Best of Two Worlds: A Luxury Kruger & Zimbabwe Safari

A 13 day trip to South Africa & Zimbabwe 
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Kruger and Zimbabwe dance to an ancient rhythm as antelope hooves provide the drumbeat and haunting calls float across the vast savannah. Strange animals will sing your evening lullaby while their vibrant tones echo around your lodge. These untamed destinations will compel you to lose yourself in the cadence of nature and move to the incredible melodies of the wild. 

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Londolozi Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, Lebombo Mountains, Sweni River, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Gonarezhou National Park, Matopos National Park, Matopos Hills, Victoria Falls, Zambezi River

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Sabi Sands Game Reserve (Kruger) – Exquisite Introduction to Safari

Arrive in Africa, and it can feel a little frightening to suddenly be in the heart of the wild and surrounded by elephants and hippos. Safari is not a standard tourist experience as it is a journey into the rhythm of nature. The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is an idyllic entry point that blends the luxury and ease of a private reserve with the beauty of the Greater Kruger. Relaxed and enchanting, Sabi Sands is the perfect place to ease into your safari experience that is enhanced by the quality of Londolozi Tree Camp with the unadulterated five-star quality of a boutique hotel found while overlooking a waterhole and being surrounded by wildlife.

A representative will greet you at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and assist you in transferring onto a domestic flight destined for Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the southwest of Kruger. The unfenced reserve shares a boundary with Kruger National Park and is an integral piece of the ecosystem, meaning you will experience all of the famous animals within an area close to the lodge. Londolozi has its own mini-concession, helping provide an exclusivity to the experience. Touch down and go on your first game drive, one that’s likely to be packed with rhinos, lions, elephants, and buffalos. Then check in to the lodge and spend the evening relaxing on the verandah, gazing down at the animals by the water.

What’s Included: accommodation at Londolozi Tree Camp, domestic flight, transfer, safari, dinner

Day 2: Sabi Sands Game Reserve (Kruger) – Big Five Brilliance in Londolozi

Later on in your safari, you will be going on epic game drives that really evoke the scale of Kruger, but for your first full day, there is no need to travel too far. Lion pride bask in the sun close to the lodge as rhinos scamper past your vehicle, the bashful giants as elegant as they are powerful. Giraffe and elephants occupy the strips of woodland, and you’re your guide will take you past huge herds of zebra, springbok, kudu, and wildebeest. By the end of a morning game drive, there will already be enough sights and memories to last a lifetime and then the middle part of your day can be spent relaxing at the lodge.  As you move into mid-day, you will head out on an afternoon game drive for another beautiful journey into the Kruger wilderness. As with all days spent on safari, your accommodation is full board, and a generous selection of drinks are included.

What’s Included: accommodation at Londolozi Tree Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Sabi Sands Game Reserve (Kruger) – Hot Air Balloon Above Kruger

Today you will wake early to enjoy an impression of the scale of the landscape as your hot air balloon rises at dawn. The savannah stretches unbroken in every direction as endless miles of scorched lands are dappled with herds. From this vantage point, you can make out the giants and admire how they cross the plains in search of water. This serene flight is followed by a champagne brunch, and then a third afternoon will be spent amidst the wonders of Londolozi and the Sabi Sands. Complete your day with a game drive, and by now you should have spotted the elusive leopard. Sabi Sands is one of the best places in Africa to see this excellent hunter, both hidden in the trees and prowling in the grass.

What’s Included: accommodation at Londolozi Tree Camp, transfer, tour, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Kruger National Park – Private Kruger Concession Safari

Along the Lebombo Mountains in eastern Kruger is an exclusive hideaway; a private world where you will open the curtains to hippos and have stargazing excursions interrupted by wandering giraffe. The landscape is different here, dominated by stretches of woodland and backdropped by the drama of the peaks. This new landscape will bring you new animals and new experiences. Rhino and buffalo are abundant and grace the savannah alongside phenomenal numbers of zebra and wildebeest. Warthog play beneath the swimming pool and it is hard to count the number of elephant herds that grace the river down below.

You will fly across the Kruger today to touch down on a private concession in the east of the national park. Singita Sweni Lodge provides another decadent home in the wild as it is perched brilliantly above the Sweni River. As you are coming to expect, game viewing from the lodge comes naturally as your verandah overlooks some permanent water. Animals will be on the move throughout the day, but all must stay within reach of their daily drinking spot. Your safari program is flexible here, and you will be able to combine game drives with walking safaris and mountain bike safaris, exclusive activities that further enhance your immersion in the wilderness of Greater Kruger.

What’s Included: accommodation at Singita Sweni Lodge, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch dinner

Day 5: Kruger National Park – Walking and Mountain Bike Kruger Safari

You will have seen plenty of zebra and wildebeest by now, and they will look much different when you are on foot. Stand alongside the herds to watch every movement and feel every beat as the hooves roll across the savannah. Springbok, wildebeest, kudu, buffalo, giraffe and even the odd elephant appear as the landscape is packed with animals and your proximity to them on a walking safari is mind-boggling. A mountain bike safari is equally expressive as your guide will lead you on rugged trails and help you to move safely alongside the mystical characters of the savannah. As with the walking safari, you will veer away from the realm of the big cats, and use this as an opportunity to get much closer to animals who often skip away from a vehicle. Your day is flexible, so you can also choose to game drive if you wish.

What’s Included: accommodation at Singita Sweni Lodge, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Kruger to Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve – Beautiful Day Crossing the Kruger

To understand the scale of the Kruger is a magical thing. As you drive north, you will realize that it is not just a few rhinos or lion pride as it is hundreds, perhaps thousands, of them. You will discover that all the intimate sights you have seen over the last five days are replicated across a land that is bigger than many countries. It will take a full day to drive north, and for most of the journey you will be alone with the wild to admire the huge concentration of wildlife found in this ancient ecosystem. Exiting the park in the far northwest, you will cross the border into Zimbabwe and spend the night at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Like the Sabi Sands, this is an integral piece of the Greater Kruger ecosystem, and your lodge is standing above the water. Expect to arrive late in the afternoon, where a sumptuous dinner will begin your evening spent at this exceptional lodge.

What’s Included: accommodation at Singita Pamushana Lodge, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve – Private Zimbabwe Safari

Two black rhinos will pass by at sunrise and the mother and her calf will take your breath away. A few moments later and you will see their bigger cousin, the large white rhino. Get used to these sights as there are few better places in Africa to encounter both varieties of this endangered giant. Start exploring and you will come across a number of the favorites; lions, zebra, impala, giraffe, buffalo. But this gem of a reserve also has its rarities, including a host of unusual antelope. Admire klipspringer that dance across the rocks, and then duiker and oribi as they skip over the plains. Majestic horns distinguish roan antelope and steenbok while the growling echo from a pack of wild dogs makes for another sublime safari memory. Malilangwe is home to the Big Five but also the Little Six, and when the sun goes down, you will be on the look out for aardvarks and caracals. As you finish your first week of safari, this reserve will ensure that you are still encountering new sights.

What’s Included: accommodation at Singita Pamushana Lodge, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Mililangwe Wildlife Reserve – Full Day Safari in Gonarezhou National Park

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park protects a wilderness that stretches across South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Animals do not recognize the international borders and they move freely, from Kruger in the south to Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park. Recently opening to tourism, this park is a place of adventure and borders Malilangwe. You will cross grassy plains and then drive along paths created by bulldozing elephants, and then discover a destination that has seen just a handful of foreign visitors. While the animals are similar to those you spotted in Kruger, a feeling of exclusivity comes from the remoteness of the land and the lack of visitors, and it is very unlikely that you will see another vehicle as you spend a whole day game driving in Gonarezhou. The opportunity to discover untouched landscapes is a great facet of safari in Zimbabwe as the lands are packed with animals, yet devoid of people.

What’s Included: accommodation at Singita Pamushana Lodge, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Matopos National Park – Stories of the San Bushmen

After a short chartered flight, you will spend your day in Matopos National Park, a place of such beauty that Cecil Rhodes called it “World’s View.” Start your own exploration on the rocky summits, where the vistas stretch for eternity, and the sandstone boulders are painted with ancient San bushmen rock art. Exquisite drawings narrate stories of animals and tribes, telling of successful hunts and dangerous man-eating predators. An expert guide will help you to decipher the tales, and you are usually joined by a raucous troop of baboons that occupy World’s View. You will explore on foot as the park is not home to lions or elephants yet there are plenty of intriguing wildlife sights, including the black eagles that circle overhead. Camp Amalinda provides the accommodation for the next two nights, and you will continue to enjoy the exclusivity of a safari in Zimbabwe.

What’s Included: accommodation at Camp Amalinda, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner 

Day 10: Matopos National Park – The Rhinos of Zimbabwe

Matopos is a haven for wild rhinos, and they are carefully guarded in a compact game park area. While some of the charms can be lost when exploring a park with fences, it is worth recognizing the commitment to conservation in an area that has been ravaged by poaching over recent decades. You will not only enjoy the black and white rhinos from the vehicle as accompanied by armed guards, but you will also step across the savannah until you are barely ten meters away from the dozing rhinos and close enough to see their bellies rise and fall. Tracking rhinos on foot is the unmissable activity here, and the rest of your day is flexible dependent on your interests with options for walking and horseback safari, along with boat trips on the dam.

What’s Included: accommodation at Camp Amalinda, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Victoria Falls – Baboons and Hippos Along the Zambezi

After your final micro flight of the trip, you will settle into the wonder of the Zambezi River. As always, you will be following nature’s rhythm as you listen to the calls and watch the animals as they fill the landscape beneath your lodge. Seemingly engulfed by hippos and baboons, Zambezi Sands River Camp is an exceptional base found along the water. Even though Victoria Falls is not specifically a safari destination, you will not be breaking your connection with nature and wildlife. Today will be relaxed with a leisurely afternoon at your camp followed by a sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. After dusk, you will be enjoying dinner as you watch the hippos graze on the banks below.

What’s Included: accommodation at Zambezi Sands River Camp, domestic flight, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Victoria Falls – Immersed in the World Wonder on Foot and Helicopter

Victoria Falls divides Zambia and Zimbabwe, but almost two-thirds of the falls are seen from the Zimbabwean side. A self-guided walkway takes you parallel to the world’s most powerful waterfall. At some points, you will be drenched by the spray that returns from the abyss, and at other points, you will gaze out on the gushing enormity of it all. 1.5 million liters of water drops over the edge every second and the growling noise is why the locals call it mosi-au-tunya, “the smoke that thunders.” Like many stops on this safari, you will combine the details with the scale as this time you will see it through a helicopter flight above the falls. Your aerial vantage point will showcase how the mile-wide sheet of water disappears into a narrow canyon to create one of the world’s most stark and powerful natural images. Return to your camp for a second sunset river cruise before your final evening in Africa.

What’s Included: accommodation at Zambezi Sands River Camp, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Victoria Falls to Johannesburg – Departure

Wave farewell to the hippos and then it will be a short transfer to Victoria Falls Airport, where you will take a flight back to O. R. Tambo International. From here, you will connect onto your homebound flight overflowing with memories of your incredible safari.

What’s Included: transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$12,995
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.