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Wildlife and Wonders of Southern Africa
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21 days

from $9,399 trip_detail hint icon

Prices are indicative. Based on twin share. The rate of exchange calculated is approximate and the final tour cost will be as on the final date of payment. Taxes are additional.

trip_detail module icon Journeys trip_detail hint icon

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

Casual trip_detail hint icon

Casual trips offer immersive travel experiences at an unbeatable value with free time and plenty of choices built into the itineraries. Accommodations are comfortable, well-located, and modest. Trips are led by dynamic local guides, some meals and activities are included, and transportation is provided for included excursions.

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Expedition Overview

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Trip Details
TRIP OVERVIEW
  • Explore Namibia's dramatic landscapes on an excursion in Namib-Naukluft National Park, and opt to go sandboarding on the dunes.
  • Observe cheetahs up close on a visit to a conservation organization that was founded by a National Geographic grantee.
  • Go on a boat safari in Botswana's Chobe National Park in search of elephants, hippos, and crocodiles.
  • Experience the raw power of Victoria Falls, and opt to explore the area while white-water rafting, canoeing, or soaring above the falls by helicopter.
Itinerary

Discover jaw-dropping landscapes and legendary wildlife on an adventure to the heart of southern Africa. Begin in stark and stunning Namibia, where the desert meets the sea, and continue to Victoria Falls to witness nature’s raw power. Set out in search of elephants and lions in Zimbabwe’s largest national park, and fly to the panhandle of the pristine Okavango Delta for an unforgettable bush walk with an expert local guide.

This trip is offered in partnership with G Adventures.

Day 1: Windhoek

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included.

Day 2: Windhoek/Sesriem

Set off from the Namibian capital towards Sesriem, the gateway to jaw-dropping Namib-Naukluft National Park. Drive past red-hued desertscapes, stark camel thorn trees, and dramatic curved dunes while keeping an eye out for the astonishing creatures that call these arid lands home—the oryx, springbok, jackal, hyena, and more. Settle in to our lodge and relax poolside, watching a fiery crimson sunset over the desert.

Day 3: Sesriem

Embark on a thrilling excursion into one of Africa’s largest national parks aboard a 4x4. Explore the Namib desert, the oldest desert in the world; and venture to the massive dunes at Sossusvlei and the white clay pan of Deadvlei. Capture dramatic images of dead camel thorn trees against a backdrop of orange dunes and a crisp blue sky. Then visit the Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River over millions of years.

Day 4: Sesriem/Swakopmund

Continue by road through changing desert landscapes towards the coastal city of Swakopmund. Look out for roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx on the way, and take a break in the quirky town of Solitaire before heading into the countryside. Here, we meet a local for a 4x4 drive through the desert, learning about the survival strategies of bushmen who lived in this inhospitable area thousands of years ago. We also search for the smaller wildlife that has managed to survive here, such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and an array of insects.

Day 5: Swakopmund

Enjoy a free morning in Swakopmund, getting a taste of the town’s unique Afro-German culture; or opt to go sandboarding in the Namib desert. This afternoon, take a tour of Mondesa township with a local guide, learning about its people and history. Visit the local market for an introduction to traditional foods such as wild spinach, mopane worms, and dried sardines or kapenta. Stop by an arts and crafts shop; chat with the locals; and round off the day with dinner and a performance at a cozy family-run establishment.

Day 6: Swakopmund/Palmwag

Make your way to Twyfelfontein—Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site—to see some of Africa’s largest concentrations of petroglyphs. Marvel at these remarkable engravings, carved by prehistoric hunter-gatherers and depicting rhinos, elephants, and ostriches, as well as human and animal footprints. Then continue to our lodge on the Palmwag nature reserve in northwest Damaraland.

Day 7: Palmwag/Etosha National Park Area

Enjoy a relaxed morning at our lodge or opt for a guided walk in the Palmwag reserve, home to many rare, desert-adapted species. In the afternoon, travel towards Etosha National Park, arguably Namibia’s most spectacular wildlife sanctuary. Settle into our lodge, located outside of the park.

Day 8: Etosha National Park Area

Spend a full day on safari in Etosha National Park, where open grasslands converge on a massive salt pan. Etosha harbours some of the largest populations of lions, elephants, and endangered black rhinos in the world, so keep your camera on the ready as you explore in your open vehicle. Enjoy lunch at one of the park’s rest areas, where you can also take a swim; and sit back and watch all manner of creatures—including hundreds of species of birds—flock to the nearby watering hole.

Day 9: Etosha National Park Area/Windhoek

After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global research and education center founded by National Geographic Grantee Dr. Laurie Marker. Tour the facility to learn about the important conservation and community outreach work they do to protect the world’s fastest land animal, and enjoy a talk by one of the researchers. Then head out on a drive through the grounds to meet some of the center’s rescued and rehabilitated cheetahs. Continue to Windhoek for our final evening.

Day 10: Windhoek/Victoria Falls

Catch a flight to the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, named after one of the most powerful waterfalls on Earth. Visit a nearby village and go grocery shopping in the bustling market. Then sit down with a local family for dinner, helping your hosts prepare a traditional Zimbabwean meal using the ingredients you picked out, and hear stories about local life and culture.

Day 11: Victoria Falls

Set out for a tour of magnificent Victoria Falls. Scottish explorer David Livingstone named them after Britain’s Queen Victoria, while their older, indigenous name is Mosi-oa-Tunya—“the smoke that thunders.” Opt to embark on a thrilling white-water excursion on the Zambezi River; soar above the roaring falls in a helicopter; or take a day trip to wildlife-rich Chobe National Park.

Day 12: Victoria Falls

Continue your exploration of majestic Victoria Falls on a variety of optional excursions. Go whizzing over the Zambezi River on a zip line, glide down the river on a sunset cruise, or feel the spray of the falls on your face as you explore the surrounding paths.

Day 13: Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park

Explore Victoria Falls at leisure this morning, and opt to take a guided tour of this thundering natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, transfer to the headquarters of Painted Dog Conservation. Learn about this non-profit organization’s work to protect and rehabilitate injured painted dogs (also known as African wild dogs), and hear from a conservationist about the threats to these endangered animals. Afterward, venture out on safari in Hwange National Park, one of Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserves and an important elephant sanctuary.

Day 14: Hwange National Park

Set out on a full-day safari through the sweeping grasslands of Hwange National Park. Track the park’s resident elephant and buffalo herds, as well as giraffes, lions, zebras, and the rare African wild dog. This evening, relax on the deck of your lodge, keeping an eye out for the wild creatures that visit the lodge’s watering hole.

Day 15: Hwange/Chobe NP

Depart Hwange and head north, crossing the border into Botswana and arriving in Kasane—the gateway to the stunning Chobe National Park. Settle into your lodge and embark on a boat safari on the Chobe River, the lifeline of the park. Look out for submerged hippos, basking crocodiles, bathing elephants, and an abundance of birdlife from the boat’s deck, and witness a spectacular fiery sunset over the river.

Day 16: Chobe NP

This morning, continue your exploration of Chobe National Park, home to one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. On a safari along the banks of the Chobe River, keep an eye out for elephants, buffalo, lions, zebra, and rare semi-aquatic antelope, as well as an incredible variety of birds. In the afternoon, opt to take a photography river safari on a specialized photography boat.

Day 17: Kasane/Okavango Delta

Catch a flight to the Okavango Panhandle in Botswana, the narrow arm of the Okavango River that feeds into the famed Okavango Delta. Check in to our remote lodge, and enjoy a boat cruise on the winding waterways. This evening, hear about National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project, a multi-year collaboration between international and local experts to survey the Okavango watershed’s biodiversity and ensure its future protection. Watch the National Geographic documentary “Into the Okavango,” and learn about delta conservation projects in the area.

Day 18: Okavango Delta

Explore the breathtaking Okavango Panhandle with expert local guides. Navigate the wildlife-rich channels of the Okavango River aboard a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, and spot all manner of bird life on bush walks. Settle into your tent in our remote bush camp this evening. Enjoy a three-course meal around a roaring campfire while listening to the night calls of the delta.

Day 19: Okavango Delta

Continue exploring the Okavango Delta’s untamed habitat on foot and by mokoro, spotting herons, storks, egrets, and other wading birds. Return to our camp later this afternoon and opt to relax by an open fire, or take a swim.

Day 20: Okavango Delta/Maun

Fly to the frontier town of Maun for an evening of storytelling and traditional foods with celebrated local author Bonty Botumile. Born in Maun, Bonty’s work is dedicated to preserving Botswana’s literary heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Listen as she shares her in-depth knowledge of the region’s cultural history, and cap off the night with a delicious meal and colourful stories around a warm fire.

Day 21: Maun

Depart at any time.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Aug 5-25, 2020
  • double occupancy $ 9,799 Per Person
  • single occupancy $12,718 Per Person

  • date Aug 12-Sep 1, 2020
  • double occupancy $ 9,799 Per Person
  • single occupancy Sold Out

  • date Aug 19-Sep 8, 2020
  • double occupancy $ 9,799 Per Person
  • single occupancy $12,718 Per Person

  • date Nov 4-24, 2020
  • double occupancy $ 9,399 Per Person
  • single occupancy $12,318 Per Person

All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy or single occupancy unless otherwise noted, are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. Optional activities are at an additional cost. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.

  • Accommodation: Hotels/lodges (19 nts), bush camp (1 nt).
  • Meals: 20 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 15 dinners
  • Transport: Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, open safari vehicle, boat, mokoro, plane.
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Mondesa Township Walk, Swakopmund
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Cheetah Conservation Experience, Windhoek
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Victoria Falls
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Painted Dog Conservation, Hwange National Park
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Okavango Wilderness Project Experience, Okavango Delta
  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner, Maun
  • Your Discover Moment: Victoria Falls
  • Arrival transfer
  • Sossusvlei desert excursion
  • Desert excursion with a local
  • View the Twyfelfontein ancient petroglyphs
  • Two open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Etosha National Park
  • Tour of Victoria Falls
  • Open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Hwange and Chobe National Parks
  • Chobe boat safari
  • Wildlife excursions by boat and foot in the Okavango Panhandle
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

    What's Not Included

    • Airfare to and from destination
    • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
    • Visas
    • Any activity not described in What's Included
    • Meals on your own
    • Gratuities

    My Own Room

    During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.

    My Own Room Option: From $11,918

ABOUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JOURNEYS

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

Age Requirement: 12+

All travelers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.