Any trip to southern Africa would not be complete without visiting Cape Town, Botswana and Victoria Falls. Start in Cape Town which is considered one of the world’s 10 most beautiful seaside cities. Think Table Mountain, penguins, historic winelands, and whales. Continue to Botswana for 6 nights of Africa’s best wildlife viewing. Botswana has more elephant and lion than any country in Africa. This trip ends at the world’s largest waterfall – Victoria Falls!
You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred by road to the Twelve Apostles for 3 nights.+
On day 2 enjoy a personalized private full day Cape Peninsula tour including the Company Gardens, Desmond Tutu’s Church, the colorful BoKaap neighborhood, Long Street, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Point Nature Reserve and lighthouse, Chapman’s Peak Drive, and the penguins at Boulder’s Beach with a lavish picnic lunch. On day 3 take the cable car up Table Mountain before sipping your way through the winelands with your private guide. If you have the time to add 1 or 2 days to your trip there is plenty more to see and do in Cape Town. Walk the historic city, explore the castle, or take the boat to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in prison. Feeling adventurous? Go dive with great white sharks! Prefer something a little slower paced? The afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel is a Cape tradition.
Accommodations: Twelve Apostles, 3 nights, superior sea facing room, bed and breakfast with a picnic lunch on your Peninsula tour and lunch at Le Petite Ferme on your Table Mountain / Winelands tour
Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa – This is where we stay. Cape Dutch in style this boutique hotel is the essence of Cape Town… gorgeous and fashionable while at the same time warm and accommodating. Located 7 minutes from downtown Cape Town the ocean is at your doorstep with the Twelve Apostles Mountains behind. Voted #1 hotel in Cape Town and #4 in Africa by Conde Naste in 2013. International Travelers voted it #41 hotel in the world.
What we do: After your long international flights you may wake early. If so go for a walk on the trails above the hotel. The fresh air and private ocean views are the perfect jetlag tonic. If you would be more comfortable with someone from the hotel joining you simply ask.
Ultimate Africa Exclusive: Add a 4th night at no extra cost, free upgrade to a 1 bedroom suite at time of confirmation, complimentary spa treatment, and sunset canapés and bubbly one evening.
Fly via Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana. Continue by light aircraft (included in land cost) to Chitabe Camp in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta.+
The Okavango is the world’s largest inland river delta and this particular area offers some of Africa’s best game viewing in a pure wilderness setting. In fact it has been producing even better wildlife viewing than the Moremi Reserve the last several years. Head out in an open 4×4 vehicle for both day and night wildlife viewing drives or explore on foot with your professional guide! You can even opt to spend a night “Under African Skies”!
Accommodations: Chitabe Camp, 3 nights, all inclusive
Chitabe Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana – Flying into Chitabe one year we had to circle the runway while the guides dragged a buffalo off the airstrip – with lion’s hanging on! This area has been pumping the last few years providing some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing. Wild dog, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, giraffe… you name it. The 8 rooms are just right with wooden floors, big comfy beds, hot / cold running water, flushing toilet, and shower. It is very common to have wild animals walking right through camp. One of our top “go to” properties in Botswana.
Fly 45 minutes (included in land cost) to Selinda Explorer’s Camp. Set within a private 300,000 acre reserve this area offers Chobe’s mind blowing wildlife without the crowds.+
I have seen herds of buffalo more than a kilometer long and over 1,000 elephant in one afternoon here. Throw in wild dog, lion and leopard and you are talking epic wildlife viewing. Partake in day and night wildlife viewing drives in open 4×4 vehicles, professionally guided walks, and canoeing (when water levels allow it). With only 4 rooms this is an exclusive, bucket list, under canvas experience.
Accommodations: Selinda Explorer’s Camp, 3 nights, all inclusive
Selinda Explorer’s Camp, Selinda Reserve, Botswana – Your own private Africa. The 4 tents capture the style of the early African explorers with campaign furniture, Persian rugs, sherry decanters, flush toilets and bush showers. Wildlife here is prolific with over 9,000 elephant, wild dog, hippo, giraffe, lion, leopard, wildebeest and much more. At night animals wander right outside your room. During the day animals wander right outside your room… you get the picture. Unspoilt Africa away from the madding crowds.
Ultimate Africa Exclusive: Enjoy a complimentary private dinner under the stars one evening!
Fly onwards (included in land cost) to Victoria Falls – the world’s largest waterfall. Known locally as “the smoke that thunders” they are a mile wide and 300 feet tall.+
You will stay 2 nights at the Victoria Falls Hotel, the closest hotel to the Falls. We will arrange a privately guided tour of the falls, a quiet sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, and a morning elephant interaction / safari. We also suggest high tea on the hotel’s verandah and a helicopter flight over the Falls.
Accommodations: Victoria Falls Hotel, 2 nights, deluxe stable wing room, bed and breakfast
The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Why stay at the Victoria Falls Hotel? As a close Zimbabwean friend once said “it is the right thing to do”. Built in 1904 this place is like a living museum. Over the years the Vic Falls Hotel has hosted heads of state and Hollywood stars. We always choose the Deluxe Stable Wing rooms which are much more spacious than standard rooms yet still a good value. Remember to lock your windows as baboons are wont to enter your rooms and rifle your bags. High tea on the verandah overlooking the bridge between Zimbabwe and Zambia, with the Falls in the background, is a long standing tradition. Voted #15 hotel in Africa by Conde Nast 2013.
Ultimate Africa Exclusive: Private check in, complimentary high tea, complimentary evening cocktail on Stanley’s Terrace, in room pre-dinner canapé and drink service, butler service, specialized turn down service, complimentary mini bar offering, complimentary wi-fi, massage voucher, and VIP gifting.
Today you will be transferred by road to the Victoria Falls Airport for your homeward flight.
January through March, 2017: $10,200
April through May, 2017: $10,900
June 1 through June 14, 2017: $11,900
June 15 through September, 2017: $12,900
October, 2017: $13,300
November, 2017: $10,500
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
– Cape Town, Okavango Delta, Selinda / Chobe, and Victoria Falls
– 12 wildlife viewing / safari activities
– Big time wildlife – really close
– Most lion and elephant in Africa
– Penguins and whales
– 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 Chitabe and Selinda Explorer’s Camp
– Canoe safaris with professional guides at Selinda Explorer’s Camp (when water levels allow it)
– Personalized private full day Cape Peninsula tour including the Company Gardens, Desmond Tutu’s Church, colorful BoKaap neighborhood, Long Street, Cape Point Nature Reserve and lighthouse, Chapman’s Peak Drive, penguins at Boulder’s Beach and a lavish picnic lunch
– Personalized private full day Table Mountain / Cape Winelands tour with spectacular cable car ride and private tastings – includes lunch at Le Petite Ferme restaurant
– Optional boat trip and tour of Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for many years (at extra cost)
– Optional great white shark cage boat trip / cage dive with Apex Predators (at extra cost)
– Optional night spent sleeping “Under African Skies” at Chitabe Camp
– Privately guided tour of Victoria Falls
– Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River
– Morning elephant interaction / safari
– Bird watching
– All park and entrance fees
– Expert English speaking guides
– 3 nights Twelve Apostles Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis in a Superior Sea Facing room with a 4th night at no extra cost, free upgrade to a 1 bedroom suite at time of confirmation, complimentary spa treatment, and sunset canapés and bubbly one evening
– 3 nights Chitabe Camp on an all inclusive basis
– 3 nights Selinda Explorer’s Camp on an all inclusive basis
– 2 nights Victoria Falls Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis in a Deluxe Stable Wing room with private check in, complimentary high tea, complimentary evening cocktail on Stanley’s Terrace, in room pre-dinner canapé and drink service, butler service, specialized turn down service, complimentary mini bar offering, complimentary wi-fi, massage voucher, and VIP gifting.
– VIP airport meet and assist in Cape Town, Maun, and Victoria Falls
– Private airport transfers in Cape Town and Victoria Falls
– 3 light air transfers (Maun to Chitabe, Chitabe to Selinda Explorer’s Camp, and Selinda Explorer’s Camp to Victoria Falls)
– 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
– Private dinner under the stars at Selinda Explorer’s Camp
– All drinks at Chitabe Camp and Selinda Explorer’s Camp (waters, teas / coffees, sodas, beers, wines, spirits)
– Laundry at Chitabe Camp and Selinda Explorer’s Camp
– 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 Cape Town / from Johannesburg home and 3 scheduled commercial flights within Africa (Cape Town to Johannesburg, 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 October each year although during September and October there is little water coming over the Falls – we refer to it as “Victoria Walls”. It can also be quite hot during October.
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.
Why Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe?
Generally speaking the view of the Falls from the Zimbabwean side is better – especially August through November.
Add 3 nights at South Africa’s best wildlife viewing location, Sabi Sands, adjoining Kruger National Park. Staying at one of our many favorite lodges there – Singita Ebony or Boulders, any of Londolozi’s lodges, Mala Mala Rattray’s, or Lion Sands.
Within Botswana add 3 nights in the Mkgadikgadi staying at Jacks Camp. This place is something else all together. They offer quad bike excursions on the world’s largest salt pan, roof top game drives, and walks with local bushman. You can even hang out with wild meercats. This place has won a ridiculous number of awards including #1 in the World by Conde Nast in 2010, Best Safari Camp in Africa, Best Property in Botswana, Best Guiding Team etc…
Stay at Mombo Camp in place of Chitabe… Hands down the most consistent high quality wildlife viewing in all of Africa – period! The rooms, with animals all around, are some of the best in all of Botswana. In 2013 it was voted the #1 property in Africa by Travel + Leisure. Conde Naste readers agreed in 2009 and 2010.
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.
In Cape Town you will have your own private safari vehicle and private professional, local English speaking, guide. At Chitabe Camp and Selinda Explorer’s Camp activities, such as wildlife viewing drives, are shared with other guests (no more than 6 guests per vehicle) and 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 Zimbabwe. Upon arrival at the Victoria Falls Airport a Zimbabwean 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.