Africa Expedition Tour: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana & Zambia

A More than 18 day trip to Botswana, Namibia, South Africa & Zambia 

Take an epic road journey across four countries from Cape Town in South Africa to the iconic Natural Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls, in Zambia. Roam through sand dunes and desert landscapes in Namibia; experience the wetland wilderness of the Okavango Delta and the big game sanctuary of the Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana along the way. Travel in a custom-built 16-seater expedition vehicle with plenty of room and window space, accompanied by a photographic guide who will help you get the best images of your African odyssey. This journey is sure to impress you with lifelong memories unlike any other.

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

The Chobe River with lush greenery on the river's edge and a baobab tree in the foreground | Botswana, Africa
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Orange River, Fish River Canyon, Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Cape Cross, Brandberg, Cheetah conservation project, Etosha National Park, Okavango Delta, Maun, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls (Zambia)

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: The Road North From Cape Town

Meet your guide in the morning and climb aboard a vehicle to begin your adventure. Leaving Cape Town behind, you drive along Big Bay to Blaauwberg, where you stop for your first landscape photograph. From here, the beach sweeps away towards Table Mountain in the distance, and the classic vista of Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head framing the huge, flat-topped massif is an ideal subject. 

Climb back aboard and take the road north, up the West Coast towards Namibia. This landscape is starkly beautiful, and at certain times of the year, this rugged terrain is carpeted in a luxuriant display of colorful flowers. In the afternoon you arrive at a hot springs resort, where you will camp for the evening. 

Day 2: Into Namibia

After a quick swim in the deliciously warm water, you head north and cross the border into Namibia. Arriving at your campsite on the bank of the Orange River, you notice the grand scale of the landscape here- the valley is deeply carved and dramatic, and this is a taste of what to expect in Namibia. 

Day 3: Paddle on the Orange River

You enjoy a morning canoeing on the river with a guide. Paddling on this huge body of water through a dramatically etched rocky valley, you gain a sense of the vast passage of geological time that must have passed to create such amazing rock formations.  

Setting off again, you drive to the Fish River Canyon, where a landscape of incredible grandeur awaits you. Comparable to the Grand Canyon, this huge gash in the earth offers incredible photographic opportunities. In the light of the late afternoon, the rocks take on a reddish glow, and the canyon floor, far below you, begins to be swallowed by deep shadow. You enjoy a sundowner drink on the canyon rim before heading back to your campsite. 

Day 4: Into the Namib

Depart the Fish River Canyon after breakfast, and set off for Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. The landscapes are truly epic along the way, where huge outcrops of rock loom over vast gravel plains and jagged mountains rear into the sky. Feeling dwarfed by the sheer size of this place, you arrive at your campsite near the Sesriem Canyon. 

Day 5: Into the Dunes

An early start sees you heading into the dunes of Sossusvlei. These mountains of sand are among the largest in the world, and their sinuous shapes and shadows make for compelling photographs. If you are feeling energetic, climb the dune known as Big Daddy- the view from the top is well worth the effort of getting there, and then you can tumble all the way down! 

Day 6: Swakopmund

After breakfast, hit the road again for Swakopmund. This quaint Germanic town sits between the desert and the ocean, and is often enigmatically wreathed in a sea mist. The seaside promenade is a wonderful place for a sunset stroll, and a variety of cafes and restaurants serve up fantastically fresh seafood. 

Day 7: Swakopmund Adventures

The town has a host of adventure activities on offer, and you can choose between skydiving over the desert to zooming around in the dunes on a quad bike. Alternatively, wander the streets, museums and promenades of this fascinating town, steeped in German history and crowded on all sides by creeping desert. 

Day 8: Cape Cross to Brandberg

In the morning, you visit the Cape Cross seal colony, where thousands upon thousands of Cape fur seals cover the beach and frolic in the surf. Keep an eye out for jackals, brown hyenas and vultures, as they often lurk nearby to feed on dead seals. 

Next, the road turns inland and takes you to the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain, that is visible from a great distance away as it rises out of the surrounding gravel plains. Several Namibian tribes revere the mountain, and its name translates as the ‘Burning Mountain’ in reference to its color at sunset. You take a hike into the foothills to see the extraordinary rock art panel named the “White Lady”, which is the work of San Bushmen some 2,000 years ago. 

Day 9: Visit the Cheetah Outreach Program

Depart the Brandberg after breakfast, and head for a cheetah conservation project. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about these amazing cats and the conservation problems that face them as they come into conflict with livestock farmers. You also get the chance to interact with them, and you marvel at their long legs, graceful bodies, deep chests and thick tails- all designed to make them the world’s fastest land mammal.

Day 10: Into Etosha

Continuing northwards, the road leads you to Etosha National Park. ‘Etosha’ in the local language means ‘place of dry water’ and is in fact an enormous salt depression over thousands of square kilometers. 

Days 11-12: Experience Etosha

Set off into the park in the morning and late afternoon game drives, where this vast and flat landscape contains a surprising amount of wildlife. The sight of elephants, grayish white from the region’s dust, marching across a space that makes even them seem tiny is awe-inspiring. Waterholes attract a plethora of animals and you can spot oryx, springbok, giraffe, zebra and kudu as they arrive to slake their thirst, and if you look carefully, you might spot the tawny shape of a lion lying in wait under a thorn bush. 

In the heat of the day, the swimming pool at your campsite provides a welcoming retreat as you wait out the midday hours between game drives. In the evenings, the nearby waterhole is lit up by floodlights- it is fascinating to sit and watch which animals emerge from the dark for a drink. 

Day 13: The Caprivi Strip

Head east from Etosha into the Caprivi Strip, where the landscape, with vegetation watered by the Kavango River, becomes denser and lusher. You camp on the riverbank, aware that downstream lies the fabled Okavango Delta, your next destination. 

Days 14-16: An Okavango Adventure

Cross into Botswana and head for the Panhandle region of the Okavango. Leaving your vehicle behind, the final part of the journey requires 4 x 4 trucks and motorboats as the terrain becomes sandier and marshier. Arriving at the water’s edge, you climb into a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe that local tribes have used to navigate these waterways for centuries. With a poler standing at the back, he pushes you out over the water for an unforgettable adventure. The Delta is a huge maze of channels, waterways and lagoons that are dotted with tree islands and flooded plains. An oasis in the arid Kalahari Desert, it supports an astonishing variety of life. Hippos snort in the deeper channels, crocodiles slide from sandbanks, fish eagles scream in the sky and kingfishers dart like glittering jewels through the papyrus. Red lechwe antelope and Cape buffalo are seen in the floodplains near the channels, and herds of elephants crash through the tree islands. At night while camping on an island, you might hear the roars of several lion prides warning each other off, interspersed with the manic giggling of hyenas. 

Day 17: Maun

Leave the Okavango behind and travel south to the small town of Maun. It still retains a frontier-town atmosphere, despite growing considerably in recent years as the African safari industry has mushroomed in the Delta. You can relax in the pool garden at your campsite, or take a scenic flight in a light aircraft over the Delta for an entirely new perspective of this amazing ecosystem. 

Day 18: Into Chobe National Park

Depart Maun and head into the vastness of the Chobe region. Huge swathes of mopane trees that seem to go on forever dominate the landscape. Keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way, you arrive at your campsite on the bank of the Chobe River in the late afternoon. You can hear hippos chortling in the water, and fish eagles perch in the trees overhead. 

Day 19: A Chobe adventure

Set off into Chobe National Park for a game drive in the coolness of the early morning. This huge park boasts what is considered the largest concentration of elephants in the world, and is also a haven for big cats, buffalo and the critically endangered African wild dog. These predators are highly social, and hunt with astonishing speed and precision, often over huge distances that their rangy legs effortlessly carry them. 

In the afternoon, climb aboard a motorboat and cruise out onto the Chobe River. Here you will have an opportunity to photograph a multitude of birds at close range, see hippos at eye-level, and if you are lucky, be treated to the sight of a herd of elephants making their way across the river. These huge animals are good swimmers, and when the water gets too deep to stand, they use their trunks like snorkels! 

Day 20: Into Zambia

Follow the Chobe River north until it meets the Zambezi, and there make the crossing by ferry into Zambia. A short while later you will arrive in Livingstone, a bustling town where a host of adrenaline activities are on offer, focusing on the river and the Victoria Falls, a short distance downstream. 

Day 21: Visit Victoria Falls

In the morning you set off along the pathways overlooking Victoria Falls. This ranks as one of the most impressive sights in the world: a mile-wide curtain of water plunging over a fissure in the earth's crust and boiling into the gorge below. Such is the tremendous power of these falls that the spray rises in a column that can be seen for miles around. The thunder of all that water emits a deep rumble that you can feel in your bones. It is no wonder the local tribes call it ‘Mosi a Tunya’- ‘The Smoke that Thunders.' 

If you aren't ready for your trip to end, or want to customize it further, see the reviews of Botswana safaris for ideas.


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.