Delve into the wildernesses of South Africa and Namibia on an unforgettable 16-day adventure. Search for the "big five" with a National Geographic researcher, explore the stunning dunes of the parched Namib Desert, and meet scientists at the National Geographic-supported Cheetah Conservation Fund. As you track animals in the wild, find your element amid the rawness of the African bush.
Day 1 Johannesburg (1D)
Arrive at any time. Transfer to hotel. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) welcome dinner.
Day 2 Johannesburg/Kruger National Park (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a full day scenic drive along the famed Panorama Route with stops at Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and God’s Window. Continue to our tented camp located near the Kruger National Park and this evening enjoy a delicious South African dinner in the boma.
Day 3 Kruger National Park (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a morning wildlife safari drive through Kruger National Park in an open vehicle. Take in views of the abundant wildlife including elephants, lions, and giraffe. In the afternoon, opt to extend your safari drive or head back to the lodge where you can take a short nature walk or relax on the deck with views of the surrounding area.
Day 4 Kruger National Park/Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D)
Continue on to a private nature reserve in the Greater Kruger area. This afternoon, meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project who will share information about their efforts to protect cheetahs and other carnivores. This National Geographic-sponsored project is part of the Big Cats Initiative. After, the researcher will join us on our evening wildlife safari drive.
Day 5 Karongwe Private Game Reserve (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy early morning and afternoon safari drives with our local guides, searching for buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos – Africa’s famed Big Five. In our down time, relax at the camp, take a walk around the grounds, or enjoy a cool drink on the deck.
Day 6 Karongwe Private Game Reserve/Johannesburg (1B, 1D)
After one last wildlife safari drive, head back to the city. In the evening, enjoy dinner at our local guest house.
Day 7 Johannesburg/Windhoek (1B)
Fly to Windhoek and transfer to the hotel. Free time to explore Windhoek in the afternoon and then meet your CEO and the rest of the group in the evening.
Day 8 Windhoek/Sesriem (1B, 1D)
Enjoy the dramatic Namibian landscapes as we drive to the desert area of Sesriem, gateway to Namib-Naukluft National Park. Settle in to our desert lodge, relax at the pool, or enjoy a cool drink watching the stunning sunset over the desertscape.
Day 9 Sesriem (1B, 1D)
Embark on a scenic excursion into the national park to explore the Namib Desert. Visit Sossusvlei and Deadvlei — clay pans covered in a crust of salt-rich sand surrounded by burnt orange and red towering dunes. It’s considered one of the most stunning desert landscapes in Africa. After, visit Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved out by the Tsauchab River.
Day 10 Sesriem/Swakopmund (1B, 1L)
Continue through changing desert landscapes, keeping an eye out for free-roaming zebra, kudu, springbok, and oryx. Stop in the quirky town of Solitaire for a break before heading out into the countryside. Here we meet a local to this remote region who takes us on a drive and talks about the survival strategies of ancient bushmen who lived in the area. We also search out smaller animal life that manages to survive in these harsh conditions such as snakes, geckos, spiders, and insects to learn how they have adapted to this arid region. After, continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.
Day 11 Swakopmund (1B, 1D)
Enjoy a free morning. Opt to go sandboarding, or just take a walk in town. This afternoon, explore the township of Mondesa with a local guide, learning about its people and history. Visit the local market for an introduction to traditional food including wild spinach, mopane worms, and dried kapenta fish. Also visit an art and craft shop, meet with some locals, then visit a family-run establishment for dinner and local entertainment.
Day 12 Swakopmund/Palmwag (1B, 1D)
Continue on to Twyfelfontein where we visit the ancient petroglyphs which were named Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is thought to hold the largest concentrations of bushman engravings in Africa with over 2,500 figures ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 years old. Finish the day on the Palmwag Concession, in northwest Damaraland.
Day 13 Palmwag/Etosha National Park (1B, 1D)
Visit the Petrified Forest national monument, a stunning site of fossilized tree trunks dating from approximately 280 million years ago, before continuing to our lodge located in the Etosha National Park area. Etosha is considered the greatest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. This evening, spend time at the waterhole to view the abundant number of wildlife who come to drink.
Day 14 Etosha National Park (1B, 1D)
Embark on two open vehicle safari drives today, one in the early morning, to see the sunrise, and another in afternoon. Both drives will be led by a local guide from the national park. There is abundant wildlife that congregate around the waterholes, so keep your cameras at the ready for elephants, lions, endangered black rhinos, and even leopards. Over lunch, you have time to relax at the lodge, take a swim, or sit back and watch the animals as they come to the waterhole.
Day 15 Etosha National Park/Windhoek (1B, 1L)
After breakfast, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research and education facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility to learn about the important research, conservation, and community outreach work they do as one of the world’s leading organizations dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. Meet with a researcher for a lecture to learn about the various projects in the works, then enjoy a cheetah drive to view some of these amazing creatures up close. After, enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau. Continue on to Windhoek for our final evening.
Day 16 Windhoek (1B)
Depart at any time.
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