CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Okavango / Kalahari Trip: 27 April - 10 May 2025
Itinerary Overview (see the more detailed itinerary below)
Day 1 (27 April): Arrive at Cape Town (South Africa). Transfer to the very elegant Taj hotel. You may have time to carry out an independent visit to Robben Island World Heritage site (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned).
Day 2: Enjoy a city tour including a visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens to marvel at unique plants of the region (part of the Cape Floral World Heritage site), ride to the summit of Table Mountain (weather permitting). We'll visit a nearby wine estate and try out some the local products.
Day 3: Day trip to the southern tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. You'll take a magnificent coastal drive to the African penguin colony at Boulder Bay, and if you're in for it, a hike down to the tip of the Cape of Good Hope.
Day 4: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Botswana's capital Maun. Connect onto a charter flight to to Nxamaseri Lodge (Okavango panhandle). Sundowner cruise on the Okavango River..
Day 5: Early morning start has we head overland to Tsodilo Hills World Heritage site. Hike to ancient bushman rock art sites. Bush picnic lunch. Return to camp in time for some R&R and sundowner.
Day 6: Transfer by private charter flight to Dinaka camp, on the northern edge of the Kalahari. We should have time for night time wildlife spotting.
Day 7: You’ll spend as much of the day (and night) as you please engaged in a selection of wildlife spotting / cultural activities, including walks with San Bushmen who will share some of their way of life with you.
Day 8: After a final morning game drive, on the lookout for white rhinos, we take a private charter flight to Shinde camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta; we should have time for a late afternoon game drive.
Days 9 & 10: Further exploration in the heart of the Okavango. Morning, afternoon, and for those who can muster the energy, evening outings.
Day 11: We should have one last chance to explore the ecosystem early this morning before transferring by private charter flight to Kasane airport, near the border with Zimbabwe - and onward by road Old Drift Lodge on the Zambezi river, just upstream from Victoria Falls World Heritage site in Zimbabwe.
Day 12: Travel by boat safari downstream to the iconic Victoria Falls. Lunch at The Lookout Café. Afternoon wildlife observation by boat / on foot. Evening presentation on the life and times of David Livingstone and his role in the history of Victoria Falls.
Day 13: Guided visit of nearby communities for an opportunity to learn first-hand the kinds of development challenges they face, the responses being implemented. Afternoon wildlife observation by boat / on foot.
Day 14: Transfer to the airport at Vic Falls for connections homeward. Trip ends here. Further extensions in South Africa or even East Arica (Kenya, Uganda, mountain gorillas) can be arranged on request. Contact us for ideas if you like.
READY TO BOOK? Click below and complete a booking form.
Accommodations are in luxury tented camps with ensuite bathrooms, save for the Cape Grace, which is a luxury hotel. Click on the names of the accommodation and you'll be take to their respective websites for more information.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Dates / prices / booking
DATES: 27 April - 10 May May 2025
PRICE: US$14,490 / person (shared). Contact us for solo prices.
GROUP SIZE: 16 guests
TRIP STARTS: At Cape Town, South Africa
TRIP ENDS: At Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Tour leader (Dr. Karen Ross, National Geographic's "Champion of the Okavango")
- Fully inclusive stays in Victoria Falls and all Botswana camps, including a selection of local wines and beers.
- Bed and breakfast in Cape Town
- Commercial flight from Cape Town (South Africa) to Maun (Botswana) on day 4
- Four light aircraft transfers in Botswana (including departure taxes)
- All land transfers indicated for Victoria Falls/Botswana/Cape Town
- Community tour in Victoria Falls with the Greenline Project, including a modest contribution to the community
- All activities / excursions, with local guide services
- Full day cultural tour in Cape Town with a visit to a top wine estate, Kirstenboch gardens, Boulder Bay penguin colony / full day tour of the Cape Peninsula
- All relevant park, concession, conservation fees and taxes
- Laundry (at the safari lodges)
- Wifi (please note service is slow and not always 100% reliable in the Botswana camps)
- Airport to hotel, and hotel to airport transfers on arrival and departure (valid only on the scheduled trip start / end dates)
- Carbon offsets, ensuring neutral carbon emissions for your activities on the trip
- US$200,000 emergency medical evacuation insurance
- Your incoming international flights to Cape Town (Day 1) and out-going flight home from Victoria Falls (Day 14)
- Cable car at Table Mountain (weather permitting, it may or may not be feasible to take it - cost apx. $25)
- Travel and emergency medical insurance (required)
- Tips and gratuities (budget apx. $450 / person for the entire trip)
- Visa fees for Zimbabwe ($30-$75, depending on nationality, purchased at the Zimbabwe border - your tour leader will be on hand to help) and any medical testing fees should these be required
- Items of a personal nature
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary
- Other optional extras as indicated
READY TO BOOK? Complete your booking form and we'll send you an invoice for a 10% deposit, securing your space on the trip.
Day 1: Arrival - transfer to the Taj Hotel
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, tucked away between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own. Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breath-taking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is lucky enough to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and its mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.
You'll arrive at the Cape Town international airport. A private transfer will be arranged, whisking you off to the hotel.
Overnight: Taj Hotel
"A breath-taking fusion of rich Indian heritage, signature Taj service, generous local traditions and contemporary design, Taj Cape Town resides at the heart of the city's dynamic business and leisure hub on Wale Street, Cape Town. It boasts a strong sense of place and is within walking distance to some of South Africa's foremost landmarks and attractions and an eclectic array of shops, galleries, and restaurants. Spread across two heritage buildings, all rooms at our 5-star hotel in Cape Town have spectacular city views or overlook the iconic Table Mountain." Breakfasts are included at the hotel.
OPTION: ROBBEN ISLAND WORLD HERITAGE SITE
If you are willing to arrive in Cape Town a day early, you may be interested in visiting Robben Island, a World Heritage site. This is the island prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years. A thought-provoking guided tour receives many positive reviews. Though not included in the trip, it can be easily booked online and the ferry leaving for the island is docked just a few steps away from the hotel. Contact us for details. Alternatively, you may want to simply take a full day on arrival to get your bearings, recover from jet-lag, and enjoy the vibrant waterfront just outside the hotel door. Let us know and we'll help with the arrangements.
Day 2: Cape Peninsula, Cape Town
This morning we will take you on a drive of the Peninsula. We'll get an early start to ensure you don't feel rushed, and also giving you a bit of time for some R&R at the end of your day. You will travel through some of the posher coastal suburbs where you will see some beautiful beaches such as Camps Bay.
You will stop to enjoy some of the fabulous views on the breath-taking Chapman’s Peak Drive, then continue down to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach near Simons Town. Lunch will be booked for you at a local restaurant and you will have time to explore Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope after lunch. Time permitting, you will be able to walk (or take the funicular if you're short of time or would rather not walk both ways) to the lighthouse, and on to the very tip of the Cape of Good Hope. On a clear day (fingers crossed) the views are stunning. It's a 6km (4 mile) return trip.
Entry to the penguin colony and lunch at Two Oceans are included. Funicular not included.
Day 3: Cape Town
This morning we take a short orientation tour of the oldest city in South Africa, in the company of an experienced local guide. You will visit the historic and very colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, the Parliament Buildings and the infamous District 6 area, a product of the apartheid era. Then, weather permitting, you can go to Table Mountain (optional - cable car and entrance fees are not included). If the cable car is not operating, you will be driven up to the top of Signal Hill, which lies adjacent to Table Mountain, offering equally impressive views of the Mother City.
At midday, we will head over to Constantia – one of the most prestigious suburbs and wine regions, of South Africa. You will get to meet with a specialist on the history and ecology of the Table Mountain World Heritage area for a brief introduction to the fascinating story behind this part of the world.
A short wine-tasting will follow at the Steenberg winery. On to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for lunch where we have arranged an hour long tour with a botanist, weather permitting (the plant species of South Africa are among the most unique on the planet and well-worth taking a moment to truly appreciate).
Wine tasting and lunch are included.
Day 4: Fly to Nxamaseri lodge, Okavango Panhandle
Situated in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta, the Panhandle is a stretch of the Okavango River that follows a more-or-less straight course for approximately 70 kilometres before entering the wetlands. This deep channel serves as the main water source feeding the delta. The waters are abundant with fish while the surrounding woodlands and river shallows teem with a myriad of birds. The Okavango Panhandle is dotted with several villages and serves as a gateway to the scenic Tsodilo Hills, some 40 kilometres west, with their various tribal cave paintings, some dating back as far as 20 000 years. Visitors can enjoy first-class birding and boating on the Okavango River.
Today, you fly by commercial airline to Botswana's capital, Maun and transfer to a light aircraft, headed to to Shakawe airstrip, serving the Okavango panhandle. A short road and boat transfer will take you to Nxamaseri Lodge. A sundowner (happy hour) cruise has been arranged for late afternoon / sunset. Overnight: Nxamaseri Island Lodge. After a significant investment in renovations (2024) it will be at the top of its game.
A few miles south of Shakawe, in north-western Botswana, on the tranquil banks of the Okavango River, you will discover Nxamaseri, featuring nine charming and very comfortable ensuite chalets strung along an elevated boardwalk in the forest. Nestling amongst giant Mangosteen trees, the surrounding forests and wetlands are home to thousands of birds and even some monkeys.
This area is a great way to experience the cultural side of Botswana, most notably the Tsodilo Hills World Heritage site, also known as the “Mountain of Gods”. Steeped in cultural offerings and experience Tsodilo brings you closer to the history of Botswana from thousands of years ago.
Flight to Nxamaseri / packed lunch
All meals including drinks (except for premium wines and spirits)
Road transfer to lodge
Day 5: Nxamaseri Island Lodge, Tsodilo Hills
An early start to your day. We'll go on an overland expedition to the Tsodilo Hills (the highest point in Botswana), the second of our UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Tsodilo Hills are renowned for their bushman paintings. Accessing these paintings will require an ability to walk along uneven tracks, unmarked pathways and to gently scramble up small ravines to access the paintings with your local guide. A "bush lunch" will be served after the walk. We should be back at the lodge by mid-afternoon, leaving you time for a bit of R&R and perhaps an opportunity for exploring the Okavango river by boat, if time permits.
Day 6: Fly Dinaka camp, norther Kalahari, via Maun, Botswana
The Kalahari is an exceptionally beautiful living desert boasting expansive semi-arid sandy savannah draped over a gently rolling inland sea of sand covering most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is also the last bastion of the San people with the modern world having enveloped all the other areas they once roamed. The endless sand dunes of the Kalahari compose the largest continuous expanse of sand on earth. Visitors can enjoy the clear night skies for a spot of stargazing, excellent game viewing, nature walks and, should they be so inclined, some rugged 4x4 adventures through this magnificent desert. Commonly spotted wildlife include black-maned Kalahari lion, oryx antelope, ostrich, meerkat and countless bird species.
Today, you'll head back to the airstrip (boat / drive) at Shakawa and embark on our small chartered aircraft for the 1.5 hours flight to the Hainaveld area on the northern boundary of the Kalahari Game Reserve. The transfer to Dinaka lodge is about 20 minutes by game drive from the airstrip. The magic of the Kalahari open grasslands and the bush landscape is an exciting contrast to the vegetation and water areas of the Okavango. Apart from desert species such as springbok and bat eared foxes, the private concession is one of the few places where you may be lucky enough to see a white rhino in Botswana.
The camp offers day and night game drives as well as fascinating walks with the San Bushmen - a superb opportunity to see into the life and culture of this cultural group. There is no set program during your stay and activities will be arranged on a daily basis for the group - and not everyone will necessarily be doing the same activities at the same time. Night drives for those with the stamina and energy are also on offer and although included, are on request.
Dinaka has a "sleep out deck", located a short distance away from the main lodge. It accommodates 2 people (or 4, if you're all family / good friends) on an elevated deck, sleeping under the brilliant stars. You're accompanied by a guide (who has his separate sleeping area) and there are toilet facilities below the deck. As there are only 2 nights when this is possible, we will be offering this opportunity on a "first booked-first offered" basis ($250 / night extra charge). We've checked the phases of the moon for the two nights in question. It will be about a quarter moon, and setting by about 10-11 PM, giving you a very dark, star-filled sky after that (assuming no clouds).
Flight to Hainaveld, all meals, drinks.
Day 7: Dinaka, Kalahari
You will enjoy a full day exploring the semi-arid ecosystems of the Kalahari. You'll have the freedom to choose from game drives, learning about Bushmen culture, guided walks and more.
Day 8: Fly to Shinde - Heart of the Okavango
Situated in the north-western corner of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world. Every year, the seasonal upstream rains feed the magnificent Okavango River, which then sprawls out over the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert forming this flourishing waterlogged oasis. The ecosystem features countless meandering waterways and crystal clear lagoons studded with water lilies, as well as fertile floodplains and reeded islands inhabited with abundant wildlife. The Okavango Delta stretches over 15000 square kilometres (5,800 square miles). Visitors can enjoy a number of wonderful activities such as game viewing, fishing, bird watching or taking an authentic guided Mokoro excursion through this wetland paradise in a traditional dugout canoe. Commonly spotted animals include: lion, rhino, leopard, giraffe, hippos, elephants, crocodiles and countless species of birds.
After breakfast and some wildlife spotting (if the flight schedule allows), we'll head back to the airstrip for our charter, light aircraft flight to Shinde lodge for a 3 night stay.
Overnight: Shinde Lodge
Nestled on a lush palm island in the heart of the northern Okavango Delta, Shinde is an intimate, classic camp located on the edge of Shinde Lagoon, which simply teems with animal and birdlife. The camps unique main area comprises of a multi-tiered dining room and lounge which is set under canvas under the shade of ebony and mangosteen trees.
Shinde was rebuilt in 2019. Shinde is an iconic camp, one of the first in the Okavango Delta, and loved by many. The new Shinde pays homage to its former self retaining the authentic classic safari style. The new tents and main area provide a luxury experience with a touch of historical charm. The décor of the new camp can be described as “the best of nature within an authentic safari design – still with the understated, friendly and intimate heritage atmosphere”. Every possible comfort has been created for – from full solar electricity and a private viewing deck, through to yoga mats should you be so inclined.
All meals and drinks
Flight to Shinde / packed lunch
Day 9: Shinde, Okavango Delta
You'll have a full day and evening to partake in a wide range of activities. Your tour leader and lodge guides will be on hand to make suggestions and to accompany you.
Day 10: Shinde, Okavango Delta
Your stay at Shinde Camp - one the flagship camps of the inner Okavango Delta - is fully inclusive. The camp was totally rebuilt in 2019 and all rooms now face the Maunichura River. The camp offers mokoro trips, boating trips, catch and release fishing and of course, day and night game drives. There is no set programme during your stay and activities will be arranged on a daily basis for the group - and not everyone will necessarily be doing the same activities at the same time. Night drives for those with the stamina and energy are also on offer and although included, are on request.
Day 11: Fly to Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Resting on the southern banks of the mighty Zambezi River at the western end of the eponymous falls, this popular town is compact enough to walk around and makes an ideal base for travellers exploring the iconic and unfathomably vast Victoria Falls. About two-thirds of the falls can be viewed from the Zimbabwean side. The town itself offers an eclectic variety of African curios and authentic art sold by friendly Zimbabwean locals - or simply find a nice place for a coffee, tea or cold drink and get a sense of the local buzz.
After a final exploration in the AM (flight schedule permitting), we head to the airstrip for a flight to Kasane, where we'll board our bus and cross the international border into Zimbabwe, arriving at the Old Drift Lodge by mid-afternoon, your home for the next 3 nights.
Overnight: Old Drift Lodge
Upstream from Victoria (Vic) Falls in the Zambezi National Park lies a pristine piece of land on the banks of the Zambezi River. The untouched natural beauty of the park is sprawled over 56 000 breath-taking hectares (138,000 acres). The activities offered at Old Drift Lodge emphasise the rich natural environment, focusing on the abundance of wildlife that roam through the Park and swim the Zambezi River. The Park can be explored by road, river or on foot, satisfying guests needs to experience every aspect of this well-conserved wilderness.
The main lodge area has 360-degree views, north facing onto the Zambezi & south facing onto a wetland. The Lodge offers very comfortable accommodation, with each air-conditioned suite tastefully furnished, fitting of the bygone eras, which blend in seamlessly with the natural environment. The spacious canvas en-suite rooms all have a private lounge, viewing deck, indoor and outdoor showers, plunge pool and an outdoor bath overlooking the Zambezi.
Flights, ground transport
All meals and drinks
Day 12: Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
An interesting half day tour to visit the outlying communities of Victoria Falls where the Greenline Trust has been involved for many years assisting in the empowerment of marginalised communities. You will witness the successes of the small scale farming and education programs here where communities are now providing fresh produce to the hotel industry in Victoria Falls. The price of the trip includes a modest contribution to the work of this organisation. Lunch at the lodge followed by a free afternoon during where you’ll have the option to participate on a guided walk in the park, embark on a small boat wildlife spotting cruise or simply enjoy some down time in the lodge.
Day 13: Old Drift Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Today, you will travel by boat downstream to visit Victoria Falls for a private morning tour. The trail takes you through the mist-fed rainforest around the falls and will give you several opportunities to not only admire the falls from different vantage points, but also appreciate the rainforest ecosystem. Light rain jackets might be appreciated. Lunch will be at the famous The Lookout Café (recently re-built), offering a great view of the gorge. On the way there and on the way back, you'll likely get a chance make the first of your African wildlife encounters. In the evening, you will be given a fascinating talk by an amateur historian at the Lodge on the life and time of David Livingstone and his role in the history of Victoria Falls.
Tour of the Falls + lunch at a falls side restaurant.
Day 14 Final Day - Transfer to Victoria Falls Airport
Our final day! Depending on your connecting flights out of Victoria Falls, you may or may not have time to enjoy a few final hours at the Lodge. Those of you who do have time will be free to enjoy it at the lodge or in town.
There are many opportunities to organize an extension to your trip. One such extension is an excursion to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. Typically, you would require at least an extra 5 days to your trip to allow for such an extension. Contact us for more ideas and information.