Cruise waterways and cross savannahs on a wild camping adventure

Discover southern Africa’s waterways and national parks – plus the wildlife that call them home – on this 18-day adventure. Canoe down the lush waterways of the Okavango Delta, watch hippos wallowing along the shores of the Chobe River, safari in the vast parks of Hwange, Kruger and Matobo and sleep under the stars in campsites and village homestays. Join Intrepid and Lonely Planet on an adventure through southern Africa’s most beautiful landscapes in search of elephants, lions, rhinos, warthogs and leopards.

Trip Highlights:

Sawubona – welcome to South Africa! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg; the country’s largest city. Perhaps visit the cultural hotspots of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. Otherwise, the sobering Apartheid Museum is well worth your time. After your important meeting this evening, why not head out for an optional group dinner and get to know your newfound travel crew – your local leader will point you in the right direction with bar and restaurant recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included

There are no meals included on this day.

Special Information

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please ensure that if you choose to explore Johannesburg on your own that you take local advice and consult your group leader as to where it is safe to walk, especially at night.

Today’s adventure begins with a drive over the impressive High Atlas Mountains to the village of Imlil (approx 2 hours), the largest village in the Mizane Valley.

Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel towards the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary has drastically changed from a former hunting area to a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana’s only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen grazing the many waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and directly contributes to protecting the endangered white rhinoceros. Later on, head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are most active.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary – Sunset Game Drive Open Vehicle
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

At tonight’s camp, there may be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).

Jump aboard your vehicle and head to Maun (approximately 8–9 hours). Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies you might need for your adventure ahead. Maun is the gateway to one of the world’s most complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This place is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of lush wetlands and waterways teeming with wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats, but it’s the animals aren’t the only drawcard here – the waterscapes and shimmering horizons will have you gazing for days.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Tonight, you’ll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, wi-fi and optional upgrades.

Get right in the action today, jumping aboard a traditional mokoro – a dugout canoe steered by friendly local ‘polers’ – for an Okavango waterways experience. With some luck, you could spot some of the delta’s unusual wildlife and exotic birdlife. Spend some time today exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot too, led by experienced local guides. Tonight, you’ll camp on a remote island right in the heart of the wilderness, falling asleep to the humming and buzzing of the African heartlands.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta – Mokoro safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

In this far-out camping location, facilities are almost non-existent, so be ready to dig a bush toilet and go without a shower. This is the African wild in all its glory!

Wake up early and head out on a sunrise walk. Along the way, keep watch for elephants, and if the timing is right, you might also come across some Cape buffalo! These noble-looking beasts are more dangerous than they look, and their horns double as a kind of bone shield that’s fittingly known as a ‘boss’. Returning to camp for breakfast, you’ve got the rest of the day to relax. A refreshing swim, or perhaps a nap, could be on the cards – both good ideas in the warmer part of the day. Alternatively, take another mokoro trip to soak up that serene river atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta – Sunrise Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After taking down your camp, return to the ‘poler’ station by mokoro, before continuing your Lonely Planet Experience to Maun by vehicle (approximately 2–3 hours). Today you’ll visit a rural village and interact with some of the locals, providing insight into daily life along the Okavango Delta. The waterways are the lifeblood of so many in this area, so learn more from locals about how important these fertile lands are. Tonight, settle in at camp on the outskirts of town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta – Mokoro safari
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta – Plane Scenic Flight – From USD100-USD390 – USD390
  • Okavango Delta – Helicopter Scenic Flight – From USD220-USD450 – USD450
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Tonight you will stay in a simple campsite which has shared facilities. Wi-fi and optional upgrades are available.

During the Okavango Delta dry season, you may not be able to visit a rural village, as your night campsite may be different.

The scenic flight prices are dependent on the number of passengers in the plane or helicopter. See your group leader for more details.

Get up early and hit the road for Nata (approximately 6–7 hours). This small town is situated near the stunning Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which are some of the largest on earth, covering around 12,000 square kilometres. This afternoon, take the opportunity to explore the salt pans in an open vehicle. They are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year, and during this time, the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as the shimmering mirages disorientate the senses. At other times they take on a layer of grass and, as soon as the rains hit, become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nata – Makgadikgadi Salt Pans 4×4 Excursion
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Your campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the pans. It has a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM and bar/lounge area. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).

Hit the road to Chobe National Park (approximately 6–7 hours). Botswana’s first national park is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants, which can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts wallowing hippos, a variety of birdlife, crocodiles sunning themselves by the water’s edge, and cheetahs and lions coming down to drink. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe – an ideal way to spend the afternoon and toast to another day in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park – River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information

Your camp tonight has wi-fi available and optional upgrades (subject to availability). It’s also close to a supermarket, so you can stock up on supplies while you’re here.

Why not wake up early and see Chobe National Park from a different perspective, booking yourself in on an optional morning game drive. Afterwards, travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 2–3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe just in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River. Then it’s free time to experience the sights and sounds of the mighty falls. This thundering curtain of water is about 1.7 kilometres wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise an incredible 400 metres as the falls become a raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see the little islets in the river below.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Entrance Fee – USD30
  • Chobe National Park – Open Safari Vehicle Morning Game Drive – BWP580
  • Victoria Falls – Sunset Cruise – USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Your campsite tonight has wi-fi, an ATM and optional upgrades.

The Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip as it is mandatory for tour groups with pre-purchased tickets to have a local escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted experience.

Your leader may take you to a local activity centre. Intrepid has not risk-assessed all activities and only those listed in Optional Activities are recommended. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of anything that has not been risk-assessed or does not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities.

We also ask travellers to avoid the Walk with the Lions experience as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many itineraries, we strive to view animals in their natural habitats and with the greatest level of respect.

Enjoy a free day to explore or relax at your leisure. There will be a group meeting at 6 pm where you can meet any newbies joining your group.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls – Canoe trail (full day) – USD185
  • Victoria Falls – Flying fox – USD50
  • Victoria Falls – Gorge swing – USD103
  • Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls entrance – USD35
  • Victoria Falls – Helicopter flight (25 mins) – USD299
  • Victoria Falls – Helicopter flight (12 mins) – USD165
  • Victoria Falls – Village & township tour – USD61
  • Victoria Falls – Whitewater rafting (full day) – USD130
  • Victoria Falls – Whitewater rafting (half day) – USD130
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

This is a combo trip, which means the composition of your group may change today.

After a little time to explore in the morning, you’ll leave Victoria Falls behind and head to Hwange National Park via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – one of the projects The Intrepid Foundation supports. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and the Trust’s role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care. Hwange National Park became the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century and was set aside as a national park in 1929. Today, Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife, with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. The elephants of Hwange are world famous – here you’ll find one of the largest elephant populations in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Today’s driving time is approximately 5 hours, depending on traffic.

At tonight’s camp, there is wi-fi as well as optional accommodation upgrades (subject to availability). Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent or your leader for more information.

At tonight’s camp, there is wi-fi as well as optional accommodation upgrades (subject to availability). Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent or your leader for more information.

You’ll spend later today exploring Hwange National Park further and discover this stunning wildlife arena in an open 4WD vehicle with expert local guides. Keep your eyes out for wildlife and listen closely as your guides explain more about this area and the animals that call this place home. And for those who want to maximise their chances of seeing wild dog and Hyena, there is the chance to book an optional morning game Drive. Early morning drives set out at the crack of dawn with licensed guides, both into the National Park and a private 6,000 acre concession. Mornings are usually exciting times to be out and about, with plenty of hyena and wild dog active.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange National Park – Guided 4×4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Leave Hwange in your dust as you make tracks for Matobo National Park this morning. Shortly after leaving Hwange, stop at the Painted Dog Conservation Centre. The loss of quality habitat and poaching are driving the painted dog (also known as African wild dog) towards extinction. Learn about how they protect and increase the range and numbers of painted dogs in Zimbabwe and the Hwange ecosystem as a whole. Then it’s on to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. Take a stroll through the streets lined with old colonial buildings and stop in at a local cafe or restaurant for lunch before heading to your camp for the next two nights. Home to a large population of black and white rhinoceroses that can be tracked on foot, Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matobo area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange – Painted Dog Conservation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Today’s driving time is approximately 5 hours.

Your campground tonight has shared facilities, wi-fi access and optional upgrades (subject to availability). Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent or your leader for more information.

Matobo National Park has an incredibly diverse range of birdlife and wildlife, and is home to both Black and White rhino. This morning, you have a unique opportunity to track white rhinos on foot with the help of an expert local guide. There will also be the chance to spot other game – the park is home to klipspringers, leopards, warthogs and springhares, among others. You can also learn about the various local plants and trees, including wild pear and paperbark, while discovering San paintings and the intriguing rock formations of the park. After a cold lunch, venture to a nearby village and meet some of the local people. You’ll gain a better understanding of the lives of these people when they were living in the hills, as well as meet with some of the local communities and personalities – including elderly chief Pondo, a character in his own right.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Matobo National Park – Rhino Tracking, Open Safari Vehicle Park Visit & San Rock Paintings
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hwange – Painted Dog Conservation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Today’s driving time is approximately 5 hours.

Your campground tonight has shared facilities, wi-fi access and optional upgrades (subject to availability). Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent or your leader for more information.

Get up nice and early for a day of travel today. You’ll cross a very busy border post, the only direct border crossing between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Your destination today is Makushu – a small village in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Upon arrival in Makushu, you’ll be met by a local village guide, who will ensure you are well taken care of. You’ll be staying with homestay host mothers in their family homes. With your own room within the family home, you will get a true feeling of what it’s like in the village – certainly a unique and memorable experience for travellers. With no two days the same for local villagers, this afternoon, some things you may get up to include beading, dancing, beer tasting and cooking. This evening is a true opportunity to interact with the local villagers and learn of traditional Venda ways.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Makushu Homestay – Beading, Cooking or Dancing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Today’s drive is about 400 kilometres, approximately 6–8 hours.

At your homestay tonight, each room is equipped with a double bed, with some hosts having two or three guestrooms. On arrival at your home and on meeting your host, you will receive a homestay kit. Each kit is fitted with clean linen (duvet, pillow, towel, face cloth, sheet), a roll of toilet paper, hand sanitiser, mosquito repellent, tea, coffee, cup, sugar and milk. True South African long-drop toilets situated outside of each home are available. These facilities are clean and well kept. Homestay hosts supply guests with hot water every morning and evening via portable bucket baths.

After breakfast today you’ll make the epic journey to Kruger National Park. Along the way, there will be an opportunity to stop at a shop or market for any camping supplies you or the group might need. One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog. Your wildlife experience begins as soon as you enter the park. You will head straight into prime game viewing areas, spotting anything from antelopes and elands to cheetahs and rhinos.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Today’s travel time is approximately 8–9 hours.

Your campground, situated within the park itself, has shared facilities, hot and cold water, and optional upgrades (subject to availability). Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent or your leader for more information.

On occasion, especially during the peak months of May, June and December we are unable to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In this instance we will camp outside the park.

Rise early and have a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a full-day game drive in the truck. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints. Depending on the season, you might catch sight of a saddle-billed stork with its distinct red beak, or the blue waxbill which is commonly found foraging for seeds in the scrub. In the afternoon when it’s warm, take some time out to relax. Later on, head out on a night drive with local park guides to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two. Night drives provide the opportunity to spot Kruger National Park’s secretive nocturnal creatures and watch their activities in their natural environment. This drive traditionally lasts between 2 and 3 hours and you can expect to see a vast selection of nocturnal animals such as nightjars, servals, African wild cats, springhares and owls.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park – Overland Vehicle Game drive
  • Kruger National Park – Night 4×4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information

Please note, the night drive is not traditionally done in a small 4×4 OSV (9 x seater Overland Safari Vehicle), but rather a larger game viewing vehicle that can seat up to 23 pax. It is open on the sides, with a canvas roof.

The night drive is within Kruger National Park (not a Private Concession). However, if your group stays outside of Kruger National Park due to availability inside the park, we will do the night drive in a private concession close to the camp, to avoid an unnecessarily long transfer in and out.

It’s time to head to Johannesburg. There’s plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. A notable stop – you’ll take in amazing vistas at the 3 Rondavals viewpoint over Blyde River Canyon and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. This is a magnificent lookout where cloud cover is usually at a minimum. Your African safari adventure comes to an end once we arrive in Johannesburg this evening.
Included Activities
  • Panorama Route – Bourke’s Luck Potholes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information

Today’s driving time is approximately 9–10 hours.

No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip. If you’re wanting to catch an outgoing international flight, it’s important to book it for 10 pm or later, to allow for delays that your group may encounter.

Starting at $3,860

per person

Explore Southern Africa with Intrepid Travel

Request to Book
What’s Included:
Breakfast Included
Guided Tour
Hotel Included
Local Guide Included
Valid Departure Dates:
  • March 3, 2023 – March 20, 2023: $3,860 per person
  • April 28, 2023 – May 15, 2023: $3,860 per person
  • June 23, 2023 – July 10, 2023: $4,170 per person

Trip code: UBOQC

Expires: 2/3/2023

*Pricing and availability subject to change until booked. Pricing, unless noted otherwise, is based on double occupancy. Restrictions may apply.