Welcome to Cairo! Today is simply an arrival day, so you may arrive in Cairo at any time; however, hotel rooms are generally only available after midday (12 pm). The remainder of the day is free to explore the city, with a brief meeting with your leader tonight, usually held at around 6 pm. A full welcome with the rest of your fellow travellers will be held tomorrow evening. Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can perhaps be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. In free time perhaps get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts, where you can see donkey carts and expensive cars, medieval slums and modern shopping malls.
Today, immerse yourself in ancient history with a trip out to Memphis – the ancient capital of Lower Egypt and the Old Kingdom of Egypt. Head to ancient site of Saqqara, the oldest complete stone complex known in history, which also served as the burial ground for kings and officials that lived in this ancient Egyptian capital. Continue to the legendary pyramids of Saqqara, including the famous Step Pyramid and King Unas pyramids. The walls of his pyramids are covered with texts or so-called magic spells to assist with the Pharaoh’s journey in the afterlife. This concept continued to evolve to later what was the Book of the Dead. Many of the Book of the Dead texts can been seen in the Valley of the King’s tombs in Luxor. Keep in mind that tonight an important welcome meeting will be held at 6 pm this evening where you will meet the rest of your fellow travellers. After this briefing, perhaps head out for a meal at one of the trendy restaurants down in the Zamalek district where you can enjoy a drink with views of the Nile.
This morning after breakfast drive out to Giza, home to perhaps the greatest iconic structures ever created by man – the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, getting up close to these incredible pharaonic tombs is captivating. For an additional charge you may be able to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), although occasionally it may be closed to visitors. The Egyptian Museum is simply one of the world's great museums, home to a stupendous collection of antiquities and the perfect introduction to your tour, exhibiting many of the region's treasures. You will head there after lunch and your expert guide will take you through Egypt's rich and fascinating dynastic history. You will then have some free time to explore on your own; you may wish to visit the Royal Mummy Room (optional and at extra cost). Afterwards you will return to your hotel, where there is plenty of time to freshen up before you are transferred to the railway station for the overnight sleeper train to Luxor.
After an early breakfast on board, the train rolls into Luxor. It's a vibrant place with an excellent bazaar, situated close to some of ancient Egypt's most important and extraordinary sights. Travel to Karnak, one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes, built over a period of some 200 years, and some of it dating back to 2055 BC. Your guided tour of the temple reveals its finest sections. Later you will be transferred to your Nile cruise boat, which will be your home for the next four nights. You can relax by the pool on the boat or explore the town. For the rest of the afternoon and evening you will be free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local tea house.
Rise early this morning and head into the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. Explore this sprawling and spectacular place where discoveries are still being made. Tutankhamun's final resting place is also located here, and you'll have free time to visit it. Your guide will explain the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. You will visit three royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Your final stop is the Colossi of Memnon – giant statues that were once part of an impressive colonnade. Enjoy lunch upon your return to the boat. There is time to relax on deck or in your cabin before you set sail for Edfu. Generally the journey from Luxor to Edfu is from 1 pm to 11 pm. Departure time may vary, depending on river traffic – please refer to the Essential Trip Information regarding cruise schedules in the 'Other Information' section. You will pass through Esna Lock, which can sometimes be a slow process depending on the number of vessels waiting to get through, and continue your journey upstream.
Morning finds you moored near Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple dedicated to Horus. Please see the special information below regarding visiting the temple.Continue travelling upriver, relaxing on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working their land. This afternoon we will arrive at Kom Ombo temple (about 45 km north of Aswan city) which sits picturesquely ruined on the river's edge and provides an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period. The temple was built in approximately 181BC and is dedicated to 2 Gods: Horus the protection god and Sobek fertility god linked to the Nile Water . The temple consists of 2 identical northern sections the North and South each dedicated to either god. In the Sobek section recent discoveries have been made of mummified Crocodiles, which are now displayed in the Crocodile museum attached to the temple - don't miss it! Board your boat again at around 6 pm and continue to Aswan, arriving at around 9.30 pm.
Explore Aswan today, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easygoing charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the beautiful Temple of Isis (the Goddess of health, marriage and wisdom) that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island (alternatively you will visit it tomorrow). It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt. Access to the temple is by small motorboats. The rest of your day will be free to wander, and Aswan is a great place for it. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is recommended by many. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's 'corniche', runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. Watch the waterfront come alive at dusk, as families are out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
We depart early this morning to visit the iconic Abu Simbel by plane. With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. The rest of the day is free for you to make your own discoveries. A popular afternoon option in Aswan is a sailboat ride around the islands in a traditional felucca, stopping off at the botanical gardens on Kitchener's Island. Alternatively travel to the Monastery of St Simeon, an abandoned seventh-century fortress monastery located in the desert on the Nile's west bank. Your tour leader will be on hand to help you arrange any excursions. Alternatively, you may prefer to simply relax by the hotel pool or do some shopping in the local bazaar. In the evening you will visit a Nubian village and enjoy the warm hospitality (and cuisine) of these locals. You will also be treated to some Nubian dancing, and may even have the chance to try some moves yourself.
After breakfast you will be transferred to Aswan airport for the short flight back to Cairo (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes) where you will be met and taken to your hotel. Today you will dive into another layer of Egyptian history: medieval Cairo. Head to Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, Cairo's oldest mosque and the Gayer-Anderson Museum. The 'Khan', sprawling around an old area known as Al-Azhar, is a quintessentially Cairo experience – a warren of alleys with stalls serving up a succession of intoxicating scenes. It retains a distinctly medieval feel. You will explore the gold market, 'perfume street' and the spice market, where heady aromas hang in the air like a thick blanket of Damascene cloth (which can be purchased next door in the cloth market). The gorgeous 9th-century Ibn Tulun Mosque is one of the oldest and largest in Egypt, possibly its most beautiful too. Its perfectly proportioned courtyard and distinctive minaret make it a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. Nearby stands the Gayer-Anderson Museum, housed in two fine old villas and vaunting a fascinating collection of Arabic artefacts, furniture and memorabilia. Also don't miss the chance to drink Arabic coffee or mint tea from Cairo's oldest cafe, it has a long history and fantastic atmosphere. This evening you will get to share an authentic Egyptian meal with a local family. Visit a family home, chat with the local family members about life in the Middle East, and learn some of your favourite traditional Egyptian dishes while enjoying a delicious dinner. Here you will farewell your group not continuing on to Kenya. Your transfer driver will pick you up from the house for your unaccompanied flight bound for Nairobi – Kenya's capital.
Land in Nairobi very early in the morning and look out for your Peregrine representative and be driven to your hotel, which will take approximately 45 minutes. An early check-in will be ready for you in order to catch up on some sleep ready for another group meeting at 6 pm this evening. Here you will meet new travellers who will be joining you for this stage of your adventure. More details about this meeting can be found at the hotel reception. Spend free time today at your leisure.
Depart Nairobi for Elsamere after breakfast and head north, driving along the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley (approximately 4 hours of driving in total). Elsamere is the former home of the writer Joy Adamson, whose 1960 book 'Born Free' helped bring wildlife conservation into the mainstream. The house is a veritable museum that dedicated to the works of Joy and George Adamson, with many photos of Elsa, the lioness that started it all. You'll then embark on a boat trip on Lake Naivasha, the highest of all lakes in the Great Rift Valley and home to many a hippopotamus. Later, enjoy lunch with the lake as a serene backdrop. After lunch, continue to your Lake Nakuru lodge, arriving in the early evening.
This morning you will visit Lake Nakuru National Park by 4WD. Mornings can be cold so it's important to bring warm clothes. You might see why this great soda lake has been described as the world's greatest ornithological spectacle; it amazingly turns into a sea of pink on occasion. Flooding in recent years has unfortunately caused a decline in birdlife. The park boasts substantial numbers of other species, including waterbuck, reedbuck and gazelle. Leopards are also to be found here, and the chances of sighting one is significant. Keep your eyes peeled too, for one of Africa's most endangered creatures, the elusive black rhinoceros (white rhinos are much easier to spot).
Today you will head southwest to the Masai Mara (approximately 6–7 hours), arguably one of the finest game reserves in Africa. Before you arrive, you'll first cross the Great Rift Valley, Africa's immense and spectacular great divide. Pass by the remote region of Loita Hills, home of the traditional Maasai people known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery. This is one of the key places where the Maasai people still practice their traditional way of life, with little influence from the western world. Make a stop at Tepesua Village, which is known for championing Maasai women’s health and education. You’ll be welcomed by Maasai Warriors by way of traditional song and dance. Meet your Maasai hosts and enjoy a fascinating talk, full of insights into this remarkable and ancient culture. Take a walk to the community village which was founded for widows who had lost their cows due to drought, and can never remarry. The village offers support, safety and economic growth through the ‘Tepesua Widows Income Project’. Here the women are engaged in making handicrafts and sewing eco-friendly handbags, washable sanitary pads, and backpacks to sell to visiting travellers and locals. Learn about village life and be shown around a traditional Maasai home, and their cattle enclosures. We then continue on your journey to ‘The Mara’. After checking into the park, take a short game drive on the way to camp. Set in what is considered Kenya's prime wildlife area, Mara Leisure Camp is located along the Talek River, on the northern boundary of the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Facilities at the camp include a swimming pool, gift shop, bar and restaurant.
Explore more of the park by 4WD today with further game drives in the morning and afternoon. Witness the wonderful procession of wildlife that inhabits the area. Wildebeest, zebra and gazelle are plentiful, and you might even spot predators keeping a casual eye on their movements. Elephants, giraffes and elands are also commonly sighted, along with plenty of bird life. The area is known for its rolling green plains and riverine woodlands, and amongst the many species of game, a black-maned lion, leopard or cheetah might appear, with some luck. As dusk falls, a variety of animals might be visible in the vicinity of your camp also.
Today is a free day. If you wish to continue your exploration of arguably one of the finest game reserves on the continent there are a number of optional activities that you can choose from including half-day or full-day game drives or walking safaris. A morning game drive involves waking at dawn for a light breakfast followed by an early morning game drive, setting off at sunrise and returning to the camp three to four hours later. An afternoon game drive departs around 4 pm and returns after sunset. On returning to the camp, freshen up before joining other guests around the campfire for a pre-dinner drink. An optional balloon ride over the Masai Mara at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up from camp before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing with your pilot. You then glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, making the most of the amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you'll ascend to get an overview of the enormity of the Masai Mara plains and the early-morning movements of the teeming herds. Upon landing you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before re-joining your group.
Say goodbye to the Mara and head to Kisii (approximately 5 hours). Once arrived stop for lunch (at your own expense) and visit a local soapstone factory in Kisii. This town is home to the best soapstone carvers on the continent. Their products are quite popular around the world. It's a favourite stopover for travellers seeking a taste of the exquisite Kisii carvings.
Cross into Tanzania before heading to the Serengeti National Park (approximately 8 hours, not including time spent at the border). These 'Endless Plains' span some 14,700 square kilometres, but their main claim to fame is 3 million or so animals. The game most likely to be seen in the Serengeti are the wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, lion, cheetah, warthog, hyena, hippo and ostrich. You'll take a game drive en route to your camp and watch the landscape change within the park from the vast treeless central plains to thick scrub and forest in the north. Linking these areas is the savannah, dotted with acacia trees and magnificent rock outcrops. Pull up in the park and enjoy a refreshing sundowner and some nibbles before carrying on to you camp. The next two nights are spent at a mobile tented camp, our feature stay on this trip. Meru-style tents are a great place to relax at the end of the day and have large beds, table, clothes rack, sink, 'bucket' showers and a toilet. The eco-friendly camp has a comfortable lounge area, and a cosy mess tent located in the centre of the camp where meals are served. The campfire is ready every evening for appetizers before dinner. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a real safari camp experience with modern comforts.
Enjoy a full day of game drives in the truck in the magnificent Serengeti. Pull up in the park and enjoy a refreshing sundowner and some nibbles before returning to camp. Perhaps the ultimate way to go game viewing is on a hot air balloon safari over the great plains of the Serengeti National Park. Hot-air ballooning in East Africa can be an unforgettable experience, an exceptional way to see this part of the world. We strongly recommend booking this extra activity prior to departure if you're interested. Tonight we have a private dinner under the stars within our permanent tented camp while listening to the sounds of the Serengeti.
After an early morning game drive, it's time to leave the park and travel to the Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 5 hours). It's one of Africa's most beautiful nature reserves and the world's largest intact caldera. Upon arrival you will check into your accommodation, which is located just outside of the crater. This small and exclusive lodge faces the Oldeani Volcano and is located approximately 15 kilometres from the Ngorongoro Lolduare gate.
In the morning, climb aboard the 4WD for your descent to the crater floor. Hopefully you'll see some, or all, of the 'big five' creatures that rule here. Animals within the Ngorongoro Crater are less shy of people and safari vehicles, so it's easier to see them up close. Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodlands and hills. The Masai are permitted to water their cattle at the permanent lake and can be seen leading their animals in and out of the crater. The most commonly seen animals are the lion, wildebeest, zebra, eland, bushbuck, cheetah, jackal, buffalo, Grant's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle and black rhinoceros. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please, perhaps with optional walking activities or a coffee tour.
After breakfast, head to Arusha (approximately 4 hours), where some of the fellow travellers may be leaving for their onward journey, along with your tour leader from the East Africa sector. Those continuing to Zanzibar will be transferred to Arusha Airport for a flight. Your time in Zanzibar will be yours to relax, rewind, and recharge in this remote slice of paradise before your African adventure continues south. You will be unescorted for the Zanzibar sector; however, local representatives will be on hand to look after you. On arrival, transfer to the east coast of the island to your wonderful resort, situated along beautiful white sands of the Indian Ocean. This is the perfect place to climb into a hammock with drink and a book, watch stunning sunsets and then relax underneath a blanket of shimmering stars.
Today is a day to choose your own adventure in Zanzibar, however active or relaxing that may be. Perhaps pull up a town along the beach and swim in the turquoise waters, or otherwise, opt for an optional activity. Perhaps you may like to embark on a deep-sea fishing expedition, take a traditional dhow on a sailing trip, or visit the beautiful island of Changuu, also known as Prison Island. This enclave lies about 30 minutes’ boat ride from Stone Town and, as its name suggests, housed prisoners in a jail built in 1893. Now, it is home to giant land tortoises, with an onsite foundation looking after their welfare. If you’re looking at simply lazing at your resort, it has all the facilities needed for the weary traveller and is a perfect place to unwind.
This morning, head into the atmospheric and historic Stone Town (approximately 1 hour) to explore the maze of narrow streets with whitewashed buildings, brass-studded teak doors, quaint shops and bazaars that all reflect a unique blend of architectural traditions. The market and bazaars are fascinating and are ideal spots for topping up your spice collection at home or shopping for souvenirs. With a free afternoon, perhaps learn more about the island’s history at the Old Fort, the Slave Markets, or at the House of Wonders (so-called because it was the first building on the island to have electricity and running water), which houses the Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture. Otherwise, you might like to join a highly recommended tour of the spice plantations, which can be easily arranged through your local representatives. On this tour you'll have the opportunity to see and taste a variety of spices – like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace – as well as tropical fruits. Your guide may also introduce you to some rare plant species, including the henna bush and lipstick tree. Tonight, perhaps enjoy a local cocktail as you soak in the sunset over the Zanzibar coastline.
Today fly south to Johannesburg via Da es Salaam. Please note that this flight will be unaccompanied. On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, take the shuttle to your accommodation for the evening – the Peermont Metcourt Hotel. Read more information about this transfer below, and if you have any questions, ask your booking agent for further details. As you will be flying directly to Victoria Falls tomorrow, it is advised to have a relaxing evening at your hotel, which is part of a larger resort complex, with all the restaurants, entertainment and shopping for you to choose from.
Take an included flight from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls – the largest waterfalls in the world. Please note that this flight will be unaccompanied; however, you will be able to take the courtesy airport shuttle from your hotel back to Johannesburg Airport, and on arrival at Victoria Falls airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your lodge, taking approximately 45 minutes. Your adventure continues with another group briefing at 6 pm. If your flight does arrive early, there are some excellent optional activities to embark on, including morning and afternoon game drives, or walks in the Zambezi National Park. You might also choose an unforgettable helicopter flight over the Falls and the Zambezi Gorges.
This morning you will visit the magnificent Victoria Falls, named by Dr David Livingstone in honour of his English queen. One of the world's true natural wonders, Victoria Falls form the largest sheet of falling water in the world when in full flow. Once inside the park, your guide will take you through the falls area, stopping at different vantage points along the way to explain the history of the falls and their surrounds. After your tour, return to your lodge, where you can take a dip or relax on the deck overlooking a waterhole – look out for elephants passing by! Later in the afternoon, it's back to the Zambezi River for a 2-hour river cruise. The specially designed jet-propelled boats allow you to reach the shallow water among the islands directly above the Victoria Falls. Enjoy included drinks and snacks while meandering between the islands and getting a glimpse of the mist after it has rumbled over the edge of the falls. Keep an eye out for crocodiles bathing in sunshine on the banks, or even elephants submerging themselves in the river.
This morning, visit Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – one of The Intrepid Foundation’s 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. Afterwards, follow the Zambezi River to Botswana and make your way to Chobe National Park (100km; approximately 3 hours, not including border formalities). You will arrive at your lodge at around midday. There you can relax by the pool or take an optional afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park. This can be arranged locally with your leader. You will spend the next two nights in a lodge located just outside Chobe National Park.
Today, embark on a game drive in Chobe National Park. You might see elephants drinking at the water's edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impalas within the park. Then head back to the lodge for breakfast. In the afternoon, take a cruise along the picturesque Chobe River – an ideal location for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, crocodiles and large families of elephants. You will be joined by other travellers on the boat cruise and is equipped with bathroom facilities and small bar to purchase drinks. Enjoy a drink as the sun goes down on the river – a truly special moment.
Heading south, you will continue your journey to the Makgadikgadi Pans for an afternoon excursion (410km; approximately 6 hours). Witness the immensity of this sprawling salt flat, one of the largest in the world. Later you will head to Gweta Lodge, located near the edge of the pans. In the afternoon, leave the lodge in an open game vehicle to and travel out to the Nxaisini pan. Here you’ll sit out in the wild enjoy sundowners and snacks while observing the amazing scenery. With the aid of trackers, you’ll spend some time in the company of the local meerkat colony. Be sure to look out for elephants that meander their way down to the watering hole to quench their thirst. Soak in this incredible place while the sun sets behind the old beautiful baobab. Back at the lodge, relax in the lounge area while you take in your surroundings and reflect on the day's adventure.
After breakfast this morning, it's time to head to Maun, the gateway of the Okavango Delta (approximately 4 hours). For those interested, there is the opportunity to fly over the delta in a small plane for a bird's-eye view. This is a great way to appreciate the vast scale of this waterscape. Your leader can give you more information on this activity and how to reserve a place. Otherwise, the afternoon yours to spend as you please.
Venture to the Okavango Delta (350kms; approximately 6 hours) and board your speedboat. This will take you to your home for the next two nights – a houseboat in the Okavango Delta Panhandle. You will need to pack a small bag or backpack for this trip, as there won't be room for everyone's full luggage. The houseboat has twin-share cabins with bedding, towels and mosquito nets provided. There is also a dining area on the deck, tea and coffee-making facilities and a small collection of books and board games. As evening falls, head to the deck, where your captain will serve dinner. Grab a sundowner, pull up a chair and witness the breathtaking sunset. This is a unique and memorable way to experience the Delta – not really for what you do, but more for the absence of anything to do. The sounds of hippos breaching and grunting, cicadas trilling, and a million mosquitoes seduce you blissfully into the night.
This morning after breakfast, take a speedboat and 4WD to a nearby poling station. From here you will experience the myriad waterways in a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) with a local guide. Your guide will also take you on a short nature walk around one of the many islands in the Delta. After a picnic lunch, return to the houseboat for some relaxation time. You might like to read a book or do some fishing. In the evening, enjoy a drink, pull up a chair and watch the day turn to night before your captain serves up dinner once again on the deck.
Travel on to Ghanzi, the 'Capital of the Kalahari' (400km; approximately 7 hours). Your accommodation tonight is at a community project in Ghanzi and is a much more basic than what you will encounter throughout your journey. However, the concept and experience of the lodge is well worth it. The lodges support the local San and San D'Kar community through employment. The San people are renowned as the most skilful trackers on Earth and have an extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari for both plants and animal tracking. If time permits you may choose to do the optional walk. Here you will be shown the wide variety of both edible and medicinal plants, while also tracking a variety of animals and learning about their habitats. Of course, you will also spend quality time with your guides to understand their very different world view. Later, a traditional meal will be served in the communal lounge and dining area. You will then experience the ancient dance rituals of the San around the campfire. This is a real cultural experience and a great way to get to know the locals. On special occasions this could be a healing or trance dance, which can continue all night, and is an intense spiritual experience for both participants and visitors alike.
Cross the border into Namibia today and head to Windhoek (560km; approximately 9 hours, including border formalities). While you're here, perhaps take a look at the excellent German architecture of Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus (co-operative). Your epic adventure continues with another meeting today, usually at 6 pm. Here, you’ll meet with more travellers joining you on this stage of the journey, as well as possibly a new group leader! Continue the introductions with an optional dinner with your group.
Travel to our lodge located just outside Etosha National Park (400 km; approximately 7–8 hours including stops). On arrival the afternoon will be free to relax at the Lodge. Maybe cool off in the pool, read a book, or enjoy a sundowner by the bar. Be sure to charge your camera's tonight. Tomorrow we will have a full day in the Park. This is one of the world's premier game-viewing destinations; spotting animals 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 allow for sightings. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores.
Rise early and enjoy a full day of game viewing in the truck. Keep a close eye on the landscape for black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. The park is also home to some 340 bird species. Return to the lodge and reflect on the day's adventures with your fellow travellers over dinner.
Enjoy a morning Game Drive in the Park then venture off the beaten track as you head into the heart of Damaraland (220 km; approximately 5 hours). Home to Namibia's highest peak, ancient rock paintings and petrified forests, the harshly beautiful and sparsely populated Damaraland region is a land of spectacular contrasts. Depending on the time of year, you might be lucky enough to see the desert elephants that roam the area.
Spend the morning visiting the surrounding sights such as Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest. Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of ancient rock engraving in southern Africa and is a fascinating insight into the past. The Petrified Forest looks back into nature’s history, where 280 million-year-old fossilised tree trunks lie. Continue on to the Living Museum of the Damara, which aims to reconstruct and preserve the 'lost culture’ of the Damara. Learn about this fascinating traditional culture that is, along with the Bushmen, the oldest nation in Namibia. Their original culture was a mixture of an archaic hunter-gatherer culture and herders of cattle, goats and sheep. Due to their loose social structures, the Damara struggle to defend themselves against colonisation – one of the reasons that the culture faced extinction. Return to the lodge around 2 pm, with the rest of the day free to relax by the pool, with a book or a nap.
Travel on through the Namib Desert today (330 km; approximately 6 hours with stops) to reach the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Take in the beautiful, diverse and colourful landscapes that stream past along the way; mountains, sand dunes, ocean waves and, shipwrecks. Your destination is the beachside town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. Upon arrival at Swakopmund, you will check into your hotel and have free time to enjoy this interesting township of German-Namibian atmosphere. The accommodation is within walking distance of the town, and you can enjoy a walk on the beach, or visit the open-air markets or local museum.
With free time today, you may wish to take an optional trip north to Cape Cross, a breeding site for Cape fur seals. There can be in excess of 100,000 seals there at any given time, making for quite the spectacle. Quite a smell too, if the wind happens to change direction. Wander the coastline and attempt to document these beautiful creatures in a photo or two, and visit the large cross that sits nearby, left there by Diego Cao (the first European to arrive on Namibian soil in 1485). There are also a number of optional activities available here (at extra cost) for those who are interested.
Depart your coastal retreat in Swakopmund and head south today towards Sesriem (300 km; approximately 6 hours). Walvis Bay is the hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds, most notably flamingos. If in season you may take quick detour to see these elegant birds. Continue on past moon valley; an eerie rocky granite valley, and the Tropic of Capricorn. Stop by the small settlement of Solitaire before arriving at your lodge. Scattered with abandoned trucks, cars, petrol pumps and cacti, it's the only place between Walvis Bay and Sossusvlei to feature a petrol station, post office, general dealer, and bakery! The local Apple Pie has earned itself quite a reputation too.
Make an early-morning visit to Sossusvlei, which lies at the end of an ancient riverbed. This is a great opportunity for unsurpassed views of the surrounding area. Climbing to the top of Dune 45 will reward you with spectacular vistas of the surreal desert landscape. After breakfast, travel to Dead Vlei, a clay pan best known for the iconic postcard like images that many snap here. The pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world, 'Big Daddy' or 'Crazy Dune' average about 350 metres in height. In the afternoon you will visit Sesriem Gorge, a tranquil natural corridor that you can walk through and explore. Return to the lodge for the evening.
Depart Sossusvlei early this morning and travel to Fish River Canyon (600 km; approximately 8-9 hours). Your accommodation for the next two nights is a gem hidden in this rugged environment. It's easy to see why the Canyon Lodge is a feature stay on this trip. A fusion of farmhouse flavour and natural splendour, walkways lead to 25 natural stone chalets nestled amongst granite boulders and perfectly landscaped gardens, making it really feel like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. After checking into the lodge you may like to cool off in the stunning pool, wrap up the day with a short excursion to our very own ‘local’ mountain, or simply have a drink and watch the sun go down.
Rise early and witness the colourful sunrise from the edge of Fish River Canyon. At 500 metres deep and over 160 km long, this gaping chasm is one of the largest canyons in the world, ranking close in size to Peru's Colca Canyon and the Grand Canyon in the USA. You will stop at various lookouts, which offer spectacular views and photographic opportunities. Keep an eye out for some of the birds that inhabit this area, including plovers, wagtails, hammerkops and herons. If you're lucky you might even catch a glimpse of a baboon or antelope. After capturing all the photos you like, make your way to the main viewpoint and sit down to enjoy picnic breakfast with an unforgettable view over the canyon. Return to the lodge and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. There are a number of optional activities that you might like to join: take a guided drive to the Fish River Canyon and be inspired by new perspective; meander along the 4x4 Wildebeest Drive watching plains animals; or celebrate sunset from a hillock, overlooking the spectacular scenery.
Farewell Fish River Canyon and head on to Orange River, just a short 2.5-3 hour drive away (approximately 200 km). You should reach your destination on the banks of the river by lunchtime. The Orange River is the longest stream in South Africa, running from high up in the Drakensberg mountain range and down into the Atlantic Ocean. This stream is significant for its role in transporting diamonds, which in turn leaves the deposits that are found along the Namibian coastline. Set off this afternoon on a 3-kilometre canoe journey down the Orange River. The canoe trip will be done in two-person canoes with a local guide. It is a slow paced, easy trip, and you should be travelling simply down stream for most or all of the trip.
Leaving Namibia behind, you will cross the border and travel into South Africa (approximately 7 hours). The approximately 450-kilometre drive will be south of the Orange River to a wine farm in Trawal. You will arrive in the late afternoon or early evening (depending on border crossing formalities). Highlanders is a working wine farm nestled among the farmland of the Olifants River area, sitting at the foot of the Cedarberg mountain range. The farm uses water from the oldest irrigation scheme in South Africa and delivers its grapes to Klawer Cellars, a local cooperative wine cellar. Dutch settlers planted the first vineyards in the area in the late 1600s. However, the vineyards only flourished after the canal was built from Clanwilliam Dam during World War II, and have since won prizes both locally and internationally. This evening you’ll enjoy a unique wine tasting, taking in seven of the regions finest wines with your experienced and knowledgeable host ‘Sparky’.
Continue on to the South African capital, Cape Town (300 km; approximately 5 hours). With its stunning coastline, dramatic surrounding mountains and modern cityscape, Cape Town is one of Africa's most appealing cities and a great place to end the trip. The rest of the day until the evening is at your leisure. The infamous Robben Island (Nelson Mandela’s prison for 18 years), vineyards, the V&A Waterfront, adventure activities and plenty of good restaurants and cafes are all at your doorstep. If time permits, you can take the cable car up to Table Mountain. This evening you’ll enjoy a memorable dinner with the group in the Bo-Kapp region of Cape Town. Known for its brightly coloured houses and situated at the foot of Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap is the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community. Bo-Kaap has a fascinating history. Many of the residents are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and various African countries, who were imported to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch during the 16th and 17th centuries. The slaves were (often mistakenly) known as “Cape Malays”, and the term has stuck, with Bo-Kaap known today as the Cape Malay Quarter. Get an insight into this history when you step inside the ‘purple house’ of Faldela and her family. Learn how to make samosas, before sitting down to an authentic home-cooked dinner. Taste some of the traditional dishes such as ‘Bredie’, ‘Chilli Bites’ and ‘Koesisters’. Learn about why the houses are painted in bright colours and how the community supports each other from your story-telling host.
You journey through Namibia and South Africa comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and this trip finishes after breakfast. There’s plenty to see and do in Cape Town and extending your stay is recommended. Please speak to your booking agent about additional post tour accommodation.
|Start date - End date||Trip Status||Price|
|03/APR/2020 - 20/MAY/2020||OR LR DG||AU$34010 |
(single supplement $6620)
|05/JUN/2020 - 22/JUL/2020||FS DG||AU$34010 |
(single supplement $6620)
|03/JUL/2020 - 19/AUG/2020||FS DG||AU$35020 |
(single supplement $6620)
|11/SEP/2020 - 28/OCT/2020||FS DG||AU$35020 |
(single supplement $6620)
|25/SEP/2020 - 11/NOV/2020||FS DG||AU$35020 |
(single supplement $6620)
|26/MAR/2021 - 12/MAY/2021||FS||AU$36515|
|23/APR/2021 - 09/JUN/2021||FS||AU$35520|
|04/JUN/2021 - 21/JUL/2021||FS||AU$35520|
|02/JUL/2021 - 18/AUG/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|06/AUG/2021 - 22/SEP/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|27/AUG/2021 - 13/OCT/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|03/SEP/2021 - 20/OCT/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|17/SEP/2021 - 03/NOV/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|01/OCT/2021 - 17/NOV/2021||FS||AU$36575|
|05/NOV/2021 - 22/DEC/2021||FS||AU$36575|