This Kruger, Zimbabwe & Botswana Budget Safari combines the unique natural wonders with the top wildlife and cultural highlights of Southern Africa!
A well-rounded safari adventure that takes you into wild Africa, along with visiting historic and game viewing treasures!
During this trip you are likely to come across activities that encourage tourists to participate in lion, elephant or other wildlife interaction. This includes walking with lions, riding elephants and any other tourist operation putting travellers in close contact with animals that would normally live wild and separate from human contact.
We absolutely do not encourage or endorse this type of wildlife interaction operation. For more information on why this is not good for Africa's wild animals, please see our detailed blog post on the subject.
The vibrant city of Johannesburg is the starting point of this Kruger, Zimbabwe & Botswana Budget Safari. We set off from Johannesburg early in the morning (06:30am), travelling northeast into the scenic Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.
Our first destination is the world-renowned Kruger National Park, South Africa's flagship national park. Arriving at the massive Kruger Park, we make our way to the less-visited and more wild northern section of the game reserve. In the remote north of Kruger we encounter fewer other game vehicles, exploring the untamed bush between the Letaba and Pafuri River camps.
During our time in Kruger we embark on exhilarating morning and afternoon game viewing drives in our 4x4 safari vehicle. One of Africa's top game parks, Kruger Park is home to the Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant), along with an abundance of other animals and birds.
Leaving the game-rich Kruger National Park we drive north to the Beit Bridge border crossing, and continue to Masvingo town in Zimbabwe.
From Masvingo we visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, one of Africa's greatest archeological treasures and a World Heritage Site. We take a walk around the legendary ruins marvelling at the towering walls standing over five metres thick in places.
This historical highlight of Zimbabwe, was once an important centre of trade in Southern Africa and the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe. The Shona people started construction in the 11th century and continued building the elaborate royal palace until the 14th century.
This extensive system of ruins is an awe-inspiring sight, consisting of stone walls and structures that have stood the test of time.
Today we head to Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe. The next highlight on our journey - Matobo National Park, a World Heritage Site about 35 km south of Bulawayo. Arriving at our campsite on the oustkirts of Matobo National Park in the late afternoon, we set up camp and sit back with a sundowner, followed by a relaxing evening around the flickering campfire.
On the morning of day five we set off into the beautiful Matobos Hills with a local guide. The Matobos Park offers unique scenery, consisting of gentle hills and wooded valleys, scattered with huge granite boulders. We embark on an open vehicle game drive through the strange landscapes of Matobos, stopping off at World's View and the grave of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes. On day five we also enjoy a guided walk in search of wildlife, including endangered white rhinos, and our walk takes us to view ancient rock art by the semi-nomadic San Bushmen.
This hilly part of Zimbabwe is home to a variety of wild animals and birds and is also of great cultural significance to the local people. Many Zimbabweans see the Matobo Hills as a scared place, with the Venda traditionally considering it as one of the most sacred sites. Indigenous communities, particularly the Shona and Ndebele tribes, use sacred shrines scattered in the granite hills to commune with their ancestors and perform rituals.
This morning we walk up to the historic World's View site, where the colonial settler Cecil John Rhodes' was buried. Walking through the unique landscape we look out for wild animals, including rhinos and antelopes, as well as admiring the impressive boulders and rocky outcrops.
We proceed north to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's leading game park. Hwange Park is best known for its huge elephant population, one of the largest in Africa. The largest game reserve in Zimbabwe, this 14 650 km² national park is home to healthy populations of Africa's Big Five. Hwange also hosts numerous giraffes and antelope species, as well as large herds of buffalo and zebra.
On day seven we take a game drive in Hwange, going in search of the plentiful wild animals found here. The game drive is conducted by a local guide in an open 4x4 safari vehicle.
For the next two nights we camp in a game management area bordering on Hwange Park.
Next stop, the world-famous Victoria Falls. We stay in the bustling town of Victoria Falls, located on the Zimbabwean side of the Victoria Falls waterfall.
Visiting the largest sheet of falling water in the world is an absolute must here. Walking through the lush forests we stand at Victoria Falls witnessing its full might from up close. Feel the spray of the Zambezi as it crashes into the gorge below. The locals aptly call it Mosi-oa-Tunya which means “the smoke that thunders”.
While in Victoria Falls town, you can participate in a wide variety of thrilling and unforgettable optional activities (own account). White water rafting is a favourite here, as is bungi jumping. Victoria Falls is called the Adventure Capital of Africa, and for good reason.
Departing from the historic town of Victoria Falls we drive west into neighbouring Botswana. Entering Botswana we travel to the acclaimed Chobe region of Botswana, home to one of the largest continuous elephant populations in Africa.
In the late afternoon we embark on a lazy sunset cruise along the Chobe River. Chobe Park is renowned for its superb sundowner boat cruises, offering excellent close encounters with the profusion of wild animals and birds drawn to the water.
Tonight we camp along the banks of the meandering Chobe River, in Kasane town of northern Botswana.
Please Note: The 10-day Johannesburg to Victoria Falls tour option ends in Victoria Falls at 08:00am today.
On the morning of day 11 you can take a game viewing drive in Chobe National Park (own account) or relax at the riverside camp. The optional game drive explores Chobe in search of predators (lion, leopard, wild dog), antelopes (wildebeest, kudu, impala), zebra, giraffe and many more.
We then drive south west to Gweta, passing through the Kasane Forest Reserve in Lesoma Valley. Tonight we camp under the ancient baobabs this area is renowned for.
This morning we are off to Maun where we transfer to open 4x4 vehicles and drive to the outskirts of the pristine Okavango Delta. This is the largest inland delta in the world, with the Okavango River flowing from the highlands of Angola into the arid Kalahari of Botswana. The delta is an intricate network of interconnected rivulets flowing into still lagoons interspersed with secluded islands and reed-lined flood plains.
Once in the watery Okavango Delta we meet up with local guides who take us further into this stunning wilderness area by mokoro canoes. Sit back and soak up the untamed flora and fauna of Botswana's natural gem, as your guide poles you along through the maze of waterways. The guides stand like gondoliers in these traditional dug out canoes, guiding you through the reed lines channels and peaceful lagoons.
Our local guides camp with us in the heart of the unspoilt bush, giving you the chance to gain insight into their culture and way of life. We make the most of our special time in the delta by camping under the stars on remote islands, exploring on foot and taking refreshing dips in the clean estuaries. The Okavango Delta is home to a diversity of plants, animals and birds, some of which we get up close to during our adventure.
Today we make our way back to civilization leaving the unforgettable Okavango Delta behind.
Arrive back in Maun late in the afternoon and unwind at our riverside camp's pool. This afternoon provides the ideal opportunity to take a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (own account). The delta flights are a real highlight, taking you over the massive wetland system to marvel at its scale and beautiful wildness.
Say farewell to northern Botswana today, as we drive south to Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
We travel through the vast and silent Kalahari Desert looking out for the unusual animals inhabiting this desolate land along the way.
Our last game viewing destination is the compact Khama Rhino Sanctuary. We set off on a game drive to sight some of the resident wildlife, hopefully including rhinos.
The sanctuary was created in 1992, to help reestablish rhino populations in the area, which is the ideal habitat for these large endangered mammals. This wildlife reserve is a haven for over 230 bird species and some 30 animal species, many of which have been reintroduced here. The wildlife sanctuary employs local people, ensuring that nearby communities benefit from tourism revenue and the sustainable use resources found in nature.
Our journey comes full circle today, as we return to the dynamic city of Johannesburg in South Africa. This memorable Kruger, Zimbabwe & Botswana Budget Safari comes to an end in Johannesburg, home to the largest man-made forest in the world.
A free airport transfer can be arranged for 17h00 on the final day.
This 16 Day Kruger, Zimbabwe & Botswana Budget Safari is available as a shorter 10-day Kruger & Zimbabwe Safari from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.