Day 1: Botswana – Francistown. The tour begins in Johannesburg where we load up the truck before heading northeast towards the Zimbabwe border. It is a long and fairly uneventful drive to Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city and the site of Southern Africa’s first ‘gold-rush’ back in the late 1800’s. Nowadays Francistown is a modern African city and home to many jazz-clubs and casinos making for some excellent nightlife. Meals: Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Marang Hotel Campsite.
Day 2: Zimbabwe – Hwange National Park. It is just less than 100 km from Francistown to the Zimbabwe border and within hours we arrive in Hwange National Park and begin some spectacular game viewing from an open 4x4 vehicle. At around 14650 square kilometres the Hwange National Park is the largest in Zimbabwe and home to one of Africa’s largest Elephant populations as well as over 100 other mammalian species and 400 different birds. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Main Camp.
Day 3: Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls National Park. In the early morning there we will enjoy another game drive in the Hwange NP. After lunch we drive north to Victoria Falls where we will visit the Victoria Falls National Park in order to experience this magnificent natural wonder. The local people wisely use the expression ‘the smoke that thunders’, or Musi-o-tunya, to describe the unforgettable waterfall in the Zambezi River. We will also visit a local adventure operator to book activities for the next day. In the evening there are many excellent restaurants to choose from. Optional Activity: Dinner Out. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch. Overnight: Victoria Falls Rest camp.
Day 4: Victoria Falls. Today there is an entire day free to experience some of the exciting adventure activities that are possible from this tourism town. While the White Water Rafting is one of the most popular activities there are many others on offer such as: Walking with Lions, Elephant interactions, Gorge swing, microlighting and scenic Helicopter flights. Meals: Breakfast. Overnight: Victoria Falls Rest camp.
Day 5: Zambia - Livingstone and Zambezi River. Today we cross over the historical railway bridge that links Zimbabwe and Zambia at the Victoria Falls. This bridge was completed in 1905 and was placed, at the request of Cecil John Rhodes, so that the spray from the falls could embrace the railway carriages as they crossed from one side to the other. Once in Zambia there will be a short stop to collect any additional passengers and then we have a long drive to reach the camp for the evening. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Machembere camp.
Day 6: Lower Zambezi National Park Canoe Trip. Today we will be beginning our canoe adventure in to the Lower Zambezi National Park. Starting early in the morning we will be taking the minimum of equipment necessary and ‘bush camping’ on an island this evening, surrounded by wildlife, including the hippo. This is a unique experience as we will be a long, long way from any form of civilisation! Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Bush Camp Kakomalala.
Day 7: Lower Zambezi National Park. This is the second day spent on the mighty Zambezi River. As we are travelling downstream with the current the physical effort required to negotiate the river is not extreme and many happy hours can be spent simply drifting and enjoying the beautiful scenery, birdlife and company. At certain times of the year it may not be possible to canoe on the river due to extreme temperatures or water levels. In this instance the 2 days normally spent on the river will be swapped for a 2-night houseboat excursion on Lake Kariba. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Bush Camp Nyakasanga Island.
Day 8: Kariba. We finish our canoe trip in the morning and make our way to Kariba where you will have the time to relax next to this famous lake. In the evening there is the chance to enjoy and optional sunset cruise. Kariba is the largest artificial lake in the world. Lake Kariba was filled between 1958 and 1963 following the completion of the Kariba dam. Optional Activity: Sunset cruise. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Charara Kariba: No website available.
Day 9: Zimbabwe – Chinhoyi Caves. We will pass through the Chirundu Border (sometimes a time consuming process) and re-enter Zimbabwe. From Chirundu it is not a long trip to Chinhoyi. Probably best known for cave diving, the Chinhoyi caves system is the largest publicly accessible cave system in Zimbabwe and reputably a ‘mysterious’ area. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Chinhoyi Caves.
Day 10: Harare and Chimanimani National Park. After visiting the caves it is a short drive from Chinhoyi to Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, where we will stop for some shopping, lunch and exploration. Although Harare has not had a lot of positive press in the last 10 years, many will be surprised at just how safe and accessible this small, modern capital is. After lunch we will be travelling to the Eastern Highlands and the Chimanimani National Park. The Mountain range that separates Zimbabwe and Mozambique is the site of some simply spectacular hiking and scenery and with time permitting we will take a short walk to the well-known Bridal Veil Falls in the late afternoon. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner. Overnight: Chimanimani NP Camp.
Day 11: Chirinda Forest. It is possible to spend another full day hiking in the Chimanimani, or take a day trip to Zimbabwe’s only rain forest on the Mozambique Border. Chirinda is the southernmost rain forest in Africa and home to some spectacular large mahogany trees. A short hike to ‘the big tree’ is a lovely outing and a fantastic spot for a picnic lunch. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Chimanimani NP Camp.
Day 12: Great Zimbabwe Ruins. No visit to Zimbabwe could possibly be complete without visiting the world-famous Great Zimbabwe ruins. Dating from around the 11th century these iron-age ruins have been the source of much speculation and disagreement over the years. Built without any mortar some of the walls are up to 5 metres high and still standing after so many centuries. This site was also home to 8 carved Zimbabwe birds, the image of which is found on the Zimbabwean National Flag. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Masvingo.
Days 13-14 Matobo: Matopos National Park. It is a long drive to reach Greater Matopos NP area. The next day we enjoy a full day Game drive with a local operator into the Greater Matopos NP area. We head towards the Matobo Hills where we view the Bushman Paintings, rock formations and scenery in the National Park. We briefly leave the National Park pay a visit to the African Villages where we have the opportunity to meet the local community. We re-enter the Game Park section of the National Park, where we track Rhino on foot with our guides, as well as looking for other game. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Big Cave Camp: No website available.
Day 15: South Africa – Bulawayo to Messina. After a short visit to the Bulawayo Historical Museum we start the drive back to South Africa. We cross the border at Buitbridge, which can sometimes take a long time, and return to South Africa where we will camp at the border town of Messina. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Overnight: Tshipise Aventura Camp.
Day 16: Johannesburg. Today we leave early for the journey south along the Great North Road for our final destination in Johannesburg, the City of Gold. We will gradually move up from the Bushveld and Baobabs of the Limpopo Province through citrus and maize fields to the heavily populated and industrialised Highveld and Gauteng Province, the powerhouse of Africa. We will travel through Pretoria, one of South Africa’s capital cities, before arriving in Johannesburg in the late afternoon. Although this final night is not included in the tour most people choose to get together for a final meal out at one of Johannesburg’s many excellent restaurants. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
Activity Package: This is an optional payment that covers what we consider to be 'essential activities' on our tours. Ideally we would include all of these, but not everyone can afford this. This payment is 100% transparent and is listed below. The Activity Package can be pre-purchased prior to your arrival or through your guide on day 1 of your tour. The itinerary has been written with the inclusion of the Activity Package items.
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