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: Arrive Johannesburg, South Afirca
On arrival at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) airport, look for our representative, who will be holding a name-board with your surname on it. Your driver will transfer you from the airport to your hotel. 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. The Westcliff Hotel has a stunning setting on a ridge overlooking the leafy, northern suburbs and Zoological gardens of Johannesburg. The Westcliff offers the best of both worlds in that you hardly feel like you are in a city, such is the sense of space and tranquillity, and yet complimentary shuttles are provided to nearby restaurants and shopping. The Westcliff is set on several terraces reminiscent of an Italianate hillside village, within seven acres of landscaped gardens. The glamorous pool terrace with its heated infinity swimming pool offers a reviving escape from the city bustle - the perfect place for evening cocktails. Other facilities include tennis courts, health and beauty spa and a second more secluded swimming pool. All of The Westcliff's 178 spacious rooms and suites are finely decorated and offer air-conditioning, TV, video, Internet access, and mini bar. The Westcliff Hotel – Junior Suite
Day 2: Johannesburg / Victoria Falls, Zambia
Our representative will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your scheduled flight to Victoria Falls. On arrival at Livingstone Airport, our representative will be waiting to greet you, by holding a name-board with your surname on it. You will have a private transfer from the airport to your hotel. 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 descent have helped create a lush rain forest full of stunning wild flowers. The most spectacular views of the falls are from the Zambian side of the gorge (depending on the season). Adventure activities abound at the falls. Canoe the fabled Zambezi River; enjoy a languorous sunset river cruises on the tranquil Upper Zambezi above the falls; or ride high above the falls either by helicopter, called 'Flight of Angels, 'or by micro-lite for some of the most stunning views you will ever see. Bungee jumping and white-water rafting are available as are game drives, and horseback riding in the Zambezi National Park to view elephant, giraffe, buffalo and even the newly relocated rhino. The best time to view the falls is probably between April/May and August when the spray is less yet the flow of water is still impressive. As the dry season progresses, the volume of water over the falls declines quite dramatically. Visitors in late September to December need to be aware of this, and we recommend that you book a helicopter trip or a micro-lite flight over the falls so that you can enjoy the full landscape of the falls. This afternoon, you are met by staff from the African Queen, a five-star, triple-deck 70-foot catamaran furnished in Rhodesian teak, beech wood and brass. You are driven to the 'Royal Landing' jetty on the Zambezi River to board the cruise boat, which meanders slowly upstream along the length of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, looking for animals and birds from comfortable chairs on cool wooden decks. Excellent hot and cold food is served on board and the bar is well stocked with spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks. The two-hour cruise includes hot and cold snacks, drinks and transfers. The Royal Livingstone Hotel is an elegant five-star hotel in an unrivalled setting overlooking the falls. The 173 rooms include hand-carved mahogany furniture, and have an African feel with eastern overtones. All have a balcony or patio with views of the mature acacia trees, lawns and river. The hotel has a superb restaurant, large pool (which seems almost in the Zambezi), pool bar and small casino. A splendid large wooden deck affords sweeping views of the falls, ideal for cocktails at sunset. The hotel is actually in the Zambezi National Park, which means park fees are included in the hotel's rates, so you can visit the falls as much as you would like during your stay. The range of excursions that can be booked by the hotel include sunset boat cruises, local village tours, game drives, helicopter flips and various adventure options. Manicures and pedicures can be arranged in-room and massages can either be enjoyed outside with a view over the river, or in the privacy of your room. The Royal Livingstone Hotel - Luxury Room (B)
Day 3: Victoria Falls
This morning, you will savor a private tour of Victoria Falls followed by a visit to Chief Mukuni's village. Walk in the natural rainforest to the phenomenal Victoria Falls with your knowledgeable and informative local guide. Next you head to Chief Mukuni's village which was founded as Gundu in the 13th century, and later named after the ruler (Mukuni) on arrival from the Congo. It is home to the Leya people. This tour presents an opportunity to see how local people live in a real African village with a population of 7,000, a clinic, basic school and boreholes for drinking water. Visitors see how huts are built and decorated, meet residents and see local artisans and crafters work creating curios. Please realize that this is a working village and not one built as an example for tourists. That may mean that you will get an accurate, and sometimes uncomfortable, glimpse of life in an African village today. The recommended season for seeing the Victoria Falls is January to September as the Victoria Falls on the Zambian side sometime dry up from October onwards. (If travelling from October to December, we recommend either a tour of the falls from the Zimbabwe side, taking a helicopter excursion or visiting Livingstone Island as well.) The Royal Livingstone Hotel - Luxury Room (B)
Day 4: Victoria Falls / Linyanti Game Reserve, Botswana
Today you are driven to Kasane Airport for your charter flight to your game lodge. You are met and transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from Kasane Airport to your game lodge in the Linyanti Swamps.
(Please note that luggage allowance is strictly 44Lbs per person in soft squashy bags including all hand luggage such as camera equipment.)
The Linyanti Swamps, west of Chobe National Park, are wilder and also known for the large elephant herds. Huge African ebony and marula trees, a favorite food of elephants, shade the rivers. This is big game country, with predators such as lion, cheetah, wild dog and hyena regularly sighted, as well as herds of impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, sable, roan, waterbuck and buffalo. The landscape is characterized by grassland vistas dotted with palm forest islands. The three good private concessions here - Kwando, Selinda and Linyanti - offer a seasonal home to game migrating from the grasslands to the south, with the permanent water of the Linyanti/Kwando River drawing the animals during the dry season. The Selinda Reserve is the domain of the big cats and game-viewing is both private and riveting. Here, Zarafa Camp is blessed with an extraordinary location in the eastern sector of the Selinda Reserve overlooking the vast savannas and floodplains of the Zibadianja Lagoon under cool and shady Jackalberry forests. Zarafa has just four large and luxuriously appointed double or twin 'marquis style' tents. Each tented rooms is close to 1,000 square feet, and is positioned along the edge of the forests to take advantage of the spectacular view over the floodplains and savannas. Each tent has a spacious bedroom with en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers. Outside is a large deck with private pool. Overhead fans, flowing and seductive mosquito nets, and a beautiful handcrafted copper fireplace, strategically placed between the bathroom and bedroom for the winter months, complete the picture. The furniture has been handcrafted and is made from recycled ancient hardwoods. Outside is a large deck with private pool. The camp is solar powered, and the electricity generation system coupled with stringent use of recycled hardwoods and careful operating processes throughout the camp make this one of the "greenest" camps on the planet, and to keep carbon and emissions footprint at the minimum. Zarafa Camp - Luxury Tent (B,L,D)
Day 5: Linyanti Game Reserve
Activities at Zarafa Camp are not regimented. Inevitably though, your activities are driven by the best game viewing times, the animal movements, or the weather. Wildlife and nature drives often start at dawn because this is the best time and when the predators are active. You usually return mid to late morning for brunch, and head out again in the mid to late afternoon. The midday siesta time can be spent at one of Zarafa's waterholes in an elevated hide. Short walks from camp with our fully qualified guides are also offered. Zarafa Camp – Luxury Tent (B,L,D)
Day 6: Linyanti Game Reserve / Makgadikgadi Pans
You are transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from your Linyanti game lodge to Jack's Camp via Maun airport. On arrival, you are met and transferred to the camp by 4x4 vehicle. Jack's Camp harks back to a classic 1940s safari camp. This romantic camp is about as remote as you can get. Yet no visit to Botswana can be said to be truly complete without experiencing the desert as well as the delta. 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. Dining is in the mess tent, or al fresco under the stars, whilst the tea tent, with cushions and a wind-up gramophone, is ideal for decadent afternoon teas. This stylish camp offers a traditional safari experience and a holistic understanding of Botswana's wildlife, geography, geology and its people, both past and present, including the nomadic Bushmen. 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. 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 are rare brown hyenas as well as springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest and the predators that follow them. After the rains (December to April), there can be enormous herds of wildebeest, zebra and Springbok (with the accompanying predators) on the open grasslands. Jack's Camp - Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8: Makgadikgadi Pans
Activities are conducted in 4x4 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. (This activity takes place every third day so a three night stay is recommended.) Walks with Bushman trackers, mornings spent with meerkats and visits to historical baobab trees used as camp sites by Livingstone and Selous are other activities. Jack's Camp - Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Day 9: Makgadikgadi Pans / Johannesburg, South Africa
You are met and transferred by light charter flight (seat in plane) from Tsigaro (Jack's Camp San Camp and Camp Kalahari) to Maun Airport where you board your scheduled flight back to Johannesburg. On arrival at OR Tambo (Johannesburg) airport, look out for our representative, holding a name-board with your surname on it. They will transfer you from the airport to your hotel. The Westcliff Hotel – Junior Suite (B)
Day 10: Johannesburg / Madikwe Game Reserve
This morning, you are collected for a brief Soweto and Johannesburg cultural tour. Our tour is designed to give visitors to Johannesburg an overall impression of the city and takes a look at the history of apartheid, its impact on Johannesburg and the role of the city in shaping South Africa's future. The tour begins with a short drive through the suburbs of Rosebank and Houghton, passing Nelson Mandela's residence en route to Soweto (SOuth WEstern TOwnship), the largest black residential area in South Africa, where we see a fascinating contrast to the richer suburbs of Rosebank and Sandton in the north. This sprawling 'city within a city' is home to approximately 2-million people. You are dropped off at OR Tambo Airport for your charter flight (seat in plane). On arrival, you are met and transferred by 4x4 open vehicle to your private game lodge set in Madikwe, which offers exclusivity, privacy and excellent service. The lodge has just five suites available in the rocky outcrops of Gabbro Hills. Here, you can relax in your private infinity pool at your suite and enjoy spectacular views over the surrounding plains and the waterhole. Each thatched suite is air-conditioned and is designed to be part of a radial configuration around one of the hills. Custom built 4x4 game drive vehicles give you the opportunity to view the Madikwe area over vast distances, or take a guided bush walk where Mateya's specialist rangers and trackers take you to experience game and wildlife up close. The malaria-free Madikwe has been successfully restocked through a program that reintroduced over 10 000 animals over the last few years, all indigenous to the area. The 75,000-hectare private reserve now boasts a healthy wildlife population including the 'Big Five' and over 340 recorded bird species. You can also expect to see its packs of wild dog which are regularly sighted as well as Black and White rhino, extensive plains game, including sable, gemsbok, springbok and giraffe. Morning and evening game drives with experienced game rangers will allow time in the middle of the day for relaxation in the comfort and luxury of the lodge. In the late afternoon, set out on a game drive that continues after dark. At least one, if not all of your evening meals are likely to be enjoyed in an open 'boma', under the stars around an open fire. Mateya Safari Lodge - Luxury Thatched Chalet (B,L,D)
Days 11 & 12: Madikwe Game Reserve
You enjoy the daily activities at your lodge. Particularly informative are the guided bush walks with a tracker, which enable you to get closer to some of the smaller creatures and flora of the bush. After an adventurous day of game viewing by foot or vehicle take a time out at Mateya's Wellness Centre., with its cardiovascular gym, a Jacuzzi, and body and facial treatments. Enjoy a roaring fire and a delicious dinner. Dining is also available in the Wine Cellar for a more intimate dining experience. Mateya Safari Lodge - Luxury Thatched Chalet (B,L,D)
Day 13: Madikwe Game Reserve / Cape Town / Winelands
You return to the Madikwe airstrip for your air charter (seat in plane) from Madikwe Game Reserve to OR Tambo (Johannesburg) Airport, where you connect with your onward flight to Cape Town. You will be met and transferred by road to your hotel, uniquely situated on the highest crest of the magnificent Helshoogte Mountain Pass, linking the Cape's two leading wine districts - Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Each of the ten lodges is completely private, with curved hedges of Camellia and Coffee Jasmine providing natural seclusion. Delaire Graff Lodge main area features a private dining room and a boutique cinema. Lodges feature double volume ceilings with exposed timber trusses and custom designed furniture. Special touches include Jo Malone bathroom amenities and contemporary art from Laurence Graff's private art collection. Delaire Graff Estate Hotel & Spa - Deluxe Suite (B)
Day 14: Winelands
You are collected by your guide for a private Winelands tour. A combination of the favorable effects of the two major ocean currents meeting off the Cape makes the climate in the Winelands perfect for the acres of vineyards. The stunning backdrop of the Hottentots Holland Mountains, the tree-lined streets and the white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads all blend in tranquil harmony. Visit a wine estate for a fascinating tour of the winemaking process. You continue to Stellenbosch. Walk up Dorp Street, one of the longest rows of old Cape Dutch-style buildings in South Africa. Visit the Village Museum, a collection of preserved houses that depict the lives of the early settlers in the Victorian era. Enjoy a scenic drive over the majestic Helshoogte Pass to the charming village of Franschhoek for lunch and a little time for browsing in the galleries and shops. The origins of this beautifully situated village date back to 1688 when French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled in the valley. It later became known as French Corner or 'Franschhoek' in Afrikaans. The tour ends with a visit to the magnificent manor house of Boschendal before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon. Delaire Graff Estate Hotel & Spa - Deluxe Suite (B,L)
Day 15: Cape Winelands / Cape Peninsula / Cape Town
You are met by your private guide to begin your private Cape Peninsula tour. Travel along the coast road through the chic suburbs of Clifton, Camps Bay and onto the picturesque fishing community of Hout Bay. Next you drive the dramatically scenic road along Chapmans Peak and take in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, said to be the romantic meeting point of two mighty oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian. Return along the Indian Ocean coast and stop to see the unique African penguin colonies at Boulders beach, meander through the historic naval base of Simonstown and onto Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens, where 4,000 of the 22,000 Southern African flowering plants are cultivated in a setting of mountain streams, pools and rolling lawns. In the late afternoon, you are taken to your hotel, one of Africa's most exclusive small, private hotels. Ellerman House is known equally for its magnificent setting overlooking Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean. It has nine individually appointed, elegant rooms and two suites. It has terraced gardens, swimming pool, gym overlooking Bantry Bay, and a spa with therapy shower, steam room, sauna, and infinity pool. It is strongly recommended that you pre-book any treatment to avoid disappointment. Treatment Menus can be sent to you on request. The cuisine is superb and is complimented by a collection of 17,000 vintage South African wines and museum-quality art throughout the hotel. Ellerman is within walking distance of the Clifton Beach, and ten minutes from the center of Cape Town’s bustling waterfront. Ellerman House - Sea View Room (B,L)
Day 16: Cape Town & Table Mountain
Your private guide will collect you this morning for your private half-day tour of Table Mountain and Cape Town. Begin with an ascent of Table Mountain by cable car for glorious views of the Cape Peninsula. (The cable car tickets are on your own account as the ascent is weather dependent.) Table Mountain breaks up the city into distinct areas, each with its own character and, indeed, its own weather! The city bowl basks in the dramatic shadow of the 1,000-metter mountain, with its characteristic 'tablecloth' of mist rolling over the edge. Travel into the city where you see the Castle of Good Hope, the original fort of Cape Town built in 1652 and now painstakingly restored. The Castle was built by the Dutch between 1666 and 1679 to replace their original mud-walled fortress. From there, you continue to the lovely flower market and the historic center of Cape Town with its many 18th century buildings. Stroll through the Company Gardens and 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 at the fashionable waterfront with its shops and restaurants. Ellerman House - Sea View Room (B)
Day 17: Cape Town / Depart
Today you have a private transfer to Cape Town Airport. This transfer will take approx 30 minutes depending on traffic. Your guide will then drop you off at the airport in time for your flight home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$1200 per person per day. Internal airfare additional.