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Explore tropical beaches and the untamed African bush, visiting superb scenic, wildlife and cultural highlights of Southern Africa.
After visiting the mighty Victoria Falls, we journey to the Big Five Hwange National Park for rewarding game viewing. Visit the World Heritage Sites of Matobo National Park, with its beautiful landscapes and rich wildlife, and the historic Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Then travel to the sunny East Coast of Africa in Mozambique to experience the idyllic tropical beaches, starting with Vilanculos, from where we take a leisurely dhow trip to the Bazaruto Archipelago. Enjoy the idyllic Magaruque Island of Bazaruto - swim, snorkel, hike and relax on the beaches, before travelling south to historic Inhambane, Tofo and Bilene. Go snorkelling and scuba diving in Tofo, famous for its whale sharks and manta rays, or unwind on the beaches and swim in the clear azure waters of the warm Indian Ocean.
Embark on a full day game drive in the world-famous Kruger National Park, going in search of the Big Five and abundance of other wildlife and birds inhabiting this vast wilderness area. This Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kruger Camping Safari ends in Pretoria after two unforgettable weeks of African adventure.
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.
Our two-week Explore Mozambique, Zimbabwe & Kruger Safari starts off with a full day of fun and relaxation in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
In the morning we visit the magnificent Victoria Falls waterfall, one of the top natural wonders of the world. Stand in awe of this natural spectacle, feeling the spray and hearing the roar of the Mosi-oa-Tunya or the 'Smoke that Thunders' as Vic Falls is called. At Victoria Falls the powerful Zambezi River plummets from some 108 metres down into the Bakota Gorge below, spanning 1,7 kilometres; making this the largest sheet of falling water on the planet.
The rest of the day is free for you to participate in some of the plentiful adventure activities Victoria Falls is renowned for, from bungee jumping off Victoria Falls Bridge to kayaking and game walks. Other thrilling options include helicopter flips and scenic microlight flights over the falls, jet boating, and zip line rides in the gorge, among others. This part of the Zambezi River offers the world's best rapids for white water rafting, from the easy to navigate to the hair-raising.
For the tamer traveller, the historical town of Victoria Falls is compact enough to easily explore on foot and offers some interesting sights, including the Jafuta Heritage Centre. You can also cross into Zambia and visit Livingstone town, browsing its lively markets and visiting the David Livingstone Museum; which explores the history of Vic Falls. Other options include high tea at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel, tram rides and browsing the local markets.
Please Note: To allow for flexibility with activities, all meals in Victoria Falls are for your own account, with some activities including meals. The local cafes and restaurants offer reasonably priced meals and snacks (budget US$15 - $30 per meal).
On day two of our Southern African journey, we travel south from Victoria Falls to Zimbabwe's leading national park, Hwange.
Late this afternoon we venture into the wilderness on an open vehicle game drive in search of the wild and wonderful animals and birds of Hwange National Park.
Hwange National Park is the largest national park in Zimbabwe and one of Africa's biggest, covering 14 651 km² of untamed bush. Hwange is famous for its huge elephant population, numbering around 40000 tuskers - one of the largest elephant populations on earth. Zimbabwe's most renowned game park is also inhabited by about 107 kinds of animals, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo). Other animals include cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes and various antelope species. Hwange Park is known for its population of endangered wild dogs and some 400 bird species can be seen here.
In the early evening, we make our way back to camp for our first night in the African bush.
Today we continue our camping adventure, heading further south through Zimbabwe to Bulawayo. Along the way, we pass the old trading hub of Khami Ruins, an important archaeological site dating back to the 16th century.
Explore Zimbabwe's second largest city, after the capital city of Harare, later this afternoon. Walk along the pleasant tree-lined avenues of Bulawayo, admiring the old colonial buildings and stopping in at its art galleries and leafy parks. Visit the Natural History and National museums, or National Art Gallery for insight into Zimbabwe’s geology, history and culture. Browse through the colourful local arts and handmade crafts at the bustling market, or relax at a cafe.
From Bulawayo, we drive to the nearby Matobo National Park and embark on a game viewing drive in this scenic Unesco World Heritage Site.
Our drive takes us through the otherworldly landscape of the majestic Matopos Hills scattered with enormous granite boulders. Our guides share their knowledge about this culturally significant area, considered the spiritual heart of Zimbabwe. One of the best collections of San rock paintings is found in the caves of Matobo Park.
This national park is a good place to spot black and white rhinos, which our guide helps us to track down on an exhilarating walk (conditions allowing). Matobo Park hosts Zimbabwe's highest density of leopards, and if we're lucky we might sight one of these very elusive cats among the rocky hills. Many of the world's eagle species are present in Matobo, so look out for these raptors (especially black eagles), as well as the world's largest birds, ostriches. Other animals that we may sight include zebra, giraffes and an array of antelope species.
After exploring this beautiful highlight of Zimbabwe on our half-day trip, we make our way back to the city of Bulawayo and sample the nightlife or rest at the lodge. You also have the option of upgrading to a full day tour of Matobo National Park to view cultural and historical sights too.
This morning we depart from Bulawayo, driving east to the town of Masvingo. We set up camp near Masvingo, close to the Great Zimbabwe National Monument.
In the afternoon we visit the monument, more commonly known as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. A local guide accompanies us to the massive collection of ruins, imparting information about the once booming city. This is one of the major archaeological sites of Southern Africa, dating back to 1200AD when the city was home to about 10000 people.
Zimbabwe is named after this UNESCO World Heritage Site which once served as a major trading hub and capital of Queen of Sheeba's empire, according to legend. After marvelling at the ancient achievements of the Shona civilization we head back to camp, or you can join an optional hike to the top of Hill Enclosure for a glowing African sunset.
On day six we are up early for our journey into neighbouring Mozambique. We stop in the Zimbabwean city of Mutare en route, and if there is enough time at the scenic Birchenough Bridge. This single-arch steel bridge, named after Sir Henry Birchenough, crosses the Save River which flows some 400 kilometres through Zimbabwe and into Mozambique.
After replenishing our supplies we proceed to the border and cross into Mozambique, travelling into the Bandula Area. Our campsite for tonight is located in a 550-hectare conservancy near Chicamba Dam.
As we travel into less-developed Mozambique the roads become rougher, while modern luxuries and comforts become scarcer. Get ready for the adventure of being in a less-westernised place where travel becomes slower and facilities more rustic. It often takes a few days to adjust to the more basic services and amenities available, but after a few days, it all becomes part of the adventure of experiencing a new place and different culture.
Please note: The border crossing often requires extra patience as the process can be tedious and time-consuming, so bring a book and be prepared to wait it out. Your guide does most of the work but the officials set the pace so patience is often required.
Today we get up early and drive to the warm Indian Ocean along the coast of East Africa. We head to the small town of Vilanculos which is the springboard for trips to the Bazaruto Islands, an idyllic archipelago of tropical islands.
Arriving in the lively seaside town of Vilanculos (also called Vilankulo) we pick up snorkels and pack for our trip to the Bazaruto Archipelago tomorrow.
Then we climb aboard a traditional dhow and sail to our beach camp for the next two nights. This rustic camp is set on a remote stretch of coastline about 90 minutes from Vilanculos by sailing boat. Stroll along the beach or take a dip in the ocean as the sun goes down.
Hop onboard a dhow sailing vessel this morning for our sun-filled day trip to Magaruque Island, the closest of the Bazaruto islands to Vilanculos. Enjoy cold drinks and snacks on the traditional dhow as we sail to Bazaruto. Magaruque, formerly named Ilha Santa Isabel, is a beach paradise with sandy white beaches and placid turquoise waters.
Our day on the picturesque small island includes basic snorkelling gear and lunch, as well as entry fees to the Bazaruto National Park. Lunch consists of a fresh seafood spread, served under the coconut palms on the beach. The ocean around Magaruque is home to an impressive variety of fish that you can spot when snorkelling. In addition to snorkelling, you can spend time exploring the island, swimming in the clear water and soaking up the sunshine while you laze on the beach. The island also features the ruins of a 19th-century fort which you can hike to.
At the end of the day, we sail back to our beach camp near Vilanculos for a laid-back evening on the mainland.
On day nine we make our way south to the historic port city of Inhambane and on to nearby Tofo, one of the top beach destinations in Mozambique.
We spend two nights camping at a resort along the main beach - the palm-fringed Praia (beach) de Tofo, within walking distance of the beachside town and attractions. In Tofo, you are free to soak up the sunshine, laze on the sandy beaches and splash in the waves.
There are plenty of optional activities available here, the most famous being scuba diving and snorkelling trips, called ocean safaris. Tofo is considered one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks and manta rays, especially during the summer (November to March). An array of other sea animals and fish are also spotted on diving and snorkelling trips here. In winter humpback whales are seen along the coast here too. Other activities include horse riding and surfing or visiting the little market of this laid-back town. Sampling the local beer and cuisine is a must, particularly if you enjoy spicy foods and fresh seafood.
You can also go to Inhambane to explore the historical sights of this old city, where African, European and Arabic influences combine. Climb to the top of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conception for sweeping 360º views and visit the bustling local market where fresh fish, seafood and farm produce are sold.
This morning we set off from Tofo, driving south to Bilene, our last beach destination in Mozambique.
The small town of Bilene, formerly called San Martino, lies on the shores of Uembje Lagoon (also known as San Martino Lake). It's a popular spot for water-sports and ideal for snorkelling. Grab the last chance to go snorkelling and settle in at our camp overlooking the lagoon. Sit back and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze this evening, before falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean.
Today we leave the tropical beaches behind driving west into South Africa where we head to the leading safari destination in the country - Kruger National Park.
We overnight in the town of Hazyview, not far from Kruger Park, enjoying a traditional song and dance performance around the campfire this evening. This lively performance offers a glimpse into the traditional culture of the Shangaan people of the region.
On day 13, we are up at sunrise and off to Kruger Park. Our local expert takes us into the wild African bush in open 4x4 safari vehicles, showing us the many marvels of nature and tracking down wildlife. Kruger is one of the finest game parks in Africa, given the diversity and abundance of fauna and flora encompassed in its 19,485 km² area, along with the game-rich surrounding reserves of Greater Kruger.
The whole day is spent game viewing in Kruger Park, home to the Big Five and a plethora of large mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. During the heat of the day, we take a lunch break at one of the shady rest camps in the national park followed by our afternoon game drive.
After an unforgettable day of wildlife viewing in world-renowned Kruger National Park, we return to our accommodation in Hazyview.
On the last day of our Vic Falls to Mozambique & Kruger Overland Camping Tour, we leave Greater Kruger and make our way to Pretoria, feeling inspired and relaxed after our scenic beach and wildlife exploration.
In the late afternoon to early evening, we arrive in the 'Jacaranda City' as Pretoria is known, bringing our camping adventure to a close in South Africa.
Note: Due to our evening arrival we recommend spending the night after the safari in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa.
Please note that this tour comes with a highly-recommended Adventure Pass at extra cost. We strongly recommend this optional Adventure Pass as it includes major tour highlights and activities. This local payment can be purchased 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 Adventure Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
Matabos National Park (Zimbabwe)
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