Highlights of Southern Africa

from £4564
excluding flights *
17 nights Year round

Overview

This comprehensive holiday takes in all the main highlights of Southern Africa. Spend eight days driving around Namibia before discovering the best of Botswana and Zimbabwe flying from lodge to lodge.

Highlights

  • Climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes
  • Discover the coastal colonial town of Swakopmund
  • Track desert adapted elephants in Damaraland
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein
  • Discover Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
  • Boat trip on the Chobe River where you can watch large herds of elephants
  • Game drives in Chobe National Park and Khwai Community Area searching for wildlife
  • Enjoy a relaxing mokoro (dugout canoe) tour in the pretty Okavango Delta
  • Explore the Okavango Delta on game drives and on foot

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts, 12 dinners, 6 lunches
  • Car rental throughout
  • Meet and Greet on arrival
  • Internal flights
  • Road transfers

Full description

This epic adventure starts with an eight-day self-drive in Namibia including key highlights such as Sossusvlei, some of the highest sand dunes in the world, the colonial towns of Windhoek and Swakopmund and Damaraland where you can track desert adapted elephants. Your journey continues in Zimbabwe; one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls is one of Africa's greatest geographical features.

Your final destination is Botswana, which is best travelled around by small plane, hopping from lodge to lodge taking in stunning aerial views as you go. Highlights include Chobe National Park, home to the densest elephant population in the world, and the Okavango Delta where you can cruise through the waterways noiselessly in a mokoro (dugout canoe).

Contact our Namibia specialists now
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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *

Airfares start from around £700 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

From prices per person based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom, including car hire

Departure Duration Accommodation Car Category Twin Price (pp) Single Price
Year round 17 nights Standard Toyota Fortuner (or similar) £4,564 £4,763

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • All breakfasts, 12 dinners, 6 lunches
  • All activities and park fees when staying in Chobe, Khwai and the Okavango Delta
  • Car rental throughout (Toyota Fortuner or similar)
  • Meet and Greet on arrival
  • Internal flights Kasane-Khwai-Okavango Delta-Maun
  • Road transfers from Victoria Falls airport to hotel, Victoria Falls hotel to Chobe hotel, Chobe hotel to Kasane airport
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Windhoek

Arrive at Hosea Kutako (Windhoek International) Airport, where you will receive your rental vehicle. Once you have sorted out all the formalities for your vehicle, drive to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. After checking-in at your accommodation, you can explore the city. Windhoek is a city of many contrasts; modern skyscrapers blend with historic buildings from the German colonial era. Windhoek attractions you may wish to explore this afternoon include the Christ Church (Christuskirche), the capital’s best-recognised landmark, the National Museum of Namibia which houses an excellent display on Namibia’s independence and Katutura, a former apartheid-era black township. Windhoek has a selection of restaurants for you to dine at this evening. Joe’s Beerhouse is a Windhoek institution.

Day 2: Windhoek - Sossusvlei

Leave Windhoek and head south through the mountains of the Khomas Hochland into the low plains of the Namib Desert to a lodge in the Sossusvlei area, from where you will have excellent opportunities to explore the oldest desert in the world. The Namib Desert is commonly referred to as the world’s oldest desert, dating back at least 55 million years. The desert is a large expanse of moving gravel plains and dunes of all shapes and sizes. Part of the desert, towards the centre incorporates the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which is the largest park in Namibia (50,000 square kilometres) and the third largest in Africa. The Namib Desert is largely unpopulated so there is no light pollution making it one of the best places in the world to stargaze. In 2013 a large part of the desert became a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name of ‘Namib Sand Sea’.

Day 3: Discover Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon

Today is free to explore Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. The best time to visit Sossusvlei is close to sunrise, avoiding the heat of the midday sun and taking advantage of the natural light to bring out the best of the strong and constantly changing colours of the dunes - warm tints of apricot, orange, red and maroon, which provide excellent photographic opportunities. Sossusvlei itself is a large, white, salt and clay pan. However, the name ‘Sossusvlei’ is often used in an extended meaning to refer to the surrounding area, including Deadvlei and other neighbouring rust-coloured sand dunes. A climb up the dunes is rewarded by spectacular views and is highly recommended. The most popular dunes to walk up are Dune 45 (80m), one of Sossusvlei’s most iconic dunes, and Big Daddy which at 325m is the highest dune in the area, boasting great views of Deadvlei. Close to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei is a clay pan characterised by dark, dead camel thorn trees which stand in stark contrast against the white pan floor. This afternoon you may wish to visit Sesriem Canyon. Shaped by the Tsauchab River over millions of years, it is one of the few places in the region that holds water all year round. The canyon is 30 metres deep in places and only three kilometres long. You can explore the canyon on foot, admiring its stunning rock formations and cooling off in some of its refreshing pools along the way.

Day 4: Sossusvlei - Swakopmund

Before leaving the Sossusvlei area this morning, you may wish to partake in a sunrise hot air balloon ride over this magical landscape; an unforgettable experience. Leaving the Sossusvlei area, you will drive north to Swakopmund, perhaps stopping off at Solitaire en route to taste some of the famous apple pie on sale there. Swakopmund is a German colonial town located on the Atlantic Coast and encompassed by the Namib Desert. This is Namibia’s most popular seaside town and the beaches are pleasant; however the water is normally too cold for swimming. Swakopmund is a pleasant town to wander around and take in its German architecture and colonial history. It is also renowned for its excellent seafood which you may wish to sample tonight, The Tug restaurant is a particular favourite of ours.

Day 5: free day in Swakopmund

From Swakopmund, there are several excellent activity options, taking advantage of either its marine wildlife or the surrounding desert. Kayaking is a fantastic way to experience the marine wildlife up close and personal including Cape fur seals in their thousands, bottlenose and Haviside’s dolphins, pelicans and flamingos. If you are lucky, you may also spot whales, leatherback turtles and sunfish. Explore the Namib Desert by 4WD or by fat bike and uncover hidden life under the sand, or take a self-drive in search of some of the country’s oldest welwitschia plants. You may also wish to discover the nearby Walvis Bay Lagoon, the most important wetland in Southern Africa, with 170,000 resident birds around the lagoon and some 200,000 more stopping off on migratory routes. The lagoon is the feeding site for around 80% of all the lesser flamingos found in Southern Africa and about 50% of greater flamingos. It also attracts large numbers of chestnut plovers, pelicans, Caspian, Damara, and swift terns, white-fronted plovers and Hartlaub's gulls.

Day 6: Swakopmund - Damaraland

Depart Swakopmund along the Atlantic Coast towards the north, heading to Damaraland. One of the most scenically beautiful regions in Namibia, Damaraland is also the best place in the country to see animals completely unfenced and in the wild. You will not see animals in large quantities here, but the sightings can be more rewarding. Desert adapted elephants are probably the best known of the region’s unique wildlife but it is also possible to see desert adapted rhino, giraffe and lion in this area too. Damaraland is also home to many interesting geological formations and some of the best examples of bushman paintings and engravings in Southern Africa.

Day 7: search for desert wildlife & visit the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein

Searching for desert adapted elephants is a highlight of a trip to Namibia. Namibia is one of only two countries in the world where you can find desert adapted elephants (the other is Mali). They are not categorised as a separate species but they are special because they have evolved to thrive in the dry, semi-desert environment by having a smaller body mass with proportionally longer legs and seemingly larger feet than other elephants. Their physical attributes allow them to cross miles of sand dunes to reach food and water. Nobody knows how many desert dwelling elephants there are in Namibia, but estimates are between 100 and 600. This afternoon, you may wish to visit the rock art at Twyfelfontein. Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein features 2,500 examples of bushman paintings and engravings dating back 6,000 years. The rock engravings are found on a number of smooth rock surfaces and most of them depict animals and their tracks. Explore the site with a knowledgeable guide.

Days 8-9: Damaraland - Erongo Region - Windhoek

Drive from Swakopmund into the Erongo Region where you will spend a night before returning to Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. This area is very scenic and a good place to explore on foot.

Day 10: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

Today you fly to Victoria Falls Airport (not included in the price), where you will meet your transport and transfer to the town, where you will spend the next two nights. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls is one of Africa's most remarkable geographical features and the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, visitors cannot fail to be inspired and amazed by the sheer size, power and beauty of the thundering curtain of water, which at more than 100 metres in height is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls. Although Victoria Falls straddles both Zimbabwe and Zambia, Zimbabwe boasts three quarters of the water and the best views. The Zambian side can dry up completely between September and December whilst Zimbabwe has water flow year round.

Day 11: explore Victoria Falls

The falls are known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya – ‘the smoke that thunders’. Walk through the rainforest stopping at viewpoints to experience spectacular views and photo opportunities, as well as a wide variety of bird and plant life. After visiting the falls, a ‘Flight of Angels’ helicopter journey is highly recommended to discover a different perspective of this natural wonder. Later, you may wish to relax on a sunset Zambezi cruise looking out for wildlife including wild herds of elephants streaming to the river banks for their last drink and flocks of birds. It is also worth paying a visit to the historical Victoria Falls Hotel to enjoy high tea on its terrace, with spectacular views of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the spray from the falls below.

Day 12: Victoria Falls - Chobe National Park (Botswana)

Transfer by road from Victoria Falls, crossing the border into Botswana to Chobe National Park. You will spend two nights at a property located near the Ngoma Gate for entry to the Chobe Riverfront. Very few lodges are located at this end of the park creating a more remote and exclusive experience. The Chobe Riverfront is a remarkable wildlife area due to the permanent water source of the Chobe River, home to the largest density of African elephants in the world, which in the winter months can be seen in their hundreds. The spectacle of so many huge animals coming to drink and frolic at the water's edge is impressive to behold. A boat cruise on the Chobe River offers exceptional opportunities to come face to face with aquatic species such as hippos and crocodiles, as well as allowing for unique photographic perspectives when animals come down to the river to quench their thirst. The birdlife is prolific year-round with an exceptional variety along the river, including birds of prey.

Day 13: discover Chobe National Park

Explore Chobe National Park on game drives. One of Africa's greatest game parks, Chobe is the third largest park in Botswana, covering an area of 10,698 square kilometres. Chobe National Park is home to large herds of elephant, buffalo and Burchell's zebra and high densities of predators such as lion, leopard, spotted hyena and cheetah. The park is also notable for the presence of more unusual antelope species such as roan, sable and the rare Chobe bushbuck.

Days 14-15: explore Khwai Community Area

Transfer to the Khwai Community area by small plane. Khwai is located between Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve. During your time here, you’ll spend most days exploring the narrow Khwai River, which forms the natural boundary to the Moremi Game Reserve to the south. The Khwai River is a beacon for wildlife and plays host to leopards stalking lechwe in the long grass, lions swimming from the banks to save their cubs’ during territorial disputes and crocodiles competing with wild dogs for a midday meal of impala. As Khwai lies outside the parks, it offers the freedom and flexibility normally only possible with the heavier price tag of a private concession. Go off-road for a closer look at sightings, night drive in search of nocturnal species, and, with a little advance planning, head out on game walks to track wildlife on foot. Khwai is also home to a village community where people live side by side with the resident wildlife.

Days 16-17: Khwai - Okavango Delta

Today’s small plane journey takes you to the Okavango Delta, enjoying spectacular bird’s eye views as you go. The Okavango Delta is an immense, waterlogged oasis alive with wildlife, adrift in the middle of Kalahari sands. During winter in the Kalahari, when the sun has baked the earth bare and the desert is at its driest, water fills the Okavango transforming the floodplains into a Noah’s Ark of African wildlife. The diversity and number of animals and birds found here is staggering; 122 species of mammals, 71 species of fish, 444 species of birds, 64 species of reptiles and 1300 species of flowering plants. The delta’s watery heart is best discovered by mokoro (dugout canoe); these hand-hewn canoes are perfectly suited to the calm waters of the Okavango. You can also explore the delta on day and night drives and guided nature walks (subject to guide availability). Boat trips are also possible, subject to water level.

Day 18: Okavango Delta - Maun

Board a small plane and fly to Maun Airport where your holiday ends.

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