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Hidden Jewels of Zimbabwe

A Rare Treasure for Safari Aficionados — Discover Some of Africa’s Richest Wildlife Enclaves!
Please note: 2015 departures are slightly different, including one night at Victoria Falls Hotel and two nights at Changa Safari Camp on Lake Kariba during the 10-day safari.

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: Fly to Hwange National Park
Depart this morning by light aircraft for Livingstone, Zambia, where we continue by road to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We make a brief stop for lunch with a view of Batoka Gorge, whose 400-foot high vertical walls have been carved into the basalt strata by the Zambezi River. Another light aircraft flight brings us to Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park. From the airstrip we drive to Little Makalolo Camp, our base for the next three nights. Situated in a remote private concession, Little Makalolo is one of very few camps within the vast boundaries of Hwange. A vibrant waterhole directly in front of the camp attracts plentiful wildlife, offering hours of entertainment from the deck or even during a soak in the plunge pool. A log-pile hide also overlooks the waterhole in front of camp, for unobtrusive wildlife viewing opportunities.

Days 5 & 6: Exploring Hwange National Park
Bordering the Kalahari Desert on Zimbabwe’s western edge, Hwange is the largest and most legendary of Zimbabwe’s national parks. Its 5,600 square miles are comprise 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 sighted 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. Bird life 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 while watching passing wildlife. Bush walks with renowned guides are a highlight, safety permitting.

Day 7: Fly to Mana Pools
Return by boat this morning to the airstrip, then fly to Mana Pools and transfer to Ruckomechi Camp. Set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River brimming with hippo, our camp enjoys a spectacularly scenic location within a large grove of acacia and mahogany trees backdropped by the Great Rift Valley escarpment. The Mana Pools section of the Zambezi Valley is true wilderness, with one of the highest dry-season concentrations of animals in Africa. On these wide floodplains we find herds of enormous elephants and big, burly buffalo, graceful eland, and plenty of predators including lion, leopard, cheetah and jackal. Rafts of Nile crocodile lie on the river's edge. Among the 380 bird species in the park are 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.  

Days 8 & 9: Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River, bordering Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. Together the two parks protect a riverine environment that supports an intense concentration of wildlife, ideal for exploring by canoe safari. 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. Canoe and walking safaris provide a perspective on wildlife along the riverbank and in the water that simply isn’t available in a vehicle—not to mention an utterly still environment unsullied by the sound of motors. Stops on the bank for tea and coffee and short walks into the bush are intimate and exclusive experiences where we rarely see another soul. We also explore the concession on wildlife drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles, allowing a chance to get very close to big game and large herds of animals.

Day 10: Fly to Harare / Depart
Our safari comes all too soon to a close as we fly back to Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, to meet homeward flights. 

Physical Rating: Easy

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