Summer: (Sept-April) Frequent rain and thunderstorms; days and nights are very hot, but cooling off after rain spells.
Winter: (May-July) Dry and cold days and nights especially in the early hours of the morning.
Botswana is Greenwich Mean Time GMT +2 hours.
Upon arrival, proceed through immigration and baggage claims and customs. You can also exchange money at this time at the bank windows located in the airport. Big Five personnel will assist you with your baggage and escort you to your hotel & assist with check-in formalities.
Pula (P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
“When I was asked to create an itinerary for this collection, my mind went immediately to Zambia and Botswana. You do have limited opportunity to ride quad bikes at one of the camps, but I am passionate about journeys that you take on foot. It is such an entirely different experience than you have using even the most eco-sensitive safari vehicle. Your entire focus changes when you are on the ground, face to face with the African bushveld, since what you see depends entirely on how far you are willing to go. I admit that I want to have my cake and eat it, too, so this itinerary features wonderfully comfortable camps each night. I think this is as close to the fabled safaris of old as you can have today. And, it is the essence of sustainable travel – leave nothing behind but your footprints.” Ashish Sanghrajka, President
Day 1: Arrive Lusaka, Zambia / South Luangwa National Park
On arrival at Lusaka Airport, check-in for your scheduled air charter flight to Mfuwe on the edge of South Luangwa National Park. On arrival at Mfuwe Airport you will be collected by a representative from your lodge for your one hour road transfer to Nkwali Camp. Drive through villages, agricultural lands and bush. At the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley lies the South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa's premier wildlife sanctuaries. It's primeval forest and lush savanna stretch for hundreds of miles, encompassing the Luangwa River basin, its adjacent highlands and a mosaic of different habitats. The Luangwa River meanders through the luxuriant valley, supporting thousands of hippo and crocodile and sustaining the park. South Luangwa has one of the greatest game concentrations in Africa. Elephant, a wide variety of antelope, buffalo, kudu, zebra, Thornycroft's giraffe and wildebeest occur in great numbers, as well as over 400 bird species. Lion, wild dog and hyena are also common and the park is famed for its excellent leopard sightings. The Luangwa experience differs with the seasons. In the dry winter months from June to September you can stay at small seasonal safari camps in glorious seclusion. The more sophisticated lodges, close to the main gate at Mfuwe Bridge remain open longer. Many visitors spend a couple of nights in the south, where animals are used to vehicles before heading into the wilderness. Delightful camps occupy prime sites on ancient oxbow lakes, amidst shady ebony groves, and offer day and night game drives in open vehicles. The standard of guiding is exceptionally good - walking safaris were pioneered in Luangwa and it still sets the pace. Expert guides lead you through the bush, giving you the opportunity to observe the game at close quarters and gain fascinating insights into the ways of the wild. Nkwali Camp is built on private land overlooking the park on the banks of the Luangwa River. This small camp of six thatched en suite chalets has an unusual bar encircling an enormous ebony tree and a dining room overlooking the lagoon. Elephants can often be seen crossing the river from the bar, or come to the waterhole near the thatched dining room. The chalets are cool and spacious, overlooking the river, and have an en suite, semi-open bathroom with flush loo and double shower. The family suite offers two bedrooms both en suite, and the honeymoon suite has a separate sitting room. There's a small swimming pool. The camp is open all year round and access to the park for most of the season is by boat or pontoon. Activities include walking, day and night drives and visits to the local village and school of Kawaza. The area is famous for leopard and giraffe sightings. Nkwali Camp – Cottage (B,L,D)
Important Note: The luggage allowance is strictly 15kg per person in soft squashable bags. Check-in for the flight is one hour prior to departure and the counters close 30 minutes prior to departure.
Day 2: South Luangwa National Park
This morning, you head north to Tena Tena Camp. Enjoy some informal game viewing during the roughly 2½ hour drive. On arrival, enjoy lunch followed by some time to relax before the afternoon game drive. The camp boasts a stunning location on a remote wooded bend of the Luangwa River within the Nsefu Sector of the National Park. "Tena Tena …is altogether beyond superlatives, and must be one of the best safari camps in the whole of Africa," stated The Times of London. A grove of mahogany trees shade the five large custom-made tents (under thatch) with en suite open air bathrooms. A honeymoon suite features a separate sitting and private dining area. From the dining room and bar guests can watch elephant, hippo and antelope on the river banks. Tena Tena Camp – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 3: South Luangwa National Park
Game viewing takes place either on foot or on day and night drives. Nearby, at a spectacular lagoon, you could easily spend the whole morning sitting quietly and watching the game come down to feed and drink. Being remote and so small, the camp’s guests have these scenes to themselves. Tena Tena Camp – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 4: South Luangwa National Park
After an early breakfast, head north to start your walking mobile safari, which has become known as THE wilderness experience of the South Luangwa. Your drive is through remote parts of the park. You arrive in camp for lunch around mid day. The camp is already set up for your arrival with well-equipped walk-in tents. The shower is under a tree and the toilet is a long drop. Enjoy a relaxing siesta after lunch, before tea and a walk around camp in the afternoon. Enjoy sundowners and dinner under the stars! Luangwa Bush Camping - Tent (B,L,D)
Day 5: South Luangwa National Park
Up at sunrise, you set out for the morning walk. The area is remote and wild, the terrain and habitats varied, and the game shy and unused to people. You will experience and learn about life in the bush, from ants to buffalo, from a bird’s nest to tracking lion. The mobile camp is moved to the second camp site, and lunch is waiting for you when you arrive in late morning. After some time to rest, you take an afternoon walk. All walks are led by an experienced ranger and accompanied by an armed game scout. Luangwa Bush Camping - Tent (B,L,D)
Day 6: South Luangwa National Park
After an early breakfast, you are will be transferred to Nsefu Camp. You arrive for lunch and have time to rest or explore the camp before the afternoon and evening game drives. Nsefu Camp lies on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River in the exclusive Nsefu section in the northern part of the South Luangwa National Park, and is run by noted Robin Pope Safaris. The Nsefu Sector is a phenomenal area for game. The view of the river is superb and includes a terraced area where game grazes during the day. Nsefu was among the first camps in the park, but the six spacious rondavels have recently been skillfully remodeled with a semi-open, spacious en suite bathroom/dressing rooms added and large windows overlook a wooden veranda with superb river views. The bar is beside a huge dormant termite mound and overlooks a waterhole that draws game, especially leopard at night. Game viewing takes place on foot or on day and night drives while visits to the local village and school of Kawaza are also available. Nsefu Camp – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 7: South Luangwa National Park
Today is a chance to drive or walk through the ebony groves. Or you may decide this is an ideal day to explore the Nsefu Sector of the park, depending on season, possibly on extended day-long game drives. Nsefu Camp – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 8: South Luangwa National Park / Livingstone
This morning you will be transferred back to Mfuwe Airport for your scheduled charter flight to Lusaka, and then on to Livingstone. The luggage allowance is 15kg per person in soft squashable bags. The overall travel time is approx 3 hours depending on the aircraft utilized and the stopover time in Lusaka. On arrival at Livingstone airport, you are met and taken to a water taxi for the ride directly to the Royal Livingstone Hotel jetty, where staff are waiting for you. The Royal Livingstone Hotel is an elegant 5-star hotel in an unrivalled setting overlooking the Victoria Falls. The 173 rooms, with their hand-carved mahogany furniture, have an African feel with eastern overtones. All have a balcony or patio with views of the mature acacia trees, lawns and river. The hotel has a superb restaurant, large pool, pool bar and small casino. A splendid large wooden deck affords sweeping views of the falls, ideal for cocktails at sunset. As the hotel is actually in the Zambezi National Park, park fees are included so you can visit the falls as much as you would like during your stay. There are a range of excursions available including sunset boat cruises, local village tours, game drives, helicopter flips and various adventure options. Massages can either be enjoyed outside with a view over the river, or in the privacy of your room. The Royal Livingstone Hotel – Luxury Room (B)
Day 9: Livingstone
This morning, you enjoy a private tour of Victoria Falls on a walk in the natural rainforest to the edge of the falls. A knowledgeable local guide accompanies you. The falls are one of the most spectacular natural sights in the world. Next, you head to Chief Mukuni's village, founded in the 13th century. It is home to the Leya people, who you meet. The village has a population of 7,000, a clinic, basic school and boreholes for drinking water. Visitors see how huts are built and decorated, meet residents and see the locals at work creating curios. Please realize this is a working village and not one built as an example for tourists, so it is an authentic glimpse of life in an African village today. You return to the hotel for lunch before enjoying an afternoon excursion to Livingstone Island. Livingstone Island lies perched right on the very edge of Victoria Falls in the midst of this thundering mass of water. Dr Livingstone first viewed the Mosi-oa-Tunya ('the Smoke That Thunders') from this island. He was paddled in a dugout canoe but today visitors are picked up from the Royal Livingstone jetty and a skilled skipper re-traces Livingstone's approach to the island (only during low water season, usually mid-July to the end of January). A guide leads you on a tour of the island, including its long history. In ancient times, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was used as a sacrificial site. You can take photos of the falls from this extraordinary angle, and the very intrepid can even take a heart-stopping peek over the island's edge to the churning mass below. After the tour, you can relax and enjoy afternoon tea with a view of the falls. The Royal Livingstone Hotel – Luxury Room (B)
Day 10: Livingstone
Enjoy a full day on the Zambezi River, rafting with an experienced guide through some of the most exciting rapids in the world, and then drifting between rapids through breathtaking gorge scenery. Whitewater rafting on the Zambezi is divided into 'high water' and 'low water' seasons. Low whitewater rafting runs from about mid-July to the end of January, with the best months usually August and September. A full-day whitewater rafting trip includes 23 rapids with a stop for a picnic lunch of cold meats and salads. An advantage of the full-day rafting is that you don't have to climb out of the gorge at the end of the day; instead, you enjoy the new water lift at the end. (If you take the half day option you have to hike out.) The activity includes return transfers from your hotel to the meeting point at the Waterfront where you have breakfast and a safety talk prior to setting off on the river. The Royal Livingstone Hotel – Luxury Room (B,L)
Important Note: No children under 15 years of age. This is an adventurous activity with an element of risk and is suitable only for those of reasonable fitness.
Day 11: Livingstone / Kasane, Botswana / Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Today you will be transferred across the Botswana border to Kasane Airport to board your light charter flight to Tsigaro in the Kalahari. On arrival you are met and transferred to Jack’s camp by 4x4 vehicle. Please note that luggage allowance is strictly 20kg per person in soft squashy bags including all hand luggage such as camera equipment. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the legacy of a great lake, larger than Lake Victoria, which once covered most of Southern Botswana about two million years ago. Vast shallow white pans create an extraordinary landscape. Jack's Camp is an authentic evocation of a classic 1940's safari camp on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. This romantic camp is about as remote as you can get. Ten tents, complete with Persian carpets, canvas washbasins, paraffin lamps, even a wind-up gramophone, are idyllically set on a tree-and palm-covered island in the vast golden grasslands. En suite facilities offer indoor and outdoor showers and flush toilets. The tents are well spaced for privacy and each has a covered porch with an expansive view across the pans. Dining is in the mess tent, or al fresco under the stars, while the tea tent with cushions and a wind-up gramophone is ideal for afternoon tea. This stylish camp offers a traditional safari experience with a holistic understanding of Botswana's wildlife, geology, geography and its people, both past and present. In the dry winter months all-purpose ATV vehicles (quad-bikes) are available, allowing guests to visit the saltpans. (This activity takes place every third day so a three night stay is recommended.) Jack's Camp – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Days 12 & 13: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
At the safari camps you gain a unique appreciation of the Kalahari and an insight into the traditions and culture of the nomadic Bushmen. Mornings spent viewing the meerkats, visiting the majestic baobab trees used as camp sites by Livingstone. Walks with Bushman trackers are also on offer. With them you learn about survival and tracking techniques and perhaps observe the desert-adapted wildlife of gemsbok, suricate and the rare brown hyena. Jack's Camp – Standard Tent (B,L,D)
Day 14: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans / Maun / Johannesburg
You are met and transferred by light charter flight from Tsigaro to Maun Airport. Here you board your scheduled flight to South Africa. On arrival in Johannesburg you are met and escorted to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is free for your own activities. The Westcliff (B)
Day 15: Johannesburg / Depart
Today you are transferred to the airport for your departing flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From $14350
Internal Airfare (subject to change until ticketed): $350