Package Tour - 42 Day Southern Circle (UMZN64/65)
Categories: Adventure / Nature / Wildlife
A 42days and 41nights accommodated tour starting in Cape Town and ending in Cape Town. It includes 38 x breakfasts, 31 x lunches and 30 x lunches. Accommodation is 2per room / permanent tent. Countries visited are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho in our adventure truck
At a Glance
Day 1: Cape Town to Citrusdal
Leaving Cape Town this morning we make a last stop for a look back at Table Mountain, picture taken we travel across the Piekenierskloof Pass on our way to the Cedarberg Region. No road trip is complete without a stop at a traditional Padstal, these small farm stalls dot the byways of South Africa and offer a variety of homemade treats and bakes. The Cedarberg region not only boasts spectacular mountains and orange farms, but it is also the home of the Rooibos bush. Indigenous to the mountain slopes of the Cedarberg, this herbal beverage has earned an international reputation as a healthy and refreshing alternative to regular tea. A wine tasting and traditional dinner offer an opportunity for us to get acquainted while enjoying some South African hospitality.
Day 2: Citrusdal to Gariep (Orange) River
Namaqualand presents us with our first experience of the Desert vistas that will accompany us in the days ahead. We continue our journey north and after a short stop for supplies in Springbok, travel to our camp on the banks of the Orange River. If you are fortunate enough to be travelling in the spring months (July to September) you may encounter the wild flowers that have made this region famous. No matter the time of year though, the strange desert vistas offer a unique backdrop to this days travel..
Overnight: Gariep (Orange) River
Day 3: Gariep (Orange) River to Fish River Canyon
While the Orange River was named after the Dutch royal House, in recent times it has been referred to by its original name of Gariep, which simply means “river” in the indigenous KhoeKhoe language. Beginning its journey in the mountains of Lesotho the Orange River is the longest river in South Africa and offers a unique contrast to the desert landscapes along its banks. The best way to experience the river is by getting out on the water and this morning we have the opportunity to join an optional canoe trip on the river. Later this morning we cross the border into Namibia and travel onwards to the Fish River Canyon, one of the largest in the world. This afternoon we take a walk along the rim of the canyon and end our day with a memorable sunset on the canyon edge.
Overnight: Fish River Canon
Day 4: Fish River Canyon to Namib-Naukluft National Park
Every overland journey has some long travelling days and today is one of those as we venture deeper into the Namib Desert. Our destination is the dune fields that cover the western reaches of the desert. Long dusty roads and sparsely populated farmlands offer us an insight into the vastness of rural Namibia. From the grasslands in the east to the red dunes of the west the slowly changing landscapes represents the many faces of this desert country. Tonight we camp on the doorstep of the dune fields and fall asleep to the unique calls of the elusive Barking Gecko.
Overnight: Namib-Naukluft National Park
Day 5: Namib-Nauklutf Park to San Community - Namib-Nauklutf Area
Watching the sunrise over the red dunes is an iconic highlight of any trip to Namibia and this morning we rise before the sun to capture this magnificent moment. A brisk climb up Dune 45 offers us the perfect vantage point to marvel at the changing colours of the desert sunrise. Once satisfied we descend this famous dune and enjoy a hearty breakfast before catching a 4×4 transfer into Sossusvlei, here we will spend time on foot visiting the pans at Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. A last stop at the Sesriem Canyon may end our visit to the dune fields, but our day in the desert continues this afternoon as we join a local expert for an educational desert excursion. Tonight we empty the red sand from our shoes and spend the night under the magnificent desert stars, knowing that we have spent a full-day enjoying the wonders of this harsh land.
Overnight: Naukliuft Park
Day 6: Namib Naukluft National Area to Swakopmund
Today we continue west and make our way to the coastal town of Swakopmund, where adventure and a dose of civilisation await. Reluctantly we leave the Namib behind and after a stop to mark our crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn, we continue to the Atlantic coastline. We make a brief stop at the Walvis Bay lagoon, where we hope to catch a glimpse of the Flamingo’s that feed in the shallows. Arriving in Swakopmund we will have the opportunity to book some of the many adventures on offer. We enjoy a dinner out at a local restaurant tonight.
Day 7: Swakopmund
While for many it is the adrenaline fuelled adventures that will grab their attention, Swakopmund offers all that and more. Take the opportunity today to explore the town at your leisure, as there are a number of attractions for every taste. Not to be missed is the selection of famed coffee shops and bakeries that offer a delightful range of German inspired treats. Swakopmund offers all the conveniences of a small city and is the perfect launching pad for the journey through the northern reaches of the land.
Day 8: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe
This morning we travel a section of the famous Skeleton Coast road, passing the Salt Works we head north for a photo opportunity in the colourful town of Wlotskasbaken. Lichens are one of the most fascinating examples of symbiosis in nature, algae and fungus unite to form the Lichen and live inseparably as one organism. We will have the opportunity to view these fascinating desert inhabitants before turning east towards Spitzkoppe. These massive granite formations tower 700 metres above the desert plains below and the presence of rock art indicates their significance to the San people who lived here many years ago. We will enjoy a late afternoon walk with a local guide and have the opportunity to view some examples of the San’s rock art.
Day 9: Swakopmund to Outjo
We continue north this morning and on our way we will visit a project that will introduce us to the Himba people of Northern Namibia.
The semi-nomadic Himba Tribe are extremely susceptible to Western influence and have lost a large portion of their land to farmers, engineers, miners and many were displaced during the wars that raged between Namibia and Angola. The dwindling number of pastoralists that still exist in their natural environment are protected as far as possible by creating a “buffer zone”, or an “educational tribe” where tourists who would like to get a better understanding of the way of the Himba, their lifestyle and their traditions, can do so without interfering with those still living in their natural environment. Visiting the Himba tribe can be a controversial topic that gets discussed at the camp fire, however not so much if the reason for visiting this particular tribe is understood beforehand. The income that this specific tribe generates from the visits goes towards the education of orphaned Himba children and assists the tribe in giving them a chance to learn about their own culture and heritage. There is a market at the end of your visit, this is a way for the women to establish a small income, used for their own private expenses, and it is up to you whether you’d like to purchase anything or not
We continue to our camp for the night and prepare for two magical days of game viewing in Etosha National Park.
Day 10: Outjo to Etosha National Park
Rising early this morning we make the short drive to the Etosha National Park. Etosha is the venue for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. Today we have a full-day to explore the edges of Etosha Pan in search of the abundant wildlife that occurs in the park. Our truck offers us an elevated platform and we will spend some time at the many waterholes dotted throughout the park. Evenings in Etosha are best spent wrapped up warm at the floodlit waterholes at the camps. Those who wish to partake in an optional night drive may do so tonight.
Overnight: Etosha National Park
Day 11: Etosha National Park
Our second day in Etosha allows another full day to continue our exploration of the park. No day on safari is ever the same and the suspense before that special sighting is the motivation that keeps our eyes wide open. Tonight a second opportunity presents for those who wish to do an optional night drive, while the floodlit waterholes ensure that our game viewing continues deep into the night.
Overnight: Etosha National Park
Day 12: Etosha National Park to Windhoek
A last early morning and short game drive to the gate sees us wrap up our visit to Etosha and take aim for Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Today we make a brief stop at the craft markets of Okahandja before arriving in Windhoek in the afternoon. We will take a short walk through the city centre and have the opportunity to view some its better known landmarks. Tonight we have the chance to eat at Windhoek’s most famous eatery, Joe’s Beer House has gained an international reputation for its venison dishes and quirky atmosphere.
Day 13: Windhoek to Ghanzi
Today we travel east and make our way to neighbouring Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. Starkly different to the Namib Desert after which Namibia is named, the Kalahari is no less dramatic and covers over 900 000 square kilometres. The San people have long been associated with this harsh environment and tonight we enjoy a dance evening that provides an insight into their culture of song, dance and story-telling.
Overnight: Ghanzi lodge
Day 14: Ghanzi to Maun - Okovango Delta
The San people have existed in some of the harshest conditions for thousands of years and this morning you will have the opportunity of joining an optional walk with San guides to learn how they embrace the environment to survive. This afternoon we journey to the banks of the Okavango River, our launching pad for the Okavango Delta excursion. Your guide will brief you on what to pack for the Delta excursion, a small daypack or overnight bag will be needed due to space restrictions for our transfers to and from camp.
Day 15: Okovango Delta
Today we embark on our Okavango Delta excursion. This unique and unusual ecosystem sees the annual flood waters of the Okavango River fan out into the sands of the Kalahari Basin. The seasonality of the flood waters lends the Delta its ever changing character. While water levels may fluctuate the tranquillity of this wilderness area remains constant.
Overnight: Okovango Delta
Day 16: Okovango Delta
A full day is set aside to enjoy the activities on offer in the Delta, while the programme of activities is flexible to accommodate the seasonal changes, you will have the opportunity to enjoy amongst other activities traditional mokoro rides and natures walks. The Okavango Delta is not only a natural wonder, but represents one of the last great wilderness areas in the world today.
Overnight: Okovango Delta
Day 17: Okovango Delta to Caprivi Region
Leaving the Delta behind us this morning we make our way to the border and re-enter Namibia. As we transit through the Caprivi Strip, much of our day is spent travelling through Game Parks and there is always the possibility of a lucky sighting. We overnight a short distance from the Botswana border as we prepare for an exciting day of activities in Chobe National Park tomorrow.
Overnight: Caprivi Region
Day 18: Caprivi Region to Kasane - Chobe National Park
We enjoy our breakfast in Namibia this morning before returning to Botswana and our camp on the banks of the Chobe River. Lunch will be served from the truck and the afternoon is set aside for exploring the Chobe National Park. We begin our exploration in 4×4 vehicles, which allows us an up close and personal experience with the many Elephants that frequent the River in the afternoons. The afternoon ends with a leisurely Boat Cruise and a meal served around the campfire.
Overnight: Chobe National Park
Day 19: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls
With the memories of our wildlife encounters firmly etched in our minds, we cross the border in Zimbabwe this morning and travel the short distance to Victoria Falls. Today we visit the spectacular Victoria Falls, also known by the local name of “Mosi-oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders). While much of today is dedicated to viewing the mighty Zambezi River as it drops into the Batoka Gorge below, the bustling adventure town of Victoria Falls also offers a range of optional activities for those wanting a dose of adrenaline in the afternoon. For the more relaxed traveller there are craft markets and coffee shops on offer as well. Tonight we enjoy an optional dinner out, your guide will assist you to decide on the many options available.
Overnight: Victoria Falls
Day 20: Victoria Falls
With the many activities on offer in Victoria Falls, today is the perfect day for the adventure that most suits your style. Whether rafting the mighty Zambezi River or enjoying a flight over the Falls, this is your day to enjoy the many attractions on offer in Victoria Falls.
Overnight: Victoria Falls
Day 21: Victoria Falls to Francistown
Departing Victoria Falls this morning, we cross into Botswana and travel south to Francistown in central Botswana. We reach our overnight stop on the outskirts of Francistown in the late afternoon.
Day 22: Francistown to Johannesburg
Leaving early we continue to the border with South Africa and on to the city of Johannesburg. All travellers are invited to join us for a traditional Braai tonight, this can be booked with your guide on the day before arrival. Many great tales are shared around the braai fires and tonight presents an opportunity to join fellow travellers in celebrating the many wonders of African travel. We arrive at Belvedere Estate in the late afternoon
Day 23: Johannessburg to Kruger National Park
Leaving the city of Johannesburg behind us we make our way east through the coalfields of Mpumalanga. Our journey today follows in the footsteps of the old trade-routes to the Lowveld and the Kruger National Park. This afternoon there will be an opportunity to join an optional Sundowner Drive, booking is essential and your guide can assist on departure this morning.
Overnight: Kruger National Park
Day 24: Kruger National Park
Rising early this morning we enter the Kruger National Park to enjoy a full-day of game viewing. The abundance of wildlife presents us with opportunities for excellent sightings and the Kruger is also home to the famed members of Africa’s Big-5. Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Our activity package offers the added excitement of experiencing the park from an open-sided 4×4 vehicle. This evening there is a second opportunity for the optional Sundowner Drive.
Overnight: Kruger National Park
Day 25: Kruger National Park
While those who elect to do the optional morning walk will have an earlier start, we set out a little later today and travel the short distance to the Panorama Route. Strung along the escarpment that divides the central plateau and low-lying bushveld of the Kruger, the sights of the Panorama route offer us a day of scenic delights. We will visit the highlights of Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels and God’s Window before returning to camp in the late afternoon.
Overnight: Kruger National Park
Day 26: Kruger National Park to Swaziland - Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
We start the day early with some traditional coffee and rusks before setting off through Kruger on our way to Swaziland. Our truck offers an excellent platform for game viewing as we make our way south. We exit the southern end of the park and travel the short distance to Swaziland border, our route this afternoon winds through the mountains and forests of this landlocked kingdom. Our destination for today is the Ezulwini Valley just south of the capital Mbabane.
Day 27: Swaziland - Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary to St. Lucia
Situated in the Ezulwini Valley, which translates to “valley of heaven”, the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary is Swaziland’s oldest reserve and covers 4,560 hectares. As the reserve has no large predators we will enjoy a morning hiking amongst the game the roams the plains. Should you prefer there are a range of optional activities offered by the reserve and you could enjoy a game drive, mountain biking or a visit to the Chief’s traditional village. This afternoon we continue south into the reaches of Zululand, once the realm of the mighty King Shaka who united the Zulu clans. This evening we are treated to a cultural experience where we will learn more of the Zulu traditions and language.
Overnight: St. Lucia
Day 28: Greater St. Lucia
We set out early this morning for a game drive in the nearby Hluhulwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, one of the last strongholds of the endangered Rhinoceros. The reserve has played a critical role in the preservation of these endangered animals, both Black and White Rhinoceros occur in the park and many populations owe their ongoing existence to animals that have been raised here. While Rhinoceros are the most famous of the parks inhabitants, the park also provides a home to many other species, including the Big-5 that we all hope to see. Returning to our lodging for a siesta, we freshen up for an afternoon boat cruise on St Lucia estuary.
Overnight: Greater St. Lucia
Day 29: Greater St. Lucia to Durban
Durban has long been the favourite holiday destination for South Africans, the golden mile with its warm seas and safe swimming beaches attracts visitors throughout the year. This afternoon we have time to spend on the beaches of the golden mile or make an optional visit to the world-class aquarium complex at Ushaka Marine World. Tonight we enjoy a dinner out and an opportunity to sample the Indian influenced dishes that have become a hallmark of Durban cuisine.
Day 30: Durban to Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
A lazy morning offers the chance for a final swim or stroll along the beach before we leave the coast behind us, our destination is the mountains of the Drakensberg. Running the length of the Kwazulu-Natal province, the Ukuhlamba Drakensberg Park is a UNESCO recognised world heritage site. Whether you go by the Zulu name uKhahlamba, meaning ‘barrier of spears’, or the Afrikaans name Drakensberge, meaning ‘dragon mountains’, these towering mountains will be our backdrop for the next two nights. On our way we make a stop at the scenic Howick Falls and a visit to the nearby site that marked the capture of South Africa’s most famous man. In 1962, police waved down a car on a lonely stretch of road, they arrested Nelson Mandela who would go on to serve 27 years in prison before eventually becoming the president of South Africa in 1994.
Overnight: Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Day 31: Ukhuhlambe Drakenberg Park
We set out this morning for a day of hiking to explore the mountains of the Drakensberg, along our way we will have the opportunity to view examples of San rock art with a local guide. While we encourage everyone to make the most of the day in mountains, we may offer separate options depending on the activity level of the group. With a number of trails available we can ensure that we cater to every need, the most important aim is to ensure everyone enjoys this mountain paradise at their own pace.
Day 32: Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park to Lesotho - Malealea
Our journey today begins with a mountain pass and an opportunity to visit a Vulture restaurant where we hope to view these fascinating birds. Our route winds its way through the magnificent cliffs off the Golden Gate National Park before we enter Lesotho in the afternoon, we pass the capital city of Maseru as continue the climb to our base high amongst the mountain peaks.
Day 33: Lesotho - Malealea
The clean air of the mountains accompanies us this morning as we explore the mountains on foot, our hike concludes with a village visit and the opportunity to gain insight into the community that calls these mountains home. The Basotho are famous for their traditional hats, blankets and their sturdy ponies. Basotho ponies are renowned for their surefootedness in the mountains and you have the opportunity of an optional pony trek this afternoon to experience this first-hand
Day 34: Malealea to South Africa – Graaff Reinet
Returning to South Africa, we descend the mountains and take aim across the Great Karoo. The semi-arid Karoo represents the heartland of rural South Africa and presents a stark contrast to the mountains we leave behind. Our overnight stop is set in the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, the fourth oldest town in the country. We cross the mighty Orange (Gariep) River today as we journey through the vast countryside of the Karoo. This evening you will have the opportunity to join an optional sundowner excursion to the Valley of Desolation, this unique valley offers a panoramic view over the town and the wide open plains stretching out below.
Overnight: Graaff Reinet
Day 35: Graaff Reinet to Addo Elephant National Park
We are joined this morning by a local guide who will introduce us the historical highlights of Graaff-Reinet, with one of the highest concentrations of monuments the town offers a charming insight into the history of the land. Setting course for the coast once again, we roll through the open plains of the Karoo and the wildlife charms of the Addo National Park.
Overnight: Addo Elephant National Park
Day 36: Addo Elephant National Park
Famed for the Elephants after which the park was named, recent expansion has seen Addo grow to become the third largest of South Africa’s National Parks. The unique vegetation of Addo supports a wide variety of wildlife and we will spend much of today in search of the animals that call Addo home. This afternoon presents an opportunity to join and optional Sundowner Game Drive on open 4×4’s.
Overnight: Addo Elephant National Park
Day 37: Addo Elephant National Park to Tsitsikamma Nartional Park
Setting out early this morning we game drive through the Addo National Park before turning west to Tsitsikamma, where the wonders of the Garden Route await. We make a brief visit to the surfing mecca of Jeffreys Bay, most famous for its waves this little town is also home to a small Surfing Museum. Our final destination is the Tsitiskamma region where we set up for the next two nights.
Day 38: Tsitsikamma National Park
Tsitsikamma National Park is one of South Africa’s premier marine reserves and this morning we set out to explore the rugged coastline on foot. Our hike along the Waterfall Trail sees us cover the first section of the world renowned Otter Trail, this is not an easy hike and those who prefer a more leisurely option can make use of the boardwalks to the Storms River Mouth. For the adventurous the Waterfall Trail offers a spectacular winding path that follows the rocky coastline, an out and back trial we stop for a refreshing swim at the base of an icy Waterfall. For those who wish to get a birds-eye view of the magnificent forests an optional zip line tour through the canopy is offered this afternoon.
Day 39: Tsitsikamme National Park to Plettenberg Bay
The Garden Route is a treasure trove of beautiful beaches, forest walks and an exciting menu of optional adventures. While our morning is set aside for an exploration of Nature’s Valley, this beautiful village offers us a chance to enjoy a hike or simply relax on the pristine beach in this paradise. We end the afternoon on the beautiful beaches of the Keurbooms Lagoon. Today offers a number of optional activities and your guide will assist you with a plan to get the most out the day, the truck will run a set schedule of pick-ups and drop-offs giving you the freedom to join or leave at the places of most interest to you. We celebrate our adventures with dinner out on the town this evening.
Overnight: Plettenberg Bay
Day 40: Plettenberg Bay to Oudtshoorn
This morning the adventurous can join a number of optional activities on offer in the resort town of Plettenberg Bay, the winter months (July to November) offer some of the finest Whale Watching in the world and an ocean safari is not to be missed during these months. For those less inclined to adventure on the high seas, the morning can be spent at leisure on the beach or exploring this holiday town. This afternoon we cross the Outeniqua Mountains as we wind our way to the Klein Karoo, we end the day with a visit to the impressive formations of the Cango Caves, we join a guided tour as we venture underground into this sprawling network of limestone caves.
Day 41: Oudtshoorn to Somerset West
Our first stop this morning is an Ostrich Farm where we undertake a guide tour to learn more about the world’s largest birds. Travelling through the valley of the Klein Karoo, we follow the winding tarmac of Route 62. Road trips in South Africa are an exploration of the rural highlights that dot the lesser known byways of the land, no journey would be complete without sampling the offerings of a “Padstal” along the way. These small farm stalls offer a selection of homemade treats and bakes and are an important cog in the economies of rural towns. One of the more quirky highlights today is Ronnie’s Sex Shop, not a sex shop at all, but a rather interesting country pub! Our day ends with a celebratory dinner out.
Overnight: Somerset West
Day 42: Somerset West to Cape Town
Cape Town is not only set in one of the most scenic parts of South Africa, but offers a wide variety of attractions and highlights. We will gain a unique insight into the city when we join a local guide for a Cultural Tour. We Sample some of the fine Cape wines and spend some time exploring the town of Stellenbosch. To allow for Sundays and Public Holidays the order of events may be reversed today, the tour will however always end in Cape Town in the afternoon.