoek is a wonderful mix of African and European (mostly German) influences. Known for its safety and good upkeep, there's something for everyone. From the beautiful botanical gardens to the state museum at Alte Feste to the plethora of shops and restaurants, it'll be hard to decide which activities to pick!
Boarding our overland safari truck this morning, we leave Windhoek, travelling north to the famous Etosha National Park.
In the late afternoon, we arrive at Etosha, the top wildlife destination in Namibia. Entering Etosha Park the wildlife adventure begins as we proceed to our overnight camp, located inside the national park. We spend the next two nights of our overland tour camping at rest camps in Etosha, which feature floodlit watering holes offering excellent game viewing opportunities. Make your way to the waterhole after dark to watch for nocturnal wildlife and sit back around the campfire listening to the night sounds of the African bush around us.
Spend a full day wildlife viewing in Etosha Park today! We explore the fringes of Etosha Pan, spotting wildlife from the raised vantage of our safari truck.
On our game drive, we stop at watering holes and scan the open plains for wildlife and birds. With its 120 km-long dry lakebed, Etosha offers phenomenal game-viewing, due to the sparse vegetation of the pan and the life-giving waterholes dotting the bush.
Etosha National Park is rated as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations, hosting a surprising abundance of animals and birds given the arid environment. Keep an eye out for elephants in the more bushy areas, as well as rhinos and elusive leopards. Common wildlife sightings in Etosha include lions and an array of herbivores - zebras, gemsbok, impalas, springbok and giraffes. Hosting over 340 bird species, birding enthusiasts will be rewarded with a variety of sightings, from the martial eagles and kori bustards to bee-eaters and ostriches.
Spend the evening relaxing around the campfire and watching for wildlife at the spotlit watering hole.
With its 120 km long dry lake bed, Etosha offers phenomenal game-viewing, due to its sparse vegetation. Camps are sited on the edge of waterholes providing for incredible game sightings as the animals come down to drink each day.
Early this morning we hop back on our safari truck and continue our search for wildlife and birds as we leave Etosha.
Exiting Etosha we make our way into the remote and sparsely-populated Kunene Region of Namibia. Passing through rugged, rocky landscapes snaked with dry-riverbeds we head to our lodge campsite in Kamanjab, south-east of Etosha.
On day 11 of our Vic Falls to Cape Town Overland Safari, we travel to the Brandberg Mountains, Namibia's tallest peaks. This afternoon, we head out on a short hike to the famous White Lady rock painting of Brandberg. Our walk takes us through rugged terrain, along the usually 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 the most famous of the over 45000 rock paintings found in the Brandberg area.
As evening approaches we watch a glowing sunset over Brandberg which means 'burning mountain' - so-named for the way its granite face reddens as the sun dips to the horizon. We camp at a lodge based at the foot of the Brandberg Mountains tonight.
Leaving Brandberg this morning, we continue across the arid gravel plains of former Damaraland, making our way to Spitzkoppe.
Known as the Matterhorn of Namibia, the dramatic exposed granite peaks of Spitzkoppe form one of the most iconic landmarks in the country, rising up to 700 metres above the surrounding plains. Arriving at Spitzkoppe, we take a guided walk through the incredible towering rock formations in the middle of the otherwise flat plains. Walking around the foot of the granite massif with a local guide we stop to view old San rock paintings created by the original inhabitants of Southern Africa.
From Spitzkoppe we drive to the icy Atlantic coast and the charming town of Swakopmund, where we spend the next two nights in en-suite accommodation. This evening your guide fills you in on the many adventure activities on offer in and around the town. An optional dinner at a local restaurant allows us to sample an array of tasty local dishes.
Day 13 is yours to enjoy at leisure - sightseeing and doing optional activities. For the adrenaline junkies amongst us, Swakopmund offers a whole range of thrilling adventure activities including sandboarding, skydiving and quad biking. For those less inclined to high-adventure, dolphin cruises are a popular option, or you can simply amble along the sea, walk around the German-influenced town and enjoy a leisurely lunch. The town is small enough to explore on foot, featuring beautiful colonial-era architecture, quaint shops and eateries serving delicious cuisine.
From the charming town of Swakopmund, we travel south into the ancient Namib Desert. Along the way, we pause at the Walvis Bay lagoon to view the abundant birdlife at this Ramsar site, often including large flocks of flamingoes.
Leaving the Atlantic we proceed to the red-orange sea of dunes in the Namib. After settling in at our desert camp, we are taken on a guided afternoon walk through this starkly beautiful ecosystem. Our guide tells us more about the flora and fauna of the Namib and the incredible survival techniques of the traditional San as we walk.
We get an early night tonight, but before you turn-in don't forget to look up and marvel at the star-studded desert sky - it is breathtaking.
Waking before dawn, we drive into the Namib Desert and hike up Dune 45 to catch the vivid colours of sunrise over the desert. The changing hues and shifting shadows of the dunes at sunrise will leave you awe-struck!
After admiring the sweeping desert views from the top of Dune 45 we take a 4x4 drive to Sossusvlei in the Namib-Nauklft National Park. Exploring the strange landscapes of the stark Sossusvlei and Deadvlei pans on foot is an unusual and visually striking experience. Take a walk amongst the gnarled dead trees scattered across the cracked clay pans, encircled by ochre dunes.
Leaving the tall Sossusvlei Dunes and surreal-looking clay pans behind we drive to Sesriem Canyon. Here we enjoy a short walk through the incredible passages of Sesriem Canyon, carved into the rock over millions of years by the Tsauchab River. After admiring the deep canyon we return to our lodge campsite near Solitaire for another night under starry desert skies.
On day 16 of this Victoria Falls to Cape Town Overland Tour, we travel east to Keetmanshoop.
This afternoon we visit the Quiver Tree Forest 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.
Our day begins with a visit to Giants Playground, a bizarre landscape strewn with unusual stacks of large dolerite boulders about 160 to 180 million years old.
From the rock formations of Giant's Playground, we drive south along the deserted roads crossing the open gravel plains of southern Namibia. Our next overnight camp is at the Ais-Ais hot springs, where you can take a soothing soak in the mineral pools.
This afternoon we visit the Fish River Canyon, one of the largest canyons on the planet, 160 km long and 27 km wide in places. Walking along the rim of the massive canyon in the late afternoon we get to watch the shifting shadows and colours of sunset over this natural wonder.
This morning we travel further south to the Gariep River, commonly known by its former name - the Orange River. We spend our final night in Namibia at a camp along the banks of the Orange River.
In the afternoon you have the chance to go canoeing on the Orange River. Paddling along the river in a canoe is the best way to take in the rugged scenery and spot birds and even small animals. Alternatively, you can explore on foot, cool off in the river and laze on the riverbanks.
Travelling further south today, we cross the Gariep, which forms the border with South Africa. Our drive takes us through the Namaqualand region of the arid Northern Cape Province. This part of South Africa is famous for its spectacular wildflower displays in spring (around August/September) so you may see the rolling hills covered in multi-coloured flowers in season.
Continuing south we head to the rugged Cederberg Mountain region of the Western Cape. The Cederberg is known for its stunning rock formations, San rock art and fantastic hiking trails. On our last night, we tuck into a hearty South African meal together, at the lodge campsite just outside the town of Citrusdal.
On our final morning, we visit a rooibos tea farm in the Cederberg. This region is famous for the endemic rooibos plant which is found growing wild on the mountain slopes here. At the farm we see rooibos plants being cultivated to produce the very popular rooibos herbal tea, as well as buchu plants, also used to make a healthy tea.
Leaving the fertile tea and citrus farms of the Cederberg, we travel down to Cape Town, the final destination on our Overland Camping Safari. Nearing the city we pause in Tableview to get the best view of Table Mountain from across the bay and take some photos. In the picturesque city of Cape Town, we sadly say goodbye and part ways.
This Camping Tour is also available in the reverse order as the Cape Town to Victoria Falls Safari.
On the Upgraded Delta Trip, guests stay at an intimate camp located inside 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, boma dinners, as well as hot air ballooning.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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