Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa...
Day 1 : Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Arrival
Welcome to Zimbabwe! Resting on the southern banks of the Zambezi River at the western end of the eponymous falls, the town of Victoria Falls is compact enough to walk around and is an ideal base for travelers exploring the seventh natural 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 surrounding area provides both adventure seekers and sightseers with plenty of opportunities. If you arrive by early evening, you can cruise the Zambezi River on a boat called the Zambezi Explorer. We have reserved the “Signature Deck” on the upper most level of the boat. This deck offers gourmet hors d’oeuvres and beverages served from a private bar while cruising down this mighty body of water. Guests can relax in the comfort of the plush couches. It is the perfect way to get over jet lag and relax after your long flight.
- Activities : Arrival & airport pick-up; Free time; Zambezi River luxury cruise
- Meals : *Dinner (hors d’oeuvres on river cruise)
- Accommodation : Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
*Please note that dinner is provided only if you arrive in time for the Zambezi River cruise. The cruise is all-inclusive (premium/top shelf beverages are extra).
Day 2 : Victoria Falls
After breakfast at our lodge, we’ll head to Victoria Falls for a guided tour of what a local tribe once described as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. However, it is known today as the world’s grandest waterfall. After our adventure at the majestic curtain of cascading water, we’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch in a restaurant perched above the waterfall for a meal with views like you’ve never seen before. After the meal, you will have the option of participating in some activities around the falls which include flying through the skies on the longest zip line in the world, soaring through the treetops on a canopy tour of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River, canoeing the Upper Zambezi for bird and game watching, and more! You’ll have the afternoon at your leisure to explore the town a bit more or kick back and relax at the lodge while trying to spot some game at the nearby watering hole which the hotel overlooks.
Later, get ready for an evening of non-stop entertainment with performances by traditional singers, dancers and drummers, face painting and a four-course dinner featuring local cuisine. The grand finale is an interactive drumming show, giving you the chance to discover your inner African rhythm! On arrival to the performance, you will be dressed in a chitenge (sarong) and have the chance to take part in a traditional hand washing ceremony as well as sip on a mug of local beer.
- Activities : Victoria Falls guided tour; Optional activities (At your own expense); Free time; Boma drum and dinner show
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation : Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Day 3 : Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (Travel time approximately 3 hours)
After breakfast, we’ll make our way to our accommodation at Hwange National Park, The Hide. The Hide has been consistently voted “Best Tented Safari Camp in Zimbabwe” over the last 10 years since 1995. Situated on the Eastern Boundary of Hwange National Park in a five square kilometer area, it is one of the few camps in the National Park itself. Unlike other camps in the area, long drives from the camp to the park are not necessary as you will be in reality, a part of the park itself, and the wildlife migration on its private concession is second to none. The camp was opened in 1992 and has undergone two major refurbishments since opening. Its main goal and motto is “To offer The Ultimate Wildlife Experience in Zimbabwe”. On arrival to our accommodation, you will have time to get settled into your luxury tents and enjoy the beautiful scenery that surrounds you. In the evening, let’s sit around a fire and listen to Toto’s famous song “Africa” as we try to catch sight of local game at the watering hole!
- Activities : Hwange National Park transfer; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, *Dinner
- Accommodation : The Hide
*House alcoholic beverages are included with meals (top shelf and premium are at extra cost). Laundry services are also included.
Day 4 : Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Situated in western Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the country’s biggest reserve. It is home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffes, lions, zebras and approximately 40,000 elephants. It provides a sanctuary for endangered species, including a population of wild dogs thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent. The park’s magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests.
At The Hide, you will have the chance to go on two game rides and/or walks in the morning and afternoon around the park with a guide to view predators and prey alike. The guides at The Hide have undergone some of the most rigorous training in Africa and their passion for and knowledge of the bush is part of what makes these safaris so special. The scope and scale of Hwange’s wildlife is such that there is generally always something to see. Once the sun sets, we can head out for another game drive to see if you can spot anything out on the prowl. The waterhole at The Hide is particularly special, being the only source of permanent water for a good-sized area. So even if you don’t feel like venturing out, you will still be able to enjoy the daily visitors to the camp, which often include elephant, giraffe, zebra, impala, waterbuck and kudu. Lions also occasionally make an appearance!
Check out a video of Hwange National Park and our hotel by clicking HERE.
- Activities : 3 game drives/walks; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation : The Hide
Day 5 : Chobe National Park, Botswana (Travel time approximately 4.5 hours)
The Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park, renowned for its diverse and abundant game viewing opportunities. This section of the park is best known for its dense concentration of wildlife including elephant and hippo populations, but the waters attract all manner of game including large herds of buffalo and the lions that prey on them. A visit to this area guarantees close encounters with an array of African wildlife.
One of the best ways to experience this amazing part of the world is camping overnight in the very heart of this incredible park, which you will be able to do. While it is not luxury camping, it is also not your basic sleeping bag and tent camping. Under the accommodation tab, you can view pictures of the camp at which we’ll be staying. Additionally, those who are sharing a room can have a tent to yourself at no extra charge. We will be camping inside the park and a guide, cook, driver and assistant will accompany us for the duration of our time in Chobe National Park. The other hotels in which you’ll be staying during this trip are 5 star luxury lodges and you’ll only be “roughing it” for 2 nights. Camping in Africa is a once in a lifetime opportunity that few are able to or adventurous enough to do, but when you are on the African plains looking up at the the blanket of stars covering the night sky, any discomforts or fears will fade and you will be left with an experience that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
If you’re not up for camping, you also have the option of staying at a nearby lodge in Chobe National Park. You can read about the alternative accommodation by clicking HERE.
- Activities : Chobe National Park transfer; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation : Tent or Chobe Bush Lodge
Day 6 : Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park lies nestled in Botswana’s Northeast corner; neighbored by three other African countries. It is home to the world’s largest elephant population, scores of other large herbivores, amazing birdlife, and Africa’s largest predators : lions, leopards, and wild dogs. We will go on various game drives and walks as well as boat rides in this park and as we will be staying inside the actual park, we will have much better opportunities to see wildlife. Our skilled guides will be on the lookout for game in the area and we can hop just into our jeeps and search for some amazing animals in their natural habitat.
- Activities : Game drives/walks; Boat rides; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation : Tent or Chobe Bush Lodge
Day 7 : Moremi Game Reserve (Charter flight. Travel time approximately 2 hours)
This morning, we’ll hop on a chartered plane toward our lodge in the Moremi Game Reserve, situated in the east of the Okavango Delta. It ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa and covers more than 4,871 square kilometers of pristine wilderness and the varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and dense forest. This diverse ecosystem supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, 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 Botswana’s national bird list.
On the charter flight, we’ll be flying at low altitudes which will give us great arial views of the plains and maybe a mass migration, if we’re lucky!
- Activities : Moremi Game Reserve air transfer; Game drives/Boat trip; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation : Camp Xakanaxa
Day 8 : Moremi Game Reserve
The Moremi Game Reserve is home to the most endangered species of large mammals: the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. Over 500 bird species (from water birds to forest dwellers) and over a 1,000 species of plants are also recognized in the Moremi. This ecosystem is amongst the richest in Africa. And thanks to effective protection, the flora and fauna is relatively undisturbed. Often referred to as a ‘Garden of Eden’, the Moremi Game Reserve offers excellent game viewing year-round and stunning landscapes of savannah, floodplains, lagoons, dense forests (where leopards and wild dogs hide) and winding rivers. We’ll depart on game drives and boat trips today in hopes of discovering the paradise.
- Activities : Maun charter air transfer; Cape Town commercial air transfer
- Meals : Breakfast
- Accommodation : *Hotel
*Our hotel is a Fair Trade/Ethical Hotel
Day 10 : Cape Town
Today is a public holiday. It is Youth Day, where South Africans remember the youth uprising in 1976 that so shaped resistance to the apartheid system. We have left this day open for you, with recommendations for activities, including any of the events that might take place on this day. You could use this day to explore Table Mountain, if the weather allows, and just walk around the city, enjoying a traffic-free experience!
- Activities : Free time (Optional activities at your own expense)
- Meals : Breakfast
- Accommodation : Hotel
Day 11 : Cape Town
Our guide will collect us in the morning at the hotel for a full day of creative adventures in the city. First up we will meet a local graffiti artist, who hosts an exploration of the street as the gallery. We will tour artwork in the neighboring suburbs of Woodstock and Salt River, two of the most important areas for murals in the country. The street art walk finishes at the Woodstock Exchange, one of the city’s creative hubs. After a short exploration here, we will be taken to meet a hot young fashion designer nearby, hear his story and check out his range.
Last night we experienced beautiful choral music. Today, we will visit a musician for lunch and tap into goema music in the city. Goema is the music of the carnival, and it has infused jazz, rock, punk, hip hop and every form of music that has emerged from Cape Town. If you like, it is the mother-tongue music of the city. We will journey into the history of Cape Town through music, as well as hear contemporary original pieces that draw on the goema rhythms sounds. A traditional Cape Malay style lunch will be served, celebrating in food the heritage of goema.
For the final part of the afternoon, we will visit the Montebello Design Precinct in Newlands, home to a variety of artistic output and quirky design. Our visit will be centered around a visit to ceramicist and artist John Bauer at his studio in the precinct, his work is some of the most extraordinary creative expression. We will return to the guesthouse in the early evening after which you’ll have the rest of the evening at your leisure.
- Activities : Street art tour; Goema music experience; Local ceramicist’s studio; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
- Accommodation : Hotel
Day 12 : Cape Town
Our guide will meet us at the hotel again this morning and we will head out for the winelands. Today will mix up creativity, wine, history and culture in the winelands. To start with, the ride is a little different. We have invited a winemaker to join the journey to the winelands, and conduct a tasting session in transit.
The second tasting of the day is all rock ‘n roll! We will visit Black Elephant Vintners in Franschhoek, where we will be hosted for a tasting session where each of their wines is paired with a piece of music, telling a very personal aspect of the journey that the partners at BEV have taken. Great wines, great stories, and a very different approach.
Once we are done, we will venture into the Dwars River Valley, a 15 minute drive from Franschhoek. For the rest of the afternoon, our focus will be on culinary traditions. The Dwars River Valley, centered by the town of Pniel, is the most unique part of the Winelands, home to the descendants of freed slaves, going back to emancipation in 1837. We’ll start with a gatsby, the iconic Cape street food, created in the Cape Flats and named after the Great Gatsby. The Masala Steak Gatsby is the big daddy of this game, shared outside the Sonskyn Cafe in Pniel. Then we will head to the Pniel Museum for a short overview of the fascinating cultural and political history of the area, before having the famous indigenous rooibos tea and koesusters, a sweet treat, at the Museum Tea Garden. We’ll head to Aunty Siena’s home restaurant Beker en Bord in Kylemore for her roosterbrood and fig jam and fabulous stories about life in the valley, and finally we will eat at Chris’ chisa nyama or hot meat bar in Lanquedoc, just across the valley from Kylemore. Chris will prepare a mix of barbequed dishes, from talapia fish through to lamb chops and traditional boerewors with sides like pap and chakalaka. And then back to the guesthouse, fully satisfied!
- Activities : Natural wine tasting; Musical wine tasting experience; Dwars River Valley food and history tour; Free time
- Meals : Breakfast, Lunch (Food tour)
- Accommodation : Hotel
Day 13 : Cape Town Departure
Depending on your flight time, you will have free time on your own in Cape Town before catching your flight back home.
- Activities : Free time; Airport drop-off
- Meals : Breakfast
*Itinerary is subject to change.
Regular Season 13-day Tours
Trip cost $6,900. (See below for inclusions and exclusions.)
The initial trip deposit is $1,725 and will be followed by three more $1,725 payments. Final payment is due 60 days before the trip start date.
I’m a single traveler. Will I be charged a single supplement?
If you would like to be paired up with someone of the same gender on the trip to avoid paying the single supplement, we can arrange this for you. If there is no one with whom to pair you up, you WILL have to pay the single supplement. Pairing with another person of the same gender comes on a first-come, first-served basis. After you reserve your spot, we will send you a questionnaire pertaining to this. Please return it to us immediately, so that we may try our best to accommodate your needs.
If you want a single room throughout the tour, you can purchase the “single supplement“. The single supplement fee for this trip is $1,200. If you would like your own room, you can buy the additional supplement at check-out.
Please note : During the camping experience in Chobe National Park, you can opt for your own tent at no extra charge because the tents are quite small.
What is included :
- 12 nights accommodation (Luxury, all-inclusive lodges, African plains camping)
- Private ground transportation
- 2 direct charter flights direct (Single engine plane)
- 1 international commercial flight (Maun, Botswana – Cape Town, South Africa)
- Activities as indicated on itinerary
- All breakfasts, 9 lunches, 8 dinners
- Airport pick-ups and drop-offs
- All national park fees
- Laundry services at all-inclusive lodges
- Alcoholic beverages at all-inclusive lodges (Excluding top shelf/premium brands)
What is not included :
- Optional excursions and activities
- 2 lunches and 3 dinners
- Premium/Top shelf alcoholic beverages (At all-inclusive lodges)
- International flight
Our tour groups have a maximum of 12 travelers plus local guides as well as expert safari guides and game trackers. We prefer small group travel because based on our experience, large groups are less easily able to integrate into a society and generally have less authentic contact with the locals. Additionally, a small group allows us go on game drives with more ease and efficiency. The more people in the tour group, the more the group experiences their own “group culture” rather than the one of the country that they are visiting.
A small group number also means that tour group members will receive more personal treatment by the tour guides who can more thoroughly attend to the needs of each person. Small tour groups are also more mobile and can be easily integrated into a social scene. Small groups also allow us to stay in more unique and local accommodation rather than in large scale tourist hotels. In this way, the traveler is more likely to be treated as an individual rather than a tourist ready to be exploited for his or her money.
Small groups are low-impact because they don’t introduce a large number of foreigners to a local scene where they can have adverse impacts on the local society and other travelers. For example, a large tour group can take up all the seats on a local bus, or book an entire restaurant forcing locals and other travelers away from their preferences.
This tour is rated 4/10 in terms of physical difficulty with 10 being the most difficult. During most of the trip you will be escorted around in jeep, charter plane or boat, so you won’t have to exert yourself physically very much while traveling. You may find that some of the game walks may be more difficult depending on your level of fitness. Other than these things, this trip is accessible for everyone. Remember, if you’re not feeling up for a particular activity, you don’t have to do it!
Zimbabwe has its own currency, but the USD is accepted almost everywhere and preferred.
Botswana uses a combination of its own currency called the pula (BWP) and the USD.
- Botswana : 1 USD ≈ 10 BWP
South Africa uses the rand (ZAR).
- South Africa : 1 USD ≈ 15 ZAR
In Zimbabwe, the USD is widely accepted and it is advised to carry small denominations of change with you. However it is best to pay for as much as possible outside of the country. USD work best and are widely accepted in supermarkets, restaurants, activities and gratuities. South African Rand and Euros are only accepted in some places in Victoria Falls. Do not plan on being able to use cash machines in Zimbabwe to withdraw money. Before leaving home, please exchange all the money that you will need for your trip, plus extra, into USD if needed. Most of this should be in 1, 5, 10 and 20 denominations because change is not always available. In an emergency, you can try Barclays Bank, Stanbic Bank or Standard Chartered Bank as they will infrequently accept foreign debit cards for withdrawing cash. With this in mind, it is important to bring enough cash with you during your stay in Zimbabwe.
In Botswana, USD are typically only accepted at the large resorts and lodges. In almost all other places, only BWP (pula) are accepted. Visa and MasterCard credit cards are also frequently accepted. You may opt to exchange money at one of the many money changers, banks and authorized hotels, but be aware that the rates and fees will more than likely be unfavorable. ATMs are common in Botswana. and can usually be found in both large & small cities. However, the ATMs frequently run out of bills, so make sure to have enough USD in cash to exchange. It is a good idea to make sure you have smaller denominations because US$100 and even US$50 bills are often rejected in shops and even banks. So always bring a mixture of US$5, US$10 and US$20 notes. US$1 notes make useful (generous) tips for porters. US dollars, Euros, British Pounds and the South African Rand are the most easily convertible currencies (and accepted by some establishments – but then, generally, an inflated rate of exchange will be applied). Keep in mind that cultural sites and community art and craft outlets usually only accept cash.
In South Africa, the rand (ZAR) is the official currency and no other currency is legal tender. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted at many places of business in Cape Town. Cash is mostly handy for small vendors at local markets and tipping. If you choose to exchange USD to ZAR, then be sure never to exchange with someone who approaches you on the street, but rather at official money exchange kiosks/stores. Otherwise, ATMs are plentiful in Cape Town.
Below are some notes to help you prepare and budget for your trip :
- Be prepared to pay a foreign transaction fee depending on your credit/debit card. Check with your bank to learn more about fees while traveling.
- ATMs can be found in Botswana and are plentiful in South Africa, so you can conveniently pull out money. Many banks include a surcharge for each withdrawal. Because of this, pulling out a larger sum at a time might be a good idea. It is also a good idea to check with your home bank about their international ATM withdrawal fees. The withdrawal limit per transaction at ATMs in Cape Town is 2000 ZAR (approximately $150 USD).
- We recommend calling your bank before departure to let them know that you will be traveling so that your card is not put on hold. It is also a good idea to contact your bank to get any other information about international usage fees and your card while traveling. You may also consider getting a second card just in case you lose your primary one or it gets demagnetized, stolen, or eaten by an ATM.
On arrival in Victoria Falls, you should have a good amount of cash on your person because withdrawing from an ATM and/or exchanging are not feasible options. We suggest having at least $400 – $600 USD in cash with you on arrival (for the few meals that are not included, souvenirs and in case of an emergency). About $100 – $200 of that should be in smaller denominations of US$5, US$10 and US$20 bills. Most of our lodges in Zimbabwe and Botswana are all-inclusive, so you should not need much cash until you get to Cape Town, South Africa. If you tend to prefer top-shelf/premium label alcoholic beverages, they do come at an extra charge at the all-inclusive lodges, so please budget according to your preferences.
Please note that many currencies such as Australian dollars and Canadian dollars are not commonly exchanged in these countries for the local currencies. The best currency to exchange for the local currencies are U.S. dollars.
A suggested amount of money to bring on this trip for food that is not included, gratuities, alcoholic beverages and souvenirs is $400 – $600. If you tend to have more expensive tastes, go for big nights out on the town or like to buy many souvenirs, then plan to bring more than the suggested amount. WE HIGHLY ADVISE BUDGETING MORE MONEY THAN YOU EXPECT TO SPEND IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
Like most travel destinations, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa do not lack in its offerings of unique items. You will be visiting a lot of really fantastic places that offer unique gift items that you might deem suitable for friends and family back home. Here are just a few things to consider : wood carvings from the unique local flora; hand woven baskets made from fan palms; rooibos tea, a South African staple; the possibilities are endless!
Wifi will be available at the lodge in Victoria Falls, the reception area of The Hide in Hwange National Park, the library at Camp Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve and at the hotel in Cape Town. However, please be aware that it will not likely be as fast as you’re used to and the connection may not be stable. The campsite in Chobe National Park will not have wifi and you will be there for 2 days/2 nights, so please plan accordingly.
If you have a smart phone, roaming will likely apply, but coverage may not be as good or even absent in the more remote mountain and desert areas. Please contact your cell phone service provider to get informed about data and call roaming while abroad.
In Zimbabwe, the rains come principally in December, January, February and March; the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe’s higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.
By April and May most of the rain is gone, leaving a verdant setting, which is starting to dry out. Especially in more southerly and higher locations, the night-time temperatures start to drop.
The nights in June, July and August become much cooler, so don’t forget to bring some warmer clothes, in case you want to spend an evening outside; the days are still clear and warm. For Zimbabwe, this is the start of the ‘peak season’– days are often cloudless and game sightings continually increase. In June, average highs are in the upper 70s Fahrenheit (24° ~ 26°C) and lows can dip into the mid-40s (7° ~ 8°C).
Into September and October the temperatures rise once again: Zimbabwe’s lower-lying rift valley – Mana Pools – can get very hot in October. During this time, you’ll see some fantastic game, as the Zimbabwe’s wildlife concentrates around the limited water sources.
November is unpredictable; it can be hot and dry, it can also see the season’s first rainfalls – and in this respect it’s a very interesting month, as on successive days, you can see both weather patterns.
Botswana’s climatic pattern is typical of southern Africa, although its rainfall is less than countries further east. The rains in Botswana come mostly between December and March, when average minimum temperatures are in the low 20°s. Some days will be bright and sunny, some will have afternoon thunderstorms, and some will just be grey.
April and May in Botswana are generally lovely, with the sky clear and the landscape green. Night temperatures start to drop during these months, especially in the Kalahari. Note that places in and around the Okavango tend to have less extreme, more moderate temperatures than the drier areas of the Kalahari.
From June to August the night-time temperatures in drier areas can be close to freezing, but it warms up rapidly during the day, when the sky is usually clear and blue. It’s now very much ‘peak season’ for most safari areas: the land is dry in most areas so the animals congregate around the few available water sources. In June, the weather in Botswana is almost identical to that of Zimbabwe.
This continues into September and October, when temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. This is the best time for big game safaris – although October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes exceeding 100°F (≈40°C).
November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October’s heat, whilst sometimes it’s cooled by the first rains; it’s always an interesting month.
In South Africa, expect cooler temperatures with average highs being in the upper 60s Fahrenheit (19 ~ 21°C) and lows in the low 50s (11 ~ 13°C). A thin, but warm jacket will come in handy for your time in Cape Town.
*If there is rain, snow, wind or any other weather conditions that nature decides to throw at us, all activities and excursions will continue as planned unless the weather is deemed unsafe.
When in Zimbabwe and Botswana the cardinal rule is to wear casual, comfortable clothes during the day as temperatures can get very hot, especially when on the move during the day. It is advisable to wear light loose fitting clothing, such as cotton or linen, as they are cool and easy to wash. Warmer clothes are advised for the evenings and rainwear for the wet season.
A brimmed hat and sunglasses are a good idea year round. Long sleeved shirts and long trousers will also guard against the scorching sun rays. It is recommended you wear light shoes, especially if your itinerary entails a lot of walking.
For safaris, please remember to wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Earth colored clothes, such as browns, greens and tans are advisable.
In winter, wear trousers, long sleeved shirts / blouses and jerseys. From May – August, night temperatures can fall below 0°C (32°F), so warm jerseys and jackets are vital, especially on morning and evening game drives. Garments of neutral colors that blend with the bush and forest are advisable for safaris and game viewing. Bring a lightweight jacket and/or jersey for unexpected temperature changes or rain. Closed, comfortable walking shoes or gym shoes are a must in all seasons. Special attention should be given to protection from the sun. Bring a sunhat, good quality sunscreen, sun lotion and polarized sunglasses. Wide brimmed sun hats are essential.
South Africa will be a bit cooler, so be sure to bring a warm jacket. The style isn’t much different from what you’d see elsewhere in Europe or North America, so jeans are acceptable unless you’re planning for a night out on the town or a formal event. Bring a pair of comfortable shoes for any walking we do on our day tours. A scarf that can be easily packed snugly into a purse or daypack will also come in handy to keep warm, especially if you tend to run cold.
What to Bring
Below are a few things that we suggest bringing to make your trip more comfortable :
- A positive attitude and open mind
- Comfortable, light and loose fitting clothing
- Warm jacket (for evenings)
- Travel-sized umbrella
- Brimmed hat
- Long sleeved shirt
- Long pants
- Light, comfortable walking shoes/sneakers (for game drives/walks)
- Earth colored clothing
- Insect repellent
- Wide brimmed hat
- Diarrhea/constipation medicine
- Motion sickness medicine (if needed)
- Flip flops
- Small backpack or across the shoulder bag for the day
- Hand sanitizer
- Napkins/roll of toilet paper
- Small hair dryer
- Travel sized snacks for longer transfers
- Ziplock bags for electronics (for extreme weather)
- Warm pajamas and socks for the tented camp at night
In Zimbabwe, the current is 220/240 volts at 50 cycles per second. Both square and round plugs are used. In Botswana, electrical sockets are the “Type M” South African SABS1661 (“Large” 15 amp BS-546) sockets. This is actually an old British standard. The “Type M ” South African plug and socket is not to be confused with the “Type D ” Indian plug and socket. In pictures, they look very similar, but the South African type is much larger than the Indian type, and they are physically incompatible. If your appliance’s plug doesn’t match the shape of these sockets, you will need a travel plug adapter in order to plug in. The electrical sockets in Botswana usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you’re plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need.
Please note that travel plug adapters do not change the voltage, so the electricity coming through the adapter will still be the same 220-240 volts the socket is supplying. If you need to use appliances that are not compatible with 220-240 volt electrical input, you will need a voltage converter.
Food & Drink
In Zimbabwe, British colonization has made its mark on the country’s cuisine. Some specialties include sadza, a maize meal porridge; dovi, a traditional peanut butter stew with vegetables and/or meat; game meat, i.e. ostrich, warthog and crocodile tail! In Bostwana, many of the dishes consist of maize and meat. Botswana’s national dish is seswaa, a meat stew served over thick polenta. In South Africa, much of the food has an eclectic mix of local, Dutch, Malay and French influence and typically includes a lot of meat. You will also find that South Africa has a very prevalent tea culture centered around its native rooibos tea.
While traveling throughout Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, most transportation will be arranged for you with the exception of your free time for optional activities during which you may opt to take a taxi if your destination is too far to be reached on foot. The rest of the time we will be traveling together as a group in a private van, all terrain vehicle or chartered airplane.
Most areas of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa that you will visit on this trip experience less crimes compared to bigger U.S. and European cities. During your time in the larger cities, it is suggested to travel in groups of two or more even though it is very unlikely that you will face any violence. As with any travel destination, it is important to be aware of your surroundings with a secure over the shoulder day pack that closes tightly. This way your belongings won’t easily become the property of any purse snatchers or pickpockets.
Your guides are handpicked for their expertise and are an excellent resource for questions about local society, history, and culture. They will work to ensure that each individual has the most rewarding experience possible. Like local friends, our guides show you the best of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa by providing direct access to the people and places less traveled. It should also be noted that it is standard practice for each traveler to tip your safari guide $10 USD per day and the tracker $5 USD per day. Tips for day guides in Cape Town are also much appreciated and are typically around $5 USD per day , especially if you like your guides and you thought that they helped you have the trip of a lifetime!
As a general rule, it is a good idea to drink bottled water in Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is safe to drink in some areas, but not in others, so bottled water is the best way to go. This is available everywhere we visit on this tour. In South Africa, most will agree that the tap water is safe for consumption, especially in Cape Town. Remember to be sure to drink the recommended 2~3 liters or more of water per day in order to stay hydrated, especially when going on game walks.
Should you fall ill, you will be directed to the best-trained doctors and international hospitals in each country.
Tipping is a standard in the countries we will be visiting, but there is no set of rules defining how much should be given for various services. Many locals, especially those working in the service industries, are quite poorly compensated for their work, so tipping helps them earn decent wages. Generally 10~15% of the total bill is acceptable as a tip unless you feel that the service exceeded your expectations. It is a good idea to keep spare change in a coin purse as this will come in handy in situations when leaving a tip. Below is a basic guide of who and how much to tip.
- Bellhop : $1 or more per piece of luggage depending on size and weight.
- Taxi : 10% of fare.
- Hotel maid : $1 a day daily or at the end of your stay in cash in the pillow case on your bed.
- Bartender/Waiter : 10% (maximum) of the bill at restaurants unless it is already included, 10 ~ 20% in South Africa.
- Tour guide : $10 per day (safari guides), $5 per day (trackers), $5 per day (day guides)
- Driver : 30 ~ 50 MAD per day (approximately $3 ~ $5 USD) at the end of the trip.
You will receive your pre-departure notes by email approximately 1 ~ 2 weeks prior to the trip start date and they will have the name of the hotel as well as pertinent phone numbers and information.
The first official group meet will be on the morning of Day 2 after breakfast in the hotel lobby. This will be discussed in greater detail in your pre-departure notes that you will receive by email approximately 2 weeks before your trip. If you arrive early on Day 1, you will meet some of the group on the luxury Zambezi River cruise.
Your arrival city is Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Return flights should be for 13 days later, from Cape Town, South Africa.
Once you reserve your spot on the trip, we will contact you regarding your arrival in Victoria Falls and departure from Cape Town and also whether or not you would like to book extra nights in either location.
Most of those traveling to Zimbabwe are required to get a visa, which can be obtained at the Victoria Falls airport on arrival. Fees for the visa on arrival will vary from country to country. Most travelers to Botswana and South Africa for less than 90 days in each country DO NOT need a visa. While it is not required, we always recommend having at least 6 months of validity on your passport. You should also have 1 ~ 2 blank pages per country in your passport for visas and stamps.
If coming from the USA, Australia or New Zealand, the cost for a visa on arrival in Zimbabwe is $30 USD. If coming from Canada, $75 and from the UK, $55. Please note, you only need to buy a single-entry visa upon arrival at the airport. If you do not reside in the countries noted above or would like more information on the visa fees, please click HERE.
*Please do not book any flights until you receive an email confirmation from us, which will be sent to you 1 ~ 2 business days after booking the trip.
PEAK Season : July to October – The peak water flow at Victoria Falls is from March to May is in peak and shoulder seasons. Note that September and October are extremely hot and dry months.
SHOULDER Season : May to June – This period experiences mild temperatures, virtually no rain and a low malaria risk. Shoulder season is the best time to visit this part of the world for game viewing. Seasonal pools of water dry up in the bush and animals come to the visible water sources such as rivers and waterholes to drink.
LOW Season : November to April – The rains come principally in this period and the further north you are, the earlier the precipitation arrives and the later it leaves. Zimbabwe’s higher eastern areas usually receive more rainfall than the lower-lying western ones.
All of the lodges and hotels on the tour, with the exception of our first hotel, only offer 10 – 12 rooms. This means that we will likely be the only group on game drives. At bigger hotels/lodges made for ‘tour groups’, there are several groups on game drives/walks simultaneously. At these large scale tourist lodges, the first few jeeps on the game drives are usually the only ones to spot wildlife while the last jeeps do not get to see anything because the first jeeps scare the wildlife away. As our group will likely be the only guests at the lodge, we have a bit more flexibility about safari departure times and the guides/staff will be able to give us more personalized attention both at the lodges and during the game drives. This extra touch will enhance this experience of a lifetime!
The lodges in Hwange National Park and Moremi Game Reserve are all-inclusive. This means that all meals, snacks, drinks, activities and laundry services are free of charge. Please note that top shelf/premium label alcoholic beverages will be at an extra charge.
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge — Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Hide — Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe (all-inclusive)
Camping — Chobe National Park, Botswana
If you are sharing a room with someone on the trip, you can opt for your own tent at no extra charge since they are small. The bathrooms are mobile toilets with canvas around them (long drop restrooms) and enclosed bucket showers are arranged for the group.
June is dry season and day-time temperatures are usually in the upper 70s with clear skies. It is typically cool in the shade and hot in the sun. Evening temperatures are generally in the mid to upper 60s. Nighttime and early morning temperatures can drop into the low 50s and occasionally the 40s. It’s ideal weather for camping, but be sure to bring warm pajamas!
You have the option of staying at Chobe Bush Lodge if you are not up for camping. You can see information, pictures and reviews of this alternative accommodation by clicking HERE.
Camp Xakanaxa — Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Parker Cottages — Cape Town, South Africa
*All hotels are subject to change.
We recommend that you purchase trip/travel insurance for your trip. We work with Travelex, which offers travel protection plans to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more. Otherwise, you are welcome to shop around online for a provider and policy that best suits your needs.
For more information on the recommended plans or to enroll, click on the image below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792. Globe Drifters’ reference location number is 09-0984.
The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 E7N]
Price based on double occupancy. Single Supplement can be purchased for an additional $1,200.