Okavango & Beyond

Trip Code: YBSB

Why we love it

Besides being one of the world's most dazzling waterfalls, Victoria Falls offers a range of exciting activities, from nature walks to breathtaking scenic helicopter flights., Visit the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust and learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and their role in anti-poaching., A sunset cruise is the ultimate way to soak up the ambience of the Chobe River. Keep an eye out – and a camera at the ready – for elephants, cheetahs and lions frolicking on the shore., Experience the untouched wilderness of Botswana's Okavango Delta, staying on a remote island bush camp. As night falls, the sounds of the African bush are like nothing else., Visit the Khama Rhino Sanctuary – an important local conservation project and the last remaining place in Botswana where both black and white rhinos live, Cycle through the colourful streets of Soweto and hear first-hand stories of the township’s colourful history., On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Driver and a camp assistant. Your Camp Assistant is responsible for setting up camp and preparing your meals so you can take extra time to relax at the end of your day., Camping beds/stretchers, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows are provided for camping nights to provide an extra level of comfort.

Is this trip right for me?

This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent (unless you’re on an Original or Comfort style trip), occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘big five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland

Camping out in the amazing Okavango wilderness means digging a bush toilet and going without a shower. It's all part of the delta experience.

You will need a reasonable level of fitness for the cycle tour in Soweto, as the town isn't totally flat.

The African wild comes alive at sunrise, so there will be some early starts for game drives. The thrill of spotting your first lion or rhino is well worth any loss of sleep!

As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip. To see what you're missing out on check out our Experience Southern Africa trip.

You may also want to check out Experience Southern Africa trip if you have more time to explore in southern Africa.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip includes a mixture camping and other accommodation. While camping, tents, sleeping mats and sleeping bags will be provided and set up for you by our crew.
3. This trip finishes in Soweto on Day 9 after our cycle adventure. Please don't book any international flights until after 8pm this evening.
4. BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP:
Exit Zimbabwe - Kazangula Road
Enter Botswana - Kazangula Road
Exit Botswana - Martin's Drift
Enter South Africa - Groblers Bridge

What to bring/pack

We recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day/overnight trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIALS:
- Closed in shoes. As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
- Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening game activities when it can be cool.
- Warm fleece and beanie for morning and evening game drives.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses
- Towel (or travel towel)

RECOMMENDED:
- A simple plastic bag/waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.
- A good quality, high-beam headlamp or torch for around the campsite at night. Some campsites have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. Although the trucks do carry lamps for meal times it’s a good idea to bring a headlamp to navigate the campsites and in particular going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc.
- Insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Camera with spare battery or power bank.

OPTIONAL:
- Sleeping bag liner. Great for extra warmth in the colder months or just on their own in the warmer months.
- Thermarest. While we provide a basic camping mattress for the camping nights, some travellers find they like the extra comfort of a double layer.
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring tent-mate
- A good book, a journal, or an mp3 player for the long drives.

BEDDING:
Sleeping bags, blankets and pillows are provided for the camping nights.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:
The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a strict maximum of 20kg.
Your main luggage will be stored in a compartment at the back of the truck. Traditional, framed suitcases are not recommended as they are large and can damage other travellers belongings while on the road. Backpacks or duffel bags are an ideal choice.

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

POWER:
Our overland vehicles are equipped with multiple power boards which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only a minimal number of items can be charged at a time and will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Some campsites have electricity and charging of devices is advised before checking out the following day. We also recommend power banks and multi country power converters.

CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR WOMEN:
In many parts of Africa women travelers should dress modestly as there is a wide range of cultural differences. Wear skirts or shorts that reach just above the knee and tops that cover shoulders at a minimum., PLASTIC BAG BANS ACROSS AFRICA
While Namibia holds people liable to a fine of N$500 or imprisonment for entering Game Parks with a plastic bag, Botswana has announced a countrywide ban on plastic bags to come into effect on 1 November 2018. The ban will make the importing, trading and commercial use of plastic bags a criminal offence. Exceptions will be made for plastics that are essential for health and hygiene. With these announcements, Botswana and Namibia join other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Eritrea that have banned plastic bags. South Africa imposed a levy on plastic bags in 2004 but they have not yet been banned.
Many countries are strictly enforcing this and have been searching luggage at border points. Camping stores are good for obtaining waterproof reusable bags, for dirty laundry etc, prior to departure.

Physical rating

3

The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day.

Joining your group

Victoria Falls Rest Camp and Lodges - PEAK Southern Africa, Stand 5 Parkway, Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE, Phone: +26 3773496695

Joining instructions

If you have pre-booked a transfer please look out for our representative holding a board with your name at the arrival terminal. Please do not go with anyone else.

If you are making your own way to the hotel, there is a taxi stand outside the airport building. A taxi should cost approximately 20USD. It is a 21km drive from the airport to the hotel.

Finishing your trip

Vhavenda Hills B&B, 11749 Mampuru Street, Orlando West Extension, Soweto, Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA

Located in the Orlando West suburb of Soweto - a vibrant area with numerous restaurants, bars and museums and historic sites nearby.

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please inform your leader and they will notify you of your departure transfer time. For international flights your transfer driver will be at reception 3.5 hours prior to the flight departure, while for domestic flights the driver will be there 2.5 hours prior to departure.

If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you an airport shuttle or taxi. Please ask at reception.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 8

Lunches included: 6

Dinners included: 6

Your crew will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking, and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.

A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal, something hot such as eggs or pancakes, as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometimes with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch. Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as ugali and stew.

On the more remote sections of your trip, your food and diet will be dependent on what is available locally as well as tinned and dry ingredients.

One thing is sure - you definitely won't go hungry or lose weight on your safari! When you aren't camping you will have the freedom to decide where, what and with whom you eat.

Climate & seasonal information

Yes it is Africa, however the winter months can be very cold. Please bring warm winter clothing such as wool pullover and a jacket. Also consider thermals, gloves and a woolly hat.

WEATHER IN BOTSWANA
The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe are Botswana's most popular parks. The best time to visit them is from May to September, during the dry season and winter, resulting in more moderate temperatures. There is also less vegetation and animals tend to concentrate around waterholes and rivers, making wildlife easier to spot. The Okavango Delta is also in full flood. The skies are clear, rain is rare and there are fewer mosquitoes. It does get cold at night and in the mornings. Packing warm winter clothing during June, July and August for the cold morning game drives is advisable.

In September and October temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. However, October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.
November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.

November to April is known the wet Season and Summer. Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you'll still see plenty, including newborn animals and migratory birds. Except for January and February, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.

The water from the Angolan Highlands starts to push into the Delta in the late summer and early autumn months with winter offering the highest levels. The Okavango water levels start receding towards the end of the winter months and into spring, with the summer months offering up the lowest levels. Please be aware that this can affect some water activities such as mokoro or boat trips.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's local Operator: +27828229407

Accommodations

This trip includes a mixture camping, hotels, lodges and permanent tents. While camping, tents, sleeping mats and sleeping bags will be provided and the crew & camp hands will set these up for you.

There may be the occasional night stop, when we stay in the grounds of a hotel or at a campsite which may also have rooms/cabins available. In this case there may be a choice of camping or upgrading to a room. Rooms cost between approximately USD60-120 per room per night for a twin room and cannot be pre-booked.

Transportation

Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Our fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. In Southern Africa some departures may use vans and luggage trailers subject to group size and vehicle availability. It is also important to note that our overland vehicles are not air-conditioned, but all vehicles have windows that can be opened to allow for fresh air.

There are many early starts with long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience that is right for you.

African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.


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