Summer: (Sept-April) Frequent rain and thunderstorms; days and nights are very hot, but cooling off after rain spells.
Winter: (May-July) Dry and cold days and nights especially in the early hours of the morning.
Botswana is Greenwich Mean Time GMT +2 hours.
Upon arrival, proceed through immigration and baggage claims and customs. You can also exchange money at this time at the bank windows located in the airport. Big Five personnel will assist you with your baggage and escort you to your hotel & assist with check-in formalities.
Pula (P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
Day 1: Cape Town, South Africa
On arrival at Cape Town airport, your representative welcomes you, and transfers to your hotel, about 30 minutes depending on traffic. Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest. No Cape Town visit is complete without taking the cable car up Table Mountain. You can even abseil off the top for the ultimate adrenalin rush. In the city, you can visit the colorful Bo-Kaap quarter, an eclectic array of museums from District Six to the Museum of Gold or browse through the vibey street markets such as Greenmarket Square. Alternatively meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, head out to Robben Island by boat or simply relax on the golden beaches of Camps Bay or Llandudno. In the heart of Cape Town’s picturesque Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, this contemporary urban resort embodies a chic island design and African flair. The crescent-shaped architecture of the seven-story Marina Rise allows for splendid views of Table Mountain and Signal Hill from 91 spacious rooms and suites. Two lushly landscaped islands at the center of the waterfront feature 40 Island Suites and the tranquil One&Only Spa. Clean lines, dark African woods and contemporary artwork by local artisans accentuate the 131 spacious, rooms and suites - the largest in all of Cape Town. The generous interior spaces are adorned with fabrics and furnishings recalling the warm tones of Africa's savannahs, with bright splashes of colour playing tribute to the land's vibrant personality. One & Only Cape Town
Day 2: Cape Town
This morning, you set out on you private tour of this cosmpolitan city, beginning with a ride up Table Mountain by cable car for panoramic views of the entire Cape Peninsula. There is time for a short walk at the summit to admire the incredible scenery. Travel into the city to see the Castle of Good Hope, the original fort of Cape Town built in 1652 and now painstakingly restored. From there, you continue to the historic center of the city with its many 18th century buildings. You can visit two of the area museums and enjoy a stroll through the Company Gardens past the Parliament buildings. Finally you explore the picturesque Malay quarter, a historic sector of the city with original Malay buildings and narrow streets before ending the tour back at the hotel approx 4 hours later. One & Only Cape Town (B)
Day 3: Cape Town
Today explore the Cape Winelands during a private tour of the historic towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek as well as wine tasting at local wine estates. The majestic scenery of the winelands is unparalleled so even if you don't drink wine, the countryside and history make it well worth the visit. A combination of favorable effects of the two major ocean currents meeting off the Cape makes the climate in the area perfect for the acres of vineyards. The stunning backdrop of the mountains, the tree-lined streets and the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads all blend in tranquil harmony. The exact wine estates to be visited will vary accordng to your personal preference in wines. Your guide will discuss the options with you and select the best wine estates to visit. The tastings will include high quality (and often award winning) red and white wines. Depending on which estates you are visiting, the order of the tour will vary so below should be seen as a guide only. After a tour through the cellars, you sample some of their wines as well as perhaps a cheese tasting. The picturesque village of Franschhoek is set in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, and boasts interesting shops and boutiques as well as a second wine estate for another wine tasting.
Enjoy lunch at one of the spectacular award-winning winelands restaurants. Afterward, head to Stellenbosch. It is easy to see why Simon Van Der Stel decided to build a village in such an idyllic spot. The Cape Dutch architecture along the oak-lined streets and the many alfresco cafes give Stellenbosch a charm that will not be quickly forgotten. Return to Cape Town in the late afternoon. One & Only Cape Town (B,L)
Day 4: Cape Town
This morning, you travel along the spectacular Atlantic Seaboard through the chic suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay, and on to the fishing village of Hout Bay. Chapmans Peak, if open, offers a dramatic, lovely drive as it hugs the cliffside with a 200-meter drop on one side and a 200 meter rise on the other. Continue south to the Cape of Good Hope National Park. Explore the rocky coastline and unique Cape Fynbos vegetation, home to exceptional birdlife such as African black oystercatchers and Cape sugarbirds. You may also spot wildlife such as the Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, ostrich and baboon. Climb up to the famous Cape Point Lighthouse to capture the magical views over the bay. Alternatively you can take the funicular train as an optional extra. After lunch, you visit the eccentric penguin colonies at Boulders beach for a close encounter with these delightful African Penguins. Drive through the historical naval village of Simonstown and over yet another spectacular mountain pass, Boyes Drive, and on to Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens, nestling on the lower slopes of Table Mountain which encompasses some of the finest gardens in Africa. On a stroll through the gardens, you see some 4,000 of the 22,000 Southern African flowering plants that are cultivated in a setting of mountain streams, pools and rolling lawns. You are returned to your hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure. One & Only Cape Town (B,L)
Day 5: Cape Town / Sabi Sands Game Reserve
This morning, you have a private transfer to Cape Town Airport. Board your scheduled flight to Skukuza. On arrival you will be met and transferred by a representative of the Lion Sands River Lodge. A safari is nearly always an important part of a trip to South Africa. Seeing a leopard on the hunt or observing a breeding herd of elephants at a waterhole are once-n-a-lifetime experiences for most of us. The 65,000ha Sabi Sands is one of the premier wildlife destinations in Southern Africa. It shares an open border with the Kruger Natioanl Park so animals move freely between the two reserves. Due to a long history of sensitive game-viewing, the animals, especially leopard, are generally relaxed around game vehicles. So diverse is its habitat and wildlife that you have an excellent chance of experiencing close encounters with the 'Big 5' - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard as well as many species of antelope, spotted hyena, wild dog and jackal.
Savor game drives in open-vehicles with an experienced ranger and a local tracker, who give you a deeper understanding of the wildlife and natural cycles of the bush. Drives are in the early morning and late afternoon when game is most likely to be active. Enoy your evening meal is often in a 'boma' or even in the bush around an open fire. Your lodge in the Southern Sabi Sand Game Reserve encompasses 7,000 hectares of arguably Africa’s most pristine Big 5 territory and the only reserve in South Africa to offer a safari in both the Sabie and Sand River ecosystems. Located about a five-hour drive from Johannesburg and 30 minutes from Skukuza Airport. At Lion Sands, you have opportunities for spectacular game viewing while the reserve helps preserve the balance of the bushveld. River Lodge offers you one of the warmest welcomes by the extraordinary handpicked staff, who will make you feel completely at home. The lodge has captured the spirit of the Sabie River, where the quiet luxury of the rooms provides a place of repose after your day of enriching adventure. Each of the 20 luxuriously thatched bedrooms at River Lodge has its own private wooden viewing deck. With the rambling river outside your room, you won’t have to go far to see wildlife or to drink in the surrounding Sabi Sand Reserve overlooking the world-famous Kruger. Lion Sands River Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 6/7: Sabi Sands Game Reserve
You enjoy the daily activities on offer by your lodge that include spectacular wildlife sightings, where you may see Africa’s fabled Big Five among other animals on exhilarating game drives. Walking safaris allow guests to experience close-up encounters with Africa’s smaller wild creatures. For a magical night under the African night sky, stay in one of the game reserve’s fantastic treehouses, fully-equipped and incredibly luxurious. Lion Sands River Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8: Sabi Sands Game Reserve / Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
After a final morning game drive and breakfast, the Lodge staff transfer you back to the airport for your scheduled flight to Livingstone via Kruger KMIA. On arrival in Livingstone, you clear Immigration formalities and then you are transferred across the border post to the Victoria Falls Hotel on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls. Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is a sight not to be missed – especially when the Zambezi River is in full flow (April to June/July) when over a mile of unbroken surging water plunges into the Zambezi gorge below. The pleasant town is compact enough to walk around and the falls are within easy walking distance.
The Victoria Falls is bordered by Zimbabwe and Zambia and each country offers a different viewing perspective. Towards the end of the dry season, from late September to January, the spectacle is best seen from the Zimbabwe side of the Victoria Falls. A host of activities are offered centred around the falls themselves, the magnificent Zambezi River and Zambezi National Park. Enjoy guided tours of the Falls and then languorous sunset boat cruises. To gain an overall impression of the Falls, the helicopter 'Flight of Angels' is essential. Microlight flights and bungee jumping incredible ways to experience the falls. The wide gentle river above the falls is perfect for canoeing and fishing while below the falls, serious white-water rafting or jet-boating also possible. Game drives and horse riding are offered in the Zambezi National Park to spot view elephant, buffalo and so much more.
The Zambezi River cruise is a superb way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the river as well as see a variety of game, including hippo, crocodile, elephant and many different bird species. The popular sunset cruise includes finger snacks, beer, wine, local spirits and soft drinks. Return to your hotel. Victoria Falls Hotel in Victoria Falls National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous falls are just a ten-minute walk away using the hotel’s private pathway. The “smoke that thunders” or “Mosi-O-Tunya” is clearly audible and visible. The ambience of the hotel is steeped in history with all suites decorated in the gracious Edwardian style of Zimbabwe’s colonial era. It has 161 rooms. A large swimming pool, two tennis courts, a library, reading rooms and chapel are part of the complex. Golfers can enjoy 18 holes on the championship course of the nearby sister hotel. Victoria Falls Hotel (B)
Day 9: Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls reaches its zenith about May annually and is truly awe-inspiring experience – the sights, sounds, smells of nature’s masterpiece. Explore this magnificent site on a tour conducted in the morning or afternoon. En route, guests may be taken past the ‘Big Tree.’ Explore the rainforest with a qualified guide who presents a brief history of the falls as well as detailing the flora, fauna, bird and wildlife and other points of interest. Raincoats are provided when needed. Victoria Falls Hotel (B)
Day 10: Victoria Falls / Chobe National Park, Botswana
Today you are transferred across the border to Chobe Game Lodge. Renowned for its impressive, migratory population of more than 50,000 elephants, Chobe National Park lies in the far northeast of Botswana, bordering the mighty Chobe River. It has distinct eco-systems: the Chobe Riverfront area with fertile plains and thick forests; the Savuti Channel in the southwest; the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest; and the arid hinterland in between. This diversity of habitats provides a sanctuary to an astonishing array of African wildlife. The Chobe River system is known for some of the best elephant viewing in Africa in the winter months (May to October), with huge herds of up to 500 or more the end of the dry season. Lions are common, as are buffalo, cheetah and an amazing variety of antelope. Chobe's animal migrations follow an ancient pattern, and the game is drawn to the Chobe River during the dry winter season and spreads out to the open grasslands of the Savute Channel and pans during the wetter summer months. The river is alive with crocodile and hippo and marvellous birdlife, including kingfishers and bee-eaters. Languorous sunset cruises are a speciality of the Chobe River area, as well as morning game drives in the park. Staying on the Chobe riverfront is popular, given its abundant wildlife and ease of access to Victoria Falls (1½ hours by road) and also to the Okavango Delta. The only permanent game lodge situated within the famous Chobe National Park, Chobe Game Lodge is Botswana's premier venue for those looking for a perfect base to explore the national park and the Chobe River. This five-star lodge has full eco-grading by Botswana Tourism Board. Chobe Game Lodge is designed as a haven of peace and privacy – where relaxation is effortless, and you can enjoy your own space. With six comfortably furnished viewing decks, a riverside boma, two bars, six different lounges and four dining locations, a comfy chair or lounger is never far away, each with a different perspective on the wilderness that surrounds the lodge. A large swimming pool provides welcome relief during hot afternoons and there is always a waiter on hand to bring you refreshments from the bar. Chobe Game Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 11: Chobe National Park
You enjoy the activities on offer by your lodge. Enjoy the diversity of Chobe National Park’s abundant wildlife on guided 4WD game drives and take in the beauty of the river on boat safaris, while witnessing the herds of game and prolific birdlife along the river banks. Immerse yourself in an all-encompassing safari on land and water in one of Africa’s primary wildlife destinations as the Chobe Game Lodge staff share their passion and explore the diversity of Botswana’s Chobe National Park with you. Chobe Game Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 12: Chobe National Park / Johannesburg / Depart
After a final morning activity, check out of the lodge and then you are transferred to Kasane airport. Board your scheduled flight to Johannesburg from where you connect with your onward flight home later this evening. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$800 per person per day.