Canyons, Dunes and Falls
Drive / Rest day
13 / 3
Sealed / Dirt
41% / 59%
4,265 km / 2,665 mi
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe: Go on safari in your own 4wd, one of Africa's most iconic journeys
An incredible journey through Southern Africa that has it all, from epic wildlife experiences in renown national parks to the evening cacophony of the roar of lions, grunting of hippos and laughing of hyenas. We experience the world’s oldest desert and visit towering mountains of sand that glow red at sunrise, we overnight at luxury small game lodges and gaze in wonder at the mightiest falls of them all, Victoria Falls. The drive will expose us to cultures that defy belief, so removed from our own. If remote empty tracks, endless star laden skies, incredible wildlife experiences, unique African cultures and diverse stunning landscapes are your thing, then this epic 16-day 4WD adventure is for you.
Go on safari in your own 4x4, drive the Cederbergs and the utterly empty, yet stunningly scenic, desert and more! Africa boasts unbelievable scenery and some of the worlds most incredible wildlife.
Dates and Pricing
Day 1: Your Cape Town airport transfer will take you directly to our joining hotel, ready for the start tomorrow. Today you will meet your crew for your tour briefing and welcome dinner.
Day 2: We take delivery of our 4wds. Leaving the bright lights of Cape Town behind it’s only a two-hour drive before we reach the raw and wild beauty of the iconic Cederberg, it’s 4WD heaven. Our first night on the road is the small town of Clanwilliam located in the Olifants River valley in the Western Cape.
Day 3: A wonderful day of remote 4-wheel driving through the epic desert landscape of the Namaqualand. We visit an ancient quiver tree forest in this tough desert environment and tackle the desert tracks before arriving for our overnight stay at Springbok.
Day 4: We depart South Africa and enter Namibia at Vioolsdrift before hitting the dirt again of the awesome Ai Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. This is an incredibly scenic desert environment of valleys and canyons, the biggest of which is the renown Fish River Canyon where we will witness a spectacular sunset.
Day 5: We drive north through more spectacular remote desert scenery before arriving at the wonderful family owned and run Burgsdorf Guest Farm. Built in 1899 this place is a veritable oasis in the desert and one our favorite places to stay in all of Africa.
Day 6: Today we reach the world renown Namib – Naukluft National Park, a truly inspiring landscape of towering sand dunes, dotted with the occasional oryx and camelthorn tree. The drive here is thrilling through a breathtaking landscape. Sunsets out here must be seen to be believed.
Day 7: We take the 4wds out, pre-dawn, to witness a beautiful sunrise and the opportunity to climb any number of Dunes. We will visit the otherworldly stunning scenery of the Deadvlei, an image that features on just about every tourist brochure ever produced for Namibia. It’s a wonderful day in the "sea of sand" topped off as we witness another epic sunset from our superb accommodation.
Day 8: We cross the Tropic of Capricorn today on our way to the Atlantic Ocean to the seaside town of Swakopmund where Mad Max - Fury Road was filmed. Today is yet another scenic overload as we drive amongst vast yawning valleys punctuated by small herds of Zebra and the occasional oryx and if we’re lucky flocks of pink flamingo as we near the Atlantic.
Day 9: Today we drive north along the Atlantic coast stopping off to visit the wreck of the Zelia and visiting the huge seal colony at Cape Cross before leaving the coast behind and turning east into the lands of the Himba and Herero tribes. The driving here is as remote as it gets and offers spectacular scenery topped off by our overnight stay at Vingerklip where we wine and dine in possibly the most amazingly located restaurant in all of Africa.
Day 10: Another superb driving day as we tackle the dirt tracks of Namibia. We reach the world renown Etosha National Park mid-afternoon in time to enjoy an incredible game drive in open 4wd Landcruisers. This is the true essence of Africa, being on safari and getting up close and personal with a bewildering array of wildlife.
Day 11: Today we take our own 4wds into Etosha and can explore Etosha at our own pace. Etosha is a unique game park with a salt pan, so large it can be seen from space, being its main feature. This feature makes wildlife viewing almost guaranteed. Our day is rounded off at our superb safari lodge enjoying time in the pool, at the bar and having dinner.
Day 12: Dragging ourselves away from Etohsa we continue north in the mighty Kavango region, it is this region where we encounter what some call “traditional” Africa with small villages dotted with mud and grass rondavels and the tracks lines with wood carvings. We overnight in Rundu on the banks of the Okavango River, on the other side of which, lies Angola.
Day 13: An absolute accommodation highlight tonight as we drive into East Caprivi and visit Mudumu National Park, a landscape of lush wilderness of riverine forest, marsh and open woodland, providing a home for an abundance of wildlife. We spend a night at the luxurious Lianshulu Lodge and go on an afternoon game drive, hopefully witnessing vast herds of elephant at sunset, it is a truly magical African experience.
Day 14: We cross into Botswana today on onto the legendary Chobe National Park. After the border crossing, we are driving through the park so wildlife could be prevalent. We arrive at Kasane our stepping off point for an incredible afternoon / sunset cruise of the might Chobe River where we will see a lot of wildlife including elephant, buffalo, crocodiles, numerous bird species and a long list of other animals, the cruise offers us a unique wildlife viewing perspective.
Day 15: Our penultimate day will see us take the long way round before crossing into Zimbabwe via the Seloko Plains and the Kazuma Forest Reserve. We cross using the remote Pandamatenga border that offers us a wonderful 4wd track into Zimbabwe before arriving at one of the scenic highlights of the tour, that of Victoria Falls.
Day 16: We spend a day exploring these iconic falls, either a walk into the falls national park or a plethora of other activities, such a bungee jumping, zip lining, cruises, and flights to name a few. We can visit the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel for an afternoon beverage and celebrate what has been an incredible 4wd adventure through Africa.
Departure Day: Spend a couple more days in Victoria Falls or depart to your next destination.
- Airport Transfers
- 4wd rental
- Fuel & tolls
- 16 nights’ accommodation in safari lodges and hotels
- 16 breakfasts
- 12 lunches
- 11 Dinners
- Services of Compass Expeditions leader and support staff
- Access to Compass Expeditions App / Chock full of tour info, route maps & what to expect
- Pre-departure material
- Access to satellite phone, pay per minute
- Compass Expeditions tour shirt
- Entrances to all attractions & excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- International Flights
- Visas (if required)
- Personal Health/Travel Insurance
- Tips and gratuities
All accommodation is twin, double or family share, if you would like a single room there will be a single supplement:
Our 4wds are insured and have a damage excess of US$ 1,700, you can reduce the excess to US$ 0 by taking advantage of our Excess Reduction Policy: US$ 25 per day
41% of this drive is on pavement; long sections of pavement will be rough, potholed, and narrow with tall & damaged shoulders. Some sections have wildlife prevalent, including elephant, which can be surprisingly difficult to see until the last minute. Pavement can end with no warning.
59% of this drive will be on dirt. These dirt tracks range from rough barely, discernible, wheel tracks through national parks with loose pebbly surfaces to deep sandy areas and LOTs of corrugations. Many tracks have lots of lose sharp rocks and deep washouts. As with all dirt tracks, conditions change and the above is a guide only.
Tour Start: Cape Town, South Africa
Tour End: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
We travel in the cooler / drier months with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid 20°C / mid 70°F in South Africa to low 30°C / high 80°F further north. It can be cold in the evening, especially in the deserts of Namibia dropping to as low as 5°C / 40°F. Very little rain should be expected throughout, although some rain could be experienced in Cape Town.
- All drivers must have a valid driver’s license and at least two years driving experience.
- Drivers should note that our vehicles have an insurance excess of US$ 1,700 in the event of damage caused by accidents or mistreatment. You can reduce the excess to US$300 by taking advantage of our Excess Reduction Policy: US$ 25 per day
- It is a requirement that all clients have appropriate travel insurance for this type of expedition.
4,265 km / 2,665 mi
Sealed / Dirt
41% / 59%
- 16 nights accommodation
- Our accommodations range from small family run guest houses and farm stays to 5-star safari lodges.
- A flexible attitude is needed as standards are not always what we are accustomed to.
- All accommodation is on a twin, double or family share basis. If you are traveling alone, we will pair you up with another solo traveler. However, if you prefer single accommodation a single supplement is available: US$2,910.00
- On every day of the tour, we include breakfast: 16 Breakfasts
- On mentioned ride days we provide a café lunch or a picnic lunch that we prepare ourselves from our mobile kitchen: 12 Lunches
- We include mentioned dinners in reliable restaurants & safari camps we have used many times before: 11 Dinners
4 Wheel Drives
Seating Capacity on our tour: 4 (1 driver & 3 passengers)
The "unbreakable" Hilux is a legendary 4x4 dual cab, unmatched in its popularity around the world. This vehicle is ideally suited to the rugged landscape of Africa, with a little comfort thrown in.
Toyota Land Cruiser 70 series
Seating Capacity on our tour: 4 (1 driver & 3 passengers)
Say no more, the 70 series is the iconic work-horse, favoured by industry and hard-core 4W drivers. This legendary vehicle is wonderfully suited to the toughest Africa can throw at it.
A fantastic trip very professionally run through fascinating terrain and countries. We enjoyed it tremendously.
Accidents happen, luggage is lost and tour or flight cancellations can occur, so it is our policy that all participants of Compass Expeditions tours have an appropriate level of travel insurance to cover the unforeseen. This is not only compulsory when joining our tours, but it makes sense.
If choosing your own insurance – for motorcycle tours it is crucial the insurance policy you choose will offer a policy for riding a motorcycle OVER 250cc (including our bikes). This is a critical point to ensure when purchasing a policy.
Our experienced In-house travel team are happy to help with getting you the right insurance for your tour and for any other travel you might be doing before or after. Contact our in-house travel team.