Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, South Luangwa National Park
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Zambia radiates adventure, and many possibilities are found in Africa’s under-visited gem. Enjoy dramatic big-game safari throughout day and night, camp amongst thousands of elephants, take a microlight flight over Victoria Falls, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the wildlife world. Carefully tailored for solo travelers, this 11-day adventure is packed with highlights like these. Some days provide intrepid solo adventure, and others join fellow safari goers in Zambia’s wilderness.
Livingstone – Hippos Welcome You to Zambia
Africa holds such exotic images in the mind, sculpted from depictions and scenes that adorn documentaries and the imagination. It promises so much, and this land is where elephants roam free, and the wilderness feels like it can continue for eternity. Such images naturally create an expectation, and Zambia does not disappoint. Landing in Livingstone provides a realization that the preconceived exoticism cannot get close to portraying just how raw and real the continent can be. Zebra flit around, visible from your veranda, and Baboons can be heard shouting, and are seen as they charge across the panorama. Set off on a Zambezi River cruise, and hippos are ambling out of the water, filling the riverbanks with iconicity as sundowner drinks are served. Within three hours of landing, you could have seen 10 different species, all of them endemic to Africa. And when the night takes hold, you realize you can never be alone here, not with so many animals sending their calls through the dark.
Livingstone – Discovering Victoria Falls from Three Different Angles
The town of Livingstone is named after the explorer who discovered and named Victoria Falls. Your lodge is just a few miles upriver, close enough to hear the rumble. As you take a boat closer, you understand that the local name of this spectacle is far more appropriate. In Chitonga, this is Mosi-oa-Tunya, translated into English as “the smoke that thunders.” You can hear the growl of the water and see the mist that rises, the intensity of the smoke and the thunder reaching thrilling levels as you stop at a tiny island close to the precipice. Fifteen minutes later, you are landing on the banks, where a guide leads you on a rugged walking trail that runs alongside, then parallel to the falls.
On this walking trail, there is a very strong possibility you will be soaked by the spray that rains down. As an example, Knife-Edge Bridge is not for taking out a camera, unless it is properly waterproofed. At points, you cannot see anything; although, there are places beneath trees for glimpses of different parts of the falls. To fully visualize the entire waterfall, you must rise above it. A microlight only takes one passenger, and it feels like you are floating, gliding like the great birds of Africa. Beneath you is a mile-wide sheet of thickly tumbling water, scattered clouds of spray alive with rainbows, and the lush colors of the Zambezi stretching out into the distance. The evening is at your leisure, and a sunset river cruise is included on every night of your stay. If you wish, you can switch the microlight for a helicopter flight.
Livingstone – Walking and Driving with the Rhinos of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
Today, the safari really begins. You have seen plenty of animals so far, those who are residents around your lodge and those that occupy the riverbanks. But the atmosphere is different when you are walking across the savannah, hearing the crunch of your boots and feeling the trepidation of each step. White rhinos are up ahead, and the guides keep you downwind, so no sharp noises interrupt their late-morning slumber. One rises, snorts, and raises his head in your direction, then wanders off with the grace of a misunderstood giant. You are less than 30 meters away, engrossed in the power of the scene you are witnessing. Walking with rhinos is one part of the day’s experience, and an introductory game drive will start showing more of Africa’s giants, such as giraffes and elephants.
Livingstone – Rafting the Zambezi and Other Outdoor Adventures
Livingstone is Africa’s adventure hub, and there is so much to do and experience in its vicinity. Today offers you a chance to choose one of the revered activities. The whitewater rafting (in season) is the best in Africa, gushing through the grade four and five rapids of the Lower Zambezi, beneath Victoria Falls. There are a bridge bungee jump and bungee swing in the no man’s land between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and, in the morning, it is possible to kayak on the Zambezi, paddling wide around the hippo pods. Today might also be a day to relax at the lodge, preparing yourself for the six days of safari to come, possibly with a return trip to see Victoria Falls one more time.
Chobe National Park (Botswana) – Surrounded by the World’s Biggest Elephant Herds
Somewhere near the border post, you start seeing elephants. Herds are crossing the road, their onward trails visible in the woodland’s destruction. Sometimes infants or giant bulls are spotted 100 meters from the sign that welcomes you to Botswana. They are all part of the world’s largest elephant population, and upwards of 100,000 roam in and out of the Chobe National Park woodland. Such an abundance makes them hard to track, and no definitive migration cycle has been identified; although, it is known that the Chobe woodland is at the heart of everything. After crossing the border, you enjoy gentle introductions to the pachyderms, taking a boat cruise along the Chobe River. Matriarchs squirt water from the shallows, infants skillfully turn their trunks into snorkels, and the odd lone bull casts a melancholy figure on the banks.
After lunch, you start an intrepid solo adventure, a guide and tracker taking you on a game drive deep into the park. Follow rutted trails, where hundreds of elephants are all around, and an excess of giraffes silently watch you on your journey. Impalas are also everywhere, and when the woodland opens out, you find zebra, buffalo, and other four-legged characters. This experience is not just about the animals you see. It is about the enveloping atmosphere. You are driving deep into the woodland, away from the world, and into a land that is ruled by elephants and occupied by more than 50 other species of wild mammals. Somewhere, deep amongst the trees, is your mobile camp, a place of simplicity that is completely open to the sights, the sounds, and the smells. It is perfectly safe, and your guide will provide a detailed briefing on this wonderful chance to feel like you are alone in this wildest part of Africa.
Chobe National Park (Botswana) – Mobile Camping and Game Drive Adventure in Magnificent Chobe
Trumpets wake you as a brass band of elephants hoot somewhere in the distance. Sound travels when there is silence, and you can also hear grazers, perhaps a kudu, close by. Open the tent, and in the dust, you see bigger prints, suggesting a buffalo herd passed through during the night. A simple breakfast is served as dawn arrives, and the kudus become more visible. Setting off on an early game drive maximizes the chance of seeing the predators, particularly leopards descending from their lofted tree branch perches. Spend two hours exploring, then stop for a hearty brunch while overlooking animals in the river, after which, you will keep exploring, spending the whole day game-driving through Chobe National Park.
It is impossible to count the elephant herds, never mind the individual elephants. Ebullient babies are accompanied by elegant mothers, young male bulls flap their ears aggressively, lone bulls boast the largest tusks, and herds of 30 or more surround the safari vehicle as they continue their migration. In thick woodland, it is easy to get close, as the animals do not see you coming from afar. You notice the difference whenever you reach open grassland, where the animals are easier to spot but harder to get close to. Later in the afternoon, you reach a different camp for a second night in the wild. Seated around the fire with the guide and tracker, you listen and look for the beautifully subtle changes in the atmosphere.
Livingstone to South Luangwa National Park – An Intimate Night Safari
Transferring to Livingstone starts with a game drive, winding back out of the park towards the Zambia border, Ensure you get a double-entry Zambia visa upon arrival on day one to ease the journey back into the country. After an early lunch in Livingstone, you take an early-afternoon light aircraft to South Luangwa via Lusaka, touching down as the animals are emerging after their afternoon siestas. In some parks, a night safari is an additional activity. In most parks, it is not even possible. On this journey from the airstrip, you get a glimpse of the landscape, but as you are entering the park, dusk is starting to fall.
In South Luangwa, the nighttime drive is your first experience, a dramatic journey guided by spotlight, finding a world of nocturnal wanderers and predators on the move. Tomorrow, you will be guided by sight. But in the dark, you have no idea what to expect. When the engine is cut, smells and sounds move you. Animals canter past, and you must sense what they are. Like the experience in Chobe, it feels like you are submerged in the rawness of Africa, especially when an elephant pops up a trunk so close to the vehicle. After the drive, you check in to your lodge, where a floodlit waterhole is visible from your veranda.
Day 8 - 10
South Luangwa National Park – Exploring the Dramatic Big-Game World
The lions look magnificent in the sunrise light, soft hues radiating off their short golden coats. Giraffes are silhouetted, a sub species endemic to Luangwa dappling the horizon. Buffalos grunt, occupying your attention to the extent that you almost miss a hyena walking past on the opposite side of the vehicle. Later on the drive, it is a leopard that holds you captive, luminous blue eyes shining out of the foliage, spots draped elegantly across an acacia brand. So much life exists here, and over these three days, the encounters feel endless. Sometimes you can get lost in a single scene, watching the lions or zebra as they go about their day. At other times, you are quickly moving from animal to animal, understanding the interactions taking place between species.
For a handful of reasons, South Luangwa has risen to become one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations. Wildlife is both abundant and diverse, the essential starting attraction. Visitors are few, particularly given the size of the park, and this sense of exclusivity is revered more and more the longer you spend on safari. The activities are deliberately varied, creating an encompassing feeling of what Africa and African safari is truly about. Over these three days, you will personalize your safari from a program of potential activities offered each day. Game walks and night-drives are encouraged, not seen as an extra. Guides diversify where you visit on the game drives, along with how long you spend in the vehicle. You share these activities others staying at your luxury camp, but you will have the freedom to tailor each day to how you feel and what you are enjoying most.
Spending four days here gives you an impression of how this world operates. Track the predators and admire how they hunt. See how the leopards use stealth to creep closer and closer, how the hyenas harass and hound the weak from the herd, and how the lionesses are not afraid to be bold and brazen in seeking a meal that is far bigger than they are. Follow the interaction within the herds, how each antelope moves in different numbers, and how the males are often cast adrift in bachelor groups full of aggression. Discover three species endemic to South Luangwa, like an hour spent with the wispy beards of Cookson’s wildebeest. And when the day’s activities are done, you relax at the luxury camp, watching the intimate scenes playing out at the waterhole below.
South Luangwa National Park – Departure
After a final morning safari activity, you fly from South Luangwa to Lusaka by light aircraft, meeting your international departure.
- Experience one of Africa’s greatest safaris with four nights in South Luangwa National Park, tracking big cats and giant mammals throughout the day and night
- Be surrounded by the world’s largest elephant population on a two-day safari to Chobe National Park, an excellent short trip from Livingstone for solo travelers
- Indulge all your senses in Victoria Falls, walking alongside the spectacle then taking a microlight flight above them
- Feel the thrill as you walk close to white rhinos in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, the horned giants joined by giraffe, zebra, and other iconic animals on the savannah
- Go on a solo mobile camping adventure in Chobe, experiencing the subtle beauty of the landscape, and how its drifting sounds and sights bring nuance to the wild atmosphere
- Join other safari goers in South Luangwa, sharing the experience but still being able to fully customize your own program, incorporating a choice of walks and drives
- Watch baboons and antelope from your lodge on the Zambezi, then see hippos out of the water on a sunset cruise
- Try some of Livingstone’s unique adventures, like whitewater rafting on the Zambezi or even a bungee jump off the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe
$10,885 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.
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