Best of Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia - 2017

Johannesburg • Kruger National Park • Hwange National Park • Victoria Falls • Chobe National Park

  • WALK THROUGH VICTORIA FALLS NATIONAL PARK
  • SEARCH FOR "THE BIG FIVE" AT KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, AFRICA'S LARGEST GAME RESERVE
  • VENTURE ONTO THE CHOBE RIVER FOR AN EXCITING GAME DRIVE
  • DELIGHT IN THE COMPANY OF LOCALS WHEN YOU’RE INVITED INTO A VICTORIA FALLS HOME FOR DINNER

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Join us for the ultimate southern African safari. Our Deluxe small group adventure invites you into the true Africa. In open-sided safari vehicles, we seek out “The Big Five” and other magnificent game in three of the region’s top parks: Kruger, Hwange and Chobe. Along the way, you’ll immerse yourself in the fascinating culture and history of South Africa in the Soweto township and Victoria Falls. Vantage’s version of the classic safari traverses four countries – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia – each one a remarkable and colorful tapestry of immense beauty, majestic wildlife, and welcoming people. What’s more, you’ll experience it all in Deluxe comfort at a luxury safari lodge at the gates of Kruger, a Conservation Camp that blends in with its surroundings in Hwange, the famous Victoria Falls Hotel and a spellbinding lodge perched on the banks of the Chobe River.

What makes this adventure so rewarding is that it’s so much more than an African safari. Our small group lets us connect with the people who live among the natural splendor. You’ll meet children at their school and villagers in their homes. Learn about efforts to save the painted dog in Hwange and educate visitors about apartheid in Soweto. And along the way, you’ll be regaled with stories from the bush from your expert, eagle-eyed driver-guides and a tribal visitor who joins us around the campfire one evening. It is an unparalleled safari, at an unmatched small group value!

Itinerary at a Glance

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DAYS 1-2:

Depart home / Overnight flight / Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa

Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to South Africa, arriving in Johannesburg on Day 2. Upon arrival, we have the remainder of the day to rest up after our journey.

DAY 3:

Johannesburg

After breakfast, we set off on a tour showcasing the changes taking place in the developing area of Soweto. Once known only for its shantytowns, Soweto is also home to many successful business people and boasts upscale neighborhoods. We witness both sides of this historic township as your guide provides insight. Cultural Discovery: As we explore, we stop at the home where Nelson Mandela lived before he was arrested, and tour the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, which chronicles the student uprisings of 1976. After lunch at a local restaurant, we have the afternoon free back at the hotel. This evening, enjoy an orientation meeting and a Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4:

Kruger National Park, South Africa

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kruger Park. Upon arrival, we drive to our hotel nearest to the gate entrance of Kruger National Park, South Africa’s richest wildlife refuge. As we settle in, we can look forward to daily game drives amidst Kruger’s sweeping wilderness. Dinner is at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 5:

Kruger National Park, South Africa

We’ll fall into the rhythm of Africa today with a full-day game drive, getting an early start so was see animals when they are at their most active after the nightly hunt. We’re likely to spot giraffe and zebra today, and your driver-guide is highly trained to help us find the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, water buffalos and rhinos. We venture through the Skukuza Triangle along the Sabie River, once home to the native Tsonga people, who lived here peacefully with the wildlife. We pause at a scenic location for a picnic lunch. For dinner on your own this evening, we have our choice of items back at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 6:

Kruger National Park, South Africa

We head out for an early morning game drive. More than 500 species of birds either live here or pass through, including vultures, eagles and storks. And its 147 large mammal species outnumber any other park in Africa. We keep our eyes open for them all. We return to the hotel for lunch on your own, then head back out in search of more of Kruger’s magnificent wildlife. Dinner is at the hotel.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7:

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

After breakfast, we fly to Zambia and cross the border into Zimbabwe, arriving at our Hemingway-style tented camp in the late afternoon. Cultural Discovery: Once we’re settled in, we head out for a rare visit to the Painted Dog Conservation Center. This important organization is dedicated to bringing back this misunderstood animal. Just a century ago, a half million of these beautiful canines, with their round ears and coats of black, beige and gold, inhabited 30 countries. Today, just a few thousand remain, and we'll learn why during our visit. Later, we'll head out on an early evening game drive, a time when many animals are at their most active, then return to our camp for dinner. 

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 8:

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Throughout our Hwange stay, we have the privilege of exploring a carefully managed private concession, so we’ll encounter fewer vehicles and be less likely to frighten the animals away. A full-day outing today introduces us to the sweeping beauty. Our 10-person safari vehicles let us witness the drama of the grassland up close, traversing mopane forests and clusters of Zambezi teak trees. We break for a picnic lunch in a breathtaking spot. This evening, we have dinner at the camp and are regaled around the campfire by a local storyteller with tales from the Shona and Ndebele tribes.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9:

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

After breakfast, we begin our exploration with a thrilling opportunity to go on walking safari. This is a rare privilege allowed only is specified corners of these big-game national parks. Our experienced guide leads the way, well prepared to detect the proximity of animals and keep us at a safe distance. After lunch back at camp, we enjoy another game drive in the bush, followed by a night game drive to spot the area’s nocturnal animals. We return to camp for a celebratory African dance performance.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10:

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

This morning, we transfer via motorcoach to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Upon arrival, we check in to the historic and gracious Victoria Falls Hotel, a grand dame from colonial days. After lunch on your own, we enjoy a guided visit to Victoria Falls National Park, with an entrance right on the hotel property. It’s an awesome experience to hear the roar of the falls and feel the mist on your face as we stroll through the subtropical rainforest created by the humid environment.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 11:

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

We explore the town at leisure this morning. Or you might join an optional “Flight of Angels” helicopter excursion over the falls or a “Zambezi Spectacular” helicopter ride over the Zambezi River. Vantage Cares: We’ll visit a local market to immerse ourselves in local culture, but also to give travelers the opportunity to pick up a few items for the residents of the village we visit next. These gifts are much appreciated by the locals, and create an opening for interaction between the villagers and our travelers. After a free afternoon, we’re invited into the home of a local family for dinner, a rare opportunity to meet Zimbabweans where they live and learn about their daily lives.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: “Flight of Angels” Over Victoria Falls,

“Flight of Angels” Over Victoria Falls

  • Approximate Cost: $175 USD per person plus $10 conservation fee
  • Approximate Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When:

Coined by David Livingstone when he first documented discovering the Falls — “A sight so wonderful that angels must have gazed down on it in flight” — the “Flight of Angels” is the most popular of the helicopter flight options. Lifting off less than two miles from the Victoria Falls town center, the “Flight of Angels” is a 12-15-minute flight over the exquisite Victoria Falls. You will fly a complete circuit over the Falls in both directions, giving you the best views possible. A quick trip up river and back over the Zambezi National Park completes your flight.



Zambezi Spectacular Flight

Zambezi Spectacular Flight

  • Approximate Cost: $345 USD per person, plus $10 per person conservation park fee, payable in cash
  • Approximate Time: 25 minutes
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When:

For a longer ride than the “Flight of Angels” treat yourself to an unbelievable helicopter flight over Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi. Enjoy a 25-minute scenic helicopter flight over Victoria Falls with spectacular views, flying lower than conventional, fixed-wing aircraft. The flight makes a complete circuit over the Falls in both directions, going up river and back over Zambezi National Park. After enjoying spectacular views of the Falls, you’ll fly over the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi River and the surrounding area, spotting villages below, and pass over Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, with magnificent wildlife viewing.



DAY 12:

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Our final day in Victoria Falls begins at leisure, or you may opt to join an elephant-back safari through the bush, with a chance to meet cheetahs and visit a local village.Vantage Cares:  We visit the Chinotimba Primary School, which offers an opportunity for us to meet the students and teachers here and see the impact Vantage Cares is making with the help of our travelers. You can also see the “Vantage Highway” – a stretch of concrete our philanthropic organization funded to help wheelchair-bound children get to school.  

Later, you might embark an optional “Trails of David Livingstone” cruise on the wild Zambezi River, an ideal backdrop for a talk about the history and culture of the region from a third-generation Zimbabwean. Cultural Discovery: This evening, we drive into Victoria Falls National Park for a true Africa experience – a three-course dinner in the bush beneath a blanket of stars. We enjoy African dancing and entertainment as we dine (weather permitting).

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Elephant, Cheetah, and Local Village Experience,

Elephant, Cheetah, and Local Village Experience

  • Approximate Cost: $269 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 5 hours
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When:

Pay a visit to the Elephant Wallow, a large, thatched boma overlooking the Masuie River, which provides a magnificent setting for guests to enjoy an elephant interaction in the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon arrival, welcome teas, coffees, croissants, and muffins will be served. After a brief introduction to the individual elephants, guests have an opportunity to interact with these gentle giants on a personal level. A short talk will follow, telling the guests more about the elephants in the Wild Horizons herd. Then join in for an extraordinary and exhilarating elephant-back wilderness safari along the edge of the Zambezi Gorges following ancient game trails. The elephant interaction is followed by a short introduction to the Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust and the opportunity to interact with Sylvester the cheetah. The tour continues with a visit to Mpisi village, where the chief will do a presentation and conduct a tour. From here you are taken to see some of the households, where you will experience the various huts that each family would live in, and be shown the daily chores and work done in a traditional household. You will then move on to the kraal, where their domestic animals would be seen. Fascinating traditional animal husbandry practices will be explained, along with the various uses each of the animals may be put to.


Trails of David Livingstone - Zambezi River Cruise

Trails of David Livingstone - Zambezi River Cruise

  • Approximate Cost: $95 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 2.5 hours
  • Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • When: Afternoon tour

Although the enormous torrents are what Victoria Falls is renowned for, the broad Zambezi River above the falls is a scenic wonder that should not be overlooked. Join us on this special cultural sunset cruise. You’ll board a sightseeing boat to explore among the multiple channels and islands that dot the wide river, while you travel back in time and learn about the epic story of David Livingstone. As the sun sets, your on-board guide will discuss the compelling tale of Livingstone’s great impact on African history, as well as his exploration and discovery of Victoria Falls. Your guide will also help point out birds and wildlife along the river's edge, including egrets, hippos, and even elephants. This is an experience you won’t want to miss! Snacks and drinks are included.


DAY 13:

Chobe National Park, Botswana

After breakfast, we transfer to Botswana and the banks of the Chobe River. Here, we board a boat and cross the river into Namibia, where the Chobe Water Villas hug the river’s shores on the other side. Our rooms here have splendid views of the Chobe from waterside decks, so we can while away our time watching water buffalo or elephants in private comfort. During your stay, you can do as much or as little as you’d like – be out all day exploring, enjoy the atmosphere of your villa, or a little of both.

This afternoon, we head out on a sunset cruise on the Chobe River. The river is a magnet for wildlife of all sorts, from hippos and crocodiles and elephants and baboons. You’ll want to bring your binoculars so you can witness incredible river scenes up close.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 14:

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Cultural Discovery: After breakfast, we drive into the Namibian countryside to visit a local village. Here, we gain a fascinating glimpse of daily life as our hosts show us around and invite us to see inside their homes and observe how they perform the daily tasks of living in the bush.

We return to our villa for lunch at The Raft, the lodge’s open-air restaurant that “floats” over the Chobe River. When everyone is ready, we embark our boat again for an afternoon river safari, spying more magnificent wildlife keeping rhythm with the current of the Chobe.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 15:

Chobe National Park, Botswana

If you wish, join an early-morning Photography Safari along the Chobe River. During this special excursion, we’ll have our own tripod station and professional camera set up onboard. Your memory card is your souvenir at tour’s end. Later, cross the river into Botswana for a full-day game drive in Chobe National Park. The park is home to Africa’s largest elephant population, so we’re sure to see a family or two roaming in the dense forests or drinking from the river. We pause for a picnic lunch in a scenic spot. We gather tonight for a special Farewell Dinner on the terrace of our lodge.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Optional Tour: Chobe Photo Safari

Chobe Photo Safari

  • Approximate Cost: $130 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Chobe, Botswana
  • When: Morning Tour

Join us for a unique wildlife experience during your stay in Chobe. Photographers of all levels can embark on this special safari in custom-built “Photo Boats” through one of the most game-filled parks on the continent. You'll be supplied with a state-of-the-art digital camera and telephoto lens as a guide shows you how to photograph the wildlife you'll encounter during this morning cruise. Hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and birds make for some compelling subjects, and the onboard guide will show you how to make the most of every photo opportunity. At the end of the cruise, you'll receive the memory card containing all of your pictures as a lasting memory of your photo safari on the Chobe River.


DAY 16:

Botswana / Return Home

After breakfast, we transfer to the Kasane airport for our flight to Johannesburg and our return flight home. Or, you will fly to Cape Town to begin your optional post-extension.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Tour Director or local representatives at the destination.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.

Note: That hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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Vantage Tauck Tours Vantage Advantage
Journey Best of Africa: South Africa, Botswana & Victoria Falls South Africa: An Elegant Adventure
Price without Air* $0 $8,690 Save more per couple!
Trip Length 0 days 12 days More days — most in-depth itinerary!
Per Diem $0 per day $724 Save more per couple per day!
Small Group travel Yes! No more than 24 travelers per departure at no extra cost! Small Group Departures are available on select dates at an additional cost of $800 per person All the benefits of Small Group Travel on every departure date at no additional cost! Save an extra $1,600 per couple!
Extend Your Value Enjoy 7 excursions and cultural discoveries in 5 days, from $200 a day! No extensions Since you've come this far we offer you the choice to make the most of your international airfare and extend your discoveries at an unbeatable value!
Sightseeing 23 sightseeing tours & Cultural Connections— a value of $3,445 per couple! 13 Sightseeing Tours 10 MORE TOURS! The most sightseeing plus exciting Cultural Connections planned to enhance your experience and immerse you in the local culture!
Meals 34 meals 26 meals More meals!
FREE Single Supplement Yes! Available on every departure date - a value of $699! Single Supplement $1,925 Best Savings for Single Travelers! Free Single Supplement & Roommate Matching available on every departure date!
Preferred Traveler Rewards 5% Vantage Travel Reward to use towards your next Vantage journey. $100 per person BEST REWARDS PROGRAM IN TRAVEL!
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