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Botswana & Zimbabwe Explorer

Itinerary

Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River
Our safari begins just over the border from Botswana in Zambia, where our Expedition Leader meets you on arrival at Livingstone airport. Transfer to Toka Leya to spend the night. This luxury camp sits in a prime location overlooking the Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The park’s name in the local language means “the smoke that thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker—during the wetter months, when the water volume over the falls is tremendous, clouds of mist are visible miles away. On a sunset cruise from camp, get a first glimpse of the area's abundant wildlife, with hippos, elephants and crocodiles frequently on view along the riverbanks.

Day 2: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park / Victoria Falls / Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Rise early this morning for a wildlife drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which along with Victoria Falls has been declared a World Heritage Site. The park offers a sampler of the diverse species we anticipate seeing on safari, including our best chance to spot a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers tasked with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we track them on foot, learning how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and follow their movements. With no predators in the park, we can also walk safely in search of elephant, zebra, giraffe, warthog, various antelope species, and other smaller mammals and birds.

Later this morning we drive over the border to cross into Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The falls, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, span a mile across and plummet 350 feet into the roiling Zambezi Gorge—one of the largest cataracts on the planet. Via trails along the rim where the profuse spray has created a rain forest, we find a variety of vantage points over the gorge. Then, fly by light aircraft to Hwange National Park. Adjacent to the Kalahari Desert, Hwange is Zimbabwe's largest and most famous national park. Our base for exploration is isolated Davison’s Camp on the private Linkwasha Concession, one of very few camps within the park's vast bounds.

Days 3-4: Hwange National Park—Linkwasha Private Concession
From Davison's Camp, we have exclusive proximity to outstanding wildlife viewing in Hwange National Park. The park's 5,600 square miles are comprised primarily of desert sandveld with 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, plus a vital predator population including lion, leopard and cheetah. Other game frequently on view includes zebra, giraffe, sable, roan, blue wildebeest and impala. We'll also look for endangered gemsbok, brown hyena and African wild dog. Birdlife is impressive, with more than 400 species. While our focus is game drives, a well-situated platform at camp provides a chance to spend a relaxed afternoon watching passing wildlife. A blind also overlooks the waterhole, providing unobtrusive wildlife encounters—we frequently see lots of elephant at very close range. Bush walks with renowned guides are a highlight, as safety permits.

Days 5-7: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
A morning flight takes us to Victoria Falls Airport. Traveling by road, we cross the border into Botswana and head for Chobe National Park, famed for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a private boat cruise down the river and its myriad channels, we sometimes see several hundred elephants in a single day. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are on view along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water. After our lunch on the river, we continue our journey by light aircraft for the Linyanti Private Reserve.

The Linyanti, joined to the Okavango Delta by the Selinda Spillway, is dramatic big game country. Remote and unspoiled, its diverse habitats range from riverine forest to open plains laced with waterways dotted with palm islands. While wildlife numbers are excellent here year-round, the Linyanti’s perennial water attracts great herds of elephant, buffalo and other various antelope species that walk well-worn game paths to slake their thirst during the dry season. Predators follow in their footsteps, including leopard, lion, spotted hyena and less frequently seen African wild dog. Birdlife is also exceptional in the Linyanti.

Encounter wildlife in thrilling proximity on 4x4 drives and from the ground-level hide near camp. In the afternoons, relax on the veranda outside your canvas tent overlooking the sights and sounds of the Linyanti Channel. Evenings wind down around the campfire, and through thorny acacia branches, we see more stars than we ever dreamed possible, scattered across a pitch-black sky.

Days 8 & 9: Okavango Delta—Abu Private Concession
Transfer by light aircraft to Seba Camp, set in the private Abu Concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp is located within a permanently dry section of the Okavango Delta, Earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola, the source of the Okavango, which joins with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to create this green oasis sprawling over the sands of the Kalahari Desert. With its vast network of channels and marshes, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife amid lush vegetation.

Seba Camp is designed to blend into the ancient riverine forest that surrounds it, shaded by hardwood trees such as sycamore fig and leadwood. Overlooking a perennial lagoon with prolific birdlife and resident pods of hippo, the camp enjoys a setting that offers frequent wildlife encounters. We expect to spot lion, territorial leopard, large herds of buffalo, and ever-present elephant, as well as general game including giraffe, zebra, red lechwe and impala. The area's diverse habitats make this location ideal for excursions into the delta by 4x4, and night drives in search of nocturnal species.

Day 10: Maun / Depart
Our grand Botswana and Zimbabwe safari comes to a close as we depart by air for Botswana's safari hub of Maun, where we connect with onward flights.

Physical Rating: Easy
Interested in adding a few days to your trip? See our extensions:
Repeater Layout : horizontal
Namibia Desert Extension

Namibia Desert Extension

Namibia’s towering sand dunes, arid canyons and desert-adapted wildlife offer a distinct contrast to other southern Africa safari destinations—look for endangered black rhino, desert elephant and more.
7 Days / Year-Round, From $3695 (+air)
Cape Town Extension

Cape Town Extension

Discover the natural and multicultural highlights of one of the world's most entrancing cities. Explore the Cape Peninsula, visit Cape Point Nature Reserve, see penguins at Boulders Beach and tour the Winelands.
4 Days / Year-Round, From $1595
Sabi Sand Extension

Sabi Sand Extension

An exclusive safari experience on a 160,000-acre private reserve that's one of Africa’s best places to spot the famous Big Five—choose among intimate luxury camps and secluded boutique lodges.
4 Days / Year-Round, From $3075
Custom Southern Africa Safari Camp Extension

Custom Southern Africa Safari Camp Extension

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