Southern Africa Safari Experience

Johannesburg to Maun

18 days from 6,429pp

Witness nature’s greatest spectacles on a 18-day safari to some of Africa’s celebrated national parks, including Kruger and Chobe. Enjoy an unforgettable wildlife walk with a researcher in the panhandle of the Okavango Delta, drive through Hwange National Park in search of large herds of elephants, and sit down to a family dinner at a private home near Victoria Falls. Our small group size ensures maximum exposure to everything this region has to offer.
Need a flight to go with your holiday?  We can help with that too!  Just give us a call.

18 days Johannesburg to Maun

From 6,429 per person

Is this tour for me?

Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys

Greater exploration, insider access, and the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.

Service Level: Upgraded

Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other G Adventures tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.

Physical Rating: 2 – Light

Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.

Trip Type: Small Group

Small group experience; Max 16, avg 14

Age requirement: 12+

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

Day 1: Johannesburg

Arrive at any time. Transfer to hotel. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) welcome dinner.
If you are interested in spending more time in Johannesburg, it is recommended to book pre-accommodation to enjoy the sights of the city at your own leisure.

Arrival Airport Transfer:
Oliver Reginald Tambo International – Johannesburg30m-45m
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel to start your adventure.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting:
1h18:00
The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.
Day 2: Johannesburg/Kruger National Park

Enjoy a full day scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route with stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and God’s Window. Continue to our tented camp located just outside Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner on the deck or in the boma.
Today is a very long driving day; however, we will make many stops along the way at sites along the Panorama Route.

Panorama Route Scenic Drive:

Enjoy a scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route. You’ll see magnificent mountains, panoramic passes, valleys, and waterfalls. There will also be stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and God’s Window.

Private Vehicle:
Johannesburg – Kruger National Park7h-8h30m500km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 

Accommodation

 Muluwa Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 3: Kruger National Park

Enjoy a morning wildlife safari drive through Kruger National Park in an open vehicle. Take in views of the abundant wildlife including elephants, lions and giraffe. Afterwards, opt to take an afternoon safari drive, wildlife bush walk, or relax on the deck with views of the watering hole – a popular spot for animals to visit.
At over 19,000 sq km (7,500 sq mi), South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the largest and most impressive animal reserves in the world. With 147 species, Kruger has more species of large mammals than any other park on the continent.

Safari vehicle:
Kruger National Park3h
Get a better view and take better snapshots aboard this off-road ride.
Kruger National Park Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive – Half day:
Kruger National Park3h-4h
Hop in a 4×4 safari vehicle and get yourself one step closer to the surrounding nature. Be ready to spot elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, zebras, and many other species in this impressive South African NP.
Free Time:
Kruger National Park Afternoon
Opt to take an optional afternoon safari drive or wildlife walk.
Day 4: Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, take in a lecture with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project who will share information about their efforts to protect cheetahs and other carnivores. This National Geographic-sponsored project is part of the Big Cats Initiative. After, the researcher will join us on our evening wildlife safari drive.
For the next two days, enjoy ranger-led morning and evening wildlife safari drives in an open safari vehicle in Karongwe Nature Reserve. Search for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa’s famed Big Five. With over 9,000 hectares (22,240 acres) of supreme African bushveld, Karongwe Private Game Reserve is home to many creatures, and our safari drives provide several opportunities for wildlife viewing.
We use various accommodations within the reserve (the location is based on availability). During your time here, you will either stay in lodge rooms or very comfortable permanent tents (both of equal quality and with similar amenities).
Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and Shangaan trackers who will share their vast experience of the African bush.
On some occasions, if space is unavailable, we may need to change accommodations or even use a different private reserve. In such a case, be assured we will choose other lodges or comfort camps (of equal quality) within the Greater Kruger area.

Private Vehicle:
Kruger National Park – Karongwe Private Game Reserve3h150km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives –  Carnivore Conservation Experience:

Meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project, a project managed by National Geographic grantee Vincent van der Merwe. A member of Vincent’s team will give a talk about cheetahs in South Africa and the important research CMP is doing. We will also discuss conservation within parks and reserves in South Africa and National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. You will then be accompanied by the researcher on a wildlife safari drive to give you more insight into cheetahs and other carnivores.

 

Accommodation:

Karongwe Private Game Reserve – Lodges (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5: Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Enjoy early morning and afternoon safari drives with our local guides, searching for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa’s famed Big Five. In our down time, relax at the camp, take a walk around the grounds or enjoy a cool drink on the deck.
Wake up before the sun (around 5am) and sip your morning coffee before heading out on a morning wildlife safari drive. Return to the lodge for brunch and some leisure time. Converse on the deck, walk the grounds and gardens, and enjoy high tea. Following tea, it’s time for a late afternoon safari drive. After spotting tons of wildlife, it’s time to return to camp and freshen up before dinner.

Karongwe Private Reserve Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive:
Karongwe Private Game Reserve3h05:00

Jump into a safari 4×4 and keep your eyes open for fantastic wildlife encounters. Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and Shangaan trackers; both will share their vast experience of the African bush.

Free Time:
Karongwe Private Game Reserve Afternoon

Relax and enjoy some down time between wildlife safari drives.

 

Accommodation:

Karongwe Private Game Reserve – Lodges (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6: Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg

After one last safari wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house.

Karongwe Private Reserve Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive:
Karongwe Private Game Reserve3h05:00 Morning

Jump into a safari 4×4 and keep your eyes open for fantastic wildlife encounters. Wildlife safari drives are conducted with qualified wildlife rangers and Shangaan trackers; both will share their vast experience of the African bush.

Private Vehicle:
Karongwe Private Game Reserve – Johannesburg7h500km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

 

Accommodation:

Malikana Guesthouse (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7: Johannesburg/Victoria Falls

Fly to Zimbabwe and meet our local CEO. Gain insight into what life’s like in Africa with a walk through a local market and dinner at a family homestead. Meet our host, learn their history and discuss daily life and culture in Zimbabwe. Share stories as you enjoy a traditional Zimbabwean dinner.

The mist off Victoria Falls can rise to a height of more than 400m (1312 ft). Local tribes used to call the falls Mosi-o-Tunya or “the smoke that thunders.” Explorer and missionary David Livingstone renamed the falls after Queen Victoria when he first saw them in 1855.

Plane:
Oliver Reginald Tambo International – Victoria Falls2h

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Zimbabwean Family Dinner

Flatter Ncube is the head of her family which includes two sisters and numerous children. She’s the youngest of a family of 10 and, now in her early 40s, lives in the village she was raised in near Victoria Falls. There she takes care of her extended family on their homestead, which she and they have been proudly building by hand, brick by brick, for years. Flatter’s story highlights that life isn’t easy in Africa, but despite its challenges, there is much love and laughter and a strong sense of family here.

Visit Flatter’s homestead in her rural village; meet her and some of her family, and walk with some of them throughout the property, among the fruit and vegetable plants the family grows for consumption. (They even plant hot chillies among the vegetables to discourage nosy elephants.) Then help the family prepare a traditional Zimbabwean dinner, which we’ll all eat together outside on the property, weather permitting. Ingredients for the meal will have been hand-selected earlier in the day, at the bustling and friendly local village market.

This experience offers great insight into typical African life, and ultimately reinforce how we all really want and need the same things in life: a stable home full of love, a good education, and plenty of opportunity for our children.

 

Accommodation:

Cresta Sprayview Hotel (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 8: Victoria Falls

Enjoy a morning tour of the beautiful Victoria Falls, then the rest of the day is free to explore the area. Take part in a river safari, cultural tours, whitewater rafting, canoeing, or a helicopter ride over the falls.

If you have an activity planned for this morning, we will reschedule your Falls tour for this afternoon, or tomorrow morning.

Victoria Falls Guided Tour:
Victoria Falls1h30m-2h30m

Join a knowledgeable guide for an unforgettable experience at Victoria Falls. Explore the rainforest and learn about the geology, history, and local legends of this world wonder. After your immersion, get up close to the falls and discover the beauty of “the smoke that thunders.” Be sure to have your camera ready!

 

Accommodation:

Cresta Sprayview Hotel (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 9: Victoria Falls

Spend the day exploring your beautiful surroundings. Opt to visit Victoria Falls, go whitewater rafting, or take a helicopter flight over the falls.
The town of Victoria Falls is a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with Victoria Falls in view.
Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening, followed by an optional dinner.
Want to do more with your tour? Pre-book any two of the following activities: Zambezi Whitewater Rafting, Victoria Falls Helicopter Ride, or the Zambezi River Sunset Cruise.
Any optional activities listed on this day can also be booked upon arrival in Victoria Falls.

Carte Blanche:
Victoria Falls Full Day
There’s plenty to see and do in Victoria Falls, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like whitewater rafting, helicopter ride, and sunset cruise. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

Accommodation:

Cresta Sprayview Hotel (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 10: Victoria Falls/Hwange National Park

Enjoy free time in the morning and opt to visit the falls. Later, visit the Painted Dog (Wild Dog) conservancy and meet with a conservationist to learn about the work being done to rehabilitate injured animals as a result of poaching. After, travel to Hwange, Zimbabwe’s largest national park and enjoy a safari drive on the lodge concession, in search of wildlife. This evening, arrive at the lodge, located just outside the park entrance and enjoy dinner.
Examine the life and struggles faced by the Painted Dog (wild dog) population in and around Hwange national park and the efforts made by the conservancy to prevent poaching and the damage done by snare traps that have endangered the Painted Dog population in Zimbabwe. The ultimate goal of the project is to release rehabilitated animals back into the wild and to work with local children and communities in an effort to educate and shift behaviors away from poaching.
Road conditions in the region can range from good to very poor. As such, we slow our traveling speed in the rough spots and enjoy some sand and bumps – all part of the adventure of traveling in Africa.
Please note that hot water shortages, low water pressure and power outages can occur in Southern Africa. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these occurrences are outside of our control. Wifi is available in most places (extra charge may apply), but in remote areas there can be service interruptions. A/C is not generally available in the accommodations we use, really it isn’t needed as evenings tend to cool down. Floor or ceiling fans are usually available.

Private Vehicle:
Victoria Falls – Hwange National Park1h30m Morning104km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives – Painted Dog Conservation

Visit Painted Dog Conservancy and meet with a senior conservationist to learn about the work being done to rehabilitate animals that have been injured from poaching. Learn about the dangers wild dogs face in and around Hwange National Park. The ultimate goal of the project is to release rehabilitated wild dogs back into the wild and to work with local children and communities in an effort to educate and shift behaviors away from poaching.

Hwange National Park Wildlife Safari Drive:
Hwange National Park

Enjoy a wildlife safari drive in the lodge’s private concession, bordering the Hwange National Park. Keep an eye out for Africa’s Big Five, as well as other predators, and over 300 bird species.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 12: Hwange/Chobe NP

The final morning in Hwange allows for an optional safari drive or walk, before crossing the border into Botswana, and arriving in Kasane, gateway to stunning Chobe National Park. This afternoon, enjoy a boat safari on the Chobe River in search of bathing elephants, hippos and crocodiles.
Keep an eye out for Chobe bushbuck and puku antelope, which are found only in this part of Botswana. The Chobe River is home to the world’s largest elephant herds; buffalo, hippos, and lions can also be seen here.

Private Vehicle:
Hwange National Park – Kasane3h-3h30m Morning255km

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Border Crossing (Zimbabwe – Botswana):
Afternoon

Ready for a little more ink in your passport? Grab your bags and get ready to check another country off your bucket list.

Chobe River Sunset Boat Cruise:
Chobe National Park3h Evening

Get a fantastic perspective of one of Botswana’s national parks and its thousands of resident elephants, crocodiles, and hippos on a sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. Bring a few drinks and a camera, sit back, and enjoy the view.

 

Accommodation:

Chobe Safari Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 13: Chobe NP

In the morning, continue our wildlife viewing with a safari drive along the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon, opt to take a photography river safari on a specialized photography boat.

Opt into the photo wildlife safari on the Chobe River at sunset; you’ll be accompanied by an expert wildlife photographer and guide who will help you get the perfect shot.

Chobe River Drive:
Chobe National Park Morning

Enjoy a drive along routes that overlook this beautiful river. Keep an eye out for the remarkable variety of animals that are drawn to this permanent water source.

Free Time:
Kasane Afternoon

Relax, or opt to improve your wildlife photography skills on a Chobe River photo safari.

 

Photo Safari on the Chobe River:
Chobe National Park

130USD per person

The Chobe River is home to incredible wildlife, and there is no better way to spot (and photograph) it. Climb aboard a custom designed boat equipped with mounted DSLR cameras. During this three-hour safari, instructors help you capture the perfect wildlife shots, with chances to spot elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and birds. This tour includes transfers, park fees, refreshments, camera usage (DSLR cameras with zoom lens), 8G photo memory card and an exclusive seat on the eight-seat photo boat.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 14: Kasane/Okavango Delta

Catch a flight into the “Panhandle” area of the Okavango Delta and check into the remote camp in the wilderness. Enjoy lunch before taking a walk to the research camps of the National Geographic funded Okavango Wilderness Project. Meet with someone from the research team and learn about their work and projects in the area.

Planes used to fly into the Delta are small and weight restrictions are mandatory. For this reason luggage restrictions are 15kg per person for checked in luggage and 5kg for Hand luggage for a maximum of 20kg per person. As well, the airline requires the weight of each passenger, your CEO will collect this information from you privately, at the beginning of the trip.

Flight:
Kasane – Okavango Delta1h30m-2h Morning

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives – Okavango Wilderness Project Research Camp:

National Geographic Explorer Steve Boyes leads the Okavango Wilderness Project, a multi-year collaboration between international and local African experts to survey the Okavango watershed’s biodiversity and ensure its future protection. Visit a research camp used by this interdisciplinary National Geographic-funded project, and meet a representative to learn about ongoing work at the camp.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 15: Okavango Delta

Explore the stunning Delta Panhandle with expert local guides to enjoy wildlife viewing from mokoros, African dugout canoes, and on bush walks; also visit a fish monitoring station and a local village. This evening, we will enjoy a unique stay in a bush camp on one of the remote Islands within the Delta. Here we enjoy a 3 course meal around a roaring camp fire, sitting back and listening to the night calls of the Delta wildlife.

Tonight we enjoy a unique and adventurous stay in a remote bush camp (known locally as a fly camp). Accommodation will be in simple dome tents on cots, and facilities are wash basins and out house/long drop toilette (simple but clean) which are shared amongst our group. There is no electricity and lighting in the evenings is by lantern, so please bring a flashlight. While basic, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself into the wilds of Africa. Our local guides and staff add some comfortable touches, excellent food and spin some fantastic campfire stories.

Okavango Delta Excursion:
Okavango Delta

Enjoy wildlife walks and viewing, mokoro trips (occasionally unavailable due to seasonality), and birdwatching in the pristine wilderness area of the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. In the evening, count the shooting stars, sing with the locals, or simply unwind with a sundowner (cheers!) around the campfire.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 16: Okavango Delta

Depart from our island camp and continue wildlife viewing on foot and by mokoro with our expert local guides. Return to the main camp later this afternoon and opt to relax or have a swim. This evening enjoy the deck overlooking the lagoon with hidden seating areas and a fire pit, perfect for stargazing.

Okavango Islands Excursion:
Okavango Delta

Continue exploring from our remote bush camp in the Delta. Options can vary, enjoy a bush walk or mokoro trip through the channels, visit a local village, or spend some time fishing. A breakfast or brunch will be served on the island before heading back to our lodge by mokoro and motor boat.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 17: Okavango Delta/Maun

Transfer to the frontier town of Maun and enjoy an evening of culture and traditional foods with celebrated author Bonty Botumile and the Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers. This local enterprise is dedicated to preserving Botswana’s heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Option to take a scenic flight over the delta.

Private Vehicle:
Okavango Delta – Maun

Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.

Free Time:
Maun Half Day

Opt to take a scenic flight over remote areas of the Okavango Delta or shop at the local shopping centres.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives – Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner:

Enjoy an evening of culture with celebrated author Bonty Botumile and the Thari-E-Ntsho Storytellers, a local enterprise dedicated to preserving Botswana’s heritage and providing youth with employment opportunities in the arts. Born in Maun, Bonty is a recipient of the Bessie Head Literature Award. Listen as she shares her in-depth understanding of the region’s cultural history. Cap off the night with traditional fare and storytelling around a warm fire.

 

Okavango Delta Flight:
Maun

120USD per person

Get a fresh perspective on the vast wilderness of Africa with a once-in-a-lifetime view only a select few will ever see. Enjoy the hippos in the waterways and elephants and buffalo in the tree line. Gaze at the winding water channels as they make their way through the Delta.

 

Accommodation:

Cresta Maun (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 18: Maun

Depart at any time.

Departure Day

Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.

 

Meals included:

Breakfast

What’s Included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Carnivore Conservation Experience, Karongwe Private Game Reserve
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Zimbabwean Family Dinner, Victoria Falls
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Painted Dog Conservation, Hwange National Park
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Okavango Wilderness Project Research Camp, Okavango Delta
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Botswana Storytelling and Traditional Dinner, Maun
  • Arrival transfer
  • Panorama Route scenic drive
  • Private nature reserve wildlife safari drives in open vehicles
  • Open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Kruger, Hwange and Chobe National Parks
  • Tour of Victoria Falls
  • Chobe boat safari
  • Wildlife excursions by boat and on foot in the Okavango Panhandle
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Hotels (6 nts), safari lodges/camps (6 nts), comfortable safari tent (2 nt), comfortable tent or chalets (2 nts), bush camp (1 nt).

Meals

17 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 13 dinners
Allow USD285-370 for meals not included.

Transportation

Plane, air-conditioned touring vehicle, open safari vehicle, 4x4 vehicle, walking, boat, mokoro.

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) for Kruger and Botswana, local CEO in Victoria Falls, local guides/rangers.

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