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Combine a thrilling safari in South Africa's foremost national park with an adventure in the deserts of Namibia for an unforgettable experience at the southern end of the African continent. From searching for the Big Five with a National Geographic researcher to exploring desert dunes, to visiting scientists at Namibia's National Geographic-supported Cheetah Conservation Fund, this trip offers an in-depth look at landscapes ruled by the animals and the elements.
Set out on a desert drive amid the red dunes of Sossusvlei and examine ancient San petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein.
Go on a game drive with a researcher sponsored by National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative.
Stroll the Mondesa market with a local guide, and then enjoy dinner in a family home.
Tour the facilities of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an organization National Geographic has supported, and then seek out cheetahs in the wild.
Itinerary - 16 Days
Day 1 — Johannesburg
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included. Enjoy a traditional South African braai (barbecue) this evening.
Days 2 & 3 — Panorama Route/Kruger National Park
Take a 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 just outside Kruger National Park. In the morning, take an included game drive inside Kruger National Park in an open safari vehicle. Take in views of the abundant wildlife from your seat. Opt to take an afternoon game drive or bush walk, or relax on the deck with views of the watering hole, a popular spot for game to visit. In the evening, enjoy stunning views and an incredible dinner on the deck at the lodge. (2B, 1D)
Days 4 & 5 — Karongwe Private Game Reserve
Enjoy morning and evening open-vehicle game drives in a private nature reserve, searching for Africa’s “big five”—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo. Meet with a researcher from the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Cheetah Metapopulation Project, a project managed by National Geographic grantee Vincent van der Merwe that is part of National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. A member of Vincent’s team will tell us about their ongoing field research and join us on one of our game drives. (2B, 1L, 2D)
Days 6 & 7 — Johannesburg/Windhoek, Namibia
After a morning game drive, head back to the city. This evening, savor a home-cooked meal at our guesthouse. The next day, fly to Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. Transfer to our hotel and enjoy free time this afternoon to explore this charming city. (2B, 1D)
Days 9 & 10 — Sesriem
Take in dramatic desert landscapes on our drive to the outpost town of Sesriem. The next day, embark on a 4x4 excursion into the otherworldly landscapes of Namib-Naukluft National Park. Take in the park’s towering red dunes of Sossusvlei, and keep an eye out for springbok, bat-eared foxes, and other desert wildlife. Continue to Sesriem Canyon, carved into the rock by the Tsauchab River over millions of years. (2B, 2D)
Days 10 & 11 — Sesriem/Swakopmund
Set out on a desert drive with a local and discuss the survival strategies of the San in the surrounding harsh environments before heading to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. The next day, take advantage of a free morning to go quad-biking, or take a walk through town. Later, stroll the lively market of Mondesa with a guide, and then drop by Datango, an arts-and-crafts shop that offers employment opportunities to youth. Continue to a family home for dinner, accompanied by entertainment from the local choir. (2B, 1L, 1D)
Days 12, 13, & 14 — Twyfelfontein/Etosha National Park
Travel to Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to view ancient San petroglyphs dating back over 5,000 years. Depart early the next day to visit the 280-million-year-old Petrified Forest before continuing to our lodge in the Etosha National Park area. Over the next two days, set out on open-vehicle game drives, and take time to relax at the lodge. (3B, 1D)
Days 15 & 16 — Cheetah Conservation Fund/Windhoek
Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global field research facility founded by Dr. Laurie Marker whose research has been supported by National Geographic. Tour the facility and learn about its ongoing work before enjoying a game drive to view cheetahs up close. Enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau, and then return to Windhoek for our final evening. Depart at any time the following day. (2B, 1L)
Our newest line of trips, offered in partnership with G Adventures, blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
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All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $1,399
Arrival transfer, internal
flights, transport between destinations and to/
from included activities, and activities as listed in
the itinerary. Optional experiences are at an additional cost
Meals Included 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners. Allow an additional $315-410 for meals not included
Transportation Air-conditioned touring vehicle, 4x4, open safari vehicle, plane, walking
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.