If you're not on the group flights we suggest you aim to arrive at the lodge in Cape Town by 1pm. If the weather is good this afternoon we may take the opportunity to go up Table Mountain via cable car (optional). Table Mountain is often the first image that springs to mind whenever one thinks of Cape Town - the views across the city on a clear day are incredible. If the weather is not good enough this will be a free afternoon, with the opportunity to explore the famous V & A Waterfront.
If we didn't make it up Table Mountain yesterday we will go this morning, driving first along the spectacular Chapman's Peak drive, via Houtbay. Alternatively there may be time to visit Cape Point. In the afternoon we will visit a local wine farm - the area surrounding Cape Town is renowned for its wine and we will get a chance to sample some of the local produce. The order of activities in Cape Town is flexible as everything hinges around going up Table Mountain when the weather is best. Evening meals can be enjoyed at various restaurants on the beaches along the coast - Cape Town is a food and drink lover's paradise!
We leave Cape Town and travel through farmlands of citrus, maize, cattle and sheep to Lambert's Bay, known as the Diamond of the West Coast. This fishing village is renowned for its seafood and bird life. Dolphins and whales frolic in the cold Atlantic waters and the whole region bursts into bloom in spring (September time). (300km, 4.5-5.5hrs)
Today we drive to Orange River (5 hours), where Namibia's southern border meets South Africa. There is free time to relax this afternoon. Our camp for the night will be in a picturesque location on the riverbank. (450km, 6-7hrs)
In the morning we enjoy an optional canoe trip on the Orange River. It is not tough on the water and the trip gives us the chance to see the flora and fauna of the region as we drift by. We then take a short drive (3 hours) into Namibia to the second largest canyon on earth - Fish River Canyon. The views from the canyon rim are spectacular and there is time for a short walk along it in the afternoon for superb sunset views. We spend the night nearby at Hobas. (180km, 2.5-3hrs plus 1hr border crossing)
A day's travel along the edge of the Namib-Naukluft Park to Sesriem where we camp for the night. (550km, 8.5-9krs)
We will spend the morning at the Sossusvlei dunes, one of the great sights of Africa. It's worth getting up before sunrise to watch the early morning light creep over the dunes before we climb some of the highest sand dunes in the world. Alternatively just enjoy the changing colours on the towering dunes from lower down as the sun rises. If we're lucky we may see gemsbok, ostrich or even black-backed jackals among the dunes, an irresistibly photogenic scene! In the afternoon we visit Sesriem Canyon before we drive to our next camp, an hour away on the edge of the desert.
A long, spectacular drive through Namib-Naukluft Park to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay to see Flamingoes in their thousands. This national park, one of the largest in the world, is home to one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. It contains some of the finest desert scenery in Africa, if not in the world, with towering jagged rock formations and incredible lunar landscapes. (300km, 4-5hrs)
We have a full day in Swakopmund to enjoy some of the optional adventure activities on offer; try quad biking or sand boarding or take a flight over the desert. Swakopmund has invented itself as Namibia's adventure sport capital. Alternatively explore the German-style town and visit some of the excellent cake shops for which Swakopmund is famous.
We leave the Atlantic coast behind and head inland towards Twyfelfontein. This area has the highest concentration of Bushman engravings, some dating back 6000 years. This afternoon we will have the opportunity to explore the area and see some of these fantastic Bushman rock painting. (400km, 6-7hrs)
We drive north to Etosha National Park where some of the world's best wildlife viewing can be found. We should arrive at Etosha, which means the 'Great White Place of Dry Water' in time to do a late afternoon game drive before arriving at our rest camp where there will be a waterhole for game viewing at night. (300km, 4-5hrs)
Day 13 - 14
Time to really enjoy this fabulous park with its mixed forest and grassland centred around a large salt pan. Etosha is home to a great variety and number of game, which is easy to find as the animals congregate at different times around the waterholes. There are waterholes next to the excellent campsites, and it is not uncommon for us to spend all night watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbok, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights here. Take plenty of patience and you will be rewarded by one of the greatest game spectacles in Southern Africa. Etosha is also a good place for birds, with plenty of waterbirds on the lakes and weaverbirds and hornbills in the trees. While in Etosha we move our camps (between Okaukuejo, Halali or Namutoni) but the itinerary is kept flexible depending on where the game is.
Long drive to the Okavango River at the panhandle of where the Delta begins. (650km, 8hrs)
We take a mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) ride from our camp on the Okavango River to a point lower down in the panhandle of the Delta. (Please note that in March/April, the river may be flooded and we may have to substitute our mokoros for a boatride down river). The birdlife is prolific and, at certain times of the year, so is the game. Gliding through the waterways by mokoro is the ideal way to absorb the sheer peace and tranquillity of the place. The panhandle of the Delta is more open so it is good for game viewing and we are four times more likely to see hippo and crocodile in this area than lower down in the Delta. We also get the opportunity for a village tour to meet the local community. (
Drive through the Caprivi Strip and into Botswana to Chobe National Park, home to huge numbers of elephant and hippo. (400km, 5.5-6hrs, border crossing 1hr)
Early morning game drive in Chobe National Park and an afternoon boat ride on the Chobe River where it is possible to view huge herds of elephant coming down to drink as well as many other types of game. For bird lovers the river provides a home for the majestic African Fish Eagle and a number of species of brightly coloured bee-eaters. The area surrounding the Chobe River typically has the highest concentration of wildlife within the park as animals congregate here, particularly in the dry season (April to October).
After a leisurely breakfast we drive to Victoria Falls, a small town on the Zimbabwean side of the glorious Victoria Falls (entrance own expense US$ 30). The waterfall itself is majestic, the activities enthralling and the scenery of the Upper Zambezi beautiful. (100km, 1.5-2hrs plus border crossing 1-2hrs)
Today you have a free day to enjoy the numerous activities on offer such as flights over the falls, white-water rafting, game viewing, or crossing into Zambia to see the falls from a different side (if you wish to go into Zambia you will have to make sure to get a double-entry visa when you first enter Zimbabwe as well as getting a Zambian visa).
Depart Victoria Falls