A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Days 1 - 3
Resting on the southern banks of the Zambezi River at the western end of the eponymous falls, this popular tourist town is compact enough to walk around and makes an ideal base for travellers exploring the seventh wonder of the world, the unfathomably vast Victoria Falls. About two-thirds of the falls can be viewed from the Zimbabwean side and, while the falls are undoubtedly the star attraction, the area provides both adventure seekers and sightseers with plenty of opportunities to warrant a longer stay. Popular activities include scenic flights over the falls in helicopters or microlights, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, white-water rafting (seasonal), and day trips to Chobe National Park. The town itself offers some excellent accommodation and restaurant options as well as an eclectic variety of African curios and authentic art sold by friendly Zimbabwean locals who are wonderfully welcoming and eager to help you enjoy your stay.
Situated in the southern reaches of Africa, Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas characterised by deep lagoons, wetlands, lush palms, rugged hills and desert plains scattered with scrubland. The country’s primary tourist drawcard is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari Desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. These natural wonders provide a tranquil haven for an abundance of African wildlife to thrive. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains, which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills, where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.
Chobe River Front
Days 3 - 5
The Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park, renowned for its diverse and abundant game viewing opportunities. This section of the park is best known for its dense concentration of wildlife including elephant and hippo populations, but the waters attract all manner of game including large herds of buffalo and the lions that prey on them. A visit to this area guarantees close encounters with an array of African wildlife. Visitors can look forward to some exciting activities such as: driving along the game-dotted river banks in a 4WD; cruising along the river in a motorboat, spotting rare birdlife and for a unique, luxury safari experience, hire a houseboat.
Days 5 - 7
Botswana’s Khwai Conservancy lies along the northern boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve. This is an unfenced boundary allowing wildlife to move freely between the woodlands in the wet season when water is plentiful, and back to permanent rivers and lagoons in the dry season. The Khwai area offers the same wildlife experience as the reserve with the added advantage of being a private concession which means the ability to do walking safaris and night drives. Visit the Khwai village and take part in eco-tourism and cultural activities. Species in the conservancy include lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, zebra, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe, eland, sable, hippo, hyena and an array of nocturnal species. The area is also home to the relatively rare Roan and Sable Antelope.