With more elephant and lion than any country in Africa, near perfect weather, few insects and few safety / health concerns, Botswana is the highest quality wildlife viewing destination on the continent – with luxury accommodations to match.+
Set within exclusive wilderness areas, far from madding crowds imagine days spent driving off road in an open 4×4 vehicle, viewing hippo from a boat or canoe, and tracking elephant and giraffe on foot.
At night fall asleep to the roar of nearby lions at some of Africa’s most coveted high end safari properties! This trip starts at Nelson Mandela’s former home and ends at the mighty Victoria Falls – the world’s largest waterfall.
You will be met on arrival at the airport and transfer by road to the Saxon for 1 night. Set on a private 10 acre estate in the exclusive Sandton area of Johannesburg the rooms start at 860 square feet.+
Former South African president Nelson Mandela chose the Saxon as his sanctuary in which to complete his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. The Saxon has been voted the world’s #1 boutique hotel every year since 2001. What more need we say?
Accommodations: The Saxon, 1 night, bed and breakfast
Saxon, Johannesburg, South Africa – The world’s #1 boutique hotel every year since 2001. Set on a private 10 acre estate in the exclusive Sandton area of Johannesburg the rooms start at 860 square feet… former South African president Nelson Mandela chose the Saxon as his sanctuary in which to complete his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. What more need we say?
Fly to Maun, Botswana before continuing by light aircraft (included in land cost) to Mombo Camp – arguably Africa’s most consistent and highest quality wildlife and wilderness experience.+
From lion to leopard, elephant and giraffe the usual suspects can be found day and night – outside your room and while out on safari in one of the camps open 4×4 vehicles. One of our client’s noted a few years back “If you don’t stay at Mombo you really haven’t experienced Botswana”. We agree.
Accommodations: Mombo Camp or Little Mombo, 3 nights, all inclusive
Mombo Camp / Little Mombo Camp, Moremi Reserve, Botswana – Arguably Africa’s highest quality and most consistent wildlife viewing location, and exclusive accommodations that are second to none. Main Mombo has 9 rooms while nearby Little Mombo has 3 rooms – each the same in terms of offerings. In 2013 it was voted the #1 property in Africa by Travel + Leisure. Conde Naste readers agreed in 2009 and 2010.
Note: Main Mombo and Little Mombo will be rebuilt late 2016 / early 2017. The new Mombo will be divided into 2 camps with 9 and 3 rooms respectively. The new rooms will likely include plunge pools and game drives will take a maximum of 4 guests.
Continue by air (included in land cost) to Paul Allen’s Abu Camp. Located in an exclusive 450,000 acre concession deep within Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta, Abu is one of the most impressive experiences we have had in Africa – ever!+
Based around the return of several African elephants from captivity in Canada to the wilds of Africa to visit Abu Camp is to become part of the story, part of the family… you will fall in love with Paseka, the baby elephant saved from marauding hyenas and made famous in the documentary “The Easter Elephant” and you will admire Cathy, the matriarch, as you join the herd on an afternoon elephant interaction. Explore the Okavango’s crystal clear waterways in a traditional dugout canoe while the herd splashes you playfully and learn about elephant biology in the camp’s lab. Open vehicle game drives and walks are included as well. We truly cannot put into words how special Abu is.
Accommodations: Abu Camp, 2 nights, all inclusive
Abu Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana – Paul Allen’s 6 roomed Abu Camp offers some of the most luxurious accommodations in all of Botswana. Add to this one of the world’s most exclusive, bucket list wildlife experiences. Days are spent as part of the Abu family of elephants while nights can be spent in either your stylish and spacious room or in the aptly named “star bed”, an open air platform above the elephant boma – their rumbles permeating your African dreams. Abu is magical – you have to visit at least once in your life.
Continue by air (included in land cost) to Zarafa Camp. Set within the 320,000 acre private Selinda Reserve this area offers some of Africa’s most prolific animal viewing.+
In addition to the camp’s resident elephant George wildlife includes lion, leopard, wild dog, hippo, massive herds of elephant, buffalo, journeys of giraffe, and so much more. As you are located outside of a national park walking is allowed along with day and night off road drives, canoeing and boating.
Accommodations: Zarafa Camp, 3 nights, all inclusive
Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve, Botswana – Set within the 320,000 acre private Selinda Reserve this 4 roomed camp offers some of Africa’s most prolific animal viewing – far from the masses. In addition to staggering amounts of game the camp itself is regarded by many as the finest in Africa – it has won nearly every style and conservation award in the industry! Voted “Best Safari Property in Southern Africa” and “Best Safari Property in Africa” at the 2013 Safari Awards in addition to many others.
Ultimate Africa Exclusive: As an Ultimate Africa client Zarafa will arrange a candlelit bush dinner under the stars your last evening – the perfect ending to your Botswana safari!
Fly onwards (included in land cost) to the Victoria Falls Airport. You will be met upon arrival and transferred by road to Matetsi River Lodge where you will stay 2 nights on an all inclusive basis.+
Set in a private 310 square mile game reserve you will find yourself surrounded by elephant, buffalo, predators and much more. Guests also have private access to 17 kilometers of the Upper Zambezi River as rapids to the east and west keep boat traffic away. Activities at Matetsi include wildlife viewing drives in open 4×4 vehicles, canoeing and sunset cruises, and a guided tour of the falls followed by high tea at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel.
Accommodations: Matetsi River Lodge, 2 nights, all inclusive
Matetsi River Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Frank Lloyd Wright meets the African bush! In our opinion Matetsi is easily the most luxurious property on either side of the Falls. Matetsi is made up of 2 separate 9 roomed lodges and the 4 roomed Matetsi River House which comes with a private guide and chef (ideal families and small groups). Rooms include a bedroom, sitting area, and bathrooms with free standing tubs in addition to indoor and outdoor showers. Each has a private plunge pool overlooking the river. The lodge also has a spa and fitness center, a 76 foot central pool, shop and wine cellar / bar.
Today you will be transferred by road to the Victoria Falls Airport
January through March, 2017: $16,800
April through May, 2017: $20,900
June 1 through June 14, 2017: $24,500
June 15 through June 30, 2017: $27,100
July through October, 2017: $28,800
November, 2017: $22,200
Prices are per person and do not include international flights and some regional inter-Africa flights.
Specials and exclusive offers
Depending upon the time of year you intend to travel we may be able to secure free nights or discounted rates at certain properties on this trip. Please don’t hesitate to ask.
Clients paying by check can save 2.5% off their land costs
What you get
– Nelson Mandela’s former home, Moremi, Okavango Delta, Savuti / Chobe, and Victoria Falls
– 17 wildlife viewing / safari activities
– Africa’s Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) – really close
– Most lion and elephant in Africa
– Day and night wildlife viewing drives in open 4×4 vehicles (no minibuses) with unlimited mileage and guaranteed window seat
– Walking safaris with professional guides at Abu Camp and Zarafa Camp
– Boat and canoe safaris with professional guides at Abu Camp, Zarafa Camp and at Matetsi River Lodge
– Optional night spent sleeping “Under African Skies” at Abu Camp
– Elephant interaction / safari
– Privately guided tour of Victoria Falls
– High tea at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel
– Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River
– Bird watching
– All park and entrance fees
– Expert English speaking guides
– 1 night The Saxon on a bed and breakfast basis
– 3 nights Mombo Camp on an all inclusive basis
– 2 nights Abu Camp on an all inclusive basis
– 3 nights Zarafa Camp on an all inclusive basis
– 2 nights Matetsi River Lodge on an all inclusive basis
– VIP airport meet and assist in Johannesburg, Maun, and Victoria Falls
– Private airport transfers in Johannesburg and in Victoria Falls
– 4 light air transfers (Maun to Mombo Camp, Mombo Camp to Abu Camp, Abu Camp to Zarafa Camp, Zarafa Camp to Victoria Falls)
– 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
– Private dinner under the stars at Zarafa Camp
– All drinks at Mombo Camp, Abu Camp, Zarafa Camp, and at Matetsi River Lodge (waters, teas / coffees, sodas, beers, wines, spirits)
– Laundry at Mombo Camp, Abu Camp, Zarafa Camp, and at Matetsi River Lodge
– No tsetse flies / no vaccinations
– Confirmation package with a wealth of predeparture information
– Major bragging rights at the office (and pretty much everywhere else)
What isn’t included?
– International flights from your home city to Johannesburg / from Johannesburg home and 2 scheduled commercial flights within Africa (Johannesburg to Maun, and Victoria Falls to Johannesburg)
– Trip insurance
– Tips / gratuities
– Some meals and drinks (i.e. when staying bed and breakfast lunch and dinner and most drinks are not included and when on safari premium spirits / champagne are not included)
– Spa treatments (unless stated)
– Telephone calls
When to travel
This trip is best mid March through September each year and can be done other months
Why not Kruger / Sabi Sands?
Kruger offers great game but is not an ideal wilderness experience. If you are visiting Botswana there is no need to visit Kruger. Having said that many people still want to combine the 2 areas and we are happy to do so.
Why not Chobe?
We did not include Chobe National Park as it is too close to civilization with farmers in view during the day and city lights at night. It is crowded with traffic jams, you can’t drive off road, and walks are not allowed.
3 to 5 nights in Cape Town, South Africa is the perfect complement to this trip. Luxury properties such as the Twelve Apostles, the Cape Grace Hotel, the One and Only, Tintswalo Atlantic, and Ellerman House represent, in our opinion, the best of the best.
Add 3 nights at South Africa’s best wildlife viewing location, Sabi Sands, adjoining Kruger National Park. A handful of luxury lodges have taken the exclusive safari experience to another level – Lion Sands Ivory (voted best hotel in the world), Singita Ebony and Singita Boulders (world’s #1 hotel numerous times), or any of the Londolozi Camps.
Add 3 nights at Royal Malewane. Located in South Africa’s Thornybush Reserve this lodge has a reputation for great game and handling exclusive, high end, clientele with ease!
Spend 3 nights at Molori within South Africa’s Madikwe – a James Bond hideout in the bush. It is one of the most incredibly luxurious safari properties we have ever come across – the 5 rooms range from 2,500 square feet to over 6,600 square feet! Each comes with its own pool and chef. Surprisingly nightly rates are lower than many standard safari properties.
Getting to Africa
From North America there are direct flights to Africa from Washington DC, New York and Atlanta. Alternatively you may fly via Europe, or even Dubai, to Africa. If you let us know the name of your preferred departure city we can provide you with airfare options. Air tickets may only be booked 330 days in advance. Please note air fares are subject to change over time. Most light aircraft transfers between lodges and camps are included in the land cost and are noted on the itinerary.
Is this a group trip?
This is not a group trip. This trip can depart on any dates for 1 or more people (the trip costs have been based on 2 guests traveling together). With additional guests costs may change.
How much luggage can I bring?
As small aircraft are often used to transfer travelers between lodges and camps body weight and luggage weight are important safety considerations. Baggage is strictly limited to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) packed in one or two soft sided bags plus a small backpack per person. This includes camera equipment. Suitcases will not be permitted. If you wish to exceed the luggage limit please inquire about the extra cost of doing so.
At Mombo Camp, Abu Camp, Zarafa Camp and at Matetsi River Lodge activities such as wildlife viewing drives, are shared with other guests (no more than 6 guests per vehicle) and are led by professionally licensed, local English speaking guides who are based at each safari camp / lodge. They know their areas intimately. Your safety and comfort are their highest concerns. They are also trained and prepared to respond to medical emergencies. If you prefer to have a private guide and vehicle at any location this can be arranged at extra cost.
Do I need shots?
No. Most travelers do take anti-malaria tablets for the safari portion of their trip and get a Hepatitis A shot. We recommend that you visit with a local travel health specialist in your hometown to discuss any special concerns you might have.
Do I need an entry visa?
American passport holders visiting Botswana and South Africa do not need entry visas. However an entry visa is required for Zambia. Upon arrival at the Livingstone Airport a Zambia entry visa may be purchased for US $50 cash per person.
How far in advance to book
Most of the properties we recommend are small and dearly sought after. To ensure availability of accommodations we suggest planning and booking your travel arrangements at least 9-12 months in advance. If planning closer to your travel dates we may need to look at alternate properties to make things work.
How to make it happen
At Ultimate Africa Safaris we do it all – from hotel and lodge bookings, to air tickets and travel insurance. We handle dinner reservations and celebrations as well – we love celebrations! The first step is to check availability at the various properties. We will then prepare a personal proposal for you. To learn more call our Seattle office toll free 1 800 461 0682. From outside the USA / Canada call on 425 793 8877. We are in between 9AM and 5PM weekdays. Alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No money, no funny
To confirm an itinerary we require a 25% of land cost non-refundable deposit per person. Your land payments may be made by credit card (MasterCard, Visa or American Express) or by debit card (MasterCard or Visa). Alternatively payments may be made by personal, business or certified check made out to Ultimate Africa and posted to our office. Clients paying by check can save 2.5% off their land payments which will be credited to your invoice upon receipt of the check payment (please do not deduct this from your deposit amount). Future discounts will be applied to land payments made by check. Deposits must be accompanied by completed reservation forms. Upon receipt of your deposit full trip details will be posted to your address. This includes a confirmation letter, invoice, country specific information, travel checklist (what you need to bring), and final air / land itinerary. Your final trip payment will be due 75 days prior to your departure.
Make sure you are covered
All clients are required to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance plan before trip departure. This should cover you for events such as tour operator bankruptcy / financial default, trip cancellation, delay or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, emergency accident, sickness and evacuation, 24 hour medical assistance, traveler’s assistance, and emergency cash transfer. For coverage we suggest Travel Guard insurance. The total premium will be based on your total land / air cost and your ages. If you provide our office with your credit card details we will purchase / complete the insurance formalities on your behalf.