DAYS 155 – 187: NAMIBIA, BOTSWANA & ZIMBABWE

You will cross the border at the Orange River and head back into Namibia, stopping off at the Fish River Canyon for a couple of hours to take in the awesome scenery. A one-day drive will then take you to the Namib-Naukluft Park, a vast expanse of desert which contains some of the highest sand dunes in the world. At Sossusvlei you will stop and explore the area and the dunes.

Sand dunes in Namibia

For the next three days, you will be based in Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure gateway. You can choose between a variety of activities and excursions here: spend a day deep sea fishing for game fish or head out to the desert and try quad biking and dune sledding. You can also go horse riding or get a birds eye view of the dramatic coastline by sky diving from 10,000 feet or taking a flight over the towering sand dunes in the area. In Swakopmund itself you can walk along miles of deserted beaches, visit the museum or relax in a cafe.

After leaving Swakopmund, you will travel to the stunning Spitzkoppe Rock formations. Known as the Matterhorn of Namibia, the Spitzkoppe is part of the Erongo Mt range and was formed over 100 million years ago after the collapse of a gigantic volcano. The scenery is striking from every angle – even more stunning as the granite massifs turn red at sunset.

Next stop is the world famous Cape Cross Seal Colony, where the sight of thousands of these mammals, as well as their accompanying pungent odour is remembered by all! The Cool Atlantic Ocean and the prominent Benguela current provide a perfect location for feeding and breeding for the Cape Fur Seal.

Passing through the Brandberg Mountains in Demaraland you will pay a visit to a local Cheetah Park and get up close to these amazing and endangered creatures, before heading back to Etosha National Park.

Cheetah & cub

From Etosha you then head east and cross into Botswana where you will have an opportunity to leave the truck for a few days to venture into the Okavango Delta. Local poler guides will navigate the extensive waterways using canoes similar to their traditional Mokoro’s (dug out canoes). This is a great experience – and the best way to have a chance of seeing the elusive wildlife of this unique desert oasis. You will have a number of opportunities to go on game walks with rangers, giving you the chance to see elephant, crocodile and hippo up close and personal. The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland waterways and its calming serenity will leave those who experience it feeling supremely relaxed. There is also the opportunity to experience the heights of African adventure travel too and see the delta from the air during an hour-long flight.

Your overland journey then continues heading east into the Kalahari Basin, known for its dry, desolate and expansive freedom. You spend the night on the outskirts of the Chobe National Park, famous for its herds of elephants, as well as an abundance of other wildlife. You will have a chance to spend the afternoon on the Chobe River – a less intrusive way to view game and wildlife – as well as the Namibian frontier across the river.

Crossing into Zimbabwe – you stop for several days at one of the adventure playgrounds of the world – Victoria Falls. For some, Mosi oa Tunya (“The Smoke That Thunders”), is one of the highlights of their African safari. From the main road, in the bush 20kms away, a cloud of mist and spray can be seen against the blue sky. As you get closer, a low rumble like thunder can be heard. When you arrive it is a surprise to discover the enormity of Victoria Falls.

One mile wide and hurling over 5 million cubic metres of water a minute into the Zambezi Gorge this is the setting for the most adrenaline fuelled grade 5 white water rafting in the world. There is something here for everyone: A day trip over the Victoria Falls bridge to view the falls from Zambia, Flight of Angels – a great way to get a birds eye view of the falls in a light aircraft or helicopter, Sunset Boat Cruises or a more sedate Canoe trip, to the adrenaline packed Gorge Swing, Abseil or a chance to experience one of the highest commercial Bungee Jumps in the world.

After your adrenaline has been spent, it’s a days drive through Matabeleland to Bulawayo. You have the option of leaving the truck for a day to venture into Matobo National Park with a local safari company. Here you will have a unique chance to get out on foot to try and spot the elusive Black Rhino – amongst hordes of other game. There is also the opportunity to visit Cecil Rhodes’ grave and Ancient Rock Paintings.

From Bulawayo you travel across Mashonaland to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins which was once the greatest medieval city in Sub Saharan Africa and where the name Zimbabwe is derived, literally meaning house of stone.  You then continue to Gweru where you visit a privately run horse and game ranch where you can go game viewing on horseback or even take a walk with Lion Cubs! Its your destination for the next few days and always a highlight!

You then make your way to the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, you will either visit Chimanimani National Park or Vumba Gardens, where you have the opportunity to take a hike through the mountain wilderness area, or hiking to the nearby bridal veil falls, or simply enjoying the stunning surroundings from this sleepy village whilst strolling through the village market.

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