Johannesburg to Windhoek

16 days from 4,399pp

Delve into the wildernesses of South Africa and Namibia on an unforgettable 16-day adventure. Search for the “big five” with a National Geographic researcher, explore the stunning dunes of the parched Namib Desert, and meet scientists at the National Geographic-supported Cheetah Conservation Fund. As you track animals in the wild, find your element amid the rawness of the African bush.
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16 days Johannesburg to Windhoek

From 4,399 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.
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.

Traditional South Africa Braai (BBQ)
Johannesburg

Enjoy a spread of grilled meats, vegetables and homemade salads, and talk with your friendly hosts about life in South Africa.

Optional Activities – Day 1

Apartheid Museum
Johannesburg1h-2h

80ZAR per person

Take a self guided tour around the complex and learn about the history of the apartheid in South Africa.

Soweto Tour
Soweto1h-2h

Take a guided tour of bustling Soweto and learn more about its important history. The residential area was created under apartheid and played a significant role in bringing the issues of segregation to the forefront. The anti-apartheid movement was launched here by its most famous resident, Nelson Mandela.

Soweto Bicycle Tour
Soweto1h-2h

Explore South Africa’s largest township on two wheels and under your own steam. This guided tour will take you through the vibrant streets of Soweto, giving you the opportunity to meet some of its diverse residents, see the sights, hear the music and even taste a local ‘home-brewed’ beer.
Popular stops include the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Vilakazi Street, where Nelson Mandela used to live.

Accommodation

Malikana Guesthouse (or similar)

Meals included:

Dinner

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 near the Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner 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. In the afternoon, opt to extend your safari drive or head back to the lodge where you can take a short nature walk or relax on the deck with views of the surrounding area.

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 Morning

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 nature walk.

Optional Activities – Day 3

Muluwa Nature Walk

100ZAR per person

Head out on a guided walk to explore the extensive estate of the Muluwa Lodge. Enjoy the diverse scenery of the Lowveld, and keep an eye out for the ‘plains’ wildlife that graze close to the lodge.

Kruger National Park – Afternoon Safari Extension
Kruger National Park3h-4h

450ZAR per person

After an included lunch in the National Park, continue your safari drive in 4×4 safari vehicles.

Accommodation

Muluwa Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 4: Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve

Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, meet 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 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/Windhoek

Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore Windhoek in the afternoon and then meet your CEO and the rest of the group in the evening.

Plane
Oliver Reginald Tambo International – Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport2h

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

Optional Activities – Day 7

Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos

You may be a seasoned pro at group travel by now, but there will likely be some new travellers joining the group. Sit in on the welcome meeting to meet the newest members of your group and learn about the next leg of your tour.

Accommodation

Windhoek Country Club Resort (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast

Day 8: Windhoek/Sesriem

Enjoy the dramatic Namibian landscapes as we drive to the desert area of Sesriem, gateway to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Settle in to our desert lodge, relax at the pool, or enjoy a cool drink watching the stunning sunset over the desertscape.

Enjoy postcard perfect desert scenery around Sesriem and Sossusvlei – vast desertscapes of reds and orange, stark camel thorn trees and towering dunes with dramatic curved ridges. Also keep an eye out for the surprising amount of wildlife that call this area home such as oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena.

Private Vehicle
Windhoek – Sesriem5h-6h340km

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

Accommodation

Sossusvlei Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 9: Sesriem

Embark on a scenic excursion into the national park to explore the Namib Desert. Visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei — clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burnt orange and red towering dunes. It’s considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After, visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River.

Private Vehicle
Sesriem

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

4×4
Namib Desert

Roads? Where this rough-and-ready vehicle’s going, we don’t need roads.

Sesriem Canyon Visit
Namib Desert

Enjoy a short stop at Sesriem Canyon, a small canyon typical of the area. The Tsauchab River flows through the canyon every five to ten years, and this creates the nearby salt and clay pan of Sossusvlei.

Sossusvlei Dunes Visit
Namib Desert

This area is famous for its high, red sand dunes. This clay and salt pan is surrounded by the dunes, making it a spectacularly beautiful sight with a remote and isolated feel.

Accommodation

Sossusvlei Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 10: Sesriem/Swakopmund

Continue through changing desert landscapes, keeping an eye out for free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx. Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire for a break before heading out into the countryside. Here we meet a local to this remote region who takes us on a drive and talks about the survival strategies of ancient bushmen who lived in the area. We also search out smaller animal life that manages to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and insects to learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.

Private Vehicle
Sesriem – Swakopmund5h-6h375km

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

Living Desert Tour
Swakopmund2h-2h

Hop into a 4×4 vehicle and set out into the desert. An expert guide will point out signs of animal life and emphasize survival in the harsh desert landscape for both humans and animals.

Accommodation

Hotel Zum Kaiser (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 11: Swakopmund

Enjoy a free morning. Opt to go quad biking, sandboarding, or just take a walk in town. This afternoon, explore the township of Mondesa with a local guide, learning about its people and history. Visit the local market for an introduction to traditional food including wild spinach, mopane worms, and dried kapenta fish. Also visit an art and craft shop, meet with some locals, then visit a family-run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.

Explore the town’s unique mix of German and African culture and opt to visit curio shops, the museum and restaurants. Optional activities include sandboarding, quad biking, or if you’re feeling brave, skydiving.

Free Time
Swakopmund Half Day

Enjoy a free morning in the historic coastal town of Swakopmund.

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Mondesa Township Walk

Visit the community of Mondesa Township with an expert resident guide. Learn about its daily life, history and traditions through an immersive experience with the welcoming people that live here. Visit its lively market for an introduction to traditional foods like wild spinach, mopane worms, and dried kapenta fish. Also visit an arts-and-crafts shop that helps train the township’s youth in traditional crafts. Drop by a shebeen (tavern) to enjoy a favourite drink, and meet some local residents. Finally, continue on to a nearby family run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.

Optional Activities – Day 11

Quad Biking
Swakopmund

600NAD per person

Hop on a quad bike and enjoy a guided off-road tour of this desert landscape. Follow a winding 55-60km route across the plains, and through the dune fields. Don’t forget to take in the amazing scenery along the way.

Sandboarding in the Namib Desert
Swakopmund

600NAD per person

Head out into the desert, grab a board, and surf the sand dunes. Choose to lie down headfirst, or stand up, surfer-style.

Skydiving
Swakopmund3h-4h

2515NAD per person

Buckle up your harness, practice your exit, then take a plane up and over the dunes of the Namib Desert. Take a deep breath, leap out and freefall with an instructor before he opens the parachute. Admire the view over the dunes as you descend and land safely back on the ground. Wow!

Forbidden Coast Scenic Flight
Swakopmund3h-4h

250USD per person

Fly over the moon landscape, the Kuiseb river bed, and the fabulous dune formations to Conception Bay. This aerial view gives you great views of the seal colonies, flamingos, and shipwrecks below.

Skeleton Coast Scenic Flight
Swakopmund3h-4h

3500NAD per person

Take in amazing views of bird life, shipwrecks, and one of the largest seal colonies in the world over the northern coastline. On the way back, see the Namibia’s highest mountain, Damaraland, and the picturesque Spitzkoppe rock formations from above.

Accommodation

Hotel Zum Kaiser (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 12: Swakopmund/Palmwag

Continue on to Twyfelfontein where we visit the ancient petroglyphs which were named Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is thought to hold the largest concentrations of bushman engravings in Africa with over 2,500 figures ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 years old. Finish the day on the Palmwag Concession, in northwest Damaraland.

Private Vehicle
Swakopmund – Twyfelfontein5h-6h350km

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

Prehistoric Rock Engravings Guided Tour
Twyfelfontein1h

Step back in time to see prehistoric rock engravings made during the early Stone Age. Their exact origin is uncertain, but these works depicting animals and hunters are probably the work of Bushmen or Nama artists estimated to have lived near Twyfelfontein at least 5,000 years ago. Marvel at the more than 2,500 rock carvings and paintings and understand why this is Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Private Vehicle
Twyfelfontein – Palmwag2h115km

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

Accommodation

Palmwag Lodge (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 13: Palmwag/Etosha National Park

Visit the Petrified Forest national monument, a stunning site of fossilized tree trunks dating from approximately 280 million years ago, before continuing to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area. Etosha is considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. This evening, spend time at the waterhole to view the abundant number of wildlife who come to drink.

Etosha is a very popular park with limited accommodation. While we aim to secure lodging inside the park, on some departures we will stay at lodges adjacent to the park (the park is unfenced allowing the animals to roam freely throughout the area) which still provides access to all safari activities and wildlife.

Private Vehicle
Palmwag – Etosha National Park4h-5h325km

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

Visit Petrified Forest national monument

Visit the Petrified Forest national monument, a stunning site of fossilized tree trunks which was discovered in the 1940s by local farmers. This bizarre stone forest consists of fossilized tree trunks dating from approximately 280 million years ago.

Accommodation

Etosha NP Okaukuejo Restcamp (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 14: Etosha National Park

Embark on two open vehicle safari drives today, one in the early morning, to see the sunrise, and another in afternoon. Both drives will be led by a local guide from the national park. There is abundant wildlife that congregate around the waterholes, so keep your cameras at the ready for elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. Over lunch, you have time to relax at the lodge, take a swim, or sit back and watch the animals as they come to the waterhole.

After the vast desert, Etosha National Park, offers a contrast of wide open grasslands, a massive salt pan that covers 4731km² and tall camel thorn trees intermixed with Mopani trees. With a combination of natural waterholes, and diverse vegetation, wildlife flock to the park. Some of the largest elephants in Africa can be found in areas of thicker vegetation, as well as leopard and the critically endangered black rhino. Lions, giraffe, ostrich and many antelope species can be found in the grasslands, while birders will love the salt pans which attract flamingos in the rainy season. More than 340 bird species have been counted in Etosha National Park including the European bee-eater, the kori bustard and numerous migratory birds.

Etosha Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive
Etosha National Park3h Morning

Set off in an open 4×4 safari vehicle with a naturalist guide in search of the stunning wildlife in the park. Wildlife often come to the many watering holes to drink, so keep your eyes peeled for many animals on the move.

Etosha Open Vehicle Wildlife Safari Drive
Etosha National Park3h Afternoon

Set off in an open 4×4 safari vehicle with a naturalist guide in search of the stunning wildlife in the park. Wildlife often come to the many watering holes to drink, so keep your eyes peeled for many animals on the move.

Accommodation

Etosha NP Okaukuejo Restcamp (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Dinner

Day 15: Etosha National Park/Windhoek

After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility to learn about the important research, conservation, and community outreach work they do as one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Meet with a researcher for a lecture to learn about the various projects in the works, then enjoy a cheetah drive to view some of these amazing creatures up close. After, enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau. Continue on to Windhoek for our final evening.

Private Vehicle
Etosha National Park – Windhoek4h30m-5h30m415km

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

National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Cheetah Conservation Experience

The Cheetah Conservation Fund is a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the centre and learn about the important conservation and community outreach work they perform as one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. One of the program’s researchers will give us a lecture before we head out on a cheetah drive to view some of these incredible creatures up close in their natural habitat. Conclude the experience by sitting down as a group for lunch on the veranda that overlooks the magnificent Waterberg Plateau.

Accommodation

Windhoek Country Club Resort (or similar)

Meals included:

Breakfast | Lunch

Day 16: Windhoek

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: Mondesa Township Walk, Swakopmund
  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Cheetah Conservation Experience, Windhoek
  • Arrival transfer
  • Panorama Route scenic drive
  • Kruger National Park and private nature reserve wildlife safari drives in open vehicles
  • Sossusvlei desert excursion
  • Desert excursion with a local
  • View the Twyfelfontein ancient petroglyphs
  • Visit the petrified forest
  • Two open-vehicle wildlife safari drives in Etosha
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Guest house (2 nts), hotel/lodge (9 nt), comfortable safari camp (2 nt), comfortable tent or chalets (2 nts)

Meals

15 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 12 dinners
Allow USD240-315 for meals not included.

Transportation

Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, open safari vehicle, plane, walking.

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO), local guides/rangers.

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