Tailored from £7,800 per person excl. flights
13 days Hwange NP, Matusadona NP, Mana Pools NP, Victoria Falls
13 days Hwange NP, Matusadona NP, Mana Pools NP, Victoria Falls
Journey to one of Africa’s best kept safari secrets in luxury and style. This luxury Zimbabwe itinerary allows you the chance to travel through some of Zimbabwe’s most diverse and best safari locations including Hwange, Lake Kariba/Matusadona NP, Mana Pools and Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe has an array of luxurious, yet authentic African safari properties and we have included our firm favourites in this wonderful trip. Zimbabwe is famous for their high level of guiding and authentic safari experiences, in what is regarded as some of the wildest, untouched national parks left in Africa. If you have been on safari before, you will immediately notice the high level of expertise and care shown by the game rangers and guides. Their incredible level of passion for the wildlife and environment which is truly infectious and this will undoubtedly reflect in the experience you will have out in the wild bushland.
This itinerary will showcase the best sights and sounds Zimbabwe has to offer, with the comfort and high level of service and amenities one would expect from a 5-star hotel, but with the intimacy of a small authentic safari camp. You will experience the majestic Victoria Falls, the game rich Hwange National Park, the beauty and access to water safari in Lake Kariba as well as the famous wild frontier of Mana Pools.
Today your amazing adventure begins, you arrive in Victoria Falls International Airport and connect through to your light aircraft flight to Hwange National Park, arguably the most famous park in Zimbabwe. The park is known for their large population of elephants and one of the largest wild dog numbers globally.
You will be staying at the luxurious exploration property, Somalisa Camp. You will feel as if you have travelled back in time to an era of exploration and expeditions. Each suite is designed to take advantage of the views over the rolling plains and large waterhole in front of the camp while offering a spacious glam tent decked out in copper, leather and other turn of the century opulence.
Meals are served out on the deck of the main area and the resident gourmet chefs never disappoint with their eclectic mix of fusion African and western dishes, designed to create mouth watering experiences no matter what meal is being enjoyed. In the late afternoon on your first day, you will go out on your first game drive with your resident expert guide in search for large, small and rare game. The camp is perfectly situated near open “vlei” and woodland, a perfect variety to enhance your chances of seeing all the main game.
Hwange National Park is especially famous for their elephant, lion, leopard and wild dog population. An early start to the day will enable you to go out on either a game drive or walk with your expert guide. The area surrounding Somalisa offers a variety of large and small game since you will have access to open land as well as woodland where different species prefer to graze for protection from the wandering lions and leopards. Cheetah are also prevalent in the wider open areas nearby and watching a hunt is always an exhilarating experience!
Bordering Botswana, Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's largest game park with an area of 14,600km². Its sheer size means that its scenery, vegetation and game vary hugely, ranging from the semi desert scrub on the edge of the Kalahari in the south, to forests, granite hills and valleys of mopane woodlands in the north.
This game park is very accessible and all the safari camps here offer day and night game drives and most also offer walking safaris. The highest numbers of animals are spotted in the dry season (August to October) when the wildlife congregates around the shrunken water holes.
Midday is spent back at the camp, relaxing in the pools or enjoying an armchair safari either on your own private verandah or on the elevated main area lounge. The waterhole close by is usually busy with elephants and antelope throughout the day.
After breakfast and your morning activity, you will be taken to the local bush air strip. You will fly to Lake Kariba, situated in the north of the country. You will fly directly to the Bumi Hills Lodge which is located on the top of a range of hills overlooking the man-made lake. The views from here are undeniably the best in the region and you will often see local fishing boats out in the distance while hearing the roar of lions in the hills around the lodge. This really is the best mix of authentic safari and luxury contemporary design.
After landing at the Bumi Hills airstrip, you will be met by your driver guide who will take you directly to the lodge, crawling his 4x4 up the hill. You will see the jaw dropping view as soon as you enter the lodge as the designers of the property have made sure every area takes full advantage of the location. Each guest will receive a complimentary 30-minute massage on arrival which can be a welcome distraction from the travelling and adventurous safari itinerary.
After a fantastic lunch and settling into the lodge, you will be taken down the hill to the local jetty where you will board a safari boat to enjoy a sunset cruise on the lake. The haunting images of the petrified trees jutting out of the water and the cries of the fish eagles will stay with you always. Sunsets on Lake Kariba are rumoured to be the very best in Africa by all who travel there.
Dinner is served once you make it back to the lodge and freshen up. Enjoy the lovely viewing deck overlooking the lake which is stunning as you can normally see the twinkling lights of the local Kapenta fishing rigs out on the water.
You have two full days to explore this beautiful area. There are several activities you can enjoy from the lodge. Game drives with your expert local guide are always a must and can be experienced in the morning as well as the afternoon. Balancing a day’s activities between the land and the water is always recommended to really get the very best out of the region. After lunch, a popular activity you could include is an afternoon Tiger fishing experience followed by a sunset cruise or you can go out on a boat safari ending with the sunset drinks either on the boat or on shore.
In the late 1950s, the Kariba Dam flooded much of the middle Zambezi Valley, creating one of the world's greatest man-made lakes: Lake Kariba. The valley's prolific game was concentrated on its islands and southern shore, where Matusadona National Park was created. Around this shoreline are some excellent safari lodges, offering walks and drives, as well as boat and canoe trips to explore the lake's inlets and creeks. The lake is a superb place to watch the sunset, with the Matusadona Mountains in the background making for an excellent photo opportunity.
From Lake Kariba we fly by light aircraft to the wild lands of Mana Pools, the mecca for all authentic safari in southern Africa. Mana Pools is a magical region where the African wildlife rules and humans really do feel like guests. The remoteness of these vast lands enables the wildlife to thrive in the untouched environment, making Mana Pools a favourite among wildlife photographers and film makers.
You will be staying at one of the best situated luxury camps in the region, Ruckomechi Camp. This property offers the enviable location on the Zambezi River overlooking open plains, woodland and the mountains of the Rift Valley escarpment. Your experienced guide will offer you several key activities to enjoy while on safari including game drives, nature walks, boat safaris and canoeing. Mana Pools is one of those rare, special places that still exist today, where animals still rule and your short visit can offer you some of the best authentic safari experiences possible.
With ten spacious suites spread out across a kilometre of riverfront every room offers an intimate bush experience in this stunning landscape. Built with natural materials and designed to blend with the surroundings you’ll enjoy supreme comfort in these stylish tents. All en-suite and with large verandas to enjoy the view you can’t ask for much more to make the perfect safari.
Mana Pools National Park lies at the heart of the Zambezi Valley, a remote, beautiful place with spectacular views. The area offers large concentrations of buffalo and elephant, while predators such as lion, wild dog, leopard and cheetah are often sighted. Birdlife is superb, with numerous local specials like collared palm-thrush and racket-tailed roller.
Covering a little under 40km2, the concession is bisected by the Ruckomechi River, with the eastern half within Mana Pools National Park, and the western side in Hurungwe Safari Area. It's an area of varied habitat, from mopane woodland and scrubland to open grassland, attracting high concentrations of wildlife. This private concession not only allows for greater flexibility of activities than is possible within the national park itself, but also helps to provide a more exclusive game-viewing experience.
Enjoy game drives, river cruises, nature walks, catch and release fishing and bird watching whilst here.
Today you complete your circuit, you catch your final light aircraft flight back to Victoria Falls. After arriving in Victoria Falls, you will be met by your driver who will take you on a scenic drive to Matetsi, your oasis on the banks of the Zambezi River, surrounded by wild bush land offering fantastic safari experiences and game viewing.
Being further downstream means you will be able to enjoy the quietness of the open African bushland, having access to great safari game drives all around you, and being only 45minutes away from the falls themselves, this is a great location to explore the region. Matetsi offers spacious suites that boast contemporary yet authentic finishes that showcase the country’s rich heritage.
The lodge offers a contemporary yet authentic luxury Africa design and offers interior and exterior living spaces to take advantage of the beautiful scenery and area they are located in. Victoria Falls is a mere 40kms away and the lodge offers trips to the falls as well as land and water-based safari activities in the area.
With 18 suites, split into groups of 9 each with a family unit consisting of two bedrooms you will enjoy privacy for a complete wind down. Every suite has its own plunge pool on the veranda where you can watch the wildlife wander by. Enjoy air conditioned rooms, butler service and incredible dining for an unparalleled experience.
Your final stunning location offers a wealth of activities. Take these final few days to just enjoy your luxury property and stunning location. As Matetsi is located on its own private wildlife reserve there is an opportunity to continue your safari experience by heading out on game drives, walks or river activities.
However, you are only just upstream from a wonder of the world, the great Victoria Falls. A day out exploring the falls by foot or air is a fantastic way to visit this area. If you’re looking to just take these final days to relax, check on the onsite spa or take some time in the gym or infinity pool as you watch animals pass by.
If you’re after more safari, the region boasts a wide selection of wild African wildlife such as lion, leopard, elephants and buffalo's. Your experienced guide will track and follow game through the surrounding bush and woodland, while educating you on the intricate connections each creature has with one another.
Dinner will be followed by a relaxing sit around the fire, enjoying stories and tales shared by the guides and other travellers, while gazing at the bright starry night, unaffected by any city lights.
Today your fantastic journey comes to an end. Depending on the time of your flight, take today to relax or head out on one final excursion before being transferred back to Victoria Falls International Airport to catch your flights home.
Although your incredible luxury Zimbabwe holiday has come to an end, we hope you’ll be leaving with many special memories and stories to tell. After 13 days of amazing wildlife, spectacular natural wonders, and some of the country’s most luxurious safari lodgings, we’re sure you’ll be hooked on the African continent. Where will you explore next?