SOLD OUT Join Julie Bruce, our journey begins in Windhoek and we explore sand dunes, game parks, the Skeleton Coast....
Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls 20 Days
Oct 14th - Nov 2nd 2017
LAND TOUR: $8,650 Canadian/person. Starts in Windhoek, Namibia and ends at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
AIRFARE: approx $2,200 departing Vancouver to Windhoek Namibia, returning from Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, including arrival & departure transfers approx $2,200 if arriving & departing on our group tour dates NOTE: You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join the tour please contact us for a quote to depart other cities
( SPECIAL NOTE:Please let us know if you would be interested to spend a few days in Cape Town South Africa BEFORE the tour begins in Windhoek, Namibia)
Escorted by Julie Bruce
LIMITED TO 20 PARTICIPANTS-SOLD OUT
(updated May 27 2017)
Sat Oct 14th 2017 This afternoon our group flights depart from North America.
Sun Oct 15th Those taking our international flights arrive today in Europe. This evening we board our overnight flight from Europe to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mon Oct 16th Those taking our international flights arrive this morning in Johannesburg and connect to our flight to Windhoek. The Land Only tour starts this afternoon in Windhoek.
This afternoon we take a short tour of Windhoek with our guide. Namibia's capital is set at 5,400 feet (1,650 metres) above sea level in the Central Highlands. This cosmopolitan city of nearly a quarter of a million people of African and European origin has a compact and interesting centre with a strong German influence. As part of Bismark's dream of establishing an empire to rival that of Britain and France, Germany claimed Namibia as a colony in 1884. Overnight at Safari Court Hotel or similar. Dinner if arriving in time.
Tues Oct 17th Windhoek - Namib Desert
This morning we drive southwest through the Remshoogte Pass in the mountainous Khomas Hochland (Highlands) to Sesriem. The Namib Desert is a great wilderness, a vast solitary place - harsh and utterly primeval - the oldest desert on earth. This sea of dunes has been created by rivers carrying sand down from the mountainous interior to the coast and then onshore winds from the Atlantic blowing the sand back inland and piling it up into dunes. These dunes are "marching" inland at a speed of up to 20 metres (65 feet) per year. Some of the gigantic red and grey sand dunes in this area reach over 275 metres (900 feet) high and are considered to be the highest in the world. We can take a late afternoon walk up Elim dune for panoramic sunset views.
First of 2 nights in the Namib Naukluft Park area. Namib Desert Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Wed Oct 18th Sesriem Canyon + Sossusvlei
We are in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the 3rd largest game park in all of Africa. This morning, we make an excursion to Sossusvlei, a huge clay pan depression starkly surrounded by the highest of the red and orange dunes. We explore the desert with our naturalist guide to learn about the highly desert-adapted animals and plants that manage to survive in this seemingly-lifeless place. We may spot Klipspringer, Kudu, Springbok or Oryx antelopes and Hartmann's mountain zebra. Later we visit the Sesriem Canyon where the Tsauchab River has cut a spectacular gorge over 40 metres (130 feet) deep. Another highlight of this area is that the stars of the Southern hemisphere in the desert night sky are so bright and clear here. Second of 2 nights in the Namib Naukluft Park area. Namib Desert Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Thurs Oct 19th Sesriem - Swakopmund
This morning we travel north and west through desert scenery which ranges from rugged mountains in the east through undulating seas of sand dunes to gravel plains along the coast. We cross the canyon of the Kuiseb River right on the Tropic of Capricorn and make our way to Moon Valley. At the Welwitschia Plains we see examples of the "living fossil" plant Welwitschia mirabilis, some of which are thought to be over 1,000 years old. Like many of the desert plants of this arid region, the Welwitschia is thought to obtain most of its moisture from very fine mist blowing off the cold Atlantic Ocean. This allows the plants to survive but they grow very slowly.
This afternoon we drive across the empty desolation of the Namib Desert Park to Swakopmund on the coast. This is the natural habitat of the ostrich and the Springbok. We may see them running across the gravel plains. Vast expanses of lichens cover the ground, living just from the moisture in the sea mists blowing into the desert from the Atlantic coast. First of 2 nights in Swakopmund. Swakopmund Sands Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Fri Oct 20th Skeleton Coast
This morning we explore Swakopmund. Founded in 1893 by the Germans as a port to rival nearby, British-controlled Walvis Bay. The town has many public buildings and houses dating back to the German colonial era. Its German Colonial atmosphere contrasts oddly with the surrounding Namib Desert. We include a visit to the Swakopmund Museum to learn about the history and native peoples of this isolated area.
Later today we travel south across the Swakop River to Walvis Bay. This superbly-protected anchorage on an otherwise inhospitable and wind-blasted coast belonged to Britain throughout the German occupation of the rest of Namibia. Today it is considered to be one of the most important wetlands in southern Africa and is a wonderful place to see hundreds of flamingoes as well as other wading birds such as sandpipers and ducks. This afternoon we also have the chance to see seals and dolphins in the lagoon and maybe even Humpbacked Whales. Second of 2 nights in Swakopmund. Swakopmund Sands Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Sat Oct 21st Swakopmund - Twyfelfontein
This morning we travel north up the Skeleton Coast, one of the most barren and hostile pieces of land in the world. Here dunes pile up as strong winds blow sand in off the Atlantic. This area is known as the "Skeleton Coast" because of the large number of ship wrecks. However, the harshness of the land contrasts with the richness of the sea. Mineral-rich currents from Antarctica well up against this coastline producing a great abundance of zoo- and phytoplankton and the many larger animals higher up the food chain. We visit Cape Cross where nearly 100,000 Cape Fur Seals come ashore to breed. We may see black-backed jackals and brown hyenas patrolling the edges of the seal colony. This is also an excellent area to spot sea birds such as pelicans and wading birds such as plovers along the shore.
Turning inland from the desert plain of the Skeleton Coast, we enter Namibia's least-populated area, Damaraland. Here we may see ostriches and desert-adapted antelopes such as oryxes. First of 2 nights near Twyfelfontein. Twyfelfontein Country Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Sun Oct 22nd Petrified Forest + Rock Paintings
Today we explore the area around Twyfelfontein, which means "Fountain of Doubt". Here we find possibly the most spectacular collection of rock paintings and engravings anywhere in Africa. There are more than 2,000 rock engravings and paintings of animals and people dating back over 3,000 years painted by the San Bushmen. The Petrified Forest is a group of at least 50 fossilized trees which are between 240 and 300 million years old. Nearby we visit the Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes, volcanic columns similar to the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. In this area it is possible to spot the rare desert-adapted elephants and black rhinos. We may also see lions. Vultures and eagles are commonly seen in this area. Second of 2 nights near Twyfelfontein. Twyfelfontein Country Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Mon Oct 23rd Twyfelfontein - Cheetah Conservation Fund
From the dry mountains of Damaraland we drive northeast to the town of Otjiwarongo home to the Cheetah Conservation Fund where we will learn about the special projects initiated by this centre to help preserve the Cheetah in Namibia. CCF’s International Research and Education Centre is a renowned research center for conservation programming and education that reaches thousands of farmers, tens of thousands of students and hundreds of thousands of online supporters worldwide. Here we shall learn about the role of the Cheetah in Namibia and enjoy a walking tour of the main facility including the Educational Centre, Museum, Clinic, Creamery and an introduction to the Cheetahs, Dogs and Livestock that live at the CCF. Overnight Frans Indongo Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Tues Oct 24th Etosha National Park
This morning we drive to the Anderson gate of Etosha National Park, one of the most important reserves and game sanctuaries in all of Africa. What makes this such a wonderful game viewing area is that it is a source of water in a region of dry savannah. At the centre of the park is the Etosha pan itself, which is a vast, shallow depression of mineral salt deposits 139km (86 miles) by 50km (31 miles.) It is a ghostly white lake, dazzling with heat waves and mirages for most of the year. There are very few places where drinkable fresh water is available and so those limited spots attract thousands of wild animals such as blue wildebeest, springbok, zebra, kudu, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, lion and elephant in huge concentrations. 114 mammal species are known inside the park.
We enjoy an afternoon game drive spent on the open grasslands of the western side of this famous park. Etosha is particularly famous for its black rhinos and this is the best area to see them. We should also see plenty of elephants, giraffes, lions and even cheetahs. Etosha's 22,270 square kilometres (8,600 square miles) are home to over 1,500 elephants . First of 2 nights at Etosha National Park. Etosha Safari Camp or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Wed Oct 25th Etosha National Park
Today we transfer from Okaukuejo in the western side of Etosha National Park to Namutoni in the eastern side. We enjoy early morning and afternoon game drives. The nearby Klien Okevi and Groot Okevi watering holes are frequent drinking places for elephants, giraffes, zebras and many species of antelope including southern Africa's distinctive Springbok. We have a chance to see both white and black rhinos. Wherever herbivores gather there are usually predators hovering close by. We should see lions, hyenas and cheetahs and we will have a good chance of seeing elusive leopards. Many birds also use the watering holes to bathe and drink including dazzling bee-eaters and rollers. We also see Fort Namutoni, dating from 1903. Second of 2 nights in Etosha National Park. Namutoni Rest Camp or similar. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Thurs Oct 26th Etosha National Park - Rundu
We leave incredible Etosha and head south east via Tsumeb into the heart of Namibia's wide open cattle ranching area. At Grootfontein we turn northeast and pass through the gate in the veterinary control fence which separates the heavily ranched central area of Namibia from the well-watered area of the north. At this point it is like travelling from one country to a totally different one. Up until now in Namibia we have been travelling in sparsely populated desert and semi-desert areas. Now we emerge into an area of lush greenery and thatched tribal villages which many people think of as being typical of the "real" Africa.
This evening we arrive in the town of Rundu located on the Okavango River right on Namibia's northern border. Overnight in Rundu. Kaisosi River Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Fri Oct 27th Rundu - Mahangu Game Park
This morning we travel east along the Okavango River to Kangango and Divundu. From here we follow the river as it turns south. We stop at Popa Falls, a series of rapids and islands. Here we should see some interesting birds as well as crocodiles and hippos. Further south the river starts to broaden out until it enters Botswana and eventually becomes the Okavango Delta.
This afternoon we take a game drive in Mahangu Game Park. This small park has a great variety of habitats, from swamps along the river bank through forest to open grassland. We can expect to see a wide variety of antelopes as well as elephants, warthogs, baboons, vervet monkeys, lions and maybe leopards. This is also probably the best park in Namibia for bird watching. We also see some huge Baobab trees, such a distinctive part of the African landscape. Overnight near Mahangu Game Park. Mahangu Safari Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Sat Oct 28th Mahangu Game Park - Caprivi Strip
This morning we travel further east into the Caprivi Strip, the long, thin extension of Namibia the stretches out in the northeast of the country between Angola and Botswana through to Zambia and Zimbabwe. In total contrast to the rest of Namibia, this is an area of year-round rivers which create swamps and irrigation for farming. All throughout this area we see small, traditional villages and their fields of corn and millet. At Kongola we turn south to visit the Lizauli Traditional Village to learn about the traditions of the tribes of this area. We also take a boat cruise on the Kwando River to spot big game in this lush area of river tributaries and marshes.
Overnight near Kangola. Namushasha Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Sun Oct 29th Kangola - Chobe National Park
From the banks of the Kwando River we drive through Kangola and Katima Mulilo, the regional capital, to Ngoma on the border with Botswana. Once across the border it is a short drive to Chobe National Park. With one of the highest percentages of land set aside for wildlife preservation in the world, Botswana is one of the top wildlife destinations in Africa. Fortunately, the government of Botswana has also recognized that low volume tourism is the best way to balance the needs of tourists and the wildlife they come to see. Chobe National Park is home to the largest concentration of animals in Botswana, especially elephants. It is estimated that at least 73,000 elephants inhabit Chobe. The Chobe River winds through the park and a highlight is game viewing on the river. First of 2 nights in Chobe National Park. Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Mon Oct 30th Chobe National Park
Today we include a full day of game viewing in Chobe National Park starting with an outing at dawn when the animals are most active. We return to our lodge for breakfast and then set out for a morning game drive. We take our lunch at the lodge then rest during the heat of the afternoon when the animals are hard to see. Later in the afternoon we head out on another game viewing expedition as the animals are re-emerging as the day cools down. Some of our game viewing will be overland in safari vehicles. The flood plains and their different vegetation types, plus the combination of wetlands, dry woodlands and savannahs afford opportunities to see a wide variety of game including elephants, buffalo, giraffes, zebras and many varieties of gazelle. We also take a game viewing excursion by boat on the river where we will see many species of animals that use the river to drink and bathe. The bird life in this area is also amazingly varied.
This evening we take a Sundowner Cruise on the Chobe River to see animals coming down to drink by the river's edge in the cool of dusk. We will also witness an unforgettable African sunset.
Second of 2 nights in Chobe National Park. Cresta Mowana Safari Lodge or similar. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Tues Oct 31st Chobe - Victoria Falls
Early this morning we drive from Chobe National Park in Botswana to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This is possible because close to Victoria Falls four countries - Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana - come together.
One can hear the roar of the falls and see the spray long before one sees the actual falls themselves. This is one of the reasons why the local Makalolo tribe's name for the falls, "The Smoke That Thunders", is so appropriate. Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone renamed them Victoria Falls when he became the first white man to see them, on November 16th 1855. This is the world's largest sheet of falling water with up to 145 million gallons per hour cascading over the different sections of the falls. Here we will see the statue of Livingstone and view the Devil's Cataract. The spray thrown up by the falls creates a special rainforest microclimate along the rims of the falls, in what is otherwise a very dry area. Victoria Falls are on the Zambesi River, which forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Overnight at Victoria Falls. The Kingdom Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Wed Nov 1st Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Land Only portion of our 20 Day tour finishes in Victoria Falls after breakfast this morning.
For those taking our international flights part of this morning is free for you to explore the relaxed town of Victoria Falls. This is one of the best places to buy genuine African souvenirs at reasonable prices. Later we fly from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg and then take our overnight flight to Europe. Arriving in Europe on Nov 2nd, we take our flight to North America - arriving the same day.
Thurs Nov 2nd
We arrive in North America today.
Accommodation mainly in the equivalent of North American 4 Star hotels and lodges. We like to sample some of the different styles of hotels and lodges available in Namibia - often with stunning locations. All our hotels and lodges have ensuite bathrooms and air-conditioning and are of a medium - high standard.
-Breakfast and dinner daily. Usually we take dinner in the hotel, especially if we have had a long day of sightseeing and we are in a remote location.
-Lunches are included where indicated in the itinerary.
-Arrival and Departure Transfers if arriving on our group flights on the tour dates.
-Land and water transport: by coach, taxi and motorboat.
-Sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
-All tips for group activities.
-Guiding by Royal Heights tour leader Julie Bruce with assistance of expert Namibian driver/guide + local guides in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
-Lunches (except where indicated in the itinerary)
-Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance
-Single Supplement charge ($1,900), if requested
-Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.
- Airfare and related taxes
- Any visas and related fees
- Departure taxes if applicable
- Items of a personal nature such as tips for services not taken with the group and incidentals at all lodges.
- All services not mentioned as “included” in the itinerary
Please note that the cost of the airfare will be confirmed at the time of booking your flights. The land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours Our group flights from Vancouver are normally with British Airways via London Heathrow and Johannesburg into Windhoek and returning from Victoria Falls via Johannesburg and Heathrow. Because of the length of the flights, many people like to fly a few days early to London and spend a few days there to get over jet lag. We can certainly book your flights with a London stop-over on the way to Africa and/or on your way home. You do NOT have to come to Vancouver to join this tour. Please call us for flights and fares from other cities.
Please note that there is an additional cost for the arrival & departure transfers should you wish to travel with an airline other than our group flights or purchase the LAND ONLY Package. There is also an additional cost if you wish to travel with British Airways on dates different from our group arrival and departure dates. You can book the Land portion of the tour with us and make your own flight arrangements through your travel agent or using your Frequent Flyer points.
VISA FOR NAMIBIA,BOTSWANA & ZIMBABWE:
Currently a tourist visa is not required for Namibia or Botswana for Canadian Passport holders. However, Zimbabwe DOES currently require a visa for Canadian Passport holders and we shall obtain this visa at port of entry between Botswana & Zimbabwe, the cost will 30 US dollars cash. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your expected departure from each country (i.e. until at least May 1st 2018). Please make sure you have sufficent blank pages in your passport to accommodate the Visa stamps-at least 4 blank pages
If you wish to be guaranteed a single room, there is a Single Supplement charge of $1,900. Our price is based on 2 people sharing a room. Those people travelling alone but wishing to share will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not currently available. At that point you will be invoiced for the Single Supplement ($1,900). If a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documentation.
Payment: You can secure your place on the tour with a $400 per person non- refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, Visa or Mastercard for the $400 /person deposit. The invoice for the Land tour will be sent in mid-July 2017. Payment will be due on August 14th 2017. Price quoted is for FINAL PAYMENT by cheque.
Land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You may book the Land portion of the tour with us and make your own flight arrangements through your travel agent or using your Frequent Flyer points.
Our office staff are not medically qualified to advise you on which immunizations you require. Please consult your local travel health clinic, taking this itinerary with you so that they know exactly which areas you will be visiting, at what time of year and for how long.
BC Travel Registration # 3379
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.