Tag 1: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
ARRIVAL AT VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT
Arrive at Victoria Falls Airport where your Zimbabwean safari experience begins. You will be met by a transfer vehicle for your road transfer to Gorges Lodge on the edge of the Batoka Gorge, 200 metres above the mighty Zambezi River (30 mins).
Gorges Lodge has arguably the most spectacular views in Southern Africa and offers a unique Victoria Falls experience from a peaceful and idyllic base on the edge of the Batoka Gorge.
Spend the afternoon exploring the lodge grounds or sipping refreshments by the pool enjoying the amazing view and then in the evening head off to Dibu Dibu for sundowners and snacks while you watch the lodge's resident pair of black eagles soar only metres away from you (weather permitting).
After the black eagle viewing take a leisurely stroll back to the main lodge where you will be entertained by our team of talented traditional dancers (they would love you to join in!) and then enjoy a tasty 3 course dinner in the main lodge area overlooking the gorge, before retiring to your chalet and falling asleep to the sound of the river rushing below you.
Tag 2: Eastern Hwange National Park
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Enjoy early morning tea or coffee on your private veranda overlooking the gorge followed by a sumptuous breakfast in the main lodge dining area then head into Victoria Falls town where you will be taken on a guided tour of Zimbabwe's foremost attraction - the 'Falls'. “The smoke that thunders” remains one of the most spectacular natural wonders in the world. This will be followed by curio shopping at the craft village.
After visiting the magnificent Falls you will embark on your 2.5 hour road transfer to Dete Railway Station where you will board the Elephant Express for your slow ride down the railway line to Camelthorn Lodge on the south-east Hwange National Park boundary. Lunch and drinks will be served on board.
After disembarking the train you will go on a short game drive inside the national park for sundowners and snacks before heading to Camelthorn.
Camelthorn is situated in a beautiful indigenous forest on the edge of Hwange National Park and the Ngamo Plains, considered among the best game viewing locations in the park. Hwange is famed for its huge herds of elephants (they number upwards of 45,000) but the Ngamo Plains attract a variety of other game including wildebeest, buffalo, kudu, waterbuck and sable too. Predators are regularly spotted, especially lion, jackal and cheetah. Leopards and wild dog are also known to frequent the area, though they are seen less often.
After settling in to your room and freshening up, a tasty 3 course dinner will be served under the lodge’s namesake tree in front of the main dining area followed by coffee, hot chocolate or a night cap around the campfire.
While you are sitting round the camp fire your guide will present you with you 'Kids on Safari' activity booklet that is full of fun games and exercises that you can work through over the duration of your visit and includes activities such as identifying animal tracks, birds and trees in the area as well as lots of interesting facts about cheetah and wild dog, both of which are spotted regularly on game drives.
During your campfire chat, your guide will talk about this part of Hwange National Park and give some interesting facts about the animals you can find in the region and which you will see during your game drives.
Tag 3: Eastern Hwange National Park
Early morning tea or coffee and breakfast at the main lodge before heading to the nearby village and joining some of the local school children on their walk to school (between 3 and 5km). Observe the morning assembly and take a tour of the school, guided by the headmaster.
Spend some time interacting with the students during their lessons and at break time join them for a game of soccer. From here head straight into the park to the underground Look Up hide at Stoffie's Pan where you will enjoy a lunch of cheeseburgers, cooked right there by the chef. Spend some time in the hide overlooking the pan, enjoying the site of the elephant coming to drink and then return to camp for an afternoon siesta. (In the green season guests will go for a game drive in the park and have a picnic lunch at a waterhole.)
In the evening head off for a night drive on the nearby Bomani concession. Your guide will use a filtered spotlight to seek out some of the seldom-seen nocturnal creatures. The light’s red filter lessens the disturbance, creating a unique opportunity to watch the fascinating behaviour of the nocturnal world. Unusual highlights include ant bears, porcupines, genets, springhares, lesser bushbabies and pennant-winged nightjars.
Return to the lodge for a tasty 3 course meal under the stars and after dinner your guide will award a prize for the best coloured in cheetah from your activity book!
Tag 4: Eastern Hwange National Park
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
After a delicious cooked breakfast, head into the park with your guide for a morning game drive and walk to learn more fascinating facts about the variety of animals and birdlife resident in the area. Take your animal and bird check list with you and hold a competition to see who spots the most animals!
Return to the lodge for a tasty lunch underneath the Camelthorn tree and an afternoon siesta. Tea will be served in the main lodge and your guide will teach you how to use a catapult… once you’ve got the hang of it have a competition to see who can hit the most tin cans!
Later in the afternoon a game drive and walk in Hwange National Park’s acacia forests surrounding Ngamo plains, escorted by a fully licensed and experienced guide - who will share his knowledge and love of the bush with you.
Stop at a watering hole to watch the sun go down with refreshments and snacks before heading back to the lodge to freshen up before dinner.
Dinner will be served in the main lodge area. Later, fall asleep to the sounds of the African bush around you.
Tag 5: Western Hwange National Park
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
After tea and coffee and a continental breakfast, head into the park for one last game drive through this magnificent area. On returning to camp, the staff will have a surprise treasure hunt set up in camp for you to enjoy! Once you have collected all your treasures, you will board the Elephant Express again for your journey to Dete Railway Station (2 hours). Cool drinks and a light lunch will be served en route. At Dete, Imvelo game viewing vehicles will be waiting to take you to Nehimba Lodge (2 hours) in the north-west of Hwange National Park. Nehimba sits firmly on the edge of the mopane woodlands associated with the north of the park and the kalahari sandveld of the south and west, and all the diversity of Hwange's fauna and flora is within easy reach. Once at Nehimba, settle in and start to unwind as you take a seat overlooking the tranquil waterhole in front of the lodge and enjoy the rustic African charm that surrounds you.
Relax with sundowners as you watch the game come down to drink in front of the lodge, and the heat starts to subside for the day as the sun dips below the horizon.
A 3-course delectable bush dinner will be served out under the African sky near the lodge waterhole. After dinner, there will be a night drive on offer around the concession to spot the different nocturnal species that are just starting their 'day'.
Tag 6: Western Hwange National Park
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast you will head to Mtoa Ruins for some cultural and historical insight into the area. Mtoa Ruins are approximately a 2-hour drive from camp, and are well worth the journey. These ancient ruins are located on top of a low granite kopje and offer excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Enjoy a packed lunch at this ancient site before a meandering afternoon game drive from waterhole to waterhole back to camp.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the swimming pool and continue working through the fun games in your activity booklet, such as finding words in a crossword puzzle and a quiz about African wild animals.
Tonight will be a traditional Zimbabwean 'braai' (barbecue) dinner which you will be assisting the chef to cook… He will teach you how to make one of Zimbabwe's staple foods - sadza - and you can also assist with cooking your meat over the open fire.
Tag 7: Western Hwange National Park
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Head out with your guide for game drives and walks, exploring this beautiful northern part of Hwange National Park. The north is distinctly different from the southern part in topography, habitats and wildlife. Stop off at the Nehimba Seeps for a mid-morning tea break. The seeps are an ancient source of water once used by the San bushmen, and are still used today by elephant digging for water and minerals.
Return to the lodge for a leisurely lunch and then siesta or perhaps relax by the lodge swimming pool, frequented by Hwange's thirsty herds during the dry season. Carry on colouring and answering quizzes in your activity book and see if you can learn all the Latin names for the trees listed, and maybe even test your guide!
Later in the afternoon, head out on a game drive within the park, ending with cool refreshments and canapés at sunset over one of the area’s famed waterholes.
Back at camp our guests can enjoy a relaxing bath or shower to freshen up before a 3-course dinner in the main lodge area followed by an entertaining and informative talk and discussion with your guide around the campfire.
Tag 8: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK - ZAMBEZI SANDS RIVER CAMP
After a last walk in the Hwange wilderness, enjoy a hearty breakfast and then embark on your road transfer to Zambezi Sands (5 hours). During your drive out the park you will pass by the magnificent Mandavu Dam where you will stop to enjoy a mid-morning tea break. Mandavu Dam is situated in a scenic hilly spot only 15 kilometres from Sinamatella Camp and is a wonderful location for both bird watching and game viewing. Zambezi Sands is built on the banks of the thundering wild waters of the Zambezi River, in western Zambezi National Park, and our experienced guides will take great pleasure in introducing you to the camp’s pristine and tranquil surroundings.
Settle into your luxury tent and then relax on an evening sundowner drift near camp watching the game come down to drink and the unsurpassed beauty of the African sunset.
Later enjoy a superb 3 course meal on the main lodge deck while listening to the Siansimba rapids in front of the lodge. After dinner, while you sit around the fire, our manager John or your guide will discuss some of the challenges and complexities of managing and controlling any poaching in the area.
Tag 9: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
ZAMBEZI SANDS RIVER CAMP
Start your day early with tea or coffee on your private deck and then join a morning anti-poaching patrol near camp. Return to camp for a delicious brunch on the deck and then enjoy a relaxing few hours by your private splash pool.
After tea in the main lodge, try some fishing from the banks of the river near the lodge - the Zambezi is home to the fierce and powerful tiger fish and many other species.
Later enjoy your 3 course dinner in the main lodge area in the heart of the African bush.
Tag 10: Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
ZAMBEZI SANDS RIVER CAMP
Enjoy early morning tea or coffee on your private deck overlooking the river followed by a sumptuous breakfast in the main lodge before heading to the canoe launch site for a guided canoeing expedition down the mighty Zambezi River. We use stable, inflatable 2 man rubber canoes which are easy to manage. Some shallow rapids provide excitement without being dangerous! Stop off at one of our picturesque picnic spots along the way for a delicious packed lunch before a slow paddle back to the lodge.
Once back in camp relax for an hour or two in your private splash pool watching the game and birdlife on the river’s edge. Later in the afternoon head out on a game drive within the park, stopping for evening drinks and nibbles on the river's edge to watch the sunset one last time.
Back at the lodge, freshen up before enjoying a 3 course al fresco dinner.
Tag 11: Ende der Reise
ZAMBEZI SANDS RIVER CAMP - VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT
After morning tea or coffee on your private deck, explore the park one more time on foot, taking a guided early morning walk ending with a farewell bush breakfast along the river. On returning to the lodge your guide will award you your 'Kids on Safari' achievement certificate to take home and frame!
Pack up and prepare for a final road transfer back to Victoria Falls Airport (1.5 hours) and your departing flight.