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.
Depart on South African flights for Johannesburg. Note there is the option of taking a direct Qantas flight from Sydney, but this would involve an overnight accommodation in Pretoria/Johannesburg.
There is also the option of leaving Australia a day earlier for an extra night's rest before the tour starts.
Early morning arrival into Johannesburg and connect with flight to Victoria Falls. Full afternoon of activities and sight-seeing including an evening dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi River.
Travel into Zambia to visit a pioneering farming operation and get another view of the falls. Then return to the Zimbabwe side of the amazing Zambezi River.
Traditional Boma dinner.
Transfer to airport for a short flight to National Park. 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. Our 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.
Full day of game drives in Hwange. Robins Camp is recently renovated and privatised iconic Zimbabwe safari destination. 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.
This morning we drive to Kasane 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.
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.
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.
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 Walvis Bay, Namibia. 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 afternoon we have a guided "Little 5" desert tour through the dunes surrounding Swakopmund (just to the north of Walvis Bay) 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 for overnight in Swakopmund.
This morning we will 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. On the return flight, we travel up the spectacular and desolate coast of central Namibia. Free evening.
We board our charter coach this morning and head inland through challenging farming country and onto the Erindi Private Game Reserve.
Erindi covers over 70,000 hectares and is widely acclaimed as Namibia’s best private game reserve and is ‘well-stocked’ with the ‘Big 5’ – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – as well as many other species of game. In the 1970s and 1980s Erindi was an over-stocked cattle farm causing severe damage to the natural vegetation. Owners Gert Joubert and his nephew Paul, phased out cattle farming entirely and re-introduced numerous species that once occurred naturally in the area. In 2007, the reserve was transformed into a nature conservation venture.
Over the years Erindi has successfully transitioned into a unique, best-practice eco tourism and conservation venture – constantly implementing and monitoring programs across all aspects of the land rehabilitation process.
We enjoy a game drive this afternoon.
Today we will do two game drives and spend the rest of the day exploring this wonderful reserve. The Lodge is right next to a waterhole and the verandah provides some great wildlife viewing at any time.
More activities this morning before boarding our coach and travelling south to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. 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.
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 world-famous Cullinan diamond mine and 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.