Cape Town to Zanzibar

Travel from the southern tip of South Africa to Tanzania’s famous Spice Island on this epic Overland journey through Africa. Starting in Cape Town, head through remote deserts, rolling savannas and lush mountains; cruise delta waterways by canoe, feel the spray of the massive Victoria Falls and meet locals in rural villages. Take safari drives through two national parks in search of elephants, lions and hippos, relax on pristine beaches and sample local cuisine on this all-encompassing African adventure.

Destination: Namibia

Travel Dates: From 24/11/2019 to 25/12/2020

Duration: 41 days

Company: Intrepid

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Inclusions

  • Scramble to the top of one of the world's highest sand dunes in Sesriem
    Visit the seal colonies of Cape Cross near Spitzkoppe
    Spot exotic wildlife on a full days game drive through Etosha National Park
    Glide down Botswana's Okavango Delta on a makoro
    Explore the bustling city of Harare
    Chill out on the northern beaches of Zanzibar enjoying white sand and sparkling blue sea of the Indian Ocean
    Breakfasts Included: 38
    Lunches Included: 22
    Dinners Included: 30
    Bungalow (2 nights),Cabin (3 nights),Camping (with basic facilities) (3 nights),Camping (with facilities) (31 nights),Hotel (1 night)
    Overland vehicle,4x4 Safari Vehicle,Mokoro,Ferry,Minibus
    Age: min 15
    Group Size: 1 - 22
    Fish River Canyon - Canyon entrance
    Sossusvlei - 4x4 Tour
    Sesriem - Sand dunes visit
    Cape Cross Nature Reserve - Cape Cross seal colony
    Etosha National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
    Grootfontein - San Bushman cultural experience
    Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
    Okavango Delta - Nature Walk
    Chobe National Park - Dawn Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
    Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
    Masvingo - Great Zimbabwe Ruins guided visit
    South Luangwa National Park - 4x4 Dawn Game Drive

Day 1: Cape Town
Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. With its stunning coastline, modern cityscape and nearby mountains, Cape Town is one of Africa's most exciting cities. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these to provide to your leader.

Day 2: Western Cape
Leaving Cape Town behind, travel up the Western Cape (approximately 6 hours). Sit back, relax and enjoy the sprawling scenery. Tonight you will stay on a working farm. This is a great chance to gain an insight into everyday life in this remote part of South Africa. Your camp tonight has shared facilities and upgrades are possible (subject to availability).

Day 3: Orange River
Journey to the Orange River, the beautiful natural border between South Africa and Namibia (approximately 9 hours). En route you will pass through Namaqualand, which is famous for its wildflowers that spring up from late July to mid September. Traditionally known as the Gariep River, the Orange River is the longest in South Africa (2200 km). Its source is high up in the Drakensberg mountain range in Lesotho, and it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay in South Africa. Your camp tonight has shared facilities and optional upgrades.

Day 4: Fish River Canyon
This morning there is the chance for an optional canoe adventure on the Orange River. Floating leisurely down the stream is a great way to discover the beauty of this region. Head further west into the desert lands of Namibia towards Fish River Canyon (approximately 4–5 hours). At 500 metres deep and over 160 km long, Fish River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world. At any time of year there are remarkable photographic opportunities here as we watch the color of the granite rocks change as the sun goes down. The camp tonight is equipped with showers and flush toilets.

Day 5: Sesriem
Today's drive, toward the fabled dunes of Namibia, is quite long (approximately 10 hours). You will have the opportunity to stop at a market or shop to stock up on supplies before tomorrow's bush camp. Upon arrival, stretch your legs and take in the exciting desertscape. You will be situated in the most famous part of the Namib Desert, among the vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon. Get an early night in preparation for your dawn hike tomorrow. Your camp has shared facilities, and no upgrades or WiFi are available.

Day 6: Sossusvlei / Bush Camp
Wake up before dawn and scramble to the top of the dunes for a dramatic sunrise view across a vast sea of sand. The colour changes are simply incredible and provide a spectacular setting for your brunch. The dunes are stunning, with magnificent red/orange tones from the brightly coloured sands. They are the highest in the world and home to a plethora of animal life. Afterwards you will jump in the back of a pickup truck for a trip to Sossusvlei, the incredible salt and clay pan just nearby (approximately 30 minutes each way). You'll have plenty of time to explore this mysterious desert oddity. In the afternoon, drive to your bush camp in the heart of the Namib Desert (approximately 4 hours).

Day 7: Swakopmund
Continue to Swakopmund (approximately 4 hours). Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an ideal place for outdoor activities. The township has an interesting German-Namibian atmosphere, which makes it a pleasant town to simply walk around and explore. Your accommodation here is a cosy desert bungalow. Each of these bungalows sleeps six people, and bathroom facilities will be shared. WiFi is available.

Day 8: Swakopmund
With free time today, it's worth checking out the Germanic architecture and taking advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping. If you're after a dose of history and culture, you can stop in at the lighthouse and visit the Swakopmund Museum. Active types and thrill-seekers might like to take advantage of the many outdoor activities on offer – this town is the adventure-sports mecca of Namibia. (It's important to check with your leader if you are unsure about the safety of any of these options, as some may not be recommended by Intrepid.)

Day 9: Swakopmund
With another free day in this beautiful seaside town, you might like to do some reading, relaxing and swimming. Alternatively you can venture further afield – perhaps to the Okakambe Trails or the Camel Farm (both located in the same area, around 12 kilometres east of town). A horse ride or camel ride is a great way to see the desert from a different perspective.

Day 10: Spitzkoppe
Travel to Spitzkoppe (approximately 6 hours). Experience the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while travelling up the Atlantic Coast. Visit one of the most stunning areas of Namibia, the wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe – 'the Matterhorn of Namibia'. Although you shouldn't try to climb to the top, there are some excellent hikes and guided walks throughout the area, which is rich in plant life and even has some bush paintings to be found. Be sure to look out for the sunset from your bush camp this evening – the landscape is known to take on dazzling oranges and reds.

Day 11: Etosha National Park
Travel to Etosha National Park (approximately 9 hours), stopping at a market or shop and ATM if required. Etosha is among the world's premier places to view wildlife. A wide range of Southern Africa's wildlife roams here, including all the big carnivores and the five rare or endangered species: black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. Tonight there is an option to take an evening game drive in the park before spending the night at the particularly spectacular Okaukuejo Camp. The camp overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night. Note that upgrades are not available at tonight's accommodation.

Day 12: Etosha National Park
Enjoy a full-day game drive in Etosha National Park. Game viewing in the park is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large, sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is difficult to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to usually allow for some sightings. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, which means significant numbers of elephants, antelope and other herbivores reside here. This evening you will spend the night at Namutoni Camp (upgrades are available, subject to availability).

Day 13: Grootfontein/San people
Continue to your next camp which is located 50km outside Grootfontein (approximately 5 hours). This will be your base for visiting the San people tomorrow. Arrive at your camp, stretch your legs, perhaps enjoy a cool drink and kick back with your fellow travellers. There is the possibility of an upgrade, but wi-fi is not available.

Day 14: Grootfontein
Embark on a 180-kilometre round-trip to visit the San people. You will go out walking with some of the tribe, listening to their stories and songs. You'll soon discover that they communicate in a unique and fascinating Khoisan dialect, commonly known as a 'clicking' language. The San are the oldest ethnic group in Namibia, having inhabited Southern Africa for an estimated 20,000 years. Around 30,000 of them live in Namibia, but only 2,000 of them still follow a traditional way of life. The San have a deep understanding of nature and ecology, living in harmony with their environment.

Day 15: Bagani
Head to Bagani, where you will set up camp for the night. Bagani is a small, friendly town with some good hiking trails along the river and plenty of nice spots in which to relax and soak up the ambience. This area is the homestead of the local Mbukushu kings. Your camp tonight has flush toilets, showers, WiFi and optional upgrades.

Day 16: Okavango Delta
Drive across the border into Botswana and head south along the Okavango Panhandle (the narrowest part of the delta) to Seronga. Here you'll leave your vehicle and join your transport for the journey into the delta (approximately 4 hours). Boarding boats out into the swamps, travel to Gao Island to meet your mokoro team and start exploring the Okavango Delta with them. Each mokoro (small dugout canoe) takes two people and is poled along through the meandering waterways by a local tribesman. Punting along past birds and lily pads, you'll hear hippos occasionally piercing the peaceful atmosphere with their charming grunts. On the first night here you'll camp on an island away from civilisation (with no WiFi or upgrades available).

Day 17: Okavango Delta
Continue your trip around the delta and then return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp with its (usually) hot showers and small bar. Today there is an option to take a nature walk with your guide. This is a great chance to discover the beautiful natural surrounds, gain some insight into the history of the local area and take some photos.

Day 18: Bagani
Return to Bagani for the night. There will be time to relax, or to take part in one of the many activities on offer. Bagani offers a range of boat trips and fishing excursions. There are also many excellent hiking trails to explore. Ask your leader about how to take up one of these options. Your camp has flush toilets, showers and WiFi. Upgrades are available (subject to availability).

Day 19: Chobe National Park
From Bagani you will embark on quite a long drive (approximately 8 hours). But your destination, the incredible Chobe National Park, will be well worth it! Enter Botswana at Goma border, which is also the gateway to the park. Take an optional cruise down the Chobe River – one of the best ways to witness some of the park's many animals. Your camp is located outside of Chobe National Park and has flush toilets, showers, WiFi and an ATM. Upgrades are available (subject to availability).

Day 20: Chobe National Park
Enjoy an early-morning game drive. Adventuring through the park, you will have the opportunity to get up close to the wildlife. With some luck you will spot a variety of creatures – lions, buffaloes and any number of exotic birds. Botswana's first national park is famous for its high concentration of elephants, so keep an eye out for them. They can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts chettahs, hippos and crocodiles; the latter like to sun themselves by the water's edge. In the afternoon perhaps take an optional boat cruise to gain a different view of these amazing animals.

Day 21: Victoria Falls
Travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi. Though a visit to Victoria Falls' is optional, it is highly recommended. The staggering curtain of water is about 1.6 kilometres, and cascades 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres and the falls become an impressive raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see little islets in the river below. The Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip, as it is mandatory for tour groups to have a local guide escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted sensory experience. Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. We have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk assessed or do not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles. Your camp has WiFi, flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades. Enjoy a final dinner tonight with your fellow travellers. 

Day 22: Victoria Falls
Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer. If you are interested in the optional helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange this and recommend a variety of other activities to ensure you make the most of your free time.

Day 23: Victoria Falls
Today is another free day to enjoy the many activities on offer or perhaps return to the falls with your new group members.

Day 24: Bulawayo
Depart Victoria Falls and travel toward Bulawayo (approximately 7 hours) via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, one of The Intrepid Foundation projects. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and the trusts role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care.  Known locally as the 'City of Kings', Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, has an interesting history and some impeccable colonial architecture. You will have the late afternoon free to explore, so take the opportunity to visit local shops and chat with locals. In Bulawayo you will stay in a campground with shared facilities and Wi-Fi. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).

Day 25: Bulawayo
Perhaps get up early and take the option to go to Matobo National Park. Home to a significant population of black and white rhinoceros 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 Matopos 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. This optional activity is highly recommended, however for those on a budget perhaps head into town to check out the local museums or take the opportunity for some down time.

Day 26: Masvingo
Drive the short stretch to Masvingo (approximately 5–6 hours). This colonial settlement – the oldest in Zimbabwe – makes for the perfect base from which to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruined city, now a World Heritage site, was first constructed in the 11th century. It's thought to be the former royal palace of the Zimbabwean monarch. Spend a few hours exploring this intriguing site before heading off to camp. Your campground in Masvingo has shared facilities, and upgrades and Wi-Fi are available.

Day 27: Harare
Travel to Harare today (approximately 5–6 hours). You will arrive at your destination in time for lunch. You only have an hour or two to explore Zimbabwe's capital city, so if you're feeling active and up for a stroll, get out and make the most of it. Perhaps head to the National Gallery, the museum, the botanical gardens or simply wander the city centre and visit the colourful markets. Accomodation upgrades are offered at your camp (subject to availability).

Day 28: Lusaka
Today you will cross into Zambia and drive to your campsite just outside Lusaka, Zambia's capital (approximately 8 hours). Your journey begins with a nice scenic drive to the border. At some point during the day there will be an opportunity to stop at an ATM and stock up on any supplies you might need at a shop or market. Your camp has shared facilities, and upgrades are available.

Day 29: Petauke
Spend some time checking out one of the fastest-developing cities in southern Africa. You'll see that it's a modern city but still retains a traditional African feel, with its busy markets and friendly people. Afterwards, travel on to Petauke (approximately 8 hours). The camp tonight has facilities, Wi-Fi and upgrades (availability dependent).

Day 30: South Luangwa National Park
Make your way through the heartland to South Luangwa National Park (approximately 6 hours). The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its lagoons is among the highest in Africa. Many elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Thornicroft’s giraffes and lions are known to roam here. There are also some 400 species of birds inhabiting the area. A great way to experience South Luangwa and its beautiful scenery is to take an optional river trip – ask your leader for more details. Your camp tonight has basic facilities.

Day 31: South Luangwa National Park
Rise early for an exhilarating morning game drive in a 4WD vehicle. Enjoy classic savannah scenery while keeping your eyes peeled the parks abundance of wildlife. There’s every chance you may spot a herd of zebra grazing on parched grass or a pride of lions passing by. Midday is the hottest part of the day here, so seek refuge from the sun and return to the camp for lunch. Afterwards, perhaps head out on a village walk for a snapshot of daily life in the local community. An optional game drive at night is also a good option.

Day 32: Lake Malawi
Cross the border into Malawi, and continue straight to your camp on the shore of Lake Malawi (approximately 9–10 hours). Malawi is dominated by its lake, which covers almost a fifth of the country and provides a livelihood for many Malawian people. Fishermen, fish traders and canoe and net makers all ply their trade on Lake Malawi. A common sight is that of a fisherman in a bwato (a dugout canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk) fishing on the still lake at the break of day. Your campsite at Kande Beach is right on the shore of the lake. Upgrades are offered here, but there is no Wi-Fi available.

Day 33: Lake Malawi
Enjoy free time to soak up your idyllic surrounds. If you're feeling active, your leader can recommend some thrilling water-based activities. Otherwise, enjoy the opportunity to chill out on the beach or perhaps get to know some local Malawians.

Day 34: Chitimba
Drive to your camp in Chitimba (approximately 8 hours). Chitimba lies along the coast of Lake Malawi and has lovely beaches, friendly locals and a laid-back atmosphere. When you arrive, perhaps take a stroll and acquaint yourself with this different part of the lake. Enjoy the scenery of banana palms, papaya trees and the Livingstonia and Nyika mountains looming nearby. Camp facilities, Wi-Fi and upgrades are available here.

Day 35: Iringa
Today is a long travel day into Tanzania and its southern highlands (approximately 9–10 hours). Sit back, relax and watch as the countryside passes by. On arrival you will set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse situated on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement. Camp facilities, Wi-Fi and upgrades are available.

Day 36: Mikumi National Park
Set out on a short drive to the edge of Mikumi National Park. Situated at the foot of the thickly wooded Uluguru Mountains, Mikumi is Tanzania's fourth largest national park and an important educational and research centre. It’s grassy plains host elephants, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, giraffes and lions among other wildlife. You’re almost guaranteed to see a number of these incredible creatures on an optional afternoon 4WD game drive. Also notice the baobabs, unusual trees with exceptionally thick trunks commonly referred to as the 'Tree of Life' for its many useful properties.

Day 37: Dar es Salaam
Settle in for a seven-hour drive to Kipepeo Beach, just south of Dar es Salaam. Your camp today is on the grounds of a hotel situated next to the beach. Upgrades are usually possible (subject to availability).

Day 38: Stone Town
Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar. Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar has a varied and sometimes dark history. This is a place rooted in slavery and where Arabian sultans once lived. It's also know for its fruit exports. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast evokes what the island must have been like in Livingstone's day. The old part of Zanzibar's main city, known as Stone Town,  is an enticing mix of vibrant markets, shops, mosques, palaces and courtyards. And its best explored on foot. Take the time to explore its historic streets, then perhaps enjoy a drink from a bar overlooking the seafront as the sun is setting. A seafood curry at a local restaurant is also a great choice. Spend a night in Stone Town at a basic inn with double/twin-share rooms and access to Wi-Fi.

Day 39: Zanzibar Northern Beaches
Check out of your Stone Town hotel and either drive to the spice plantations for your optional guided tour, or head directly to the perfect northern beaches. On the spice plantations guided tour you can learn all about the history of this town's renowned spice trade. You will also have the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. Sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch here you will head to the northern beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await, and reunite with your group. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.

Day 40: Zanzibar Northern Beaches
Enjoy free time in this beautiful archipelago today. There are many ways you can spend your day – perhaps talk to your leader for any recommendations they might have. Snorkelling in search of exotic fish is an excellent option. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.

Day 41: Stone Town
After checking out this morning, you will make your way back to Stone Town, arriving at the hotel around 11 am. Your trip comes to an end here. Ferries depart Zanzibar for Dar es Salaam daily at 7.30 am, 9.30 am, 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm. It's important to allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.

Terms and conditions

  • The following product terms and conditions apply in addition to our Booking Terms and Conditions (available on our website) and terms and conditions of the relevant travel service provider.
  • Prices quoted valid for sale until 27 October 2019 for travel during the period specified (if applicable) unless otherwise stated or sold out prior.
  • All prices are per person (unless otherwise stated), subject to availability and may be withdrawn or varied without notice. Accommodation (if included) is based on twin share unless otherwise stated.
  • Advertised price includes bonus nights and/or stated saving (if applicable).
  • Additional supplier conditions and travel restrictions may apply. Please enquire for further details.
  • Airfare (including internal flights) is not included unless otherwise stated and, if included, is economy class unless otherwise stated.
  • Components of the total price including local payments, "resort fees", "national park fees", "trip kitties" and food funds (if applicable) may be payable direct to the supplier on arrival or to your travel consultant prior to your departure. Where applicable, these payments are included in the total price quoted.
  • Gratuities are not included unless otherwise stated.
  • Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes, levies and government charges current at the time of publication.
  • Additional levies, government charges & other applicable fees, including additional taxes, surcharges and visa fees specific to your departure date or flight routing, may apply and are beyond our control.
  • Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply depending on date of travel.
  • Prices shown are for payments made by cash in store or by BPAY.
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  • These prices are a guide to the best price and are subject to change without notice, due to matters outside our control, such as adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases. Please enquire for further details..

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