Cape Town to the Serengeti: Deserts & Wilderness

Tabbed Group

Overview

Now's the time to explore Africa on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Keen to check off eight countries as "been there" and journey across nearly half of the African continent? Well, give us 40 days and we'll take you on this epic overland adventure. Marvel at the world's highest sand dunes, float through the Okavango in a dugout "mokoro" canoe, and meet the San Bushmen in the blazing Kalahari Desert. You'll soak up vibrant colours, culture, and scenery from the southern tip of Africa up to Kenya. Take the road less travelled and come away with jaw-dropping photos and a deeper understanding of this incredible corner of the globe.

Itinerary

Day 1: Cape Town

Arrive at any time.

Tonight, get to know your group on your first night out together in Cape Town. After a brief welcome meeting or dinner out together head to the clubs on Long Street to explore the vibrant nightlife. Put those dancing shoes on and get to know your fellow travel buddies as the adventure begins.

Get the most out of your time in Cape Town by pre-booking the South African Wine Tour and Tasting extra. If you do, we recommend booking accommodation for an extra night pre-tour as this activity has an early start time. Please note, due to the timings of this activity, there is a possibility you may miss the welcome meeting on day 1 of your tour - in this case, your CEO will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Day 2: Cape Town/Cederberg

Hit the road in style in the Lando and view the stunning Western Cape scenery as the group travels to the G Adventures-supported !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre. Here you will learn about the history and culture of the ancient Sans people and be able to directly help this centre preserve that heritage.

In the afternoon the group will arrive at your first campsite where you can enjoy free time to sip on some local wine, kick a footy around with the local kids, or simply chill out by the campsite’s swimming pool overlooking the vineyards.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cederberg/Orange River

Travel further north past large plantations of rooibos tea. You will be camping at the scenic Orange River for the night where you can kick back, relax, reflect, and enjoy a late afternoon swim in the river. If you are still in need of some activity choose to book a canoe excursion on the river. Other than that your only job today is to enjoy yourself and have a relaxing time.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Orange River/Fish River Canyon

Yes, we know you could stay at the oasis of Orange River for much longer than one night, but this group has things to do and places to see so get a move on and cross another country off those travel lists as the group heads over the border into Namibia.

The next stop is Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa, and arguably the second largest in the world. Hop off the Lando, do some stretches, take in the majestic beauty of the canyon and together watch as the vibrant sunset slips over the canyon’s rim. Then it’s on to camp to enjoy each other's company around the campfire as the stars begin to rise.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fish River Canyon/Namib Desert

While the group has a lot of ground to cover today don’t let that daunt you. You have been so on the go lately you won’t mind the rest of a long drive (besides, by now you probably have loads to talk about with everyone).

Pass by the small and desolate towns of Bethanien and Helmeringhausen and continue north along long and bumpy roads, en route to the Namib Desert. Then, embrace the bizarreness of this environment by really taking the time to enjoy it. The group will arrive in the area in the late afternoon, where the towering red sand dunes of Sossusvlei make you really feel as though you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Set up camp and get some rest for the fun days ahead!

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Namib Desert

If you book the optional Sossusvlei Desert Walk you will have the chance to visit a clay pan surrounded by the world’s largest sand dunes and enclosing ancient dead trees. Opt to take a guided walk at the dunes, and enjoy some free time to explore them on your own. Arrive back at our campsite around lunch time and take down tents, pack up the Lando, and drive to the next desert campsite.

Also don’t miss out on the other optional Namib Desert dunes bush walk to learn more about the desert, dunes, and the way of the bushmen.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Namib Desert/Swakopmund

Bid farewell to your lovely campsite and zoom off further north in the Lando. Get a real feel for the Namib Desert as the group spends hours crossing this empty region over dry mountain passes to get to the adrenaline capital of Swakopmund.

Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the mighty Namib desert this coastal city has strong German heritage which is reflected in the architecture around town. The group will spend two nights in Swakopmund so fear not, you have time for all of the fun activities you want to try.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Swakopmund

The day is yours! Grab some friends or set off alone and conquer this outdoor lovers paradise. From skydiving to sandboarding there’s no shortage of activities to try. Flip a coin to see which will be your fate or even better try them all (we have our eyes feasted on the Skeleton Coast scenic flight).

You can pre-book your sky dive on the checkout page, or through your Global Connection Officer or travel agent.

Day 9: Swakopmund/Spitzkoppe

Bid farewell to lovely Swakopmund and hop in the Lando travelling through the coastal region of Namibia to the granite peaks of Spitzkoppe.

What is Spitzkoppe you ask? Great question! It’s been dubbed the “Matterhorn” of Namibia, but basically if you are the type of person who loves epic climbing, hiking, camping, stargazing, sunrises, and sunsets then Spitzkoppe will have a very special place in your heart.

Upon arrival the rest of the day is yours to explore as you will. This mountaineering paradise will have you breaking out of your comfort zones in no time. Scramble up rock faces to get that perfect view, take selfies under the natural rock arch, get some artsy photos as the sun sets, and after cooking up some grub around the campfire get ready to see the milky way light up the night sky.

Explore on your own by foot, and be sure to check out the night sky—it's great for star-gazing!

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Spitzkoppe/Etosha National Park

Wake up and feel like you crash landed on Mars. Gaze in wonder at this wild landscape and let peace wash over you (trust us you’re going to need it) before the group travels to Etosha National Park for some prime wildlife viewing. As the group enters the park you will enjoy a short safari drive in the Lando on the way to your camp.

As you drive look out over the beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see. After sunset, watch animals at the watering holes near the camping area, which is safe, being well lit with flood lights. Free time this evening allows for the option of a night safari in an open vehicle.

Look out over beautiful desert landscapes as far as the eye can see. There are Himba, Herero, and Damara people along the way selling local arts, and we’ll be sure to make a few stops to find out more about their offerings.


After sunset, watch animals at the watering holes near the camping area, which is safe, being well lit with flood lights. Free time at night allows for the option of a night safari in an open vehicle.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Etosha National Park

It’s time to adventure in 3… 2… 1!

Today, your group will embark on a full-day wildlife safari drive in Etosha NP. It’s crazy the amount of animal species that occupy this smaller protected area (more than 100 different mammals call Etosha home). Try not let your attention wander as you move further and further into the wild lands of Etosha. Play some eye-spy with your travel buddies and go crazy with those cameras because we can’t wait to see what you experience!

The coolest thing about this national park is that because of its size and the large amount of animals within it’s almost as if the wildlife comes directly to you; especially during the dry season (May through October) when the animals all gather around the waterholes creating some of the densest wildlife viewing opportunities in the world.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Etosha National Park/Waterberg Plateau

“Lions and elephants, and springboks… oh my!” By now you will most likely have seen some wildlife and that’s a good thing because it’s time to move on from Etosha further south to the Waterberg Plateau.

Once the Lando pulls to a stop you’ll be itching to stretch those legs so hit the trails in this gorgeous national park searching for secret plunge pools and wildlife such as buffalo, white and black rhino, and giraffe along the way. Or if you are looking to relax, chill out at camp, write in your travel journal, or take a dip in the pool of the group campsite.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Waterberg Plateau/Windhoek

Leave the Waterberg Plateau National Park behind and head south through the Namibian countryside to Windhoek. Along the way you will stop at the G Adventures-supported Penduka Village Restaurant & Shop, just outside of Windhoek where you will enjoy a delicious included lunch.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Windhoek/D'kar

Get ready to check another country off your list as the group crosses the border from Namibia into Botswana. Travel east into the heart of the Kalahari to D’kar. Catch a glimpse of how the local San Bushmen adapted to this difficult landscape on an optional bushman walk.

Then while the day comes to an end enjoy the warm hospitality of the San Bushmen as the group will be staying at the G Adventures-supported Dqae Qare San Lodge & Camp. The best part? You are making a difference in the lives of these people just by enjoying your time at camp. So sit back, allow yourself to become immersed in their history and culture, learn traditional dances around the fire, and share stories (can you say best camping spot yet?) as the stars light up the sky above.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: D'kar/Maun

Kiss the sands of the Kalahari goodbye and jump in the Lando towards Maun; arriving around lunchtime.

Then you have two options for your afternoon. You can take advantage of some leisure time around camp, catch up on some journaling, take some photos, and simply relax in this beautiful setting, or you can take to the air and book a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta for a bird’s-eye view of the fertile lands at your feet. Search for wildlife as you soar through the sky and feel the rush of excitement in your veins.

In the evening set up camp, unwind with your friends and as the night settles around you search for shooting stars above from the comfort of your sleeping bag.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 16: Maun/Okavango Delta

Today is going to be busy, but fun! Wake to the sounds and smells of the bush around you and then dive right into some nature with an overnight excursion into the Okavango Delta. Travel in a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) and do some birdwatching on the way to our basic bush camp for the evening. Arrive around lunchtime, set up camp, and get used to your surroundings.

Then head out for some adventure on a wildlife walk. The cool thing about being on foot is that you will get to learn about tracking the animals and gain insight into their movement patterns and behaviour more than if you were just in a vehicle. As night falls on the group gather around the campfire, sing with the locals, and simply unwind with a sundowner as you count the stars (cheers!)

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Okavango Delta/Gweta

Wake up to the image of the sun rising and watch as the light turns the landscape varying shades of pinks, oranges, and reds. You can’t help but feel completely isolated from the rest of the world being out in the middle of nowhere... our advice? Savour that moment! After rubbing the sleep from your eyes grab those cameras and take one more safari walk before riding in a mokoro back to Maun where you will pack up the Lando and hit the road to the ancient baobab trees of Gweta.

The group will arrive to the campsite mid- to- late afternoon. Have a walk around, take pictures of the baobabs, swim in the pool and enjoy a proper shower after the night in the bush.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Gweta/Kasane

Rise early to the sounds of nature around you and choose to embark on a morning safari or river cruise through Chobe NP before travelling north with your group to Kasane.

“I bless the rains down in Africaaaaa” ahh we can just hear it now... (and it has never sounded so good!) because surely someone is bound to play this song as you drive through the verdant lands between Gweta and Kasane. Turns out Toto knew what they were talking about because the rains in Africa are no joke. Rain brings life to the pans awakening the dormant fish and aquatic shrimps from the mud. The surrounding grasslands also teem with life and are home to many antelope, which attract a wide variety of predators. Keep your eyes focused as the world passes you by and then reward yourself with a group toast as you camp under the stars.

Journey to the area of Chobe National Park, home to the largest elephant population in Southern Africa. The best way to appreciate the area’s thousands of resident elephants, crocodiles and hippos, is with an optional sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River.

You can pre-book the Chobe River Sunset Cruise on the checkout page, or through your Global Connection Officer or travel agent.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 19: Kasane/Victoria Falls

Buckle those seat belts and cross the border from Botswana to Zimbabwe; home of epic Victoria falls. All that driving is bound to make you hungry and we have a treat for you today! The group will be having a traditional lunch at the G Adventurers-supported Lusumpuko Women's Club. With full bellies and even more full hearts get ready to feel the mist in the air as you enter the town of Victoria Falls.

Opt to prebook the Chobe National Park Safari Drive and head out early into the park before crossing the border from Botswana to Zimbabwe at the Kazungula border post.

Continue on to the town Victoria Falls, a great base to see falls, and take part in some exciting activities.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 20: Victoria Falls

Morning fellow adventurers! Get close and personal with one of the largest waterfalls in the world on this free day in Victoria Falls. Feel the strength of the water splashing your skin on the observation deck, take in the sound of tons of water thundering over the edge of the falls in the distance and make your day as relaxing or hair-raising as you like.

For the adventurous we recommend going whitewater rafting, taking a scenic helicopter flight over the falls (epic selfies anyone?), or taking the plunge (literally) while bungee jumping with Victoria Falls in sight. (Oh man... just thinking of that makes our heads spin and our palms sweat!) Not looking to turn your hair gray today? That’s okay we understand, you could also enjoy a nice cold beer at a bar overlooking this world wonder. Either way the choice is yours, but remember you’re here now so why not escape those comfort zones?

Victoria Falls is a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view.

Day 21: Victoria Falls

Get close and personal with one of the largest waterfalls in the world on this free day in Victoria Falls. Feel the strength of the water splashing your skin on the observation deck, taking in the sound of tons of water thundering in over the edge of the falls in the distance and make your day as relaxing or hair-raising as you like.

For the adventurous we recommend going whitewater rafting, taking a scenic helicopter flight over the falls (epic selfies anyone?), or taking the plunge (literally) while bungee jumping with Victoria Falls in sight. (Oh man... just thinking of that makes our heads spin and our palms sweat!)

Not looking to turn your hair gray today? That’s okay you could also enjoy a nice cold beer at a bar overlooking this world wonder. Either way the choice is yours, but remember you’re here now so why not escape those comfort zones?

Day 22: Victoria Falls/Lusaka

Buckle those seat belts, set off early around 6am, and cross the border from Zimbabwe into Zambia. The long journey across rough and bumpy roads will take you to a private farm 29km (18 mi) outside the capital of Zambia and will have you feeling so accomplished because we all know now that driving on rough terrain is no picnic!

Get out, stretch those legs and marvel together at the zebras, buffalo, and the bok that freely roam the property. Then grab a cold drink at the camp’s bar (cheers!) or relax by the pool to celebrate the success of your long journey.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 23: Lusaka/South Luangwa

Rise and shine and begin today’s journey. We have a lot of ground to cover so be prepared to set off early and arrive late in the afternoon in your next destination. Use this time to get to know the members of your group better, swap stories, share some laughs, or even sit quietly and reflect, there’s time for both. The group will travel across the Zambian countryside before arriving at the campsite along the banks of the Luangwa River.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 24: South Luangwa

Guess where you’re going today! South Luangwa National Park. The day is yours to spend in this wildlife haven. Choose to go on a walking safari (just remember it’s seasonal), a night drive, or visit a nearby local village. No matter what you decide to do remember to have fun and be in the moment because life’s more fun that way in general and hey, so is travel. Get rid of those expectations and let this place dazzle you for what it is.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 25: South Luangwa/Chipata

It’s another day in the wilds of Africa so have those cameras at the ready as you head out on an optional morning safari drive. Try to snap some pictures of giraffes, elephants, and Cape Buffalo in this hidden gem of a place that also happens to be home to the largest populations of these creatures. Then the group will stop for lunch and visit the Tribal Textiles Market & Courtyard a G Adventures-supported craft workshop. In the afternoon you will continue onwards to Chipata.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 26: Chipata/Kande Beach

Check another country off your travel lists as you pass into Malawi and head to Lake Malawi affectionately known as “Lake of Stars”. The group will spend four nights relaxing on the shores of this massive lake; think clear shimmering waters with schools of colourful cichlid fish swarming in the depths of a place where nature is king and the people are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet. Beach walks, leisurely swims, and snorkeling are what’s in store for you over the next few days.

The locals depend on the lake for fishing as well as survival by using dugout canoes to fish from and setting out long nets. There are many different ethnic groups all speaking their own language; most are Christians and the rest have traditional beliefs.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 27: Kande Beach

Imagine this; you wake to the sound of birdsong around you, the sun is shining, and the waters of Lake Malawi are calling your name begging to be set upon. Grab your camera and swim suit and head out for some fun. Wander the shore on foot, grab a snorkel and see what life under the shimmering surface is all about, take a leisurely swim, or choose to experience a village walk at the nearby Tonga Village. Then the group will get to take part in a traditional dinner at a local home in the evening before falling asleep under the stars.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 28: Kande Beach/Chitimba

It’s off to another beautiful destination along Lake Malawi today. From oceans to mountains to lakes you’re getting to see some of the best scenery that Africa has to offer. The group will head north to picturesque Chitimba Beach where there are gorgeous views of the mountains in the background and you can see Tanzania from just across the lake. Once here you can choose to get out onto the lake or you can hike along the shores and enjoy the scenery that surrounds you.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 29: Chitimba

Enjoy a final day at Lake Malawi. Now that you have gotten a feel for this area take the day to further experience your surroundings and appreciate them. Bask in the sun, take a swim, walk to the local village that you didn’t visit yesterday or hike to Livingstonia along the Nyika Plateau for wonderful views of the lake. Along the way cool off under the Manchewe Falls (we know we would if we were there with you).

In the evening, relax along the lake and rest up as the journey continues tomorrow.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 30: Chitimba/Iringa

Another day, another country; you’ll be a pro at border crossings in no time. Today the group will head into Tanzania en route to Iringa. Gaze out the window as the Lando climbs out of the Great Rift Valley through some spectacular mountain passes, viewing tea plantations and highlands as you go. You could also use this time to journal, take a nap, or share inside jokes with the rest of the group (you’re bound to have some by now).

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 31: Iringa/Dar es Salaam

After the jam packed first few days of this trip where you are going next is going to be just what you needed. Wake in Iringa before driving to Dar es Salaam. Watch as the Tanzanian countryside passes by and the blue waters of the Indian Ocean make their debut. The city started as a fishing village in the mid 19th century before becoming a port and trading centre. The group will spend the night here before embarking for the island beaches of Zanzibar.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 32: Dar es Salaam/Zanzibar Beach Resort

Today is the day your group will discover true paradise. Hop on a ferry and transfer to Zanzibar. Get ready for picturesque island beaches that will make you contemplate staying here and living off the grid. Few places on this planet are as entrancing and exotic as this Tanzanian archipelago so get ready to enjoy it, take loads of pictures, and relax in a place that has long lured backpackers and adventurers to it’s sandy shores.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 33: Zanzibar Beach Resort

Wake up in this island paradise and get ready to seize the day. You’ll be exploring one of the world’s great cultural crossroads… think Africa meets Arabia and add the Indian Ocean into the mix as the cherry on top.

The day is yours to spend as you choose; head out for a diving experience, grab some goggles and go snorkelling, hop aboard a sailing trip, or just lounge on the beach and relax. Zanzibar’s tropical setting, unique culture, and active beach-party scene make this place a very enjoyable East African Indian Ocean experience.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 34: Stone Town

Your most difficult task today is going to be pulling yourself away from the beauty that surrounds you in Jambiani. But, if it makes you feel any better you still have one final night to spend on this enchanted island just in a more local spot. Travel back to Stone Town from the other side of the island, enjoy a guided tour of a local spice plantation on the way, and explore the heart of Zanzibar. Wander the winding historic unpaved alleyways of Stone Town passing by balconies and gigantic wooden carved doors along the way.

Get lost and spend hours exploring the streets and squares, drinking potent coffee from pavement vendors and buying sweetmeats from tiny cafes. Keep an eye out for tinga-tinga paintings, antique shops, beautifully printed cloths (kangas and kikois worn by local people), little carved chests with copper inlays, and spices – all beautiful presents or memories to take home.

Includes: Breakfast

Day 35: Stone Town/Bagamoyo

It’s time to kiss this underrated paradise good-bye as you catch the ferry back to the mainland and head north to the historic coastal town of Bagamoyo. This town was recently named a World Heritage Site and used to be one of the most important trading ports of the central east African coast in the late 19th century. Stroll through Bagamoyo’s narrow, unpaved streets on your own and feel as if you stepped back in time.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 36: Bagamoyo/Arusha

Hit the road for a long day of driving. Enjoy the varied landscapes on the way to Arusha. Be on the lookout for views of Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain. Consider yourself lucky if you are able to see the mountain as it is hidden behind a veil of clouds most of the time.

Arusha sits at the foot of rugged Mt Meru, Africa's fifth highest mountain.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 37: Arusha/Serengeti National Park

Well folks it’s time for the Africa you have all imagined; the experience that has been depicted over and over again in books, movies, and television. So grab those cameras, purchase a quirky bucket hat, and head out on a wildlife safari drive into one of the most famous national parks in Africa; the Serengeti.

Get ready for abundant wildlife, vast golden plains dotted with thorny acacia trees, and hippo-filled rivers as you begin a 3-day and 2-night excursion into the park itself and the great Ngorongoro Crater.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 38: Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro

Grab your buddies and jump aboard for one last morning safari in the Serengeti. As the sun rises higher in the sky watch the animal kingdom come to life in this grassland savannah before returning to break down camp. Then it’s on to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, famous for Africa’s best wildlife viewing.

Experience epic views from the crater rim and watch as animals meander around below drinking water from the permanent supply on the crater floor. You’ll be setting up camp in the late afternoon at a site near the crater rim and then you can spend the rest of the day enjoying one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on the planet.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 39: Ngorongoro/Arusha

It’s time to experience “Africa’s Garden of Eden” on a more personal level. Today, venture down to the crater floor where the group will embark on a final safari experience. Have those cameras charged and at the ready because, let’s face it if you are going to see any wildlife this would be the place (and we are so excited for you)!

The animals are bound to this area by the crater walls and the enclosed nature of the crater means that its own ecosystem has been created think; rich grasslands, swamps, acacia forests, and Lake Makat; so get ready to see some magic.

With full camera rolls the group will exit the crater in the late morning and travel back to Arusha. Swap stories along the way, pick those favourite photos from earlier, or simply sit back and let yourself enjoy the passing scenery as you cruise along.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 40: Arusha/Nairobi

Depart Arusha as the sun rises in the morning and travel overland to Nairobi; Kenya’s capital city. The tour ends upon arrival to Nairobi at the Hotel Boulevard. In order to avoid any unnecessary issues with timing, please book ongoing travel from Nairobi in the evening.

Not ready to go home just yet? That’s ok, stay for a few extra days to explore more of Kenya and beyond.

Includes: Breakfast, Lunch

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