Cape Town to Victoria Falls
Enjoy this twenty day Overland Camping tour from Cape Town to Victoria Falls. You will experience the beauty of Southern Africa as you visit the most spectacular regions; from the Cederberg Mountain Range to the Orange River; the Fish River Canyon to the Namib Naukluft National Park where you can hike up Dune 45 and watch the sunrise.
From here you travel through Swakopmund and Spitzkoppe described as the "Matterhorn of Namibia" and on to visit the Himba Tribes. You will then travel to Etosha National Park for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. From here you travel onto Windhoek and across the border to Botswana. You will be introduced to the San People, formally known as the Bushmen. They are indigenous to Botswana and Namibia and have lived here for over 30 000 years.
Your journey then takes you to the Okavango Delta, the Makgadikgadi Pans and Chobe National Park. The trip ends in Victoria Falls where you visit the spectacular Victoria Falls National Park and experience the thundering of the mighty Zambezi.
After a short stop to view Table Mountain we drive north to the Cederberg region. In the afternoon (weather permitting) we go on a guided walk to see Bushmen paintings and learn about the native fauna and flora.
The Cederberg range, 100km long, is a gigantic mass of sandstone, coloured by iron oxides and eroded into strange shapes. This area has a rich plant life, including rarities such as the snow protea (only flower that grows above the snow line) and the Cederberg or rocket pinchion. The Cedar trees are of the Widdringtonia cederbergensis species. They grow at an altitude of 1000m to 1500m. Some species are believed to live up to 1000 years. The highest peak in the range is Sneeuberg (2028m). In 1660 the first European explorers from the cape, led by Jan Danckert came across a great herd of elephants in the Olifants River valley. The source of the river is in the mountains near Ceres. Above Clanwilliam, the Olifants is harnessed by a dam, built in 1935 and expanded in 1968, which irrigates 12140 hectares of farmland.
Camp: Gekko Backpackers Campsite
Today we travel to the Gariep/Orange River. We spend the night under the stars and sit at the campfire getting to know each other.
In 1681 a party of Nama people visited Cape Town Castle to trade. They brought with them pure copper and the then Governor, Simon Van Der Stel, saw this as proof of tales told by Khoi Khoi informants. In 1685 Van Der Stel led a major expedition to the Fables Mountains. No copper was found on the surface, but rocks where stained with the green-blue of Malachite. Van Der Stel sank three shafts, which revealed a vast load of copper. After this find, for 200 years nothing was done about it due to the inhospitable environment. The Scottish explorer, Sir James Alexander investigated Van Der Stel's claims in 1852. He found several other copper outcrops and started mining.
Fortune hunters rushed to the area with many mining companies collapsing due to transport difficulties. One of the two that survived, at Okiep, was ranked as the richest copper mine in the world (Okiep is just north of Springbok).
The Orange River was named after The Dutch Royal Family (Oranje). It's now called the Gariep River. The river runs for about 1200 km. The source is at the Gariep dam near Aliwal North in Eastern Cape. It flows into the sea at Oranjemund on the west coast forming the border between RSA and Namibia and forms a natural boundary of various provinces in RSA.
Camp: Fiddlers Creek Campsite
You can choose between a morning on the riverbank or the half-day canoe on the river. After lunch we travel north to the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River Canyon is approx 27km wide at its widest point and 550m deep. It is the oldest canyon in the world. The rocks at the bottom of the canyon are 2600 million years old. It was formed in part by glacial movements (upper section), erosion and movement of tectonic plates. The plateaus are 220m from the base of the canyon. There are catfish at the bottom that survive the dry season by burrowing into the mud until the water returns. It's a very slow moving and shallow river - more like a stream. Water is present in Feb/Mar/Apr. The highest recorded temperature at the base was 58 degrees Celsius and it's usually ten degrees Celsius hotter at the bottom than where you stand on the ridge.
Camp: Hobas Campsite
From the Fish River Canyon we continue into the remote hinterland. We arrive at camp in the afternoon and enjoy a short hike at Sesriem Canyon.
At the entry to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon. As a result of erosion over many centuries, a narrow gorge of about one kilometre in length was formed about 30 to 40 meters deep. Early explorers had to tie six lengths of thongs (long reigns for cart horse) together to draw water from the pools in the canyon, hence the name "Sesriem".
Camp: Sesriem campsite
We wake before dawn so we can hike up Dune 45 and watch the sun rise. After breakfast we join a local expert on a guided tour explaining the desert ecosystem. Sossusvlei is a depression lined by some of the highest dunes in the world. Although a very rare occurrence, during periods of good rains the pan or "vlei" fills up with water from the Tsauchab River. This water wonder in the middle of the desert is a spectacular sight. The mean or average rainfall is used to class areas as either extremely arid (hyper-arid) with a mean rainfall of less than 100mm of rain per year; arid, with a mean rainfall between 100-250mm per year; semi-arid with 250-500mm of rain a year. About 16% of Namibia's land surface is hyper-arid. The Namib is hyper-arid with a rainfall of less than 100mm a year. In its driest areas the annual potential evaporation is 3500mm whereas the annual rainfall is 20mm.
Camp: Solitaire Campsite
Today we cross the Tropic of Capricorn (where we stop for a photo) on our way to Namibia's Atlantic coast. In Swakopmund you will be briefed on the optional activities available here. Day 8 is free for you to explore the town or try one of the many adventure activities. Optional Activities: Quadbiking, Sandboarding, Sky Diving, Dolphin Cruise, Scenic Flights, Fishing, Dinner out etc. Swakopmund was founded two years later than Windhoek, in 1892, by Captain Curt von Francois as the main harbour of German South West Africa. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated establishing of own port as Walvis Bay, located 33 kilometres south, was already in British possession. The choice fell on Swakopmund where water could be found and because other sites checked (including Cape Cross) were unsuitable.
Hostel (Dorm room): Villa Wiese
We leave all the trappings of modern life behind us and drive inland to the mysterious Spitzkoppe. Tonight we camp in the wild. The Spitzkoppe between Usakos and Swakopmund is also described as the "Matterhorn of Namibia". Rising to an altitude of about 1 800 metres, the Spitzkoppe is by no means Namibia's highest mountain, however, due to its striking outlines, it is regarded as the most well-known mountain in the country. Situated on a seemingly endless, dry plain, the island of mountains can be seen from far away.
Bush Camp: Spitzkoppe Community Campsite
After some early morning exploration we continue inland and drive towards Kamanjab. The Himba are a pastoral people and predominantly breed cattle or goats, they are easily recognisable by their unique style of dress. The Himba ethnic groups, who have kept their ethnic individuality and culture, live in the seclusion of the Kaokoland. The friendly people are closely related to the Herero. Both ethnic groups speak the same language. Depending on the time of year, they move with their herds to different watering places. Clothes, hairstyle and jewellery are all of particular significance to the Himba and are part of their tradition and culture. Even newborn babies are adorned with pearl necklaces. When the children are a little older, bangles made of beaten copper and shells are added.
Camp: Himba Camp
Etosha National Park is the venue for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. We will go on various game drives, and spend our evenings at the abundant water holes for some excellent game photography. Etosha National Park, with its wealth of animal and plant life, lies in the North of Namibia and covers an area of 22 270km