National Geographic Journeys

Ultimate Southern Africa Journey

  • Duration 30 Days | Cape Town to Maun
  • Group Size Max 16
  • From $13,999 AUD
Call 1300 363 742

Trip Overview

 

Set off on an epic journey that combines the best of southern Africa, from its vibrant cities and iconic landscapes to its multitudes of legendary wildlife. Begin this 30-day adventure in South Africa, experiencing Cape Town’s colourful culture, then continue to Kruger National Park to spot a dazzling array of creatures like the "big five." Experience Namibia’s vast desert landscapes and the thunderous roar of Victoria Falls before exploring Zimbabwe and Botswana, which boast some of the richest wildlife reserves in Africa.

 

Trip Highlights

    • Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
    • Scan the horizon of Kruger National Park for the Big Five.
    • 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 - 30 Days

Day 1 Cape Town

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Day 2 Cape Town

Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden with an expert guide on a tour exclusively designed for our groups — the garden has been named one of the top gardens in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Continue on to explore vibrant Cape Town and Cape Point, with a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach. (B)

Day 3 Cape Town

Enjoy a day of leisure and choose from a variety of optional activities including a visit to Table Mountain or a Stellenbosch wine tour. (B)

Day 4 Cape Town/Johannesburg

Fly to Johannesburg. Enjoy a traditional South Africa Braai (barbecue) for dinner with your local CEO and fellow travellers. (D)

Day 5 Johannesburg/Greater Kruger Area

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. (B,D)

Day 6 Kruger National Park

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. (B,D)

Day 7 Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

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. (B,L,D)

Day 8 Karongwe Private Game Reserve

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 downtime, relax at the camp, take a walk around the grounds, or enjoy a cool drink on the deck. (B,L,D)

Day 9 Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg

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

Day 10 Johannesburg/Windhoek

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. (B)

Day 11 Windhoek/Sesriem

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. (B,D)

Day 12 Sesriem

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.(B,D)

Day 13 Sesriem/Swakopmund

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. (B,L)

Day 14 Swakopmund

Enjoy a free morning. Opt to go quad biking, 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. (B,D)

Day 15 Swakopmund/Twyfelfontein

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 2,500 figures ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 years old. (B,D)

Day 16 Twyfelfontein/Etosha National Park

Depart early to visit the Petrified Forest national monument, a stunning site of fossilised tree trunks dating from approximately 280 million years ago. Continue to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area, considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. This afternoon, take an open vehicle wildlife safari drive to view the abundant wildlife who congregate around the park's waterholes. (B)

Day 17 Etosha National Park

Early this morning, embark on a sunrise wildlife safari drive in an open vehicle with a local guide through the park. 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. The remainder of the day is free to relax at our lodge. Take a swim or join our CEO for a drive. Our lodge is perfectly situated so sit back with a sundowner and enjoy the sunset over the park. This afternoon or evening, opt to take another open vehicle safari drive. (B)

Day 18 Etosha National Park/Windhoek

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 organisations 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. (B,L)

Day 19 Windhoek/Victoria Falls

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. (B,D)

Day 20 Victoria Falls

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. (B)

Day 21 Victoria Falls

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

Day 22 Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park

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. (B,D)

Day 23 Hwange National Park

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. (B,L,D)

Day 24 Hwange/Chobe National Park

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. (B,D)

Day 25 Chobe National Park

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 specialised photography boat. (B,D)

Day 26 Kasane/Okavango Delta

Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into our remote camp in the wilderness. Enjoy lunch before taking a walk to the research camps of the National Geographic-funded Okavango Wilderness Project. Meet with someone from the research team and learn about their work and projects in the area. (B,L,D)

Day 27 Okavango Delta

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. (B,L,D)

Day 28 Okavango Delta

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. (B,L,D)

Day 29 Okavango Delta/Maun

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. (B,L,D)

Day 30 Maun

Depart at any time. (B)

About National Geographic Journeys

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys blend fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of travelling in a small group.

Ultimate Southern Africa Journey

From AUD $13,999 Call 1300 363 742

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