Botswana Highlights holidays 11 nights start from £5999 per person including scheduled flights sharing a double room.
A nation of spectacular natural beauty, friendly people and rich culture, Zimbabwe’s status as one of Africa’s leading safari destinations was dampened for years by its political instability. But now that the country is transcending its strife and returning to a state of equilibrium, it is once again emerging as a vacation highlight of the continent. Victoria Falls – known to locals as ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ – is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the sheer power of this massive body of water plunging into the Zambezi Gorge is awe-inspiring and unforgettable. Lake Kariba, with its game-rich shores and islands, is an idyllic safari spot featuring mind-blowing sunsets; Hwange National Park is known for its huge herds of elephants; and a kayak trip down the Zambezi through the Mana Pools National Park will appeal to the intrepid traveller, providing close encounters with crocodiles, hippos and a host of other wildlife.
Resting on the southern banks of the Zambezi river at the western end of the eponymous falls, this popular tourist town is compact enough to walk around and makes an ideal base for travellers exploring the seventh wonder of the world, the unfathomably vast Victoria Falls. About two thirds of the falls can be viewed from the Zimbabwean side and, while the falls are undoubtedly the star attraction, the area provides both adventure seekers and sightseers with plenty of opportunities to warrant a longer stay. Popular activities include scenic flights over the falls in helicopters or micro lights, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, white-water rafting (seasonal), and day trips to Chobe National Park. The town itself offers some excellent accommodation and restaurant options as well as an eclectic variety of African curios and authentic art sold by friendly Zimbabwean locals who are wonderfully welcoming and eager to help you enjoy your stay.
Day 1: Travel to Zimbabwe via South Africa
Day 2-3: The Kingdom Hotel, Victoria Falls
Bed and breakfast included.
After collecting your luggage and arranging your visa (not included) you will be transferred to the Kingdom Hotel. The remaining part of the afternoon is at leisure.
Depending on time availability, there are a wide variety of optional activities available. In the late afternoon, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, where we stand the chance to see some of the animals and birds that live in the Victoria Falls National Park while enjoying a sundowner drink.
On day 3, discover why the Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders on Earth as we explore it on a guided excursion on foot. This dramatically beautiful event is accompanied by a deafening roar and fine spray that arcs up into the sky, giving the falls its local name: Mosi-oa-Tunya – the “Smoke that Thunders”. Afterwards visit a craft market where we can purchase or look at handmade crafts of the local inhabitants (optional). Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure or participate in other optional activities.
Quatermains, The Rapid Pool, The Wild Thing and The Pit sound like titles of movies or books not quite suitable for all ages. They are in fact the names of the four bars in African Sun’s closest hotel to the Victoria Falls, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls. This is a fun-filled resort hotel aimed unashamedly at the tourist who wants to take in the majesty and excitement of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Complete with its own food court offering a wide choice of relaxing or quick meals, suiting all ages, The Kingdom at Victoria Falls also offers three swimming pools and a toddlers pool, a children’s play area and, for the ladies, planning a “night on the town” or a visit to the resort’s spa and beauty parlour.
The architecture draws on the ancient Kingdom of Munhumutapa, with great domes, pillars, and bridges over the many water features, The Kingdom’s fun-filled atmosphere gives guests a unique blend of African tradition and Western leisure.
Despite recent and surprisingly rapid modernization, Botswana’s cities provide little in the way of tourist attractions. However, what the cities lack in excitement, the surrounding wilderness areas more than make up for in outstanding natural beauty. The country’s primary tourist draw card is undoubtedly the vast red expanse of the Kalahari desert and its remarkably beautiful Okavango Delta – the largest inland delta in the world provide a haven for an abundance of African wildlife. Other highlights include the impressive Makgadikgadi salt pans where visitors are privy to massive zebra migrations during the flood season; the Savuti plains which host large prides of lions; and the Tsodilo Hills where 4500 rock paintings form a unique record of human settlement over many millennia.
Chobe River Front
The Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park, renowned for its reliable and diverse game viewing. Safaris are conducted both by boat and on land. This section of the park is best known for its elephant and hippo populations but the waters attract all manner of game including large herds of buffalo and the lions that prey on them.
Day 4: Chobe Marina Lodge, Chobe River Front
Bed and breakfast included
After breakfast we travel to the Chobe National Park, where wildlife roams freely in profusion and diversity. It is home to the largest concentration of elephant in Africa, while other game consists of large herds of buffalo, puku, lechwe, bushbuck and kudu. Other major species such as lion, leopard, wild dog, sable and roan antelope are encountered in many areas of the reserve. In the afternoon embark on a guided Chobe sunset cruise along the National Park to experience the multitude of game species found along the banks of the Chobe River.
Chobe Marina Lodge overlooks the Chobe River and is uniquely located in the North-Eastern corner of Botswana where the four African nations of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia converge. Victoria Falls is only 70 km away and the the Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Kasane Forest Reserve, the Caprivi Strip and the mighty Zambezi river, are all within close proximity.
The Lodge offers warm, personal service and a choice of 66 rooms in either studios or suites, with every modern amenity for a relaxed and comfortable stay. Dining at Chobe Marina Lodge is all about good food and service to match, and the pool and Riverside Bars are perfect for watching the glorious sunsets.
There is a state-of-the-art conference venue, and a great choice for conference, product launch or team-building events. Take a game drive or a leisurely sight-seeing cruise to Sedudu Island, or a river boat trip for a totally different game viewing experience, fishing for the famed tiger fish, which inhabit the Chobe and Kasai River systems. Genuine hospitality, a relaxing environment and an idyllic location, make Chobe Marina Lodge a very special African destination.
This small village, situated 180km north of Francistown, is a popular stop-over destination on the way to or from Maun and Kasane (both ~300km away) further north. The white sand, tall termite mounds and Mokolwane palm trees are a feature of the area around this village.
Due to the number of tourists passing through there are now three filling stations (Engen, Shell and Caltex) close together on the outskirts of Nata at the junction with the Maun road
Shops in Nata are limited with North Gate filling station being the only decent option – there is a Southern Fried Chicken takeaway here as well as a shop selling basic food stuff and cold drinks. The Engen filling station, on the left before the Maun junction, also has a Wimpy fast food restaurant.
Nata is the best place from which to explore the eastern section of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Nata Sanctuary is only 10km away and self-drive trips here can be rewarding at the right time of year with large flocks of Flamingos and Pelicans which breed here each year.
Day 5: Nata Lodge, Nata
Bed and breakfast included
Shortly before sunrise travel by open vehicle into the Chobe National Park for a game drive. After breakfast we then travel south to the mesmerising Makgadikgadi pans, the largest inland clay pans on Earth. On an afternoon nature drive (season permitting) we experience this geological phenomenon of surrealistic beauty. The remoteness and inaccessibility all add to the mystique and also explain why these pans represent one of the major highlights found in Botswana.
An oasis set among the Mokolwane palms on the edge of the pans, the Nata Lodge is ideally situated close to the entrance to the Nata Sanctuary and is just off the main road, 10 km from Nata village. This is the junction to the Okavango, Chobe and Francistown areas.
The Nata River delta feeds the Sua Pan in the Nata sanctuary and forms the breeding ground for a host of water birds including pelicans and flamingo in their thousands, transforming the shore line into a pink haze blending into the western sky. Nata Lodge offers guided tours in open safari vehicles into the sanctuary, not to be missed.
Moremi Game Reserve
The amazing foresight of Chief Moremi created one of the world’s most famous reserves, conserving part of the Okavango Delta and the plains to its east. The reserve covers more than 4871 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, and the varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and thick forest.
This diversity supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, and lion, cheetah and packs of wild dog in the open grasslands. The birdlife is prolific and includes most of the 550 bird species recorded on the Botswana national bird list. A range of luxury lodges in the reserve offer visitors the perfect base to experience this corner of paradise.
Day 6-8: Mankwe Bush Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve
Dinner, bed and breakfast included
On day 6, after an early breakfast, travel via Maun towards the Moremi / Khwai reserve, an area in the Okavango Delta that we will explore in detail the next day. En route to our camp, which we will reach in the afternoon, we have the opportunity to already keep our eyes open for game species, but can also marvel at the untouched traditional lifestyle of the Botswana people that inhabit the area. Once at our camp, we have the rest of the day at leisure and can relax in the pristine nature that surrounds the Okavango Delta. After a safety briefing at our camp we enjoy a 3-course dinner and fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
On day 7, again, after an early continental breakfast, we leave for a full day game drive through the Khwai concession in search of predators and a range of other animal species such as Elephant and antelope. The Khwai / Moremi area is unequalled in scenic beauty and hosts an excellent quantity of birds, animals and plants. The park covers about one third of the entire Okavango Delta and, with its giant mopane forests, contrast beautifully with the wide open spaces of the Khwai floodplain. We enjoy lunch within the park during the hottest part of the day. In the afternoon we take part in a boat cruise on the Okavango Delta to Xobega Island, where we spend the night in a mobile tented Camp. Lunch is included.
The following day we return via boat across the Okavango Delta to the Mboma Boat station and return to the Lodge on an open vehicle game drive through the Moremi Game Reserve. Lunch is included.
Mankwe Bush Lodge occupies a secret spot among the evergreen mopane trees in a 365 000 hectare private concession on the eastern boundary of Moremi Game Reserve. Mankwe, meaning ‘mother leopard’, offers privacy and safari comfort on the doorstep of the Okavango Delta.
Botswana’s expansive paradise runs wild around Mankwe’s 8 Meru-style tented chalets, where guests absorb presence of birds and wildlife, day and night. Canvas suites are mounted on wooden decks overlooking the bush.
Guests reside in the tranquil quietude of Mankwe, while daily safari excursions explore the Khwai wetlands, Moremi’s diverse wildlife habitats, as well as the network of private pans surrounding the lodge itself.
With its well-developed infrastructure, some of the best tourist facilities in Africa and an impressive list of breathtaking natural wonders, touring Namibia is truly a pleasure. Visit the capital of Windhoek and the lovely coastal town of Swakopmund to discover remnants of the country’s German influence, reflected in the architecture, culture, cuisine and the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. To properly appreciate this extraordinary country, you will have to venture out of the cities to explore the remarkable natural landscapes Namibia has to offer. These include: the impressive Fish River Canyon Park; the vast Etosha National Park teeming with local subspecies, such as desert lions, desert elephants and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra; the hauntingly beautiful Kalahari Desert; and of course the Namib Desert stretching for nearly 1000 km along the magnificent Atlantic coastline. Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable African experience in a uniquely beautiful untamed wilderness.
The Kalahari is an exceptionally beautiful living desert a large semi-arid sandy savannah draped over a gently rolling inland sea of sand covering most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is also the last bastion of the San people with the modern world having enveloped all the other areas they once roamed.
Here in Namibia it is typically red sands covered in thin, wispy, mostly golden grass and dotted with acacia trees and wide ranging wildlife including gemsbok, impala, jackals and cheetah.
Day 9: Zelda Game & Guest Farm, Kalahari, Namibia
Bed and breakfast are included.
An early morning drive takes us out of the park and back to Maun, from where we travel via Ghanzi and the Kalahari Desert back to Namibia. Our lodge is situated on a private reserve in the Kalahari, and is the habitat to rare animals such as the bat-eared fox, honey badger as well as the nocturnal aardvark. The Kalahari Desert has for thousands of years been the traditional home of the legendary Bushmen. In the afternoon we learn more about the different plants and animals found in the desert by joining the Bushmen on an educational walk – an experience giving us deep insight into the hunting techniques, traditions and other survival skills still practiced by the Bushman to this day.
Extending over 10 000ha of bushveld, Zelda Game & Guest Farm offers guests an opportunity to relax on a real Namibian cattle and game ranch close to Gobabis and the Transkalahari Border Post (Botswana border). 5 000ha of the farm have been fenced off to form the game park in which a variety of wildlife roams freely.Great accommodation in Namibia 16 individually furnished rooms with en suite bathrooms invite our guests to spend a few days on this tranquil game farm and to get to know the charming Namibian hospitality and atmosphere. The resident Nharo Bushmen families, who have lived in the area for hundreds of years, are proud to share their fascinating heritage and traditional knowledge with guests.
Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised, with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops, and the widespread use of the German language. Windhoek has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a look, including the Alte Feste (Old Fort), the 1896 Christuskirche (Christ Church), and the more contemporary Supreme Court.
Day 10: Olive Grove Guesthouse, Windhoek
Bed and breakfast included.
After breakfast we travel back to Windhoek via Gobabis, the capital of Namibia’s cattle farming country. The tour ends on arrival at the Olive Grove Guest House. Bid farewell to your touring friends and enjoy the rest of the day/evening at leisure.
Olive Grove is a small upmarket accommodation establishment situated close to the city centre in a quiet, peaceful area. The Olive Exclusive, the guesthouse takes homely atmosphere to a different level. Recently completely refurbished, each room has been decorated and painted with new colour schemes allowing a different feel, but with the same elegant and simplistic emphasis on décor.
The newly renovated, open-plan kitchen allows guests to see how meals are prepared, while they enjoy a drink in the lounge. The menu was also reinvented and is now fully a la carte, quite unique for a guesthouse. Home-style food is rounded off with great presentation, pushing up the level of the guesthouse dining experience. The upper deck has been revamped into a private dining corner, with two Moroccan-style sections, for guests to get comfy on the large pillows and enjoy the ambience and view from the top.
Whilst each of the ten rooms and one suite cater for every need of the most discerning traveller, the emphasis remains one of simplicity and elegance.
Day 11: Departure
After a leisurely breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to your flight to Johannesburg where you will connect on to London Heathrow arriving the following morning.