Cape Town to Victoria Falls small group lodge tour

“This overland trip eases you into Africa - staying in comfy lodges and departing from cosmopolitan Cape Town before traversing the wilderness of the Kalahari and Okavango.”


Cape Town | African penguin colony | Cedarberg | Fish River Canyon | Namib Desert | Sossusvlei | Swakopmund | Damaraland | Twyfelfontein rock art | Etosha National Park | Windhoek | Kalahari Desert | Walk with San Bushmen | Dugout canoe on Okavango Delta | Makgadikgadi Pans | Chobe National Park | Victoria Falls | Optional: Canoeing, dune boarding, white water rafting, bungee jump

Description of Cape Town to Victoria Falls small group lodge tour

This South Africa safari itinerary incorporates Cape Town, Victoria Falls and pretty much everything in between, including: Etosha National Park, the Namib Desert and the amazing islands and waterways of the Okavango Delta. Travelling overland on a southern Africa tour couldn't be easier with small lodge accommodation providing affordable and comfortable sleeping arrangements within some exceptionally beautiful surroundings.

Overnight sleeping arrangements feature 19 nights on safari we stay at guest houses, chalets and small lodges including tented lodges, with en-suite facilities. 1 night in the Cederberg where chalets with two bedrooms share a bathroom.

Meals included 20 breakfasts, 17 lunches and 11 dinners are included. Of which 7 breakfasts are provided by the lodges. The remaining included meals are provided by the Sunway crew, prepared at the vehicle & eaten around the campfire or at the boma.

The overland transport vehicles used throughout this epic three week southern Africa tour are purpose built 12-seater Africa safari trucks with all seats facing forwards to maximise viewing potential.

If you're hoping to get as much out of this experience as possible then joining in is always the best policy. A little bit of help on a South Africa safari always goes a long way with truck packing, washing up and keeping happy and positive during long drives and early starts assisting the group as a whole over the course of the three week adventure.

This southern Africa tour is available all year round with the region’s rainy season, from December to May, always popular with birdwatchers looking to spot myriad migratory and indigenous species enjoying the abundance of lush, green foliage, even in the desert areas.

The drier season in southern Africa takes place throughout the remaining months of the year with a lack of vegetation and fewer opportunities around the watering holes adding to exceptional game watching potential despite the drop in temperatures in the evening and first thing in the morning.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?


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Our top tip:
Don't underestimate the cold in the winter - fleeces and even thermal underwear may be needed at night!
Trip type:
Small group, max 12 people.
Activity level:
18 nights guest houses/ hotels/chalets, 2 nights camping.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Accommodation, most meals, safari guides, transport, sleeping bags, listed activities.
20 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 11 dinners.
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Message from co-Founder of this Tour Operator. My name is Bruce and I am a founder of this tour operation. I believe that the old conservation tactic of the setting aside areas of "exclusion" for conservation are outdated.

The reality is that in order for effective, sustainable conservation to take place, there needs to be an interest from the society of that country, conscious effort from government and local "buy in" from the local communities. Sadly the world is in a place where economic benefit is the overriding driving force of action and as such conservation is directly linked to economic benefit. Sustainable tourism is therefore absolutely essential for conservation to be effective. Not only for local communities to see value in conservation, but for countries as a whole to place value in protecting their natural heritage.

I believe there is a deep and instinctual link between our humanity and our natural environment. Inherently we all want to know that the wild places are still out there. And Eco-tourism gives us that opportunity, as we so often hear, to "rebalance" or "rejuvenate".

The various promises and commitments detailed below are only a representation of what it is that we do. I sincerely hope that our tours offer our clients an opportunity to experience the wonders of the African continent, and in some small way through focusing itineraries around wildlife and national parks, we contribute to environmental conservation both economically and spiritually.

If you join one of our trips, and have practical feasible suggestions about our responsible travel practices, please contact us. We strive to improve our operation and if we can do more for conservation in Africa, then we're all ears!

Low impact tourism & supporting local communities:
• Small group travel: We specialise in small group travel with a maximum group size of 12 clients & minimum of 4. Small groups ensures a small impact on the destinations we visit when compared to larger groups. Smaller groups create an intimate safari experience, and mean that when we interact with local cultures and stay in environmentally sensitive areas, we do not leave a large footprint.
• Fuel consumption: By travelling in a small group your carbon foot print is approximately ½ of self drive safari. The average pick-up car hire runs on approximately 12ltr/100km with generally 2 people per vehicle and this equates to approximately 6ltr/100km pp. Our average safari truck runs on 25ltr/100km with an average of 9.5 clients per tour and this equates to 2.6Ltr/100km pp. So, by joining a small group tour, your fuel consumption is less than half of doing a self-drive 4WD or pick up trip.
• Cooking: We cook using gas as far as possible and, whenever feasible, avoiding cooking using fire or coal which depletes limited wood resources.
• Wooden carving curios: We do take clients to local curio markets to support the local communities. If they want to buy a carving, we encourage clients purchase only small wooden carvings instead of large pieces. This is in an effort to again conserve the forests around the carving markets.
• Waste: We ensure that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop, including oil traps, oil recycling, cleaning products etc).
• Entrance fees: All entrance fees for the national parks in each country are used by the local authorities to maintain the condition and infrastructure of the national parks, and run regular anti-poaching patrols. These are often supplemented by government grants. The national parks support a large number of local community members often providing housing and schooling for the staff families. For us as a tour operator, supporting the various national park boards is an essential element to each tour.
• Accommodation: On all tours wherever possible we use locally owned accommodation establishments which are involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. This provides direct benefits to local communities through employment. We avoid large hotel chains and more commercial properties but opt for simple self-catering lodge, B&B’s and tented camps for accommodation in rural areas. By doing this we create an intimate environment for group away from large scale tourism and the communities around the accommodation benefit directly through employment and this creates pride and further interest in sustainable tourism as the communities have tangible benefits from tourism. Our tours focus on out of the way destinations, and as such, our “spend” is distributed into rural areas.
• Drinking Water: Each client, drinking 5 litres per day from 1 litre plastic bottles produces 100 waste plastic bottles on a 3 week safari. On this calculation, we would pollute the environment (and waste energy resources in plastic production) with over 250,000 plastic bottles per year! So as solution, each of our vehicles has a tank of clean drinking water that is filled up along the journey. This is safe tap water. We do not provide bottle water we encourage clients to drink the local clean drinkable tap water wherever possible in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottle waste produced by the purchase of bottled drinking water.
• Water conservation: We are acutely aware that in many areas that we visit water is a scarce resource. Clients are encouraged to be conscious of water usage and not to take long showers or waste water.
• Wildlife: On all game drives, our trained and qualified guides ensure that our groups interact with wildlife in the appropriate way. Slow movements, no loud noises and to respect the animals “personal” boundaries. Our philosophy is that we are visitors in the amazing places that we visit, and we do not want our presence to impact the wildlife and environment in any negative way. We also enforce a policy of not feeding any wildlife (animals habituated to human feeding will turn aggressive in the future which often results in authorities being forced to kill that animal) and to appreciate the natural state of the areas that we visit and to leave the area in exactly the same condition that it was when we arrived.
• Local guides & communities: On each tour you will travel with two guides for the entire trip. In addition, we also employ local guides for certain activities on tour. These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times! The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These interactions also give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa, piece by piece.
We use local guides at:
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chobe NP, Ghanzi San Bushman excursion, national parks
South Africa: Mkuzi village walk, Qunu Mandela historical site, Kozi Bay
Swailand: Hlane walking
Lesotho: Malealea Lodge pony trekking guide
Malawi: Boat excursion on Lake Malawi
Mozambique: Dhow excursions
Namibia: Brandberg walk and drives (part of the Tsiseb Community Conservancy), Spizkoppe walk, Gariep River canoeing, Sossusvlei 4WD drivers,
Zambia: Lower Zambezi Canoe excursion, South Luangwa game walks and drives, Vic Falls optional activities
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Matobos NP, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls
For more information on each of the community projects please talk to your guide or contact us.
• Underprivileged Children Groups: We operate a number of tours into the national parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from schools based in Johannesburg, South Africa. PEN Organisation is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africa’s future and that environmental education is important. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife (perhaps for the first time), nature conservation at work, and also show them employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry, and possibly encourage them to follow a career in tourism (for this reason we aim these groups at 14-18 year olds).
• Local crafts and produce: At all local markets where fresh produce and crafts are sold and produced, we encourage the clients to barter (gently and in good humour) with the local people. This not only allows the clients to get involved with the local way of life, and interact directly with the local people, but also provides them a platform to experience local life first hand. Having said that, we explain to the clients by bartering too hard for a good deal might seem like a lot of money at the time, but if the amount being haggled over is converted to either US$, Euro or GBP, it amounts to very little. This is the local livelihood and we advise them to keep this in mind at all times.
• Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: We assist a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Springs, Johannesburg. Judy Davidson runs a licensed rehab centre from a small holding. A variety of birds are cared for, from injured barbets, doves, and crows to a brown snake eagle, a Gymnogene, and spotted eagle owls. All birds are treated in a small makeshift clinic, and then kept in aviaries until they have recovered. Once able to fly, or care for themselves again, they are moved to a 'flight' aviary, for a period until they have regained strength. They are then released back into the wild. Those birds which are unable to be released are kept in large aviaries and fed through various donations. We assist the project with donations of practical equipment including shade netting, paint and other items on their wish list.

The Impacts of this Trip

Okavango Delta: We use local community 'polers' to take us into the Okavango Delta. The polers have an intimate knowledge of the Okavango Delta, and their employment as guides ensure that the local community benefit from tourism and ensures that these areas are conserved for future generations.
The Okavango Delta, 1000th World Heritage Site, is an important wildlife refuge for many animals, both resident and migratory. It attracts thousands of tourists to Botswana annually, and maintaining the pristine nature of the environment is very important to the country. Water from the Delta is integral to the continued sustainability of the Botswana tourism industry. Without water, the environment would no longer support such diversity. There have been many talks about damming upper sections of the Kavango River which feeds the Okavango Delta. Should this go ahead it will disrupt the natural system of the Delta and adversely affect the wildlife and the industry as a whole. Tour leaders will explain all of this to clients so that clients are made aware of what potentially could happen if this plan is implemented. The more people who are made aware of the threats to this ecosystem, the less likely it is to happen. By people visiting the Delta, creating jobs, and allowing the delta to make much needed funds, the less likely it is that the planned dam will go ahead.

Okavango SOS trees project - Okavango Botswana: For hundreds of years, the local communities in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta have used the wood of the sausage tree to craft their traditional mokoro (dugout canoes). The knowledge and skill have been passed down from generation to generation and, up until recently, has been a sustainable practice. With increasing numbers of people visiting the Delta each year, more mokoro are needed and as a direct result, more and more Sausage Trees (Kigela Africana) are being felled and the tree is sadly disappearing from the region. A traditional wooden mokoro will have to be replaced every five years, thereby placing increased pressure on the dwindling Sausage Tree supply.
As a solution we have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fibreglass mekoros, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced with much less negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fibreglass mokoro is needed, and a portion of the tour cost will be donated to the project, but we also will offer our clients the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile cause. Please feel free to contact the our office for more information on the SOS Trees project or if you would like to make any contributions towards this project. It is something that is close to all of our hearts and we have been successful in replacing 30+ (circ. 2015) mekoro thus far.

Wild Camping in Botswana: As a camping tour this means our environmental impact is minimal. We stay in designated campsites, and leave it in a pristine condition. Litter is strictly policed. The potential of creating wildfires is great, so the group is briefed on smoking restriction and how to dispose of cigarette butts.
All camps are un-fenced, so the potential is there for the wildlife to come into camp and clients are briefed as to the restrictions of keeping to camp and not wandering away from the confines of the campsite.


4 Reviews of Cape Town to Victoria Falls small group lodge tour

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 29 Sep 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

There were many memorable moments. Camping in the Okovango Delta was amazing, and the walks around the delta meant that we could get really close to some animals without disturbing them. The sunset cruise on the Chobe River enabled us to see loads of elephants taking baths and they weren't bothered at all by our presence. Some of the natural scenery was spectacular - Fish River, the Dunes, Victoria Falls. We also had a great time white water rafting on the Zambezi.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for very long journeys, we did 5600kms. They warn you about this in the pre-tour info and they are not joking but it is a very big place! Take Kindle and music and a small back packs for walks etc and you do not need too much in the way of clothes. A good pair of sandals and a sun hat is essential. Plenty of cash machines but dollars are very useful.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes the money we spent in restaurants etc all went into the local economy and fees for parks help keep them going.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Outstanding, 21 days flew by and we should have spent another couple of days at each end. The guides were excellent and the trip was very well organised. We would happily do another similar trip with the tour operator.

Reviewed on 23 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The whole holiday was wonderful especially drive through Namibia with spectacular scenery and its breathtaking landscape.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Prepare for long drives but it is compensated by beautiful scenery.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

There was probably little benefit to local people but it did bring awareness to the beauty and fragility of our little planet.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Arvind,
Thank you very much for joining us on the Cape Town to Victoria Falls Grand Explorer safari.
Our commitment to sustainable and responsible African safari tourism is one of our priorities and is demonstrated in our low impact travel style where all we take is photographs and all we leave are our footprints. Being an African company, 100% of the tour price is brought into Southern Africa. Although it may appear that the benefit is minimal, there is much that goes on behind the scenes that your safari contributed towards. By booking with us through Responsible Travel, you contributed in the following ways:

The entrance fees for all the national parks visited go back to the running of these beautiful parks and to conservation, while all the food purchased on tour, was done so locally so as to benefit the local communities.

During our stay in Damaraland a local guide took you to visit a San Bushman Rock Art site. A conservation partnership was signed in 2003 and this community benefit through employment and a percentage of the income of the lodge. Our walks to view the busman rock art are led by a local community guide. The local community directly benefits from your visit through the employment of the local guide and the entrance fees to this site. Conservation is not possible without the involvement of local communities and this arrangement ensures the preservation of these amazing rock art sites.

When the tour travelled through Botswana, we used local 'poler guides' to take us into the Okavango Delta. The polers have an intimate knowledge of the Okavango Delta, and their employment as guides ensure that the local community benefit from tourism and ensures that these areas are conserved for future generations. The MOKORO is the traditional means of transport for the people of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. But behind this serene experience there lies a disturbing environmental impact. With the increase in tourism to Botswana over the last 20 years the number of mekoro polers earning a living from tourism has increased. This has been beneficial to the communities living within the Okavango Delta and by 2009 there are estimated to be over 2000 mokoros in the Okavango region. Each mokoro is cut from a single mature Kigelia Africana tree (Sausage Tree). ?The root of the problem is that a wooden mekoro lasts perhaps only 5 years before it rots and falls apart.

Therefore to build new mekoro, roughly 400 trees must be felled each year and there just aren’t enough trees to sustain this. The local communities of the Okavango are aware of the problem – largely because they now struggle to find trees big enough for mekoro. The community have agreed to stop harvesting trees in the Ditsipi village area and are therefore buying wooden mekoro from other parts of the delta. In the Okavango the number of Sausage Trees cut down each year to build new wooden mekoros is not sustainable. The solution to this environmental issue is to use fiberglass mekoro. We have consulted with the community and they have agreed that should a poler buy a fiberglass mokoro, then the poler will pay 50% of the cost and ourselves the other 50%. Through our Botswana operating company we have set up a fund to assist polers to buy fiberglass mekoros and help protect their natural environment.

I do hope that my explanation of how your tour actually contributed, was helpful. We thank you for joining us on safari and Responsible Travel and ourselves hope to welcome you back to Africa again sometime soon.

Warm regards
Debz Oscroft

Reviewed on 09 Nov 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the faces and places of three different African countries.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Remember that this is Africa and everything does not work all the time. Be patient and positive and make friends along the way.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes it did. We had opportunity to meet and get looked after by local people and leave a few shillings behind!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great holiday full of new experiences, faces and places.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Louis

Thank you very much for your feedback. We are so pleased that you not only had a wonderful holiday, but that you would recommend us to your friends.

We hope that you will choose to travel with us again in the future.

If you have any pictures from your holiday that you would like to share with us, please don't hesitate to email them to us or share them with us on social media. We always love seeing pics from clients as it gives us insight into your perspective of your adventure. We hope you took some incredible memories with you.

Kind regards and all our best
Jayne Harley
Marketing Manager
Sunway Safaris

Reviewed on 19 Jul 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Driving with Makoros (traditional wood boot) to our wild camping in the Okavango Delta observed by hippos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take thermal underwear with you when going on this trip in Africa's winter. The temperature at night was sub zero and morning/evenings were cold as well.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we contributed to the local economy and tried to leave only foot prints.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Even I am not reborn I would give 5 stars. It was one of my best holidays for some time. It is breathtaking to observe wild animals like elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions... in the Etoscha National Park and/or the Namibian Dessert. A helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls is unforgettable as well.

Read the operator's response here:

It always wonderful to have feedback from our safaris.

Thank you for travelling with us and we are humbled and really happy that they had such a great holiday with us.

We are looking forward to having Sigrid Pach back on tour with us in the future.


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