14-Day Namibia Wildlife Safari
with optional 7-day extension to Caprivi, Chobe National Park, and Victoria Falls
Namibia Wildlife Safari: $5,250 (price does not include international airfare)
Optional extension: $2,695
Sample Trip Itinerary
Day 1 – DEPART U.S.
International air from the U.S. has not been included in the cost of this safari.
Day 2 – ARRIVE IN JOHANNESBURG
Following our arrival, we are met and transferred to the Intercontinental Airport Hotel for our first night in Africa. (B/L/D)
Day 3 – JOHANNESBURG and WINDHOEK
In the morning we transfer back to the Johannesburg Airport and board the scheduled flight to Windhoek, Namibia. (Please note: the cost for this scheduled flight is not included in the safari package) Following our arrival at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, (about 40 km outside of Windhoek), we are welcomed by our safari guides and transferred to our accommodations in the beautifully designed rooms at the Galton Guesthouse. After checking in, we have the rest of the day to relax, settle into our charming accommodations, or explore Windhoek’s shops and craft markets. We join our safari guide for dinner this evening. (B/L/D)
Day 4 – WINDHOEK and NAMIB NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast we drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before descending the escarpment into the Namib Desert. En route, we stop for a picnic lunch at a scenic location. Late in the afternoon we arrive at the Desert Homestead Outpost, our accommodations for two nights while exploring the remarkable Namib Desert. After checking into our accommodation we visit some of the dunes for afternoon photography and Sesriem Canyon, a geological attraction, before returning to the lodge. While here we will be able to join our naturalist guide/ herpetologist to search for some of the endemic reptiles, found in this area. (B/PL/D)
Herpetological interest: Our objective for the Sossusvlei and Gobabeb area will be:
- Shovel-snouted desert lizard (Meroles cuneriostris)
- Wedge-snouted lizard (Meroles anchieta)
- Various geckos, lizards, and snakes
Sesriem Canyon: Sesriem Canyon has evolved through centuries of erosion by the Tsauchab River which has incised a narrow gorge about 1.5 km long and 30 m deep into the surrounding conglomerates, exposing the varying layers of sedimentation deposited over millions of years. The shaded cool depths of the canyon allow pools of water to gather during the rainy season and remain for much of the year round. These pools were a vital source of water for early settlers who drew water for their livestock by knotting six (ses) lengths of rawhide thongs (riems) together. Accordingly, the canyon and surrounding area became known as Sesriem.
Desert Homestead Outpost is ideally located only 31.5km from Sesriem, the gateway to the Namib Naukluft National Park. Accommodations are in comfortable thatched en-suite chalets, designed with little touches in mind that characterize the Homesteads homely hospitality. Deep in the 7000 ha nature reserve of Desert Homestead Lodge the Outpost opens its gates and offers relaxed hospitality with a natural atmosphere. Enjoy the impressive panoramic view from the 11 houses, the family apartment or the main house with restaurant, lounge and pool area, set at the base of a mountain. On the wide open plains cheetahs may often be seen, roaming the endless grasslands. Guests are welcome to take advantage of all activities of the Desert Homestead Lodge excursions to Sossusvlei as well as horse-safaris or Sundowner drives.
Day 5 – SOSSUSVLEI and NAMIB DESERT
Early this morning we join our naturalist guide for a magical excursion into the dunes. Since we are already inside the park we will be able to get into Sossusvlei before everyone else, see the sun rise, and capture the dunes while the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest freestanding sand dunes in the world. Our guide gives us an insight into the formation of the Namib Desert and the fascinating creatures and plants adapted to survive this harsh environment. After exploring the area, we stop for a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. In the afternoon we return to Sossus Dune Lodge for lunch and a bit of time at leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes). (B/L/D)
Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000 km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot colored sand dunes which can be penetrated by following the Tsauchab River Valley. Sossusvlei itself is a clay pan in the middle of the dunes, many of which stand 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55 km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan.
Day 6 – SOSSUSVLEI and SWAKOPMUND
The fascinating drive today takes us northwest through the awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park and the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. We arrive on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the port town of Walvis Bay and stop at the lagoon to see an interesting mix of pelicans, flamingos and other sea-birds before continuing north to Swakopmund where we can enjoy its pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. After checking into our accommodation at the Hansa Hotel we join our guide for an orientation tour of Swakopmund during which we’ll have the opportunity of exploring the shops, waterfront and craft markets, before heading off for dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant, by the jetty, which specializes in fresh seafood. (B/L/D)
Herpetological interest: Our reptile objectives for the Swakopmund area will be:
- Dwarf beaked snake (Dipsina multimaculata)
- Peringuey’s adder (Bitis peringueyi)
- Fitzsimmons’ burrowing skink (Typhlacontias brevipes)
- Reticulated desert lizard (Meroles reticulatus)
- Namaqua chameleon (Chameleo namaquensis)
- Namib day gecko (Rhoptropus afer)
The town of Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centres, galleries and cafes. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the Imperial Navy erected beacons on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbour town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed. The advent of World War I halted developments, and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier, and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming, there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.
The Hansa Hotel dates back to 1905 and is a timeless classic part of Swakopmund’s architectural culture. Conveniently located in the center of town, it is within easy walking distance of the waterfront, shops, cafes, the aquarium, Crystal Gallery, and other attractions Swakopmund has to offer. The Hansa Hotel is world renowned for its outstanding cuisine and comparable with the most prestigious addresses encountered abroad. This luxurious residence places emphasis not only on personalized service and elegant style, but also on affordability.
Day 7 – SWAKOPMUND
After an early breakfast, we drive back along the scenic coastal road to Walvis Bay for a fascinating and informative “Living Desert Tour” which offers the opportunity of experiencing the abundance of unique wildlife which thrives in the dune belt just back of the beach. Desert adapted geckos, rolling spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes, chameleons, and skinks are some of the creatures we can expect to find, and our specialized wildlife guide will explain and demonstrate some of the unique adaptations they have evolved to survive in this harsh environment. A scenic panorama drive across the dunes allows us to absorb and enjoy a variety of beautiful landscapes while adding a little excitement to the tour. In the afternoon we may shop or visit some of the many attractions in Swakopmund. (B/L/D)
Day 8 – SWAKOPMUND and DAMARALAND
After saying goodbye to our specialist herpetological guide, we drive north and east into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. We pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, which peaks at 2,573m above sea level and take time to view wildlife and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colorful sand dunes, magnificent table-topped mountains, rock formations, and bizarre-looking vegetation. This landscape has been sculptured by the erosion of wind, water, and geological forces which have formed its rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains, and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendor which rewards, astounds, and gives one an authentic understanding of the word “’wilderness”. Time permitting, we’ll visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings (recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Burnt Mountain, and the Organ Pipes. If we can’t fit this in today, there will be time to do so tomorrow. Our dinner and overnight accommodations are at Camp Kitwe. (B/L/D)
Twyfelfontein: Strewn over a hillside amongst flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor, and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The .engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra, and ostrich that once used to drink from a fountain at the bottom of the hill. In some cases, footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws. The abstract motifs feature mainly circles. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years. These days a local guide accompanies visitors to showcase the rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour’s climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia’s key National Monuments and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Burnt Mountain: A rounded hill located a few kilometers from Twyfelfontein and the Organ Pipes, known as the Burnt Mountain, seems to catch fire again at sunrise and sunset. Its fantastic range of colors at dawn and dusk are due to a chemical reaction that took place roughly 125 million years ago when molten lava penetrated organic shale and limestone deposits, resulting in contact metamorphism. In ordinary sunlight it is a dull black. Blackened rubble lies to one side like cinders from the original fire.
Organ Pipes: The Organ Pipes are another geological curiosity in the area consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also about 125 million years ago and have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion.
Camp Kipwe: Camp Kipwe in the heart of Damaraland is ideally located a short drive from the local attractions in the area. The Camp is nestled amongst an outcrop of giant granite boulders, a stone’s throw away from the ephemeral Aha Huab riverbed where desert adapted elephants often traverse. Each comfortable thatched bungalow is simply but tastefully furnished with en suite open-air bathroom. In the center of the camp there is a large alfresco dining area, bar, lounge, and reception with an inviting fireplace nearby to relax beside in the evenings. A refreshing swimming pool and sunset lookout with lovely views also complement the Camp.
Day 9 – DAMARALAND
After an early breakfast, we depart on an exciting 4×4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River Valleys to explore this remarkable region and search for wildlife. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert adapted wildlife and hidden treasures, including the elusive desert elephant. As these animals are most active in the morning, our best chance of finding them will be before we return to camp for lunch. However, we may elect to depart with a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy it, in the shade of a large Ana tree by the riverbed, ideally while watching a nearby herd of browsing elephant. Our guide will arrange a visit to Twyfelfontein and other nearby attractions if, on the previous day, we were unable to fit them in. Following our return to camp there should be time to take a nature walk with our guide, or simply relax and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time. (B/L/D)
Desert Adapted Elephant: In habitats with sufficient vegetation and water, an adult elephant may consume as much as 300 kg of roughage and drink 230 liters of water every day. Consider what a herd of them would eat and drink in a week or a month or a year; it seems inconceivable we’d find African elephants in a desert! However, not only elephant, but other large mammals such as block rhinoceros and giraffe thrive in this inhospitable environment. Their ranges extend from the river catchments in northern Kaokoveld to the northern Namib. In addition to Kunene, seven other river courses north of the Ugab provide these animals with routes across the desert, right down to the Skeleton Coast. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between water holes and feeding grounds can be as great as 68 km. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000 km² or eight times as large as that for elephants in central Africa. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species found here. Although not a separate species, these animals are an ecotype unique to Namibia, behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions.
Day 10 – DAMARALAND and ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Following an early breakfast, we depart for Etosha National Park. En route we should be able to visit a remote and rarely visited Himba encampment. However, we may have to search for them as these semi-nomadic people sometimes change their location without notice. The Himba are one of the most traditional people of Namibia and have little time for conventional practices. During our visit we will be introduced to the customs and traditions of this proud nation and gain an insight into their beliefs, way of life, and everyday routine. Our guide’s previous contacts with the local community ensures we will be welcomed as a “friend of a friend” and able to spend considerable time with these fascinating nomadic pastoralists. These people have had almost no contact with the modem world and they live a very traditional and ancient lifestyle, which makes for a fascinating cultural exchange. After our visit with the Himba, we continue our journey with a picnic lunch en route, arriving at the Ongava Game Reserve and Anderson’s Camp on the southern border of Etosha National Park in the late afternoon. After settling in to our luxurious tented accommodations, we should have time to relax by the camp’s floodlit water hole before dinner. (B/L/D)
The Himba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists who move from one watering place to another. The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly bearing. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins in this harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. Men, women, and children wear body adornments made of iron and shell beads. A Himba woman may spend as much as three hours a day on her toilette. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture, which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs, and black coals to rub on her hair, and ‘steams’ her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women, and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are now being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are sought-after items.
The Ongava Game Reserve is effectively a private game reserve, spanning 30,000 hectares along the southwest border of Etosha National Park. The reserve is home to a wide variety of game including lion, leopard, giraffe, rhino, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gemsbok (oryx), kudu, steenbok, and much more. The scenery is attractive with large open plains blending into Mopane tree woodlands and granite outcrops.
Andersson’s Camp: Located just 4.5 km from Etosha National Park’s Andersson Gate, Andersson’s Camp takes its name from Charles Andersson, the Swedish explorer who first “discovered” the Etosha Pan with Sir Francis Galton in 1851. Set against a backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson’s Camp is located within the private Ongava Game Reserve which borders onto Etosha National Park. The Ongava Game Reserve is typified by white calcrete soils, rocky outcrops, and scrub-covered plains which support a rich variety of game such as giraffe, lion, rhino and various antelope species. The Camp overlooks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife coming and going throughout the day and night. This former farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt to modem-day standards. The design and construction of Andersson’s Camp was guided primarily by the principles of environmental sustainability – reduce, reuse, recycle. The old farmhouse now forms the main dining, bar, and swimming pool areas of Andersson’s Camp, with guest tents radiating outwards into the secluded Mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are constructed using a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small veranda that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are raised. The open-air en suite bathrooms continue the unique design. Andersson’s Camp’s close proximity to Etosha National Park is ideal for game drive excursions into Etosha to take in the array of game found there.
Day 11 – ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
In the morning we depart on an exciting guided game drive in Etosha National Park, returning to camp for a late lunch and time to relax by the swimming pool before heading out again for an afternoon game drive. Our dinner and overnight accommodations are, again, at Andersson’s Camp. (B/L/D)
Etosha National Park covers 22,270 km², of which approximately 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or “pans”. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the northwestern edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago, it formed part of a huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland, and savannah. Game-viewing centers located around the numerous springs and waterholes are where several different species can often be seen at one time. The park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger, and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Day 12 – ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK and WINDHOEK
After breakfast we travel south through the small towns of Outjo and Otjiwarongo, stopping in Okahandja to visit the local craft market for some last minute curio shopping. Upon arrival in Windhoek, we check in at the Galton House for our last night in Namibia. Dinner this evening can either be at the excellent in-house restaurant or in town with our guide at one of Windhoek’s many famous restaurants. (B/D)
Day 13 – HOEK and JOHANNESBURG
Following breakfast we transfer to the Windhoek Airport and check in for our scheduled flight to Johannesburg. (Please note: the cost for this scheduled flight is not included in the safari package) Later in the afternoon we board our international flight for the U.S. (B)
Day 14 – ARRIVE U.S.
We return to our homes with many fond memories of our wildlife safari in Southern Africa.
©World Discovery Safaris
Optional Extension to Caprivi, Chobe Nat’l Park, Victoria Falls
Day 15 – WINDHOEK/KATIMA MULILO
After a leisurely breakfast we transfer to the Eros Airport and board the scheduled flight to Katima Mulilo (Air Namibia flight included). Following our arrival at the local airstrip, we transfer to our accommodations for the next two nights at the Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge. Our afternoon sundowner boat cruise on the waterways of the Kwando-Linyanti river system should provide us with the opportunity of seeing several very large Nile Crocodiles. (B/L/D)
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge: Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge is built on the banks of one of the many channels of the Kwando Linyanti river systems. This unique Namibian wetland paradise in the eastern Caprivi region is commonly known as Mamili and was recently renamed Nkasa Lupala National Park. The Lodge and the Wuparo Conservancy are part of the successful and
award winning Namibian conservancy program. This spacious and comfortable main lounge and dining area are built on an elevated wooden deck, providing breathtaking views across the papyrus floodplains and reed bed permeated channels. Guests are housed in tented units, all elevated on stilts. All units have en suite bathrooms, fans, mosquito nets, tea/coffee station and an in-room safe. Each tent has its own deck which affords fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. The lodge has a swimming pool and guest lounge and also offers a laundry service.
Please note: The Air Namibia regional flight from Eros Airport to Katima Mulilo currently only flies on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 10:15 AM ond subject to change with limited notice.
Day 16 – NKASA LUPALA NATIONAL PARK
Established in 1990 the 32,000ha Nkasa Lupala National Park has the distinction of being the largest wetland area with conservation status in Namibia. The park is characterized by a complex network of channels, reed beds, oxbow lakes and tree covered islands, with the focal point on the Kwando and Linyanti rivers. During the dry season the islands can be reached by road, but after the rains, 80% of the area becomes flooded, cutting them off from the mainland. Nkasa Lupala is home to the largest concentration of African buffalo in Namibia as well as a variety of other wildlife species. With more than 430 species recorded, this area is also a birders paradise. Wild is the one word that best describes Nkasa Lupala (formerly Mamili) National Park. It is an extraordinary piece of wilderness, waiting to be explored. Lush marshes, dense savannah and high river reeds mean that traveling through the area is a dream for 4×4 enthusiasts. During the dry winter months, large herds of elephant congregate on Nkasa and Lupala islands. But for much of the year, the park is awash with floodwater. Game drives go along the edge of deep pools and close to rivers where crocodiles lie in wait. Nearby buffalo or elephant may be crossing the river. For anyone who relishes the adventures of raw, real Africa, Nkasa Lupala is the place to be.
Day 17 & 18 – NKASA LUPALA NATIONAL PARK and CHOBE NATIONAL PARK, BOTSWANA
In the morning we drive across the border into Botswana to our accommodations for the next two days at Ngoma Safari Lodge. Chobe National Park was established in 1968. It covers approximately 11,700 km² of floodplains, swamps and woodlands. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary with Namibia. The riverfront is famous for its large herds of elephant and African buffalo, which rely on the river for water during the dry winter months. At times the road may be completely blocked by elephants as scores of family herds make their way to the river to drink, bathe, and play. One of the most popular activities of this region is the river cruise during which you can experience wildlife viewing from a different vantage point, accompanied by the unmistakable and spine-chilling calls of fish eagles. (B/L/D)
Ngoma Safari Lodge is located on a rocky outcrop, high on an escarpment, in the Chobe Forest Reserve, which borders the western edge of Chobe National Park. Ngoma is an intimate lodge with panoramic views over the Chobe River and Caprivi floodplain. Accommodations are in eight comfortable, river facing, free-standing brick and thatch cottages with a small internal and external living space. The en suite bathrooms are open-plan (separate toilet) raised behind the bedroom. Each cottage features an indoor and outdoor shower, air-conditioning and fan, mini bar, tea and coffee facilities, and outdoor plunge pool. Two of the cottages include an Indian day bed (triple room). With a rustic and ethnic accent of natural materials and finishes, the central guest area is adjacent to a magnificent Baobab with uninterrupted river views. There is a reception, small guest sitting room next to the bar, a dining room, small swimming pool, sundeck, and extra viewing platform.
Ngoma offers up to four activities a day with a choice of nature walks and night drives in the Forest Reserve concession, day game drives in Chobe National Park with a picnic lunch, a full day game activity including a cruise on the Chobe River, birding and cultural interactions with the local community.
All meals, local brand drinks, 2 scheduled safari activities daily, return road transfers from Kasane Airport or Kazangula Border, park fees, community levy, and laundry are included. Activities include: morning walk or drive, afternoon walk or drive, night drive, full day safari inclusive drive and cruise, cultural/community tour and night drive.
Day 20 – CHOBE NATIONAL PARK and VICTORIA FALLS
In the morning we travel to the Kazangula border post, cross into Zimbabwe, and drive to our accommodations at Ilala Lodge in the town of Victoria Falls. In the afternoon you transfer to the jetty and board a comfortable pontoon boat with plenty of seating, open sides and a canopied roof. From here you cruise towards Palm and Kandahar Islands and enjoy a picturesque African sunset on the Zambezi River. The cruise is a superb way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the river, with the opportunity of seeing a variety of wildlife including hippo, crocodile, elephant and several species of birds. (B/L/D)
Welcome to Victoria Falls…
The iconic town of Victoria Falls, affectionately known as “Vic Falls”, is located on the southern bank of the Zambezi River, at the western end of the mighty Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe’s prime tourist destination and a magnet for visitors from around the world, Vic Falls has a rich and romantic history. Discovered in 1855 by explorer and missionary David Livingstone, the railway from Cape Town arrived in 1904 and the landmark 198 meter long Victoria Falls Bridge, spanning the immense Zambezi River gorge and linking Zimbabwe with Zambia, was built in 1905.
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Victoria Falls is one of Africa’s greatest geographical features. At 1700 meters wide and over 100 meters in height, visitors cannot fail to be inspired and amazed by the sheer size, power, and beauty of the thundering curtain of water which can be gazed upon from 16 view points along a network of trails through the surrounding rainforest. Reaching their zenith in April/May, the Falls are at their most powerful and impressive between the months of February and July. At high water, the dense plume of spray can rise up to 500 meters into the air and is visible from as much as 20 kilometers away, justifying why the falls are still commonly referred to by their local name of Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders”. Even during the low water months of October and November when the Falls become dry for much of their length, the view from the Zimbabwe side won’t disappoint.
With its welcoming small town atmosphere, Vic Falls is home to a seemingly endless number of activities – there is literally something for everyone. The world’s wildest while water rafting, canoeing, helicopter flips, elephant back safaris, canopy tours and adventure slides, river cruises, golf and bungee jumping. An impressive array of arts and crafts is showcased by talented local artists in the open air curio market as well as at a number of galleries and shops throughout town.
Located in the Zimbabwe town of Victoria Falls, the boutique Ilala Lodge is the closest hotel to Victoria Falls. Its secluded setting overlooks green lawns, borders the lush National Park, and has views of the “smoke” of Victoria Falls. Its 32 rooms and two suites ore furnished with railway sleeper teak. Patio doors open onto either a communal garden or a balcony, where rooms on the upper level afford a view of the spray of the Falls. Standard in each room are two ¾ beds, en suite bathrooms with a shower, bath and bathroom amenities, air-conditioning, fan and tea and coffee facilities. Suites are larger and include a king size bed. With warm and elegant decoration evoking an era of early adventure, the main guest facilities include the a la carte Palm Restaurant and veranda which is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the Safari Salon, a swimming pool, terrace bar and WiFi.
From its prime location, guests at Ilala Lodge can enjoy scenic helicopter flights and interactive elephant back safaris or high adrenalin activities such as bungee jumping and white water rafting.
Sunset Cruise: Scheduled 2 Hours
Includes: Finger snacks, a selection of local brand drinks and transfers from hotels in Victoria Falls town
Day 21 – VICTORIA FALLS and JOHANNESBURG, DEPART FOR THE U.S.
In the morning we join our local guide for a walking tour of the Falls. Here the entire Zambezi River suddenly plunges some 300 feet into a narrow gorge which is over a mile in length. At high water, some 160 million gallons of water pour over these falls every second, sending a spray of mist upward 1,300 feet and giving the falls their local name, “Mosi-ao-Tunya,” meaning “the smoke that thunders.” Although much has been written about Victoria Falls, words cannot adequately describe this natural wonder; Victoria Falls must be experienced. Later in the morning we transfer to the Victoria Falls airport and board the scheduled flight (not included in the safari package) to Johannesburg. (B)
Victoria Falls reaches its zenith in about May each year. It is a truly awe-inspiring experience- the sight, the sound, the smell, and 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.
This tour is conducted in the morning and afternoon and is 2 hours in duration. You will be accompanied through the rainforest by a qualified guide who gives a brief history of the Falls and the surrounding flora, fauna, bird, and wildlife.
Raincoats and bags to protect cameras are provided when needed.
Day 22 – ARRIVE IN U.S.
We return to our homes with many fond memories of our wildlife safari in Southern Africa.
© World Discovery Safaris