Best of South Africa & Botswana: Luxury African Safari, Victoria Falls, Cape Town, & Winelands

Leapords are one of Africa's big five game animals.
A 14 day trip to Botswana, South Africa & Zambia 
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This 2-week adventure captures the best that Southern Africa has to offer in one amazingly luxurious package. From the natural beauty of Cape Town with its white beaches, dramatic mountains and picturesque wine country, you travel to the iconic Victoria Falls in Zambia before embarking on a wildlife experience like no other, visiting three luxury lodges in Northern Botswana.

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General Information

Photos
Leopard cub and mommy
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

South Africa, Zambia, Botswana

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Cape Town

Arriving at Cape Town International Airport, you are met by a representative and driven to the Cape Grace Hotel. This grand establishment sits on its own private quay in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a lively and bustling port lined with interesting shops, bars and fabulous restaurants. The hotel draws on the rich cultural history of the Cape and is elegantly appointed in the colonial manner with oak paneling, glistening chandeliers and historic prints on the walls. 

Day 2: Tour the Cape Peninsula

We collect you in the morning for a tour of the Cape Peninsula. The drive takes you past the “Cape Town Riviera” of Camp’s Bay with its beautiful beach and promenade lined with cafes, along the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive, past quaint little seaside villages and into the rugged beauty of Cape Point Nature Reserve. The landscape is dominated by fynbos, the unique flora that make up the Cape Floral Kingdom, which are found nowhere else in the world. Keep an eye out for antelope and birds, and beware of the baboons that slyly gaze in your direction! Take a walk along the cliff paths to the lighthouse at Cape Point, and imagine you can see the Indian and Atlantic Oceans mingling in the deep waters far below. 

Visit Boulders Beach to see the African penguin colony, before continuing to the naval village of Simon’s Town for lunch overlooking the harbor. Explore the nooks and crannies of the town, steeped in seafaring history before making your leisurely way back to Cape Town. Passing by the tiny fishing harbor at Kalk Bay with its colorful boats and fishermen selling their catch, you continue along Muizenberg, where surfers ride the waves along the pristine beach. 

Day 3: Visit the Winelands

The wine making tradition in the Cape goes back hundreds of years, and there are exceptional vintages and varietals to enjoy. Set in a spectacularly scenic landscape of rearing mountains and sea views, the wine country is reminiscent of Provence, with an African twist. Beautifully gabled Cape Dutch buildings characterize the older estates, set in rolling vineyards on mountain slopes. Visit several estates for tastings of their finest offerings, and stop for lunch at one of them. Enjoy a delicious, indulgent meal in a setting that will take your breath away- a blend of ocean, mountains and vineyards that is truly unique. 

Day 4: A Shark Experience and Table Mountain

We collect you in the morning for the drive to False Bay, where the famous Seal Island attracts Great White Sharks in large numbers. Join an expedition to witness the amazing predation activity of these monsters of the deep as they launch themselves out of the water in pursuit of the fleeing seals. False Bay is also home to a large variety of other marine life, so keep your eyes peeled for whales, dolphins and seabirds along the way. 

Enjoy a delicious seafood lunch at Harbour House in Kalk Bay, gazing out over the ocean, before heading back to Cape Town, to ascend the famous Table Mountain. The cable car to the top of the mountain rotates 360 degrees as you ascend, offering incredible views of the city below. Arriving at the top, there are networks of paths to wander, with viewpoints dotted along the way. From here you can see Lion’s Head, Robben Island, the distant mountains of the wine country and all the way to Cape Point in a series of breathtaking vistas. 

Days 5: The Mighty Zambezi

Today you catch a flight from Cape Town to Livingstone, Zambia, near the world-famous Victoria Falls. A guide will meet you at the airport and take you on the short drive upstream to Tongabezi Lodge. 

Tongabezi Lodge perches on the bank of the mighty Zambezi River, in a grove of towering trees. Luxurious and elegant in a safari camp style, the lodge has an undeniable romance and sense of adventure. From your suite you can hear the river gurgling as it flows past, the shriek of an African fish eagle in the trees above, and the splashing and honking of hippos in the water. 

Here you can enjoy an afternoon cruise on the river, where you sip on a cocktail while watching animals come down to drink in the warm glow of sunset light. Alternatively, take on the legendary Tigerfish with rod and reel: this famous fighting fish spends as much time in the air when hooked as it does in the water! 

When you return to the lodge in the evening, you will find it bathed in soft lantern light, welcoming you home from your adventures. A sumptuous dinner awaits you on the terrace overlooking the river, or in the romance and privacy of your suite. 

Day 6: The Smoke That Thunders

The Victoria Falls are one of the most impressive sights on earth. Known to local tribes as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, this is where the Zambezi River plunges over a mile-wide curtain into a huge crack in the earths crust into a boiling gorge below. The spray thrown up from the falls is visible for miles around, and the thundering of millions of gallons of water going over the lip generates a rumble that shakes the ground. If water levels permit, you can stand at the edge of this cauldron of energy on Livingstone’s Island, feeling the tremendous power of nature surrounding you. 

After a visit to the Falls, Livingstone has a host of other attractions. Known as the adrenaline capital of Africa, you can go white water rafting the legendary rapids, take a helicopter or microlight flight over the falls, bungee jump over the gorge, (330 feet!), take an elephant back safari; the list goes on and on. 

Day 7: Fly to the Selinda Reserve

After breakfast, you leave Tongabezi for the short flight to the Selinda Reserve in Botswana. Upon landing, your safari tour of Botswana begins.  Your guide will take you on a short game drive through the mopane woodlands to Zarafa Camp on the edge of Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savuti Channel. Designed to leave as light a footprint as possible without compromising on luxury or comfort, Zarafa harkens back to the glory days of safari while including modern touches. With only four elegantly appointed and enormous tented suites, attentive service and care are guaranteed.  After a warm welcome from the staff, you have time to settle into your suite and admire the view from your private veranda, possibly even spot an elephant or two wandering by. 

In the late afternoon, English high tea is served in the lounge area, consisting of a mouth-watering selection of sweet and savory snacks, before you depart on your game drive. 

The vast Selinda Reserve has a variety of habitats from tall riverine forests to grasslands, floodplains and woodlands that support a tremendous diversity of game. In the dry season, this area has the greatest concentration of elephants in the world as they rely on the waters of the Linyanti River for survival. Nothing can quite compare to sitting quietly in an open safari vehicle while watching a herd of these enormous beasts coming to the water to drink. The first thing you will notice is how silently they move through the forest, like grey ghosts on padded feet; the next, how much they love water. The old females, guardians of the herd, stand quietly, almost meditatively, sucking up trunkfuls of water and squirting it into their mouths with relish. The youngsters, on the other hand, can’t contain their enthusiasm and rush into the water, splashing and frolicking, dunking and spraying each other. 

After this heartwarming display, you continue your safari, keeping an eye out for the leopards that stalk the dense thickets, the prides of lions that hunt in the woodlands, and cheetahs that look out over the grasslands from the tops of termite mounds. 

As the sun begins to lower into the horizon, your guide will select a scenic spot for you to stretch your legs, and produces a hamper packed with snacks and chilled drinks. You find yourself with an ice-cold glass in hand, gazing at the splendid colors of sunset, toasting this untrammeled wilderness surrounding you. 

As the first stars begin to appear, you make your way back to camp, using a spotlight to look out for nocturnal animals emerging into the night. Red eyes in the glow of the light reveal hyenas, off on a nightly hunt, or a lion waking from his slumber. 

Arriving back at Zarafa, you find an inviting campfire welcoming you home, and delicious aromas drifting from the kitchen. After a scrumptious meal accompanied by excellent wines, you sit out by the fire, mesmerized by the canopy of stars and the sounds of the African night around you. Later, drifting off to sleep, you hear the grunting of a hippo and the far-off roaring of the lions. 

Days 10 - 11: The Magic of Mombo

After your morning game drive, you enjoy a delicious brunch and board a light aircraft for your flight to Mombo. A short while after takeoff, you see a vast, shimmering expanse of water opening out before you- a maze of channels, islands and lagoons appear below, and you are flying over the legendary Okavango Delta. This pristine wetland is a World Heritage Site, and home to an astonishing variety of life, and Mombo Camp is located right in the middle of it. 

It’s a short drive from the airstrip to the camp, and you will most likely see plenty of game along the way. Mombo is built in a grove of trees along the edge of a game-rich floodplain, with elevated timber walkways connecting the suites with the main areas so that animals can freely pass below. 

Game drives here are extraordinary- you are hardly ever in a place where you can’t see an animal, and the area is known for its large lion population, as well as healthy numbers of other predators. Drive through this amazing landscape in search of the Big Five: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard, as well as a host of other creatures, from giraffes to numerous antelope both large and small. 

With incredible wildlife, luxurious accommodation, excellent service and incredible cuisine, you will see why Mombo is rated the best safari camp in Africa! 

Days 12 - 13: The Mysterious Makgadikgadi

After you morning game drive, enjoy a delicious brunch before winding your way south to the Makgadikgadi- an immense salt pan left behind when a super lake the size of Botswana dried up millions of years ago. 

Jack’s Camp sits on the edge of this enigmatic region that feels a world away from the lushness of the Okavango Delta. Designed and constructed in a unique 1940’s style, similar to a Bedouin encampment, the luxurious tents stand in a stark, and harshly beautiful landscape. 

Explore the wonders of this region with your expert guide, who will seek out and reveal the creatures that live here- animals adapted to life in such an arid place. You will learn about the fascinating history and geology of the area, which gives you an inkling of the magnitude of geological time. 

Join a group of Bushmen from the Western Kalahari, as they walk through this wilderness and demonstrate how their ancestors have lived here for thousands of years. They show you how a dry twig sticking from the ground reveals a moisture-rich tuber below the surface, the art of tracking animals, medicinal plants and the secrets of their survival in this immense landscape. 

A visit to the meerkat colony is truly special- watch as these highly social mammals scurry about on their daily business, completely ignoring visitors unless they want to use them as a vantage point to survey the area for predators! 

Ride out over the vast salt pans on a quad bike, reveling in the sense of absolute freedom, and spend a night sleeping under the stars that loom so close in the clear air you almost feel that you could reach out and touch them. 

Day 14: Homeward Bound

Depart Jack’s Camp with a fond farewell, and board a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, where your incredible journey comes to a close. Or, continue your journey by adding on an extension.  See the Africa safari trip reviews for additional ideas.

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia safari tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $700 - $1,000+ per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within Botswana, South Africa and Zambia, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.