11-day Best of Zimbabwe Safari (Fly-in)
Are you ready for a genuine African safari adventure? The 11-day Best of Zimbabwe Safari goes deep into the wildest and most amazing game reserves in Zimbabwe: Hwange, Matusadona and Mana Pools; plus we throw in Victoria Falls for good measure.
|Price||from USD 5,810 pps|
|Highlights||Hwange National Park, Lake Kariba, Mana Pools National Park, Victoria Falls (Zim), Harare|
Accommodation; Meals (SQ); Shared road transfers; Internal flights; Park entry fees; Meet and Greet; Airport Transfers; 24-hour support; Comprehensive tour file with detailed itinerary, map, route descriptions, booking vouchers, contact numbers and useful information
International flights; Personal travel insurance; Entry visas; Staff gratuities
Starting with a scenic tour of Victoria Falls , this is a safari adventure where every stop is a wonder of diversity and singular beauty. The three National Park game reserves you visit - Hwange National Park , Lake Kariba and Matusadona and Mana Pools National Park - are quite different from each other with great bio-diversity and varied topography and features.
Hwange National Park has vast savannah plains, gentle hills and thickets of miombo and hardwood trees punctuated with waterholes. And elephants. Wild dogs, lions, leopard, rhino, cheetah and many other species of plains game you will see here too.
Matusadona National Park is a mini-Ngorongoro without the Land Rovers. Bound on three sides by water and backing onto the 600m Zambezi Escarpment, Matusadona is a vast pen of wildlife and great beauty. The park measures 1,500sq km and is said to have the highest concentration of lion in Africa. Access is mostly on foot, making Matusadona a true wilderness experience. Rhino and the full gamut of plains game along with some great birding add to the Matusadona thrill as does the proximity of Lake Kariba and all its promise of fun and relaxation.
Mana Pools is a vast floodplain along the Zambezi River and yet another experience altogether. The plains support a diversity of wildlife, the massive mahogany and acacia trees provide great cover for all the plains species and the 2,000sq km of seasonally flooded plains provide water for a great diversity and high concentrations of all species. Mana Pools offers walking safaris, canoeing safaris, night and day game drives and you're in big game country with no shortage of elephants, lions, buffalos, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, crocs, fish eagles and tiger fish.
Your Zimbabwe wildlife safari adventure ends with a short flight to Harare and your connecting flight home.
Day 1 & 2: Victoria Falls (Zim) ( 2 nights )
Arrive at Victoria Falls International Airport - usually from Johannesburg - and we will transfer you to your hotel for a refreshing swim, lunch and a doze.
In medium to high water months you will need a raincoat and a bag to keep your camera dry. Raincoats are available for hire and we recommend a zip-lock sealable bag for your camera.
In the late afternoon you'll board the Zambezi Queen or similar boat for a gentle sunset river cruise on the Zambezi River above the falls. The mile-wide river is shouldered by dense woodland through which elephants and buffalo often come for an evening tipple; hippos wallow in the shallow discussing politics; crocodiles brood in the disappearing sun and everywhere birds sing their songs; the sun dips behind the spray from Victoria Falls: in short, all will be good in this world on your Zambezi River sunset cruise.
Dinner can be at your hotel or one of the many excellent restaurants in Victoria Falls.
On your second day in Victoria Falls you have the whole of Victoria Falls at your fingertips.
Having spent the previous day on the two mandatory activities - viewing the falls and a sunset river cruise - you now have the opportunity to explore at your leisure.
Activities in Victoria Falls are boundless and at times mind-boggling. Adventure and thrill-seekers will find no shortage of crazy acts to impress your friends with.
Nature and wildlife lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the safari activities on offer (of course these come with the adventure features as well, like walking with lions or an elephant-back safari).
There are many ways to view the falls: from the air in a (highly recommended) flight of angels; from below in a (yet again, adventurous) jet-boat that skims about as close as you can get (or want to get for that matter); from the Zambian side and from above, on the precipice, where at certain times of the year, you can swim in a pool metres from the edge (it looks scary in pictures but is completely safe).
Craft markets abound and there are many great bargains on excellent Shona sculptures to be had.
And then of course there are the genuine adventure activities: white-water rafting, bungee jumping, gorge swinging, skydiving, river-boarding, jet-boating… the envelope-pushing dare-devil madness is always evolving here. For us, it's fun enough just watching thanks very much.
Talk to your Travel Expert about the activities on offer, all of which can booked in advance or on arrival at your hotel's booking centre.Standard Accommodation
Day 3, 4 & 5: Hwange National Park ( 3 nights )
From Victoria Falls you have a pleasant drive through Hwange National Park to your private camp.
The camp is serviced by your attentive camp crew who will whip up amazing meals on the fire, keep your tents neat and tidy, top up your shower with hot water and of course look out for your safety at all times. Your professional guide is also on hand to entertain and interpret the sounds, smells and tail-swishing sights of the great African bush.
At 14,600sq km, Hwange is a large, pristine and scenic game reserve - mid-way in size between Chobe National Park and Kruger National Park and vying with the greats for "Best Game Reserve in Africa" status.
Along with its size comes great diversity of habitats and Hwange is known for its high wildlife and bird populations. With 420 bird species and 105 mammals recorded it is one of the most diverse game reserves in Africa.
Hwange National Park has many waterholes that ensure varied and reliable game viewing. Hwange is famous for its predators and its great herds of elephant and buffalo. Hwange has the world's largest population of the extremely rare African dog and you've a good chance of seeing cheetah; the birdlife, like most places along the Zambezi and in northern Zimbabwe, is prolific.
On your daily guided game drives, night drives and walking safaris, you will look for rhino, lion, leopard, wild dogs, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, roan, sable, zebra and many more African plains game species. The park is a great birding spot with 19 specials to look out for.Recommended Accommodation in Hwange National Park
Day 6 & 7: Lake Kariba ( 2 nights )
After the morning activity (time permitting) and breakfast, you will be transferred to the airstrip for onward air transfer to Musango Safari Camp, where you will stay for two nights.
Your lodge is on Lake Kariba situated just off the shoreline of Matusadona National Park.
Your two days at Lake Kariba will be spent on an island, where you will enjoy sunset cruises on the lake, fishing outings, game drives and walking safaris. The relaxation factor is also rather high.
While you don't exactly camp, Musango Safari Camp is off the grid in every respect and the rustic charm, while every bit as comfortable as you need, adds to the magic of this serene and remote location.Recommended Accommodation in Lake Kariba
- No standard accommodation in Lake Kariba
- No luxury accommodation in Lake Kariba
Day 8, 9 & 10: Mana Pools National Park ( 3 nights )
Most would agree, we're saving the best till last. After breakfast you will be transferred to the airstrip for your onward flight to Mana Pools National Park.
Mana Pools is so named for the multitude of pools, that remain in the valley after the seasonal flooding of the Zambezi River. These pools are the lifeblood of an incredibly diverse and large population of African wildlife.
Access is difficult, keeping this wilderness area in pristine condition, and the game viewing options include canoeing safaris, walking safaris, day and night drives.
Still different from the preceding game reserves, Mana Pools is instantly recognisable for its massive mahogany and acacia trees, that have conspired to make Mana Pools one of the best game-viewing destinations in the region.
The acacia pods are firm favourite with elephants and the cover these trees provide allows for gentle undergrowth that supports a great variety of plains species including lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, buffalo and many antelope including rare species like nyala and the enormous eland. Visibility is generally good thanks to the trees making walking safaris in this predator and big game area a rare and exhilarating safari experience.
Guided canoeing safaris are another unique feature of Mana Pools where you explore the shores and safely observe the big game drinking along the river's edge. In silence you can observe the birds, hippos, crocodiles, wildlife and the magnificent scenery.
Birdlife is mixed and populous with the riparian forests, open acacia woodland and dense escarpment miombo and mopane offering a variety of habitats supporting over 300 species.Recommended Accommodation in Mana Pools National Park
- No luxury accommodation in Mana Pools National Park
Day 11: Harare ( Departure / End of Tour )
After breakfast you will fly to Harare for your onward flight home and the end of an incredible safari where you stayed in the wild and, in all likelihood, had close-up experiences with the big five, saw one of the seven natural wonders of the world, paddled the Zambezi with elephants and hippos, walked in leopard country and experienced the magic of Africa's wilderness.
|2||Luxury||Low Season||USD 5,810 pps|
|2||Luxury||High Season||USD 7,640 pps|
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