The Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana is home to nearly all southern African mammal species. Namibia holds the oldest and driest desert on earth. South Africa features excellent game reserves, the Penguin Colony and picture-perfect Cape Town.
Photographers, rejoice. These three countries are a cornucopia of scenic sights. Read on for some good reasons why you should make the Best of Botswana, Discover Namibia or South Africa Walking and Wine your next tour in the southern hemisphere.
Best of Botswana
Want to see predators on the prowl against the backdrop of a stunning sunset? What about catching a close-up of Victoria Falls from a helicopter? Join us for the Best of Botswana, a 12-day trip through South Africa’s northern neighbor.
Democratic since 1966, for decades Botswana has enjoyed economic stability and a relatively high standard of education and health care. It’s a model African country, with over a third of its area protected from development, and three of the world’s richest diamond-bearing formations.
In the north, the Okavango River descends from the highlands of Angola, crossing Namibia’s Caprivi Strip to form the Okavango Delta, the Jewel of the Kalahari. Most deltas of this magnitude spill a plume of sediment kilometers into the ocean. The Okavango Delta, however, empties into a massive depression almost a thousand miles from the nearest sea. It loses the lion’s share of the 11 square kilometers of water it absorbs annually through evaporation and plant transpiration, shrinking and drying up significantly before the next rains.
It’s a massive wetland and wildlife preserve that’s home to an extremely diverse animal population. In Best of Botswana, we fly to a tented camp deep within the Delta where mokoros await. These traditional canoes made of ebony or kigelia are still used by locals as a means of transportation through the swamp. The Okavango is probably the only place in the world where safaris are conducted by dugout canoe!
Accommodation: Spend three nights in comfortable hotels, three nights in a well-appointed camp, and six nights in a lodge with ensuite baths. Full tour details
Situated northwest of South Africa and bordering a vast stretch of the Atlantic Ocean, Namibia won independence from South Africa in a war culminating in 1990. A tiny but stable nation of 2 million people, Namibia combines swathes of desert, untouched coastline, German heritage, a rich tribal legacy and the best game reserves in South Africa. Add some spectacular stargazing to your 13-day itinerary, and you’ll see why Namibia is a feast for the photographer in all of us.
Start with Namib-Naukluft Park, situated in one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. Its jagged rock formations and lunar landscape make it rather otherworldly. Try scaling the world’s highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei, or just stand on the pebbly, flat plain at the bottom, staring up at the massive undulating red crests in wonder.
Next up, the German colonial town of Swakopmund is a real hub of outdoor activity, with deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, downhill sand-boarding and off-road quad-biking. If that’s not enough, ride an ultralight up the Skeleton Coast or even try sky-diving.
Etosha National Park is the trip grand finale. This is a world-class wildlife venue, a massive land of mixed forest and grassland surrounding a large salt pan. The area’s many waterholes attract nearly every species of plains game during the long dry season. See wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbuck, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino take the stage.
Accommodation: Spend nine nights in frame tents with mesh windows and doors and the remaining three nights in comfortable guesthouses. Full tour details
South Africa Walking and Wine
Calling all hikers! Experience the Cape’s varied terrain on this 8-day tour of South Africa’s southernmost mountains and vine lands. Cape Town is the epicenter of the country’s wine regions and home to some of the best vintages in the world. It’s also one of the most scenic places you are likely to experience, what with sheer cliffs dropping to the sea, beaches, a balmy climate and the adjacent Table Mountain Nature Reserve.
Take in the backdrop of the aptly named Table Mountain in a township shebeen (unlicensed bar), or from the patio of a more upscale establishment. Hike the three-hour Shipwreck Trail on the Atlantic coast, walk in the Du Toit and Cederberg Mountains and you’ll chance seeing eland, bontebok, grysbok, springbok and other fleet-footed ungulates as well as wildebeest and ostrich. For a taste of the truly exotic, you can even visit a penguin colony—yes, penguins in Africa.
Once you’ve had your fill of Table Mountain and other high points, concentrate on fruits of the vine in the Franschhoek Valley and at Stellenbosch. Somehow the rewards are always sweeter when earned with a bit of exercise.
Accommodation: Spend five nights in locally owned lodges and two nights in two-room cottages, all of which are clean and comfortable. Full tour details
These three tours will appeal to most, but keep in mind that we have southern Africa to suit all interests. Consider South Africa: Cycling the Cape and Winelands, and an itinerary built just for families, Okavango to Victoria Falls. If you need help finding the trip that’s just for you, please give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.