Days
9
Price from
$915USD

Travel from Zimbabwe to Botswana and into South Africa

Short and sweet, this trip combines three of southern Africa's most exciting places – Hwange and Kruger national parks and the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls. From South Africa's big modern capital to a traditional village in Botswana, you'll experience all kinds of communities, cultures and landscapes in just over a week. Oh, and did we mention animals? Rhino-tracking and 4x4 safaris in search of the Big Five will blow your mind.


Start
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Finish
Johannesburg, South Africa
Countries
South Africa, Zimbabwe
Code
GASV
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18 , Max 29
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Pay the famous elephants and lions of Hwange National Park a visit from an open-air 4x4 vehicle

  • Take your safari game to the next level by tracking rhinos on foot with an expert local guide in Matabos National Park

  • Meet the Hananwa people at a small village in South Africa's Limpopo province. Listen to stories of this fascinating community as your hosts prepare you a traditional feast. This is the real South Africa!

  • What is the sound of a roaring lion if not a sweet soothing lullaby? You'll be camping right in the grounds of Kruger National Park (OMG), so you be the judge

  • Forget the Grand Canyon – Blyde River Canyon's is gigantic AND lush and green, pure photo-op gold

Is this trip right for you?

  • Staying with the Hananwa people (Day 6) is a fantastic opportunity to experience the age-old culture of an African tribe – great for those with an open mind.

  • The African wild comes alive at sunrise, so there will be some early starts. Don't worry, the thrill of spotting your first lion or rhino will be well worth any loss of sleep...

  • All-purpose overland vehicles are used for this trip. They're great for game viewing, with big sliding windows, but the catch is they can get hot and dusty, with no air conditioning.

  • The going can be slow over the long distances and often bumpy roads. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful part of the world.

  • It's all hands on deck for this trip, so embrace the team spirit. You'll be expected to help with camp setup, cleaning and food preparation.

Itinerary

Mhoro! Welcome to Zimbabwe. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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 you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you arrive early, check out some of the optional activities around Vic Falls. The Zimbabwe side of the falls offers the broadest view of this colossal natural wonder. Scenic helicopter flights are incredible – if you choose to go for one, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only operator Geckos endorses.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
You may notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We ask all Geckos travellers to avoid this activity as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many of our itineraries, we strive to only view animals in their natural habitats and to do so with the greatest level of respect. The lion walking industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions. While activities like lion walking may appear fun and educational, or even claim to be working in the name of conservation, they are unnatural and stressful for the animals involved. Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans often shortens their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues.
In the evening take an optional sunset cruise down the Zambezi to get to know your new fellow travellers. Before that, enjoy a day of free time to take up one of many optional activities. Ask your leader for a recommendation. There are many ways to take in the thundering sight and sound of the falls. This staggering curtain of water is about a mile wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray rises high and the falls become a torrent; in the dry season, the lack of spray gives way to a nice view of the little islets in the river below.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Zambezi Sundowner Cruise - USD42
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (half day) - USD100
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD334
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD175
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (half day) - USD140
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (full day) - USD140
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD110
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. We have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure please check with your leader. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk assessed or do not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
Leave Vic Falls behind and head to Hwange National Park (approximately 6 hours, depending on traffic). Take the opportunity to explore this stunning wildlife arena in an open 4X4 vehicle. 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 massive selection of wildlife, with over 100 species of mammals and nearly 400 bird species. But it's the elephants this place is famous for – here you'll find one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. At tonight's camp there is WiFi as well as optional accommodation upgrades (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Hwange National Park - Game drive - USD79
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Make tracks for Matobos with a short detour through Bulawayo, checking out its cool colonial buildings, before heading to your camp for the next two nights. 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 Matobos 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. Your campground tonight has shared facilities, WiFi access and optional upgrades.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today's optional activity will be something to write home about. Head to Matobo Hills and spend the morning tracking rhinos and other game animals with the help of your guide. Along the way learn about the flora in the area. After a cold lunch head to another region of the park to find old bushman paintings, see rock formations and learn some history of the area. Then it's off to nearby African villages to meet some of the local community. 
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get up nice and early for a day of travel. You'll cross a very busy border post, the only direct border crossing between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The drive is about 400 km long (approximately 6–8 hours). Your destination today is the Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa. This park is set hard against the northern border of South Africa, joining Zimbabwe and Bostwana. See the open, expansive savannah landscape where the Limpopo and Shashe rivers meet. Maybe sip a sundowner by the river, or visit Mpungubwe Hill and Interpretation Centre to learn about an interesting 13th-century civilisation that flourished here.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mapungubwe National Park - Entrance Fee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After breakfast, set off for Kruger Park, a world-famous National Park known for the Big Five game of Africa – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino. On top of that, it's home to some 336 kinds of trees, 49 fish species and over 500 species of bird. See how many of these you can spot on a game drive (in the group's own vehicle). Continue from your safari to your overnight camp, where there's the option of a further game drive – this time after dark.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Game drive
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night Game Drive - ZAR230
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
On occasion, especially during the peak months of May, June and July we are unable to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In this instance we will camp in a bordering private game park.
Wake up early for a light breakfast of coffee and rusks before embarking on a full-day game drive in the truck. Today is another full day in Kruger Park – you'll spend the day in the group vehicle, heading down to the central part of the park, for a last overnight stop. Stop at some of the designated picnic spots for a bite to eat en route to camp. Depending on the season, you might catch a saddle-billed stork with its colourful red beak, or maybe a blue waxbill. In the afternoon when it's warm, take some time out to chill out. This evening again there will be an optional night drive with the park guide.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Game drive
Optional Activities
  • Kruger National Park - Night Game Drive - ZAR230
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
On occasion, especially during the peak months of May, June and July we are unable to secure campsites within the Kruger National Park. In this instance we will camp in a bordering private game park.
Venture out for one last safari adventure this morning. Continue back to Johannesburg (approximately 9–10 hours). En route you will stop at the stunning Blyde River Canyon and see the Three Rondavels, that awesome trio of rock pinnacles perched above the canyon. This trip finishes on arrival in Johannesburg at the finishing point hotel.
Included Activities
  • Blyde River Canyon - Three Rondavels
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip. If you're catching an outgoing international flight, it's important to book it for 10 pm or later, to allow for delays.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (8 nights)

Included Activities

  • Mapungubwe National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Kruger National Park - Game drive
  • Blyde River Canyon - Three Rondavels

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for more information.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival in Johannesburg on Day 9. Please do not book any flights until after 10pm this evening.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.