A Rare Treasure for Safari Aficionados—Discover Some of Africa’s Richest Wildlife Enclaves!
2016 safaris are one day shorter and do not include an overnight in Victoria Falls.
Day 1: Lusaka, Zambia / Kafue National Park
Arrive in Lusaka, Zambia, where we meet our Expedition Leader. Our safari adventure begins with a flight by light aircraft to little-visited Kafue National Park, twice the size of Yellowstone. Upon arrival we transfer by road, or via road and mokoro (traditional dugout canoe; dependent on water levels), to remote Busanga Bush Camp on the Busanga Plains. This wide floodplain attracts a multitude of wildlife during the dry season, drawn to the pools left as the Lufupa River recedes.
Days 2 & 3: Kafue National Park—Busanga Plains
Spend two full days exploring the Busanga Plains in the heart of Kafue. The park has Zambia’s greatest species diversity with animals that are rare elsewhere in southern Africa, such as roan
, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest
and the diminutive oribi. Herds of puku, lechwe, wildebeest and buffalo, as well as wild dog and cheetah, roam the plains, and our camp offers some of the best lion
viewing in Africa. Birdlife is spectacular, too, with 400 species in residence. In this location
we are led by specialist local guides whose intimate familiarity with the region unveils amazing wildlife sightings we would surely miss otherwise. In the evenings we return to our isolated camp on the plains, immersed in the vastness of the African wilderness.
Day 4: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
A morning flight takes us to Livingstone, Zambia, where we continue by road to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, where we'll spend the night, with dramatic views of the falls and spectacular gorge cut by the Zambezi River. This afternoon we visit with a family at a local village, talking with women, tasting their food and learning about community history and culture. Then, a closer look at the falls is in order, as we venture onto the network of trails along the rim for a private tour. The planet’s largest cataract, spanning more than a mile above the Zambezi Gorge, plummets 350 feet into the canyon below and divides Zimbabwe from Zambia. Standing in the spray on the rim, we readily see why locals call the falls Mosi-oa-Tunya—"the smoke that thunders."
Days 5–7: Hwange National Park
An early flight brings us to Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, where we settle in to
remote Little Makalolo Camp, one of the rare camps found within the park’s vast boundaries. Bordering the Kalahari Desert on Zimbabwe’s western edge, Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest and most legendary national park. Its 5,600 square miles are comprised of predominantly desert sandveld
supporting teak and mopane woodlands and dry acacia scrub, interspersed with saltpans, grasslands
and granite outcrops. The varied habitat is home to enormous herds of elephant and buffalo and a vital predator population including lion, leopard
and cheetah. Other animals frequently seen
include zebra, giraffe, sable, roan, blue wildebeest and impala. We'll also look for endangered residents such as gemsbok, brown hyena
and African wild dog. Birdlife is exciting, too, with more than 400 species in the park. While our focus is game drives, a well-situated platform also provides an idyllic way to spend a lazy afternoon watching passing wildlife, and a blind overlooking the camp’s adjacent waterhole offers unobtrusive wildlife encounters. Bush walks with renowned guides are a highlight, safety permitting.
Days 8–10: Mana Pools National Park
A journey by road and light aircraft brings us to Mana Pools. Our scenic base is Ruckomechi Camp, tucked into a large grove of acacia and mahogany trees along the mighty Zambezi River and backdropped by the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Mana Pools sits on the southern bank of the Zambezi River, bordering Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. Mana means "four" in the Shona language, referring to the four large pools, remnants of ancient oxbow lakes, which sustain great numbers of hippo, crocodile, elephant, buffalo, Burchell's zebra, waterbuck, kudu and aquatic birds on islands and sandbanks. On these wide floodplains
we also find herds of graceful eland
and plenty of predators, including lion, leopard, cheetah
and jackal. Rafts of Nile crocodile lie on the river's edge, and 380 bird species flock the park, including the Nyasa lovebird, Livingstone’s flycatcher, banded snake eagle, yellow-billed kites and huge numbers of carmine bee eaters
that burrow nests into the sandy riverbanks.
This is true wilderness, with one of the highest dry-season
concentrations of animals in Africa. The riverine environment is ideal for exploration by boat and walking safaris, providing a perspective that simply isn’t available in a vehicle. We'll have opportunities to cruise a stretch of the Zambezi River aboard a leisurely pontoon boat, an exhilarating speed boat, and silently via a canoe that magnifies the effect of this quiet environment brimming with waterbirds. We also explore the landscape on wildlife drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles, allowing a chance to get very close to big
game and large herds of animals.
Day 11: Harare / Depart
Our safari comes to a close as we fly back to Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, to meet homeward flights.
Physical Rating: Easy