Day 1 – 5: Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
Day 5 – 6: Thamalakane River Lodge, Maun, Botswana
Day 6 – 13: Kwapa Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Day 13 – 16: Chundukwa River Lodge, Zambia
Cape Town is a true fan favorite, with its exciting Mediterranean vibe, amazing culinary scene, beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, thriving art community, and successful sports teams – all set to the backdrop of iconic Table Mountain and the turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is no wonder it is called The Mother City. This vibrant, trendy city has broad appeal. Local attractions include Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront, Bo-Kaap, boutique shops, numerous museums, wineries, and world famous restaurants. For those venturing beyond the city, the Cape Winelands and Cape Peninsula are a day trip away.
Cape Town’s rich cultural heritage dates back more than 300 years and its diversity is evident in the city’s architecture, art, and food. It is the second most populous city in South Africa and sits at the southwest tip of Africa.
On arrival in Cape Town you will be transferred to The Grand Daddy Hotel. Located on famous Long Street, the hotel is close to Green Market Square, as well as award-winning restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, bars and shopping.
Day 3 – Wet and Wild Peninsula Tour: This morning enjoy breakfast before being picked up by your guide and small group to begin your adventure packed day. After gaining some confidence in Stand-Up-Paddling (SUP) in the secure environment of the V&A Waterfront, the aim of the day is to explore the highlights of the Cape Peninsula looking for any excuse to embrace the ocean and fully experience one of the most unique marine habitats in the world.
After the mornings paddle boarding excursion, head down the coast to Kalk Bay Harbor to visit the fish market, meet the seals and throw a hand line over the harbor wall to see what you can catch. Enjoy lunch at one of the local favorites such as the Harbour House, Live Bait or Luck Fish & Chips. After lunch it’s off to Boulder’s beach to visit the African Penguins. Large crowds gather at the main Penguin colony, so you’ll skirt between the secret, local only, Waters Edge or Windmill Beaches instead meeting what have fondly become known as the ‘Rogue Penguins’ who like to escape the noise. Weather depending, head out on a Stand Up Paddleboard and/or snorkel in the pool sized rock pools the size of swimming pools. This is also a great time to just enjoy the beach and penguins. Be prepared, the water is very cold!
Dry off and hop back in the tour vehicle to seek out the peninsulas wild deserted beaches for some more Stand Up Paddle Boarding and dive amongst the kelp forests. Today ends appropriately in style with an incredible view of the Atlantic while enjoying a glass of vino at the wine farm. Head back to Cape Town, taking in the beautiful scenery along the way, for dinner at any of Cape Town’s fabulous restaurants and another night at The Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel to rest up for tomorrow.
Day 4 – Shark Diving: You will be picked up early this morning for your transfer to False Bay for the Great White Shark experience. Breakfast is served in false bay, so grab a snack before you head out! False Bay is unique in that it is one of the very few places in the world where shark breaching takes place. A breach is when Great White Sharks hunt seals and launch themselves clean out of the water in pursuit of their prey. It is spectacular to witness and happens frequently in a morning, but only during a short and very defined season, June and late August/early September.
Join your skipper, a qualified shark expert, for a briefing before setting off to Seal Island. Scientists have acknowledged that great white sharks behave differently in False Bay at Seal Island then anywhere else along the South African coastline. This is mostly due to the ideal topographical structure around the island, allowing for stealthy attacks. The speed at which the sharks are able to go after their prey is what ultimately results in their “flying” out of the water once they’ve taken hold. You will arrive at the island just before sunrise and spend the first hour and a half observing the sharks and trying to force a breach with the use of a decoy seal being towed behind the boat.
After having, hopefully, observed a breach the boat will anchor at the island and there you will spend approximately three hours cage diving with the Great Whites should you so wish. Return to the harbor around 2 pm where you will be transferred back to The Grand Daddy Hotel for the remainder of the day at your leisure.
As the main gateway to the Okavango Delta, Maun (mau-uunn) is Botswana’s primary tourism hub. This Botswana Capital City lies on the southern fringes of the Okavango Delta, and still, despite recent modernizations, carries the feeling of a dusty, frontier town. For many tourists, Maun is the point of entry into the Delta, and often into Botswana, with direct flights from both Johannesburg and Gaborone. Maun is the perfect spot to simply hop planes on to your safari destination, or even better, spend a night and learn a little more about it’s people, history and present day to day.
Maun is the administrative center of Ngamiland District and the seat of power of the Batawana people. The Batawana are an off shoot of the Bangwato of Serowe. Following a chieftainship dispute in the late 18th century, Kgosi (chief) Tawana and his people left Serowe and settled in Ngamiland, first establishing their capital at Lake Ngami, then Toteng,then Tsao and finally, in 1915, in Maun. Ngamiland District comprises a fascinating variety of ethnic groups: the Hambukushu, Basubiya and Bayei – all of central African origins, who know the Okavango intimately, having expertly exploited and utilized its abundant resources for centuries.
There are also the Banoka – the River Bushmen, who are the Okavango’s original inhabitants, the Bakgalagadi, and the Baherero, who originate from Namibia, and whose women can be seen wearing brightly colored Victorian style dresses as they stroll along the town roads or sit outside their traditional rondavels.
Frequently, the ‘people’ side of the Okavango is overlooked, with tourists merely using Maun as a transit point to embark for the Delta. However, exploring the traditional villages along the western fringes of the Delta, in the panhandle area, is worth the time and effort, and for many tourists, becomes a real highlight of their travels in Botswana.
Today you can enjoy wilderness and wildlife by day and seek out the bustling shops and, restaurants and clubs by night. Meanwhile, the timeless Thamalakane River meanders lazily through the town, setting the scene and mood for what lies ahead.
You will spend 1 night a Thamalakane River Lodge before heading to Kwapa Camp in the Okavango Delta. Thamalakane River Lodge is situated on the banks of the Thamalakane River, just 19kms from Maun. A sandy pathway weaves through the lodges stone buildings housing reception, the curio shop, guest internet station, restaurant and bar, gardens and swimming and sunbathing area. The lounging and swimming area take full advantage of the 180 degree views of the riverbanks lined with reeds that serve as a home to an array of colorful birdlife.
Thamalakane River Lodge’s accommodations are comprised of character stone cottages and chalets. Each cottage is en suite and features private patios set in beautiful gardens designed to complement the plants in and around the river. Two Kingfisher family cottages (2 adults, 2 children), three Jacana chalets (2 adults, 1 child) and one honeymoon suite (with four-poster bed and private dining on request) cater for all accommodation needs. Some of the cottages boasts private plunge pools, and all of the chalets and cottages are equipped with mosquito nets, ceiling fans, tea/coffee-making facilities, and include 2 bottles of mineral water daily.
Thamalakane River Lodge also offers a number of tents, each on its own deck overlooking the river with shared facilities including hot showers.
Thamalakane enjoys a wonderful location which lends itself to relaxation around the pool and on your private patios enjoying the plentiful birds and spectacular sunsets. Venturing further a-field Thamalakane is an easy 20 minute drive from Maun, with it’s shopping centers and wonderful curio shops as well as the airport. Moremi Game Reserve is an hour’s drive away offering spectacular game viewing opportunities. The Delta is on the lodges doorstep – a 45 minute drive by car or boat will see one at the Boro Poler station where you are able to participate in a traditional Mokoro trips and guided walks in the Delta.
Thamalakane River Lodge’s acclaimed restaurant is something not to be missed. The incredible sites and sounds of your surroundings are matched perfectly by the superb cuisine. In addition to the lodges famous signature dishes, the seasonal menu focuses on local ingredients to bring the very best to the table. The bar overlooks the pool area and river, making it an ideal place to enjoy a pre dinner drink and watch the sun fade out of the vast African sky.
Known as “the river that never finds the sea”, The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a massive inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the basin of the Kalahari. There is something elemental about the Okavango Delta – the rising and falling of its waters, the daily drama of its wildlife encounters, its soundtrack of lions roaring, saw-throated leopard barks and the crazy whoop of a running hyena, the mysteries concealed by its papyrus reeds swaying gently in the evening breeze. Viewed from above on a scenic flight, the countless tributaries of the Okavango Delta can seem like an eagle’s talon clutching at the country and not letting go. At ground level, the ghostly silhouettes of dead trees in the dry season give the delta a hint of the apocalypse.
The scale and magnificence of the Okavango Delta helped it secure a position as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, which were officially declared on February 11, 2013. On June 22, 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The crystal clear channels of the Okavango spread over the thirst lands of the Kalahari with their papyrus-fringed banks and fertile floating islands. Adapted for a life in and out of water, the elegant red lechwe antelope and shy sitatunga antelope are found in this aquatic wilderness.The Okavango delta is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife including African elephant, Cape buffalo, tsessebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, Nile crocodile, lion, cheetah, leopard, brown hyena, spotted hyena, springbok, greater kudu, sable antelope, black rhinoceros, southern white rhinoceros, Burchell’s zebra, common warthog and chacma baboon. Notably the endangered Cape wild dog still survives within the Okavango Delta, exhibiting one of the richest pack densities in Africa. The delta also includes over 400 species of birds, including African fish eagle, Pel’s fishing owl, crested crane, lilac-breasted roller, hammerkop, ostrich, and sacred ibis.
Hippo inhabit the deeper channels and lagoons, while honey badgers can be seen in broad daylight. Tall termite mounds are homes for families of dwarf and banded mongoose. The delta can be experienced by land in open safari vehicles or by the glistening waterways on a mokoro (dugout canoe) safari as well as by foot in the private concessions.
Imagine this: an area with crystal clear water, endless fields of water lilies, reed and papyrus interspersed with grasslands that are covered with termite hills in incredible sizes and shapes. Then imagine the occasional grazing herds of hundreds of buffaloes and zebras, groups of elephants and a huge variety of antelope. That’s the area we’re talking about.
The next 7 days presents you with the incredible opportunity to increase your knowledge of the bush and “bushcraft”…. Do not be put off by any aspect of tourism, this is the real deal and you will be attending a course which may have people just like you – like minded, passionate, wildlife people, training right alongside people hoping to become professional guides in the safari industry.
This wildlife and ecology course is ideal for those who want to learn the practical aspects of being a guide and to learn some of the key and most interesting facts regarding the wildlife and ecology of the Okavango. It focuses on covering all the practical aspects of nature guiding. This includes conducting game drives, boat excursions, mokoro (dug-out canoe) expeditions, walking safaris, bush sleep-outs and weapon handling. During this we learn the skills of tracking, bush survival, bird and mammal identification and much more.
Your trainers will be some of the most qualified guides and guide trainers in Africa boasting degrees in wildlife.
Your tent is a 3×3 meter high-wall wilderness style tent with a 2×3 meter en-suite shower and bush toilet and a similar sized verandah. Each tent is furnished with a camp bed, sheets, pillows, duvet and towels. An LED bedside light is provided on a small bed side table. There is a wash basin with a relaxing chair on the verandah.
Every morning you wake-up early and have breakfast and head out into the wilderness. The route you will take and the transport used is based on the movement of the wildlife and the specific targets for the day. Wilderness excursions are done on foot, by vehicle, by boat and dug-out canoe. Return to camp by late morning for a short lecture on one of the days topics. Lecture topics include “wildlife and ecology of the Okavango”, “hydrology of the Okavango”, “fascinating birds”, “mammal behavior”, “African conservation issues” and more. A hearty lunch is served in camp followed by time for shower, siesta and personal study time. Tea is served in the mid-afternoon and followed by an afternoon excursion.
During the week at Kwapa you will do a sleep-out where we load the bare minimum and head out by boat or mokoro to a remote island and set up a sleep-out fly-camp where you sleep under the stars for the night. Return to camp before lunch the following day.
This morning you will be returned to the Maun airport for the light aircraft flight to Kasane, where you will cross the border and then the river to arrive in Zambia. You will be transferred from the border, about an hour by road, to your final safari camp on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream from the Victoria Falls, Chundukwa River Lodge. This afternoon you may choose to head out with the camp’s guide on a sunset boat cruise to spot wildlife along the river banks or relax in your room or by the pool.
Zambia’s National Parks are wild, immense and teeming with wildlife, including a strong population of the often rare wild dog, leopard, elephant, lions and over 740 bird species. The grassy plains and lush forests afford some of the best walking safaris in Africa and few travelers – this is the place in Africa to get off the beaten safari path.
Zambia is the birthplace of the walking safari and home to such safari legends as Norman Carr and Robin Pope. The incredibly scenic and varied topography of Zambia provides African Safari Company travelers with opportunities to explore the bush on foot, by canoe or boat and also on traditional 4×4 game drives. From the vast Liuwa Plains National Park, with its impressive wildebeest migration, and the romantic Zambezi River in the Zambezi National Park, to the remote bush camps of South Luangwa National Park and the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Zambia is ideal for safari veterans and first time safari-goers alike. The bottom line with Zambia is the wild bush, fewer travelers and some of Africa’s best game viewing. Zambia can be accessed through Lusaka or Livingstone at Victoria Falls and connections to the National Park route through Lusaka and Mfuwe. The country is massive, and distances are great, but the travel pays off with the intimate experience offered at small camps and lodges, and the top guiding and game viewing.
The morning of day 13 you will be returned to the Maun airport for the light aircraft flight to Kasane, where you will cross the border and then the river to arrive in Zambia. You will be transferred from the border, about an hour by road, to your final safari camp on the banks of the Zambezi River upstream from the Victoria Falls, Chundukwa River Lodge. This afternoon you may choose to head out with the camp’s guide on a sunset boat cruise to spot wildlife along the river banks or relax in your room or by the pool.
Nestled amongst the lush riverine forest on the banks of the magnificent Zambezi lies Chundukwa River Lodge, a boutique bush utopia offering guests a private and truly authentic African safari experience. Chundukwa is situated 25km from the historic town of Livingstone, providing easy access to the spectacular Victoria Falls while still being far enough out of town to make it the perfect, tranquil retreat from bustling tourists and the frenetic pace of modern life. This splendid area is a bird and nature lover’s paradise with a stable of 20 horses and 100-plus bird species, including the reclusive African Finfoot, finding a home on the property’s splendid grounds. Experience close encounters with elephants during the dry months and fall asleep to the sounds of the wild at night.
In the evenings enjoy a drink in the rock plunge pool while the sun sets on the vast African sky, turning the river incredible shades of orange and pink, then head to crackling bush fire to share stories of your days adventure.
Five totally secluded thatched chalets, built on wooden stilts, boast uninterrupted views across the river. Each chalet sleeps two while the comfortable Chundu Cottage is ideal for a family getaway and accommodates six. The most striking feature of the chalets is undoubtedly their unique open-fronted layout, offering breathtaking views over the Zambezi. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom, full-sized mosquito net, dressing gowns, fans, lock-up safe, electric blankets in the winter, hairdryer and local organic bath products. All rooms can be adjusted to suit double or twin beds.
Day 14 – Victoria Falls visit and white river rafting: This morning you will head into town (about 45 minutes) to see the Victoria Falls. We also recommend that today you go white water rafting! The Falls are one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and are the largest sheet of falling water on earth – a spellbinding and mesmerizing spectacle. The sheer mass of water cascading down the 100m drop across nearly 2km makes a thunderous roar in full flood and creates a magnificent spray of water that can be seen for miles – hence the local name ‘Mosi oa Tunya’ meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’. Water flow over the Falls varies throughout the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May when the spray can reach a height of over 400m, this is spectacular from above but it can be difficult to see the Falls at ground level as it is under a heavy shower/mist around April. Water levels start dropping in August and are at their driest just before the rains in October/November.
When a river 1700m wide plunges 120m over the Victoria Falls and is trapped in a basalt gorge no more than 40m wide the result is….turbulent! For the next 70km the warm waters of the Zambezi River offers some of the finest Grade 5 high volume rapids on the planet as it surges through the scenic splendor of the Batoka Gorge.The high water run operates as river rises following the early rains and subsides as the dry season commences. The journey begins 10km downstream of the Falls starting at the Overland Truck-eater (Rapid 11) through to The End (Rapid 24) and includes the Mother (Rapid 13) at its brooding best. The river Journey is about 15 km. You will be transferred back to Chundukwa River Lodge at the end of the day. Box lunch included for this day.
Day 15 – Devils Pool: Arguably the best place to witness the immense mass of water going over the Victoria Falls is tiny Livingstone Island, the place where Dr David Livingstone first glimpsed Mosi-oa-Tunya. Tongabezi offers five trips a day to Livingstone Island. A twin-engine boat that carries up to 16 people will take you through the fast-moving channels of the Zambezi, a thrilling journey.
Once on the island, you will be given a guided tour, learning about its history from ancient times, when it served as a sacrificial site, to the present day and its World Heritage status. Then you have a chance to jump into Devil’s Pool, a natural feature right on the edge of the Falls accessible for only a few months a year. The view from the edge is totally exhilarating as you feel the force of the Zambezi flowing past you and crashing down over the precipice; a hundred meter drop. You will be returned to Chundukwa River Lodge for overnight.
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