Southern African Magic

Tour Cost ($AUD): $15,550.00

Tour Dates: 25 August 2017 - 12 September 2017

Single Supplement ($AUD): $3,515.00

Tour Duration: 19 days

An African safari is undoubtedly an experience not to be missed and our 19-day tour will take you to Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa to see exquisite wildlife, and some of nature’s most magnificent scenery.

Our tour begins in Zimbabwe with a three-night stay at Hwange National Park, home to 30,000 elephants as well as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, leopards and lions. A short drive then takes us to one of the seven natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls – the largest curtain of falling water on earth. It’s then a short hop to Botswana and Chobe National Park, where we stay for two nights before heading for the magical land of the Okavango Delta. Here we explore a labyrinth of water channels, rich in amazing and diverse wildlife. Finally, we head to the vibrant city of Cape Town, which nestles beneath the great Table Mountain. This is an extraordinary tour that will excite anyone who loves nature and wildlife.

Tour Fitness Level: Active

Zimbabwe

  • Three-night stay at The Hide, our first-class resort in Hwange National Park
  • View animals at close range from a fully-enclosed hide
  • Three-night stay at one of Africa’s great colonial properties – the Victoria Falls Hotel
  • Take an exhilarating helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls
  • Ride an elephant at Wild Horizons
    Enjoy an exclusive dinner by a waterhole while elephants bathe
  • See the Zambezi River at sunset on our exclusive sundowner cruise

Botswana

  • Two-night stay at the beautiful Chobe Marina Lodge
  • Enjoy an afternoon sunset cruise on the tranquil Chobe River where we see elephants bathing in the water
  • See the spectacular animals and exotic birdlife of the Okavango Delta
  • See kudu, impala, lions and leopards on a game drive in open 4WD vehicles
  • Explore the grassy islands and watery channels of the Okavango Delta in a dug-out canoe or ‘mokoro’
  • Three-night stay on the edge of the magnificent Moremi Wildlife Reserve in the Okavango Delta

South Africa

  • Full day tour to the sprawling estates and fertile valleys of South Africa’s wine region
  • Enjoy a cable car ride up majestic Table Mountain
  • Take a scenic drive along the Atlantic seaboard to the Cape of Good Hope
  • Visit the settlement of Simon’s Town, well-known for its whales, penguins and seals

Inclusions

  • All flights between Australia and South Africa (inc. domestic from your preferred capital city)
  • All flights within Africa
  • All ticketable air taxes (may be subject to change)
  • All accommodation (twin share)
  • All ground transport in Africa
  • Meals as specified
  • Travel Directors’ tour leader throughout
  • Expert local guides
  • All entrance fees in specified sightseeing
  • Visas and courier fees
  • All tips and gratuities

Please note that whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the above pricing, currency fluctuations beyond our control can affect final tour costs. A booking form is to be completed by all passengers, and a non-refundable deposit of AUD $3,000 paid at the time of booking. All escorted tours are based on a minimum group size of 10 people travelling.

25/08/2017 Australia – Johannesburg

Fly from your preferred capital city to Perth to connect with our flight to Johannesburg

Depart Perth South African Airways 281, 23.50

26/08/2017 Johannesburg – Victoria Falls (LD)

Arrive Johannesburg 05.35

Depart Johannesburg South African Air SA 40, 10.50

Arrive Victoria Falls 12.35

On arrival we will transfer to our accommodation for our overnight stay

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Victoria Falls

27/08/2017 Victoria Falls – Hwange National Park (BLD)

This morning we transfer to Hwange National Park, driving past villages teeming with African life. Our accommodation for the next three nights is at The Hide, a wonderful resort with its own waterhole where elephants, giraffes and zebras come to drink. At the park’s entrance we transfer to open 4WD vehicles for our drive to The Hide, which is within Hwange National Park itself.

The Hide

Hwange National Park

28/08/2017 Hwange National Park (BLD)

Hwange National Park is famous for its large numbers of elephants – in excess of 30,000 – plus buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, sable, eland, impala, baboons, lions, the occasional leopard and exotic birdlife.

29/08/2017 Hwange National Park (BLD)

Late-night game viewing can be just as exciting as early-morning game drives, and there will be opportunities for late-night drives by spotlight to see nocturnal small cats and mammals. In addition, our lodge has two fully enclosed ‘hides’ to view animals from just a few metres away; you can almost reach out and touch them!

30/08/2017 Hwange – Victoria Falls (BLD)

Victoria Falls Hotel is one of the great colonial properties in Africa. Built in 1905, it still retains much of its Edwardian charm. Relax in the comfort of the Bulawayo Room or on the terrace overlooking the famous bridge and the falls themselves. The Victoria Falls are certainly one of the wonders of the world and we have the chance to view them by air and on foot. At nearly two-kms wide and 100m deep, they form the largest curtain of falling water in the world.

Victoria Falls Hotel

Victoria Falls

31/08/2017 Victoria Falls (BLD)

After breakfast we head out to Wild Horizons where we enjoy an elephant-back safari. Sitting comfortably on the back of nature’s true ‘king of the beasts’ we explore the majestic grasslands of Victoria Falls National Park and the Masuwe River, which plunges 120m into the Zambezi River below. In the evening we head out onto the Zambezi for a relaxing and picturesque sundowner cruise.

01/09/2017 Victoria Falls (BLD)

Today is at leisure at Victoria Falls. A ten-minute walk brings us to the fascinating town where we can explore the huge markets offering a wonderful array of local produce as well as souvenirs.

02/09/2017 Victoria Falls – Chobe National Park (BLD)

This morning we travel by road to the fantastic Chobe National Park. Covering an area of 11,000 sq km, the park is renowned for its big game viewing by land and by boat on the Chobe River. Chobe is famous for its diverse concentration of wildlife including elephant, hippo, crocodile and lion. After lunch we embark on an afternoon sunset cruise on the tranquil Chobe River where we see elephants bathing in the water. This place is also home to the beautiful malachite kingfisher.

Chobe Marina Lodge

Chobe National Park

03/09/2017 Chobe National Park (BLD)

Another spectacular day in Africa begins with an early-morning game drive to try to find the lions and leopards after their overnight activity. Kudu, impala, puku and hippos will be plentiful as we drive along the river foreshore. In the afternoon we have the choice of another delightful river cruise or a game drive in our open 4WD vehicles.

04/09/2017 Chobe – Xakanaxa (BLD)

This morning we board a private plane for the short flight to the Xakanaxa strip in the Okavango Delta. Xakanaxa is a wonderful camp on the banks of the River Khwai, on the edge of the magnificent Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Every tent has private facilities and its own terrace overlooking the water. Our afternoon activity introduces us to a new environment: water based, with lots of lakes, birds and water antelope, such as reed buck and red lechwe.

Xakanaxa Lodge

Okavango Delta

05/09/2017 Xakanaxa (BLD)

We start the day with an early-morning game drive in the park. This afternoon our experienced ‘polers’ guide us through the maze of watery channels by mokoro (dug-out canoe) and on foot we explore the grassy islands, home to many animals. Each summer the rains in Angola flood the Okavango, forming an immense fan-shaped inland delta of lagoons and labyrinthine channels, palm-graced islands and papyrus beds. The annual floods into the Okavango begin between January and March, a gentle rather than spectacular process; the waters take several months to reach their southern extremity.

06/09/2017 Xakanaxa (BLD)

We have another magical day of game viewing in the Okavango Delta or, if we prefer, a day relaxing and taking in the surroundings of our exquisite camp.

07/09/2017 Xakanaxa – Cape Town (BLD)

This morning is at leisure until our flight to Cape Town via Johannesburg.

Depart Maun South African Air SA  8602, 13.35

Arrive Capetown 16.10

On arrival in Cape Town we transfer to our hotel.

Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel

Cape Town

08/09/2017 Cape Town (BLD)

Affectionately known as the Mother City, Cape Town is South Africa’s oldest city. It is noted for its waterfronts, trendy restaurants and sun-soaked, sandy beaches. Its mix of races – African, European and Asian – makes it one of the most vibrant cities in the world. This morning we travel by cable car to the top of majestic Table Mountain, which dominates the city and affords spectacular views from the summit. In the afternoon we continue exploring this eclectic city.

09/09/2017 Cape Town (BLD)

This morning we leave for a full-day tour of the Cape Peninsula, a journey through incomparable scenery. We drive along the Atlantic seaboard, via Hout Bay and on to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and its scenic viewing point. We also visit Simon’s Town, a settlement rich in history, character and atmosphere. This small town is well known for its marine life including whales, penguins and seals.

10/09/2017 Cape Town (BLD)

Today we explore South Africa’s fertile valleys, world-famous for producing fine wines. The area is also a treasury of rustic beauty and sprawling estates shaded by giant oak trees.

11/09/2017 Cape Town – Johannesburg – Perth (B)

This morning is at leisure until our transfer to the airport for our homeward journey.

Depart Cape Town South African Air SA 352, 15.50

Arrive Johannesburg 17.45

Depart Johannesburg South African Air, SA 280, 21.15

12/09/2017 Arrive Australia

Arrive Perth 12.20

On arrival in Perth we connect to our chosen Australian city.

If I am coming from the East Coast or elsewhere in Australia, can I break my journey in Perth?

We find many of our guests choose to do this. Just let our consultants know if you want to take up this option and we will make the booking on your behalf at a hotel in Perth.

How long is the flight from Perth to Johannesburg?

Flying time from Perth to Johannesburg is 11 hours.

Is personal security a problem on this tour?

Security is not a big problem. However in Cape Town and Victoria Falls we remind our guests of the need to take sensible precautions. These include not wearing ostentatious jewellery, not showing or counting money in public, and not going to certain areas at night. Basically it’s a case of using common sense, particularly in large cities.

What kind of clothing should I take for game drives?

Comfortable clothing in earthy colours is best. Layering is recommended as it can be quite cool on early morning game drives.

What is the luggage weight limit on this tour?

Luggage must be kept to 15kg or less for this tour. This is due to the strict enforcement of the luggage limits on our flight by private plane to the Okavango Delta. For safety reasons, these small planes cannot exceed weight limits.

How much spending money do I need for the entire trip?

Because almost everything is included, we would suggest an amount of USD $500 per person as being ample for the whole journey.

Are credit cards acceptable?

Credit cards and ATMs are available in most major cities for purchases and cash withdrawals. However it is not recommended to use credit cards as the main source of funds.

Do I need vaccinations for this journey?

Tetanus should always be up to date and medication for malaria prevention is highly recommended. Insect repellent is essential. You should also seek advice from your doctor.

Is the water safe to drink en-route and what is the general standard of hygiene?

We err on the side of caution on all of our tours and advise travellers to drink only bottled water. This is easy to obtain everywhere. The standard of hygiene in Southern Africa is surprisingly high along the entire route.

What is the climate like at the time we travel?

The climate varies greatly along the route, depending on the time of year. The weather should be mild most of the time; however we would expect higher temperatures in Victoria Falls and Botswana.

If I want to travel to Africa before or after the group departs is this possible?

It is possible, with reasonable notice, to fly to Johannesburg ahead of the group or stay on after the group has departed.

Do I need visas for Southern Africa?

An Australian passport holder will need a visa for Zimbabwe only. This is obtained on arrival and is included in the tour cost.

A lot of companies have many expensive optional extras on their tours. Do you?

We don’t believe in a lot of expensive ‘optional tours’. Our itineraries are designed to make the best possible use of time and to include all the must-see sights, plus additional surprises. Therefore practically everything is included in the tour cost.

What is the standard of hotels like on this tour?

The hotels on this trip are all of a high standard, between 4 and 5-star and are well-located for our activities.

What currency should I take and are travellers cheques a good idea?

The currency for this journey is US dollars. They should be in low denominations, clean and undamaged. We do not recommend travellers cheques in Africa as it can be very difficult and time-consuming to change them.

Are internet facilities available en-route?

Not generally. However, in Cape Town there are many internet cafes located near to the hotel.

Do mobile telephones work?

Telstra and Optus mobiles work throughout the entire journey except in Hwange National Park and the Okavango Delta. You will need to ensure you have global roaming and a tri-band phone. Contact your provider for further details.

How much should we tip the guides and porters?

There is no need to tip guides or porters as this is included in the tour cost.

Listed below is a selection of books which you may wish to read prior to, or during, your journey.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun

Peter Godwin

The Power of One

Bryce Courtney

Long Walk to Freedom

Nelson Mandela

A Wild Life

Dick Pitman

The Elephants and I

Sharon Pincott

African Dawn

Tony Park