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This budget lodge safari covers a lot of ground, taking you to top wildlife, cultural and historical highlights in South Africa and Zimbabwe. In just one week this basic lodge safari travels all the way from Johannesburg to the natural wonder of Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River.
Starting in South Africa, encounter Africa's magnificent wildlife on game drives in the Big Five Kruger National Park and a game walk in Polokwane Game Reserve. Then explore Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe to experience the rugged landscapes and discover its rich history and cultural significance. Go in search of rhinos and other wildlife and birds in this mysterious park, before travelling further north to Victoria Falls.
This South Africa, Zimbabwe & Vic Falls Budget Safari kicks-off in Johannesburg, the largest city and economic heart of South Africa.
Leaving the vibrant city we spend a full day on the road, driving east into the Mpumalanga Province through one of the most beautiful areas in South Africa - the Panorama Route. Driving along the edge of the escarpment we take in the spectacular views over Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest vegetated canyons in the world. Along the way we stop to view the rocky hills known as the Three Rondavels.
After a lunch stop we complete the long drive to our lodge, close to the world-famous Kruger National Park. Dinner and time to ease into holiday mode at the lodge set in lovely gardens.
Up early for our first day of game viewing on safari. We set off for Kruger National Park, entering the vast wilderness area as soon as the gates open. Early mornings are excellent for game spotting as many creatures are most active at this time of day, so keep your eyes peeled!
At lunch time we stop at a rest camp for lunch (own account) and a refreshing dip in the pool. After our break from the African sun we continue game viewing in the nearly 2 million hectare game park. Kruger is one of the finest wildlife havens in Africa, offering superb game viewing across its diverse biomes. Later in the day the predators begin to stir, so hopefully we will spot carnivores from the array found here.
Kruger Park is South Africa’s flagship national park. Teeming with wildlife this diverse game park is home to about 147 mammal species and 114 reptile species, as well as about 507 bird species! The Big Five of Africa are found here - elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo, as well as a dazzling array of other mammals - giraffe, zebra, cheetah, hippo, hyena and numerous antelope species.
We make our way out of Kruger Park before sunset, game viewing en route. Head back to the lodge for rest and relaxation after an exciting day of game viewing in the bush.
Up for breakfast and on the road to Polokwane. Pass the citrus farms of Limpopo Province, driving through rugged countryside and over mountain passes.
Arriving at Polokwane Game Reserve, we head into the bush on foot. The guided game walk is a thrilling way to explore this 3200 hectare wildlife reserve as any number of animals can be encountered up close. Over 21 species of mammals and more than 200 species of birds have been recorded here. We may see white rhino, giraffe, zebra and a variety of antelope species.
We overnight at a pleasant lodge set amid big trees, relaxing around the fire in the outdoor boma area, under the stars.
On day four we depart Polokwane for the long drive north into Zimbabwe. We cross into Zimbabwe at the busy border post of Beitbridge, continuing all the way to Bulawayo.
Our hotel for tonight is situated in the pleasant city, known for its cultural richness and historic highlights. After a full day on the road you can walk along the wide streets lined with trees and admire the old colonial buildings of the city, if time allows. Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, hosting art galleries and museums, parks and other attractions.
We get up early on day five and make our way into the nearby Matobo National Park for a half day tour with local guides. Driving through the boulder scattered hills and wooded valleys of Matobo we take in the dramatic and rugged scenery from our open safari vehicle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is of cultural, historical and geological significance, as well as being an important wildlife haven.
We look out for rhinos on our game drive, as Matobo is home to a successful rhino breeding program and intensive protection zone for black and white rhino. If conditions allow, our guide may take us in search of rhinos on foot. Other wildlife that we may see includes giraffe, wildebeest, various other antelopes and even leopard. The Matobo National Park also hosts one of the highest concentrations of black eagles in the world.
A number of ancient San (bushmen) paintings are scattered across the caves and granite boulders of the rocky Matopos Hills, evidence of the tribe's habitation some 2000 years ago. The contested burial site of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes lies up on a hill at World’s View. These hills are sacred grounds of the Ndebele, hence the controversy over Rhodes's requested final resting place. Motopos Hills are of special cultural significance to the Ndebele, who have sacred sites tucked away in the hills.
Today we leave the lively streets of Bulawayo, spending most of the day driving north to Victoria Falls. Our lodge is located in the town of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls waterfall. At the lodge your guide gives you an overview of the activities available at Vic Falls and assists you with making bookings for tomorrow. Then you can relax at the lodge or spend some time exploring the markets, cafes and shops in the town of Victoria Falls on foot, before we visit the famous Victoria Falls.
Later, we set off for the natural wonder of Victoria Falls - the largest sheet of falling water in the world. Standing before the impressive waterfall you can feel the mists and hear the crashing waters that give it the name - the Smoke that Thunders, from the local name - Mosi-oa-Tunya.
After the magnificence of Victoria Falls we set off on a leisurely boat cruise along the Zambezi River. A mellow and scenic end to an exciting day. Sit back and watch a beautiful sunset, spotting birds and animals, whilst sipping on sundowners.
This affordable South Africa, Zimbabwe & Vic Falls Budget Safari finishes after breakfast at the lodge this morning.
The remainder of the day is free for you to have fun and explore, participating in optional adventure activities of your choice. The array of optional activities includes scenic flights by helicopter, micro-light and plane, bungee jumping and world-class white water rafting among many more.
Accommodation is not included on day seven and optional activities are at extra cost. We highly recommend that you book an extra day or two at Victoria Falls to enjoy activities and explore further.
Please note that this safari requires a mandatory Safari Pass (Local Payment) at an additional cost. The Safari Pass includes most of the tour highlights and activities, as well as some accommodation en route. This compulsory payment can be made when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Safari Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
On this budget tour accommodation is mostly in shared rooms with twin beds in basic chalets or bungalows/cabins, with en suite bathroom facilities. Most of the places that we stay at have a pool, restaurant and bar.
Transport on this tour will be in a comfortable mini-bus or microbus.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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