Cape Town to Victoria Falls travel guide

Cape Town to Vic Falls travel guide


This overland journey is an epic adventure from the southern tip of Africa to the roaring Victoria Falls that you share with a group of like-minded travelers, in an enduring, but very comfortable and well kitted out truck that’s been purpose built to conquer all kinds of conditions and cover very long distances.

Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacations are very popular for many reasons, not least because southern Africa is a huge region made up of very different, but equally remarkable countries that are simple to combine. It’s an all encompassing trip combining jaw-dropping scenery, history, four different countries and cultures – all of which are explained to you by your knowledgeable guides as you go, and it’s definitely a trip suited to the more adventurous traveler because the distances you cover are pretty big on some days, but don’t let this put you off.
Read more about this incredible Southern African experience in our Cape Town to Victoria Falls travel guide.

Cape Town to Victoria Falls overland


Overland travel varies drastically in this part of Africa – you will be traveling on everything from dirt tracks and bush trails to superb paved roads, so some sections of travel will be slow – though the scenery makes up for it. Essentially, a Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacation is a really good fun, sociable and rewarding way to see a lot of Southern Africa over an extended period of time – not just in terms of the phenomenal variety of landscapes you’ll see, but in terms of the local culture in each country too.

You’ll travel with a group of equally intrepid travelers, in group sizes from as small as four to as large as 18, in a self-sufficient expedition truck or purpose built 4x4, which has been designed to carry everything you need and be really comfortable too. They have cool boxes onboard for drinks and snacks, and big windows for great viewing; larger vehicles may even have a microphone system, so your guides can chat to you while they’re driving. The driver guides rotate their driving shifts, so they can take turns sitting in the back, explaining to you what you’re seeing as you drive.
This overland tour is all about staying in the thick of the action and mucking in together. It’s common to camp out in the wild, or stay in a selection of locally-owned hotels and lodges in multi-share accommodation. Many tours take care of meals and chores for you, while the budget options are likely to be all hands on deck when it comes to cooking and taking care of camp – a great way to get to know your fellow travelers. A huge emphasis on any overland vacation is to do as the locals do, so the ingredients that you use and the fantastic mix of dishes you try will vary from country to country and region to region - an experience which is enhanced as you're crossing borders and experiencing desert, city and coast..
Most trips are run by a minimum of two trip leaders – both local and western depending on who you book with - who are highly informed and passionate about the phenomenal range of African sights you’re seeing and they can provide lots of exciting ideas for things you might like to see as you travel. This is an active trip and there’ll be an activity factored into your itinerary every day or two, whether that’s hiking in a rocky wilderness, or canoeing along a canyon. Along the way, local guides will join you at sites of interest to ensure you get the very best local knowledge.

It’s crucial to remember that the Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacation covers a serious amount of ground – around 5,000km! - and although you won’t be on the road every day, when you are, stints can last from as little as four hours to as long as nine. The entire point of this amazing trip is adventure and the tremendous amount of highlights that you’ll see – it is the chance to really get under the skin of southern Africa and share that experience with your likeminded group; everyone’s in it together and your journey is much more about camaraderie and memories than it is about luxury and relaxation.

Is a Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacation for you?


Go on a Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacation if…

… you are active. It’s hard to avoid the cliché – this really is a trip of a lifetime and part of what makes it so wonderful are the activities you take part in. From wild swimming in Namibia’s sandy-bedded Gariep River, to walking through huge granite formations in the desert at Spitzkoppe, you will get so much more out of this vacation if you’re an ‘up and at ‘em’ type and you’re happy to push yourself just that little bit harder.

… you live for the moment. Although there is a set-ish itinerary, it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for spontaneity. There’s time to consider your options and book additional activities – such as skydiving and sand boarding – once you’re on the tour itself, so if you arrive at Victoria Falls and all you can think about is chucking yourself in head first (while safe, of course…), a bungee jump can be arranged!

… you love photography. South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe are exceptionally beautiful for very different reasons, and it seems a crime not to get snap happy at every turn. Which you can more than ever on an overland tour, because if you see something out of the window that you just have to capture, your guides will be more than happy to pull over and allow you to savour the moment.

Don’t go on a Cape Town to Victoria Falls vacation if…

… you’re not flexible. The first thing on your packing list should be patience. There might be wildlife holding up the traffic; some stretches of road may be in poor condition; or if the Okavango Delta is very low your boat ride may be swapped for another activity. Of course, it’s just as likely that nothing will happen and your itinerary will run like clockwork, but the nature of overland travel – especially in Africa – dictates that not everything can be mapped out by the minute. Just relax and go with it; T.I.A...

… lazing on a beach is your perfect vacation. This is an active, exciting and above all, adventurous journey. There are almost daily travel stints; there are definitely daily activities and things to do around camp; and there are early mornings too – you won’t be sauntering down to breakfast at 9am and then lie on the beach for the afternoon. It’s for people who want to get out and explore.

… you prefer solitude. Camaraderie is hugely important – you’ll be in a group for the duration of your tour. Although the expedition trucks are comfortable, they’re still trucks, not hotel rooms, and the long stretches you spend on the road will be in the company of your fellow explorers. You’ll eat together and, at the end of the day, the chances are you’ll camp beside a couple of them too. If you’re more of a loner, this trip won’t be your cup of tea.
Written by: Polly Humphris

Photos by: [Overland camping in Namibia: Eric Bauer] [Helpdesk box, SA coastal road: Damien du Toit]
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