Your journey at a glance
Set in Zambia and South Africa, this incredible 12-day Southern Africa tour offers the perfect blend of safari and coastal adventures. Activities include thrilling Big Five game drives, walking safaris, birdwatching, seasonal boat cruises and canoeing at three superb safari retreats; followed by a stay at a luxurious seaside hotel that offers the ultimate opportunity to unwind. Experience the marvels of the South Luangwa, the birthplace of the walking safari and home to an abundance of game.
Travel to the spectacular Lower Zambezi National Park, which offers a wonderful collection of habitats. Revel in the “Seven Worlds of Wonder” of the award-winning &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, and then end your journey in the cosmopolitan surrounds of Umhlanga, a mecca for sun and beach lovers.
What to expect …
Transfer to Mfuwe Airstrip Day 1
Today you will be flown from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport to Mfuwe Airstrip where you will be met by a representative from Chinzombo for your game drive transfer to camp.
Overnight in South Luangwa Day 1 - 3
Spend 3 nights at Chinzombo The 6 ‘villas’ one of which is a suite with extra space for families and small groups is equipped to the very highest standards, with each villa having its own private plunge pools, cooled sleeping areas, massive bathrooms with luxurious spa amenities, one of the best guiding teams in Africa, set within 60 acres of private prime Luangwa frontage, private access in to the Park.
While at Chinzombo you can set your own safari routine at your own pace. Activities include game drives, a little bit of walking and seasonal boat trips (normally Jan to April when the river is high).
Explore the Valley of the Leopard Day 2
South Luangwa has one of the highest densities of leopard in the world, giving rise to the park’s nickname. This shy predator is most often encountered on night game drives, which take place after dark and also provide a chance to see hyena, mongoose, civet, bush baby and genet. In the daylight, visitors can encounter vast herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as prides of lion. Species rarely spotted elsewhere include Thornicraft’s giraffe, Crawshay’s zebra and puku antelope. Hippos and crocodiles are plentiful in the river. The park’s sheer diversity means it is home to a staggering array of species.
Add a lifer to your birding list Day 3
With over 400 recorded species, birdwatching in South Luangwa is exceptional. The end of the dry season brings hundreds of water birds to the Luangwa River, from yellow billed storks to ponderous pelicans, striking saddle billed storks, stately goliath heron and elegant crowned cranes. Dozens of migrant species arrive before the rains, from the red chested cuckoo to the steppe eagle and steppe buzzard. Hundreds of carmine bee-eaters nest in the steep river banks. Guests can rise to the call of the ground hornbill and set off on their birding safari accompanied by the cry of the fish eagle.
Overnight in the Lower Zambezi National Park Day 4 - 6
The spectacular Lower Zambezi National Park spans 4 092 km² (1 580 square miles) of pristine wilderness. It is situated adjacent to Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools Reserve, creating a giant expanse of protected wilderness, and boasts breath-taking vistas of the Zambezi River, as well as lush riverine surrounds. It is not uncommon to see enormous herds of elephant quenching their thirst and enjoying a good mud bath along the riverbanks, as well as leopard, buffalo and lion.
The park offers a wonderful collection of habitats, which are home to a superb diversity of animals. Visitors can explore the marshy Zambezi channels, floodplains bordered by mopane forests, hilly woodlands and the park’s open valley floor.
Spend 3 nights at Sausage Tree Camp, voted as “Best Location in Africa” at the 2016 Good Safari Guide Awards is hidden amongst mature sausage and mahogany trees on the banks of the Zambezi River. With guaranteed private guiding for all guests, you are spoilt for choice. Accommodation includes 5 luxurious Bedouin-style Signature tents with open air ensuite bathroom and private veranda, 2 spacious Honeymoon tents with indoor and outdoor bathrooms, dining area, personal bar, private pool and veranda. The sole-use Kigelia House is perfect for small groups or families, as it features two spacious bedrooms, ensuite bathrooms, a sitting room, private pool and veranda.
Superb African-fusion meals are served in the newly rebuilt open-air dining tent, on the main viewing deck or in the privacy of guests’ tents. Refreshing sundowners can be enjoyed in the welcoming bar area, which is fronted by an enormous teak deck that overlooks the Zambezi River, while a sparkling 25m swimming pool completes the setting.
Strap on your walking safari boots Day 5
Pioneered in Zambia, a walking safari offers the ultimate opportunity to get up close with Africa’s prized wildlife and traverse her magical landscapes. The Lower Zambezi National Park offers excellent, tailor-made walking safaris in the company of expert guides. Immerse yourself in the park’s diverse habitats, stopping to learn about the fascinating flora and smaller creatures along the way. Scour the trees in search of birds and sit silently as you view larger animals, marvelling at the opportunity to reconnect with nature a safe distance away.
Marvel at the flourishing predator population Day 6
Climb aboard a 4×4 safari vehicle for an adventure-filled safari through the Lower Zambezi National Park. Navigate through pristine wilderness in search of the park’s prized wildlife, in the company of an expert safari guide. The Lower Zambezi National Park is renowned for hosting large herds of elephant who venture to the cool waters of the Zambezi River to slake their thirst. The park also hosts a flourishing predator population, which rouse from their day’s slumber to prowl the night – offering exciting sightings on spotlit night drives.
Flight to Lusaka Day 7
After a mouth-watering breakfast, transfer to Royal Airstrip for your light aircraft transfer back to Lusaka.
Flight to Durban Day 7
Fly with Proflight to King Shaka International Airport.
Transfer to Phinda Private Game Reserve Day 7
Upon arrival at King Shaka International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by a member of the &Beyond team and driven to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Overnight in &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve Day 7 - 8
Set within easy reach of the Indian Ocean coastline and the famous iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is known for its abundant wildlife, diversity of habitats and wide range of safari activities. Thanks to its coastal rainfall pattern, the Reserve enjoys a lush green environment that contains seven distinct ecosystems. &Beyond Phinda is often referred to as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder.’ This fascinating variety of landscape and vegetation shelters an abundance of wildlife, including not only the Big Five but many rarer and less easily spotted species, such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino. With only a handful of lodges sharing an area of 23 000 hectares, and expert rangers and trackers in search of prime wildlife sightings, guests are assured an exclusive game viewing experience. Adding to Phinda’s wildlife charms, the marine diversity of nearby Sodwana Bay on the coast is easily accessible, with scuba diving, fishing and even turtle watching only some of the adventures available from Phinda.
Spend three nights at &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge. Accommodation is in an air conditioned suite with ensuite bathroom dressing room, private plunge pool and game viewing deck, overlooks the grassy vlei where guests can observe herds of grazing antelope and a dazzling variety of birdlife Your stay includes three meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, emergency medical evacuation insurance, laundry and daily lodge adventures.
Spend three nights at &Beyond Phinda Rock Lodge inventively designed in a rocky and Moroccan style, with a touch of purple. Your stay includes three meals, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, scheduled safari activities, refreshments on game drives, Nature Walks (1 hour) accompanied by experienced armed trackers, subject to availability. Emergency medical evacuation insurance, Laundry, VAT.
Sneak through the bush on the trail of an African icon Day 8
Slip on some comfortable walking shoes, grab your binoculars and camera, and spend the morning on foot with an expert ranger and tracker team in search of the rare and highly endangered black rhinoceros, also known as the hook-lipped rhinoceros. A walk through the bush is a far more intimate experience as, without the distracting hum of the safari vehicle, you will hear, smell, feel and see with heightened awareness, igniting your entire consciousness. As you slowly walk along tracks trodden by untamed wildlife, you will be humbled and left in awe of this magnificent natural site. Experience Phinda Private Game Reserve on foot, in awe of its untouched nature and allure. Tread along the very paths black rhinos roam free on and witness their lives from a careful distance. It is the perfect setting in which to appreciate the natural environment. The slow pace of the walk and the interpretive skills of the armed guides open your eyes to a new and fascinating world. Learn how to follow rhino tracks, recognise rhino middens and scratching posts, and follow the signs of the bent trees and broken grass blades, searching for rhino in the company of wildlife professionals. The safety of our guests is paramount and only the most highly trained and qualified &Beyond guides host these walks.
Walk to the beat of a different drum Day 9
Visit a Zulu community just outside &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and interact with the friendly people of KwaZulu-Natal. A Bantu tribal group, the Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa. A local &Beyond guide will escort you through the community and share interesting insights and narratives about Zulu culture and its fascinating customs, beliefs and traditions.
You will be invited into a traditional homestead and given the rare opportunity to witness the daily routines and lifestyle of an authentic, rural Zulu family where aeons of tradition intersect with modern life. Learn about the family structures, patriarchal duties and matriarchal responsibilities of the tribe, find out how local homes are constructed and why cattle are so valuable and highly revered.
Spend time with the respected local sangoma, a witch doctor and traditional healer, who will explain the significance of the ancestors in Zulu life, as well as the tribe’s spiritual beliefs and the importance of their sacred lands. The adventure ends with a quick stop at the Mbhedula Craft Market, where the beautiful handiwork and art of 43 Zulu crafters is showcased. It’s a great place to find that perfect souvenir of your time with the Zulu people.
Overnight in Umhlanga Day 10 - 12
Umhlanga is a mecca for sun lovers and watersports enthusiasts. Meaning the “place of reeds”, this scenic area is located along KwaZulu Natal’s spectacular Golden Mile, just 20 kilometres from the bustling port city of Durban. The area falls in what was once an immense sugar cane plantation owned by Sir Marshall Campbell, who arrived in South Africa from Glasgow in 1850.
The first hotel, The Umhlanga Rocks Hotel, was built in the 1920s and was promptly followed by a throng of exceptional seaside retreats, which still dot the shoreline. Today, Umhlanga boasts world-class boutique stores and superlative centres, such as the Gateway Mall – a shopper’s paradise! It also offers a wonderful selection of eateries and attractions such as the Natal Sharks Board, professional golf courses and an array of watersports, such as scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, surfing and dolphin viewing.
Spend 2 nights at The Oyster Box Hotel in a classic sea – facing room with en-suite bathroom. Your stay includes breakfast.
Departure Day 12
After breakfast you will be transferred to King Shaka International Airport in time for your SA Airlink flight to O R Tambo International Airport.