OverviewGuides are the backbone of Africa’s safari industry and the best ones skilfully impart their bush knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife to their enthralled guests. On this 13-day journey across Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls and into the Lower Zambezi region of Zambia, you will be in the hands of private guide Alistair Kilpin who will take you on walking excursions, lead you tracking and seamlessly navigate all your travel arrangements and cross-border transactions.
Your first port of call will be in Zimbabwe’s Matabo National Park where you will enjoy a walking tour of the ancient rock art and the grave of empire-builder Cecil John Rhodes. You will also undertake a walk of Big Cave Camp’s extensive property as well as track endangered rhinos. Your second home in Zimbabwe is the renowned Hwange National Park – known for its elephant population – where Alistair will explore the bush with you on thrilling game drives.
Victoria Falls then beckons, where you will stay just outside the bustling town centre on an elephant sanctuary (you can also meet an orphaned cheetah who has made The Elephant Camp his home).
From there, Alistair takes you across the Zambezi River and into Zambia for four nights of luxury camping. The Lower Zambezi is a lush environment filled with birds and game, making it a fitting end to 13 days in Southern Africa.
SummaryTour Duration: 13 DaysDestinations Visited
Hwange National Park
Matobo National Park
Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe
Big Cave Camp
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
The Elephant Camp
Lower Zambezi, Zambia
Lower Zambezi, Zambia
HighlightsPrivate guide Alistair Kilpin accompanies you throughoutFamily-friendly accommodationPlenty of walkingRock art, birding & Big 5 game drivesStay in a World Heritage SiteThis is a goody for those wanting an active safari. To learn about Africa with one of the continent's most experienced guides, Alastair Kilpin, is definitely going to be one of your highlights. It's a journey ideally positioned for those wanting to enjoy everything that Africa has to offer: guided walks, game drives, rhino tracking, canoe safaris and much more, all packed into this adventure. Highly, highly recommended for travellers wanting to enjoy a truly personalised experience.Lauren JohanssonAfrica Safari Expert
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Although considered one of Zimbabwe’s lesser-known national parks, Matabo is replete with history. The Ndebele people named it Matobo, which means ‘bald heads’, after the massive boulders and granite outcrops that punctuate the landscape. The rocks are the perfect surface for ancient artworks from the nomadic Khoi and there is evidence of Stone Age settlements. Look out for flocks of black vultures and plenty of other game, especially a healthy leopard population that prowls this World Heritage Site.
Your home for three nights will be Big Cave Camp, which has stone-and-thatch chalets built into the massive boulders. This is a great park for walking and Alistair will lead you on foot to see the more than 3 000 rock paintings, Cecil John Rhodes’s tomb and the landscape around Big Cave Camp. In addition, you will have exciting game drives and a once-in-a-lifetime rhino-tracking excursion – your guide will help you find these prehistoric beasts as they graze gently on Zimbabwe’s sweet grasses.
Days 4-6: Discovering Hwange | 3 NightsUp arrowHwange National Park, ZimbabweSoon it is time to wave farewell to the friendly staff at Big Cave Camp and head off by road to Zimbabwe’s flagship reserve: Hwange National Park. Expect more than 400 species of bird, plains game and, if you are very lucky, a pack of lively and intelligent wild dogs.
The Hide is one Hwange’s most comfortable tented camps, with only 20 guests at any one time. Your Deluxe Tent is fitted with one of the best elements of being on safari in Africa: an outdoor shower that lets you listen to birdsong, watch the sunrise or gaze at the full moon while you are enjoying a refreshing rinse.
Alistair will be on hand to guide you through Hwange’s massive territory in search of large herds of elephant and buffalo, and the resulting predators like lion, African wild cat, leopard and cheetah. But you do not need to venture too far from The Hide for good game viewing: the camp overlooks a popular waterhole where you can watch animals large and small coming to slake their thirst.
Days 6-9: High life at Victoria Falls | 4 NightsUp arrowZimbabweOn Day 6 you say goodbye to Zimbabwe and make your way to the border to cross over into Zimbabwe. Alistair and a driver will assist you with all the necessary paperwork and soon you will driving in air-conditioned comfort to The Elephant Camp, which lies on the far outskirts of Victoria Falls Town.
The Elephant Camp is a luxurious lodge where every room has a full en suite bathroom with a tub, an outdoor shower and a private plunge pool overlooking the Wild Horizons Sanctuary below. There is plenty to see and do here: you can meet the resident herd of orphaned or injured elephants that are cared for in the sanctuary; learn more about Sylvester, an orphaned cheetah who has made the sanctuary his home; go on birding expeditions or nature walks; visit the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust; enjoy lunch at The Lookout Café, a casual restaurant with the best views of the waterfall; and sip sundowners at Batoka Gorge.
There are also plenty of other activities at Victoria Falls, which is known as Africa’s adventure capital. The daring can opt for white-water rafting, bungee jumping or bridge swinging while a tour of the Falls is a must for everyone.
Days 9-11: Exploring the Lower Zambezi | 3 NightsUp arrowLower Zambezi, ZambiaIt is time to cross the Zambezi River into Zambia – once again, Alistair will help with all the official documentation. Livingstone lies on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls and has the same laidback atmosphere as Victoria Falls Town on the Zimbabwean side. You will take off from Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone and touch down in the capital of Lusaka to catch your connection to Lower Zambezi National Park.
Soon you will be checking into Chiawa Camp on the banks of the Zambezi River. Shaded by mahogany and acacia trees, the tents are spacious and comfortable, with king-sized beds and claw-foot bathtubs.
The proximity of the Zambezi lends itself to all sorts of water activities – there is something very special about canoeing past an old bull elephant washing the grit off the soft river plants before munching contentedly on them. Spend your mornings on boat excursions, game drives or nature walks before ending off the day with cocktails on the river.
Days 11-13: Life on the river | 2 NightsUp arrowLower Zambezi, ZambiaIt is time to explore another section of the Zambezi – Old Mondoro Camp awaits you after a game drive from Chiawa. Taking only eight guests at a time, Old Mondoro is a truly intimate and African experience where every tent has a river view and telescopes are set up to watch birds and drinking animals.
Once again, the Zambezi is at the centre of your days, which you can opt to spend on a kayak, boat or game-drive vehicle. Alistair will point out hippos, crocodiles, water monitors and African fish eagles. Old Mondoro is perfect for walking safaris and it is delightful to set out in the cool of the dawn to watch the landscape come alive under the warming rays of the sun.
On Day 13, it is time to shake hands with Alistair as you part ways at Kenneth Kuanda International Airport in Lusaka for your homeward bound flight back to Johannesburg in South Africa.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Go2Africa