A rail safari & welcome dinner in Livingstone, Zambia
Tour begins: 3:00 PM, Royal Livingstone Hotel. Transfers are included from Livingstone Airport to the Royal Livingstone Hotel. Check-in time is 2:00 PM - guests wishing to check in prior to this time should arrive the night before. You have the option to arrive at the hotel directly by motorcoach, or go by water taxi for a 20-minute motorboat safari on the Zambezi River, home to hippos, crocodiles, elephants and exotic birds - the perfect entrée to your 12-day safari adventure. The locale is named for Dr. David Livingstone, the legendary missionary who was the first European to explore the area. Settle in at The Royal Livingstone, a gracious colonial-style luxury hotel in the heart of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park; later, you'll board a vintage 1920s steam train for an old-fashioned, romantic 16-mile journey through the bushveld; view game like elephants, giraffes, and zebras from the elegance of Pullman cars equipped with gourmet kitchens serving cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a five-course dinner - a rail safari in high style.
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.
Game drives in Moremi Game Reserve
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 the Moremi 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.
Walking safari in Moremi Game Reserve
This morning, enjoy the option of a game drive or a walking safari* with local guides who demonstrate their remarkable knowledge and skills in tracking animals. Return to camp for lunch and leisure; enjoy the spa, or watch hippos and elephants amble by before a late afternoon game drive.
Heart of the Okavango Delta
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 on Xaxaba Island. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seal Island, sharks & the Cape of Good Hope
The continent's most urbane, visually exciting and eclectic city, Cape Town nestles in a setting of breathtaking beauty, between an azure sea and a range of peaks dominated by Table Mountain. The city's mix of modern towers and ornate colonial architecture is as diverse as the many cultures (Dutch, French, British, African, Africaans, Malaysian, and Indian) that blend in the vast enclave known as the City Bowl. Set sail this morning for Seal Island, a rock off the coast that is home to thousands of fur seals... and a magnet for the Great White Sharks that leap out of the water to grab them (it doesn't get much wilder than this). Arrive at the Cape Point Nature Reserve - home to antelope, zebra, ostrich, baboons, and breathtaking seascapes - in time for lunch overlooking False Bay. 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. Join us this evening for a farewell reception followed by dinner in the hotel's signature restaurant.
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.