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18 Day Safari Circuit and Victoria Falls

Southern Sky Adventures: 18 Day Safari Circuit and Victoria Falls

Highlights

This two and a half week trip routes travelers through some of southern Africa’s best known safari spots while adding in visit to Victoria Falls and culminating with a few days on the pristine Indian Ocean beaches of Mozambique. Kruger Park, the Zambezi River, Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta are well known icons of Africa and ones which appear on many travelers wish list.

Map

18-Day Safari Circuit and Victoria Falls map

Summary Itinerary

Day Route Overnight
Day 1 Depart USA Airline
Day 2 Johannesburg, South Africa Johannesburg
Day 3, 4 & 5 Kruger National Park – South Africa Game Lodge
Day 6, 7 & 8 Mana Pools National Park – Zimbabwe Game Lodge
Day 9 & 10 Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe or Zambia Victoria Falls
Day 11, 12 & 13 Okavango Delta – Botswana Game Lodge
Day 14, 15 & 16 Bazaruto Archipelago – Mozambique Ocean Front Resort
Day 17 Depart Johannesburg Airline
Day 18 Arrive USA

Detailed Itinerary

This itinerary is designed for an 18-day trip, departing from the US on Day 1 and arriving into Johannesburg, South Africa on the afternoon/early evening of Day 2.

Day 1

Depart New York, Washington, DC or Atlanta. South African Airways flies direct from New York and Washington Dulles and Delta flies direct from Atlanta; all into Johannesburg. The New York flight arrives in the early morning and the Dulles and Atlanta se flight arrive about an hour of one another at about 5pm.

Other carriers can fly you through Europe or Dubai, U.A.E. The latter two options provide reasonable options as the layover times between flights are usually just 2 -3 hours.


Day 2

Arrive into Johannesburg International Airport at about 5pm, local time if taking the direct flights from Dulles or Atlanta. After clearing customs, you will then take the provided transportation to the hotel. There are a wide range of accommodation options both at the airport and within a short drive. We recommend that you check in to your hotel and enjoy dinner at the hotel or a nearby restaurant. If traveling from New York, you will be able to take the connecting flight later in the morning into Kruger Park.

Overnight: Johannesburg Hotel


Day 3, 4 & 5

LeopardLying in the heart of the South African lowveld is a wildlife sanctuary like no other, its atmosphere so unique that it allows those who enter its vastness to immerse themselves in the unpredictability and endless wilderness that is the true quality of Africa. Sharing the border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, Kruger Park is larger than the state of Massachusetts. Animals freely roam between all three countries now that the border fences allowing for the creation of the Transfrontier Park.

Private game lodges can be found all along the perimeter of the park with a myriad of accommodation options. Everything from Singita’s posh properties to more classically simple, kerosene lit camps is to be enjoyed. Some of the best leopard viewing in Africa can be seen in some of the private game reserves adjoining Kruger Park. Lion prides, elephant herds and white and black rhinoceros roll into view against backdrops of savannah, forest, rivers and mountains.

Kruger National Park

Overnight: Kruger National Park area in Private Game Reserve Lodge


Day 6, 7 & 8

After a morning game drive and breakfast you will be flown into Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. As the Zambezi River travels down to the ocean after Victoria Falls, it flows first into Lake Kariba. A behemoth of a dam wall generates hydro-electrical power here, using the force of the trapped water, and marks the start of the Lower Zambezi Valley – home of the Mana Pools National Park.

Mana Pools CanoeingYour hosts will be Goliath Safaris, an owner-run safari company operating a luxury tented camp and canoe trails in the Lower Zambezi Valley. Stretch Ferreira, the founder and co-owner of Goliath has operated in Mana Pools for over 25 years and was one of the pioneers of canoe trails and luxury tented safaris in the area. Today he is based at his semi-permanent tented camp on the banks of the Zambezi River in the heart of Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage Site and one of the last true wilderness areas on the continent. From here he conducts hikes, game drives and short canoe trips.

Mana Pools Stretch World –renowned for his close relationship and interaction with individual animals within the park, Stretch is the main draw-card for anyone wanting a unique and personalized safari.

Four main pools and several smaller pools are scattered along the river course and the cliffs hanging over the river and floodplains provide shelter to a large and varied wildlife population. Long Pool is the largest and extends some miles in a west to east direction. Lovely big old trees, mainly acacia, provide a shady canopy with sparse undergrowth. This makes for easy walking and is one of the reasons why this area is perfect for walking safaris.

The park stretches across 775 square miles of prime Zambezi riverfront vegetation, much of which is inaccessible except on foot and as a result is completely unspoiled. The landscape includes islands and sandbanks fringed by dense forests of baobabs and indigenous trees, as well as the rugged Zambezi escarpment. Aside from the excellent walking safaris in Mana, the river adds another dimension to any safari as it is ideal for canoe safaris.

The national park is home to magnificent and enormous elephants that return year after year to the same places and are well known to the locals in the area. Big, beefy black buffalo are always about and predators like leopards, lions and cheetah are seen regularly. It is also a haven for Nile crocodiles and large hippo pods.

Overnight: Mana Pools National Park in Game Lodge


Day 9 & 10

Vic FallsAfter your morning game walk, you will be driven back to the landing strip and flown into Victoria Falls and given the opportunity to visit one of the 7 Wonders of the World.

Described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘the Smoke that Thunders’ and in more modern terms as ‘the greatest known curtain of falling water’, Victoria Falls are a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as 546 million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge (at the height of the flood season) over a width of nearly two kilometers into a deep gorge over 100 yards below. The wide basalt cliff, over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.

Overnight: Victoria Falls Hotel or Lodge 


Day 11, 12 & 13

Okavango DeltaThe next stop will be Maun, Botswana where you will connect with your charter flight into the Okavango Delta.

The Okavango is a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 6,500 square miles and the largest inland delta in the world. Trapped in the parched Kalahari sands, it is a magnet for the wildlife which depends on the permanent waters of this unique feature. These water links provide a succession of lagoons, islands and islets of various sizes, open grasslands and flooded plains in a mosaic of land and water.

The lure of the Okavango and its extraordinary range of habitats provide the perfect environment for African animals to thrive and people to watch them. Great herd of antelopes, zebra, buffalo and elephants roam the pastures, and lions, leopards, cheetahs and all the other carnivores prosper. As Moremi Game Reserve, the largest reserve in the Okavango, contains large areas of constant water, game viewing during the dry season is particularly good as animals are drawn to the permanent water sources. There are no fences between Moremi and the private reserves so the entire Okavango merges into a unified animal kingdom of grand proportions.

The game lodge accommodation options represent a wide spectrum.

Overnight: Okavango Delta in Game Lodge


Day 14, 15 & 16

MozambiqueAfter a morning game drive or mokoro trip, you will be routed back through Maun and Johannesburg, South Africa for a flight into the Mozambique coast where the Bazaruto Archipelago rests in the Indian Ocean.

Bazaruto Archipelago is a national park containing idyllic white sand-fringed islands surrounded by clear turquoise sea populated by pastel-colored dhows. The archipelago is made up of five islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Bangue and Santa Carolina which were together given national park status in 2001.

The park’s famed big-game fishing (tag and release) and diving attract enthusiasts from around the world. It’s also a snorkeler’s haven with spectacular reefs to ogle. Dhow safaris are also popular – sail out into the archipelago, spot dolphins and dugong and have a meal of freshly-caught fish cooked on your dhow.

Covering a length of 21 miles and a girth of 4, Bazaruto is the largest island. Sand dunes flank the eastern strip while the rest is vegetated with trees, shrubs and grass. On Benguerra, the second largest island, there are three freshwater lakes and a natural forest fringing the beach. Off the northern tip is Pansy Island – a white smudge of beach with many pansy shells and heavenly clear water for swimming.

Overnight: Beach Front Accommodation


Day 17

You will depart from the Bazaruto Islands and make a connecting flight again in Johannesburg for your flight home.


Day 18

Arrive USA

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