from $4999.00

Highlights of Southern Africa

Tour Map

30 days

When you put the word “highlights” in the name of a trip, you better be confident that it lives up to the hype. This trip does. Across 30 epic days, you’ll go round-trip to Cape Town via Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia – a new spin on one of our most popular routes – taking local trains and comfortable buses as well as staying in a mix of hotels and campsites for a well-rounded experience. Wildlife sightings and cultural moments come standard here – everything from searching for the Big Five in national parks to enjoying meals with local families – and once you add in a visit with the cheerful kids at the Planeterra-supported G Hope Africa preschool, you’ve got memories made for a lifetime.
  • Day 1 Cape Town

    Arrive to Cape Town at any time. There are no activities planned on Day 1 until a Welcome Meeting at 18:00 local time with your CEO (tour leader) and fellow travellers scheduled for the evening. There will be more information on this meeting at check-in.

  • Day 2 Cape Town (1B, 1D)

    Enjoy a full day in Cape Town with options to visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, exploring Cape Point or embarking on a wine tour around Stellenbosch. In the evening, experience an authentic meal in a local home in a nearby township.

  • Day 3 Shosholoza Meyl Train (1B)

    Board the Shosholoza Meyl train at Cape Town station. Enjoy the day with your travel companions playing cards, meeting the locals and checking out the dining car. Drift to sleep to the rhythm of the train. Please note that no bedding is provided in the 4-bed sleeper compartments and may be mixed gender. Wake up and opt for a tasty breakfast on board.

  • Day 4 Johannesburg (1L)

    Scheduled arrival into Johannesburg is noon. Meet the transfer and local guide and head for a visit to Soweto township. Enjoy a 3-hour bicycle tour around the area.

  • Days 5-6 Greater Kruger Area/Shalati village (2B,2D)

    Take the Panorama Route into the Kruger National Park area. Visit the Planeterra-supported G Hope Africa preschool before an afternoon game drive in Kruger NP (own vehicle). Keep an eye out for elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo—Africa's famed Big Five. In the evening, enjoy a traditional dance experience in Shalati.

  • Day 7 Kruger National Park (1B)

    Start early for a long day driving straight up the middle of Kruger National Park. While transferring to the northern part of the park there will be ample opportunity to spot animals from the van.

  • Day 8 Great Zimbabwe National Monument area (1B,1D)

    Head for the Zimbabwe border and continue on to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument area. Journey through changing landscapes and enjoy the sunset over Lake Mutirikwe.

  • Days 9-10 Matobo National Park (2B)

    Start the day with a visit to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, the most significant ruins site in Africa south of Cairo. Learn the history of the ruins and climb to the citadel for a view over the site. Continue on to Matobo National Park. On Day 10, enjoy an included rhino walk, with the opportunity to get up close and personal with this endangered species. In the afternoon, opt to explore ancient cave paintings, visit the grave of Rhodes, hike the unique and stunning landscape or hang out by the pool.

  • Day 11 Hwange National Park (1B)

    Travel to Hwange National Park for one last opportunity to spot wildlife. Enjoy a game drive in the park in our touring vehicle.

  • Day 12 Hwange NP/Victoria Falls/Livingstone

    Opt for more game viewing in the morning before continuing on to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Enjoy the spectacular falls before crossing the border to Livingstone, Zambia.

  • Day 13 Livingstone (1B)

    Enjoy free time in Livingstone to experience all the Zambezi area has to offer. Opt for adrenaline activities, shopping for souvenirs in the town market or relax by the waterfront.

  • Day 14 Chobe Area (1B)

    Cross the Zambezi River by ferry (10 mins) to enter into Botswana and continue to the Kasane area, outside the gates of Chobe National Park, home to the largest elephant population in Southern Africa. Opt to appreciate one of Botswana's national parks and its thousands of resident elephants, crocs and hippos on a sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. There are options here for a casual cruise to enjoy the scenery with a cocktail or a photo-safari by boat, with the opportunity to capture some great shots with instruction, a professional camera and zoom lens. You may also choose to embark on a game drive in search of lions, antelope and, of course, elephants. We’ll arrive to Kasane around lunch time and the optional cruises start around 3 or 4pm. For anyone looking to do both a boat cruise and a game drive, we recommend the boat cruise the first afternoon and the game drive early the next morning. Kasane is situated on the banks of the Chobe River, near its mouth. This is where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. ?Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and one of the world's last remaining sizeable wilderness areas. By size, this is the third largest park (11,000 sq km) of the country, though it is definitely the most diverse and spectacular. ?The park is probably best known for its spectacular elephant population: with over 120,000 it has the highest elephant concentration of Africa. Accommodation here has en-suite bathrooms, air-con and a restaurant/bar. Approximate distance: 80 km Estimated travel time: 3 hrs (depending on border crossing)

  • Day 15 Nata Area (1B, 1D)

    Today we make our way to the Nata Area, this is our last stop before our journey into the Okavango Delta. Our accommodation here are chalets with en-suite bathrooms. There is a pool and restaurant/bar. Approximate distance: 500 km Estimated travel time: 6 hrs

  • Days 16-17 Okavango Delta/Maun (2B, 1L, 1D)

    This morning we stop in Maun, drop off your luggage, have lunch, and pick up any supplies we may need to prepare for your 1-night/2-day journey into the Okavango Delta. Main luggage will be stored in Maun and you can travel into the delta with only a small overnight bag. The fantastic 2-day/1-night excursion into the delta begins with a drive in customized safari vehicles for about 1-2 hrs to the "dock" where we hop into a mokoro (a dug-out canoe) that takes us deep into the delta. After a 1-2 hr mokoro trip, arrive to our basic bush camp. For 1.5 days, enjoy game walks, mokoro trips (occasionally unavailable due to seasonality), birdlife and game viewing in the pristine wilderness area of the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta. In the evenings count the shooting stars, sing with the locals or just unwind and enjoy your sundowner and sit around the campfire.?? The polers will join you around the campfire tonight and usually love to sing with and for you. Accommodation here is camping with tents erected for you. Please note that there will be no shower tonight and only a dug-out bush toilet, as our camp is very basic in the wild. You will be compensated by the incredible landscape and wildlife! ??There is time to relax in the afternoons so we recommend bringing a book in your overnight bag. Approximate distance: 340 km Estimated travel time: 3.5 hrs Enjoy one last sunrise in the delta on Day 17 before travelling back to Maun by mokoro. After we pick up our luggage, we continue to Maun, the biggest town in the Okavango Delta area, you can pick up any supplies and prepare for your 1-night/2-day journey into the Okavango Delta. NOTE: If you pre-booked the Okavango Delta Flight, you will be flying today. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and enjoys the reputation of being Botswana’s frontier town. Today it is one of the fastest growing towns in Africa. Enjoy a walk through the peaceful hotel grounds, covering 7 hectares and stretches down to the Thamalakane River. (150 species of birds have been spotted to date within the hotel grounds and river frontage to date). In the evening, a traditional dance group, Dikgantshwane, will perform traditional welcome dances on the poolside terrace. The performance will include an introduction, explanation and meaning of the songs performed. Accommodation here is a hotel with en-suite bathrooms. There is air-con, a pool and a restaurant/bar. Estimated travel time: 3 hrs

  • Days 18-19 Windhoek/Kalahari (Ghanzi) (2B)

    Today we travel along the northern portions of the Kalahari Desert throughout the day – this is a severely arid and barren landscape, though completely beautiful. Here, we stay at a campsite close to Ghanzi, arriving in later afternoon. Opt for a “bushman walk” after getting settled. Get a glimpse of how the San tribe adapted to the Kalahari Desert and learn some fascinating wilderness survival skills from these local bushmen. The hunter-gatherer life of the San bushmen has all but disappeared. There are few remaining who still retain the survival skills of their ancient way of life.? During the walk, your local San guides, through an interpreter, will share their rich heritage of accumulated knowledge that makes them masters of this harsh environment. The walk is a slow meander through the bushveld, for about an hour and a half, of not more than four kilometers. In the evening, opt to experience the ancient dance rituals of the San bushmen around the campfire. On special occasions this could be a healing or trance dance, which can continue all night, and is an intense spiritual experience for both participants and visitors alike. Accommodation here is in traditional-style bushmen huts, made to similar specifications of the real thing. In each hut there are cots with mattresses, lights and mosquito nets. The campground has shared ablutions with flush toilets and note showers. There is also a gift shop and bar area. There is no internet access here. Approximate distance: 330 km Estimated travel time: 5 hrs (including lunch stops) On Day 19 we depart from the heart of the Kalahari and head through the eastern part of Namibia. The capital of Namibia has a population of 230,000, an altitude of 1654m and heavy German influence. Windhoek was originally the centre of a Nama leader, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, who defeated the Herero inhabitants of the region in the mid-19th century. Windhoek became the seat of colonial rule in 1892, as the capital of the colony of South-West Africa (Deutsch-Südwestafrika). They built a fort that eventually spanned a town that grew under its protection. During World War I, Windhoek was captured by South African troops and became a British dominion. Until the independence of Namibia was inaugurated in 1990, Windhoek was recognized as the capital of South West Africa as administered by the South African government. Accommodation here is a hotel with en-suite bathrooms. The hotel offers air-con, swimming pool, internet access and a restaurant. Approximate distance: 470 km Estimated travel time: 5 hrs

  • Days 20-21 Etosha National Park (1B)

    Leave Windhoek and head north through the Namibian countryside to Etosha National Park. Etosha in waMbo means "the great white place of dry water". As one of Africa’s highlights, the Etosha National Park offers a variety of wildlife and phenomenal natural beauty. Explore the pans and the park on game drives, with excellent opportunities to spot lion, giraffe, elephant, rhino, and antelope. Depending on our arrival time to the park, we continue on a game drive around the huge dry pan to find the elephants, herds of antelope and lions around the waterholes. After sunset you can watch some animals at the watering holes near the camping area, which is safe, being well lit with flood lights. Game drives are done in our air-conditioned touring vehicle. Night/Day game drives can be done in open vehicles (optional, at extra cost). The following day, enjoy another game drive in the park. Accommodation here is camping in Etosha National Park. It will be similar to the camping on Days 16 and 17 though no meals will be provided. The campground offers a restaurant and shop which are great places to grab a meal. The CEO will provide options for campfires and barbecues (braais) under the stars with the whole group, splitting the cost of food between everyone. This campsite also offers a swimming pool to relax in after your days exploring the area. Approximate distance: 450 km Estimated travel time: 5.5 hrs

  • Days 22-23 Swakopmund

    Drive to the historical town of Swakopmund. Looking out over the beautiful desert landscapes we begin moving to the far west of Namibia. On this route we pass through a moon landscape and see the imposing Spitzkoppe, also known as the “Matterhorn” of Namibia in the distance. We spend two nights in the area, where you can explore this historical town or try some of the numerous activities available, such as dune boarding or embarking on a dolphin cruise. Swakopmund has bizarre lunar landscapes, unforgettable sunsets and prehistoric Welwitchia plants. Optional activities here include sand boarding, a dolphin cruise, sky diving, quad biking and a Living Desert tour. Accommodation here is a lodge with en-suite bathrooms. It’s in walking distance to shops, restaurants, beaches and dunes. The lodge offers laundry serves, wifi and a restaurant/bar. Approximate distance: 610 km Estimated travel time: 7.5 hrs

  • Days 24-25 Namib Desert (1B, 2D)

    Travel into the Namib Desert, stopping at Walvis Bay on the way. Today you will really get a feeling for the Namib Desert as we spend hours crossing this void region along with a few dry mountain passes. En route through the Nambi Desert, we’ll take a coffee break in Solitaire, a mystical village consisting of a filling station, general dealer/coffee shop and small mechanical workshop. We arrive in the area in the late afternoon, where the towering red sand dunes of Sossusvlei form the gateway into the Namib Desert. Here you will really feel as though you’re in the middle of nowhere. Day 26 is spent exploring the natural wonders of this bizarre environment. Enjoy a visit to Sossusvlei, a clay pan enclosed by the world’s largest sand dunes, up to 300m high. Here you will have some free time to enjoy the sand dunes on your own. We will also make a stop at Sesriem Canyon, a small canyon typical of the area. Opt to climb up the breathtaking Dune 45. Accommodation here is a campsite. The nights of Days 25 and 26 will be spent in pitched dome tents with shared ablution (bathrooms). All camping equipment (with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow) is supplied. Assembly and disassembly of the tents takes only 5 minutes (your CEO will show you how to erect your tent). Mattresses are also available and are warm and comfortable. Your CEOs will do all the meal preparation but we do ask our travellers to help with the preparation and washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun! At the campgrounds there are sites with their own shared ablution block including toilets, sinks, hot and cold showers, barbecues, kitchen facilities and electricity. There’s a shaded vernada and swimming pool to relax in. There is an internet café adjacent to the campgrounds. Approximate distance: 260 km Estimated travel time: 4.5 hrs

  • Days 26-27 Fish River Canyon/Gariep (Orange) River (2B)

    Travel south across Namibia to Fish River Canyon, the largest in Africa. On Day 27 continue to the banks of the Gariep River with time to swim or just relax. Enjoying the beautiful scenery in this part of the country. Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa, take in the majestic beauty. The canyon was formed by the Fish River, which, at 650 kilometres in length, is Namibia’s longest river. The canyon itself is situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River and is one of the most impressive natural formations of southern African. It is approximately 161 km long, 27km wide at its widest point and 550m deep. It is the oldest canyon in the world, formed about 500 million years ago. Accommodation here is a hotel with en-suite bathrooms, a pool and bar area. Approximate distance: 400 km Estimated travel time: 5.5 hrs We stop at scenic Gariep (Orange) River for the evening on Day 27. After getting settled near the banks of the Gariep River, enjoy the late afternoon with swimming or relaxing at the river. The Gariep River, sometimes known as the Orange River or the Grootrivier, is the major river of South Africa. The river was first discovered by indigenous people but only explored by Europeans in 1760 and named after the House of Orange, which was the Stadhouder of Holland between 1777 and 1779. Accommodation here is a lodge with en-suite bathrooms, restaurant and bar, pool and internet access. Approximate distance: 300 km Estimated travel time: 5.5 hours (including stops)

  • Day 28 Lambert's Bay (1B)

    Cross the border to South Africa and continue down the coast to Lambert's Bay, stopping along the way. In the afternoon opt to visit the well known “Bird Island” where you can find more than 25,000 blue-eyed gannets at certain times of the year. Penguins also gather on this island for breeding between August and October. Opt to stroll through this lovely town visiting unique artisan shops and boutiques. Our accommodation here is small guesthouse with en-suite bathrooms. There is air-con, laundry and internet access available. Approximate distance: 450km Estimated travel time: 7 hrs (depending on border crossing)

  • Day 29 Cape Town (1B)

    Continue on the last stretch of the trip to lovely Cape Town. There are many different options should you arrive early. Visit Robben Island, Table Mountain, explore Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope) or join a wine tour in and around Stellenbosch (45 min drive). Visit the old French Huguenot town of Franschoek and surroundings (1 hr drive). For the truly adventurous there are numerous adrenaline activities in the surrounding areas, from skydiving to abseiling to cage diving for a close encounter with the great white sharks. Opt to wander through the city centre with some of the oldest buildings and gardens in South Africa (Botanical Gardens and Parliament Gardens) or visit the Cultural Historical Museum, Planetarium and numerous other small museums and theaters. Our hotel is in a neighbourhood called Gardens and is walking distance to some popular streets for cafés and shopping. There is free wi-fi in the lobby. Approximate distance: 350 km Estimated travel time: 5.5 hrs (including lunch stop)

  • Day 30 Cape Town (1B)

    Depart at any time. We highly recommend booking pre- or post-accommodation to fully enjoy this city.

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