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Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)

Victoria Falls to Cape Town
£835 (plus local payment)

Ref: AT050

This comprehensive three week trip begins at the Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world and ends in Cape Town, one of the world's most picturesque cities.  It travels through some incredibly diverse landscapes - tranquil lagoons, arid and hauntingly beautiful deserts, dramatic canyons and richly fertile winelands. Highlights include camping out in the Okavango Delta, game watching in Etosha National Park, climbing the giant sand dunes in Sossusvlei and an overnight excursion in the Chobe National Park.  There are plenty of optional activities to choose from too, from white water rafting on the Zambezi River to quad-biking through the Namib Desert.  Surely something for everyone on this most popular safari. 

Who can join: 18 years and over
Accommodation: Camping
Transfer time: approx. 20 mins
Pick up Point: Explorers Village, Stand 1756, Victoria Falls
Meals: Meals Included as Indicated
Volunteer numbers: approx. 25
Special Offer: S A L E !    S A L E !    S A L E ! 

Duration & Fees

21 days£835
£675

USD 600 - Local Payment

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

2018 Start Dates:

14 Jan | 28 Jan | 11 Feb | 25 Feb | 11 Mar | 25 Mar | 8 Apr | 22 Apr | 6 May | 20 May | 3 Jun | 17 Jun | 1 Jul | 15 Jul | 29 Jul | 12 Aug | 26 Aug | 9 Sep | 23 Sep | 7 Oct | 21 Oct | 4 Nov | 18 Nov | 2 Dec | 16 Dec | 30 Dec

2019 Start Dates:

13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 7 Apr | 21 Apr | 5 May | 19 May | 2 Jun | 16 Jun | 30 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 8 Sep | 22 Sep | 6 Oct | 20 Oct | 3 Nov | 17 Nov | 1 Dec | 15 Dec | 29 Dec

Please note a portion of this trip may coincide with a family departure (6 years and over)

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Pre-trip night dome tent accommodation (bedding provided)
  • Fully equipped expedition vehicle
  • Cooking and camping equipment (sleeping bags not provided)
  • Meals as indicated
  • Park fees and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Pre-departure pack and support and advice from Amanzi Travel staff and trip leaders

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Departure transfer
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Optional excursions
  • Restaurant meals and drinks
  • Laundry
  • Personal items and tips
  • Sleeping bag and pillow and bottled water

Click here to enlargeStart and Finish Points: Victoria Falls to Cape Town
Countries visted: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Departure Point Victoria Falls: Explorers Village, Stand 1756, Victoria Falls
Check in time: 8.45am (departure time to be advised at pre-departure meeting)
Pre-departure Meeting: 5.00pm the day before at the departure point (optional)

Passengers are recommended to arrive the day before their trip departs.  Airport pick up on arrival and one night's pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in the trip fee.  The trip starts in Victoria Falls on Sunday morning and departs on Monday morning, giving everyone a day to explore.  However, anyone wishing to explore Victoria Falls more extensively should arrive in time to do so.  Amanzi Travel can offer advice on accommodation and activities at Victoria Falls.

Itinerary

INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
Entrance to Victoria Falls; Chobe Overnight Excursion; Chobe National Park; Okavango Delta Excursion; Etosha National Park; Spitzkoppe; Swakopmund; Transfer to Sossusvlei; Namib-Naukluft National Park; Fish River Canyon; Canoeing on the Gariep (Orange) River; Wine Tasting and Township Tour.

ZIMBABWE
This land-locked country is situated in the southern part of Africa, between the mighty Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. The word Zimbabwe is believed to have two meanings:  1) it is believed the word Zimbabwe is derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe, which means "large house of stone" in the Shona (Karanga Dialect) language.  2) it is also believed to be derived from the word dzimba-hwe which means "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of Shona. 

DAY 1: Victoria Falls (No Meals)
Today is spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions.   Named after the famous Falls themselves, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River within the Victoria Falls National Park.  The campsite is very conveniently situated in the centre of the town and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops.  It is a short walk down the main road to the entry point to view the Falls which lie between Zimbabwe and Zambia.  At 1700 metres wide and around 100 metres high, Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) was named by David Livingstone on his exploration and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is one of the most memorable sights on this African safari. After the adventure activities briefing the day is spent relaxing at the campsite's swimming pool, viewing the Falls or exploring the town itself.  The Falls can be seen from the Victoria Falls National Park with its many viewing points or from the Zambian side. All offer fantastic photographic opportunities.

Included Activity:  Entrance to Victoria Falls

Optional activities:  Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge which connects Zambia and Zimbabwe or abseil down the Bakota Gorge - neither activity is for the faint-hearted!  All year round flights in fixed wing, microlight and ultralight aircraft or helicoptors provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site.  White water rafting on the Zambezi is considered to be world class. Besides the excitement of the grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats", where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.

BOTSWANA
The size of this successful country can be compared with countries such as Kenya or France, but smaller than Texas. Botswana is a land-locked country with borders with South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe which can all be crossed overland.  For such a small country it boasts an array of spectacular game viewing opportunities such as hundreds of elephants splashing in the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta and its maze of lagoons.

DAY 2: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park (Botswana) (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
After breakfast the border into Botswana is crossed and the tour will head to Kasane where there will be a chance to explore the town.  After lunch when everything is packed and prepared the group will leave for the Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile Excursion - an overnight experience in the wilds of the Chobe National Park.  This is one of Botswana's best known game parks renowned for its large elephant herds.  The afternoon will be spent in search of wildife while game driving to the camp within the park where the evening will be spent surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.  It may be possible to spot the rare Sable and Roan Antelope with its backward slanting horns or perhaps the Lilac Breasted Rollers that come swooping by.  After the night in the bush there will be an early start to continue the search for wildlife before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane.

Included Activity:  Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion

DAY 3: Chobe National Park to Kasane  (B / L / D)
On returning to camp there will be some free time to relax at leisure. Perhaps take a boat cruise on the Chobe River (an optional excursion) or relax at the swimming pool.

DAY 4: Kasane to Maun (B / L / D
Maun is the starting point for travel into the Delta and tonight provisions and packs will be prepared. Travellers are advised to take along a smaller daypack on the trip which can be used to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion.  A full briefing will be given by the trip leader on what to expect and see during the trip into the Delta.

Okavango Delta
The Delta is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan Highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, the Delta is renowned for its incredible variety of bird life and animals and is unique to Southern Africa. A fantastic chance to sit back, relax and have cameras at the ready while drifting along through the dozens of mazes. The Okavango Delta is a bird lover’s paradise enjoyed by all and best explored by foot and mokoro, or perhaps a scenic flight to have a bird’s eye view from the open skies. With over 400 species of birds, 70 species of fish and an abundance of wildlife, the experience in the delta leaves everyone wanting to explore the whole of Africa.

DAY 5: Maun to Okavango Delta  (B / L / D)

Here there is the opportunity to take the included overnight excursion into the Delta.  Rising early the expedition vehicle will be packed and from Maun the group will drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where families live in a traditional way.  Some of these villages are very remote and can only be reached with the traditional mode of transport - the mokoro.  Mokoros are traditional dug out canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds.  At the mokoro station the group will meet the 'polers' and pack supplies before heading out onto the waterways.  After a couple of hours along the waterways the group will arrive at the mobile tented camp situated in the heart of the Okavango. 

On arrival everyone will meet the local staff who will be the hosts during the stay.  A brief introduction to the camp will be given to show everyone their dome tents with twin beds and a bush en-suite bathroom - long drop toilet and a bucket shower.  Relax in the tent with a cold drink or take a paddle in the Delta in a canoe.  The activities at the camp include mokoro trails and guided walking.

Included Activity:  Overnight Delta Excursion

DAY 6: Okavango Delta to Maun  (B / L / D)
After the Mokoro ride and vehicle transfer the group will arrive back around lunch time and have the chance to complete the picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional sunset scenic flight over the Delta - dependent on weather conditions and availability.

DAY 7: Maun to Ghanzi  (B / L / D)
Today the tour will head towards the small village of Ghanzi which will be the last night in Botswana.  Ghanzi is home to the San Bushman and a lot can be learned about them by taking part in the Bushman experience offered by the campsite.

Optional Activity:  Bushman Experience

NAMIBIA
This sandy yet spectacular country gained its independence from South Africa in 1990 and its largest city, also the capital, is Windhoek. This is a country of compelling beauty and wide horizons dominated by the brooding and desolate Namib Desert which has the highest sand dunes in the world.

DAY 8: Ghanzi to Windhoek  (Namibia) (B / L )
Today's drive will take the group through small rural towns and scenic landscapes.  Nestled between the hills, Windhoek is a rather small capital city but has many places of historical interest.  This afternoon is spent at leisure with time to visit the local museum or haggle at the street side markets.  There are also many shops for those in need of a bit of retail therapy.

Optional Activity:  Dinner at Joe's Beer House

DAY 9: Windhoek to Etosha National Park
Today the group will make its way across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects that inhabit the park.  As the vegetation changes so does the animal and bird life that relies on it and so different sections of the Park offer a variety of different game options.   After a full day of game viewing the tour will exit the park at the Anderson Gate and head to the campsite just 10 kms away and perhaps there will be time for a quick dip in the pool before dinner, followed by a relaxing evening in this very interesting bar.

DAYS 10 & 11: Etosha National Park Area (B / L / D)
Today the group will drive further south through the Namibian countryside to the campsite, located in the vicinity of Etosha National Park.

Included Activity:  Game Drive in Tour Truck
Optional Activity:  Night Drive

DAY 12: Etosha National Park Area to Brandberg (UIS) (B / L / D)
To-day the group will head south to the area of the Brandberg and depending on the time of arrival there may be time to explore the area.

DAY 13: Brandberg (UIS) to Swakopmund (B )
Today the tour will head for Swakopmund via Spitzkoppe (day trip). Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants and bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along (although the sea water will be very chilly) as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit. Alternatively the lovely promenade makes for a great relaxing walk - though bathing in the ocean may be rather chilly!

DAYS 14: Swakopmund (B)
The next day can be spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions.

Optional activities:  sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding and more. An activity briefing will be held on arrival in Swakopmund.

Sossusvlei - Sesriem Canyon
This salt and clay pan is surrounded by never ending sand dunes which form part of some of the highest dunes in the world - the greatest of which is Dune 45 from where stunning views of the sunrises and sunsets can be seen - wonderful photographic opportunities.  Although Sesriem is not one of the largest or most popular canyons, it makes up for it with character.  The name Sesriem was given to it by the settlers and is Afrikaans - being translated into "six belts".  After returning from their trek the settlers would have to tie six belts together to a bucket in order to scoop water from the canyon.

DAY 15 - 16: Swakopmund to Sesriem (B / L / D)
Leaving Swakopmund, the group will head south to the industrial Walvis Bay before turning inland and towards the desert and entering the Namib-Naukluft Park, one of the oldest deserts in the world.  The group will base itself at Sesriem, a great place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300 m high. The afternoon will be spent exploring this amazing area.

Included Activity:  Climbing Dune 45
Included Activity:  A Visit to Sossusvlei

DAY 17: Sesriem to Fish River Canyon (B / L / D)
After watching the sunrise across this beautiful area the serenity of the dunes will be left behind as the tour heads south to the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it’s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving us access to several viewing points from where the spectacular vistas can be viewed.

Fish River Canyon
Located in the south of Namibia, the Fish River Canyon claims the title of the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest in the world. Being approximately 160 km long, 27 km wide and just over 550 m deep only allows for the brave and fit to take on the hikes and walks it has to offer.

SOUTH AFRICA
With nine different provinces, eleven official languages and three capital cities, South Africa will most definitely make everyone stop in their tracks - WOW!

DAY 18: Fish River Canyon to Garlep River (South Africa) (B / L / D)
This morning will see the tour continuing south, where, after a short drive, the Garlep River will be reached - the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa. Camp will be at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon there will be a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Garlep River, affording the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle. Tonight there is the chance for some fun at the awesome camp bar overlooking the river.

Included Activity:  Canoeing on the Gariep River

DAY 19: Garlep River to Cederberg (B / L / D)
An early morning start sees the group travel south through the Richtersveld and the mining town of Springbok before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. Tonight is spent in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms and the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains.  Tonight will be the last night under the stars!

Included Activity:  Wine Tasting in Cederberg Area

DAY 20: Cederberg to Cape Town (B)
To-day the scenic Cederberg area is left for travel south towards Cape Town. The group will travel through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape‟s wine growing regions. The first sighting of the Mother‟s City Table Mountain across Table Bay means the final destination has been reached and tonight‟s accommodation is in dormitories in one of Cape Town‟s best loved hostels. After everyone has checked in and had lunch, the group will depart on a township tour in and around Cape Town and the group will be dropped back at the hostel at the end of the tour.

Included Activity:  Township Tour

Cape Area
Starting in the mother city, Cape Town has much to offer, such as the flat topped Table Mountain, which is awesome for hiking and gives a fantastic aerial view of Cape Town from the top.  Then there is the pulse of the city - Long Street - with all the food outlets and entertainment needed on holiday and plenty of day trips for sightseeing with breathtaking views, winelands tours etc.

DAY 21: Cape Town (No meals)
This morning addresses will be exchanged and everyone will part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!  There is a wide range of actvities available in Cape Town and the surrounding areas including day trips, short tours and longer tours travelling up the beautiful coast of South Africa.  Anyone wishing to spend a few days in Cape Town will be able to book accommodation at the acommodation, Ashanti Backpackers.

Please note that this itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road and weather conditions, political situations and group decisions.  All prices and local payments are subject to change with prior notice.  Due to Tourism Laws in some countries visited there may be a truck and crew change during the trip.

Optional excursions

South Africa:
Various activities in Cape Town - price dependent on choice of activity

Swakopmund:
Quad Biking - US$ 100
Sand Boarding - Lie Down/Stand Up  - US$ 55/US$ 70
Township Tour - US$ 80
Tandem Skydive (weather permitting) - US$ 350
Horse Riding (2 hours) - US$ 100
Fishing - US$ 145
Dolphin Cruise - US$ 80
Kayaking - US$ 95
Paragliding (weather permitting) - US$ 150
Scenic Flight (various - weather permitting) - as per operator
Hot Air Ballooning - weather permitting - US$ 450

Botswana:

Scenic Flight over the Okavango Delta ($300 - USD 350 per plane - maximum 5 persons) - US$ 100
Ghanzi San Bushman Experiece - US$15

Victoria Falls:
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi (full day)(low water) - US$ 150
Bungee Jump Solo (111 m) - US$ 160
River Boarding combo Raft and Board (low water only) - US$ 190
Canoeing on the Zambezi - half day/full day - US$ 150
Tandem Bridge Swing - US$240
Elephant Back Safari US$150 
Bungee, Bridge Swing, Bridge Slide COMBO - US$210
Helicoptor Flight over the Falls - 12/13 mins  - US$ 150
Helicoptor Flight over the Falls - 25 mins - US$ 284

Please note that this is not a full list of available activities - there are many more to choose from.  Prices are approximate and can change at any given time and should be used as a guide only.  Please note that all accommodation and activities in Victoria Falls must be paid for in US dollars cash.

Getting There

Flights should be arranged to arrive into Victoria Falls Airport.  Please make sure to arrive in plenty of time for thr trip departure.   Travellers are recommended to arrive the day before the start date and depart the day after the end date to allow for any delays.  Arrival transfer and one night's pre-trip accommodation are included in the trip price.   Full details will be in provided in the pre-departure pack. 

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can help with any flight requirements upon request

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Victoria Falls to Cape Town, Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)Victoria Falls to Cape Town, Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)Meals on tour
Meals and menus vary as food is purchased en-route and is subject to what is available seasonally in the areas travelled through. As the aim is to support the local communities along the way, fresh produce is mainly purchased directly from the local grower and sometimes has an organic appearance.  The safari cooks are able to offer a wide variety of menus with the ingredients available, even if the produce on offer is not the same as that at home. Breakfast spread consists of bread (toast when time permits), spreads and cereals with a hot breakfast every few days. Lunches are mainly prepared en-route with a supply of "build your own" sandwich ingredients available.  Dinners are cooked in the evenings on arrival at the campsite and a wide array of dinner menus is on offer during the safari including curries, stews, pastas, BBQs and even roasts.

Transport on tour
The overland vehicles are custom bult converted Mercedes Benz or MAN trucks that have seating space for all passengers and a storage area for luggage and all trip equipment. The trucks seat between 27 - 30 passengers on the camping trips.  Most seats are forward facing, although some models have a combination of forward, backward and some inward facing seats with tables.  Vehicles have sliding glass windows and the seating area is raised giving great game viewing and photographic opportunities.  Seats are cushioned and there is storage space for personal items such as cameras, snacks and day packs in the seating area.

Participation on tour
These are participation tours and all passengers are expected to help out around the camp. The crew members will set up a rota system and passengers will help with cleaning duties, cooking duties and so on.  This makes it easier for everyone and is a good chance for the passengers to get to know each other.

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.

Climate

For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest


South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

Click here to view the full interactive mapBotswana - Book Your Experience of a Lifetime

Why visit Botswana?

Botswana is a land of dramatic contrasts, from the crystal clear waters of the Okavango Delta, to the large elephant herds in the Chobe National Park, the abundant birdlife in Moremi Game Reserve and the vast savannah of the Kalahari desert, which covers over 70% of the country. It is no wonder that Botswana has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Surrounded by the sands of the Kalahari Desert is the magical oasis of the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta, formed by ancient seismic shifting of the earth's surface. Wide grassy floodplains are host to a magnificent array of wild animals. Within this lacework of channels, game viewing and bird watching is frequently guided from mokoro (dugout canoes) or more commonly, environmentally-friendly fibreglass replicas. In these slender flat-bottomed craft, visitors are propelled by expert polers.

Chobe National Park, approximately 62 miles due west of Victoria Falls, is abundant with wildlife all year round, and features the beautiful Chobe River on its northern boundary. Throughout the area numerous clay-bottomed pans hold water during the short rainy season. During the rainy season, from November, one can witness the zebra migration from the north-western area of Linyanti heading south through the Savute plains to the salt pans around Makgadikgadi, where the foals are born. The herds then return to Linyanti between February and April.

The Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the most remote and unspoiled parts of Africa. At certain times of the year, usually during the summer rains, the northern section of the Park is one of the prime game viewing areas of Botswana, not to mention the breathtaking landscapes that await discovery.

Highlights of Botswana

  • Seventeen percent of Botswana is comprised of pristine national reserves, featuring some of Africa's most beautiful subtropical wilderness, generally teeming with wildlife.
  • A land of awesome contrasts - from the vast plains of the Kalahari Desert to the crystal clear waters of the world's largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta.
  • Game viewing by mokoro (dugout canoe) in the Delta is unforgettable.
  • Sunshine totals are high all year round, although winter is still the sunniest period.
  • Chobe National Park is home to the mighty Chobe River and what is arguably the world's largest concentration of elephants.
  • View Botswana’s annual zebra migration in the Linyanti and Savute areas.
  • Moremi Game Reserve is renowned for its superb birdlife.
  • The game-filled Central Kalahari Game Reserve, at 54,600 km2, is Botswana's largest reserve.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (October -April) 45 °C 25 °C
Winter/dry ( May - September) 26 °C 0 °C
Rainfall: November - March

Botswana is semi-arid, due to the short rain season. It experiences extremes in both temperature and weather.

In the winter (late May through September), days are normally clear, warm and sunny, and nights are cool to cold, with average temperatures of around 14 °C. The whole country is windy and dusty during the dry season. Wildlife never wanders far from water sources, so sightings are more predictable than in the wetter summer season. This is also the time of school holidays, so some areas can be busy, especially between mid-July and mid-September.

In summer (October to April), Botswana has hot summers with average temperatures around 26 °C. Wildlife can be harder to spot and rains can render sandy roads impassable. This is also the time of the highest humidity and the most stifling heat, where daytime temperatures of over 40°C are common, so the magnificent afternoon showers can be a welcome relief.

The main rains fall between December and March, but often just in the form of brief thundershowers that last an hour or two before the sun re-emerges. The sunlight after an African storm is incredibly intense and superb for wildlife photography. The summer rains also bring spectacular migrant birds to Botswana.

Key Facts

Population – 2 million
Capital - Gaborone
Currency –pula (BWP)
Official Language(s) – English and Setswana

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 267, international access code 00

Click here to view the full interactive mapNamibia - Work At a Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

Why visit Namibia?

Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that makes one question whether something so visually fabulous could actually exist. It is characterised by vast open spaces, with breathtaking scenery and great contrasts – ocean, dunes, mountains and deserts. A predominantly arid country, Namibia can be divided into four main regions. The Namib Desert and vast plains of the Skeleton Coast in the west; the eastward-sloping Central Plateau; the Kalahari desert along the borders with South Africa and Botswana; and the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions – a magical undeveloped oasis of waterways and wildlife, providing abundant game and birdlife viewing opportunities.  Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world’s grandest national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park. The Namib-Naukluft Park is superb for hiking, with a number of spectacular trails. It is also home to the renowned dunes of Sossusvlei - said to be the highest in the world - and the fascinating Sesriem Canyon. Windhoek is the country’s geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of people, while surfers, anglers and beach-lovers won’t want to miss Swakopmund, with its lively entertainment and sporting activities.

Highlights

  • Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s finest parks, both in size and diversity of wildlife.
  • The Namib-Naukluft Park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world.
  • Two spectacular deserts - the Kalahari and Namib - each with distinctive wildlife and scenery.
  • The Namib, at 80 million years, is the world's oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
  • The Namib and Damaraland offer remarkably clear skies for astronomers and keen star gazers.
  • Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon – it is 161km long, up to 27km wide and 550m deep.
  • Sossusvlei are said to be the highest sand-dunes in the world.
  • Superb birding and good fishing is available from the banks of the Kavango and Kunene Rivers on the northern border.
  • Popular self-drive destination with excellent infrastructure.
  • Largely malaria-free.
  • More than 300 days of sunshine per year.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (October - April) 40 °C 20 °C
Winter/dry (May - September) 25 °C 0 °C
Rainfall: October – December “little rains”, January to April more stormy period

The winter months (May - September) range from 25 to 30°C during the day but night temperatures may drop to below freezing. June to August is the dry season with very little rain. This can be a good time for game viewing as wildlife converge at the waterholes.

The summer months (October - April) can reach highs of over 40°C and nights in the 20°C range (in the arid central Namib Desert temperatures can fall to below freezing during the night). This is a summer rainfall area, but overcast and rainy days are few and far between. Welcome thundershowers may occur in the late afternoon, bringing relief to flora and fauna. In October and November, large herds of blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok and oryx migrate from the Namutoni area to Okaukuejo, where they remain until May.

Rainfall is heaviest in the northeast, which enjoys a sub-tropical climate, and reaches over 600mm annually along the Okavango River. The northern and interior regions experience ‘little rains’ between October and December, while the main stormy period occurs from January to April.

Key Facts

Population – 2.1 million
Capital - Windhoek
Currency - Namibian dollar
Language – official language English; most widely spoken is Afrikaans; half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as their first language. German is also widely spoken, plus some Portuguese.
Namib – means “open space”
Etosha – means “great white place”
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 264, international access code 00

Click here to view the full interactive mapZimbabwe - From Mana Pools National Park to Victoria Falls

Why visit Zimbabwe?

The beautiful country of Zimbabwe offers something for everyone; from the absolute wilderness of Mana Pools National Park, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and the mountains overlooking Mozambique, to fine dining in Harare or bunjee jumping over Victoria Falls.  It is rich in culture and colour and the Zimbabweans have not lost their humour and resolve.

Victoria Falls is one of the worlds’ biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, with a network of trails leading through the rain forest surrounding the “smoke that thunders”. Take an umbrella and raincoat and gaze at the incredible vistas of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls village is home to a seemingly endless variety of adventure sports from bungee jumping to canoeing and white-water rafting. Apart from its appeal to adventure enthusiasts the village still has a gracious, pioneering and colonial atmosphere.

Hwange Park is one of the finest conservation areas in Africa and is said to contain the widest variety and greatest density of wildlife in the world. Game viewing is generally restricted to the Hwange Park road network, but it has private concession areas allowing off-road safaris and nature walks. Mana Pools is an unspoiled, remote Park in the Zambezi Valley, a subtropical region, with the terrain and vegetation varied from the river up to the Zambezi Plateau. Walking is allowed (at visitor's own risk) and can be exhilarating and rewarding, if caution is taken.

Lake Kariba is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, with abundant game-sightings and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish. The Lake provides pleasure to locals and visitors alike with fishing, canoeing, sailing or drifting along on a houseboat. The Matopo Hills is an area of incredible beauty with a mythical history and a proud people, the Matebele. The Matobo Hills were so named because they looked like the bald heads of indunas (chiefs). The entire region is a complex of bizarre and exposed granitic formations. Once inhabited by the bushman, today one can find magnificent examples of rock art in and amongst the caves. The Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's prime wildlife sanctuaries with a large population of white rhino, the elusive black rhino, a variety of antelope species, baboon, rock hyraxes and a large population of leopard and black eagle.

Highlights of Zimbabwe

  • The magnificent Victoria Falls are classed as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Zimbabwe is home to four World Heritage Sites - Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and the Khame Ruins.
  • Lake Kariba is one of the world's largest man-made lakes, with abundant game and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish.
  • Magnificent national parks include Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Chizarira.
  • Adventure activities abound and include canoeing on the lower Zambezi, kayaking and rafting on the upper Zambezi, and bungee jumping at Victoria Falls.
  • For high adventure enthusiasts, white-water rafting is most exciting when the Zambezi waters are low (generally from August to December) and is often referred to as the best one-day white-water rafting in the world.
  • Canoeing down the Lower Zambezi affords an ideal opportunity to get close to Africa's wildlife.
  • Magnificent scenic areas in the Eastern Highlands Highlights of Zimbabwe.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (November - April) 30 °C 14 °C
Winter/dry ( May - October) 20 °C 5 °C
Rainfall: November – March

Zimbabwe offers excellent game-viewing opportunities throughout the year. Due to Zimbabwe’s high altitudes, it has a beautiful and moderate climate, where temperatures are never very extreme.  It has warm summers, November to April, where days are generally sunny in the morning with possible dramatic afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Temperatures of 35°C in summer are considered boiling.

Winter occurs from May to October and days are sunny and cool to warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Temperatures of 7°C in winter are considered freezing. The end of the cool, dry season, around September/October, is the top time for wildlife viewing.

The main rains fall between November and March, although the Eastern Highlands are damp for most of the year. The Victoria Falls are spectacular in April and May after the rainy season.

Key Facts

Population – 12.5 million
Capital - Harare
Currency – none. The Zimbabwean dollar was suspended by the government due to hyper-inflation. The US dollar, South African rand, Botswanan pula, pound sterling and Euro are used instead. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions with the new power-sharing regime.
Language – English is the official language, with Shona and Ndebele being recognised regional languages

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 263, international access code 00

Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)

I had a wonderful time on the overland tour. I have met some incredible people and seen such wonderful things. Everything was perfect

Lavinia, UK, aged 36

Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)

Amanzi travel were truly amazing when myself and two friends wanted to book a trip to Africa. We were recommended to Amanzi travel by a friend who had previously done a volunteer project through them. We went on the Southbound 21 day overland tour... and what a trip it was, we loved every single minute. Amanzi travel were very accommodating and very helpful with everything from sorting flights, payments etc, even replying to emails on the same day, if not the next, and only a phone call away. A fabulous service with extremely helpful staff, that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to book a once in a life time experience. I will certainly be using Amanzi travel for my future trips to Africa!

Kerrie, UK, aged 30

Southern Sun 21 Day (Southbound)

Excellent - Long drives but made worth it by absolutely amazing experiences!!

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Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34

The overland trip was excellent - really well run. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ...   

Amanzi Travel are excellent - professional, informative but with a real personal service ...     The cheetah volunteer project was an absolutely fantastic experience, and the Overland trip was brilliant.

Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34 (Cheetah Volunteer Project and Overland Trip)

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