Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Johannesburg, Greater Kruger, Sabi Sands Private Reserve, Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Southern Africa's wild wonders delight in their diversity, each a new expression of nature's untouchable power. The Kruger is raw and rugged, classic Big Five territory made exclusive by private reserves and opulent lodges. Victoria Falls is breathtakingly intense, yet complemented by the serene Zambezi River. The Okavango Delta is lush and enchanting, a landscape that can be explored many different ways. This safari in Southern Africa combines the very best of all three wonders.
Greater Kruger – Luxurious Safari Introductions
Your first luxury property fulfills so many of your of envisioned luxury safari daydreams. Your private plunge pools are visited by thirsty elephants as your indulgent spa overlooks the savanna as zebra herds gallop by your window. Your royal suite carries an air of decadence with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to watch animals from your bed. Sometimes you don't even need to move to see the Big Five. Upon landing in Johannesburg, a representative will assist in the transfer to your domestic flight to the Kruger. Touch down and the journey from the airstrip is a thrilling game drive as the open-sided vehicle takes you deep into the savanna. White rhinos rumble past as the odd lion pride basks in the sun, and giraffe is among some of the iconic sights. You will arrive at the lodge towards the end of the afternoon as you head straight for treatment at the spa. The evening is relaxed with a private dining experience as you overlook a floodlit waterhole.
Greater Kruger – Big Five Safari Through Untouched Kruger
This morning you will get closer as a game drive loops you across the untouched savanna of Kruger. Rhino is abundant as dozens of them grace your journey, their power matched by a sense of elegance. Elephants tower high above the vehicle before they flap their ears and march onwards. Buffalo come in herds, masses of black fur that bring the sound of rumbling hooves. On this game drive, you will see more lions, this time the females, on a prowl as the initial stages of a hunt play out. Hidden in the trees, the elusive leopards are easily found by the guides for your viewing.
You are exploring a private game reserve, so these indelible sights are not shared. Only two vehicles will approach a single spot to provide an intimacy and exclusivity to your safari. A private reserve also enables the driver to go off road to get you closer and closer to the Big Five as it’s not uncommon to see all of these famous mammals in a single drive. Return to the lodge by late morning for lunch as your suite provides a gracious vista over the savanna. An afternoon game drive completes the day's activities to bring more famous encounters with the giants of Kruger. For a first-time safari, it's hard to rival the compactness and ease of this first property – you don't need long, rugged journeys to encounter the most famous of the animals.
Greater Kruger – Hot Air Balloon and the Panorama Route
Change your perspective this morning as you soar across Kruger in a hot air balloon. The scale of the landscape is sublime, an untrammeled savanna stretches and blurs into the horizon. As the balloon ascends, it's possible to spot the big herds of elephants and buffalos that grace the Greater Kruger area. But look the other way and a new panorama will take your breath away as a mighty river swerves into Blyde River Canyon as the water twinkles beneath the forested-sandstone slopes. It looks like the canyon walls are crumbling as their rugged redness slips away at random angles. The balloon floats this way to descent gently across the Kruger's fabled Panorama Route.
There are not many animals out here as the canyon walls are steep while the thick forests make it hard to spot the resident primates. But the views can be mind-boggling as you return along the Panorama Route by road as you stop to admire God's Window and the Three Rondavels, a dramatic sandstone cones that often create goosebumps for all who see it. You will arrive back at the lodge around lunchtime with plenty of time for a final game drive and further encounters with the Big Five.
Day 4 - 5
Sabi Sands – More Intimate Safari Experiences in the Kruger
The Kruger savanna drapes itself across the northeast of South Africa, an eloquent landscape that is home to the world's wild rhinos. Big cats are abundant, and there are not many African mammals that don't inhabit the huge national park. Private reserves share unfenced borders with the park, and this is where the animals are most plentiful as in Sabi Sands, where big mammals are attracted by two permanent rivers. Continue getting a grasp of scale as you cross through the Kruger on a game drive to journey to the Sabi Sands reserve. The sights keep coming on the journey, and soon it's hard to remember all the iconic sights.
Your lodge in the Sabi Sands overlooks the water, and you don't need to move at all to spot a whole procession of wildlife, particularly the resident hippos. Rest, relax, and then enjoy an afternoon drive. The wildlife sights are similar to what you've seen so far, but they never grow old as elephants trumpet through the trees, rhinos march onwards, lions fill the grassland, and on every corner there is a different antelope to admire. Spending five days in the Kruger ensures that you will enjoy all of these sights at a relaxed pace. The game drives aren't rushed, and you will have time to enjoy the luxury of the lodges completely.
Livingstone – Relaxing Along the Zambezi River
Today is the only one on the itinerary with significant travel time. However, it's never dull to fly across Africa. First, the airport transfer is a thrilling game drive through the Sabi Sands that features elephants, rhinos, and probably the big cats. The airstrip is deep in the wilderness, and just getting there could bring the Big Five into view. A small plane takes you away from the Kruger ecosystem to connect you with Johannesburg and an onward flight to Livingstone. You will arrive as the heat of the day disappears, the late afternoon an indelible time to relax on your lodge balcony. You are perched above the iconic Zambezi River to overlook a landscape of sunbathing crocodiles and rumbustious hippos. Nature spills out in all directions, and you can hear the rumble. Downriver is Victoria Falls, and its thunderous roar provides a memorable constant to your three days in Zambia. Your lodge offers a complimentary sunset Zambezi River cruise to complete the day.
Livingstone – A Helicopter Above Victoria Falls
From the air, you can follow the serpentine curves and admire the graceful twist of the Zambezi before it converges into a rush of power that measures over a mile across. Then the river disappears to drop tumultuously into a canyon that's over 100 meters deep. Victoria Falls is the world's most powerful cascade and from the air, you will watch the water disappear as the mist emerges as clouds of precipitation that elegantly float past your view. A helicopter flight provides an astonishing impression of scale to showcase the depth and width of the falls. From the air, the vistas are unending as one of the world's natural wonders reveal primitive beauty. The helicopter flight is followed by a free afternoon, which you can spend witnessing the falls on foot.
Livingstone – Free Day Besides the World's Most Powerful Waterfall
Today is deliberately free, and there are a half dozen experiences that could fill your itinerary. Approach Victoria Falls on foot with an unguided walking trail along the cataracts that rise in the river. Spray rains down and the thunder reaches incredible levels to showcase the power of Victoria Falls from very close quarters. It is also possible to cross the bridge to Zimbabwe and see the other half of the falls, which are less dramatic but more aesthetic. Head out onto the Zambezi to canoe past the hippos, or journey by boat towards the lip of Victoria Falls, where the rumbling sounds are forever memorable – this is only possible during low water months. Your three days in Livingstone are a break between an between action-packed safari, so today could also be a quiet one at the lodge to marvel at the untouched world of the Zambezi. Complete the day with a sunset cruise for more wildlife encounters.
Moremi Game Reserve – Micro Flight and Exploring the Evocative Wetlands
Fly south, and your small plane will cruise above Botswana's desert to provide more unusual perspectives on the scale. Colors merge and blur as the reds and oranges cascade beneath the wingtips. And then the colors shift to blue and green as the Okavango River spills out into an oasis of wonder. You are in the middle of the desert, but you are also now in the middle of a watery utopia. Okavango and Kruger provide an indelible safari contrast as the vast savanna is combined with the untrammeled wetlands. Both the landscape and safari experience are very different as you travel in a traditional canoe along the waterways. There is no engine noise as you glide along to admire all of the wildlife that comes to feast along the banks of the delta. Visibility is limited which brings a continual surprise. For every corner you turn, there is likely to be another animal skipping or sipping in the water. The canoe brings you to your luxury camp that overlooks the water, your exquisite base for these three days of safari.
Day 10 - 11
Moremi Game Reserve – Big Five Beauty and Safari Charm
The Okavango engrosses you in charm as your luxury tent overlooks the river to provide a vantage point over the frolicking hippos and a procession of thirsty animals. You will hear them through the night and admire them over a breakfast coffee. When night descends, they become evocative silhouettes and keep you company in the heart of the Delta. Whereas your Kruger accommodation had traditional definitions of luxury, your camp takes its opulence from an unrivaled immersion in its surroundings. It's quaint and very comfortable, with continual sights and sounds that provide a new safari experience.
Over these two days, the safari program is very flexible. Continue your exploration by mokoro, the traditional wooden canoes that are paddled softly along the waterways. Cruise around hippo pods, then past elephant that squirts water into the sky. Along the narrow channels, you will find an array of antelope, like springbok, oryx, and kudu as they take a bath or catch a drink. You will occasionally see the predators as the big cats are either thirsty or hungry. In a mokoro, you will travel silently, so every wildlife sighting is imbued with a certain intimacy. Nothing skips or runs away as you simply glide past and admire.
Game drives take you across Chief's Island, a large expanse of grassland and floodplain that the Delta separates from the desert. Some animals are marooned here, easy meals for the lion pride that resides all year round. Trees rise beside the water, and it's here that you find the spotted hunters as leopards and cheetah hide in a landscape that feels tailored for an ambush. Sunset cruising and nighttime drives are also options here to ensure that the safari program is always fresh. This is Big Five country, but the lush landscape is mostly remembered for its charm as it constantly submerges you in an oasis of natural grandeur.
Maun – Departure
One final micro flight as your plane swoops across the Okavango as the lush colors spill into the redolent red of the Kalahari. Touch down in Maun for connection with your international departure. Your travels will take you first to Johannesburg, and then away from the continent after 12 days of Southern Africa's wonders.
- Surround yourself with the wonders of the wild with eight days of evocative African safari
- Get immersed in the drama of Kruger, one of Africa's largest Big Five ecosystems and a haven for all the famous safari encounters
- Start with three days of pure luxury safari at Royal Malewane, an exclusive lodge that combines Big Five encounters with spa indulgence and style
- Continue the Kruger adventure with two nights in the Sabi Sands, a chance to explore more of the vibrant landscape
- Float in a hot air balloon across the Greater Kruger area and admire the incredible vistas of the Panorama Route
- Marvel at the power and scale of Victoria Falls, the epic cascade that drops like a curtain across the Zambia-Zimbabwe border
- Take a break from the safari by lounging along the Zambezi River and enjoying a helicopter ride above Victoria Falls
- Complement the Kruger savannah safari with three days of safari in the Okavango Delta, a vast wetland that's filled with Africa's great mammals
- Enjoy a flexible program of activities and see the Okavango from complementary angles, including a mokoro (traditional canoe) safari, walking safari, game drives, and nighttime drives
Southern Africa's landscape is scattered with great scars as nature unfolds at its most untouched and untamed. The Zambezi River slices through Zambia before it disappears into the chasm that is Victoria Falls. The Okavango River explodes to create the world's largest wetland and a utopian world for migratory wildlife. The Kruger savannah stretches seamlessly across South Africa to extend like a giant birthmark that never fades. This luxury safari combines these three Southern African wonders to offer a compelling journey through a wilderness realm. Spectacular Big Five safari is punctuated by the tranquility of the Zambezi, while a series of aerial experiences helps showcase the true scale of the wonders with a hot air balloon above Kruger, a flight into the Okavango, and a helicopter ride above Victoria Falls.
Start with first days in Kruger at the luxurious Royal Malewane, a perfect base to start your adventure. An award-winning spa will alleviate the aches of travel while giraffe and elephant are regularly found drinking from your private plunge pool. Game drives offer a Big Five animal introduction with an emphasis on quality encounters with the region's legendary characters. Next, you will transfer to the Sabi Sands, where the abundance of sights is elevated. Another luxury lodge ensures you continue the combination of peaceful moments with classic Kruger safari excitement. In total, five nights in the Greater Kruger ecosystem will help you to connect fully with Southern Africa's largest and most iconic savannah. Rhinos and lions are often the highlights, but the finest memories could also be rare antelopes or a personal encounter from your lodge verandah.
Next, you will fly north to connect planes in Johannesburg before your days spent along the Zambezi River at Livingstone. The rumble of Victoria Falls can be heard from the riverfront lodge, and that intensifies when you walk alongside the cascades. A helicopter flight will unravel the scale, and the relaxed itinerary helps prepare you for the next Big Five safari. On day nine, a micro flight takes you across Botswana and into the Okavango Delta, the world's great oasis in the desert. Canoe safaris are complemented by walking safaris, and traditional game drives offer a raw adventure in a natural world. Rather than having a spa, your camp is designed to engulf you entirely in a primitive wildlife world. Expect surprise at every turn and always an inspiring evening soundtrack.
$5,539 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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