overview

Your 13-day adventure encompasses the spirit of the luxurious safaris of old. Experience the old-world elegance of Rovos Rail as you journey from South Africa to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, before you embark on a tour of authentic safari lodges in Botswana’s best wildlife habitats.

The journey begins in Pretoria, where you board the magnificent Rovos Rail train. Head north through the goldfields of Johannesburg and onwards past the Magaliesberg Mountains and into Botswana. Travelling up the eastern side of the country, you cross into Zimbabwe, where the tracks take you through the famous Hwange National Park, where you will enjoy a game drive from The Hide. On the fourth day you arrive at Victoria Falls, where the Victoria Falls Hotel will host you as you explore this beautiful World Heritage Site and enjoy its exciting activities.

Departing Victoria Falls, you re-enter Botswana and fly to the Chobe Game Reserve, where you enjoy thrilling wildlife encounters on game drives from Chobe Under Canvas Camp. Then fly south to Savute Under Canvas for more wildlife adventures before you travel on to the Okavango Delta, the jewel in Botswana’s dazzling wildlife crown. With three nights at Sandibe Lodge, you are able to explore the myriad wonders of this unique wetland by 4x4, foot, boat and canoe.

This unique journey is perfect to experience the many wonders of these three countries in absolute comfort and luxury, coupled with compelling scenery and amazing wildlife encounters.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Take a luxurious Rovos Rail train journey
  • Game viewing in Hwange National Park
  • Visit the iconic Victoria Falls
  • Day & night game drives in Botswana
  • Excellent dry-season elephant viewing
  • Fantastic year-round big game viewing & birding
  • Safari walks & canoe excursions
  • Experience the world-famous Okavango Delta

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1

All aboard!

You board the train in the morning at the elegant Rovos Rail station in Pretoria and begin the journey north. Travelling through the goldfields of Johannesburg, you enjoy a sumptuous lunch in the beautiful dining car, before moving to the open-air observation car for a view of the surrounding countryside through the train’s enormous picture windows as you skirt the Magaliesberg Mountains. That evening, as a delectable dinner is served, the train rolls onward to Mafikeng for the border formalities to enter Botswana. 

Day 2

Into Botswana

The capital Gaborone rolls past the windows as you tuck into a hearty breakfast and the tracks lead north as you traverse the eastern side of Botswana. Rolling hills and rocky outcrops characterise the landscape as you pass by small villages and open countryside. In the late afternoon, a delightful high tea is served in the lounge, consisting of a variety of delicacies to tempt your palate and, later in the evening, dinner is served as you roll on towards Plumtree for the border crossing into Zimbabwe.

Day 3

Hwange National Park

Departing Mpopoma, where the train has stopped for the night, you continue in north along the eastern edge of Hwange National Park, where you are able to spot animals from your spacious suite. At 114km or nearly 71 miles, this is one of Africa’s longest stretches of straight railway line.

In the afternoon you arrive at Kennedy Station, where a guide from The Hide collects you for a game drive. Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest national park and is famed for its excellent game viewing, particularly in the dry season when animals are more concentrated around various waterholes. Elephants are found in large numbers, as are lions, leopards and herds of buffalo, and the region is also home to significant numbers of the critically endangered African wild dog. These predators are extremely social and it is a thrilling sight to encounter a pack on a high-speed chase through the woodlands in search of medium-sized antelope, their favourite prey.

The landscape is characterised by teak and acacia woodlands, dotted with ragged fan palms, and you take a moment to savour the beauty of this region when you stop to enjoy ice-cold sundowners at a scenic spot near a waterhole. Rejoining the train in the early evening, you enjoy another sumptuous dinner in the formal dining room as it makes its way to Thomson Junction for an overnight stop. 

Day 4

Victoria Falls

Take a leisurely breakfast in the morning and drink in the marvellous views of the countryside as the train rolls towards Victoria Falls. Perched overlooking one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Victoria Falls Hotel is perfectly positioned alongside the gorge below the falls to take in the view and listen to the thundering sound of millions of tons of water pouring over the precipice. Settle into your gracious suite and then enjoy a leisurely lunch on the terrace.

In the afternoon, take a helicopter flight over the Falls. As soon as you take off, you see a plume of spray rising into the air that is visible for miles around, which gives the Falls their local name of Mosi-a-Tunya or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. With the wide river dotted with small islands below you, you fly over the water until the gorge becomes visible, and it is a sight to behold from this perspective!

Day 5

Explore the Falls

Victoria Falls is an incredible sight from up close. Following a network of pathways through the tropical forest fed by the spray, you feel the ground shuddering below your feet with the sheer energy of so much water plunging into the gorge.

The town is the centre for a host of activities, from adrenaline-fuelled tiger fishing and white-water river rafting, to more sedate game drives and sunset scenic river cruises. After a day of exploration and excitement, return to the grand historical surroundings of the hotel for a well-deserved sundowner and an indulgent dinner.

Days 6-7

Into Botswana

You depart Victoria Falls after breakfast and make your way to the Botswana border at Kasane. From here a charter plane wings you over the vastness of Chobe National Park, bordered by the Chobe River glinting in the northern distance. Arriving at the airstrip, your guide will take you for the game drive to Chobe Under Canvas.

Located in a private campsite within the park, Chobe Under Canvas is nestled in a grove of trees that create welcoming shade. A central mess tent houses a lounge and dining room, and five Meru-style safari tents are strung out below the trees around it. The tents are more like en suite rooms, set up in the shade of enormous trees along the well-worn paths that animals frequently use. Spacious and comfortable, they feature large soft beds and en suite bathrooms with flushing toilets and safari showers. A small verandah lets you to relax in the afternoons while taking in the view.

This region has a rich diversity of habitats, which in turn support a wide variety of wildlife. Along the Chobe River are woodlands characterized by towering groves of ebony and leadwood trees that face open grassy floodplains along the water’s edge. Here you keep an eye out for red lechwe antelope, hippos and crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks. Lions often rest up among the trees and palm thickets, watching for activity on the plain. Further inland, the thickets become denser, and mopane woodland dominates the landscape. It is here that leopards stalk and elephants come to feed.

As the afternoon draws to a close, the sun sets the sky on fire in a pyrotechnic display of colour. As the first stars begin to appear, you drive back to camp with a spotlight, seeking out the reflected eyes of nocturnal species as they emerge into the night. Civets, honey badgers and genets are often seen, while the loping stride of a hyena off on his nightly hunt is a thrilling sight.

Days 8-9

Savute Under Canvas

After your morning activity, you depart Chobe Under Canvas for Savute. Situated in the remote northern corner of the Chobe National Park, Savute Under Canvas camp moves locations periodically to remain in proximity to the herds of plains game and their predators. The region’s central feature is the enigmatic Savute Channel, an ephemeral waterway that mysteriously ebbs and flows with water over the decades. After an almost 30-year dry spell, the channel is once again flowing, bringing with it an astonishing amount of life attracted by its cool, clear waters. The surrounding savannah teems with grazing animals, and the area is known for its large population of lions.

The camp itself is intimate and secluded, set in a splendidly scenic location. Five canvas suites are served by a central lounge and dining area tucked in the shade of towering trees. Simple yet comfortable and undeniably elegant, the camp will make you feel like an early explorer in an untouched wilderness.

Days 10-12

Into the Okavango

After a final game drive in Savute, you enjoy a final brunch before departing for the airstrip. Taking off in your charter plane, you fly over a vast swathe of mopane woodland as you leave the Savute Channel and marsh behind you. In the distance you will then be able to make out a huge shimmering expanse of green ahead of you. The Okavango Delta then opens out below; where a lush wetland is dotted with verdant tree islands, open grasslands and towering forests intersected by a myriad of channels and lagoons.

Landing at the airstrip, your guide will meet you for the game drive to Sandibe Lodge, where the first thing you notice is the difference in the landscape and vegetation surrounding you. Tall palm trees whisper in the breeze, towering over the grassland floodplains like sentinels, and dense tree islands hug the higher ground.

Game drives here reveal a wide variety of interconnecting habitats that support an astounding diversity of life, from aquatic species to the inhabitants of the dry Kalahari woodlands. The region is a big game haven where leopards are often seen, and encounters with these beautiful cats are a thrilling highlight of any safari.

A wonderful way of experiencing the Okavango in all its glory is to step into a mokoro, a traditional style dugout canoe, and gently slip through the maze of waterways overhung by ferns and crowded with water lilies. Silently gliding though the water, you are able to take in the sound of water murmuring by, the birds calling from the reed beds, and hippos grunting in the distance: the ancient song of the Okavango. Taking a motorised boat, you are able to venture into the deeper reaches of the Delta, where hippos pass below you in a stream of bubbles while you seek out the elusive and rare sitatunga antelope that inhabits the marshes and papyrus beds and, as evening falls, the tinkling serenade of reed frogs surrounds you like a symphony. 

Day 13

Homeward bound

After a final brunch on the terrace, you departfor the airstrip for your flight to Johannesburg in South Africa. As you wingyour way over the crystal waters of the Okavango below, the memories of afabulous fortnight wash over you: the rail journey through the wilderness, theawesome power of the Victoria Falls and the thrilling up-close and personal wildlife encounters of Savute, Chobe and the Delta…

Inclusions

  • Scenic 25 minute Vic Falls Helicopter Flight
  • 3 Nights on the Rovos Rail from Pretoria to Victoria Falls on fully inclusive basis
  • Shared light aircraft flights as per the itinerary
  • 2 Nights at Chobe Under Canvas on fully inclusive basis
  • 2 Nights at Savute Under Canvas on fully inclusive basis
  • 3 Nights at Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge on fully inclusive basis
  • 2 Nights at Victoria Falls Hotel on bed and breakfast basis
  • Road transfers as per the itinerary
  • Flight from Maun to Johannesburg

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 01 Sep 2016 - 31 Oct 2016 $14350
  • 01 Nov 2016 - 31 Dec 2016 $11380

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

From

$11380

Per person sharing

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