15 Day Botswana & Zimbabwe Wildlife, Canoeing & Walking Safari


Day 1


Arrive Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe where we will meet you and from where we will immediately fly by light aircraft to Matusadona.  Our flight will take us over the gorges of the Zambezi River on to the point where the Zambezi River flows into Lake Kariba.  We will follow the shoreline of Lake Kariba until reaching Bumi Hills airstrip.  From the airstrip we will transfer by road and boat to Matusadona Safari Camp where we will base for the next two nights.  The camp is situated on an island within the Matusadona National Park.  Accommodation consists of large luxurious safari tents with panoramic views across Lake Kariba.  All tents have en suite bathrooms built out of natural stone.  Enjoy your first afternoon of wildlife viewing along the shoreline of Lake Kariba.  The day will end with dinner under the stars.


Day 2


A full day spent wildlife viewing by foot or by boat in this beautiful lakeside and escarpment wilderness.  While enjoying sightings of elephant, buffalo, zebra, kudu, waterbuck, impala and warthog we will also look out for the spoor of any predators, which we will then have the opportunity to track.  Matusadona National Park is also home to a handful of some of last remaining black rhino within Zimbabwe, and so if extremely lucky we may come across the fresh tracks of one of these magnificent animals, which we would then follow in the hope of getting a glimpse of this highly endangered animal.


Day 3


After breakfast we will return to Bumi Hills airstrip from where you will be flown by light aircraft to the Zambezi Valley.  We will game drive through the Mana Pools National Park to our first nights camp.  After lunch we will continue to game drive further upstream to the point where we will launch the canoes.  For those not familiar with canoeing you will be given a lesson in the handling of your canoe before setting off downstream, enjoying the birdlife and wildlife along the riverbanks and arriving back at the camp by sunset.  Mana Pools is one of the most scenically beautiful parks of Southern Africa.  Elephant, eland, buffalo, waterbuck and impala as well as predators can be found.  Canoeing gives access to the beautiful channels and islands of the Zambezi River and so plentiful wildlife can be seen from the canoes.  One often comes across elephant or buffalo swimming across the river.  The sunsets on the Zambezi are spectacular and made the more impressive due to the magnificent scenery of the Zambian escarpment opposite.


Days 4 & 5


The days activities will vary between canoeing and walking.  From the canoes we will enjoy many good sightings of hippos, crocodiles and the birds of the Zambezi, while on foot there will be many opportunities to experience the smaller mammals and those things often missed when in a vehicle, such as insects, interesting plants and animal spoor, while still having the chance to encounter the larger mammals.  Picnic lunches will be served at shady spots on the riverbank followed by the chance to relax during the heat of the day before continuing downstream to the next campsite.  We will arrive at each of our campsites in time to enjoy the spectacular sunsets over the Zambian escarpment.


Day 6


A last morning wildlife walk before returning to Mana Pools airstrip for the light aircraft flight back to Victoria Falls airport, from where you will be transferred to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, a beautiful brick and thatch lodge that provides the best accommodation in Victoria Falls and is where you will overnight.  The lodge is situated on the edge of Victoria Falls town and looks out across the valley to the Victoria Falls National Park, beyond which you can see the Zambezi River.  Warthogs, banded mongooses, baboons and monkeys are regular visitors, while elephant and buffalo roam in the valley below.  In the afternoon we will take you to the world famous Victoria Falls, locally known as "Mosi oa Tunya", the smoke that thunders.  There will also be the chance to wander around the curio markets of the town and pick up mementoes in the form of stone and wood carvings (Zimbabweans have the reputation of being Africa’s best carvers). In the evening we will take you to dinner at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge restaurant, which overlooks a floodlit waterhole from where you can watch the animals coming down to drink while you dine.  Victoria Falls is also the centre for a number of adventure activities such as the best one-day white-water rafting in the world, horse or elephant back riding, scenic flights over the Victoria Falls in a helicopter, microlight or ultralight, bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls bridge or a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.  (For additional activities you will need to spend two nights.)


Day 7


Gavin will meet you at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge immediately after breakfast, from where you will be transferred the short distance to Botswana by road and to the Chobe River area of the Chobe National Park and Chobe Lodge where you will overnight.  The lodge is situated on the banks of the Chobe River and has a swimming pool.  The air conditioned rooms and outdoor dining area overlook the Chobe River. Baboons, monkeys, warthogs and banded mongooses are frequent visitors by day, and by night larger mammals wander by.  Enjoy your first day of wildlife viewing along the Chobe River.


Days 8 & 9


Full days wildlife viewing in the Chobe National Park where, thanks to the permanent waters of the Chobe River, one can be assured of seeing a wonderful variety of birds and animals including breeding herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, roan, sable, kudu, impala and Chobe bushbuck, as well as keeping a look out for the predators. This is also the only area in Southern Africa where the puku can be seen. On one of the afternoons Gavin will take you out by boat on the Chobe River to photograph hippos, crocodiles and, if lucky, find some elephants swimming and playing in the water. Good bird sightings that include the malachite and giant kingfishers as well as the endangered African skimmer can be found along the river's edge.

 

Day 10


Our morning’s wildlife viewing will take us from the Chobe River to the Savuti area of the Chobe National Park.  There will be plenty of time to stop and enjoy the wildlife encountered along the way, arriving at Savuti Wildlife Camp in time for lunch.  Accommodation is in large en suite air conditioned safari tents situated on the banks of the flowing Savuti Channel.  Early in the year this area is the focus for Botswana’s zebra migration, while later in the year the area becomes home to large numbers of bull elephants.  Breeding herds of elephant and buffalo can be seen all year round, along with giraffe, wildebeest, impala and warthog.  Lion, leopard and wild dog can also be found, and the birdlife is prolific year round.  Enjoy your first afternoon of wildlife viewing in Savuti. 


Days 11 & 12


Full days spent wildlife viewing in the Savuti area.  Early starts are preferable in order to give the best opportunity to experience the predator activity that has made Savuti famous in numerous National Geographic films. One can spend many hours at the water points where the animals concentrate to drink, and you can get close to the bull elephants for that special photograph.  The area has many interesting natural history aspects as well as a great variety of animals and birdlife to find and learn about.  Whether looking into the life cycle of the termite, the aerobatic mating display of the lilac-breasted roller or the interesting feeding habits and social structures of the elephant herds, this is an area where your interest can be held at every turn.


Day 13


Enjoy a last morning wildlife viewing in Savuti.  After brunch we will fly by light aircraft deep into the heart of the Okavango Delta and to Mokoro Camp where you will overnight.  Mokoro Camp offers a truly authentic Okavango experience, with accommodation at this comfortable rustic camp consisting of walk in en-suite safari tents.  The dining room affords views out across one of the many fingers of water that make up the Okavango Delta.  Enjoy your first afternoon of wildlife viewing in this beautiful area.


Day 14


A full day exploring the Okavango Delta, a unique area that consists of 16,000 square kilometres of channels, lagoons and islands.  Activities include wildlife walks as well as the opportunity to experience the serenity of the Okavango in genuine hand-made mokoros (traditional dug-out canoes) in contrast to the modern fibreglass versions that have become the norm at almost all other Delta lodges.  The area is a wildlife haven that includes some unique species such as the colourful painted reed frogs, the elusive sitatunga antelope and the rare Pel's fishing owl.  Overnight at Mokoro Camp.


Day 15


After a last morning wildlife viewing from the mokoros and on foot, you will be flown by light aircraft to Kasane, from where you will be transferred the short distance by road back to Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls airport, arriving in plenty of time for your onward connections.


Gavin Blair Safaris aim is to give you the maximum wildlife experience, and as such Gavin will give you the opportunity to be out wildlife viewing from dawn to dusk and often beyond - i.e. a safari with Gavin Blair Safaris will maximise your time out in the bush.  You will also have the benefit of a highly experienced and respected guide, who has an intimate and inexhaustible knowledge of the wildlife as well as a very genuine and infectious enthusiasm for all aspects of Africa's fauna and flora - so ensuring a safari adventure not to be forgotten.  Our return rate of 78% is further proof of our high standards and commitment to your enjoyment of the complete safari experience, as the testimonials page on this website will show.


The safari will be totally exclusive to you, your family and any friends you choose to accompany you - i.e. we do not mix groups unless specifically requested.  Prices, worked out on a sliding scale with the price varying depending on the number in your party, are fully inclusive of all accommodation, park fees (excluding any Government increases between the time of booking and your safari) air charters, road transfers, activities (except additional activities in Victoria Falls), meals and drinks (premium brands excluded).  International flights are not included.  The vehicle used will be for your exclusive use for the entire safari and Gavin will be your personal guide throughout, offering maximum time out in the field for the duration of your safari.


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Botswana & Zimbabwe Safari

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