The Grand Southern Safari tour

The Grand Southern Safari tour

Tour Experience

Comprehensive 3 week tour starting in Cape Town and ending at Victoria Falls


All year round


South Africa, Namibia and Botswana

The 20-day Cape Town to Victoria Falls route is a comprehensive tour where you cross from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and wrapping up the tour in Zimbabwe. It is a simply grand safari!. This is an 'accommodated' tour, staying in hotels and lodges rather than camping.
As we leave Cape Town we go into a northern direction towards the Cederberg Mountain Region en route Namibia. As we cross the border, our first stop in Namibia is the Fish River Canyon where we hike along the rim of this large natural phenomenon. Next the Namib- Naukluft Park which is 50,000km2, and one of the largest parks in Africa. It is here in the Sossusvlei desert where you will find giant sand dunes and remarkable, ever changing landscapes.

In Swakopmund we stop to enjoy skydiving, sandboard, quad biking to name a few adventure sports. We then continue to the Etosha National Park for some abundant wildlife viewing in Southern Africa’s finest game reserve. We get to spot plenty of wildlife before continuing to Namibia’s capital of Windhoek. A short city tour makes way for crossing to Botswana. Our first visit here is Ghanzi to experience a cultural evening of tribal singing and dancing performed by the San community. Next we explore the Okavango Delta, which is the largest inland delta in the world. The lagoons, lakes, hidden channels and watermasses cover over 17,000km2 and we will be exploring as much of this in cruises on traditional Mokoro’s sailboats. An upgrade is available to fly in to a water based lodge inside the Delta for a more in depth experience. We also visit the second largest wildlife reserve in Botswana. Here in the Chobe National Park we wrap up sightseeing and head over to the border where we find ourselves in Zimbabwe. This is our final destination and what better way to end a 20-day tour than to stand in the mist of the Victoria Falls – the crossroads of Africa.

Important Note: the itinerary below is written with an optional Activity Package included. This optional payment covers what we consider highly recommended activities on the tour. Separating these activities out is designed to help people with differing budgets. If required, the Activity Package should be pre-purchased prior to your arrival to guarantee availability and to help your guides plan ahead to help the smooth running of the tour. Please contact us for details and prices.



  • 19 night's accommodation
  • All transport in 25-seat expedition vehicle
  • All 'included highlights' as mentioned in the itinerary
  • 2 truck crew (driver/guide plus assistant/cook)
  • Local guides for sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary
  • Meals: 19 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 15 dinners


  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • Single room supplements (chargeable if a same-sex room share is not available)
  • Activity Package, Okavango Delta upgrade and optional activities (see itinerary)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks, tips and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour leader
  • Any other items not mentioned above



DAY 1, South Africa, Cederberg Mountain Region

Leaving Cape Town this morning we make a last stop for a look back at Table Mountain from across Table Bay. The Cederberg region not only boasts spectacular mountains and orange farms, but it is also the home of the Rooibos bush and today we will visit a working Rooibos tea farm and see the plants of Rooibos and Buchu that occur naturally in the wild. Indigenous to the mountain slopes of the Cederberg, this herbal beverage has earned an international reputation as a healthy and refreshing alternative to regular tea. A dinner at our overnight stop offers an opportunity for us to get acquainted while enjoying some South African hospitality.
Note – our Overland tours are offered with an optional ‘Activity Package’ which includes a set of activities and visits that we recommend but that are not included in the main tour price. The itinerary below is written with the Activity Package items included. Please check our website or contact us for more information and prices.
Route: Cape Town to Citrusdal
Activity Package: Rooibos tea farm visit
Citrusdal Country Lodge or similar
Arrival airport transfer in Cape Town, Extra day in Cape Town – pre-tour, Activity Package – The Grand Southern Safari

DAY 2, Namaqualand, 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, we 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 day’s travel.
Route: Citrusdal to Orange River
Felix Unite Cabanas, Bundi or similar
Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 3, Namibia, Gariep (Orange) River, 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. Around midday we depart the Orange River and head inland to our overnight stop.
Route: Orange/Gariep River to Ai-Ais
Optional activity: River canoe adventure
Ai Ais Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Gariep (Orange) River / Fish River Canyon

We rise early this morning and drive to the rim of the Fish River Canyon. We will have time to watch the morning sunrays filter through the canyon. After stretching our legs with a gentle walk along the rim of the canyon, we turn west and head for Keetmanshoop. Our afternoon will be spent meandering through the Quiver Tree Forest and The Giants Playground – named for the way in which the massive dolerite boulders have been placed on each other – creating rock formations and a series of mazes.
Route: Fish River Canyon to Keetmanshoop
Included Highlights: Scenic walk along the rim of Fish River Canyon / Visit to Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground
Schutzenhaus Guesthouse or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5, 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.
Route: Keetmanshoop to Namib Naukluft NP
Namib Naukluft Habitat or Desert Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6, Sossusvlei Dunes - Namib-Naukluft National Park

A brisk climb up Dune 45 offers us the perfect vantage point to marvel at the changing colours of the desert. 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. 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.
Included Highlight: Walk into Sesriem Canyon, Hike up Dune 45, 4×4 shuttle to Sossusvlei / Deadvlei
Namib Naukluft Habitat or Desert Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7, Swakopmund

Today is your chance to experience the adrenalin filled atmosphere that Swakopmund offers. Taking a walk around Swakopmund’s shops and having a leisurely lunch is also a great way to spend your day if you are not participating in the many activities available on offer here.
Route: Naukluft Area to Swakopmund
Included activity: Tropic of Capricorn, Walvis Bay Lagoon
Activity Package: Guided desert walk with local expert
Stay@Swakop, Amampur or similar
Activity Package

DAY 8, Swakopmund

Today is your chance to experience the adrenalin filled atmosphere that Swakopmund offers. Taking a walk around Swakopmund’s shops and having a leisurely lunch is also a great way to spend your day if you are not participating in the many activities available on offer here.
Route: Betesda Lodge to Swakopmund ±380km
Optional activities: Dolphin Cruise 4/5 hours, Sky Diving, Sandboarding, Quad Biking (2 hours), Dinner Out Swakopmund
Stay@Swakop, Amampuri or similar
Options available while on tour
Day 9to Brandberg
Our day starts as we head inland towards Khorixas, seeing the massive granite formations of Spitzkoppe which tower 700 metres over the desert and plains beneath them. We’ll take a walk with a local guide to see some examples of rock art which demonstrate how significant this area and these formations were to the San people who lived here in the past. Finally we continue to our overnight stop for the evening.
Included highlight: Guided walk in Spitzkoppe
Route: Swakopmund to Brandberg (via Spitzkoppe) (250km)
| OVERNIGHT: Brandberg Rest Camp or similar
| MEALS: Lunch, Dinner
Day 10, Brandberg White Lady rock painting
This morning we will take a hike of around 1 hour to the famous ‘White Lady’ rock painting, one of more than 45,000 rock paintings in the area. The terrain is rough and follows the gorge of the normally dry Tsisab River, with the Brandberg (Burning Mountains) which are regarded as the highest in Namibia, surrounding us.
Following our hike, we continue our journey to the Kamanjab area.
Included Highlight: Brandberg White Lady hike
Route: Brandberg to Kamanjab (220km)
| OVERNIGHT: Toko Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11, Etosha National Park
We start early this morning and head to Etosha National Park, one of Africa’s most famous destinations for game viewing with the sparse grasslands allowing great opportunities to see animals normally hidden in dense vegetation. We then have the afternoon to explore the edges of Etosha Pan on a game drive on our expedition vehicle as we head to our accommodation for the night. The raised height of the vehicle helps with visibility and seeing some of the abundant wildlife in the park. We’ll aim to stop at several waterholes during the way, where concentrations of game can often be seen.
Route: Kamanjab to Etosha National Park (200km)
Included Highlight: Afternoon game drive in the truck
| OVERNIGHT: Halali or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12, Etosha National Park
We have a full day on safari in Etosha today, exploring different parts of the park on the truck and searching for animals and birds we may not have seen yesterday.
Included highlight: Full day game drive in the truck
| OVERNIGHT: Okaukuejo or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13, Windhoek
We leave Etosha this morning and drive towards Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city and also the cultural, social and economic centre of the country. On arrival in Windhoek we’ll take a short walk through the city centre to see some of its best known landmarks. We’ll then return to our accommodation for the night which is normally situated half way between the city centre and the airport.
Route: Etosha National Park to Windhoek (420km)
Included highlight: Walk through Windhoek with your guide
| OVERNIGHT: Heja Game Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast
Day 14, Botswana, Ghanzi
After an early start, we say goodbye to Namibia and travel east, crossing the Botswana border into the Kalahari Desert. While very different to the Namib Desert in Namibia, the Kalahari is still dramatic and covers nearly a million square kilometres. The San people have been associated with the harsh desert landscape here for centuries and this evening we experience some traditional tribal dancing from the local San community that also provides an insight into the songs and story telling that form part of their culture.
Route: Windhoek to Ghanzi (500km)
Included highlight: San Tribal dance in the evening
| OVERNIGHT: Ghanzi Trail Blazers or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15, To the Okavango Delta
We’ll take a walk with local San guides this morning to learn how they use nature and their environment to survive in this harsh desert. We’ll then drive to the outback town of Maun, known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Here you’ll have the opportunity to take an optional scenic flight over the Delta (subject to arrival time and weather conditions). This evening we’ll talk to our guide in peparation for our full day excursions into the Delta tomorrow.
An upgrade package is available which will fly into the Delta upon our arrival in Maun and then rejoin the group in the morning of Day 9. Luggage restrictions apply of 10kg luggage per person, no bottled water allowed. The airline requires the individual weight of all guests and their luggage prior to check-in to meet safety regulations for flight into and out of the Okavango Delta. Please take no offense to this as it is done for guests safety only.
Please contact us for more details of this Delta excursion
Route: Ghanzi to Maun (300km)
Included highlight: San guided walk
Optional activity: Okavango Delta scenic flight
Upgrade package: Okavango Delta Upgrade
| OVERNIGHT: Sedia Riverside Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Okavango Delta Upgrade
Day 16, Okavango Delta Excursion
The Okavango has a strange and unique ecosystem with the annual rains in regions upriver on the Okavango River flowing down and into the delta where they fan out and create pools, streams and waterholes that vary hugely through the seasons. As a result, programs here are flexible to take account of the changing water levels.
One of the most rewarding and enjoyable ways to explore the waterways and lagoons is by mokoro. We’ll leave Maun early and transfer by safari vehicle to the poling station (approx. 1 hour). Our polers will then steer us through serene reed-lined channels that open out into beautiful lagoons. A nature walk may be taken with your poler on one of the many islands, before we return by mokoro through the channels to the poling station. Mokoro trips like this are not primarily game viewing activities but a variety of animals and birds may be spotted on the way, including elephants, zebra, kudu and impala.
Route: Maun – poling station – Okavango Delta – Maun
Included Highlight: Okavango Delta Day Excursion
Upgrade package: Okavango Delta Upgrade
| OVERNIGHT: Sedia Riverside Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Okavango Delta Upgrade
Day 17, Nata
We leave Maun this morning after re-joining any people in the group who chose the Delta upgrade package. Today’s long drive carries us past the northern section of the Makgadigadi Pans en-route to Nata. Along the way we’ll look out for examples of the iconic Baobab tree and look out over the pans as they extend to the Suth. If we’re lucky, while we bisect the Nxai Pan and Makgadigadi National Park we may encounter some of the wildlife that make this huge protected area home.
If you add the Activity Package then a guided afternoon game drive is arranged to the Nata Sanctuary which is famous as the breeding ground for thousands of water birds, especially pelicans and flamingos.
Route: Maun to Nata (300km)
Activity Package: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (Nata Sanctuary)
| OVERNIGHT: Nata Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Activity Package 2019
Day 18, Chobe National Park
It’s another early start today for the drive north to the banks of the Chobe River. If you choose the Activity Package then we’ll then spend the afternoon exploring the park on a game safari in 4×4 vehicles which allow us to get up close to some of the many elephants that the park is famous for. The elephants like to spend time in the river in the afternoons and we’ll hope to see them enjoying themselves, splashing and washing. The day ends with a boat cruise looking out for hippos, buffalo and more elephants before dinner is served around the campfire.
Route: Nata to Kasane (300km)
Activity Package: Chobe National Park boat cruise, Chobe National Park Game Drive
| OVERNIGHT: Thebe River Lodge or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Activity Package 2019
Day 10, Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls
We leave Chobe and its elephants today and cross the border into Zimbabwe for the short drive to Victoria Falls. Plenty of time is allowed for visiting the spectacular falls and watching the mighty Zambezi River crash down into the Batoka Gorge, creating clouds of steam and spray that rise up into the air. However, the town of Victoria Falls is a hub for a wide range of adventurous activities and there is time available this afternoon to take advantage of some of these if you wish (eg. White water rafting, bungee jumps, river cruises or helicopter flights above the falls). If you’d like to take things a bit easier, the town has craft markets and plenty of shops and cafes to browse and relax in.
Route: Kasane to Victoria Falls (100km)
Optional activities: Visit to the falls, Bungee Jump, Gorge Swing, Sunset Cruise, Helicopter Flights, Boma Dinner Experience
| OVERNIGHT: Victoria Falls Rainbow Hotel or similar
| MEALS: Breakfast
| EXTRAS: Okavango Delta Upgrade
Day 20, Victoria Falls
Although your tour officially ends after breakfast, many people will spend the day doing some safaris, white water rafting, taking a helicopter ride over the falls or relaxing after viewing the waterfall. Vic Falls offers many exciting activities so we recommend you add a post-tour night here.
Note: It is possible to book a 2 day Journey to Johannesburg, either Camping or Accommodated straight after this tour, as this is one of the cheapest ways to get from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg. Please contact us for more information. Our Big 5 Encounters tour from Johannesburg then also fits well after this trip, providing some great safaris in Kruger National Park.
Optional Activity: Visit to the falls, Bungee Jump, Gorge Swing, Sunset Cruise, Helicopter Flights, Boma Dinner Experience
| MEALS: Breakfast
| EXTRAS: Extra day in Victoria Falls – post-tour, Okavango Delta Upgrade, Departure airport transfer in Victoria Falls


20 Days




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