Botswana, South Africa
Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Maun, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Kwando Concession, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, Livingstone
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Southern Africa's icons sound like myths doused in the tales of legend on this 12-day safari itinerary. A desert oasis larger than many European countries, 100,000 elephants in the forest, vertical mountains high above oceans and city, and cascades that defy notions of scale. With six days of Botswana safari as its centerpiece, this luxury itinerary envelops you in the icons of Southern Africa, unraveling the fictitious images to provide an intimate connection with the best of the continent.
Cape Town – An Exquisite Welcome to Southern Africa
The rugged vertiginous slopes of Table Mountain dominate Cape Town, standing above the city like a benign giant casting spells of color. You see it immediately, the private transfer from airport to hotel sweeping along the base of the great icon. Your hotel is sandwiched between the vertical slopes and the ocean, the panorama vastly different dependent on which way you look. Wherever you are in Cape Town, there's at least one of these views, either the imposing mountain or the tumbling Atlantic waves. Your hotel offers a free taxi service to destinations within the city, allowing you to explore at leisure as the African adventure begins.
Cape Town – Relaxing Amongst the Vineyards of Stellenbosch
Hidden by the folds of Table Mountain are the Cape Winelands, a rolling collection of slopes and random boulders that form the heart of South Africa's wine industry. Vineyards stretch out across the landscape, rows of vines flourishing in a dry climate. The region is less than an hour from Cape Town, and you immediately feel the tranquility of the land. Cute farmhouses stand on hilltops while elegant estates command towering views. Today's tailored wine tour visits four or five vineyards; the route customized depending on your own interests. Boutique cellars contrast with widely celebrated wineries while over 100 vineyards celebrate the production of Pinotage, South Africa's unique grape. Lunch is included, an organic banquet with sublime views over the Winelands.
Cape Town – Penguins and Beaches
A remarkable road winds south from Cape Town, clinging to the cliff as it meanders to the southwestern tip of Africa. Ocean waves crash below as you drive over staggering mountain passes while deserted beaches stretch for seemingly endless miles. Along the route, there's always a surprise. A huge colony of jackass penguins waddles across Boulders Beach, tiny footsteps taking them towards nests hidden in bushes. Some dive off small rocks, an aerial display that juxtaposes grace with comedy. Further along the road, you glimpse your first African antelopes, wild springbok that hop across the peninsula. Drive further to the lighthouse that marks the edge of the continent then sweep back to Cape Town for an elegant final evening in the colorful city.
Moremi Game Reserve – Flying Over the World's Great Oasis
Waterways extend beneath the wingtips as you fly over the Okavango Delta. Great expanses of blue roll in every direction, cutting through marshland and sweeps of tumbling forest. From the window of a light aircraft, you can often see the herds, elephants, and giraffe crossing the Delta as they migrate through its bounty. Today you fly from Cape Town to Maun in Botswana, then transfer onto a micro flight to Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango. Touch down on a remote airstrip, sounds of the wild starting as soon as the propellers fall silent. You're far from traditional roads; the landscape explored on a series of rutted four-wheel drive trails. Wildlife is everywhere. Elephant herds, impala skipping around, buffalos that fill the trails, and baboons that shout from the trees.
A first game drive is slow, stopping every few meters as another of Africa's animals wanders across the trail. Zebras canter elegantly across the grassland, giraffes stand silently on the outskirts of a forest, and a pair of eyes shine amidst the trees. It's a leopard, serene and graceful as she watches her realm unfold. Stop. Watch silently as the leopard swiftly climbs down and blends into the grass. Ears are alerted nearby, a herd of gazelle listening intently, the sentinels straining to detect danger. From the airstrip, you enjoy a full afternoon game drive before arriving at a luxury camp just before sundown. Your verandah overlooks the river, and there's always a procession of wildlife roaming past through the night.
Day 5 - 6
Moremi Game Reserve – Evocative Big Five Safari
Moremi offers the quintessence of African safari, its lush landscape divided into diverse habitats that attract diverse life. Waterways define it all, the liquid bounty bringing tired migrants from across the Kalahari Desert. The safari itinerary is flexible, with journeys by land and traditional dugout canoe providing compelling scenes. Gondolier along the water, past pods of grunting hippos that boast about the best wading spaces. Crocodiles bathe in the sun while wispy grasslands reveal antelopes coming for an afternoon drink. A canoe moves almost silently, and you're unobtrusive, so animals rarely gallop away or change what they're doing. An African safari isn't just about seeing animals. It's about admiring how they interact and watching their behavior from intimate vantage points.
Game drives are more expansive, crossing long distances and enabling you to seek out the full range of species. Stop on the grasslands and a lion pride gets closer, a lioness staring intently at the vehicle before flopping onto her belly to continue a snooze. Elephants rise above the safari truck, but they pass quietly, plodding onwards to the next tree that can be bulldozed. Zebras are found in their hundreds while dense forests provide the hiding places for cheetahs to slumber. At Moremi, you can see so many different animals. But it's their abundance that's most memorable. It's not just a few giraffes. It's thousands of them. You don't count how many lions you have seen, but how many prides. And when the evening comes around, the wildlife continues on the sublime panoramas enjoyed from your luxury camp.
Kwando Concession – Intimate Safari Experiences
The propellers gently whirl, and you rise above the Okavango once more, appreciating the scale of a landscape you've been so intimate with. As the floodplains begin to rescind, and great woodland emerges, the trees of Chobe are dappled with evidence of its elephant residents. You fly north, touching down in the Kwando Concession, a private reserve to the north of Chobe National Park, dominated by a timeless river that ensures wildlife permanently. Only a handful of guests has access to this vast concession, providing an exclusivity to the safari experience. On every activity, it feels like you're surrounded, completely enveloped by an ancient world that's defined by nature's rhythmic cycles.
Elephants are everywhere, the world's biggest pachyderm population found in the woodlands in and around Chobe. Some researchers say that their number has risen to over 100,000. With every corner, there's another. Babies drag their trunks as they wander away from watchful parents. Big tusked males face off at the river, usually peacefully and respectfully. Hundreds dot the trees, bashing their rumps around and gnawing on the bark. Predators are also abundant, the full range of characters seen in hunting mode. Vultures soar above, and hyenas play games of cat and mouse with the lions. A full-day game drive is punctuated by lunch overlooking hippos in the river. Then spend the evening relaxing at the camp, beguiling sounds radiating across the land.
Day 8 - 9
Kwando Concession – Exclusive Safari Activities
Kwando delights in its exclusivity. Its luxury doesn't come from swimming pools and decadent interiors, but from the absolute immersion in the wilderness. The camp is fenceless, and a team of local bushmen guards ensures that nothing gets too close. A soundtrack continues throughout the day; tropical birds are tweeting, hippos grunting, elephants trumpeting from the forest. Views are unending; something wild is constantly wandering around beside your camp, which offers supreme comfort in a very remote destination. Taking a safari in a private concession offers this exclusivity, but the excursions can also travel into neighboring Chobe National Park, ensuring a full sweep of habitats can be explored.
Over these two days, you enjoy new angles. A walking safari enhances the intimacy, every slow footstep taking you into a landscape doused in the four-legged charms of the wild. Mokoros (traditional canoes) continue the exploration along the river, a vantage point to watch competing elephant herds shooting huge jets of water. And when the sun goes down, a game drive takes you into the darkness, a spotlight seeking out nocturnal characters and predators on the hunt. Ears become attuned to the wild, and you get closer than ever, the vehicle surrounded by herds silhouetted by moonlight. Like in Moremi, the daily itinerary is fully flexible, and you have a private guide conducting your own choice of activities.
Victoria Falls – Helicopter Flight Above Victoria Falls
Kwando practically spills into Zambia, its waterway extending towards the great Zambezi River. Transferring to Victoria Falls takes less than 90 minutes, a road journey that follows the elephant herds. You can often spot the pachyderms just meters from the border post, crossing the road as the sign declares “Welcome to Zambia.” Your lodge is on the edge of Livingstone, hanging over the Zambezi River and continuing the wildlife immersion. Hippos laze in the river and vervet monkeys swing through the lodge. There's tranquility, yet there's also a remote rumbling sound that never seems to fade. That's Victoria Falls, just a few miles downriver.
This is the most powerful waterfall on the planet, and it's the sound that most accurately portrays its energy. Soar above the falls in a helicopter and the scale is revealed, the broad blue-tinged river crossing through green grasslands and then disappearing into a shadowy chasm. Spray rises from the depths, enhancing the panorama with swirling transient clouds. Cataracts rise like giant's fingers, pieces of rock that are slowly crumbling as the water continue its relentless journey. Victoria Falls is majestic from the air, the vistas coming from the opening credits of a nature documentary, showcasing a blend of supreme power and exquisite elegance. Return to the lodge in the late afternoon and the evening is at your leisure.
Victoria Falls – Walking Alongside the Epic Cascades
Your final day in Southern Africa is deliberately left free, a chance to savor the atmosphere for the last time. The lodge operates free shuttles to and from Victoria Falls, where a series of walking trails take you alongside the cascades or down to the valley below. Baboons jump around while the unstoppable spray falls down as you take bridges to the cataracts in the Zambezi. A series of activities can continue the day dependent on your adventure levels, from kayaking past the hippo pods to sublime sunset cruising with champagne and cocktails.
Victoria Falls to Livingstone – Departure
Livingstone International Airport offers a convenient departure point from Africa that doesn't require backtracking to Cape Town. You'll be transferred to the airport after breakfast for your onward flight.
- Enjoy six days of exquisite big five safaris, exploring two very different reserves in Botswana
- Three days in the Okavango Delta offer thrilling game drives and mokoro trips, a chance to explore the wealth of wildlife and landscapes found in Africa: its big five and so much more
- Kwando Concession provides a very intimate and diverse safari experience, combining a range of activities with a real sense of exclusivity and the world's biggest elephant population
- Discover the colorful charms of Cape Town with three days in Africa's most inspiring city
- Stand on Table Mountain, explore the vineyards of Stellenbosch, and watch penguins waddling over Boulders Beach
- Complete the vacation by helicoptering over Victoria Falls and then walking across the cataracts that run alongside the powerful cascades
- Savor the aerial experience with micro flights over the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, a chance to admire herds from the air and appreciate the scale of the oasis
$8,635 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.92 stars based on 357 reviews
"This Africa travel company thought of every detail"
Reviewed By Bettisu C.
"From the moment I talked with Charles, I knew I made the...
Reviewed By Kathy K.
"This was a trip of a lifetime."
Reviewed By Linda R.
"The actual execution of our trip went off perfectly and...
Reviewed By Janet W.
"The lodging was perfect in all places, and the safaris...
Reviewed By Marcia H.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era