The Royal Botswana Safari with Victoria Falls visits exclusive African destinations at the ‘Smoke That Thunders’ and ‘The Last Refuge’ and features incredible accommodations.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
Tour Length: 11 days
Johannesburg | Victoria Falls | Kasane | Selinda Reserve |Okavango Delta | Maun | Johannesburg
11 Days – South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana
Commence your Royal Botswana Safari with Victoria Falls journey in the culturally rich city of Johannesburg, before winging it to Victoria Falls… what the locals call the “Smoke that Thunders”. Delight in a guided tour of the Falls and ply the famed Zambezi River on a sunset boat cruise.
Continue across the border to Botswana, known as “Old Africa’s Last Refuge” – a never-never land where the beasts roam free as they have done for millennia. The landlocked nation is blessedly underdeveloped, thanks to the severe Kalahari desert that blankets half the country under wind-blown sands. With a small human population (including some of the last remaining Bushmen), Botswana is truly a ‘wild’ safari destination.
Excitement starts immediately as your bush pilot maneuvers the light aircraft over the vast Botswana wilderness at an altitude that allows for aerial game viewing. Stay at two distinctly different yet sophisticated Botswana lodges that are unique in design and personality; each is located in specific ecological enclaves that offer a smorgasbord of activities. The fauna focus is bird life, hippo, crocodiles and other wetland species as well as the big land mammals. Open 4×4 vehicles allow you to get so close to the wildlife that you can leave your zoom lenses behind!
Royal Botswana Safari with Victoria Falls Tour Itinerary
Day 1 Depart USA
An overnight flight to South Africa… and the excitement begins.
Day 2 Johannesburg
Welcome to Africa! On arrival at O. R. Tambo International Airport, walk to your hotel to check in for your one night stay. Located only a short walk away from the arrivals hall of Johannesburg’s largest international airport, the award-winning InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport, South Africa’s only luxury airport hotel, offers travelers a luxurious and enjoyable stay upon arrival. Services and amenities at the luxury InterContinental Johannesburg O. R. Tambo Airport hotel are available to all hotel guests, in order to maximize comfort and convenience. 5 star services include complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, a health spa, indoor pool, self-service workstations and a fine dining restaurant. Relax at your airport hotel and fall asleep under African stars.
Day 3 Johannesburg – Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Check out and walk to O. R. Tambo International Airport for your flight to Victoria Falls (flight not included). On arrival at the airport, you will be met by a representative who will assist you to your complimentary transfer to the Old Drift Lodge. Located upstream of the iconic Victoria Falls, on the banks of the Zambezi River, lies Old Drift Lodge. The lodge boasts luxury accommodation overlooking the pristine Zambezi National Park, a mere 7 kilometers from the mighty Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Old Drift Lodge is nestled within a wild paradise frequented by elephant, buffalo, herds of sable, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala. The main lodge area has 360 degree views, North facing onto the Zambezi & South facing onto a water hole. A 7 kilometre stretch of river flows between the camp and the town of Victoria Falls, making Old Drift Lodge the closest lodge within the National Park to Victoria Falls.
Day 4 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Explore the impressive Victoria Falls on a guided walking tour through the rain forest. The Victoria Falls is a truly awe-inspiring experience – the sight, the sound, the smell; the humbling feeling that here indeed is Nature’s Supreme Masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality…and nothing prepares you for your first sight.
Enjoy a multi-hued sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi River, watching out for crocodile and inquisitive hippos. With the iconic river at your doorstep, it is hard not to be charmed by the calming ebb of the current. Breath taking, complex ecosystems thrive around the lodge, and as the boat bobs on the water, guests can drink in a 360-degree view of this magnificent environment.
Day 5 Victoria Falls – Kasane – Selinda Reserve, Botswana
After your morning activity, enjoy breakfast back at the lodge and bid farewell to Victoria Falls. Transfer to Kasane Airport for your scheduled air transfer to The Selinda Airstrip. On arrival at the airfield, the road transfer to Selinda Explorers Camp is approximately 45 minutes, allowing time for game viewing en route. Selinda Explorers Camp is accessible only to guests arriving by scheduled air transfers or private air charters.
The Selinda Reserve is a 300,000 acre private wildlife sanctuary in the northern part of Botswana. The reserve centers around the famous Selinda Spillway which weaves its way through the reserve, linking the outer reaches of the Okavango Delta in the west with the Linyanti Swamps in the east. As it is upstream of the Savuti system and west of the Chobe it has all the advantages of excellent game and bird viewing but with the huge advantage of being away from the main tourist routes. Wild dogs are known for denning in this area and there are cheetahs as well as good prides of lion, hyena, jackal and leopard. This area is a wildlife hot spot which is home to huge herds of elephant and buffalo. It is here that lion, wild dog, sable and roan antelope are all spotted on a regular basis.
Day 6 Selinda Reserve, Botswana
There’s an old saying that great things come in little packages… Selinda Explorers Camp is no exception! Small – catering for only 8 guests – but perfectly formed, its “Wow” factor lies in the experience it offers, treading in the footsteps of Livingstone and Selous, both of whom wandered right through the area in which the camp is situated. It’s also in the grandeur of the expedition-style decor, with campaign furniture and vintage traveling trunks lending an authentic, transient atmosphere to the camp’s traditional canvas tents. Under a canopy of towering jackalberry and mangosteen trees, the four custom-designed tents embody the philosophy of exploration, sitting squarely on the earth, connecting guests directly with the pulse of the wild. They’re spacious and stay true to the classic age of safari, when the journey was more important than the destination.
With the wildlife viewing activities mainly focused on guided walks and canoe trips followed by open vehicle game drives, this wildlife hot spot is home to huge herds of elephant, buffalo, prides of lion, wild dog, sable and roan antelope which are all spotted on a regular basis, whether you are on a guided walk, canoe trip or open vehicle game drive. And because at Selinda Explorers Camp the focus is on walking, you will be seeing the small, incredibly interesting things often missed on vehicles. After the safari experience, guests enjoy a delicious dinner back at Selinda Explorers Camp and then rest up for tomorrow’s adventures.
Day 7 Selinda Reserve – Duba Plains, Botswana
After enjoying your morning activity, enjoy breakfast back at the lodge and then transfer to the Selinda Airstrip for your scheduled air transfer, a 30 minute journey, to The Duba Plains Airstrip. The renowned Duba Plains Camp sits in the heart of the Okavango Delta. A matrix of palm-dotted islands, flood plains and woodland, the 77,000 acres private reserve typical of the region’s unique landscape. Duba Plains Camp offers 5 bespoke tents, in addition to a separate 2 bedroom suite aptly named the Duba Plains Suite, all designed by Dereck Joubert to blend into the forest and to take advantage of the shapes and textures of the shade but also to evoke the old classic African safari style of the 1920’s. It is a wildlife connoisseur’s getaway with literally thousands of animals in an almost endless pattern across the flood plains. Upon arrival, guests are transferred to Duba Plains Camp and may enjoy lunch at the lodge, pending your arrival time.
Day 8 Duba Plains, Botswana
Duba Plains prides itself on its extraordinary wildlife experiences and intimate up close exposure to the best of the best wildlife, from lions and leopards to elephants and buffalo and everything in between. Duba Plains is also known for interesting Kalahari species like Aardwolf and Pangolins.
Encounter huge herds of buffalo, elephant and zebra – favorite prey for hungry lions, cheetah and leopard. Witness survival of the fittest on daily game drives in open safari vehicles, conducted by professional safari guides. The evenings draw to a close with sumptuous feasts under starred heavens, serenaded by the night-time bush calls. Each of our camps have executive chefs and a hand-picked wine list and Duba Plains is no exception, boasting a cellar of a few hundred bottles of wine from friends of the Jouberts.
Day 9 Duba Plains, Bostwana
An early morning game drive take you out into a wild landscape. Expect to see a huge range of creatures, from big cats to rhino, antelope, and buffalo. Equally atmospheric and exciting are evening drives. Animals and birds emerge from their siesta, and suddenly the bush is alive with sights and sounds.
Day 10 Duba Plains – Maun – Johannesburg – Depart
Guests will enjoy a hearty breakfast at the lodge and depart on an early morning game activity. Upon return, guests will be transferred by road from the lodge to the Duba Plains Airstrip to Maun Airport. On arrival at Maun Airport, check in for your onward flight Johannesburg (flight not included). Shake off the bush dust, wing back to Johannesburg and board your departure flight.
Day 11 Arrive USA
With unforgettable safari memories of your Royal Botswana Safari with Victoria Falls.