ge Ultimate Southern Africa | Back Track Adventures
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Ultimate Southern Africa


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Day 1: Victoria Falls

Welcome to Victoria Falls! Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you do happen to 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.

Day 2: Victoria Falls

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.

Day 3: Chobe National Park

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.

Day 4: 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.

Day 5: Makgadikgadi Pans

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.

Day 6: Maun

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.

Day 7: Okavango Delta

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.

Day 8: Okavango Delta

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.

Day 9: Ghanzi – Central Kalahari

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.

Day 10: Windhoek

Cross the border into Namibia and head to Windhoek (approximately 6 hours). Take in the German architecture evident in a number of buildings. The finest are the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus. As this is a combination trip, some of your fellow travellers may be leaving you this evening. There will be another group meeting at 6pm and it will be a great opportunity to meet any new travellers who will accompany you through Namibia.

Day 11: Etosha National Park

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.

Day 12: Etosha National Park

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.

Day 13: Damaraland

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.

Day 14: Damaraland

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.

Day 15: Swakopmund

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.

Day 16: Swakopmund

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.

Day 17: Sesriem

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.

Day 18: Sossusvlei / Sesriem

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.

Day 19: Fish River Canyon

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.

Day 20: Fish River Canyon

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.

Day 21: Orange River

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 10-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.

Day 22: Trawal

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’.

Day 23: Cape Town

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.

Day 24: Cape Town

Today is a free day to enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer. Perhaps catch the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, or take a tour across to the fascinating Robben Island. Or if you'd prefer a relaxing day simply wander down to the V&A Waterfront and treat yourself to some of South Africa's finest food and wines.

Day 25: Cape Town

Today is another free day until the important welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If the weather's nice perhaps take the City Sightseeing bus to the Cape Peninsula via Hout Bay.

Day 26: Stellenbosch

Depart from Cape Town after breakfast and head towards lovely Stellenbosch. Visit Vergenoegd winery, a unique estate where you’ll get to meet the waddling workforce of runner ducks used to assist in the control of the snail and pest population in the vineyards. This is a practice the estate have been refining since 1984, and a big part of why Vergenoegd proudly carries WWF biodiversity certification. You arrive in time for the 9:45 am duck parade, and enjoy a cellar tour and wine tasting. Also stop in at the Lanzarac Winery, the home of the first bottled Pinotage, and enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing. There will be time for lunch in either Vergenoegd or Lanzarac, and the evening is at your leisure once you arrive in Stellenbosch.

Day 27: Hermanus

Drive to Hermanus, a coastal town famous for southern right whale watching during the winter and spring. You travel there via Bettys Bay, stopping to visit the Penguin Colony at Stoney Point and the Harold Porter Botanical gardens where there is time to have lunch. Upon arrival in the coastal town of Hermanus, around mid afternoon, there will be a chance to visit the Heart of Abalone, a working abalone farm. This is a chance to not only taste this sought-after delicacy but also get a glimpse behind the scenes of the industry. The rest of the evening free for you to relax and unwind.

Day 28: Hermanus

Enjoy a free day in Hermanus. This town is considered to have the best land-based whale watching in the world. Perhaps enjoy one of the excellent walking trails along the coast. The 12-kilometre Cliff Path is perhaps the most popular of these. The views of Walker Bay and the Mountain Range are breathtaking, and during whale season the cliffs have the perfect spots to sit and watch the whales as they frolic in in the bay (season depending). The famous Whale Crier of Hermanus offers guided cliff path walks during the season. You could also climb aboard a boat to get a closer look at the magnificent sea creatures. Alternatively, tackle hiking trails in Femkloof Nature Reserve, or explore local markets.

Day 29: Oudtshoorn

Drive to Oudtshoorn, via Mossel Bay. While stopped in Mossel Bay, perhaps visit the lighthouse or dip your feet in the Indian Ocean before a seafood lunch. In the afternoon, enjoy a wine and port tasting at Boplass in Calitzdorp. Arrive in Outdshoon, which is known as the ostrich capital of the world. At the turn of the 20th century it was full of 'feather barons' that grew rich from the popularity of ostrich feathers.

Day 30: Oudtshoorn

Spend some time with some meerkats today. On a fun 2–3 hour excursion, head to the burrows of these cheeky meerkats, pull up a chair and sip coffee while the sun comes up and the meerkats climb out into the sunshine. Watch these habituated wild animals, which are never fed or handled by humans, go about their daily routine of foraging and frolicking. It's rare to get this close to them in the wild. Return to the Lodge and enjoy breakfast before driving to the Swartberg Mountains, climbing through the switchbacks of the pass of the same name, looking out across the unique folds of the surrounding rocks. Descend into the town of Prince Albert, a contender for South Africa’s most charming town, full of the architecture of the 18th to 20th centuries. Return to the lodge via the Cango Caves, where you learn about their formation and history from a local guide. Browse the weird and wonderful rock formations including ‘Cleopatra's Needle’.

Day 31: Knysna / Tsitsikamma National Park

On your way to Tsitsikamma, stop in Knysna for an afternoon boat cruise to Knysna Heads, sampling local oysters and wine along the way. Arrive in Tsitsikamma and take in its magnificent raw beauty. Protecting both land and sea, steep ancient forests meet the breakers of the Indian Ocean at this park. It's a spectacular place of deep gorges, tidal pools and empty beaches, perfect for walking and viewing wildlife.

Day 32: Tsitsikamma National Park

Enjoy a hike in Tsitsikamma National Park today. Your leader guides you on a beautiful walk along the boardwalk through a canopy of forest leading to the famous suspension bridge across the ocean. The narrow channel of sheer cliffs get its name, Storms River Mouth, from when the wind gets up and the water hurtles against the rocks, sending spray flying high into the air. After this you double back towards a waterfall. The return trek is approximately 9 kilometres and should take around half a day. However, there will be scenic options along the boardwalk for a shorter trek without the group if you are concerned about your fitness. Keep an eye out for fauna such as cape clawless otters, dolphins, tortoises, southern right whales (in season), baboons, monkeys and various birds. If the afternoon choose the option of regaining those calories burned with a tasting of the regions finest cheeses.

Day 33: Kariega Game Reserve

Travel to Kariega Game Reserve, a Big 5 private safari reserve, with elephants, lions and leopards (approximately 6 hours). Upon arrival freshen up in the beautiful lodge before lunch. The experienced game rangers will then drive you out on safari this afternoon/ evening in an open game-drive vehicle, traversing the valleys, grassy plains and African bushveld to bring you close to the Big 5 and other game roaming freely in their natural habitat. The private reserve incorporates 10,000 hectares of pristine African wilderness, as well as two abundant rivers - the Kariega and the Bushmans rivers.

Day 34: Port Elizabeth

Enjoy a morning game drive before departing to Port Elizabeth. Your trip comes to an end upon arrival in Port Elizabeth at around noon. In case of delays please do not book any flights until after 5pm

#PFUSC#
Start date - End date Trip Status Price
11/MAY/2020 - 13/JUN/2020 FS DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)
15/JUN/2020 - 18/JUL/2020 FS DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)
06/JUL/2020 - 08/AUG/2020 OR DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)
27/JUL/2020 - 29/AUG/2020 OR DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)
17/AUG/2020 - 19/SEP/2020 FS DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)
05/OCT/2020 - 07/NOV/2020 FS DGAU$16380
(single supplement $1600)