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Botswana, South Africa & Zambia (BBC Earth Journey)

12 days with Tauck   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 A rail safari & welcome dinner in Livingstone, Zambia
Tour begins: 5:00 PM, The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara. Transfers are included from Livingstone Airport to The Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Livingstone, Zambia, named for 19th-century missionary and explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, the first European to document the region. Settle in at the Royal Livingstone Hotel, a colonial-style luxury hotel on the Zambezi River in the heart of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park; the hotel's lounges and shaded verandahs evoke the elegance of a bygone era. Join us this evening for our welcome reception and dinner during a romantic journey through the bushveld aboard a vintage 1920s steam train. View the park's wildlife (which includes elephants, giraffes, and zebras) from the stylish comfort of elegantly restored Pullman lounge and dining cars as you enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a five-course gourmet dinner. (D)

Day 2 A rhino walking safari & a Victoria Falls walking tour
A guided walking safari through a rhino sanctuary offers you a chance to see the great horned animals in their natural habitat. Then follow the sound of roaring water on a walking tour to Mosi-oa-Tunya - "The Smoke That Thunders" - which Livingstone named Victoria Falls. The site where the mile-wide Zambezi River plunges powerfully into a chasm more than 350 feet deep, sending billowing clouds of spray skyward like inverted rain, is sure to leave you speechless. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Game drives in the Okavango Delta
Drive to the border where a ferry transports you across the Zambezi River to Botswana; transfer by safari vehicle to a lodge for a motorboat safari on the Chobe River. After lunch, a flight takes you to a game reserve on the Okavango River, in the world's largest inland delta. During seasonal flooding, the delta swells to three times its size, becoming an oasis in an arid country and attracting wildlife - and predators, including lions and leopards. You'll have a good chance to view them on a night safari en route to your lodge on the Khwai River. (B, L, D)

Day 4 More wildlife viewing & dinner under the stars
Between morning and afternoon game drives in the bush for even more exciting wildlife viewing today, return to camp for lunch and leisure. Enjoy the spa, or watch the passing parade of wildlife on the floodplains from the comfort of your own private deck, before embarking on another game drive this afternoon. Enjoy dinner under the stars in a boma on the lodge grounds this evening. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Eagle Island Camp & a motorboat safari
Begin the day with a game drive and an optional walking safari. Today you'll fly from Khwai further into the Okavango Delta to Eagle Island Camp; situated on remote Xaxaba Island among a web of waterways and lush vegetation, it overlooks a lagoon that attracts a breathtaking variety of big game and exotic birds. This afternoon, take a motorboat safari along the intricate waterways of the Okavango Delta in search of elephants and exotic birds. With incredible views cross the Okavango Delta and delicious food to match, the dining experience at Eagle Island Camp tonight will be one to remember. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Okavango Delta by canoe and helicopter
First up this morning - exploring the Okavango Delta by canoe - and helicopter. A mokoro canoe safari aboard a traditional dugout canoe takes you gliding over shallow, clear waters past brilliant water lilies and papyrus grasses to areas inaccessible by boat. Listen to the gentle, rhythmic splash as you are poled along and then attune your ears to other sounds. Long reed frogs will be out enjoying the sun: tiny as your fingertip, they emit extraordinarily loud croaks that resemble Oriental wind chimes. Spiders spin glistening webs above the water; luminous dragonflies hover with whirring wings; game such as red lechwe antelope, reed bucks and giraffes come to drink. But for many, it is the birds of this ornithological paradise that dazzle. Stately egrets, storks, cormorants and even fishing eagles swoop overhead... but for pure drama, the magnificent malachite kingfisher steals the show. The parallel views you'll experience by helicopter are truly stunning; hovering over the delta, you'll be treated to amazing wildlife sightings, water and land contrasts and a visual kaleidoscope of nature. Following lunch, take a drive through the Xaxaba village for a unique look into the daily life of a Botswanan. You'll learn about local traditions for marriage, cooking, village government, music, medicine and more. End the day with another memorable dinner at Eagle Island Camp. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Fly from Okavango to Makgadikgadi Pans, the salt plains at the edge of the Kalahari Desert, and arrive at Camp Kalahari. A parched wasteland most of the year, seasonally the plains come alive with water and grass, drawing spectacular herds of wildebeest and zebra, as well as springboks, vultures, eagles, flamingoes, and hyenas. From your deluxe tented camp, venture out on a game drive or take a walking safari with the local San Bushmen, learning how they use their legendary hunting and survival skills in this usually inhospitable environment. Learn how scorpions and roots are used for medicinal purposes as well as hydration in the desert. Please note: Camp Kalahari is a classic, traditional safari camp where air conditioning, Internet and cell phone service are not available; illumination is provided by gas lanterns, and showers are heated by solar power. While there are no electrical outlets in the tents, a charging station is available in the main reception area. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Meet the Meerkats and a 4-wheel-drive adventure
"Meerkat" is Dutch for "lake cat," which seems odd, since the meerkat is not a cat and it lives in a desert. But you'll find the name somehow suits these hyperactive, charming creatures as you encounter them on their daily routine, digging for termites, frolicking, and standing at attention, forever on the lookout for predators. The meerkat families you'll meet today have no fear of humans; in fact, they've been known to climb on visitors' heads for a better vantage point (one of many potential photo ops on these Botswana and South Africa tours). Enjoy free time at camp in the afternoon before a trip out to the salt pan in a 4-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle (ATV)* for sundowners and a breathtaking African sunset. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Fly from Botswana to Cape Town
Fly today from the Makgadikgadi airstrip to Maun, then on to Cape Town, South Africa, where you'll spend three nights at the One&Only Cape Town. Your aptly-named hotel is one of a kind, an urban oasis designed around a series of artificial islands, offering contemporary glamour with an African accent and stunning views of Table Mountain and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, where the evening is free to spend as you please. (B)

Day 10 Spend the day in Cape Town on Africa's southern tip
Cape Town nestles in a setting of spectacular natural beauty, between the crashing tides of an azure sea and towering Table Mountain. But its real fascination is in its contrasts - modern towers beside ornate colonial architecture, and the mix of cultures (Dutch, French, English, African, Afrikaans, Malaysian, Indian and more) that blend in the vast enclave known as the City Bowl. Visit the Cape Malay quarter (also known as Bo-Kaap), a colorful neighborhood of cobbled streets, spice shops, and brightly painted houses; the original residents were slaves from Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia, and their legacy thrives in Bo-Kaap's Muslim culture, artisan skills, and spiced cuisine. Visit the District Six Museum, chronicling the effects of apartheid and forced removals in Cape Town's District Six. The afternoon is free for you to explore as you please; return to your hotel, or perhaps explore the maritime heritage of the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a promenade of shops, tall ships and historical buildings along the working harbor. Join us this evening at a private home for a traditional braai (barbecue) under a stunning Cape Town sunset. (B, D)

Day 11 Seal Island eco-tour & the Cape of Good Hope
This morning, arrive at Cape Point Nature Reserve - home to antelope, zebra, ostrich, baboons, and breathtaking seascapes; later, a funicular will carry you up to the Old Lighthouse that watches over the ironically-named Cape of Good Hope - the Portuguese explorer who first navigated these treacherous waters where two oceans converge originally named it "the Cape of Storms," a warning validated by the many shipwrecks strewn along its coast. Following lunch overlooking False Bay, set sail for an eco-tour to Seal Island, a rock off the coast that is home to thousands of fur seals and other diverse wildlife including great white sharks that may visit adjacent waters throughout the year. Join us this evening for a farewell reception followed by dinner in the hotel's signature restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Journey home
Tour ends: Cape Town. Fly home anytime. Transfers to Cape Town Airport from One&Only Cape Town are included. Allow at least 3 hours for flight check-in. (B)
Map
All This Included
Welcome to a celebration of Southern Africa's natural world... specifically the national parks of Botswana and Zambia, which together are amongst the largest concentrations of unspoiled wilderness and wildlife left on the planet... One of our most popular trips immerses you in the Earth Journeys experience, featuring custom-made BBC Earth on-tour film vignettes and when the opportunity arises, the use of field equipment. If you want to get closer than an open-air safari vehicle can take you, you've come to the right place. One of our most compelling trips in Botswana and South Africa tours some of the continent's most spectacular wildlife reserves. Start with a two-night stay in Livingstone, Zambia - where you'll embark on a "Rhino Walking Safari," visit remarkable Victoria Falls, and begin a safari adventure that takes you through the awe-inspiring national parks of Zambia and Botswana, home to some of the largest concentrations of big game on the planet, including Mosi-oa-Tunya, the Okavango Delta, and the Makgadikgadi Pans on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Your journey concludes with three nights in Cape Town, South Africa, at the continent's southernmost tip - a dazzling metropolis of exotic urban life, art, history, and culture. The landscapes you'll visit (from rainforests and marshlands to savannahs, salt plains and desert) are as diverse and fascinating as the wild creatures that inhabit them, and the variety of means you have to meet them: including safari vehicle, motorboat, 1920s vintage steam train and on foot, in the company of a Bushman guide and tracker. Stay in luxury tented camps and five-star luxury hotels, view the Okavango Delta by mokoro canoe and helicopter, enjoy sundowners under a blazing African sunset, dine at private homes, in elegant hotels and under the stars in the bushveld... this is the Africa you've been looking for.
  • Intimate safari groups average just 20 Tauck guests; 6-passenger, safari vehicles with window seats for everyone on game drives led by expert safari guides!
  • On-tour film vignettes custom-made for Tauck by BBC Earth natural history experts
  • Field equipment may include FLIR® thermal imaging cameras and night vision goggles
  • A welcome dinner rail journey through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park aboard a vintage 1920s steam train, in elegantly restored Pullman lounge and dining cars, gourmet dinner included
  • Visit to a village of San Bushmen in Botswana for a close-up look at their life and culture
  • Visit to a rhino sanctuary to see rhinos in their natural habitats
  • Visit to a Meerkat colony in the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Helicopter sightseeing over the Okavango Delta
  • Two nights in a traditional, authentic safari camp in deluxe tents on the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • A traditional braai (barbecue) dinner with drinks and good company at a private home in Cape Town
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure as noted
  • 29 meals (11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 10 dinners); gratuities to local guides, service charges, admissions fees, taxes and porterage
Highlights
  • Earth Journeys crafted by Tauck and BBC Earth...
  • Vintage train trip
  • Visit to a rhino sanctuary & visit to Victoria Falls in Zambia in Zambia
  • Multiple night stays in Botswana safari camps
  • Game drives by safari vehicle
  • Helicopter sightseeing over the Okavango Delta
  • Meerkat spotting
  • Visit to village of San bushmen
  • Cape of Good Hope sightseeing
  • Traditional braai barbecue and Seal Island boat excursion in Cape Town
Accommodations
Livingstone: The Royal Livingstone
Moremi Game Reserve: Belmond Khwai River Lodge
Okavango Delta: Eagle Island Camp
Makgadikgadi Salt Pan: Camp Kalahari
Cape Town: One&Only Cape Town
Notes
  • Intra-tour air (starting at $1,800) not included.
  • For activities marked with an asterisk (*), participation is at your own risk and a signed liability waiver will be required.
  • Group size limited to 20! All departures are limited to 20 guests to ensure a more intimate safari experience.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Tauck terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.