Southern African Magic
This 14 day accommodated adventure highlights the best in Southern Africa, incorporating the panoramic sights of Mpumalanga and the Big 5 of Kruger. Cruising the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers with hippos and crocodiles, exploring the Bakone cultural museum, game walking in Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe, viewing elephant in Botswana, feeling the wet Zambezi spray off the thundering Victoria Falls, gliding the waterways of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro and open vehicle game drives in Chobe NP and Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
from USD $3817pp
Home » Southern African Magic
- Game drives in Chobe National Park
- Reach the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in the Serowe Area
- Breathtaking views and a variety of terrain
- Opportunity to see the Big 5 - Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Lion, & Leopard
- Walking safaris for closer views of the more gentle wildlife of the Reserves
- Explore the magnificent Victoria Falls
Itinerary in Brief
- Day 1: Pretoria - Hoedspruit - Kruger National Park
- Day 2: Hoedspruit - Kruger National Park
- Day 3: Hoedspruit - Polokwane
- Day 4: Polokwane - Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
- Day 5: Bulawayo - Matobo National Park
- Day 6: Bulawayo - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Day 7: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Day 8: Victoria Falls - Chobe National Park
- Day 9: Chobe National Park - Gweta
- Day 10: Gweta - Maun
- Day 11: Maun - Okavango Delta
- Day 12: Okavango Delta - Maun
- Day 13: Maun - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
- Day 14: Martins Drift - Pretoria, South Africa
* Please note, the below map should read start/end Pretoria instead of Johannesburg.
Day 1: Pretoria - Hoedspruit
Departing from South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, we drive across the scenic Mpumalanga province and enjoy the spectacular mountain vistas. We stop at the Blyde River Canyon to view the odd looking Three Rondavels rock formations and enjoy the crisp air and picturesque views. The Blyde River Canyon is revered as an unusual sight owing to the fact that it is a ‘wet’ canyon, making it different from the wind-carved dry canyons found in desert regions elsewhere.
After lunch, we continue our journey making our way to accommodations, set in attractive gardens situated an hour or so drive from Kruger National Park.
After dinner relax and enjoy the first night on tour.
Day 2: Hoedspruit - Kruger National Park
After breakfast, board 4x4 game viewing vehicles for an intense but rewarding day in Kruger National Park. Your guide will point out items or interest as we go and we hope will help the day to be a wonderful opportunity to learn something of the varied and world renowned Kruger. The park is home to over 505 species of birds and 148 species of mammals as well as good numbers of reptiles and abundant flora. The park has a good network of roads allowing relatively easy access – essential given its size – but has clear rules about encroaching on the animals’ space ensuring conservation is given a high priority.
Enjoy Game drives morning and afternoon with a break during the middle of the day to enjoy the peace of the rest camp and wait out the hottest part of the day (when wildlife is usually less active). If you have questions about the wildlife you see, or about the park itself, please feel free to ask your resident guide who will be happy to explain the ins and outs of animal behaviour and other interesting sights in Kruger.
Day 3: Hoedspruit - Polokwane
After breakfast, leave the Kruger area and travel across undulating country-side to the northern town of Polokwane. The journey takes us over some beautiful scenic mountain passes and through flourishing citrus plantations of nestled along the valleys of the Limpopo Province. Previously known as the Northern Province, this is a land of myths and legends and is also highly rated as a southern Africa Eco-tourism destination.
Arriving in Polokwane, we head off to learn more about the local Bakone culture. This interesting open-air museum allows us to learn about traditional methods of the Bakone tribe who were settled in this area from historic times to the present day. Learn how they made fire, harvested and prepared the staple mielie meal, and about the interesting decorations that adorn their dwellings. We later make our way to our accommodations nearby.
Day 4: Polokwane - Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
This morning, you will cross the north of South Africa to the border and into Zimbabwe. After border formalities at the bustling and busy Beitbridge (South Africa’s busiest land border), continue on to Bulawayo, a pleasant city with broad tree lined avenues and wide open spaces. Your hotel is located in the city so (time permitting) you are able to explore the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The area is revered as a historical, geological and natural heritage site and is very close to a few national parks, one of which we will visit tomorrow.
Day 5: Bulawayo - Matobo National Park
Rise early to meet your guides for the visit and game drive into Matobo. Situated a short distance outside of Bulawayo, the wind-sculptured Matobo Hills are the site of numerous Bushman paintings and the area holds a special cultural and spiritual significance to the indigenous people here. The reserve has the largest concentration of Black and White Rhino in Africa and if conditions are suitable, guides will lead you on foot to some of the more concealed places for a close view of these magnificent animals.
The park also has dense populations of the elusive leopard and black eagle and we shall hope to glimpse either (or both) at some point during the day. The Matobo hills are also the location of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the 19th century colonialist. The grave is not visited as part of the half day park visit but can be seen on the full day upgrade (arranged locally).
Optional activities available. Contact us for details.
Day 6: Bulawayo - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Departing Bulawayo, continue north to Victoria Falls. Arrive to Victoria Falls hopefully by early afternoon. This is a relatively small town built along the southern banks of the Zambezi River and is Zimbabwe’s primary tourist centre. The Victoria Falls themselves are only a short walk and the town has a variety of markets, shops, cafes within easy distance. Your tour leader will arrange a briefing to explain the numerous optional excursions typically available here and you will have some free time to wander around. Later we visit the Victoria Falls National Park itself to witness one of Africa’s most enduring sights (Note: subject to availability).
Please take care when wandering along the pathways inside the reserve - the Falls are almost 100 metres deep and the drops are sheer! End your day joining a peaceful sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Soak up the African ambience with drink in hand as you cruise slowly up and down and look out for elephant, buffalo, buck, hippo and birdlife along the shallow muddy banks of one of Africa’s great rivers. We return to our accommodation for overnight or to try some of the local nightlife.
Optional activities available. Contact us for details.
Day 7: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Today is at leisure giving you the opportunity to explore and Victoria Falls. The Zambezi boasts one of the world’s highest rated rivers for white river rafting with its many challenging rapids. Alternative options include canoeing, scenic flights, bungi or (more relaxed) afternoon tea at the colonial styled Victoria Falls Hotel.
Optional activities available. Contact us for details.
*Please note that some group members may be starting or ending their tour on this day.
Day 8: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Chobe National Park, Botswana
From Victoria Falls, begin to travel the short distance to the Botswana border and cross into the small town of Kasane, and on to our lodge. This afternoon, head out onto a game drive and boat cruise in the Chobe National Park. Chobe is widely known for its populations of elephant, but the park also contains lion, leopard, hyena, giraffe and a host of antelope and bird life. The Chobe floodplains and Chobe River provide a sensitive eco system which attracts much of the wildlife of the region especially in the dry season when it is not uncommon to see between 500 and 2000 elephants on the floodplains at one time.
One highlight of Chobeis the combination of wildlife, birdlife and reptiles seen along the banks of the Chobe River. Take the afternoon cruise for a unique perspective of river-side wildlife. After, return to the lodge for a relaxing cool-down by the sunset.
Day 9: Chobe National Park - Gweta
Following breakfast, depart for Gweta. Driving south, you may be lucky to encounter elephant or buffalo alongside(or on) the road, often strays to the migratory herds which roam freely throughout the area in search of pasture and water. Stop in the small settlement of Nata for lunch or snack before continuing to Gweta where you have the opportunity of exploring the Salt Pans in an optional 4x4 safari. Alternatively try the (also optional) Baobab Forest tour. The night is spent at the lodge.
Optional activities: Nxai Pans Sundowner, Baobab Forest Sundowner.
Day 10: Gweta - Maun
After an early breakfast, join a guided walk through a local Tswana village to learn something of the life of the community, from schools and doctors to trading and traditions. Then depart and head west to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Maun has experienced rapid growth in recent years and is a bustling provincial centre. Options here include scenic flights but the first priority is to prepare for your excursion into the Okavango Delta. Your accommodation in Maun is a simple guesthouse/lodge/hotel. The afternoon is at your leisure to relax with a cool beverage and pack for the Delta excursion for the following day.
Day 11: Maun - Okavango Delta
Heading out early after breakfast, begin your excursion into the Okavango Delta. The first part of the journey is by 4x4 over rough sandy paths to the ‘mokoro’ station, where the river level reaches. Here you are introduced to the local Tswana ‘polers’, your guides for the excursion and transfer your luggage and equipment to the makoros (dug-outcanoes). Travel by these shallow canoes amongst giantlily pads, tall grasses and labyrinthine channels to our camp on the edge of the Okavango.
From your camp, venture out on guided walk in search of some of the prolific birdlife and larger mammals that inhabit the reserve. The whole area is a natural wetland spreading over some 1,600,000ha of northern Botswana offering a perfect habitat for thewildlife that roams here freely. The Okavango River rises in Angola (far to the north) and flows south dividing repeatedly to form an intricate flood plain of channels andswamps which then spreads out into a broad flat inlanddelta – the only one of its kind in the world. Enjoy the afternoon wilderness experience and for many people the feeling of being at camp overnight is an unforgettable experience.
Day 12: Okavango Delta - Maun
This morning, explore the surrounds on a nature walk where you have the thrilling experience of being out in the natural wilderness. This is a great way to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the wilderness and enjoy nature as it wakes for the day. After the bush, enjoy breakfast and then pack up again onto our mokoros, leaving nothing behind but footprints. Returning to the 4x4 and bidding your polers farewell, return to Maun.
The afternoon offers the opportunity to join the guide for a trip into town for a little shopping. Another popular activity here is an optional scenic flight over the ‘Delta’ for a bird’s eye view of the wilderness you have just explored by makoro and on foot. Prices depend on number of people interested but seeing the vastness of the Okavango from the air gives a further appreciation of the beauty of this part of Africa.
Optional activities: Delta Scenic flight.
Day 13: Maun - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Another early rise for our long journey skirting the greater Kalahari, where we may glimpse in the distance the vast salt pans of central Botswana to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary which we normally reach by late afternoon. In 1989 a group of local people wished to convert the Serowe Pan, previously a hunting area, into a conservation region for the rhino that inhabited the area. The ‘Pan’ was chosen because of its rhino-friendly habitat (and for its proximity to the Botswana Defence Force base for 24-hour protection against poachers). Khama is a prime habitat for white rhino, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe and with its community-based wildlife project, allows the local people to benefit from tourism.
We take a game drive to catch sight of some of the rhino with guides often pointing up interesting facts about the local fauna and flora. Our last night on safari is spent at the Stevensford private nature conservancy situated on the Limpopo River in Botswana’s Tuli Block. At 3500 ha, this reserve is home to many species of antelope, crocodile, hippo, zebra, giraffe and a plethora of bird species.
Day 14: Martins Drift – Pretoria, South Africa
After breakfast, join the main route along Martin’s Drift border post. Crossing the mighty Limpopo River into South Africa, you will take in the scenic views and notice changes to vegetation, infrastructure and populated areas. Arrive in Pretoria where your tour ends normally by mid to late afternoon.
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|Hoedspruit||Nsele Safari Lodge|
|Polokwane||Destiny Inn Lodge|
|Bulawayo||Traveller's Guest House|
|Victoria Falls||Shearwater Explorer Village|
|Chobe National Park||Thebe River Safaris|
|Okavango Delta||Elephant Bush Camp|
|Stevenson Game Reserve||Stevenson Game Reserve|
- Mandatory Safari Pass
- Accommodation with private facilities
- Tours led by experienced Guide(s)
- Activities as specified
- Meals as specified
- Transport in minibus & 4x4 safari vehicle
What’s not included?
- International and internal airfares
- Arrival/departure taxes or reciprocity fees, visa fees where applicable
- Optional activities
- Travel insurance
- Any items not mentioned as included
This tour departs Pretoria early on Day 1; we strongly recommend therefore that you plan to arrive the day before departure to overcome any jet-lag and acclimatise to Africa.
The group size requires minimum of 2 people and maximum of 12 people. This tour has a minimum age limit of 8 years and over.
Please note: Lodges & hotels are subject to change due to availability.