Limited to 10 people. Join Julie & Norman Bruce, our journey begins in Windhoek and we explore sand dunes, game parks, the Skeleton Coast.
Namibia, Botswana & Victoria Falls (18 Days)
Sunday November 10 – Wednesday November 27 2019
LAND TOUR: $7,980 Canadian/person. Starts in Windhoek, Namibia and ends at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
AIRFARE: we estimate the cost of the airfare to be approx $2,200 departing Vancouver to Windhoek Namibia, returning from Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, 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 the detailed itinerary for this 4 day tour are under November 27 )
Escorted by Julie & Norman Bruce
LIMITED TO 10 PARTICIPANTS ( 5 places available)
(updated June 2 2019- Please note NEW DATES)
Sun November 10 This evening we arrive in Windhoek.
First of 2 nights at Safari Court Hotel or similar. No Meals
Mon November 11
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.
Second of 2 nights at Safari Court Hotel or similar. Breakfast only
Tues November 12 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 November 13
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 November 14
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 not included)
Fri November 15
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. Optional 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 may 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 not included)
Sat November 16
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 November 17
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 November 18
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 November 19 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 139 km (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 ( with our bus) 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 November 20
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 ( with our bus). 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 . 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 & Dinner.
Thurs November 21
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 November 22
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 November 23
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.
Suday November 24
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 November 25 Chobe National Park
Today we include a day of game viewing in Chobe National Park. After a relaxing breakfast we set out for our morning game drive in our safari vehicles. We take our lunch at the lodge then rest during the heat of the afternoon when the animals are hard to see. . 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. 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 & Dinner.
Tues November 26
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 Shearwater Explorer Village Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.
Wed November 27
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. . Later we fly from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg and then take our overnight flight to Europe. Arriving in Europe on December 5, we take our flight to North America - arriving the same day.
4 Day Cape Town Extension:
November 7-10 2019
LAND ONLY: $995 Canadian/person
Single supplement $345
Thursday November 7
Cape Town (SOUTH AFRICA)
This morning we arrive in Cape Town 10:00AM and transfer to hotel in the V&A waterfront area.Later we take a short walking tour of the centre of South Africa's "Mother City". Although Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Dias circumnavigated the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, it was not until 1652 that Jan van Riebeck established a Dutch settlement at Table Bay to supply fresh produce and meat to the fleets of the Dutch East India Company on their voyages between Europe and the spice islands of the east (today’s Indonesia.) One of the early nicknames for Cape Town was "The Tavern of the Seas." Cape Town's streets are laid out in a grid pattern on flat land stretching from the sea to majestic Table Mountain.
First of 3 nights in Cape Town. City Lodge V & A Waterfront. Dinner.
Friday November 8 Cape Town:
Table Mountain + Robben Island
This afternoon, if the weather is suitable, we take a 30 minute ferry ride out to the infamous Robben Island, whose prison was once home to former South African president Nelson Mandela and many other members of the African National Congress (ANC.) The island is now a United Nations World Heritage Site and provides stunning views across the bay with Table Mountain as its backdrop. Our trip to the island offers a glimpse into the apartheid era as we tour the prison with a former political prisoner as our guide.Upon returning to Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront is still a working harbour. The Waterfront has been revitalized in a way similar to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and has become South Africa's most visited tourist attraction. There are over 250 shops, from designer boutiques to craft stalls, a host of restaurants and coffee shops and plenty of other activities, including the South African Maritime Museum with its interactive displays on the history of local shipwrecks.
Second of 3 nights in Cape Town.City Lodge V & A Waterfront. Breakfast & Dinner.
Saturday November 9
Turning up the west side of the peninsula, we will pass fishing villages and beaches too wild for swimming but favourite spots for local surfers. Carved into the solid rock face, Chapman's Peak Drive is considered one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. Above the road vertical sandstone cliffs rise 700 metres (2,300 feet) to the summit of Chapman's Peak while the cliff below drops away equally vertically. At the northern end of this 7 km (4 mile) series of twists and turns is the lobster fishing town of Hout Bay which once declared itself an independent republic and issued its own passports. From here we head back into Cape Town through some of its most fashionable suburbs. A highlight today is our visit to the 560 hectare (1,380 acre) Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Beautifully situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the gardens are dedicated to the preservation of plants indigenous to southern Africa, including many species of protea, the national flower. The gardens are located in the upmarket suburb of Constantia.
Third of 3 nights in Cape Town. City Lodge V & A Waterfront. Breakfast & Dinner.
Sun November 10
Cape Winelands + Fly to Windhoek. ( NAMIBIA)
Driving inland to the gorgeous Cape Winelands, we visit the charming town of Franschhoek. The name means "French Corner" and refers to the 200 Huguenots who were given land here in 1688 and who went on to revitalise the fledgling South African wine industry. The Huguenots were French Protestants who fled to South Africa to escape religious persecution. The Huguenot Monument commemorates this critical event in the history of South African wine making. Franschhoek town has many old buildings and quiet tree-lined streets. We drive on to the town of Paarl, a name almost synonymous with South African wines. Shady oak trees and imposing old buildings line Main Street. On the southern slopes of Paarl Mountain is the Taal Monument which celebrates the successful struggle to have Afrikaans recognised as one of South Africa's official languages. The Paarl Wine Route is home to the award-winning Fairview Estates and the KWV Cellar Complex, the largest in the world. In the distance one can see the Hex River Mountains, which form a natural barrier between the fertile vineyards and orchards of the Boland and the sunburned Karoo.Today we include lunch together in a beautiful country setting.
From Paarl we travel over the 366 metre (1,200 foot) Helshoogte Pass to elegant Stellenbosch. Founded in 1679, this is the second oldest town in the country and is home to South Africa's first Afrikaans-language university. Lined with ancient oak trees, Dorp Street is notable for its large number of carefully restored historic buildings. There are over 60 wine estates in the Stellenbosch area and we will stop at one for a wine tasting in this heavenly setting
This afternoon we leave the fertile Winelands valleys and cross the mountains back to Cape Town, making our way to the airport for our evening flight Dinner this evening is at your own expense.
First of 2 nights in Windhoek. Windhoek Gardens Guest House. Breakfast & Lunch.
Mon November 11
After a relaxing start, we enjoy our morning tour of Namibia’s capital city as per our itinerary
- 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 (EXCEPT Nov 17 & 18 in Windhoek, November 21 & 22 in Swakopmund) Usually we take dinner in the hotel, especially if we have had a long day of sightseeing and we are in a remote location.
- Land and water transport: by coach, taxi and motorboat.
- Sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Tips for Driver and local Guide.
- Guiding by Royal Heights tour leader Julie & Norman Bruce with assistance of expert Namibian driver/guide + local guides in Botswana and Zimbabwe.
- Dinners: November 17 & 18 in Windhoek, November 21 & 22 in Swakopmund,
- Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance
- Single Supplement charge ($1,900), if requested
- Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.
- Any visas and related fees
- Departure taxes if applicable
- Items of a personal nature and incidentals at all lodges.
- All services not mentioned as “included” in the itinerary
Please let us know if you would like us to put you in touch with our flights specialist for a quote on the routing and cost of the flights
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 2020). Please make sure you have sufficient 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.
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-August 2019. Payment will be due on September 17 2019. Price quoted is for FINAL PAYMENT by cheque.
- You must be in reasonably good shape to join this tour. It is not suitable if you need walking assistance in the form of canes or walkers.
- 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.