In July 2012, working as Expedition Leader for World Challenge, I lead an expedition to South Africa, Botswana, Zambia & Namibia with a group from Belper School. For the pupils this four-week expedition is the culmination of a two-year Leadership and Personal Development programme.

For photographs of this expedition see Botswana, Zambia, Namibia

This expedition is arranged by World Challenge

Num Date      Day  From                      To

1 08-Jul-12 Sun Build Up Day Build Up Day
2 09-Jul-12 Mon Build Up Day Johannesberg
3 10-Jul-12 Tue Johannesberg Gabarone
4 11-Jul-12 Wed Gabarone Lobatse
5 12-Jul-12 Thu Lobatse Village Trek
6 13-Jul-12 Fri Village Trek Village Trek
7 14-Jul-12 Sat Village Trek Village Trek
8 15-Jul-12 Sun Village Trek Village Trek
9 16-Jul-12 Mon Village Trek Okavango
10 17-Jul-12 Tue Okavango Okavango
11 18-Jul-12 Wed Okavango Okavango
12 19-Jul-12 Thu Okavango Livingstone
13 20-Jul-12 Fri Livingstone Livingstone
14 21-Jul-12 Sat Livingstone Katima
15 22-Jul-12 Sun Katima Project
16 23-Jul-12 Mon Project Project
17 24-Jul-12 Tue Project Project
18 25-Jul-12 Wed Project Project
19 26-Jul-12 Thu Project Project
20 27-Jul-12 Fri Project Project
21 28-Jul-12 Sat Project Project
22 29-Jul-12 Sun Project Rundu
23 30-Jul-12 Mon Rundu Etosha National Park
24 31-Jul-12 Tue Etosha National Park Etosha National Park
25 01-Aug-12 Wed Etosha National Park Waterberg Plateau
26 02-Aug-12 Thu Waterberg Plateau Waterberg Plateau
27 03-Aug-12 Fri Waterberg Plateau Waterberg Plateau
28 04-Aug-12 Sat Waterberg Plateau Waterberg Plateau
29 05-Aug-12 Sun Waterberg Plateau Waterberg Plateau
30 06-Aug-12 Mon Waterberg Plateau Windhoek
31 07-Aug-12 Tue Windhoek Johannesberg
32 08-Aug-12 Wed Johannesberg Arrive UK

After landing at Johannesburg Airport we’re met by our pre-arranged transport which takes us on the six hour journey to the heart of Botswana, Gaborone. We stop en route to stock up on some snacks and supplies as we’re self catering throughout our expedition.

Gabs, as Botswana’s capital city is affectionately called by the locals, is a cosmopolitan city with a fascinating history. It was selected to be the capital of Independent Botswana because it had good rail links and a strong water supply. It was from Gabs that Cecil Rhodes launched the unsuccessful ‘Jameson Raid’ against the Boers who controlled the gold mines near Johannesburg and this raid served as the catalyst for the Anglo-Boer War. 

The Lobatse Village trek.

This exciting cultural trek takes us through villages where we get to experience the real Botswana. Our trek begins in Ranaka Village where we meet and pay our respects to the local dignitaries. During our visit we learn all about tribal practices, governance structures and agricultural techniques and gain an understanding of what village life in Botswana is really like.

We spend the night in rustic village huts. After a night of traditional accommodation, we trek through the valley and onto the plateau where the rolling terrain has long gradual slopes that lead us through lush grazing land. Our guided hike takes us from village to village, passing some interesting sites along the way.

Trekking around the Okavango Delta.

The Okavango River is the third longest in Africa. Often called ‘the river that never finds the sea’, it starts in central Angola, flows across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, cascades through the Popa Falls and then enters Botswana, where it spreads across the thirsty Kalahari sands. This forms the Okavango Delta; a series of islands, lagoons and channels, some of which we explore!

From Audi Camp we travel to the edge of the Delta, which contains around 95% of all surface water in Botswana. Here we meet our guides and polers, load up the mokoros (traditional dug out canoes) and split up into groups of two team members and one poler per mokoro. We take a relaxing trip along one of the channels of the Delta until we reach the designated camping spot where we set up our wild camp in the bush.

A guided walking safari gives us a great opportunity to spot the local flora and fauna in this unique and beautiful region. The Delta supports a variety of wildlife; we see elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, antelope, hippo and crocodile.

Rest and relaxation in Livingstone

We arrive in Namibia by ferry and are met by the hustle and bustle of the ‘helper’s. We move through these to immigration and then find our own taxis – official taxis are blue in colour and parked just outside the ferry port. The taxis take us to Livingstone and we stay at the Jollyboys campsite. We visit the spectacular Victoria Falls, the largest and most majestic waterfall in the world.

Leaving Zambia we travel to Katima in Namibia and stopover to pick supplies for our project phase.

Project phase

Our project phase is an incredible opportunity to immerse ourselves in Namibian culture and discover how local people live. Our skills can make a real difference here.

Our project is largely focused on renovation or maintenance work in a local community and we take other opportunities to get involved in other activities too.

Rest and relaxation in the Etosha National Park.

The Etosha National Park is the perfect place to see the wildlife that Africa is so famous for. The name Etosha means ‘Great White Place of Dry Water’, after the huge salt pan which dominates the National Park. For a few days each year this salt pan is transformed into a shallow lagoon teeming with flamingos and pelicans. The area around the pan supports a whole host of wildlife, including 114 mammal species, 340 different species of bird and 16 species of reptile – so we’re sure to tick lots of animals off our list!

Our expedition vehicle and driver takes us around the park as we try to spot some of the big five! We catch sight of the wildlife around the waterholes in the evening and early morning as the animals become more active when the temperature drops.

We spot lion, elephant, rhino, flamingo and a whole host of other animals.

Trekking the Waterberg Plateau

The Waterberg National Park lies north-east of Windhoek and boasts a stunning plateau that rises 1,700m above the surrounding land. It offers breathtaking views and some exciting trekking routes for us.

Starting from our campsite, we make our way up on to the plateau, where we spend the next few days exploring with a ranger. Our ranger knows the area well and passes on lots of his knowledge about the areas.

The Waterberg has a large population of rhino and other large game. It’s a hotspot for conservation activities in Namibia and is well known for being home to rare animals such as sables and white rhino. We help out with the conservation efforts by collecting potentially harmful litter and reporting any concerns we have back to the rangers.

At the end of our trek we head back to camp where we meet our expedition vehicle and move on to our next phase.


We arrive in Windhoek and we stay at the Cardboard Box Hostel. We enjoy our final day in Windhoek, relaxing and walking around the shops and streets and picking up final souvenirs and in the evening going out for a team meal to the world famous Joe’s Beer House.

Today we leave Southern Africa, the end of an amazing adventure. We arrive back in the UK the next day, the children bursting with stories and photos to keep family and friends entertained for hours!

As always saying goodbye to my team is hard after all we’ve done but the thought of a warm shower, clean sheets and a comfy bed at home makes it easier!


Steve holds the prestigious International Mountain Leader Award and also the Summer and Winter Mountain Leader Awards. He is a full member of BAIML and an adviser to Mountain Training UK&I. Steve has travelled extensively on six continents and has a wide experience, gained over more than thirty five years, of explorations and leading expeditions in remote environments on land – trekking in mountains, jungles, deserts and safaris and on water – rafting and canoeing. He works with his own clients and travel companies and takes adults and children on amazing adventures around the world. He has trained at and been assessed by Britain’s National Mountain Centres who are world class in the instruction and coaching of outdoor professionals. Steve is a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Accredited Expedition Assessor. He trains, supervises and assesses candidates on Bronze, Silver and Gold DofE Expeditions. He is a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician, has an enhanced DBS disclosure and his own public liability insurance.