Southern Circle Tour (24 Days)
For those that wish to experience the highlights of Southern Africa
For those that wish to experience the highlights of Southern Africa with the convenience of flying in and out of Johannesburg. This tour will show you the best of several countries, and endeavours to reveal the contrasts that make up this region.
From the desert landscapes of Botswana to the lush forests of Zambia, the tea plantations of Malawi to the deserted beaches of Mozambique, you will experience built up cities and rural homesteads, good highways and dirt tracks. This tour also concentrates on some of the finest Game Reserves in Africa, including Chobe, Luangwa and Kruger where you will see a huge variety of animals all in their natural environment. An open and flexible approach is essential for this tour.
Please note: We are pleased to inform our guests that the 24 Day Southern Circle Tour will now start following the original itinerary and travel from Malawi through Mozambique back to South Africa. We will no longer follow the detour via Zimbabwe back to South Africa.
- Five Countries Visited
- Overnight Boat Cruise Kariba
- Chobe Boat Cruise
- Victoria Falls
- Zambezi Canoe Trip
- Luangwa National Park
- Lake Malawi
- Kruger National Park
- Open Vehicle Game Drives
- White Water Rafting
- Bungi Jumping
- Luangwa Night Drive
PRE and POST night accommodation can be arranged at the Greenfire Lodge in Johannesburg. It is advisable to overnight at the Greenfire Lodge if you have not already made alternative arrangements. Accommodation at the Greenfire Lodge can be arranged through Drifters or your travel representative. The Greenfire Lodge is located in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg – a safe residential area. The Greenfire Lodge has a lovely swimming pool, restaurant, bar & shop. The Lodge is within walking distance of various shopping centres and banks. The Drifters Office is located on the same premises should you have any queries regarding your tour.
Please note that we strongly advise against flying out on the day that the tour ends. Drifters will not be held responsible for missed flights on this day. We generally travel long distances and late arrivals are common.
PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATION Southern Circle TOUR
This trip requires a valid passport and Visa for certain nationalities. ALL linen is provided in the Johannesburg lodge pre tour but you will need a sleeping bag and pillow for the rest of the tour. Seasonal Malaria precautions are necessary and are locally obtainable. A barrel bag or backpack is best suited for this trip (suitcases do not fit into the space provided). An extra day bag or camera bag is advised. Spending money required will be for the restaurant meals, drinks, visas, tips, curios, airport transfers, and any other optional excursions. Remember, help us to help you by participating and by keeping an open mind and flexible mentality. Our price includes all food as specified, coffee, tea, juice at breakfast, transport, professional guides, accommodation, group equipment, permits and park entrance fees. Our price does not include restaurant meals where stipulated, visas, tips, curios, optional excursions, alcohol, bottled water and soft drinks, airport tax, airport transfers and airfares. Before departure clients will be required to enter into an agreement pertaining to our booking conditions and general information as defined on our website and in our brochure. Clients are required to have their own comprehensive personal travel insurance.
Your 24 Day Southern Circle tour departs from the Greenfire Lodge Johannesburg, 25 Alida Street, Northcliff at 06h30 on the first tour day (Sunday) and ends back on the last day (Thursday) at around 17h00 till late. Guests not staying at the Greenfire Lodge must arrive at the Lodge at 06h00. The telephone number is +27(0)11 888 1160.
All our tours require participation from all group members. This entails assisting with the food preparation, washing of dishes, keeping the truck clean and the setting up the camp.
Please keep in mind that flexibility and an open mind will greatly contribute to an enjoyable safari.
We are travelling in developing countries therefore please do not expect the punctuality you have come to expect in first world countries. Things do not always run according to plan, however we do endeavour to run according to the itinerary as best as possible.
Southern Circle Tour
DAY 1: JOHANNESBURG – FRANCISTOWN
We start our 24 day adventure and depart from the GREENFIRE LODGE JOHANNESBURG at 06h30. We head directly to the Botswana border and enjoy the scenic beauty of the changing landscape as we drive. On completion of immigration formalities we continue our drive into Botswana and make our way to Francistown and our camp for the night. We will cover some distance today. Tonight we familiarise ourselves with the tour procedures over a catered meal. Camp the night.
- Scenic Drive through South Africa
DAY 2: CHOBE NAT. PARK
This morning we travel through the Chobe forest reserves up to the mighty Chobe River and adjoining National Park where huge herds of Elephant gather at the water. After an afternoon boat cruise within the Chobe National Park, we cross the border into Zimbabwe and head for Victoria Falls, to spend the next few nights in comfort at the GREENFIRE LODGE VICTORIA FALLS.
Meals: B L D
- Chobe Boat Cruise
DAY 3 – 4: VICTORIA FALLS
During our stay here we will view the spectacular Falls and the other highlights of this “Africa’s Adventure Capital”. Those seeking adrenaline may wish to try the Bungi jump, White Water Rafting or a variety of aircraft flips (own expense). One night we enjoy a “braai” at the pool. On the last night we eat at a local restaurant (own expense). On occasion we cross into Zambia and camp on the banks of the Zambezi.
Meals: B D, B
- Scenic Helicopter Flight over the Falls
- White water Rafting
- More options available
- Victoria Falls Entry fee
DAY 5: KAFUE CAMP
Crossing the original railway bridge, we have a last view of The Falls before entering Zambia. Our journey today takes us through southern Zambia and then down into the Lower Zambezi Valley to Kafue. We camp the night on the banks of the river and prepare for our canoe adventure the following days. We enjoy a catered meal in camp and fall asleep to the sound of the river.
Meals: B L D
- Scenic drive through southern Zambia
- Night at Kafue river banks
DAY 6 – 8: ZAMBEZI CANOE
The Zambezi River needs little introduction, a mighty river winding its way through some of the best wilderness areas in Africa. The river provides for what can only be described as the finest canoe adventure in the world. What better way to see big game at close quarters than from a canoe. We will spend two nights camping wild on the banks of the river. On the third day we are transferred by boat back to Kafue for a welcome shower and a catered meal (own expense).
Meals: B L D; B L D; B L
- 2 Day Canoe trip
- Wild camping along the river
DAY 9: LUANGWA
Reunited with our vehicle we travel to the capital of Lusaka where we spend some time to stock up on supplies and then travel along the “Great East Road” to our next overnight camp. We slowly make our way north and will cover as much distance as possible today.
Meals: B L D
- Scenic drive through Zambia
DAY 10 – 11: LUANGWA NAT. PARK
Our next stop is the Luangwa National Park, where we spend two nights camping on the banks of the River, well known for its impressive Hippo population. During our stay here we will partake in an extensive game drive in the park in search of the elusive Leopard and other species that make this park one of Africa’s best. Guests have the opportunity to do an optional night drive (own expense).
Meals: B L D; B L D
Optional Activities: Night drive
- South Luangwa
- Game drive in park
- Camp overlooking Luangwa river
DAY 12 – 13: LAKE MALAWI
We depart from Luangwa and drive to the border. After crossing into Malawi, our first stop is the capital, Lilongwe. After stocking up with groceries and curios, we continue to Lake Malawi, an impressive inland freshwater sea. The snorkelling is a highlight, as are the sandy beaches and friendly locals. We spend two nights here, camping literally on the beach. One night we enjoy an own expense meal.
Meals: B L D; B L
- Boat trips
- Village walk
- Bike tour
- Lake Malawi
DAY 14 – 15: MULANJE MASSIVE
Turning south, we head for Mount Mulanje, an impressive mountain of granite rising some 600m above the surrounding forest and lush tea plantations. The surrounding forest is home to the Mulanje Cedar, the national tree of Malawi. We spend two nights camping in the area, and will enjoy a hike to the plateau from where the views are exceptional.
Meals: B L D; B L D
- Scenic drive through Malawi
- Mount Mulanje Hike
DAY 16: CHIMOIO
Traveling via Blantyre, today we enter Mozambique. Our journey takes us through the Tete corridor, across the Zambezi River and alongside the mountains that form the border with Zimbabwe. We camp tonight in the region of Chimoio and will enjoy an own expense dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: B L
- Scenic drive through Tete corridor
DAY 17: VILANCULOS
Leaving the wilderness behind us, today we pass through the many vibrant and bustling villages en-route to the coast. Our next stop is Vilanculos – on the shores of the warm azure Indian Ocean, overlooking the idyllic Bazaruto Archipelago. We spend the night here in accommodation situated at the Beach. Tonight we enjoy a meal at a local restaurant (own expense).
Meals: B L
- Boat ride
- Indian Ocean Beaches
DAY 18-20: INHAMBANE
Moving south along the coast, we make our way to Maxixe from where we enjoy a trip with the locals across the bay on a traditional Dhow while the guide drives around to meet us in the ancient trading port of Inhambane. We spend some time exploring and visiting the bustling local market before continuing to our camp on the beach. We will enjoy three nights in relative comfort, staying in Casitas at this camp near Barra. During our time here we will relax, snorkel, and soak up the sun whilst exploring the deserted beaches that Mozambique is so well known for. Those who wish to have the option of scuba diving. (own expense).
Meals: B L D; B L D; B L D
- Scuba Diving
- Ocean safaris
- Dhow trip
DAY 21: MAPUTO
Today we cross vast coastal floodplains and drive through forests of Cashew nuts towards our last stop in Mozambique – the capital, Maputo. We arrive in the afternoon at our accommodation. (Dinner own expense)
Meals: B L
DAY 22: KRUGER NAT. PARK
Maputo boasts an interesting, almost Latino culture of street cafes and markets, and we will spend time this morning driving through and viewing these and the other attractions of this once grandiose city. This afternoon we cross back into South Africa and make our way to the Kruger National Park to camp the night.
Meals: B L D
- Kruger Park
- Game drives
DAY 23: KRUGER NAT. PARK – HAZYVIEW
No visit to Africa would be complete without Kruger. We spend the entire day viewing animals in this premier National Park. Our guide will take time to explain the behaviour of the animals we encounter during the day. In the late afternoon we exit the park and travel the short distance to the GREENFIRE LODGE HAZYVIEW where we spend the last night celebrating our tour.
Meals: B L D
- Full day Game Drive
DAY 24: JOHANNESBURG
A leisurely start today, we make our way back to Johannesburg. We arrive back at the GREENFIRE LODGE JOHANNESBURG in the late afternoon.
The day by day descriptions published are intended as a rough guideline only. Adventure travel by nature is unpredictable, weather patterns, game migrations, road conditions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.
Southern Circle Tour
Please ensure that you are in possession of valid travel documents for all the countries, (Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa) that you will visit. If you have any queries in this regard, please do not hesitate to contact us. Although we will endeavor to assist, we do not accept any liability or obligation for your travel documents. Please ensure that you have proof of further travel arrangements if you do not have a South African passport, permanent residency permit, work permit or study permit. Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the end of your tour.
Please note that all guests travelling to South Africa will require two blank facing pages in their passport.
Visas are not readily obtainable at Mozambique and Malawi border posts. Both these visas need to be obtained BEFORE departing on tour.
It is your responsibility to make sure you have all the required visas.
We have been updated with a new Zambian E – visa link – if this applies to your nationality, please see link following:
Telephone numbers: Malawi Embassy in Pretoria is: (012) 342 0146
Zimbabwe Trade mission in Johannesburg is: (011) 838 2156
Zambian High Commission in Pretoria is: (012) 326 1847
Botswana Consulate in Johannesburg: (011) 403 3748
Mozambique Consulate in Johannesburg: (011) 327 2942
Botswana Tourism at www.botswanatourism.co.bw
Zimbabwe Tourism at www.zimbabwetourism.net
Zambia Tourism at www.zambiatourism.com
Malawi Tourism at www.malawitourism.com
Mozambique Tourism at www.mozambiquetourism.co.za
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
Should clients require a visa for Malawi and Mozambique this has to be obtained prior to arrival, we are experiencing difficulty in obtaining these at the border posts.
Date of entry: Day 16 – Mozambique
Entry border: Zobue / Mwanza
Date of exit: Day 22
Exit border: Komatipoort
Duration of stay: 6 nights
ADDRESS: Catembe Lodge
00258 87 22 83 623
Clients should always ask for a few extra days in each country when visas are concerned to make provision for possible delays.
Upon arrival in any respective country we operate in, you will be able to find a Bureau de Change OR ATM Facilities at the airport or in the Town/City the tour is departing from. It is advised to bring any major world currency (US Dollar, Euro or British Pounds) in small denominations and not dated older than 2009. It is advised to get a small amount of local currency upon arrival just to get around until your tour starts.
On Tour -Please be advised that our guides will inform and show you the best places to exchange any Major World Currency with the best possible exchange rates either before your tour starts or during the course of the tour. Our guides will brief you exactly on where to exchange and roughly how much you will need to exchange after discussing possible optional activities, own expense meals or possible curio stops. Drifters trucks have safe-keeping facilities for extra cash/flight tickets/passport.
It is advisable to bring along US Dollar for exchange as all countries accept the Dollar and the rates you receive in return is better than other currencies
The preferred currencies per country are as follows:
- South Africa – ZAR; Rand
- Botswana – Pula
- Zimbabwe – US Dollar (it is the official currency); Rand, Pula, Euros, British pounds (at a bad exchange)
- Zambia – US Dollar can be exchanged at the port of entry
- Malawi- US Dollar can be exchange into Malawian Kwacha
- Mozambique- US Dollars can be exchanged into Mozambique Meticals
Suggested amounts for each currency:
(Without use of credit card)
- Rand : +- R 500 – R 700
- Dollar: +- $ 150 – $ 500
(With use of credit card)
- Rand : +- R 100 – R 500
- Dollar: +- $ 30 – $ 200
Credit cards are not favoured in most parts of Southern Africa so please ensure you will have enough cash to buy good and possible gratuities.
Please note the only lodge on this tour to receive card payment will be Greenfire Johannesburg lodge. All other lodges will ONLY receive cash payments.
Areas where you shall be able to use your credit card are as follows:
- Greenfire JHB Lodge for activities; food; and accommodation and small extras
- Shopping in Victoria Falls and for activities
It is compulsory that all passengers make arrangements for adequate travel insurance to financially safeguard against unforeseen circumstances. If you need further information please do not hesitate to contact us. Drifters do not accept responsibility for any loss, injury, damage, accident, fatality, delay or inconvenience experienced whilst on tour. You will be required to complete and sign a full indemnity prior to tour departure.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS & REQUIREMENTS
The only necessary prophylaxis for Southern Africa is against Malaria (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique). Adequate chemo-prophylaxis are essential. Prevention is better than cure, so we do advise to also use insect repellent on exposed areas after sunset. Please consult with your general practitioner regarding this. Please note that you need a Yellow Fever Certificate dated at least 10 days prior to your tour departure and depending on nationality and prior travels.
All Drifters guides have first aid boxes for use in emergencies, however we recommend that you bring along your own basic supply of medication, headache tablets etc.
Please bring along any personal medication that you might need on your tour as specific medication could be difficult to find or might not be obtainable in most places we visit. General medication for headaches, colds and fever are easy to get.
Please also inform your guide of any medical conditions. This information will be received professionally and kept confidential.
Southern Circle Tour
Please note that Southern African weather conditions vary tremendously from season to season. During summer months temperatures of up to 40°C can be experienced. During the winter months of June, July and August the nights are very cold, temperatures may drop well below 0°C, although the day temperatures will be pleasant at around 20°C. Please take weather conditions into consideration when choosing a sleeping bag for your tour.
CLOTHING & PERSONAL EFFECTS
Herewith a recommended guide of what to bring along:
- For walking, hiking and Safaris
- Sport Shoes / Sneakers
- Sun Cream
- Water Bottle
- Smaller day pack
- Camera, Binoculars
- Books (Birds, Mammals, personal reading books, Optional)
For general travelling (to keep yourself entertained on the longer drives)
- Personal iPod
- Personal Reading Books
- A deck of cards or something similar
- Battery chargers for your personal devices (Ipods, Ipads, E-Readers, Handy’s etc)
Our vehicles are well equipped with charging facilities while driving. A Two-pin charger is perfect.
Clothing and Toiletries
- Long Trousers / Tracksuit Hat or cap
- Shorts Swimming Costume & Towel
- Waterproof Windbreaker Personal toiletries
- Jersey / Jumper Insect Repellent
- Socks & Underwear
- T-Shirts / Shirts
- Mosquito Net (Optional)
- Malaria Prophylaxis (please enquire from your general Doctor at home)
- Money (Sundry expenses, gratuities)
- Torch / Flashlight / Batteries
- Sleeping Bag & Small Pillow
- Passport / Visas (if applicable)
** Luggage should be limited to a maximum of 15kg’s HARD SUITCASES ARE NOT SUITABLE!!
*** Refreshments can be purchased en-route on the first day of the tour, and at regular intervals throughout the tour.
MEALS AND REFRESHMENTS
Meals are provided as indicated in the brochure/website. We do not provide meals on the first day and the last day of your tour. We do however stop en-route; therefore it is always possible to buy something along the way. Soft drinks, bottled water and alcohol are for your own expense; there is ample opportunity during the tour to buy refreshments. The guide will advise when you need to stock up for a couple of days.
A reasonable amount of personal spending money must be brought on our tours. This is to cover own expense meals as indicated in our Drifters Brochure, bottled water, soft drinks, alcohol, sundry goods purchased- such as suntan cream etc., curios, optional extra excursions, airport tax, transfers and tips.
In Africa things work a little different to the rest of the World. Tipping or gratuity, unless otherwise specified, is not included in the price you pay for services delivered. This accounts for restaurant meals, casual help and the services of the guide or guides that you will meet on your tour.
In Southern and East Africa it is classified as a common courtesy to TIP “casual help (guides)”.
This TIP is not something that is forced upon you by any means, but in many industries of tourism it is customary. It works as follows: if you believe your guide has lived up to your expectations and has performed his/her job in a way that you respect and are happy with the services rendered, an amount of R 50 per day or equivalent amount of R50 per day in any major currency per person per day would constitute a fantastic tip. Remember that this is just a guideline and is not by any means compulsory, but seen as common courtesy in Southern and East Africa.
Credit cards can be used throughout most parts of Southern Africa but it is advised to please ensure you have enough cash for personal expenses and possible gratuities.
Southern Circle Tour
JOHANNESBURG and SURROUNDS
SOWETO FAIR TOUR
From R550 per person for 3 hours
South of Johannesburg is Soweto, the world’s most famous township and important monument to Apartheid. A sprawling, self-sufficient home to millions, Soweto grapples with democratic change, but its spirit resonates in a plethora of shebeens. The focus on this tour is more on community projects & sustainable tourism. The Soweto Fair Tour includes: Nelson Mandela & Hector Pietersen Museums, a visit to Handiworx or the Soweto Green plus a view of Baragwaneth Hospital and an informal settlement. Also included is a cycle tour from Phomolong & visit a day care centre (also available without cycling).
JOBURG CITY TOUR
From R550 per person for 3 hours
The tour includes a panoramic view of the city, a drive within the business district, visit to traditional African shops, the bohemian Hillbrow and Museum Africa in Newton, the cultural district of Johannesburg. Extend to 8 hours & include Constitution Hill, SAB World of Beer & more.
SOWETO & JOHANNESBURG COMBO
From R750 for 5 hours
Combining the Soweto & Johannesburg City tours will give you a great overview of the area.
Duration: 3 hours R550
The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era. Through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. Examine the rise of black consciousness, the armed struggle & finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which finally led to the final negotiations for peace. The Apartheid Museum experience is one of upliftment and liberation both personally & socially and leaves each visitor with a feeling of hope for the future, unburdened by the ills of the past.
CRADLE OF HUMANKIND
Duration: 4 hours R850
The tour visits both the Sterkfontein caves, where the oldest hominid fossils (dating back to over 3 million years) in the world were found & Maropeng where you can experience the fascinating, interactive representations of the origin of Earth & all that lives on our unique planet. Interesting to both adults & children alike, this is a must visit on anyone passing through Gauteng’s itinerary!
PRETORIA CITY TOUR
Duration: 4 ½ hours R750
Duration: 8 hours for the extended tour, incl. lunch R1500
Pretoria generates a multicultural energy from a harmonious blend of traditions, culture and architecture. Pretoria has historic value extending to that of the British Empire and Apartheid. The tour includes the either the Voortrekker Monument or Freedom Square, the Union Buildings, Kruger House, Church Square, Mirramen Hindu Temple and thousands of Jacaranda trees. Extend to 8 hours and include both the Voortrekker Monument & Freedom Square as well as the Transvaal Museum. Lunch in Pretoria
VICTORIA FALLS and SURROUNDS
Scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (Highly Recommended)
The flight prices range from between R665 – R3760, this is dependent on how many people decide to go on a flight. If you are interested inquire with your guide. (you can use Credit Or Visa cards for payment)
Village walk from our Drifters Lodge in Maun (Pula 50) -Prices may vary
- White Water Rafting – Low water 150
- White Water Rafting – High water 140
- Gorge Swing 95
- Tandem – Gorge Swing 140
- Zip line 70
- Tandem – Zip line 110
- Flying Fox 45
- Canopy tour 55
- Half Day Adrenalin (Adrenalin High wire pass) 140
- Adrenalin high wire & canopy tour pass 175
- Full Day Chobe 160
- Horse Riding Safari – Experienced 85
- Horse Riding Safari – Novice 80
- Game Drive 95
- Night Drive 130
- Sundowner Cruise 50
- Fishing (3 Hrs) 120
- Upper Zambezi Canoeing 150
- 12/13 Minutes Helicopter 150
- Micro light Flight (this only happens in Zambia, and if planning to do it, it will mean you will need to acquire a dual visa when going through the border to Zimbabwe)
Choose any two of the following for only US$ 305.00 and get a cruise almost free!!!
- White Water Rafting, Upper Zambezi Canoeing, Half Day Adrenalin, 12/13 Minutes Helicopter, Night Drive
Choose any one of the following plus a Chobe trip for only US$293.00
- Half Day Adrenalin, White water rafting, Upper Zambezi Canoeing, Night Drive
RAFTING + G/SWING COMBO
Book White water rafting and Gorge swing and pay US$200.00 only.
- Optional Activities can be booked on arrival. No bookings are made in advance.
- Rates are subject to change without notice
- Activities are subject to availability
- Activities are weather dependent
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Please note: As of 1 January 2020 Drifters will implement a minimum requirement of 4 passengers to confirm a tour departure. Our reservation office will be able to assist with any request or questions.