National Geographic Journeys

Southern Africa: Desert, Wildlife & Falls

  • Duration 27 Days | Johannesburg to Maun
  • Group Size Small Group
  • From $12,999 AUD
Call 1300 363 742

Trip Overview

Whether it’s the roar of a lion or the roar of Victoria Falls, there are bound to be many memorable moments on this 27-day southern African journey. Spot wildlife on a thrilling safari in Kruger National Park, marvel at Namibia’s undulating dunes in the world’s oldest desert, and explore Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a traditional dugout canoe. From spectacular South Africa to the wilds of Zimbabwe, an unforgettable adventure awaits.

Trip Highlights

Enjoy a traditional South African braai (BBQ), embark on an incredible wildlife safari drive inside Kruger National Park, meet researchers from the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Carnivore Conservation Programme, drive through Namib-Naukluft National Park, visit ancient petroglyphs, stroll through the cosmopolitan township of Mondesa, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, help prepare a traditional Zimbabwean meal with a family in their home, explore Zimbabwe's largest national park in an open safari vehicle, cruise the waters of the Chobe River, visit the research camp of the Okavango Wilderness Project, spend a night in a bush camp in the Delta.

Itinerary - 27 Days

Day 1 Johannesburg (1D)

Arrive at any time. Transfer to hotel. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) welcome dinner.

Day 2 Johannesburg/Greater Kruger Area (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a full day scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route with stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Luck Potholes, and God's Window. Continue to our tented camp located near the Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner in the boma.

Day 3 Kruger National Park (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a morning wildlife safari drive through Kruger National Park in an open vehicle. Take in views of the abundant wildlife including elephants, lions, and giraffe. In the afternoon, opt to extend your safari drive or head back to the lodge where you can take a short nature walk or relax on the deck with views of the surrounding area.

Day 4 Greater Kruger Area/Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D)

Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project who will share information about their efforts to protect cheetahs and other carnivores. This National Geographic-sponsored project is part of the Big Cats Initiative. After, the researcher will join us on our evening wildlife safari drive.

Day 5 Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D)

Enjoy early morning and afternoon safari drives with our local guides, searching for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa's famed "big five". In our down time, relax at the camp, take a walk around the grounds, or enjoy a cool drink on the deck.

Day 6 Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg (1B, 1D)

After one last wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house.

Day 7 Johannesburg/Windhoek (1B)

Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore Windhoek in the afternoon and then meet your CEO and the rest of the group in the evening.

Day 8 Windhoek/Sesriem (1B, 1D)

Enjoy the dramatic Namibian landscapes as we drive to the desert area of Sesriem, gateway to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Settle in to our desert lodge, relax at the pool, or enjoy a cool drink watching the stunning sunset over the desertscape.

Day 9 Sesriem (1B, 1D)

Embark on a scenic excursion into the national park to explore the Namib Desert. Visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei — clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burnt orange and red towering dunes. It's considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After, visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River.

Day 10 Sesriem/Swakopmund (1B, 1L)

Continue through changing desert landscapes, keeping an eye out for ?free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx. ??Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire for a break before heading out into the countryside. Here we meet a local to this remote region who takes us on a drive and talks about the survival strategies of ancient bushmen who lived in the area. We also search out smaller animal life that manages to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and insects to learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.

Day 11 Swakopmund (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a free morning. Opt to go sandboarding, or just take a walk in town. This afternoon, explore the township of Mondesa with a local guide, learning about its people and history. Visit the local market for an introduction to traditional food including wild spinach, mopane worms, and dried kapenta fish. Also visit an art and craft shop, meet with some locals, then visit a family-run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.

Day 12 Swakopmund/Palmwag (1B, 1D)

Continue on to Twyfelfontein where we visit the ancient petroglyphs which were named Namibia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is thought to hold the largest concentrations of Bushman engravings in Africa, with over 2500 figures, ranging from 2000-5000 years old. Finish the day on the Palmwag Concession, in northwest Damaraland.

Day 13 Palmwag/Etosha National Park (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a relaxed morning at the lodge, or opt for a guided nature walk in the Palmwag Concession. In the afternoon we continue to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area, considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia.

Day 14 Etosha National Park (1B, 1D)

Embark on a full day open vehicle safari drive in the national park with a local guide. There is abundant wildlife that congregate around the waterholes, so keep your cameras at the ready for elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. Over lunch, you have time to relax at one of the rest camps, take a swim, or sit back and watch the animals as the come to the waterhole.

Day 15 Etosha National Park/Windhoek (1B, 1L)

After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility to learn about the important research, conservation, and community outreach work they do as one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Meet with a researcher for a lecture to learn about the various projects in the works, then enjoy a cheetah drive to view some of these amazing creatures up close. After, enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau. Continue on to Windhoek for our final evening.

Day 16 Windhoek/Victoria Falls (1B, 1D)

Fly to Zimbabwe. Gain insight into what life is like in Africa with a walk through a local market and dinner at a family homestead. Meet the family, learn their history, and share stories as you help prepare a traditional Zimbabwean dinner.

Day 17 Victoria Falls (1B)

Enjoy a morning tour of the beautiful Victoria Falls, then the rest of the day is free to explore the area. Take part in a river safari, cultural tours, whitewater rafting, canoeing, or a helicopter ride over the falls. Opt to take a day trip to the wildlife haven of Chobe National Park.

Day 18 Victoria Falls (1B)

Spend the day exploring your beautiful surroundings. Opt to visit Victoria Falls, go whitewater rafting, or take a helicopter flight over the falls.

Day 19 Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park (1B, 1D)

Enjoy free time in the morning and opt to visit the falls. Later, visit the Painted Dog (Wild Dog) conservancy and meet with a conservationist to learn about the work being done to rehabilitate injured animals as a result of poaching. After, travel to Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park, and enjoy a safari drive on the lodge concession in search of wildlife. This evening, arrive at the lodge, located just outside the park entrance, and enjoy dinner.

Day 20 Hwange National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Take a full-day wildlife safari drive in the park which is home to large elephant herds, lions, and the rare African wild dog. This evening, relax on the sun deck with a cool drink, keeping an eye out for local wildlife visiting the lodge's watering hole.

Day 21 Hwange/Chobe NP (1B, 1D)

Depart Hwange and head north, crossing the border into Botswana and arriving in Kasane, gateway to the stunning Chobe National Park. This afternoon, enjoy a boat safari on the Chobe River in search of bathing elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.

Day 22 Chobe NP (1B, 1D)

In the morning, continue our wildlife viewing with a safari drive along the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon, opt to take a photography river safari on a specialized photography boat.

Day 23 Kasane/Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D)

Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into our remote lodge in the wilderness. Enjoy lunch before taking a boat cruise on the waterways. In the evening, join one of the expedition members to watch and discuss the new National Geographic documentary Into the Okavango, and learn about the delta conservation projects in the area.

Day 24 Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D)

Explore the stunning Okavango Panhandle with expert local guides. View wildlife from mokoros (African dugout canoes) and during bush walks. This evening, we will stay at a unique bush camp on one of the remote islands within the Okavango Delta. Here, enjoy a three-course meal around a roaring campfire while sitting back and listening to the night calls of the Delta's wildlife.

Day 25 Okavango Delta (1B, 1L, 1D)

Depart from our island camp and continue wildlife viewing on foot and by mokoro with our expert local guides. Return to the main camp later this afternoon and opt to relax or take a swim. This evening, relax on the deck. With views overlooking the lagoon, hidden seating areas, and a fire pit, it's the perfect place for stargazing.

Day 26 Okavango Delta/Maun (1B, 1L, 1D)

Transfer to the frontier town of Maun and enjoy an evening of culture and traditional foods with celebrated author Bonty Botumile and the Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers. This local enterprise is dedicated to preserving Botswana’s heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Option to take a scenic flight over the delta.

Day 27 Maun (1B)

Depart at any time.

Southern Africa: Desert, Wildlife & Falls

From AUD$12,999 Call 1300 363 742Book Online

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