Cape Town to Johannesburg via Victoria Falls

From Cape Town to Johannesburg
  • Botswana
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Small Group Tours
  • Wildlife and Nature
  • Safari Tours
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Tour Description

Partake in an amazing small group camping Tour of Southern Africa! 

This epic tour visits a host of highlights in no fewer than four southern African countries.

Africa is huge, and we’ll have to drive quite a long way, often on rough roads, but our specially designed safari vehicle is up to the task. Each day will bring something new and exciting.

Starting in Cape Town, we will visit the Cape of Good Hope and hike Table Mountain. We will canoe on the Orange River, a life-giving miracle in the arid dryness of the Richtersveld.

In Namibia we will walk on the some of the world’s highest sand dunes, fall in love with quaint Swakopmund, and explore the wild places of Etosha National Park. Botswana invites us to glide through reed channels in the Okavango Delta, an emerald gem in the vast dry expanse of the Kalahari Desert, and game view by boat in Chobe National Park.

In Zimbabwe we will be captivated by the raw power of Victoria Falls while we have the chance to test our nerves in Africa’s adventure playground. An open vehicle game drive in Hwange National Park gives us yet another chance to get close to Africa’s wildlife, and tracking rhinos on foot in Matobo will thrill and humble us all at the same time.

Returning to Botswana we have a last chance to sit around a fire, taking in the night sounds and heady scents of the bush, before heading to Africa’s richest city, the cultural melting pot of Johannesburg. 

If this tour is too long - this tour also operates shorter versions.  Please enquire about:

10 Day Cape Town to Swakopmund

18 Day Cape Town to Maun

20 or 21 Day Cape Town to Victoria Falls

Prefer not to camp?  Check out this version - Cape Town to Johannesburg via Vic Falls accommodated

Video Highlights

Viva's Best Bits...

Paddle by Canoe along the Orange river, the vibrant hues of red, orange, and brown, the majestic cliffs of the Richtersveld will captivate you with their rugged beauty.

Explore the towering sand dunes of Namibia, some of the planet's tallest, through an exhilarating hike. Its raw magnificence and the ever-shifting palette of colors will enchant you.

Uncover the mysteries and hidden wonders of the Okavango Delta, one of the few remaining untouched wildernesses on Earth, as you glide through its channels aboard a traditional Mokoro.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Cape Town

We start our tour in Cape Town, considered by many to be one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

We meet at the MOJO HOTEL at 13h00, and after a briefing and some formalities, the adventure begins with a hike up Table Mountain, led by our tour guide. The views over the city and the Atlantic Ocean are spectacular.

The next day we explore the scenic Cape Peninsula by vehicle, visiting Hout Bay, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. We return to the Lodge to freshen up, then head out for dinner and a night of fun at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

On occasion we may have to adjust this itinerary to accommodate the weather.

We spend both our nights at the MOJO HOTEL. Located in Sea Point, the hotel is conveniently situated close to shops, restaurants and the ocean promenade.

* * For 2024 departures, our hotel in Cape Town changes to the AHA Harbour Bridge Hotel - located on the foreshore * *

Day 2
West Coast

We leave the Mother City behind us and, after one last iconic view of Table Mountain from across the bay, we travel north through the “Swartland” and along the West Coast into Namaqualand, a completely new environment shaped largely by the dry winds blowing off the cold Benguela current. In the early spring this usually barren area comes to life with the blooming of millions of desert flowers, painting the landscape in an unforgettable display of vibrant colours.

Our route is one of contrast and ever-changing scenery, from wide open spaces to the dramatic rock formations found in the Cederberg Mountains. We cover some distance today and overnight in the small town of Springbok, nestled amongst rocky outcrops in the Namaqua Desert.

Day 4
Orange River

Today we cross the border into Namibia, known for its dramatic landscapes and beautiful desert vistas. Once through the border, we travel the short distance to our base on the banks of the Orange River. We are joined by our river guides, and after a quick lunch and a safety briefing, we start the canoe adventure.

The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa and creates a natural border to Namibia. Seen from above, the river forms a green ribbon winding its way through the desert and the towering mountains of the Richtersveld National Park. We glide downstream past twisted rock formations, the desert a stone’s throw from the water. It’s hot, but the water is inviting. In the late afternoon we return back to camp and enjoy the evening next to the river.

Day 5
Fish River Canyon

Today we head to the magnificent Fish River Canyon, second in size only to the Grand Canyon.

Formed over hundreds of millions of years, the 160km long ravine is a testament to the inexorable power of nature and evidence of ice ages and raging torrents past. Today the Fish River flows only during the wet summer months, reduced to pools of stagnant water in the dry winter. We will inspect nature’s handiwork from the lip of the canyon. We camp nearby, at Hobas.

Day 6
Fish River Namib

Today we head directly to the magnificent Fish River Canyon, second in size only to the Grand Canyon.

Formed over hundreds of millions of years, the 160km long ravine is a testament to the inexorable power of nature and evidence of ice ages and raging torrents past. Today the Fish River flows only during the wet summer months, reduced to pools of stagnant water in the dry winter.

We will inspect nature’s handiwork from the lip of the canyon, before continuing into the true Namib, to our destination for the next two nights, arriving in the late afternoon at the Greenfire Desert Camp.

Day 7
Namib Desert

We conduct a morning walk with our guide to gain close-up insight into the desert and its unique geology and ecology. During the heat of the day it’s customary to relax at the camp, to enjoy the plunge pool and a cold drink, but the energetic are free to explore the surrounding rock formations, to birdwatch, or to sit alone high up on a rock, mesmerised by the changing colours of the vast landscape.

In the afternoon we explore a bit further afield on an open vehicle desert drive, searching for gemsbok and bat-eared foxes, before stopping at a suitable place to enjoy the red sunset over a traditional sun-downer drink. Once it is dark, we slowly drive back to the camp, hoping to encounter some of the nocturnal animals common to the area, such as porcupine, aardvark, or brown hyena.

Day 8

An early start, we travel directly to Sesriem and the dune fields of Sossusvlei. Here we climb one of the biggest sand dunes on earth, to reveal rank upon rank of dunes marching into the distance.

As the day warms we come down from our high perch to take an open 4x4 vehicle into the heart of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei.

We explore these world-renowned landmarks on foot, the varied colours of the ever silent red dunes, the white salt pan and the utterly stark beauty a truly memorable experience.

The 4x4’s return us to our vehicle. We stop to view Sesriem Canyon, and then continue into the desert where we camp for the night.

Day 9
Dunes Swakopmund

A relatively journey today, we cross Kuiseb Canyon and Namib-Naukluft National Park, stopping briefly in Walvis Bay, Namibia’s major port, before arriving in the seaside town of Swakopmund.

Established in 1892, the German colonial influence is evident in the history, architecture, culture and cuisine of the town to this day. Modern Swakopmund is a visitor’s paradise, with great restaurants and shops, friendly locals and a multitude of adventure activities on offer.

We will spend two nights here, giving us a full day to explore the town, and to be thrilled by our choice of adventure. For those who want to relax and wash the desert dust away, the beaches are fantastic – the white sand warmed by the hot desert sun, but the Atlantic Ocean always remains refreshingly cool.

Day 10

Today we are free to explore the town, with its beaches, markets and curio shops. A huge variety of adventure options are available, including quad biking, sky diving, dune boarding, ocean safari, fishing and much more.

To really get the feel of Swakopmund, we will eat at local restaurants on both nights (own expense).

Day 11

Today we head north up the Skeleton Coast, a barren and desolate stretch of coastline trapped between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namib Desert, with scattered ship wrecks littering the beaches.

The Bushmen called this “The Land That God Made in Anger”. We visit Cape Cross, named for the crosses erected by Portuguese explorers in the late 1400s. Today this protected area, Cape Cross Seal Reserve, is home to tens of thousands of Cape Fur Seals and one of the largest seal colonies in the world.

We venture back inland, travelling through the vast desert to the towering granite peaks of the Spitzkoppe, its highest peak stretching 600 meters above the desert floor, amongst a riot of giant boulders and secret caves. We have the afternoon to explore this monolith, camping tonight at the foot of the mountain.

Day 12-13
Etosha National Park

Etosha is unique. At its heart is a vast salt pan, Etosha Pan, nearly 5000km² of dazzling white, sunbaked lake bed in the dry winter, and a shallow sea with tens of thousands of strutting flamingos, jumping fish, and lurking terrapins in summer. Surrounding this pan is a varied landscape of bushveld and grassland, home to hundreds of species of wildlife.

We will spend these days exploring the expanses of park from the high vantage point of our vehicle, game driving and visiting water holes. During peak season, when the rest camps are crowded, we may opt to camp outside the park.

Day 14

Today we cover some distance, travelling through towns and villages of northern Namibia, giving us a glimpse into the daily lives of the local people.

We arrive on the banks of the Okavango River, suddenly green, lush and inviting. Not far from here the river empties into the Okavango Delta, but right here the river is strong and deep, the trees tall and the crocodiles huge. The cool shade of the river bank is a welcome respite from the bright Namibian sun.

Day 15-16
Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta and a truly unique spectacle of nature.

The Okavango River, emanating from central Angola, far to the northwest, flows south- and eastwards, before slowing and spreading into one of the world’s only true inland deltas, creating as it does so a unique ecosystem that supports a huge variety of animal and plant life.

The sight of a Jacana striding delicately amongst the flowering lilies, the Bee Eater diving to prey on an unsuspecting insect, and of course the familiar cry of the African Fish Eagle - all combine to create the canvas of one of nature’s unique masterpieces.

The river, eventually spilling its contents into the vast plains of the Makgadikgadi sands, disappears.

Our comfortable and well-appointed camp on the edge of one of the largest lagoons serves as a base from which we explore. We will glide through narrow reed-lined channels by mokoro, walk on uninhabited islands, and picnic in the wilderness, while learning about the animals and plants of the Delta from local guides who have grown up in the area.
Through informal interaction with the guides, we will have the opportunity to learn about the local people and their way of life in this isolated wilderness.

We will also have time to simply relax and enjoy the views over a glistening lagoon from a beautiful wooden deck, cold drink in hand, or take a refreshing dip in the pool.

We will enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise on a boat. A helicopter flip, to see the vastness of the Delta from the air, is recommended (own expense).

Day 17

Starting early, we begin our journey to frontier town of Maun. We will spend some time stocking up on basic supplies, before travelling the short distance out of town to the Drifters Maun Tented Lodge, our stop for the night.

The lodge is situated on the banks of the Boteti River. This river is known to change its flow direction, depending upon the season and rainfall patterns. The lodge offers comfortable en-suite accommodation, swimming pool, bar, restaurant and birdlife.

Day 18
Makgadikgadi Pans

After the early mornings of the last few days, we enjoy a relaxed start at the lodge today, spending time along the river bank enjoying the tranquillity of the area, or lounging at the swimming pool.

For those interested, we recommend going on a local village walk. Chenoga Village, not far from our lodge, is not on a regular tourist route, so you have the opportunity to explore an authentic village with one of our staff from the lodge, who lives in the village.

We have an early lunch, before continuing our journey eastward into the spectacular Makgadikgadi Salt Pans area. Oceans of golden grass give way to the stark white pans, under a very big sky.

We stop to take in the isolation and serenity of this expanse, before continuing to our camp for the night at Elephant Sands. Close-up sightings of elephants at the water hole are almost guaranteed.

Day 19
Kasane Victoria Falls

Venturing north today, we make our way to the slow, placid Chobe River, an ideal habitat for hippos and crocodiles, and an attraction to some of the biggest herds of elephant and buffalo on earth.

This afternoon we enjoy an extensive boat cruise on the river, within Chobe National Park. Gliding close to the banks, we hope to silently approach the animals that come down to the river to drink.

Back on land, we cross the border into Zimbabwe and make our way to our accommodation for the next two nights. The lodge is centrally situated and within walking distance of the falls and other attractions.

Day 20
Victoria Falls

Awaking in the adventure capital of Africa, it is with new excitement that we explore the amazing Victoria Falls, locally known as "Mosi-oa-Tunya ", meaning “The Smoke that Thunders”.

Your entry fee to the falls is included in the tour price, and you are free to spend as much time viewing the falls, and exploring the surrounding rainforest, as you like.

During our stay in Victoria Falls, various other attractions can be visited, like the tribal village or curio market.

Vic Falls is also home to a multitude of adventure activities, such as an aircraft flip over the falls, or a boat trip on the Zambezi River, white water rafting or bungee jumping, but allowance must be made for the extra expense of these optional activities.

We spend two nights here, thus allowing you some time to explore the town and all it has to offer and to focus on the attractions and activities that interest you. We eat out in a local restaurant on both nights (own expense).

Relax to the sound of the African night and the distant roar of the falls, and drink a toast to your adventure.

Day 21

After breakfast we travel the short distance to the renowned Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier game reserve. Famous for its massive herds of elephant and buffalo, the park is host to over 100 species of mammal and 400 species of bird, with lion, leopard and wild dog regularly sighted.

This afternoon we will do an open vehicle game drive with local guides providing intimate knowledge of the area.

Day 22
Bulawayo Matobo

Today we travel south to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, with its uniquely wide streets.

We continue to the Matobo area where, in the afternoon, we enjoy an open vehicle drive into the Matobo National Park. Here, we will leave the vehicle to track rhino through the bush on foot. For most people, seeing these massive beasts on their own terms is a thrilling and moving experience.

Tonight we camp at the base a granite dome amongst the balancing boulders of the Matobo Hills.

Day 23

Our last night will be spent in Botswana, on a private game reserve along the banks of the Limpopo River.

We will take our final walk together along the river, to savour the sights and smells of the African bush and catch our last glimpse of animals living free and wild.

We end the day with dinner in the bush around a flickering fire.

Day 24

This morning, after crossing the border into South Africa, we follow a scenic route through the Waterberg Mountains, before entering the bustle of Africa’s economic heart, and Golden city of Johannesburg.

The tour ends on arrival in the late afternoon in Johannesburg.

The day by day descriptions published are intended as a rough guideline only. Adventure travel by nature is unpredictable, weather patterns, game migrations, road conditions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard. Due to the nature of the tours and industry, these accommodation options are subject to change/ vary at any time. Drifters will always try our utmost best to stick to the information provided as far as possible and would find similar accommodation in the area if needs be. Please do understand if changes have to be made on tour.

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 7 nights lodge accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 3 nights Under Canvas
  • Included Copy 20 13 nights in comfortable dome tents
  • Included Copy 7 A sleeping bag, pillow and towel are required for this trip.
  • Included Copy 20 23 breakfasts
  • Included Copy 20 18 lunches
  • Included Copy 20 17 dinners
  • Included Copy 7 alcohol, bottled water, soft drinks, restaurant meals
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 2 licensed, professional tour managers.
  • Included Copy 20 Group Equipment
  • Included Copy 7 visas, tips, flights, airport taxes, airport transfers or any optional extras.

Drifters Expedition Vehicle


  • Included Lace up your hiking boots for a exhilarating Table Mountain Hike
  • Included Experience the dramatic coastal beauty of Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point
  • Included Paddle through the calm waters, surrounded by stunning landscapes on a Orange River canoe trip
  • Included Be amazed at the spectacular desert landscapes found in Namib Desert private reserve
  • Included Discover the nocturnal animals and spectacular night skies on a Desert night drive
  • Included Enjoy a 4×4 trip to Sossusvlei where you will see the famous 'Big Daddy' and 'Dune 45'
  • Included Wildlife spot in Etosha National Park and visit the vast salt pan
  • Included Embark on a thrilling safari adventure as you navigate the delta's waterways by traditional mokoro
  • Included Spot hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and a rich variety of birdlife on a exciting Chobe River cruise
  • Included Explore the beautiful Victoria Falls National Park and marvel at the sheer size of the falls
  • Included Experience the untouched wilderness of Hwange National Park
  • Included Immerse yourself in nature as you track Rhino on foot
  • Included Explore the balancing rock formations and ancient granite hills of Matopos National Park
Click here for dates & prices

24 days

Price from

$3,776 USD

Per person, sharing

This tour starts in Cape Town every Saturday