Two-Week Luxury Fly-In Zimbabwe Safari

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Downward view of Victoria Falls at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia
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Total Trip:

14 Days
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Countries Visited:

Zimbabwe
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Places Visited:

Victoria Falls, Matusadona National Park, Ruckomechi Concession, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Matobo Hills National Parks, Hwange National Park, Matetsi Private

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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
This trip is the complete Zimbabwe experience: a two-week luxury fly-in safari, six destinations, endless wilderness, stunning camps, and authentic wildlife encounters that very few others ever have the chance to experience. Find tranquility and escapism at Lake Kariba, discover wetlands and wildlife giants in Mana Pools, explore the unknown from a luxury base in Malilangwe, walk with rhinos in Matobo Hills, and track big cats in the arid Hwange. Culminate this once-in-a-lifetime experience with

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Victoria Falls – A Relaxed Arrival

Victoria Falls is the best gateway town for a safari in Zimbabwe. The airport has been updated, and there is a far wider network of flights that land here compared with ten years ago. Plus, you will land and immediately discover the wilderness. Although there is a town here, elephants are among those that wander around the main roads. Baboons will seemingly be everywhere, and hippos will bask in the Zambezi, which is just upriver from the falls. You will check-in to a riverside lodge and head out on a sunset cruise, which will prove to be a comfortable introduction into your wildlife experience. Afterward, you can rest up because the safari will really begin tomorrow.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

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Day 2 - 3

Matusadona National Park (Lake Kariba) – Animals and Tranquility as you Escape the Modern World

Aerial safaris make ambitious Zimbabwean itineraries possible. Roads to the country’s national parks are not in good condition, which makes it very easy to lose entire days transferring between parks that initially appear to be close together. From the air, you will enjoy spectacular views over the landscape. With a fly-in safari vacation, you will never return to the modern world, and there will be no rush either. Aircraft will wait for you to arrive and take off almost immediately.

Lake Kariba has been nicknamed Africa’s Riviera, but it is nothing like what you find in France. Acacia trees will backdrop the lakeshore, and elephants will bulldoze a trail between them. Various antelope come down to drink at the lake, notably impala and waterbuck. Storks and Kingfisher fly around the water, and you may be lucky enough to glimpse one of the area’s black rhinos. Your camp will be within Matusadona National Park, which is where most of the wildlife congregates. Almost immediately, you will feel your stress dissolve. Silence will reign until the drumbeat of hooves alerts you to a buffalo herd.

With two days on Lake Kariba, you will escape into Zimbabwe’s tranquility. Forget early morning wake up calls or busy schedules because this is where you lounge around the water and go on short safari activities, including drives, walks, and boat trips. Although the predators are present, their populations are low, so it is safe to get around on foot unlike a park such as Hwange. Animals will wander past at random, and it will be easy to lose your senses in the wilderness. The lake will shimmer through the day, and you will spend evenings around a fire, gazing up at the African sky.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4 - 5

Ruckomechi Concession (Mana Pools) – Stylish Big-Game Safari on Land and Water

On a short flight to Mana Pools, you will follow the Zambezi River, admiring how it brings life to the dusty savanna. You will land in the wetlands and transfer to Ruckomechi, which is a private concession within the UNESCO World Heritage area. Palm trees will cast shade across the camp, and lush reeds will hide watery channels. Like Lake Kariba, the camp will have a certain suave, evoking the explorers of yesteryear with its rustic and vintage features. The most interesting aspect of your accommodation will be its canvas walls. These allow sounds and smells to accompany you throughout day and night.

You will spend day four on a game drive and walking safari, exploring the wildlife-rich corners of both Ruckomechi and Mana Pools National Park. Hippos will seem to be everywhere, lions will hide in deep grass, and elephants march through, often causing havoc with their antics. It will seem as though giraffes are present at every single vista, casually craning their necks above the acacias. Impala and eland will cluster on open plains with sentinels ever alert for predatory threats.

On day five, you will explore along the water, taking a canoe trip along the Zambezi River. This perspective will get you even closer. In a canoe, you will travel silently so wildlife does not perceive you as a potential threat. Animals will not run from the banks but will watch you with curiosity. Everything will appear far larger when you are looking up from the water rather than down from a safari vehicle. Predator sightings may remain a little thin on the ground. All the big carnivores live here, but the thick undergrowth provides many hiding places, so they are not as easily spotted as in Hwange. Still, over two days, you should see some of the big hunters like spotted hyenas and cheetahs.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 6 - 7

Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve – Exclusivity and Scale in Remote Southeastern Zimbabwe

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is one of the world’s largest protected areas. It stretches across thee countries, incorporating the Kruger and Sabi Sands in South Africa. Essentially, the entire park is one giant ecosystem with wildlife moving freely between countries. Most people have heard of Kruger, but very few know of Malilangwe and Gonarezhou, which are destinations on the Zimbabwean side. Here, you can enjoy a classic Kruger-style safari with all manner of wildlife. This southeastern corner of Zimbabwe remains mostly unexplored and almost unchartered in places. So, there will be a real exclusivity as you touch down for these two days.

Malilangwe is a little like the Sabi Sands, as it is a private concession with luxury camps and virtually guaranteed safari encounters. This is where you will stay and can go on short game drives, following animals around the water. Gonarezhou is a vast national park that is only visited by a handful of people each year. Wildlife sightings require patience here, but there is an opportunity to really adventure across the bushveld, searching for secrets that hide in Africa’s corners. You can combine the two safari experiences to make this a destination that will work very well as a standalone single stop in Zimbabwe. You will get the ease of a private concession safari with all the close-up sightings. Then, you will have the experience of truly connecting with your wild side.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 8 - 9

Matobo Hills National Parks – Walking With Rhinos and the World’s View

You will continue your journey by air, flying to Matobo Hills National Park in the heart of Zimbabwe. Cecil Rhodes is buried here, and he once called its rocky peak the World’s View, which is an indication of just how far the vistas stretch. He was not the first person here. Rock art is scattered through the park and provides a focal point away from all the animals, notably collections of San art that evoke life in Zimbabwe from many millennia ago. Day eight will be very relaxed and will be a chance to catch your breath after a few active days on safari.

Day nine will take you back to the wildlife, and a very special local resident will be waiting for you. While Matobo Hills has a decent collection of big game, it is not that impressive compared to Mana Hills or Gonarezhou, except for their rhinos. There are more living rhinos here than the rest of Zimbabwe put together, including both black and white subspecies. You will begin the day on a game drive with a guide from the anti-poaching unit, learning about conservation and methods that are used to ward away poachers. Then, you will spend the afternoon on a walking safari with a rhino researcher where you will literally walk with these special animals. It is very difficult to see rhinos elsewhere in Zimbabwe, but here, there will be too many to count.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10 - 11

Hwange National Park – Big Cats and Big Elephants on the Arid Savannah

Complete the safari in Hwange, which is Zimbabwe’s most famous park. Ochre-hued savanna extends in all directions with ungulate herds kicking up dust as they pass. Life is harsh in this arid environment, and animals must battle hard to survive. During the dry season, they cluster around waterholes and are easily spotted on such an open landscape. Now, the safari’s focus will turn to the big cats. Lion prides gather on the savanna, watching the world as they sleep with one eye open. A large male may rise upon a rock with his distinctive black mane fluttering gently on the breeze. Later, during your safari, you may find a lioness on the prowl, admiring how they stalk zebra herds.

Cheetahs and leopards are also common here. Although secretive creatures, they are relatively easy to find thanks to expert guides and the open environment. In Mana Pools, there are countless places for the predators to hide, but in Hwange, they must cross open plains. Up ahead the impalas will graze, seemingly oblivious to danger. Despite their speed, cheetahs and leopards must first get within a surprisingly short striking distance. Tension will rise, and you must be patient as little may happen for an hour, but eventually, the attack will begin.

As always, you will have the best seats for the wildlife theater. By staying at Zimbabwe’s finest camps, you do not just get the best accommodation. These high-end camps are where the country’s best guides want to work. For example, the vehicle will stop, and you may see nothing. The guides will search for a few minutes and will point to the grass. Then, suddenly your eyes adjust, and there is the leopard that it is much closer than you initially realized. Back at the camp, the safari always continues, and your accommodation is famous for herds of elephants that drink from the swimming pool. It should be expected because in this wilderness people are only ever visitors.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 12 - 13

Matetsi Private Game Reserve (Victoria Falls) – Wildlife and Wonder Along the Zambezi

You will culminate your safari with a short flight to Victoria Falls. Wildlife will continue to mark your journey, from zebras that roam besides your suite to elephants that trumpet through the night. It is not as abundant as Hwange, nor are the predators present, but Matetsi is an example of Zimbabwe’s superb conservation. You mostly come here for a waterfall, but Africa’s magnificent mammals will continue to be your neighbors. There is really nothing quite like dining beneath the stars as you watch giraffes and buffalos turn to silhouettes along the horizon.

These two days will be very relaxed. Boat trips will provide tranquil safari experiences along the Zambezi River. Travel one way for more animals, and then the other way towards the falls themselves. Transfers to the waterfall will be included, and you can follow a self-guided walking trail that runs parallel to the world’s largest continuous sheet of falling water. You can choose to helicopter above Victoria Falls or kayak with the hippos of the Zambezi. Sunset cruises can be included on both evenings. On these trips, you will be served drinks and nibbles as hippos emerge along the banks. To one side, you can witness an African sunset while to the other you can watch Victoria Falls send a cloud of mist into the air.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Transfer

included

Tour

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 14

Victoria Falls – Departure

Depart from where you started by flying out of Victoria Falls Airport.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Discover the wonders of Hwange, which is a vast and arid wilderness of roving lions and giant elephant herds
  • Escape the world on the shores of Lake Kariba where Africa’s four-legged mammals are your only neighbors
  • Safari on the water during two days in Mana Pools, which is a UNESCO World Heritage wetland that is loved by wildlife
  • Walk with rhinos in Matobo Hills and then find the spot that Rhodes called World’s View
  • Explore Zimbabwe’s remote southeastern corner, using Malilangwe as a luxury base for adventures in The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
  • Come face to face with Victoria Falls and get soaked by its spray
  • Admire wildlife directly from boutique camps that are deep in the bush
  • Stay in Zimbabwe’s finest lodges and camps, which are luxurious places that preserve your connection with the wilderness
  • Fly between destinations, enjoying an aerial safari while saving on overland travel time
  • Connect with off the beaten track Africa as you visit areas that are rarely seen by visitors
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Detailed Description

Elephants drink from swimming pools in Zimbabwe’s national parks, lions survey their territories from arid escarpments, hippos fill waterways, buffalo seem to be everywhere, and you can walk with rhinos. This is a country of wilderness and a country where wildlife thrives free from any political challenges, and somehow these wildernesses are hugely under-visited. Few people have the privilege of discovering the wildlife that resides, or the dramatic theater that unfolds on the dusty savanna.

Zimbabwe was once the darling of an African safari, as it was the ultimate destination for intimate sightings and raw scale. It is even better today because there are so few other visitors. Traveling overland is a challenge, but this is a luxury vacation so you will be transferring via safari flights. Each journey is an aerial safari as you go from wilderness to wilderness with two days in each of the six distinct destinations. You explore contrasting ecosystems and divergent animal populations while trying out a range of safari experiences. With such an amazing adventure, it really feels like six different safaris in one.

After a layover in Victoria Falls, you start in Matusadona National Park along the shores of Lake Kariba. There is tranquility here, and it is a chance to get away from the modern world and let go of any stresses. Cruise on the lake, encounter elephants and hippos, and ease into the Zimbabwe safari experience. Wildlife is sparse here but will be abundant at your next stop. Spend two days in Ruckomechi, which is a private concession that is part of the Mana Pools UNESCO World Heritage wetlands. Nature thrives in this lush haven, and you explore on land and water where you will come face to face with many of Africa’s most famous mammals. Like in other Zimbabwean parks, you will struggle to keep track of all your sightings.

Gonarezhou is Zimbabwe’s wild southeastern frontier, which is a somewhat unchartered wilderness that forms part of The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. Here, you get a Kruger style safari experience just without any other visitors and an immediate sense of adventure. The private Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is your base, and it is a place to enjoy contemporary comfort between the bumpy and dusty game drives. Next is Motobo Hills, which is a compact and picturesque little park that is home to the majority of Zimbabwe’s rhinos. Here, you can walk with both black and white rhinos, sharing the land with Africa’s endangered giants.

Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest and most famous safari destination, and it is an enormous park that is home to black-maned lions and large elephant herds. It is arid and dusty, as it is a land of dramatic battles between predator and prey. Here, you explore on game drives, tracking the wildlife theater to waterholes and acacia forests. The country’s most famous destination completes the vacation. Stay in Matetsi Private Game Reserve, which is just up the Zambezi River from Victoria Falls. The safari continues with hippos and zebra being regular visitors to the lodge. These sightings are complemented by the falls themselves. After six destinations, you will depart Zimbabwe directly from Victoria Falls Airport. Consider learning more about our travelers’ favorite Africa travel experiences by reading their Africa Safari travel reviews.

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Starting Price

$13995 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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