Overland from Cape to Falls - Overland Trip
3 weeks: to (IMT-GACF)
IntroTravelling overland from Cape Town to Livingstone and Victoria Falls provides a sampling of the incredible region of southern Africa within a short space of time. Beginning in one of the world\'s most beautiful cities, Cape Town, and ending at the spectacular falls, this safari journeys through the western part of South Africa, Namibia and the north of Botswana, as well as the eastern edge of Zambia.
The lush mountain ranges, winelands and orchards of the Western Cape give way to a more desolate north, as the Gariep River cuts a green swathe forming the natural border between South Africa and Namibia. The incredible natural beauty and diversity of Namibia is a real highlight of this journey. From the size and majesty of Fish River Canyon to the breathtaking sand dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, you experience the true essence of this beautiful country. Swakopmund, the adrenaline centre of the country, provides a stark contrast to the surreal feel and spirit of Spitzkoppe. Continuing north, Namibia continues to impress with the beautiful scenery of Damaraland and the amazing wildlife of Etosha National Park. Leaving Namibia through the fertile north completes a picture of the incredible natural diversity that Namibia offers each visitor. The marvellous wetlands of the Okavango Delta in Botswana are truly spectacular and provide a great opportunity to experience true wilderness. From here we explore the game-rich areas of Chobe National Park and the Chobe River. The awesome power of the Victoria Falls provides a fitting finale to this incredible tour.
IncludedAn experienced safari guide, a professional driver and a camp cook whilst on safari; local specialist guides in the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park; park fees; 16 nights camping, 2 nights bungalow, 1 night houseboat, 1 night lodge; transport in custom-built safari vehicles during safaris, 4WD vehicles, mokoro, boat and ferry.
ItinerariesDay 1 - Cape Town
Today is an arrival day and you may arrive at any time. The remainder of your day is free for you to enjoy at leisure. There is a pre-departure meeting tonight at 6.00pm.Day 2 - Cape Town Township Tour - Cederberg
(Driving time: approx 5 hours)
This morning we depart the heart of Cape Town for a short drive to Langa Township. In 1923 the Urban Areas Act was passed forcing black Africans to live in set locations. Langa, the first planned township to be created in the Cape Town region, was radically different to others in that it was planned to allow for maximum visibility of its residents by authorities, thereby enabling better scrutiny and greater control. We tour the township on foot and visit a variety of community projects, including a pottery/metalwork initiative that gives students skills and qualifications to enable them to find work and set up small businesses. We also see a condom manufacturer who has set up free HIV testings and condoms and AIDS awareness programs, in an effort to tackle the HIV issue on a local level. Other places visited include a beading workshop, a small apartheid museum and migrant labourers' quarters, which house up to three families per room. All these give us incredible insights into modern black township living that so many of South Africa's people still endure on a daily basis. To complete this amazing experience we enjoy lunch in the township and also have the opportunity to purchase locally-made arts and crafts, where 10% of all proceeds are reinvested back in the community. Leaving the township we head north to the Cederberg Region to set up for our first night of camping. We camp at either Ceres or Clanwillian, depending on the season.
(Driving time: approx 5 hours)
Travelling north, the landscape becomes more barren and rugged. After stopping for supplies at the mining town of Springbok we wind our way across a mountainous plateau to reach the Gariep River, which marks the border between Namibia and South Africa. Our campsite is situated on the banks of this river, on the South African side, where we enjoy great views across to Namibia.
(Driving time: approx 2½ hours not including time at border)
This morning we have the option to take a canoe trip on the river and experience the harsh and arid scenery of the region. After lunch we cross the border into Namibia and travel to our campsite at Fish River Canyon. In a country of scenic superlatives, this canyon is perhaps the 'jewel in the crown'. Nearly 30 kilometres across and 160 kilometres in length, it is reportedly the second largest (and one of the least visited) canyon in the world. We walk along the rim and, in the late afternoon, watch the canyon walls change colour, as they are tinged with golden rays from the setting sun.
(Driving time: approx 7 hours on Day 5, and approx 3 hours on Day 6)
Sossusvlei, in the heart of the Namib Desert is probably the oldest desert on the face of this planet. The scenery in this harsh and primaeval area is spectacular to the extreme. We have a full day to explore the highest sand dunes in the world - some of which rise to an unbelievable 300 metres above the surrounding terrain. The effects of sunlight and the atmosphere combine to create a myriad of shades and hues on the sand dunes, so that the entire area seems to change complexion throughout the course of the day. Whilst in Namib-Naukluft National Park we watch the sunrise from the dunefields and then climb up one of these ‘sand mountains’ (hard work, but great fun) to watch the sunset. We also walk through this incredible landscape of dunes and shifting ridgelines and visit Sesriem Canyon. We have an option to walk from Sossusvlei to Deadvlei, accompanied by our local guide. This specialist guide will give us an incredible insight into the geography and wildlife of the region, as well explain the unique lifestyle of the indigenous bushmen.
(Driving time: approx 6 hours)
Leaving behind the beauty of the dunes we journey through canyons as we continue our way through the Namib Desert. This desert stretches 100 kilometres inland along the 2000 kilometre long Namibian coastline and provides a unique buffer between the harsh Atlantic coastline and the arid interior. Our next two nights are spent on the coast at Swakopmund, a great spot to relax after all the wilderness we have encountered since Cape Town. Our bungalow accommodation in Swakopmund will provide a welcome break from camping. There is a first-rate museum and aquarium to visit and there are also a number of optional activities, such as duneboarding and quadbiking. Lunch is included on our drive to Swakopmund, but only breakfast is provided during our two-night stay in town. Some of the full-day activities include lunch, and there are many inexpensive cafes, restaurants and bars around town.
(Driving time: approx 6 hours)
Driving north from Swakopmund we reach Cape Cross, where we witness the largest seal colony in Africa as a multitude of Cape fur seals bask in the sun on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It is literally quite an experience for all the senses, including that of smell! Leaving behind the coast and the Namib Desert we reach our community campsite at Spitzkoppe. The 1728 metre high Spitzkoppe, a granite isleberg, is the remnant of an ancient volcano. Its distinctive shape has led to it being commonly referred to as The Matterhorn of Africa. One optional activity is a guided walk to Bushman’s Paradise, but you are also free to spend time on your own exploring this beautiful area on foot. Spitzkoppe has long been of spiritual importance to the Bushmen and an evening spent under a million stars will surely be one that etches itself into your memory.
(Driving time: approx 6 hours on Day 10, and 5½ hours on Day 12; game park drives variable)
Leaving Spitzkoppe we travel past Namibia’s largest mountain (Brandberg, measuring 2573 metres) on our way through a beautiful region known as Damaraland enroute to Etosha National Park. Etosha is the third largest wildlife sanctuary in the world and one of the most impressive national parks in Africa, especially in the dry season. The pan is a vast shallow depression 139 kilometres long and 50 kilometres wide and a number of permanent springs are located along its southern edge. We spend our time exploring the park on morning and afternoon game drives, as we traverse the southern flank of the pan, observing zebra, oryx, elephant and rhino. We may also find time for a swim in the heat of the day. It is a magical place and, for many people, the highlight of the trip. We spend one night at a community campsite Omatako Valley. Here we enjoy an evening of traditional dance & music with the San (Bushmen) people. There are also many optional activities here including guided walks, tracking skills and gathering bush foods and medicines.
(Driving time: approx 2 hours)
This morning we leave Etosha and head north to Rundu, where we camp for a night. Here we visit the local school and church, as well as the woodcarvers of the Kavango tribe (time permitting). Whilst Gecko’s donates money to the school you are welcome to bring donations of school equipment, such as pens and pencils etc to give to the school, which is then distributed to the children as required.
(Driving time: approx 5 hours not including time at border)
Leaving Rundu we head east parallel to the Kavango River, which forms a natural as well as political border between Namibia and Angola. After crossing into Botswana, we set up camp on the banks of the Okavango River and make preparations for our following day's delta excursion to the sounds of the hippos resting in the river.
(Driving time: approx 5½ hours on Day 17 not including time at border)
No visit to this corner of Africa is complete without exploring the irresistible wilderness of the Okavango Delta. Over the next two days we explore our surroundings on land and on the water. The real attraction here is the experience of travelling by mokoro (local dug-out canoe) and seeing how the people and animals share the wilderness, living as they have for hundreds of years. If we are lucky we may also have the bonus of seeing various antelopes and other animals in the area. We spend one night camping in the wild under the stars of the southern skies and experience the full majesty of the area, whilst the other night is spent on a houseboat on the waterways in the delta. A powerboat ride through the upper channels is a real highlight, as is the opportunity to take a walk though the village of the local Setswana people. On the third day we make our way back to Sepupa, cross back into Namibia and travel along part of the Caprivi Strip to reach Katimo Mulilo.
For the two nights in the Okavango Delta you need to pack clothing and other personal items into a smaller overnight bag, as space is limited. There will be no access to showers and you will be away from the safari vehicle.
(Driving time: approx 1½ hours not including time at border)
This morning we continue east along the Caprivi Strip before crossing back into Botswana. From the border we transit through a large part of the Chobe National Park enroute to Kasane - our base for our first night in Botswana. We spend tonight camping on the banks of the Chobe River.
(Game drive times variable)
This morning we head into the park with our local leaders, travelling in open 4WD vehicles. Known throughout the world as Africa’s greatest elephant sanctuary, Chobe National Park is also home to a wide variety of other animals including Cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hippo and many different species of antelope. In the afternoon we take a magical sunset boat trip along the Chobe River and watch elephant and other animals as they come down to drink – a great way to end our day! Tonight we have the option to rest at a mobile camp located inside Chobe National Park. (own expense)
(Driving time: approx 1½ hours not including time at border)
This morning we exit Botswana and take a short ferry ride across to the Zambian border, where we complete immigration formalities. Upon arrival in Livingstone we set up camp at our site located on the banks of the Upper Zambezi River. Here your tour leader can assist you in arranging some of the many optional activities that are available in the area. There is much to choose from, including whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, elephant riding safaris, and game drives. In addition there is also be time to view the falls themselves and explore the craft markets, as well as the town of Livingstone. No trip to southern Africa is complete without a visit to Victoria Falls and nothing quite prepares you for the awesome power of this natural phenomenon. At its peak, it is estimated that 5 million cubic metres of water pass over the cataracts every minute!
Our trip ends today after breakfast. You may like to book additional post-tour accommodation to experience more time in this exciting place.