Zambia, Zimbabwe & Malawi
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Day 1: Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa
On arrival in Johannesburg, you are welcomed by our representative, who will be holding a name-board with your surname on it, and who will assist you at the airport. Known to the locals as “E’Goli” or City of Gold, Johannesburg is the pulsating heart of South Africa’s industrial and commercial life where gold mining still continues. If your holidays require an overnight stay here, there are some truly superb hotels and fascinating activities such as cultural visits to Soweto, the Apartheid Museum or even a working diamond mine. Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humanity World Heritage Site is well worth a visit. Arts and craft galleries abound and this is a very good place to buy diamonds. The five-star InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport hotel is well positioned a few meters walk from Domestic Arrivals so it works well for those simply overnighting. Each of the 138 rooms is decorated in luxurious African style with beige and brown earthy tones. Each room is soundproofed with full black-out curtains. Facilities include a rooftop health and fitness center – aromatherapy massage by appointment, an indoor heated swimming pool, a complimentary hospitality lounge for early and late arrivals with shower facilities and 24-hour room service. The restaurant, Quills, offers cuisine which fuses African food concepts with flavors from around the world. Late night and a la carte dining are also available. Intercontinental OR Tambo International Airport Hotel – Standard Room, Breakfast
Day 2: Johannesburg / Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Make your way back into the terminal building to check into your scheduled flight to Victoria Falls. On arrival, you are met and transferred by road from Victoria Falls Airport to Matetsi Game Reserve on the Zimbabwe side. The Victoria Falls is a dramatic scenic contrast and a change of pace from the private game reserves. The clouds of spray generated by this thunderous wall of water have resulted in a lush rain forest full of stunning wild flowers. A host of activities are centered on three separate aspects: the falls, the magnificent Zambezi River and the surrounding Zambezi National Park.
For an overview of the falls, the helicopter flight is worth it. For a more thrilling fly-over, try the microlight flight above the falls and river. And, for the truly daring, bungee jumping is possible. The Zambezi River has two personalities – the wide gentle river above the falls is the perfect place for languorous sunset boat cruises or gentle canoeing, while the river below the great falls offers whitewater rafting and jet boating.
Game drives and horse riding are offered in the Zambezi National Park to view elephant and buffalo. Visitors can also sample elephant back safaris and take part in their grooming and feeding activities at the Elephant Camp. Your lodge, Matetsi Water Lodge, lies on the banks of the Zambezi within a 50,000ha game reserve, 45 minutes’ drive upstream from Victoria Falls.You can enjoy both the adventure and the tranquility of life beside the Zambezi River, combining land- and water-based game viewing with complimentary excursions to the Victoria Falls.
The Zambezi River is known for some of the best elephant viewing in Africa in the winter months (May to October), with huge herds often seen at the end of the dry season. Lion are common with buffalo, cheetah and an amazing variety of antelope often sighted. The river is alive with crocodile and hippo and marvelous birdlife, including kingfishers and bee-eaters. Game drives, guided walks and languorous sunset boat cruises on the Zambezi are on offer as well as relaxing fishing and canoeing. Matetsi aims to provide a holistic eco-experience which balances the benefit to visitors, animals, ecology and the local community. Shaded by Mangosteen and waterberry trees, the lodge has three intimate camps, each with six, air-conditioned suites and an elegantly appointed dining/sitting area with open river views. Each suite features its own plunge pool, spacious bathroom and river deck with breathtaking views over the river. Matetsi Water Lodge – Suite (B,L,D)
Day 3: Victoria Falls
You enjoy the activities that include twice-daily game viewing drives in open Land Rovers, as well as exciting spot-light night drives. Sole use of a Land Rover may be requested for private game viewing. Riverboat cruises and guided canoe excursions are also available and opportunities for bird watching are exceptional. Matetsi Water Lodge – Suite (B,L,D)
Day 4: Victoria Falls / Savuti Channel, Botswana
Today you transfer from your lodge to Kasane, about one hour, depending on the border crossing formalities. You are met and transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from Kasane Airport to Savute under Canvas Airstrip, about an hour and a half flight, with a road transfer to lodge.
(Luggage allowance is strictly 27lbs per person in soft bags)
The Savuti Channel, also known as the Savute or Savuti Marsh, is a rugged semi-arid wilderness region in the southwest Chobe National Park. It is famous for its excellent year-round game viewing. Wet and dry cycles shape this region of Chobe. The Savuti channel dried up in 1982 and didn’t see water again until 2009 when, after heavy summer rains, it started flowing again to reach the Savuti lodges for the first time in nearly 30 years. This wet cycle is continuing to enhance game populations around the Savuti lodges. What was once a hippo-filled swamp is now nutritious open grassland sustaining a marvelous array of animal and bird life. Dry season game viewing (May to October) concentrates on the Savuti resident bull elephants, plains game and its world-famous lion prides around the permanent waterholes. The Savuti lions have learned, over many decades, the skills needed to bring down young elephants.
The lodges enjoy year-round game viewing. The summer rains in Botswana (November to March) bring a feast for the predators as thousands of migrating zebra and wildebeest congregate on the Savuti marsh and on the plains to the south searching for life’s basic needs – water and food. The best times to view this mass movement of stripy animals is typically around November and again in March as they head north and west again; however, the Savuti retains plenty of territorial animals all year, including concentrations of giraffe, jackal, bat-eared fox, tsessebe, kudu and impala. It is not uncommon to see leopard on the granite koppies, spotted hyena, lion, cheetah and African wild dog. The landscape around the Savuti Lodges is strikingly different from the lush Chobe River to the north. It has an almost desert feel as animals huddle in the shade of the occasional tree.
Ancient Bushmen paintings are an added attraction of this area. Your camp, Savute Under Canvas, offers you a unique opportunity to experience the exhilaration of a mobile camping safari and the diversity of wildlife and landscapes. It features spacious, Hemingway-style tents, each with double bed, en suite bathroom area, with a romantic al fresco bucket shower (hot water delivered upon request) and toilet. Activities include twice-daily 4×4 game drives in the Chobe National Park with rangers. Meals are usually provided around a campfire though there is a central mess tent for relaxing during the day.
During the rainy season, the Savute area of the Chobe National Park hosts the annual zebra migration, which peaks in January and February. Zebra and wildebeest congregate in vast numbers to graze on the sweeter grasses brought on by the rains. Savute also supports the greatest concentration of lion. The stark dead trees found in the dry Savute channel are evidence of an erratic flow of the Savute River over the years. Savute Under Canvas – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 5: Savuti Channel
You enjoy the varied activities on offer by your camp, including morning and afternoon game drives. Savute Under Canvas – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 6: Savuti Channel / Okavango Delta
Today you are transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) on a short 15-minute flight to Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge on the edge of the permanent waters of the Okavango Delta. In this exclusive 25,000 ha private wildlife concession, it is surrounded by the waters of one of the permanent channels of the delta and overlooks a lagoon, rich in bird and animal life. Hippo and large herds of buffalo regularly come to drink.
Accommodation at Xudum consists of nine playfully crafted safari tents complete with large bath tubs and romantic al fresco showers. Each suite also has a private plunge pool, and a lofty hideout with magnificent views over the lagoon. If you wish, you can opt to sleep out on this fabulous rooftop area to enjoy the night stars over the Okavango Delta in complete safety. The innovative, layered guest areas boast dramatic decks with 180° views of the surrounding wilderness yet they discreetly remain within the tree line. These suites are designed in such a way to make your overall experience more intimate, with massive, oversized sofas for total relaxation. Helicopter transfers into the camp are available at extra cost. Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8: Okavango Delta
The lodge offers both a water and wilderness experience with the excitement of viewing big game in open vehicles during morning, afternoon and even night game drives. Other activities include boating and mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) trips on the delta, and guided game walks on the islands to track animals as they move silently through the bush. If birding is your thing, this is an excellent area with the possibility of seeing the elusive Pel’s fishing owl or malachite kingfishers. Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Day 9: Okavango Delta / Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
You are met and transferred by light charter flight from your lodge to Maun Airport, about 15 minutes. On arrival in Maun, you are met by representatives of Jacks Camp and transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from Maun Airport to Tsigaro Airstrip. On arrival you are met and transferred to the camp by 4×4 vehicle. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the legacy of a great lake, larger than Lake Victoria, which once covered most of Southern Botswana about two million years ago. Vast shallow white pans make up an extraordinary landscape, deceptively animated by mirages that shimmer and dance in the heat-blasted air. However when rains come in the summer the pans are transformed into shallow lakes and attract spectacular bird life including flamingos, pelicans and cranes – a majestic spectacle after especially good rains. No visit to Botswana can be said to be truly complete without experiencing the desert as well as the delta. This truly is a magical place away from all the cares of the world. At the safari camps you gain a unique appreciation of the Kalahari and an insight into the traditions and culture of the nomadic Bushmen.
The summer rains attract the last surviving migration of wildebeest and zebra in Southern Africa to the surrounding sweet summer grasses. In the dry season they move to the east returning to the pans in the rainy season. In addition there is the rare brown hyenas as well as springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and their attendant predators.
Jack’s Camp is an authentic evocation of a classic 1940’s safari camp, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. This romantic camp is about as remote as you can get. Ten tents, complete with Persian carpets, canvas washbasins, paraffin lamps, even a wind-up gramophone, are idyllically set on a tree and palm covered island in the vast golden grasslands. En suite facilities offer indoor and outdoor showers and flush toilets. The tents are well spaced for privacy and each has a covered porch with an expansive view across the pans. Dining is in the mess tent, or al fresco under the stars. The tea tent, with cushions and a wind-up gramophone, is ideal for lovely afternoon teas. This stylish camp offers a traditional safari experience and an exploration of Botswana’s wildlife, geography, geology and its people, both past and present.
After the rains (December to April), enormous herds of wildebeest, zebra and springbok (with the accompanying predators) can be found on the open grasslands. Activities are conducted in 4×4 vehicles, custom designed to suit this terrain, by knowledgeable guides. Only in the dry winter months are all-purpose ATV vehicles (quad-bikes) available, allowing guests to visit the saltpans. Jack’s Camp – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Day 10: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Walk with Bushman trackers, spend mornings with meerkats and visit historical baobab trees used as camp sites by Livingstone and Selous – these are some of the activities Jacks Camp. Jack’s Camp – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Day 11: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans / Maun / Johannesburg / Depart
After a final morning activity, you are transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from Tsigaro airstrip to Maun Airport. Board your scheduled flight to Johannesburg where you connect with your onward flight home later this evening. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Call for rates