Botswana & Zimbabwe Adventure

Package Includes

  • Small groups of 10-18 travelers guaranteed
  • Round trip international flights NYC-Johannesburg
    Other departure cities available. Click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Intra-flights Johannesburg-Victoria Falls, Kasane-Okavango Delta, Okavango Delta-Maun & Maun-Johannesburg
  • 12 nights in First Class safari lodge and hotel accommodations that evoke the local character
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers and sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • 30 meals: 12 buffet breakfasts, 8 lunches & 10 dinners (including 2 home hosted lunches, and welcome & farewell dinners)
  • Bottled water during sightseeing excursions. Bottled water, coffee, and tea with all meals. Beer and wine included with dinner
  • Services of local English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

Tour Highlights

  • Thanks to our small group size of 10-18 travelers, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals
  • Learn about southern Africa’s remarkable wilderness and conservation efforts that surround it during enlightening talks
  • See wildlife along the Chobe River – hippos, crocs, and water buffalo - during a boat cruise
  • Cross into Namibia to visit a local village and learn about daily life there
  • Meet the chief of Mpisi and share lunch with him and his people in their village
  • Visit a school and medical clinic near Hwange to learn firsthand about the kids’ curriculum and the area’s health concerns
  • Board a traditional moroko (canoe) in the Okavango Delta to explore this vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland
  • Enjoy home-prepared stew with a Victoria Falls family in the neighborhood of Chinotimba

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    DAY 1, Thursday - Depart the USA
    Depart the USA for Johannesburg, South Africa. Your overnight flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for the journey

    DAY 2, Friday - Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa
    Upon arrival in Johannesburg, gateway to southern Africa, transfer to our hotel and rest up after your journey. You’ll have many options for dinner on your own this evening
    Overnight: Peermont Metcourt Suites at Emperors Palace

    DAY 3, Saturday - Fly to Zimbabwe
    After breakfast, we fly to Victoria Falls. Upon arrival you will be greeted by your tour manager and your group will depart for Hwange Safari Lodge. Arrive to your lodge in the early evening where you will enjoy a relaxing dinner as you get to know your fellow traveling companions
    Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 4, Sunday - Morning & Afternoon Game Drives
    After an early morning game drive, view wildlife gathering at the waterhole alongside our lodge or cool off in the pool. An afternoon talk by our Tour Manager sheds light on poaching concerns, the role of hunting here, and the differences between national parks and conservancies. Later, we set out on another game drive
    Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 5, Monday - Join Full-Day Hwange Game Drive
    During today’s full-day game drive, we explore a variety of habitats, from open plains to mopane forests. Many of the pans we see – or waterholes – are fed by an underground pump system regulated by authorities and we’ll be sure to monitor them for thirsty animals. We’ll find a shady spot for our packed lunch, and return in time for dinner
    Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 6, Tuesday - Visit Village, School, and Painted Dog Society / Afternoon Game Drive
    This morning we stop at a nearby village. Our visit begins at the chief’s house that he shares with his extended family and five orphaned grandchildren. We are here to learn about his family’s life, but also to ask his permission to visit the school and clinic in his village. We’ll tour the school and meet its delightful children – most of them also orphans. Then meet the clinic nurse to learn about the health issues affecting this community. Later, we drop in on the Painted Dog Conservation Society to learn the steps being taken to protect the endangered wild dog. During our visit, we’ll hear how this passionate organization enlists enthusiastic children in their conservancy efforts. Late this afternoon we board our vehicles for another game drive
    Overnight: Hwange Safari Lodge
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 7, Wednesday - Enjoy Home-Hosted Lunch / Explore Victoria Falls*
    This morning we depart for Victoria Falls and visit the Mpisi Village, name for its charismatic chief. Mr. Mpisi has hosted diplomats here, so we're honored to peer into this daily life. He gives us a warm welcome and a personal tour, inviting us to glimpse into his people's huts, sharing his tribe's folklore and revealing how a community of villages functions as one. Enjoy a traditional lunch in the village under the cool shade of a thatched roof. After we check in to our hotel, the largest waterfall in the world beckons. During the wet season, the force of Victoria Falls is so powerful that it’s known to many by its local name, Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the Smoke that Thunders. When David Livingstone came upon this torrent in 1855, he imagined that "scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight." We’ll stroll through the surrounding rainforest-like preserve, watered by a constant mist and awed by the falls’ magnificence
    Overnight: Kingdom Hotel, Victoria Falls
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

    DAY 8, Thursday - Full Day in Victoria Falls*
    This morning is free to explore Victoria Falls on your own. At noon, depart for a home hosted lunch with residents of the Chinotimba neighborhood. This afternoon return to your hotel where there are a variety of activities available for purchase locally. You may also opt to explore the town’s famous Crafts Market and bargain for a favorite wood or stone carving – even bartering with your t-shirts or caps. Late this afternoon, we embark a riverboat on the Zambezi River for a beautiful African sunset and an unforgettable dinner under African skies
    Overnight: Kingdom Hotel, Victoria Falls
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 9, Friday - Afternoon Chobe Game Drive
    After breakfast, we cross the border into Botswana and arrive to the Chobe Safari Lodge, located on the Chobe River. Chobe is the most diverse park in Botswana, thanks to its four distinct ecosystems. It’s also the country’s first national park. This evening enjoy a dinner and drink as you take in the views from your lodge located on the banks of the Chobe River
    Overnight: Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, Chobe National Park
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

    DAY 10, Saturday - Enjoy Chobe Game Drive & Wildlife Talk / Cruise Chobe River
    We begin today with a game drive in the cool of early morning, when the big cats are most active. Chobe is quiet in the hush of morning, and if we’re lucky, we might spot a pride of lions winding down after a night of hunting. We return to our lodge in time for breakfast, then spend the morning and the warmest part of the day at our lodge, perhaps taking a dip in the pool or journaling about our sightings. Mid-afternoon, our Tour Manager invites us for a talk about the wildlife of Chobe. Later, we embark on a boat cruise along the Chobe River. Hippos, crocodiles, baboons, and myriad birds often linger around the river’s banks
    Overnight: Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, Chobe National Park
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 11, Sunday - Visit Namibian Village / Choice of Chobe Game Drives
    This morning we cross the Chobe River to Impalila Island on Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and walk to a traditional village. Life has not changed much here over the centuries – men spend the days fishing to feed their families and women tend to their modest homes and create handicrafts – wood carvings, necklaces – to keep their culture alive. After lunch back at our lodge, you may choose a game drive by vehicle or by boat. Or join a fishing excursion on the Chobe River, where you might hook the elusive tiger fish
    Overnight: Cresta Mowana Safari Resort & Spa, Chobe National Park
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 12, Monday - Fly to the Okavango Delta, Afternoon Game Activity*
    After breakfast, we fly to the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta with a great concentration of animals and birds. A World Heritage site, the Okavango is a vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland at the heart of Botswana’s arid Kalahari Desert with an abundance of wildlife. In the afternoon, you will see some of the finest game viewing in the region - lookout for hippos, crocodiles, antelope, and buffalo at the water’s edge, as well as hundreds of bird species
    Overnight: Mapula Lodge, Okavango Delta
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 13, Tuesday - Morning & Afternoon Game Activities*
    Today you may choose from a variety of morning and afternoon game activities. Perhaps board a traditional mokoro (canoe) and search for animals as your guide slowly and silently pushes you through the waterways. Bird enthusiast should not miss the opportunity to take a guided nature walk on Chief's Island, and for a more relaxed approach, a motor boat cruise provides a comfortable way to game view and take in the beautiful surroundings
    Overnight: Mapula Lodge, Okavango Delta
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 14, Wednesday - Depart for the USA via Johannesburg
    Transfer to the Maun airport for your flight to Johannesburg and connect with your flight to the USA
    Meals: Breakfast

    *The Aug 29, Sep 12 and Oct 24 departures will operate a modified itinerary. The Okavango Delta will be visited on Day 7 and Day 8 and Victoria Falls on Day 12 and Day 13. All properties and tour inclusions will remain the same.

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    *Not Included:
    Prices do not include optional tours, Zimbabwe visa fees and gratuities for guides/tour managers.

    Additional Information:
    Passengers should select flights that depart no earlier than 7 pm on Day 14.

    Due to limited space in safari vehicles, please pack your belongings in a soft-sided bag. Traditional suitcases with rigid frames or hard plastic sides should not be used.

    Entry Requirements:
    Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.

    Is This Trip Right for You?

    This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend most of our time driving in safari vehicles over roads that are often rough and bumpy. Only “bush toilets” are available during game drives. One game walk and our village visits last about 2 hours; our Victoria Falls walk is 2.5 miles over flat surface. The pace is moderate, with 1 one-night stay, 2 two-night stays, 1 three-night stay, and 1 four-night stay. Some of our tours require walking or stairs between huts or tents. Small boats, a mokoro canoe, and our safari vehicles require agility to embark and disembark. We have many early mornings. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking or who have heart conditions.

    Getting Ready to GoAbout Your FlightsArrival and DepartureAccommodationsAt Your Destination

    Know Before You Go
    Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.
    Getting Ready to Go
    Passports and Visas
    It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after the date of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has unstamped visa pages.

    Entry Requirements:
    US citizens require a passport valid for six months beyond travel dates.
    Trip Preparation
    A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver’s license) are in order and that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. As for the liquid containers, we suggest that you squeeze out excess air from those containers and place into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks.

    Cell Phones & Calling Cards
    You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. U.S. service is dominated by the CDMA technology standard, while most of the world uses the incompatible GSM standard. Some U.S. providers do offer GSM, but you may incur high international roaming fees. With GSM, however, you can often choose to have your phone unlocked and then add a local SIM card for lower fees. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally.

    When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel’s reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges.

    Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another
    When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code + destination Country Code + Phone Number.
    For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If the international number you wish to call starts with a 0 (zero), you must drop this starting digit when dialing the number.

    Wireless Internet Access
    Passengers traveling with WiFi enabled devices (such as a personal computer, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) may be able to connect to the internet via a wireless network access point (or hotspot). WiFi access in hotels and/or cruise lines often involves a fee which, in some cases, can be very expensive. Passengers requiring internet access can often locate free WiFi hotspots such as libraries or coffee shops. Hotspots can often be located and planned in advance via an online search. Planning ahead may help avoid unnecessary fees.

    Staying Healthy While Traveling
    All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal health-care provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or theWorld Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations.

    There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.

    • Watch what you eat. Try new foods in modest quantities, and depending upon your destination, you may want to avoid street foods, salad bars, raw vegetables and fruits, unless they have thick peels like bananas or grapefruit.
    • Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid consuming ice cubes made with tap water.
    • If you have allergies to foods, medications or insect bites, or have any other unique medical issues, consider a medical alert bracelet and/or a physician’s note detailing required treatment should you become ill.
    • Wash your hands regularly and carry hand sanitizer.
    • Where appropriate, pack sunscreen and insect repellant (for both active and warm destinations).
    • You may also want to bring a small first-aid kit with bandaids, antibiotic cream, pain killers, bug bite cream, digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications, antacids, and cold medicine. This is in addition to any prescription medications which should be adequate for the entire trip.

    Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at: http://www.dot.gov/office-policy/aviation-policy/aircraft-disinsection-requirements.

    South Africa & Swaziland - While the majority of South Africa is malaria-free, visitors to Kruger National Park are encouraged to consult their health care providers regarding malaria prophylaxis. Visitors should use mosquito repellent and wear long pants, closed shoes, and a lightweight long sleeve shirt when in this area. Additionally, you may encounter mosquitoes in other areas, both rural and urban, especially during wet seasons. Please consult your physician before traveling to South Africa.

    This tour visits areas of high elevations on the Panorama Route (5,870 feet) and in Swaziland (6,110 feet), and may cause temporary altitude discomfort for some travelers. Those affected should avoid over-exertion, drink extra water, and eat lightly.

    Zimbabwe - Malaria is prevalent throughout Zimbabwe, except in Harare, due to the capital's high altitude. The CDC strongly recommends that malaria prophylaxis and preventative measures be taken when traveling outside of Harare. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

    Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Zimbabwe. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.

    Botswana - Travelers to Botswana are encouraged to consult their health care providers regarding malaria prophylaxis. Visitors should use mosquito repellent and wear long pants, closed shoes, and lightweight long sleeve shirts. It is recommended that you see your doctor 4-6 weeks before your trip.

    Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food, water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. The World Health Organization (WHO) website is also helpful and provides information on outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad.

    Climate & Clothing
    South Africa & Swaziland - Spring and Autumn: 55–70°F, Summer: 60–80°F, Winter: 45–65°F. Bring comfortable walking shoes, clothes you can layer, and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses are also recommended. On game reserves, visitors should wear neutral colors such as brown, khaki, and beige.

    South Africa Average Temperatures: http://www.gate1travel.com/weather/africa/#south-africa-weather

    Zimbabwe - November: - March 63°F-86°F; April - July: 43°F-85°F; August - October: 48°F–93°F.

    Victoria Falls offers a mild and dry winter from June to mid-August and a warm to hot spring, until the rains start in mid-November. The dry season around Victoria Falls generally is from May to October; the wet season is from November to March.

    Bring comfortable shoes, lightweight clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Sunscreen and a hat or sunglasses are also recommended. Some religious sites do not allow shorts or sleeveless shirts. A rain coat will be provided while on the Victoria Falls tour, however please wear shoes you do not mind getting wet and bring a small umbrella for extra protection.

    Botswana - November - March 70°F-90°F; April - August: 55°F-75°F; September - October: 65°F–95°F.

    The summer season begins in November and ends in March with very high temperatures. This is also the rainy season, however it is unusual for there to be more than two consecutive days of rain. The winter season begins in May and ends in August and is the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas. The in-between periods - April/early May and September/October - still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.

    Loose, natural fabrics are recommended, with wet-weather gear and warmer clothes according to the season and area visiting.

    Book & Film Recommendations
    Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination - either in advance of their trip or while traveling - as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests’ recommendations.

    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
    Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
    Zulu by Caryl Ferey
    Mafeking Road by Herman Charles Bosman
    The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
    Playing the Enemy by John Carlin
    Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog