Breathtaking Victoria Falls & Hwange Safari: Luxury Lodges and Intimate Experiences

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Total Trip:

10 Days
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Countries Visited:

Zimbabwe
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Places Visited:

Victoria Falls, Zambezi National Park, Zambezi River, Hwange National Park, Nehimba Concession, Ngamo Plains
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Laid-back and luxurious, this 10-day safari will envelop you in the big-game charms of Zimbabwe’s wilderness. Handpicked lodges provide contemporary comforts, private activities are tailored to your mood, and the leisurely pace ensures that you safely discover the captivating brilliance of an African safari. Expect intimate encounters with the famous mammals and experiences unique to Zimbabwe with beautiful moments of surprise that will celebrate the diversity of the wild.  Consider

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Zambezi National Park – A Luxurious Escape on the Banks of the Zambezi River

Within an hour of landing at Victoria Falls International Airport, you will be relaxing on the banks of the Zambezi River at Zambezi Sands River Camp. Your decadent tented suite has a wooden deck and private plunge pool overlooking the river, along with an enormous en-suite bathroom, spacious lounge area and sun-loungers for drifting away to the Zambezi soundtrack. They are called tented suites because the walls are made of canvas, but that is where any comparisons to camping end. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows and solid wooden floors complete a structure that expertly blends into its surroundings. Soon you will recognize the importance of the canvas walls in how they allow a soporific soundtrack of birds and monkeys to send you to sleep.

You will be greeted at the airport for the 45-minute transfer to your accommodation. Check in and the rest of the day is at your leisure, with a choice of activities along the water. Victoria Falls is an hour away, accessed via an easy cruise along the Zambezi. Guides take you to the lip of the falls, where the water gushes past at phenomenal speed. They then lead you to the Mosi-au-Tunya park gate, where a walking trail leads you to a number of sublime lookout points. It will be your first day in Zimbabwe, and you will already appreciate the scale of the country’s nature and wilderness. Standing before Victoria Falls makes anyone feels humbled, such is the ferocious power and diaphanous beauty of the spectacle.  Read more about what to expect with our reviews for Zimbabwe safari and learn from our other travelers to this country.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Lunch, Dinner

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Day 2 - 3

Zambezi National Park – Victoria Falls, Big-Game Safari, Zambezi Activities and Riverfront Tranquility

Nature will arouse your senses every morning as tropical birds flutter past, the odd hippo returns to its wading space, and monkeys and baboons provide entertainment as you sip your coffee. Relax, take your time, and allow the gentle rhythm to take over. There will be nothing artificial to break the scene, and the wilderness imbues an endearing escapism. Zimbabwean hospitality is famous, and the staff will bring your meals and drinks to your private deck, or you can lounge in the main lodge area, sipping on beers, cocktails, soft drinks or wines. It will feel like a boutique five-star hotel, but you are hidden away in a national park with wild animals as your neighbors.

Like the rest of this safari, these two days are flexible, and you can tailor a program to your interests. It can be as active or as relaxed as you would like. Cruise along the river and spot hippos and elephants amongst other wildlife. Cruise at sunset and discover completely different scenes. Go canoeing on the river, be guided to a local village, return to Victoria Falls, try fishing along sheltered banks, and explore the park on game drives and on foot. Guides also present you with little extras--perhaps a private picnic on a remote riverbank, with brilliant views over a hippo pod, or maybe a sunset canoe trip which is great for watching animals along the riverbank. Safaris in Zimbabwe are always flexible and these two days can include any of your dreamy ideas.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4

Hwange National Park (Nehimba Concession) – Game Drive to a Private Concession and Luxury Lodge in Remote Northern Hwange

The western side of Zimbabwe is an unbroken corridor of wilderness which stretches from Victoria Falls in the north towards the Kalahari. Hwange National Park is just a one-hour drive from Zambezi National Park that is likely to pass hundreds of migratory elephants. It is then a two-hour game drive to the lodge. You will slowly travel as you take the time to explore different waterholes, tracing zebra and kudu that roam freely between the two parks. Hwange National Park covers some 15,000 square kilometers, although the ecosystem is even larger than that, with unfenced borders that connect Hwange with parks and reserves in Botswana. To the north, you will find thick woodland, rolling granite hills, and dense savannah, a landscape that’s adored by lion pride, elephants, and giraffe, amongst many others.

Check into Nehimba Lodge and take lunch on the verandah to enjoy your first impressions of the waterhole beneath the lodge. You will see wildlife here at all times of the day, mostly zebra and antelope throughout the morning and early afternoon, and then large herds of elephants throughout the evening and into the night. Just sit back, sip on a drink, and enjoy the show. Game viewing is intimate in this northern part of the park, and you will wind through the trees to find a magnificent sable antelope, explore rocky hills to find large lion prides, and be surrounded by giraffe on the edge of the woodland.  You will soon spot close to 40 or 50 different mammal species, and when you are back at the lodge, you will only need to sit on the verandah to watch the wildlife at the waterhole.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 5 - 6

Hwange National Park (Nehimba Concession) – Intimate Safari and a Choice of Activities in One of Africa’s Ultimate Wildernesses

Open your curtains, and there may be a zebra herd taking a drink with their black and white stripes juxtaposed with colors of sunrise. Admire the horns of roan antelope as you eat breakfast, and soon your guide will come to meet you and discuss your day’s program. Nehimba is hidden in a private concession, so only you and a maximum of 12 other guests can access a large area of game-filled wilderness. Of course, you can also explore beyond the concession and the rest of the national park, which is on such a scale that it still feels like a private safari playground.

Perhaps you will choose a morning walk for one hour spent around the lodge that will bring beautiful moments with wildebeest, red lechwe, springbok, and giraffe. Or maybe you will set out on a game drive to seek out cheetahs and leopards as they prowl in the morning light. Special photography hides are dotted across the concession to create some of Africa’s most intimate wildlife moments. You can spend the whole day exploring and take a picnic to come across tens of thousands of animals. Or you could drive for two hours, return to the camp, relax, then head out on another shorter activity. This is a safari that can be as adventurous or as relaxed as you would like. Watch the waterhole through the evening, or head out on a unique nighttime game drive, one that’s great for finding leopards on the move.

Your lodge is beautifully appointed with spacious thatched suites raised on teak decking. They feature indoor and outdoor living areas and huge beds that glimpse out over the Nehimba Pan. The lodge’s central area has a swimming pool, dining area and large lounge, all with the grand views over the pan. It is all incredibly comfortable, and the en-suite bathrooms provide all the modern comforts while maintaining your immersion in the bush. The surroundings are what make Zimbabwe such a captivating safari destination as packs of wild dogs scamper through the trees, their majestic fur coats coming in all manner of shades. Young elephants flap their ears in shows of aggression, building their strength for battles to come. Hundreds of wildebeest gallop past the safari vehicle, watched by lionesses perched on a rock. Soon you will realize that safari is not about catching sight of a few animals as much as it is an opportunity to understand a wild world and marvel at all the subtle interactions between species.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7

Hwange National Park (Ngamo Plains) – Exclusive Game Viewing on the Elephant Express Railcar

As you traverse Hwange, you will watch habitats merge as woodland becomes thinner, the landscape grows flatter and gives way to open plains that continue beyond the horizon. Rather than a game vehicle, you will travel on the Elephant Express, an exclusive, boutique railcar that trundles slowly through the park. Through the windows, you can watch buffalo herds, giraffe towers, migratory elephants and more. After two hours, you will be surrounded by open plains and extraordinary vistas that extend many miles in every direction. Such openness will make the game viewing incredibly easy and is ideal for finding the predators on a hunt, even at a distance.

Your double-story villa at Camelthorn Lodge is tucked amongst light woodland to bring views over your small water baths that are favored by unusual creatures like mongoose and bushbuck. The en-suite bathroom has a bath with a view and all the contemporary comforts. On the second floor, you will find a hammock and day bed while the ground level deck has comfy chairs for savoring the views. This is one of Zimbabwe’s flagship lodges, and there is an endearing level of intimacy, with just eight villas and no other lodges for tens of miles. As with Nehimba, the safari program is tailored to your interests.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 8 - 9

Hwange National Park (Ngamo Plains) – Iconic Safari Experiences on the Untouched Ngamo Plains

There will be tension at sunrise as five lionesses are prowling, their yellow coats blending into the scorched colors of the plains. They will creep slowly and silently, merging themselves into the landscape as they attempt to approach a buffalo herd. The big male buffalo will spot the pride and make a show of defiance.  You will be close enough to hear him huffing aggressively yet the lionesses will continue unperturbed, splitting up until they slowly encircle the herd. There is no longer any stealth, just continual shows of aggression, the lions attacking the herd then retreating as horns charge their way. It is a deadly game, the predator seeking to isolate a predetermined calf, the buffalo aiming to stay as one strong unit. You will watch it all unfold for an hour, and there is no predicting who will win the day’s battle.

These Ngamo Plains are excellent for predatory encounters. They are also a place for some very unique elephant experiences. The open landscape makes it safe to track elephants and giraffe on foot and there is also a great hide for watching elephants loom over you from eight meters away. Cheetahs are easily found on the open plains, their camouflage easily uncovered from the raised vantage point of the safari vehicle. Wild dogs continue to impress while nighttime drives explore a whole new world, where strange animals are illuminated by spotlight. There are over 100 mammal species in Hwange, and by exploring both sides of the park, you will keep finding new and exotic animals. Spend three days, and you will see a lot, but spend six days, and you will come to understand how this mystical world works.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10

Hwange National Park to Victoria Falls – Unique Aerial Safari and Departure

The last nine days will have been all about the details; the look in a leopard’s eye, a zebra calf protected by the herd, roan antelope gracefully skipping past the lodge. An aerial safari on this last day will help you to appreciate the scale. You will fly by light aircraft from southern Hwange to Victoria Falls, soaring over the landscapes that you have come to love over the last nine days and admire the habitats as they collide 3,000 meters below. At Victoria Falls, you will transfer onto your international departure and leave the wilderness of Zimbabwe behind as you travel home.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Escape into the untouched wilderness yet enjoy all of the contemporary comforts as you stay at three of Zimbabwe’s best lodges
  • Celebrate the complete wonder of Hwange National Park by immersing yourself in its two distinctive landscapes: the intimate woodland and hills of the north, and then the open plains of the south
  • Lose track of how many times you encounter the famous mammals, with lions and elephants particularly abundant in Hwange
  • Discover the diversity of an African safari and come to love all of the unique mammals that call Zimbabwe home, including packs of wild dog, stealthy cheetahs, and many photogenic antelope species
  • Savor the atmosphere of a handcrafted safari and choose from a wide range of activities each day, including game drives, game walks, nighttime drives and water-based safari
  • Discover the beauty and the power of Victoria Falls with a range of activities in and around the Zambezi River
  • See big game from the most unique of perspectives by traveling on the Elephant Express railcar through Hwange National Park
  • Marvel at the photogenic landscapes on a unique aerial safari over Hwange National Park
  • Enjoy famous safari scenes and pristine natural landscapes without any other people in sight; this handcrafted safari will bring you to private concessions and exclusive parks that carefully restrict human access
  • Take your time and explore at your own pace to enjoy many memorable extras like private picnics, sundowners while overlooking the waterhole, and watching elephants through your suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows
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Detailed Description

A Zimbabwean safari is as laid-back as any in Africa. Forget the popular narratives about the country as Zimbabwe has always protected its wilderness, and its landscape continues to be dominated by huge national parks and wild animals. You will never need to look far as elephants roam past your luxury suite, antelopes graze on open plains, and hundreds of animals can be seen through your suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows. On this safari, you will never leave the wilderness. From Victoria Falls, through Hwange National Park, you will follow an unbroken corridor of charm and one that is home to a captivating density and a diversity of big game. This landscape creates an enduring escape into a personal safari playground as you will hardly see any other people as the famous African mammals become your neighbors.

In many places in Africa, it can be hard to experience such authentic big-game landscapes and maintain both a heightened level of exclusivity and all of the contemporary Western comforts. This handcrafted safari is a celebration of Zimbabwe’s unique appeal, and you will be fully immersed in all the wonders of wild Africa as you watch predators on a hunt as over 100 mammal species migrate towards the waterholes. You will also enjoy all of the luxury of a modern five-star property with three nights each at three handpicked boutique lodges.  Zimbabwe’s trademark hospitality will elevate the luxury to a level you could not find in the West and will delight you at every turn.

This 10-day safari program is tailored for those seeking an authentic and exhilarating African safari without having to jump beyond their comfort zone. This itinerary brings a soft adventure, ideal for seniors, families, honeymooners, and anyone who remains a little unsure about a Zimbabwean safari. A major highlight will be the diversity of the experience. In Zambezi and Hwange National Parks, you will have a complete choice of safari activities and can build your own program on a daily basis. Have a lie in or go on a sunrise walking safari. Take a picnic for a full-day game drive or break the safari into easy two-hour activities. Explore on water, game drive at night, uncover nature’s secrets and savor exclusive extras.

Begin in Zambezi National Park with an hour long boat ride upriver from Victoria Falls, hidden away from the world. Game viewing will begin on your first day, and there are many different activities for experiencing the falls and the surrounding wilderness. Hwange is one of Africa’s largest national parks, and you will spend the next couple of days in a northern private concession, where woodland and granite hills provide very intimate game viewing. Move next to traverse the park by railcar and view hundreds of animals on the unique Elephant Express. Then spend the next several days amongst the open plains of the south, where the landscapes seem to roll on for eternity and wildlife huddles around the waterholes.

Lions, elephants, wild dogs, roan antelope, zebra, buffalo, hippos, giraffe will all be spotted on a daily basis. Your time in Hwange will give you the time to see why it is one of Africa’s most revered safari destinations. After all the close-up details, you can enjoy an impression of scale with an aerial safari the last day to bring you back over the park to Victoria Falls and your international departure. 

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Starting Price

$5 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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