Unfortunately, Meryl Streep can’t be the tour narrator but this "Out of Africa" journey will be no less absorbing as we return to some of the farming, cultural and scenic highlights of this amazing continent.
We’ll travel through South Africa, Namibia, Bostwana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls and Livingstone... we presume. Throughout this unforgettable journey we will become acquainted with innovative farmers and their agricultural operations. We’ll also visit private game parks and iconic national reserves where we become very up close and personal with the local wildlife.
On arrival in Jo’burg we connect to to a flight the north and the spectacular Cloud that Roared – Victoria Falls. We will see the Falls from every angle and visit innovative farmers on the Zambian side. We then drive into the famous Hwange Game Park before crossing into Botswana where we will visit the unique Pandamatenga agricultural project. A short charter flight will take us to the magnificent Okavango Delta. Using our ‘5 billion star’ mobile safari camp as our base, we explore this region teeming with wildlife.
We then fly south to Cape Town and the grandeur of the Western Cape region of South Africa. Magnificent farms, vineyards, mountain ranges and coastal scenes are just some of the features of the region.
Then its on to Namibia – a showcase of African diversity – and visit wonders such as Erindi Game Park, the ‘sea of sand’ – Sossusvlei with the world’s highest sand dunes and the Skeleton Coast.
NOTE: There will be an option of an "add-on" tour with several days in the Serengeti before the main tour starts. Details to follow.
Various departures out of Australia. The whole group won't meet up until the flight to Vic Falls on Day 2, but the early arrivals (8 people) will be staying at Irene Lodge before the tour. Everyone will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to the hotel.
Connecting flight to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. Transfer to Vic falls Safari lodge. Check in and finger lunch. For those interested, there is a scenic helicopter flight this afternoon then an evening dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi River.
South African Airways SA40. Departs JNB 10:50am; Arrives VFA 12:30pm
This morning we visit "The Smoke that Thunders," the magnificent Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River dividing Zimbabwe from Zambia. Victoria Falls is often called the largest waterfall in the world, although it is neither the highest nor the widest. It has a width of 1.7 kilometers and height of 108 meters, roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls. In combined height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by South America’s Iguazu Falls.
We take a walking tour along the Zimbabwe (most scenic) side of the falls. The flow in the Zambezi this year is quite low, but be prepared for some spray, and the conditions should mean an even better view of the falls. Afterwards, our guide Sue will take everyone on a walking tour of the town including the famous Elephant Walk and don't miss calling in to the historic Victoria Falls Hotel for some lunch, afternoon tea or just a cool drink with one of the best views in Africa. The more adventurous can try some whitewater rafting or a bungy jump from the bridge.
In the evening we head to the nearby Boma dinner and drum show.
Early start to drive to Robin's Camp in Hwange national Park with a stop at an African village along the way. Hwange is the largest park in Zimbabwe and boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species recorded. The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the Park’s elephant population is one of the largest in the world. The camp offers a high level of comfort and a truly natural experience as we enjoy the sights and sounds of the African bush while exploring this remote and beautiful National Park. We have our first game drive this afternoon.
Full day of game drives in Hwange. Robins Camp is an iconic Zimbabwe safari destination which has been recently renovated and privatised and is receiving rave reviews. It is situated in the rugged northern Basalt area of the park, an area rich in natural water with seeps and springs dotting the area. It is the home to some of the last great buffalo herds in Africa, with herds of over 2000. The area has an abundance of prey animals so it is no wonder that it also has the highest concentration of lion in the Park. Robins is also known for big populations of reedbuck, roan, sable and tsessebe as well as the usual herds of elephants and other species. Particularly encouraging are the regular sightings of both cheetah and painted dog.
We board our safari vehicles this morning and travel westwards and into Botswana (about an hour drive). Not far from the border we arrive at Pandamatenga – a Botswanan government-backed project which covers around 50,000 hectares (surrounded by an elephant-proof electric fence!!). It has been established to not only provide a reliable source of food crops for the Botswanan people, but also a means by which the local traditional farmers are able to learn modern agricultural techniques. This is achieved by encouraging some experienced farming families (many of them disaffected white farmers from Zimbabwe and South Africa) to be part of the project.
Farm visits around Pandamatenga today and some socialising with the locals this evening. The traditional Boma dinner at Wildtracks is often interrupted by an elephant, eland, kudu or even lions as they come to drink at the waterhole.
This morning we transfer to the local airstrip to board our charter flights to the Khwai River – in the magnificent Okavango Delta and our gateway to the wildlife wonderland of the Delta.
For the next three nights we will be in a traditional tented safari camp. It is a real ‘Out of Africa’ safari, but we are by no means roughing it with each tent having individual 'long drop' loos and hot bucket shower facilities. The camp is lit by hurricane lamps and torches are a necessity. No wi-fi, phone signal or power.
We will be with professional and passionate local guides who will introduce us to the amazing natural and cultural world of the Okavango Delta.
We enjoy our first Delta game drive this evening before our silver service dinner under a billion or so African stars.
Today we learn more about the wildlife, geography and agriculture unique to the Okavango Delta. This huge inland delta is formed by the Okavango River as it reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the Kalahari. Each year around 11 cubic km of water spreads over the 6000 to 15,000 km sq area. All the water ultimately evaporates and transpires and does not flow into any sea or ocean.
Countless species of wildlife are found in the Delta. Five primary tribes make up the native people of the Okavango and they use the area for fishing, crops and hunting.
We enjoy an early morning and late afternoon game drive today.
Another day in the amazing Okavango Delta with a magical mokoro (dugout canoe) ride included. Just keep an eye out for the hippos.
After breakfast and another game drive this morning we board our charter flight to Maun and our connecting direct flight to Cape Town, South Africa.
We will be met by our local guide and transferred north to Stellenbosch and the stunning Paarl and Franschhoek valleys – the home of the South African wine industry.
South African Airways SA8605 Departs Maun 13:35; Arrives CPT 16:20
Today we cross the spectacular Franschhoek Pass into the beautiful Overberg
region of the Western Cape and the town of Caledon. This is the “Golden Triangle” agricultural region with both grain and livestock production. We will visit some of the progressive farmers in this stunningly beautiful farming area.
Today we will experience the splendour of the Cape Peninsula where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We will travel along the coast to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Nearly 8000 hectares of indigenous fynbos (fine bush) cover the reserve and about 1200 plant species have been recorded in the area.
We call into Simons Town and visit a unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. Then head back to Cape Town in the afternoon to our waterfront hotel with a brief city tour on the way to help get your bearings. Dinner tonight on the waterfront.
Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest and arguably most attractive city. Known
affectionately as the ‘Mother City’ it was here that Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutchman, developed a victualling station in 1652 which later became known as Cape Town.
Today we visit Table Mountain and Signal Hill (weather permitting), to enjoy the spectacular views over Table Bay. Table Mountain (1134 m) is arguably the best known mountain in the southern hemisphere.
Free afternoon and evening in Cape Town.
Today we transfer to the airport for our 2 hour direct flight north to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. After clearing customs we will board our coach for a 2 hour drive through the Namibian savannah to Mt Etjo Safari Lodge, located in the heart of the Okonjati Game Reserve. The reserve is home to over 8000 animals and a impressive variety of bird species. A true conservation area, this historic lodge deservedly carries the name “Etjo”, meaning place of refuge. Mount Etjo Safari Lodge is where the most important Declaration towards Namibia's Independence was signed in 1989 (The Mount Etjo Declaration).
South African Airways SA8126 Departs CPT 10:00am; Arrives Windhoek 12:05pm
Mt Etjo is a wildlife conservation area and acts as a rare species sanctuary. The reserve is home to several rare species, including cheetah, sable antelope, roan antelope, nyala, black springbuck, lechwe, mountain reedbuck and black rhino, to name but a few. The three cheetahs that may be watched during feeding at Mount Etjo are fed a whole animal every or every second day, giving them all the nutrition they need. Tracks and animal kills are proof that there are several cheetahs in Okonjati Game Reserve, but they are rarely seen in the wild.
This morning we take a spectacular charter flight over the ‘sea of sand’ to Sossusvlei. Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft Desert National Park), Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan surrounded by huge red sand dunes. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 metres, and provide wonderful photographic images.
We also fly over the Sesriem Canyon, carved by the Tsauchab river. The name Sesriem is Afrikaans and means "six belts" and was so named by the early settlers who had to join six belts to reach buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water.
We land for lunch as Sossusvlei Lodge, then take a spectacular flight over the desolate central Namibian coast where the dunes roll down to the Atlantic and finally to the town of Swakopmund.
Free evening to check out one of the local restaurants.
The Namibian coast is mostly desert, with sand dunes and arid land running right to the sea. Most of the precipitation for the sparse vegetation comes from the coastal mist, which is present on most mornings and afternoons. This morning we have a guided "Little 5" desert tour through the dunes surrounding Swakopmund to learn about the resilient creatures calling one of the more arid environments on the planet, home. We may see geckos, rolling spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes, chameleons and skinks before a scenic drive back through the dunes before lunch and some free time to explore Swakopmund.
Dinner will be at the spectacular Jetty 1905 restaurant, literally on top of the breaking waves of the Atlantic and a great place to watch the sun go down over the ocean.
More activities this morning before we take a short drive to Walvis Bay. We catch an afternoon direct flight to Jo'burg. Transfer to Irene Country Lodge (Pretoria) for overnight.
Irene Country Lodge is a haven of peace and tranquility, surrounded by farms and golf courses.
South African Airways SA1702 Depart 14:45; Arrive 17:00
We travel northeast of Pretoria for a farm visit on a property with sheep, cattle and cropping. We enjoy lunch on the farm.
After lunch we will visit the Voortrekker Monument built in honour of the epic exodus between 1835 and 1854 by disillusioned Boers from the Cape into the interior. This laid the foundation for the borders of present day South Africa. The monument also offers a great insight into the evolution of modern agricultural techniques in southern Africa.
Then it’s back to Pretoria for our farewell dinner.
After lunch at the hotel, there will be time to freshen up before heading to the airport for our afternoon/evening flights back to Australia.