Trans Kalahari Trip Notes and link to route map
For those of you who are interested, here are the trip notes for the guided tour portion of our upcoming trip. You can also see the whole itinerary including our two weeks of independent travel on a map here.
The Trans Kalahari Adventure explores the most memorable sites and sanctuaries of southern Africa without camping. Arriving in Cape Town, South Africa, enjoy the history of the city before venturing out to the beautiful Calvinia region to begin the adventurous portion of the trip. Marvel in the spectacular colors of wildflowers at the base of the Hantam Mountains and revel in the beauty and power of Augrabies Falls. Search for predators in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – one of the largest game reserves in all of Africa – and hear massive echoes in the Fish River Canyon. Enjoy the sights of the Namib Desert, including Sesriem Canyon, and search for more game in Etosha National Park. Visit the remarkable Himba people on a stop at a local village. Enjoy the unique scenery and wildlife of the Okavango Delta and visits to the Chobe River. No trip to the region would be complete without seeing incredible Victoria Falls. Although this is a non-camping-based safari, the Trans Kalahari Adventure is still a very rustic experience with long drives. For the traveler who is prepared to embrace the unexpected and rough terrain, this is an economical way to see the wonders of the continent.
day 1 – arrive in cape town
On arrival in Cape Town, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for your overnight. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore the beautiful waterfront area or get some much needed rest prior. Gather at 6:00 pm this evening to meet your guide and travel companions in the hotel lobby for a pre-tour briefing.
day 2 – cape town peninsula
Set against the majestic Table Mountain, Cape Town offers scenic, historic, and cultural attractions. Depart from the Breakwater Lodge for a full day peninsula tour. Driving along the Atlantic seaboard via Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak, visit the Cape Point Nature Reserve, returning along the Indian Ocean coastline back to your well-situated waterfront hotel. A morning or afternoon cable car ascent up Table Mountain is included (weather dependent). Dinner can be enjoyed at the bustling waterfront at your own expense. Overnight in Cape Town.
day 3 – calvinia (hantam region)
Departing Cape Town, pass through the picturesque Namaqualand region, arriving in the historic town of Calvinia, nestled on the foot of the Hantam Mountain range. From August to October, the landscape is transformed into an explosion of color due to the numerous wildflowers of the region.
day 4 – augrabies falls national park
Leaving the Little Karoo, you head north to the Augrabies Falls National Park. Here the mighty Orange River plummets 56m into the gorge below. The local name for these majestic falls is Aukoerebis’ or ‘place of great noise.’ We pass through a lush oasis area en route before spending the afternoon enjoying the falls from its many viewpoints. Overnight near Augrabies Falls.
days 5-6 – kgalagadi transfrontier park
We head north into the Kalahari and the magnificent Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Covering over 3.6 million hectares, this is one of the largest reserves in Africa. Due to sparse vegetation in the area, excellent predator sightings are common including that of the famous black-maned lion. We enjoy a game drive to our lodge and when departing the park on our last day here. At our lodge, clients can discover the true wonders of the Kalahari on optional activities (own expense), including a night game drive, sunset pan drive, Kalahari nature walk, and interactions with the ancient Bushmen. The evenings are spent gazing in wonder at the stars through the telescope on the lodge viewing deck.
days 7-8 – fish river canyon
Leaving the Kalahari region, you will head west and enter Namibia. Visit Fish River Canyon, which is one of the largest and most awe-inspiring canyons in the world. The next morning is for
days 9-10 – sesriem / sossusvlei
Today’s journey will take you north, through the ever-changing scenery, to your lodging located on the edge of the Namib Desert. Enjoy a sunset walk in the dunes surrounding your camp. Depart early the following morning for Sossusvlei, stopping in the dune belt to witness the changing colors of the world’s highest sand dunes. Embark on a 5km walk to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. In the
days 11-12 – swakopmund
Reach the coast at Walvis Bay and enjoy lunch while viewing the many flamingos feeding (seasonal). You’ll arrive in Swakopmund and spend the afternoon and following day exploring this German colonial town or booking one of the numerous optional excursions (booked locally). Activities available include sand-boarding, quad biking, skydiving, kayaking, hot air ballooning, or scenic flights over the vast Namib Desert.
day 13 – damaraland
Drive inland through the Damaraland region with its vast and rugged terrain. Its mountain ranges are intercepted by wide gravel plains, which run into sandy, vegetated riverbeds and hot, dry valleys. If very lucky, you might see the desert-adapted elephant or rhino while here. Our lodge is located at the top of a mountain, with spectacular views of the surrounding area. Spend the afternoon taking in the incredible setting or simply relaxing by the pool. (450km)
day 14 – himba village visit / etosha national park
In the morning visit with the Himba, a semi-nomadic tribe living in scattered settlements throughout the region. They are characterized by their proud yet friendly stature, and the women are noted for their beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional dress. Spend a few hours learning more about these fascinating people. After your visit, you will proceed to Etosha National Park for your first game drive, relaxing by the floodlit waterhole in the evening.
day 15 – etosha national park
Etosha National Park is one of the most important reserves and game sanctuaries in Africa, with thousands of wild animals such as blue wildebeest, springbok, zebra, kudu, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, lion, and elephant making this area their home. Spend the day on a game drive through the park from its western to eastern sides. Floodlit waterholes at campsites attract an abundance of animals throughout the evening, providing you with many amazing wildlife sightings.
day 16 – okavango river
Departing Ethosha, continue to the Caprivi strip, where you’ll spend the night set amongst the lush vegetation overlooking the Okavango River. There is the opportunity to enjoy an optional river boat cruise this afternoon. Alternately, enjoy sunset on the deck or a swim.
day 17 – kwando river
Continue through the Eastern Caprivi Strip to our lodge overlooking the flood plains of the Kwando River. This lush area, which teems with wildlife and birdlife, offers a great opportunity for a late afternoon game drive (at additional cost).
days 18-19 – chobe river
Crossing into Botswana via the Chobe National Park, we overnight along the banks of the river. Chobe is famous for its beautiful scenery, magnificent sunsets, and abundance of wildlife and birdlife. Relax on a sunset game-viewing cruise on the Chobe River. A morning game drive is also offered (own account).
days 20-21 – victoria falls
Travel across the Zimbabwe border to Victoria Falls, where you will stay for the next several days along the banks of the mights Zambezi River. Victoria Falls (Known at Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke That Thunders) is an UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans the the Zambezi between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Without a doubt, the falls are one of the greatest and most spectacular sights in Africa. These next days are yours to spend at leisure browsing the local markets or experiencing some of the many optional activities on offer in this adrenaline capital of Africa: white water rafting, bungee jumping, microlighting, airplane or helicopter flights over the falls, rhino walks, elephant-back safaris, and visiting the falls on foot along extensive trails (all activities booked locally).
day 22 – victoria falls / onward
Your adventure ends after breakfast today, when you are transferred to the airport for your flight home.