Where the Wild Things Are
See ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ in Vic Falls. Spot elephants galore in Hwange National Park and rhinos en masse in Matobo National Park. Visit the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Nata and drop in on the Big 5 in Kruger.
Honey badgers are hardcore. Their skin is so thick even a machete won't cut it. And their jaws are strong enough to crush a tortoise shell. The Guiness Book of World Records reckons the honey badger is the most fearless creature on Earth. Google 'crazy, nastyass honey badger' if you don't believe us.
TRIP CHANGE FOR 2015:
This itinerary will no longer visit Nata. As a result, this itinerary will now visit Palapye and an included Old Palapye village walk will be included.
Day 1-2 - Victoria Falls
Mhoro! Welcome to Zimbabwe.Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1:00pm on Day 1.You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.For those of you who arrive early, there are various activities and excursions available - either on the water, on land or high above it all. Choose from whitewater rafting, canoeing, horse riding, abseiling or gorge swinging (please see the 'Optional Activities' section of these notes for more details on what you can see and do around Victoria Falls).If you are interested in the Optional Helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange this activity.Visit the magnificent Victoria Falls.The Victoria Falls are an enormous curtain of water, about a mile wide, falling 108 m into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 m and the falls are an impressive raging torrent. The spray from the falls can sometimes be seen from kilometres away. It's no wonder that the local name Mosi oa Tunya means the 'smoke that thunders'. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and it's possible to see little islets in the river below.Responsible Travel Note:
During your visit to the Victoria Falls area you may notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We recommend that Geckos travellers bypass this activity as it is contrary to Gecko's Responsible Travel guideline stating that we 'actively discourage the participation of Geckos groups in activities which exploit animals - wild or domestic.' Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans can shorten their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards lion research, we feel that the negative impacts on the lions' rehabilitation far outweigh this.Included Activities
- Visit Victoria Falls
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Abseiling, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD55.00
- Canoe trail, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD140.00
- Canoe trail (half day), Victoria Falls - Approximately USD100.00
- Flying fox, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD40.00
- Helicopter flight (12 mins), Victoria Falls - Approximately USD140.00
- Helicopter flight (25 mins), Victoria Falls - Approximately USD275.00
- Horseback safari, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD80.00
- Jet boat, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD95.00
- Rafting & river boarding combo (half day), Victoria Falls - Approximately USD180.00
- Village & township tour, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD50.00
- Wine Route Canoe trail, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD55.00
- Bungee jumping, Victoria Falls - Approximately USD130.00
Day 3 - Hwange National ParkHead towards Hwange National Park (190 km, approx 3-4 hrs).Stopping en route to visit the Painted Dog Conservation Group for an insight into the plight of the African Wild Dog.Hwange National Park became the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king Mzilikazi in the early 19th century and was set aside as a national park in 1929. Today, Hwange boasts a tremendous selection of wildlife with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. The elephants of Hwange are world famous and the park's elephant population is one of the largest in Africa.Explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles.Stay within the park at one of its campgrounds with shared facilities.Included Activities
- Hwange National Park
Day 4-5 - BulawayoTravel to Bulawayo (360 km, approx 5-6 hrs).Known locally as the 'City of Kings', Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city and has a very interesting historical past.We will have the afternoon free to explore the city, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore local markets, chat with a local or perhaps find a game of football or rugby to watch.Get up early and venture out to explore the Matobo National Park.Home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros that can be tracked on foot, Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matopos area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.In Bulawayo, stay in a campground with shared facilities - upgrades are available.Included Activities
- Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari
- Natural History Museum, Bulawayo - Approximately USD10.00
- Railway Museum, Bulawayo - Approximately USD2.00
Day 6 - NataHit the road bound for Nata ( 302km, approx 5hrs ).Our campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which makes up one of the largest salt pans in the world covering some 12,000sq km.Facilities include a Restaurant, Swimming pool, Gift Shop and Bar/lounge area.While here you have the opportunity to explore the pans on 3hr excursion in open vehicles. Surrounded by the Kalahari Desert the pans are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year. During this time the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as heat mirages disorientate the senses. However they are seasonally covered with water and grass and as soon as the rains hit become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.Optional Activities
- Nata Pan Excursion - Approximately BWP190
Day 7 - BloubergUp bright and early we have a long drive ahead as we make tracks for Blouberg ( approx. 600km, 10hrs ).We should arrive at our camp late this afternoon. The camp is situated in South Africa’s Limpopo Province and offers a unique cultural experience. Located at the base of the mountain, where no roads exist due to its rugged and inaccessible nature, it is home for a small community of the Hananwa people who still lead a very traditional lifestyle.On arrival stretch your legs for a short walk with a local guide. Following paths along the base of the Blouberg Mountains, hear stories of a fascinating community, some of whom still follow ancient traditions. The first stop is at a deserted Lutheran missionary village (Bochum) where you will get an understanding of the cross-cultural dynamics of the area. Proceed to local village taverns (called shebeens) where locals will provide an evening meal, giving you an opportunity to discover traditional meals like mazie and watermelon (Thopi), chicken-based stews (Malana) and a green vegetable called marogo. Take the opportunity to try the traditionally brewed beer.Please note that this experience offers limited options for vegetarians. Ask your leader about organising an alternative.Included Activities
- African Ivory Route - Cultural Dinner
Day 8-9 - Kruger National ParkThis morning we make our way towards the Kruger National Park (350 km, approx 8hrs).One of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa, Kruger National Park is home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.Our wildlife experience begins as soon as we enter the park. We head straight into prime game viewing areas where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing animals found here.Rise early and have a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a morning game drive. Most of the day will be spent game viewing, bird watching and stopping at various waterholes and viewpoints.Take an additional night drive with the park guide to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even a night-time predator or two.Our campground within the park has shared facilities and hot and cold water.Included Activities
- Kruger Park - Game drive
- Kruger Park - Night game drive - Approximately ZAR220
Day 10 - JohannesburgTransfer back to Johannesburg (600 km, approx 8-9 hrs). There's plenty of time to stop and explore along the way. Take in amazing views at the viewpoint over the awesome Blyde River Canyon.This trip finishes on arrival in Johannesburg at our finish point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Johannesburg. Please ask at time of booking.Please don't book any international flights until after 10pm this evening.Included Activities
- Blyde River Canyon
**This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**
What to Know
On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver. (Depending on your group size – from time to time your leader will also be your driver)
African Ivory Route - Cultural Dinner, Blyde River Canyon, Kruger Park - Game drive, Visit Victoria Falls
- International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed, any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.
It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.
Geckos strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Geckos makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES: On some trips where you will be staying within a national park, please note that at times you will stay in unfenced camp sites. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules that must be adhered to. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price Kitty Payment Total Price 20 Sep 2014 - 29 Sep 2014 Fully Booked US $835 On Sale Sale: US $751 ZA R4,065 US $1,251 Contact Us 04 Oct 2014 - 13 Oct 2014 Fully Booked US $820 On Sale Sale: US $738 ZA R4,065 US $1,238 Contact us 11 Oct 2014 - 20 Oct 2014 Available US $800 On Sale Sale: US $720 ZA R4,065 US $1,220 Book Now 18 Oct 2014 - 27 Oct 2014 Fully Booked US $800 On Sale Sale: US $720 ZA R4,065 US $1,220 Contact us 25 Oct 2014 - 03 Nov 2014 2 places left US $770 On Sale Sale: US $693 ZA R4,065 US $1,193 Book Now 01 Nov 2014 - 10 Nov 2014 Fully Booked US $770 On Sale Sale: US $693 ZA R4,065 US $1,193 Contact us 08 Nov 2014 - 17 Nov 2014 Available US $770 On Sale Sale: US $693 ZA R4,065 US $1,193 Book Now 15 Nov 2014 - 24 Nov 2014 Available US $675 On Sale Sale: US $607 ZA R4,065 US $1,107 Book Now 22 Nov 2014 - 01 Dec 2014 Available US $675 On Sale Sale: US $607 ZA R4,065 US $1,107 Book Now 06 Dec 2014 - 15 Dec 2014 2 places left US $785 On Sale Sale: US $706 ZA R4,065 US $1,206 Book Now 13 Dec 2014 - 22 Dec 2014 Available US $675 On Sale Sale: US $607 ZA R4,065 US $1,107 Book Now 20 Dec 2014 - 29 Dec 2014 Available US $675 On Sale Sale: US $607 ZA R4,065 US $1,107 Book Now 27 Dec 2014 - 05 Jan 2015 Fully Booked US $785 On Sale Sale: US $706 ZA R4,065 US $1,206 Contact us 03 Jan 2015 - 12 Jan 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 10 Jan 2015 - 19 Jan 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 17 Jan 2015 - 26 Jan 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 24 Jan 2015 - 02 Feb 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 31 Jan 2015 - 09 Feb 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 14 Feb 2015 - 23 Feb 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 21 Feb 2015 - 02 Mar 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 28 Feb 2015 - 09 Mar 2015 Available US $795 ZA R4,065 US $1,295 Book Now 14 Mar 2015 - 23 Mar 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 21 Mar 2015 - 30 Mar 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 28 Mar 2015 - 06 Apr 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 04 Apr 2015 - 13 Apr 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 11 Apr 2015 - 20 Apr 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 18 Apr 2015 - 27 Apr 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 25 Apr 2015 - 04 May 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 02 May 2015 - 11 May 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 16 May 2015 - 25 May 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 23 May 2015 - 01 Jun 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 30 May 2015 - 08 Jun 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 06 Jun 2015 - 15 Jun 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 13 Jun 2015 - 22 Jun 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 20 Jun 2015 - 29 Jun 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 27 Jun 2015 - 06 Jul 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 11 Jul 2015 - 20 Jul 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 18 Jul 2015 - 27 Jul 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 25 Jul 2015 - 03 Aug 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 01 Aug 2015 - 10 Aug 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 08 Aug 2015 - 17 Aug 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 15 Aug 2015 - 24 Aug 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 22 Aug 2015 - 31 Aug 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 29 Aug 2015 - 07 Sep 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 05 Sep 2015 - 14 Sep 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 12 Sep 2015 - 21 Sep 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 19 Sep 2015 - 28 Sep 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 26 Sep 2015 - 05 Oct 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 03 Oct 2015 - 12 Oct 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 10 Oct 2015 - 19 Oct 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 17 Oct 2015 - 26 Oct 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 24 Oct 2015 - 02 Nov 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 31 Oct 2015 - 09 Nov 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 14 Nov 2015 - 23 Nov 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 21 Nov 2015 - 30 Nov 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 28 Nov 2015 - 07 Dec 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 05 Dec 2015 - 14 Dec 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 12 Dec 2015 - 21 Dec 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 19 Dec 2015 - 28 Dec 2015 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now 26 Dec 2015 - 04 Jan 2016 Available US $770 ZA R4,065 US $1,270 Book Now
Kitty payment is required in cash. It needs to be paid before the end of your trip, in the local currency stated above. It is generally paid on Day 1, and covers most on-ground expenses. Kitty payments calculated using exchange rates valid on 1 Jan 2013.
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Where the Wild Things Are
Naomi Eve - Australia, 2 Feb, 2013
Amazing trip! Only wish we were staying longer in each place as some times we were not there long enough.We could have stayed with our local guide Ian in Motopos for a week. Best trip we have ever been on and definitely made for an unforgettable honeymoon!
Where the Wild Things Are
Durham, Vicki, Natas - Australia, 12 Jan, 2013
The tour leaders make or break a tour and Garland + Justin made this tour work very well. They managed people very well, gave us clear information about our requirements and were informative about the region and the wildlife. Garland's cooking is to be commended. Our only criticism is the quality of the tents. They leaked in the heavy rain that we experienced. Thankyou to Gecko for upgrading us when the tents became unserviceable. Commendations to Garland for handling a difficult situation well when the truck became bogged in Kruger. The best day was with the guide Ian in Motopo NP. His insights into Bushmen, the local native culture and rhino tracking were excellent. As a driver Shadrack was very competent.
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