Essential Botswana

9 Days from $1,359

START: Johannesburg

FINISH: Victoria Falls

AGES: 18 - 29

THEME: 18 to 29s, Overland

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Time to break out your best Attenborough impression – we’re going safari. This trip doesn’t skimp on the savannah, but it mainly follows the rivers and watering holes that sustain life (human and wild) throughout Africa. Drive across the sands of the Kalahari Desert in search of rhinos, then spot elephants and warthogs while you cruise down the Okavango Delta in a dugout mokoro canoe. Camp on the shore of the Kovongo River and take a guided exploration of nearby villages, and watch the sun set over the Guma Lagoon.

Start: Johannesburg

Finish: Victoria Falls

Ages: 18 - 29

Theme: 18 to 29s, Overland

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (6 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Destination: Victoria Falls

Highlights

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Did you know that rhinos come out to play when the sun goes down? Let us prove it to you during a sunset 4WD through the Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
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Try and tell the difference between your buddy’s snores and the sound of wild hippos while camping in the heart of the Okavango wilderness.
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There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro, eyes closed while your expert poler propels you through the Okavango Delta.
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Elephants never forget, and you won’t forget them either. Cruise down the river in Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants.
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Learn what life is like for the Hambukushu people, traditionally considered masters of fishing, boat building, and making it rain.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Johannesburg

Sawubona! Welcome to South Africa. Touch down in Joburg (as the locals like to call it). You’ve got the whole day free to explore the capital city (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a 6pm Welcome Meeting tonight (make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you). Maybe arrive a day early if you can’t find an on-time flight, and let the reception know if you’re going to be late. We’ll happily book extra accommodation for you. Until the meeting, hit the streets of this city of remarkable contrasts. Perhaps head to the culturally rich areas of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng, or head out to the Burma flea market for any last minute safari must-haves (t-shirts, hats, books). Grab a bite to eat while you're there. You'll find everything from Indian and Chinese to Turkish and South African food. The eye-opening Apartheid Museum is well worth your time.

icon check Day 2 : Khama Rhino Sanctuary

See ya South Africa – cross the border into Botswana and travel toward the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). It sits on the Kalahari Desert, and is an old hunting area transformed into a into a conservation project. It now protects what’s left of Botswana's black and white rhino populations, but there are plenty of other beasties hanging around too – zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which chill out around many natural waterholes. Not only do you get to check out awesome animals here, but you’ll also be benefitting local communities and helping protect the white rhino. When the sun begins to set, hop in a jeep to see the rhinos at their most active. About 35 rhinos roam around this 400ha community-based reserve. Don't forget your binoculars, or you'll be getting them confused with big rocks. At your camp there will be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).

icon check Day 3 : Maun

Get up real early, jump aboard the truck and head to Maun (approximately 7-8 hours). Catch up on your beauty sleep or kick off the most epic game of I Spy you've ever played. This journey also includes a free massage service (the road might get a little bumpy). In Maun there’s the chance stock up on any supplies you might need for the journey ahead – maybe hats, sunscreen and scarves (for the morning chill and the afternoon sun). Maun’s the gateway to one of the world's most renowned and complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This is a one-of-a-kind kinda place – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of wetlands made up of meandering waterways, green islands, lush plains and loads of wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats. But honestly it's not really the animals that are the main attraction – it's the incredibly diverse ecosystem and atmospheric waterscapes. Tonight you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, wi-fi and optional upgrades.

icon check Day 4 : Okavango Delta

Make your way to the north-western part of the Okavango Delta, close to the Pan Handle. The drive is a not so whopping 300 kilometres and will take you about 6 hours. Now’s the time to find out everything about your fellow travellers – you’ll be old mates by the end of it. Leave the truck at some secure parking and take a 4x4 transfer for the last 12 kilometres. Your final destination for the next two nights sits on the edge of the Guma Lagoon area. Set up camp and relax on the edge of the lagoon for the rest of the afternoon, then fall asleep to the sounds of the African bush at night – is that noise a hippo or your mate snoring?

icon check Day 5 : Okavango Delta

Today you get to paddle the river. There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro (a traditional dugout canoe), eyes closed while your expert poler propels you down the calm waters, through papyrus and reed beds to lily covered lagoons and islands. Watch out for elephant, lechwe, warthog, sitatunga and other plains game in the open. There are also heaps of birds around for all you twitchers out there. Stop at one of the islands for a picnic lunch before continuing on, returning back to camp in the late afternoon. Take a swim or ask you leader about taking a walk around the area.

icon check Day 6 : Caprivi Strip

This morning it’s back in the 4x4s and a drive back to the truck. Then you’ll make your way to the border to cross into Namibia. The drive is approximately 150km and will take about 4 hours, including the border crossing. You’ll drive through the Mahango Game Reserve on the Namibia side on the way to the camp for the night. The camp is on the banks of the Kovango river, within the Caprivi Game Park strip of Namibia. This strip of land is sandwiched between Botswana and Angola, and connects with Zambia and Zimbabwe at its end. In the afternoon you’ll head out on a guided excursion through the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe Bushmen tribes, exploring local life up close. Look out for some Botswana Baskets – some say they’re the finest craft works in Africa!

icon check Day 7 : Kwando Camp

Today is another drive of approximately 300 kilometres and about 5 hours, before reaching your next camp on the banks of the Kwando River along the border with Botswana. After settling in you can either relax or jump on one of the optional activities available here, such as a late afternoon boat trip, or a game drive in Mudumu Game Park (look out for buffalo, elephants, loads of antelope species, and zebra). You could also take a village tour, chill with another mokoro ride, or join in on a fishing trip – the locals will give you the heads up on the best spot. Just have a chat with your leader and they’ll let you know what’s what.

icon check Day 8 : Chobe National Park

Zip over to the edge of the Chobe National Park, where you’ll spend the night. The drive takes you further through the Caprivi Strip and back into Botswana. Cruise into Chobe Park on the only stretch of tarred road, before reaching your camp. The drive is approximately 250 kilometres long and will take about 5 hours. Set up camp them head out on a late afternoon boat cruise on the Chobe River. The Chobe River has a huge range of wildlife, all packed into a tiny area, making it unlike anywhere else in the world. Here you’ll get up close and personal with hippos, buffalo, crocodiles and a mind-boggling array of water birds. But elephants are the big stars here, and don't they know it. Parading around in big groups, showing off their cute babies and tearing down enormous trees limb by limb.

icon check Day 9 : Victoria Falls

This morning there'll be time to join an optional game drive in the Chobe National Park. Then it’s onto Victoria Falls this afternoon (approximately 2–3 hours). You will cross the border into Zimbabwe and arrive in the early afternoon. The trip finishes on arrival but you’ve gotta make your way to Vic Falls itself. The entrance fee is a bit steep, but for the Kanye West – no, the Lady Gaga of waterfalls – it’s well worth it, so make sure you’re cashed up. The sound of 19 million cubic feet of water throwing itself over a mile-long edge every minute will be music to your ears. It looks pretty sweet too. If you are departing this evening please do not book flights until after 9pm. There are tonnes of adrenaline pumping activities on around here, so why not stay on longer. There’s white water rafting, canoeing and flying fox rides. For an incredible scenic helicopter flight, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only Intrepid-endorsed operator. Your leader can help you arrange all this.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

8 Breakfasts, 7 Dinners
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Transport

Overland vehicle, Open safari vehicle, Mokoro
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Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (6 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)
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Included Activities

  • Victoria Falls - Leader-led orientation walk

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Holiday Inn Rosebank

The Zone Phase 2, 187 Oxford Rd

Johannesburg

Johannesburg

2196

SOUTH AFRICA

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Victoria Falls Rest Camp and Lodges - PEAK Southern Africa

Stand 5 Parkway

Victoria Falls

ZIMBABWE

Phone: +26 3773496695

icon readmoreicon minusPhysical preparation

You do not need any real fitness for this safari besides the ability to get in and out of the safari vehicles. The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day. Please also note that, in some areas, the roads are in quite poor condition and you may experience a fair amount of bouncing around.

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver. (Depending on your group size – from time to time your leader will also be your driver)

Your Group Leader’s role involves organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip, managing trip logistics and will form work groups to take turns cooking, cleaning and shopping.

Your Group Leader will work towards making the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Our trips are built around the co–operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader. The group leader will show the group how to set up and use the equipment.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, especially when tracking and identifying game - we think it's the best of both worlds. Our Group Leaders are chosen for their leadership skills and are wonderful ambassadors for our company and our beautiful continent and its people.

Your Driver’s main responsibility is to get you to your destination safely; they are also responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles along the way.

Everyone is expected to participate and carry their share of the workload, making camp chores easier. If the whole group participates it will be quicker, easier, and more fun.

We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and driver; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field: www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm. TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware! SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PICK POCKETING & PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking at night and encourage you to walk in groups and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water. TRAVEL ADVICE & TRAVEL INSURANCE We recommend that you check your government's advice in relation to the areas you will be visiting for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

UNFENCED CAMP SITES: On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

BILHARZIA Bilharzia is a parasitical disease which is usually spread by swimming in contaminated water. It can be assumed that the infection is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in almost all water sources, but most especially in shallow reedy waters in the vicinity of villages. Although the adult parasites do not themselves cause a great deal of harm, after about 4-6 weeks they start to lay eggs, which triggers an intense but usually ineffective immune response, the symptoms of which can include fever, cough, abdominal pain, and an itchy skin complaint known as safari itch. After a while the symptoms settle down and the patient is left with a sense of feeling tired all the time.

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PASSPORT

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

VISAS

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

SOUTH AFRICA:

Many countries do not need visas to visit South Africa as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required

Entry Requirements – Passports:

Please note that non-machine readable passports are no longer accepted by South African immigration. All visitors to South Africa must have a machine readable travel document (e-passport). Failure to present an e-passport will result in denied entry. Passengers with a valid visa issued in a non-machine readable passport will be handled on a case by case basis, but a fine will still be applicable.

Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate:

A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through South Africa, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival in South Africa will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region.

NEW ZEALAND PASSPORT HOLDERS:

Effective 15th August 2019, New Zealand visitors no longer require a visa for South Africa.

BOTSWANA:

Please check with your relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. For passengers requiring a visa to Botswana, application forms can be downloaded from http://www.gov.bw/en/ as well as instructions for applying.

Entry Requirements - Yellow Fever Certificate:

A valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate is required for all passengers over one year of age who arrive or are transiting through Botswana, from a country or region listed by the World Health Organization as infected by yellow fever. Travellers unable to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate issued at least 10 days before arrival will be refused entry. There is no option for travellers without a vaccination certificate to be vaccinated on arrival. Please note this also includes transiting through an infected country or region.

Children travelling to Botswana:

Please note that if you’re travelling to Botswana with a person under the age of 18 then you need to provide a certified copy of the child’s full unabridged birth certificate in order to enter the country (the one listing the child’s details and both parents’ details. - the short birth certificate which only lists the child’s details won’t be accepted).

Additionally, if the child is travelling with only one parent, with neither biological parent, or is unaccompanied, then they must provide an affidavit of consent of the parent(s) that are not travelling, to prove that the trip is made with both parents' consent. Please contact your nearest Botswanan Embassy if you have further questions regarding this.

NAMIBIA:

Many nationalities are not required to obtain a tourist visa in Namibia if traveling for a maximum period of 90 days. For other nationalities, please contact the local consulate or embassy for visa requirements. Please check with the relevant visa office before departure to make sure there has been no change.

ZIMBABWE:

Zimbabwe visas are required by most nationalities, including from the EU, US and Australia. For most nationalities, Zimbabwe visas are available at the point of entry. If you plan to purchase your visa on arrival you will need approximately USD30/45 in cash. All nationalities should check with their nearest Zimbabwe Embassy for up to date information.

For passengers from countries that require visas prior to arrival there is an E-Visa where information can be found at https://www.ivisa.com/zimbabwe-visa

KAZA Visa: The Kaza visa is valid for travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is available at land borders at Livingstone (Zimbabwe border) and Kazungula (Botswana border). The cost of the visa is USD$50 and is valid for 30 days as long as you stay within Zimbabwe and Zambia.

BORDER CROSSINGS ON THIS TRIP:

Day 2

Exit South Africa - Groblers Bridge (Groblersbrug)

Enter Botswana - Martin's Drift

Day 6

Exit Botswana - Mohembo

Enter Namibia - Mohembo

Day 8

Exit Namibia - Ngoma bridge

Enter Botswana - Ngoma bridge

Day 9

Exit Botswana - Kazungula road

Enter Zimbabwe - Kazungula road

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Ever helped save a Rhino? Well you can answer ‘yes, thanks’ to that once you’ve been to Botswana’s Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Try and tell the difference between your buddy’s snores and the sound of wild hippos while camping in the heart of the Okavango wilderness

There's nothing more relaxing than feeling the African sun on your face as you lie back in a mokoro, eyes closed while your expert poler propels you through the Okavango Delta

Elephants might never forget, but you’ll get the unforgettable experience of cruising down the river in Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants

Victoria Falls is made for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Peer over the edge of this crazy cascade, then stay on for adventures on land and in the sky

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

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

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, 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

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip.

YELLOW FEVER:

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

TYPHOID:

It is recommended that if you are travelling to Harare you make sure that your Typhoid vaccinations are up to date. There has been an outbreak of typhoid in parts of Harare, with over 1500 cases reported since October 2011. For more information speak to your doctor and see the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

DRINKING WATER:

As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it may contain much higher levels of different minerals than the water you are used to at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Many hotels and lodges provide safe drinking water, while bottled water is another alternative. Water consumption should be about two litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

By travelling on an Overland trip you have chosen a participation camping tour. This means that you will be helping your cook prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping.

Your cook will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with group of 5 or 6 people (depending on group size) having a different camp job each day.

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. On occasion there will be the opportunity to buy your lunch to allow you try the local cuisine or provide some variety to sandwiches. 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.

Your overland truck has a tank of treated water that is safe to drink. Your crew will use this to cook and provide cordial at meal times. Please do not hesitate to use this water to minimise the consumption of plastic water bottles. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are not part of included meals.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need.

Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you know what’s included in the trip price and what isn’t. This should make budgeting a little easier. You’ll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that’s this document).

Please note: all recommendations for additional costs, tipping etc. are in USD. You will need to convert these into the relevant local currency.

MEALS NOT INCLUDED

Breakfast, dinner and most lunches are included while camping on our overland safaris.

For lunches not included, a budget of USD10 to USD15 per meal will be more than sufficient.

For dinners not included, your leader will normally recommend options and restaurants where you can safely try the local specialties of the region. Expect meals to cost between USD12 to USD25 for a main.

These are indicative prices only. If you are in a tight budget and are happy to try local food, you can eat cheaper than this.

TIPPING

Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. If you are happy with the services provided, a tip is an appropriate way to thank them. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. Usually the equivalent of around USD7 to USD14 per person, per day to cover all tips is fine.

TIPPING GUIDE

To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve put together the following tipping notes. These are just suggestions, based on feedback from past travellers and our staff on the ground.

- Your Crew (including Leaders, Drivers and Cooks): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD2 to USD4 per staff member, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. It is best to then divide these amounts into separate envelopes for each crew member. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

- Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest around USD2 per person, per day for local guides.

- Basic restaurants: When checking the bill, if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

TIPPING KITTY

Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, your leader might raise the idea of a group tipping kitty. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running this kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips as you go. The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This kitty does not include tips for your leader and crew.

EMERGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

CREDIT CARDS, ATMS AND MONEY EXCHANGE:

Credit cards are generally accepted in tourist shops and some restaurants across Africa. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Foreign currency is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.

With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.

PLEASE NOTE: Many businesses and banks in Africa, especially East Africa, do not accept US dollar notes older than 2006. If you are bringing USD, we strongly recommend large bills in good condition, 2006 series onwards only. Any old or damaged notes may not be accepted.

ACCESSING CASH IN ZIMBABWE:

Zimbabwe has now reverted to their own currency, Zimbabwe dollars. However accessing this currency can be difficult and exchanging money at banks encounters long queues. Optional activities can still and must be paid in USD, while visas on arrival can also be paid in USD. On ground costs such as lunches and market purchases must be paid in Zimbabwe dollars or by using a credit card. You should plan your travel expenses in advance and bring sufficient USD into the country to support your stay. Your leader or local representative will be on hand to advise on this matter should you need it.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, 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 trips. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Sleeping bag. We recommend a 3–4 season sleeping bag because it can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. Sleeping bags are also available for hire (if pre-booked). Please speak to your sales consultant, at least 14 days prior to departure, if you wish to hire one. - Pillow, travel pillow or pillow case (to put your soft jacket in) - 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. Consider shorts for summer. 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 (especially if travelling in winter) - 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. - 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. - 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 litre capacity. Our vehicle have large tanks of treated water for your refills. - Camera with spare battery and/or power bank. - Overnight bag. To take 2 days' worth of luggage on your Okavango Delta portion of the itinerary - Binoculars - For longer trips a small bottle of biodegradable laundry soap and string for hand washing and hanging your clothes - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring tent-mate - A good book, a journal or smart phone with music for the long drives - toilet paper and soap to carry in your day bag OPTIONAL: - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Thermarest. While we provide a basic camping mattress for each client, some travellers find they like the extra comfort of a double layer. LUGGAGE LIMIT: The weight limit for luggage on all overland vehicles 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. Some overland vehicles also have lockers for items that you may need more access to. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock. 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. If visiting coastal areas wear a cover-up when you step off the beaches.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

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.

WINTER MONTHS:

Yes it is Africa, however the winter months can be very cold. Please bring a warm sleeping bag as well as warm winter clothing such as a wool pullover, jacket and woolly hat. It's also a good idea to check the weather reports prior to travel.

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

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. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

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

Peak Southern Africa: +27828229407

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

Accommodation on this trip is mainly in two-person canvas dome tents with camping mattresses supplied.

The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels. In Africa it's not usually practical to camp when staying in towns and cities so we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants.

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 approximately USD60-120 per room per night for a twin room and cannot be pre-booked. Standards of these rooms vary greatly and we recommend viewing the room before purchasing the nights accommodation. The day by day itinerary advises when upgrades may be possible (subject to availability).

Keep in mind that if we are staying in dormitory accommodation, you may have to share with other passengers or be split into same sex rooms.

Campsites do have facilities but they usually aren't to the same standard you would find in western countries. For example the bathroom facilities can be very basic. There is rarely toilet paper provided and shower facilities can be as simple as a hose pipe spurting out cold water. Wild camps have no facilities at all.

At times there may be spare tents in the vehicles. Unfortunately these cannot be used without purchase of a single supplement. This is to ensure the tents avoid wear and tear, or are clean and ready for the customers arriving on the next section of the trip.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

ROAD CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA:

Roads in Africa are often in very poor condition, which makes it hard on our vehicles. Our vehicles are serviced regularly and are generally in good condition, but breakdowns can and do happen. Sometimes the going on this trip is quite tough, the distances covered fairly large and some of the roads and tracks are not exactly smooth or free from dust, but the rewards are exceptional. The travelling times indicated in our Essential Trip Information is just a rough guide and is dependent on various factors that may be outside our control, such as road conditions, weather and time spent at borders.

DRIVE TIMES:

The travel times listed in the day to day itinerary are a guide only. Please be aware that delays may occur and please be patient - it's all part of the experience afterall! Additionally, the travel times do not include time spent on game drives as these can vary with each departure.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Camping (with facilities) (6 nights),Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights),Hotel (1 night)

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