Hills of Africa

A Taste of an African Safari Family Vacation to Zimbabwe

Featuring Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, Victoria Falls,  Johannesburg, 

8 nights/9 days - Itineraries start at USD$8,000 per person

Day 1 - Hwange National Park

Welcome to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. On arrival at Victoria Falls Airport, you will need to clear customs & immigration and then proceed to the Arrivals Hall. Your Hills of Africa guide will be waiting for you with a sign with your name on it. You will then be transferred by road (about 3 hours) to Hwange Main Camp in the Hwange National Park.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION - US passports holders require visas to enter Zimbabwe AND must have at least two empty pages in their passports for each country visited. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to the last country. Zimbabwe tourist visa costs: USD30 per person single entry/ USD45 per person double entry/ USD55 per person multiple entry. Please have exact cash on hand as no change will be given. If you are leaving Zimbabwe for safari or day trips and returning, we highly suggest purchasing a double or multiple entry visa on arrival.

On arrival at Hwange Main Camp, you will be met by your guide from Somalisa who will then transfer you by game viewing vehicle throught the National Park (about 1 hour) to Somalisa Camp.

Somalisa Camp

Somalisa Camp is set in the heart of Hwange National Park, known as the land of the giants for its big elephant herds. Somalisa is an authentic bush camp, a blend of old African charm and elegance together with an exclusive safari experience. Its stunning location tucked away on an acacia island along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain gives it breath taking views of the savannah plains of the famous Kennedy Vlei line. At Somalisa Camp, you will experience the heightened romance of the African Bush in one of the most natural environments in Africa. This is the way Africa was meant to be explored.

Only six elegantly furnished canvas tents with en suite bathrooms, flush toilet and romantic alfresco bush shower make up this camp. The decor echoes of an old era, from colonial to the ancient tribes of Africa, telling the story from all corners of this magnificent continent. It's stunning main area and pool lends to complete relaxation, whether it be with a cup of tea or one of our refreshing cocktails; overlooking the pan where the herds of game congregate in large herds, offering rare moments of outstanding nature.

Your senses will be awakened and you will feast on our sumptuous cuisine, a balance of organic produce and innovative gourmet meals complemented by a choice of South African and Australian wines. Our meals are inspired by the Far East, Europe and Africa. You will discover new and seasonal flavours, which our imaginative chef will present you with. The use of solar lighting ensures your comfort without interfering with the environment and the area's natural surrounds. The lounge and dining area is at the forefront of the camp, tucked under a soaring canopy of trees. Wide and well-traversed Elephant paths make up the paths connecting your room to the main area.

Activities include guided walks lead by qualified and passionate guides who will share their knowledge and love of the bush with you, game drives and spot lighting as well as game viewing from hides. Walking and game drives will allow you the opportunity to observe elephant, kudu and sable antelope, zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, the rare and endangered roan antelope, buffalo, giraffe, white rhino, lion, leopard, hyena, and many other wildlife species. The Kennedy vlei is littered with flamboyant colours from all its seasonal wild flowers that emerge as the first rains begin, and as the grass dries out, the large herds of buffalo, zebra and elephant are in abundance.

Accommodation: 1 x tent on an all-inclusive basis for 3 nights

Day 4 - Mana Pools National Park

Today you will take a charter flight from Somalisa to Mana Pools National Park. You will be met by your guide and transferred to camp.

Please note there are strict guidelines regarding size and weight of luggage for charter flights. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions document for details regarding these restrictions. Should you need to arrange for excess luggage to be stored while you are on safari, we are happy to help make these arrangements (extra charges will be applied for this service).

Zambezi Life Styles Camp

This mobile luxury tented camp is the best way to experience Mana Pools on the Zambezi. This intimate 8 bedded camp is fit for private safaris and set up prior to your arrival. The camp is designed to give you access to the Zambezi river affording you canoeing excursions on the river, fishing either from the banks or off an island in the middle of the Zambezi river.

Mana Pools National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site based on it's wildness and beauty. The wild child of the Zambezi River offers spectacular landscapes and fantastic opportunities for canoeing safaris. You will be paddling among an abundance of elephant, hippo, lions, antelope, girafe and other animals, and explore a rich aquatic life under a sky inhabited by fantastic bird species. You will also enjoy a true wilderness experience on a walking safari, and come face to face with a wide range of large mammals, and over 350 bird species.

The privilege of walking alone in an area with dangerous wildlife is quite unique: this is because visibility is good in the open woodland on the old river terraces, reducing the risk for dangerous encounters, and the game is very relaxed about people on foot. Walking safaris offer spectacular views of the Zambezi river backed by the mountains of the Rift Valley Escarpment over the border in Zambia. Though, there is no greater thrill than canoeing the Zambezi past grazing elephants and buffalo, who take little notice as you silently drift by. The ride can turn wild as the river gets angry or windy, or a hippo turns grouchy.

Mana Pools National Park offers one of the highest dry-season concentrations of animals in Zimbabwe with large concentrations of buffalo and elephant along the river's edges. Eland, impala, waterbuck, baboons, monkeys, zebra, warthog and hippo are also present along the river terraces where they come to eat the fruit from the Acacia Albida tree. Predators to be sighted include lion, wild dog, leopard and cheetah. "Long Pool", the largest of the four pools, has a large population of hippo and huge crocodiles and is a favorite for the large herds of elephant that come out of the thickly vegetated areas in the south to drink. Mana Pools offers a wonderful bird life, including large number of water birds and excellent mix of species. Many people also come to fish. The camp is open from May to October included (shoulder & dry seasons)

Accommodation: 1 x tent on an all-inclusive basis for 3 nights

Day 7 - Mana Pools National Park

Today, you will be transferred by road through the Mana Pools National Park for about 1.5 hours to Kanga Camp.

Kanga Bush Camp

Kanga Camp is set in a private concession in Mana Pools, 15 km from the Zambezi River along the seasonal floodplain of the Ruckomechi River, not too far Chitake Springs. The private concession is set away from the crowds in a remote part of the legendary Mana pools where a private safari experience is the focus, and tracking wildlife on foot is a specialty.

Tents are comfortably furnished in a large walk-in Meru style, with en-suite bathroom facilities, outdoor bucket showers with flushing toilets and private verandas overlooking the water hole. The main chill-out area is built on raised decking, under the shade of large trees. It overlooks the splash pool and Kanga pan, where abundant game can be viewed. The central relaxing lounge also transposes as the dining area, where you will enjoy great home cooked meals with other guests, rangers and guides. Bush dining can also be arranged.

Mana Pools is a pure wilderness area where the animal is king; the game is extremely accessible and can be approached on foot. Kanga Pan, as a permanent water source in the area, attracts animals to its waterhole all year round, including many larger species such as elephant and buffalo, and where plains game such as kudu, zebra, impala and waterbuck are also found. In addition, Kanga Pan is a Predator's paradise: a resident lion pride lives permanently in the vicinity of the camp, wild dogs and leopards are often sighted. Hyena, cheetah, and crocodile are also present. An extensive and varied amount of birdlife can be enjoyed from the main area of the Camp.

Activities will include game drives in open four-wheel drive vehicles and night drives, but the most unique and exciting activity is tracking wild life on foot with a professional guide: the possibility to leave your vehicle, or even walk out of the camp with an experienced professional guide is a rare experience in National Parks, and this is one of the best walking territories in Africa. You will enjoy thrilling nature walks to areas unreachable by car, and get even closer to nature and the animals. Kanga is the only private concession in Mana Pools: so you are unlikely to meet anyone when on game-viewing excursions, and you will get a true sense of privacy. Canoeing safaris on the Zambezi can be organised on request in advance, as well as full-day excursions to the Zambezi River.

Accommodation: 1 x Bush Tent on all inclusive basis for 2 nights

Day 9 - Victoria Falls

Today you will be flown by shared charter back to Victoria Falls Airport.

Please note there are strict guidelines regarding size and weight of luggage for charter flights. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions document for details regarding these restrictions. Should you need to arrange for excess luggage to be stored while you are on safari, we are happy to help make these arrangements (extra charges will be applied for this service).

Welcome to Victoria Falls. On arrival at Victoria Falls Airport, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Victoria Falls Hotel

The Victoria Falls Hotel, popularly known as "the grand old lady of the Falls," is situated in the Victoria Falls National Park, a World Heritage Site, and is a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World group. It is one of only three 150-accredited hotels in Zimbabwe.

The Edwardian-style five-star hotel, built in 1904, was recently redecorated and refurbished and now combines the charm of the old with the convenience of the new. Set in lush tropical gardens with lily ponds, palm trees and semi-tropical shrubs, it provides the tranquility and seclusion that many guests seek.

The famous Victoria Falls, referred to by locals as "the smoke that thunders," is just a ten-minute walk away using the hotel's private pathway.

World-class service, and food and beverage choice and preparation, make the hotel a magnet for international visitors and locals alike. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from and there is always something to please everyone. The Livingstone Room is known for fine dining and dancing; the Jungle Junction is famous for its decadent breakfast and dinner buffets, as well as ethnic entertainment in the evenings; and Stanley's Terrace, is celebrated for its clear view of the Victoria Falls Bridge, connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, and is also renowned for its cocktails and afternoon teas. The Terrace has been a rendezvous for adventurers in Africa for over a century.

Accommodation: 1 x deluxe room, stable wing room on a bed and breakfast rate for 2 nights

Day 10 - Victoria Falls

Tour of Victoria Falls - This morning, we will take a trip to the Victoria Falls and enjoy a fascinating tour. When David Livingstone first saw the falls in 1865 he was in the company of 2 local tribesmen who showed him this Mighty Wonder of World. This site today is a world heritage site with the largest single curtain of falling water on the planet, also known as "The Smoke that Thunders."

You will enjoy a scheduled tour of Victoria Falls. The tour will begin with a visit to the world renowned Victoria Falls where you will explore the geological history of the area that created this magnificent spectacle. The sights, sounds, and aromas of the Falls are truly an awe-inspiring experience that provokes humbling feelings from within - here, indeed, is nature's supreme masterpiece. No photograph can begin to depict the reality, and nothing prepares you for your first sight.

Sunset Cruise - At 4:00p.m. this afternoon, you will be collected from the hotel lobby and driven to the Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls for a sunset cruise. Look for wildlife while you watch the African sun set over another day in Africa.

Ra-Ikane is named after one of David Livingstone's guides who led him to the Victoria Falls. This boat was handmade to resemble a turn of the century river launch and is luxuriously finished with teak superstructure, brass fittings and club chairs giving you a taste of Victorian splendor in the heart of Africa. The area of the Zambezi River where you will be cruising lies within a World Heritage site and is one of outstanding scenic beauty with a wide diversity of game and bird life. Large animals such as elephants, hippo and crocodiles are frequent sightings, as this area lies within Zambezi National Park.

Day 11 - Johannesburg

Today, you will be transerred to Victoria Falls airport for your flight to Johannesburg. (This cost for this flight is not included in itinerary costs.)

Welcome to South Africa! On arrival in Johannesburg International Airport, you will need to clear South African immigrations, collect your luggage and proceed through customs. Please go all the way through to the Arrivals Hall (don't go through to transfers), where you will be met by your Hills of Africa guide.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION - US passports do not require visas to enter South Africa BUT must have at least two empty pages in their passports for each country visited and the passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to the last country.

Your guide will transfer you to your hotel.

City Lodge OR Tambo Airport

Based at Africa's busiest airport, City Lodge at OR Tambo Airport will provide business and leisure travelers with "home away from home" accommodation that is ideal for those commuting to and from Johannesburg and perfect for those who require immediate access to the airport. OR Tambo Airport offers a number of services, from banking to a wide range of retailers, so whether it's a good book or a scrumptious meal, the airport's facilities have everything you need. The hotel boasts boardroom and conference facilities, a fitness room as well as a deck with a pool, and a large commercial area with a coffee shop.

Accommodation: 1 x standard room on bed and breakfast basis for 1 night

Day 12 - Johannesburg

Today, your guide will meet you at City Lodge Hotel and transfer you to The Apartheid Museum for an interesting morning of learning about South Africa's history.

A day of inspiration and enlightenment will be yours today during your private-guided tour of Johannesburg City and The Apartheid Museum.

Johannesburg City Tour: Learn about the City of Gold and its suburbs. Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, remains the country's financial and commercial heart. View the "Rainbow Nation" at work in Sandton and Downtown Johannesburg. The Northern suburbs can be viewed from a vantage point after which we drive through Hillbrow, the most densely populated part of the city, cross over Nelson Mandela Bridge and into downtown Johannesburg. A stop is made at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown where a variety of African arts and crafts are sold. Constitutional Hill is the new home of the Constitutional Court, the protector of all South Africans' basic rights and freedom. Constitutional Hill is also the site of Johannesburg's old Fort Prison Complex, known as No.4, where thousands of people were brutally punished before democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa's leading political activists such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were detained here.

Apartheid Museum: The first of its kind, this newly built museum offers an unbiased account of South Africa's history over the past century, eloquently highlighting our country's social and racial dynamics and celebrating our miracle arrival at democracy. The architecture of the venue is stark and uncompromising, bringing to mind cold prison cells where many people were detained without trial. The tone of the museum is unapologetic and objectively presents apartheid's strict segregation policies without preaching or playing to your emotions. The experience may be traumatic for some, but is ultimately reconciliatory, with a huge piece of the museum devoted to the release of Nelson Mandela. It's an emotional and uplifting experience; one which will linger long after the tour has ended.

After your tour of the Apartheid Museum, you will be transferred to Johannesburg Airport where you will check in for your international flight home.  (The cost for this flight is not included in the itinerary price.)

Thank you for travelling with Hills Of Africa Travel. Safe travels and we hope you have experienced the true magic of Africa!

Hills of Africa