Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park, Hwange National Park
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Zimbabwe enchants and surprises as visitors are led into dramatic wildlife realms still untouched by mass tourism. A safari in Zimbabwe is as authentic as it gets with an epic wilderness mostly unseen and undocumented by the outside world. Exclusive and luxurious, this 10-day safari is focused on Zimbabwe’s three flagship destinations to reveal an enigmatic land that will keep you entirely engaged. You will see not only the Big Five but also 100 other wild mammal species ranging from vast elephant...
Victoria Falls – Sunset Cruise Along the Zambezi River
Touch down in remote Zimbabwe, and the charms of the Zambezi River will immediately captivate. Hippos can be seen poking their heads above the water, crocodiles bask lazily along the banks, and a flurry of lush colors will dominate every panorama. You will land at Victoria Falls Airport and be greeted by a guide for the short transfer to a lodge along the river. Just sit back on your balcony and start to absorb the promise of Zimbabwe’s nature. Every evening the lodge will provide a sunset Zambezi cruise with drinks and canapes being served as the hippos emerge for their evening grazing.
As you move serenely along the famous waterway, your boat safari will prove to be a wonderful means of reenergizing after your flight. Return to the lodge after the cruise and a sumptuous dinner will be served on the open verandah, the chefs blending organic African produce with Western culinary influences. Like each day on this safari, expect to have a wonderful array of food and a wide selection of inclusive drinks.
Victoria Falls – The World Wonder From the Air and the Ground
Over a mile wide and more than 100 meters high, Victoria Falls is one of the world’s great natural wonders. The baboons are the gatekeepers as raucous troops hang around the entrance and parade along the walking trails. They are an indication of how wild and untouched Victoria Falls is as you will not find thousands of tourists or flashy commercialism interrupting the vistas, just 1.5 million liters of water pouring over the edge every single second.
Take your time during the morning to enjoy your breakfast your leisure and then take a self-guided walking trail that runs parallel with the falls. The walk begins with various viewpoints where you can admire the 360-degree rainbows that dance in the spray that emerges from the canyon, and then it continues with open walkways that will immerse you in a thunderous rumble and soak you in the spray that tumbles from the sky. Feast your eyes next on the aesthetics as you cruise above the falls in a three-seater plane and admire how the Zambezi will pick up speed before disappearing into a canyon that twinkles with exotic colors.
Victoria Falls – Raft the Zambezi
After the water drops over the edge, it continues a dramatic journey through a narrow canyon and twists beneath precipitous cliffs where the trees cling mysteriously to vertical faces. This is the start of the Lower Zambezi River, and rafting the rapids is the iconic way to explore. Widely regarded as the best white-water rafting in Southern Africa, the adventure is accessible to almost all travelers. It can be daunting, especially when the raft flips and you are floating down the river, but the operator has an unblemished safety record, and it is not all about the big rapids. Paddling down the Lower Zambezi is a journey through a landscape that sparkles with color and the excess of nature. Return to the lodge after your full-day expedition, and a sunset river cruise will provide a contrasting experience on the Upper Zambezi River.
Mana Pools National Park – Classic Safari Under Canvas
Settle into your lodge at Mana Pools National Park, and you may well recognize the water as this is also the Zambezi River, only now it is dotted with boisterous hippo pods and flanked by bathing crocodiles. The currents are not as strong, and wildlife loves to make the crossing. Sit back and watch as wildebeest cross on mass with great herds of them swimming with a comical fury. Buffalo swim slowly with their head and horns above the surface as they journey to Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. The two parks combine to create a fenceless UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest wetland safari experiences in Africa.
You will fly to Mana Pools in a light aircraft, tracing the curves of the river before touching down on a remote airstrip that is dotted with elephant dung. Meet your private guide and tracker and spend an hour driving slowly through the park to drink in the open plains and the tall stands of ebony and mahogany trees. Waterbuck herds roam by, as kudu and eland are spotted in huge numbers while impala seems to occupy every vista. After checking into your lodge, you will have lunch and discuss your safari options with your guide. The iconic way to start is with an afternoon canoe safari followed by a late-afternoon game drive that stays out after sunset to provide an overview of the flora and fauna of a park that is magically wild.
Day 5 - 6
Mana Pools National Park – Exclusive Big Game Brilliance in One of Africa’s Finest Parks
Mana Pools will delight in its diversity. Game drives will lead you past huge herds of buffalos and then onwards to the trees where lions lounge in the shade and leopards lurk on the high branches. Your canoe safari will slowly showcase the enchantment of the riverbanks and slowly reveals each of the animals that come to drink. Walking safaris trace the movements of the antelope and zebra and provide an appreciation of their behavior. Explore at night, and it will feel like an entirely different landscape with new animals emerging and surprising scenes revealed by the spotlight. With a private guide and driver, you can tailor each day to your interests and blend all of these activities.
Stop beside the river to find baby elephants in a playful mood as they use their trunks as snorkels while their mother watches on with a what seems like a smile. On the open plains, you may find two quarreling buffalo bulls with an echoed thud ringing out as their horns clash. Giraffe wanders gracefully through the trees with heads poking above the ebony branches. They contrast with the baboons as they seem to by marauding for mischief and the leopards that seem intent on hiding themselves away from the world. All of these animals are not seen from a distance as intimacy is a premier highlight of Mana Pools, and you are rarely more than a few meters away.
With a privately guided safari, you can allow the landscape to guide you. With every activity you can respond to the clues, perhaps following lionesses on the prowl or tracking an intent-looking hyena cackle. If you love elephants, then the guide can get you close from all the angles. When the mood suits, you can stay out all day with a picnic to the riverbank and then continuing with a drive or a walk into the remote stretches of the park. You can also stay close to the lodge with short activities that allow for more time to relax on your balcony and watch the swimming mammals. Spend three days there, and it will begin to feel as if Mana Pools is your personal safari park, a playground filled with wild creatures, yet hardly any other two-legged visitors.
Hwange National Park – Epic Elephant Herds and Lions in Zimbabwe’s Largest National Park
Seeing an elephant is always inspiring as their giant ears flap with power, their trunks twist at impossible angles and tusks extend like proud markers of defiance. A herd of ten will bring inspiration as you watch the interactions between matriarchs and the rest. But a herd of 60 or 70 takes the encounter to a new level. A robust mass of gray will fill your vista and send goosebumps up your arm. They move slowly, plodding past until the vehicle is surrounded by the pachyderms. Such big game impressions are what Zimbabwe is all about, especially in Hwange National Park. You will fly here in a chartered light aircraft and meet your next private guide and tracker for three days of an evocative mobile camping adventure.
It will not be long before you spot the lions with their fluttering manes a distinctive ochre tone. Majestic horns distinguish roan antelope as just one of the rare antelope species found here. Brown and spotted hyenas scamper along the plains and cause the springbok to bound away with frightened glances over their shoulder. In total, there are over 100 mammal species in Hwange, more than almost any park in Africa. Over these three days, you should encounter a good proportion of these because as you take a journey through a park that’s as big as the Serengeti, expect surprises at almost every corner.
Day 8 - 9
Hwange National Park – Mobile Camping Safari in the Untouched Wilderness
Zimbabwe’s largest national park is a scenic delight and home to a huge variety of habitats. Your adventure will begin as you drive north to where the thick mopane woodland is dominated by elephants and alive with leopard prints. Then head west to the edge of semi-desert scrub, where your mobile camp will be set up on a busy migratory route. The next day, you will drive south to cross the plains of the Kalahari Desert, and animals congregate at waterholes, and open vistas stretch beyond the horizon. Here you will camp beneath an astonishing sky of stars as you listen to the calls of lions and hyenas that drift over the scorched plains.
Your mobile camp will be more than comfortable with spacious walk-in tents, hot bucket showers, and Western toilets. Your camp is exclusive to you, and this will maximize the feeling of being out in the wilderness. Animals wander past, and your senses are open to the enigmatic landscape. Drift off to Hwange’s natural orchestra, and then wake to the grazers beside your tent while you slowly discover the eclectic animals of the park. Most of the day will be spent on a privately guided game drive with lots of flexibility over the route and speed. At various points along the way, you can head out on short walking safaris on journeys that will help to slow the pace as you take in all of the mystical sounds and smells.
Out in the desert, the tracker will uncover a cheetah’s camouflage. You can then watch it move a few steps at a time with its slender neck dipping beneath the dusty grass line. Then watch the explosion and the dramatic acceleration as the predator hunts an impala. Elsewhere in Hwange, you will find a leopard and watch it with a high-powered spotlight to gaze up at the young cub high in the tree. Bashful hartebeest, powerful eland, exuberant vervet monkeys, skittish impala, migratory tsessebe, the black and red fur of sable antelope, thousands of lechwe congregating at the water will all be found on your mobile camping safari, but you will hardly see another person as this national park is as escapist as it comes.
Hwange National Park to Harare – Departure
A final early-morning start will give you a few more hours to enjoy the wildlife of Hwange National Park. You will be driving back towards the airstrip to complete the loop of travel and soar onwards on your flight to the capital city of Harare, where you will transfer onto your return flight.
- Escape to one of Africa’s greatest big game wildernesses with several days of safari in Hwange National Park
- Explore the wonders of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mana Pools where the safari under canvas evokes the rawness of wild Africa
- Marvel at the world’s greatest waterfall with a helicopter journey above Victoria Falls, as well as a walking journey alongside the roaring water
- Go white water rafting on the Zambezi River and drink in the resplendent scenery of rural Southern Africa
- Uncover a dramatic world of wildlife from vast elephant herds to prolific lion pride and nocturnal hunters
- Discover that you are the only visitor for miles as you take game drives through Southern Africa’s lesser visited safari destinations
- Cruise along the Zambezi River at sunset to admire hippos, crocodiles, and abundant collections of antelopes
- Unravel the beautiful complexity of Zimbabwe with the opportunity to spot over 100 different mammal species along with a 500-plus list of exotic birds
- Spend several days on a mobile camping safari surrounded by the sounds and smells of untouched Africa
- Safari activities are privately guided, and you can tailor the program on a daily basis with walking safaris, game drives, and journeys into the night
$9,095 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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