* Explore the legendary Maasai Mara and stay at an exclusive camp set in a 70,000-acre private concession.
* Feel the spray of Victoria Falls and spot hippos and crocodiles during a sunset Zambezi River cruise.
* Spend two full days in Zimbabwe’s diverse Hwange National Park, home to 100 mammal and 400 bird species.
* Watch hundreds of elephants and buffalo at a popular waterhole just outside your tent’s porch.
* Experience authentic interactions with local villagers while meeting schoolchildren and tribal elders.
Board your independent flight to South Africa.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer to the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Hotel for dinner and overnight.
JOHANNESBURG / VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE / HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Take an early morning flight to Victoria Falls, then board our charter flight to Hwange National Park. Zimbabwe’s largest national park hosts one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in all of Africa, including tens of thousands of elephants. Located in a coveted private concession on the park’s southeastern corner, the chic Linkwasha Camp sits at the doorstep of the game-rich Ngamo Plains and overlooks a pan that’s a hub of animal activity. Hop in a 4X4 for an overview drive, then return to your colossal tent with eclectic décor and an oh-so-comfy bed.
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
A mix of desert, grassland, and woodland habitats invites a diverse range of wildlife to Hwange, including 400 bird species and more than 100 mammal species. Two full days of game drives and walking safaris offer ample opportunity to encounter lion, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, and a variety of antelope; a speeding cheetah or elusive leopard are also occasionally spotted. Night drives bring out bushbaby, spotted hyaena, mongoose, and honey badger. In between, you meet exuberant schoolchildren in a nearby village or learn about the camp’s conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Take a dip in the pool, curl up with a book from the library, or sit back on your deck and watch hundreds of elephants and buffalo drinking from the waterhole.
HWANGE NATIONAL PARK / LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA
Board our morning flight to Livingstone, then transfer to Toka Leya Camp in Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Africa’s most popular tourist attraction, Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”), dramatically plummets over 300-foot cliffs, spraying fountains of mist that can be seen from your camp a few miles away. The falls’ constant spray creates a unique rainforest ecosystem of plant species, and an afternoon drive introduces its resident birds along with buffalo, bushbuck, vervet monkey, and baboon. The park also hosts a small but growing population of endangered white rhino. Return for cocktails by the infinity pool or convivial fire pit.
Don a rain poncho for a mist-soaked tour of Victoria Falls. Flowing from the Zambezi River and forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this 5,603-foot-wide curtain of water is truly one of nature’s most humbling sites. Toka Leya’sen-suite tents feature expansive decks overlooking the mighty river, and guests often spot hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. Search for more species during a sunset wildlife cruise. Anglers are able to catch and release a variety of tilapia, and rhino tracking tours with a park scout can be arranged. You also might wish to visit the nearby Mukuni village or one of the colorful markets in Livingstone.
LIVINGSTONE / NAIROBI, KENYA
After a final game drive and lunch, transfer to the airport for our flight to Nairobi. Upon arrival, transfer to theTamarind Tree Hotel for overnight.
NAIROBI / MAASAI MARA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a charter flight to the Maasai Mara, home to the semi-nomadic Maasai people and the highest concentration of wildlife on earth. Set out for Elephant Pepper Camp, set within the private 70,000-acre Mara North Conservancy, situated on the northern border of the Maasai Mara. After settling in to your luxurious tent, embark on an afternoon game drive.
Days begin at dawn with a hot cup of Kenyan coffee and morning game drives. Elephant Pepper Camp sits in one of the best viewing areas of the entire Mara, and your driver will stop frequently for prime game viewing and photography. For an entirely different perspective, take an optional hot-air balloon safari. Return to the camp for lunch, and after a chance to relax, there will be opportunities to join a Maasai warrior for a guided bush walk, as well as visits to traditional Maasai homesteads nearby to learn more about a number of community and conservation projects that the camp supports. After your afternoon game drive, enjoy sundowners with fellow travelers, or unwind in the hammock on your private veranda.
MAASAI MARA / NAIROBI
There is time for one last game drive in the Mara before an afternoon flight back to Nairobi. Enjoy dinner and overnight at the Sheraton Nairobi Hotel.
NAIROBI / USA
Board your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.