Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

14 days
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$4,645 USD
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4.8 / 5 from 18 reviews >
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Trip code: 
WZA
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Group size:
4–12
Min age:
16

Two week lodge safari exploring the best of Botswana and Zimbabwe

From the cascading Victoria Falls to the meandering waterways of the Okavango Delta, this safari visits the best destinations in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Encounter Chobe’s huge elephant herds, search for rhinos and leopards in Matopos and spot Wild dogs in Hwange. Starry skies and burnished sunsets complete the adventure and where better for a sundowner than the shimmering Magkadigkadi Pans.

Note: the 3 June 2019 departure will be accompanied by "National Geographic Traveller Overall Winner 2018" photographer Renato Granieri

Highlights

  • Fantastic wildlife encounters
  • Two natural wonders: Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta
  • Large populations of elephant, Wild dog and rhino
  • Diverse ecosystems and changing scenery

Key information

  • 14 days, travelling by minibus, 4WD safari vehicles and mokoro canoes
  • 9 nights lodges, 2 nights hotel and 2 nights full service camping
  • Some long drives and some bumpy roads

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Victoria Falls; to Chobe N.P.

    The group flights normally arrive at Victoria Falls Airport and land only passengers can either be picked up here or at the Rainbow Hotel in Victoria Falls town. If the group flights land in Livingstone (Zambia), land only passengers can still be picked up at the Rainbow Hotel in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). We then transfer 120kms to Kasane in Botswana. The drive from Victoria Falls takes a little over two hours but there can be delays crossing the border. Once we are settled into our chalets we will gather for a full tour briefing.
    Kwalape Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Game drive and river safari in Chobe N.P. known for its elephants.

    Chobe National Park is best known for its huge populations of elephant and buffalo. With an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 elephants, this is, undoubtedly the best place to see these pachyderms. The park is also home to Wild dogs, lions, leopards and various other African wildlife.

    We start the day by going on a game drive in one of the lodge’s open game-drive vehicles. It will be an early start as we aim to get to the park gates as they open. We spend about three hours on safari before returning to the lodge in time for some brunch.

    There is time to relax at the lodge during the hottest part of the day or exploring the town of Kasane before heading out again, this time to go on a boat-safari on the Chobe River. After a short transfer to the jetty we board the boat for a three-hour safari. This is a great opportunity to view the vast herds of elephant and other wildlife from the perspective of the water.
    Kwalape Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Transfer to Maun.

    Today is a long drive as we transfer the 600kms between Kasane and Maun, the town on the edge of the Okavango Delta. We’ll make a stop en route for lunch at the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan before arriving in Maun mid-afternoon. We spend a bit of time in town getting supplies for the delta (this is a chance for you to get any extra drinks or snacks you may want whilst in the delta). From here it’s only a short drive out of town to our lodge.
    Rivernest Cottages or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 4-5

    Full day exploring the Okavango Delta by foot and dug-out canoe.

    After travelling 1,600kms from the highlands of Angola, the Okavango River reaches the Kalahari and spreads into a large swamp area where the water eventually transpires into the plant-life and evaporates, never reaching the sea. This makes the Okavango Delta, as this swamp is known, one of the largest inland deltas on Earth and a true natural wonder.

    Year-round the delta’s islands are home to a vast array of wildlife including all the usual suspects though numbers reach their peak during the dryer winter months when animals, including many of the larger ones, migrate into the delta.

    We head into the delta in Mokoro dugout canoes poled by local villagers who have grown up here.

    When we arrive in the delta we will find our camp already set up, waiting for us. The camp is made up of tents fitted with camp beds topped by mattresses along with two communal bush-showers, two communal bush-toilets and a gazebo/mess tent. Here we will get to experience African wilderness at its fullest, not least at night when the milky-way can be seen spreading across the sky with a billion twinkling stars.

    We spend the next two days exploring the waterways and islands by Mokoro canoe and on foot looking for wildlife and enjoying this amazing part of Africa.
    Wild Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Morning walking safari; return to Maun.

    This morning we have our last Mokoro ride as we return to the edge of the delta before returning to Maun. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool or take an optional flight over the delta.
    Rivernest Cottages or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Nata; visit the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans at sunset.

    After a brief stop in Maun to resupply we transfer 300kms to Nata arriving mid-afternoon. In the late afternoon we head to the Nata Sanctuary to watch the sunset on the Makgadikgadi Pan.

    The Makgadikgadi Pan covers over 16,000 square kilometres and forms the bed of an ancient lake, now dried up, which once spread as far as the Okavango Delta. Sunsets on the pan are some of the best on the continent.
    Nata Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Enter Zimbabwe; to Matobo N.P.

    Today we continue our journey back towards Zimbabwe. We go via Francistown and Bulawayo on our way to Matobo National Park. The journey is about 380kms and driving time shouldn’t be much more than about 5hrs, however the border crossing can be busy and may take between two and three hours. We stay in chalets just outside the park and enjoy sundowners from the granite ridge overlooking the park.
    Hermits Peak Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 9

    Game drive and walking safari in Matobo N.P. known for its rhinos.

    Matobo National Park (also known as Matopos National Park) is an area known for its kopjes, giant boulders which seem to be precariously balanced on top of one-another, and wildlife. The park is one of the best places to see both Black and White rhinos and has a very dense population of leopards (though these predators are still elusive). It also counts amongst its inhabitants a third of all species of eagle.

    These hills were, once, home to San Bushmen who have left their mark with rock-paintings depicting giraffes, elands and kudu. It was also the colonialist Cecil Rhodes’ favourite place and where he asked to be buried.

    We enter Matobo National Park early in the morning and go on a game drive followed by a game walk where we can hope to see rhino on foot. We visit World’s End, where Cecil Rhodes is buried and see some of the granite formations and rock-paintings. We spend most of the day inside the park returning to the lodge in the afternoon.
    Hermits Peak Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Drive to Hwage N.P.

    After a leisurely breakfast we make a quick stop in Bulawayo this morning to resupply before driving north 335kms to Hwange National Park.

    Zimbabwe’s largest National Park, Hwange covers 14,600 square kilometres of mopane and teak woodlands and grasslands. The park is home to over 100 mammal species and 400 bird species including all of Zimbabwe’s specially protected animals. Its most famous inhabitants are the elephants and Wild dogs, and it is the only place where gemsbok and Brown hyena can be found in reasonable numbers in Zimbabwe.

    We stay in a property situated within a game-management area which abuts the park.
    Miobo Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 11

    Full day safari in Hwange N.P. known for its Wild dogs.

    We spend all day on a 4WD open-game drive in search of Hwange wildlife.
    Miobo Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Visit Victoria Falls.

    After a relaxed start we take a short, final drive back to Victoria Falls, arriving at Victoria Falls town around lunch time. In the afternoon we head out towards the mighty falls themselves.

    Measuring 1,700 meters wide and 100 meters high, Victoria Falls are the largest waterfall in the World and one of the most famous highlights of Africa. The volume of water changes with the seasons but when full the spray rises into the sky – a phenomenon which has given the falls their local name Mosi o Tunya, the Smoke that Thunders. They are a site to behold and one which impressed Dr. David Livingstone so much that he commented that ‘’ scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’’
    The Rainbow Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Full day at Victoria Falls for optional activities.

    Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer in the area such as white-water rafting, taking a flight over the falls, going on a sunset cruise or crossing into neighbouring Zambia to see the falls from that side.
    The Rainbow Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End Victoria Falls.

    Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight. Those who do not have a transfer included, the trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Botswana 

Currently British and Commonwealth and European passport holders do not require visas for Botswana.

If you are transiting through South Africa and are a non UK passport holder you may require a transit visa. Please check before travelling.

Please be aware that children under the age of 18 must provide a full birth certificate (a short one won’t be accepted) as well as a valid passport. If the child is travelling with only one parent or with another adult, the missing parent (or parents) will have to provide an affidavit giving their consent for the child to travel. If flying via S. Africa you may have to pass immigration between flights and the same regulation is needed for entry into S. Africa.

 

Zimbabwe

Most nationalities, including British require a visa to visit Zimbabwe.  This can be obtained from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London but it is a lot easier to get it on arrival in Zimbabwe.  The current charge for a single entry visit visa issued on arrival in Zimbabwe is £35.00 or US$55.00, although this could change. If you have not obtained a visa before travelling, you should bring enough cash with you to pay for your visa on arrival. You should ensure you have small notes as immigration officers may not be able to provide change.

For this itinerary we recommend the double entry visa for Zimbabwe (US$70.00).  However, if you plan on visiting Zambia as well then there is the UNIVISA (a shared visa for Zimbabwe and Zambia) that will allow you multiple entries into Zimbabwe.

Please note that if flying via South Africa you will probably have to pass immigration there. New regulations, as of the 1 Oct 2014, mean that children under 18 will have to have an unabridged birth certificate showing the names of both parents. If the child is travelling with only one parent they will need to have an affidavit from the other parent, of no more than 3 months, confirming the child can travel with the other parent; a court order granting full legal guardianship of the child; or a death certificate of the deceased parent.

Vaccinations

Botswana

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary if you are coming from a country with Yellow Fever, and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Zimbabwe

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Eating and Drinking

13 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 8 dinners

Whilst we will be staying in lodges most nights, included meals are, non-the-less, prepared by our crew. Breakfast is generally cereal or toast with tea and coffee with the occasional fried breakfast/brunch. Lunch is normally a simple pic-nic of cheese, cold meats, salads, bread or rolls. Dinners are cooked meals such as potjies (stew), braais (barbecue), stir-fries… etc. The trip leaders do all the shopping and meal planning for each group. They will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 1 cool box for the meats and the fresh produce only and 1 cool box for cold drinks. We will supply the following drinks: squash, tea or coffee served with meals. All other beverages will be at your own expense. We do not supply bottled drinking water although it is available at many shops on tour if you want to buy it yourself. Please note that on some days where early morning game drives are included lunch may be substituted for a large brunch on return from the game drive - this is customary. We will always ensure that the number of meals detailed in the trip notes are provided. Please be aware that we need at least two weeks notice to deal with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise the Exodus office as soon as possible.

The water provided on this trip is safe and clean drinking water, normally coming from bore-holes. It is not bottled water, however. If you would rather have bottled water then this will be at your expense, though we would encourage you to make use of the safe drinking water provided as this helps diminish plastic consumption.

Weather

There is no best time to go in terms of game viewing or conditions in the Delta, as the Delta flows all year round, despite its flood periods. The wettest season is January and February, when travel on dirt roads becomes difficult. March to September, although dry and bright, can be cold at night (in June and July it really can be chilly on occasions so bring appropriate gear). Water levels in the Delta will be at their highest in July. From December to June water levels in the Zambezi are at their highest, and the spray can be seen several miles away as it soars sometimes as much as 500 feet in the air. October and November are the hottest months, and midday temperatures can be very uncomfortable. The rains normally start slowly in late November. December can be wet, but it does not rain for long periods and should definitely not put anyone off travelling, as there is always plenty of sunshine.

Maun

Maun

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Is this trip for you?

This two-week safari covers a lot of ground but connects some of the best places in Botswana and Zimbabwe. It does mean, however, that there are some long drives on a combination of tarmac and dirt roads, though you never know when you may spot wildlife, even outside the parks. The longer drives between the sites are done in a more comfortable minibus whilst the game drives are done in special safari vehicles. Whilst not luxury, accommodation is in lodges apart from the two nights in the Okavango Delta which are in our campsite in the wild allowing for a different experience of Africa. This is a safari for people who want to see wildlife and get immersed in nature but do it in more comfort. October and November are hotter months but are also good for wildlife viewing.

Legal Note: all group members joining this tour will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the start of the holiday. This indemnity form is a requirement of the South African Tourism Service Association which our local supplier is a member of. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Chalets, Hotel, Wild Camping

9 nights chalets, 2 nights hotel and 2 nights comfortable wild camping The accommodation we stay in is generally 2- or 3-star lodges with en suite bathrooms, most with a pool. On 3-4 nights the lodges are permanent tented camps, these are comfortable rooms with en suite bathroom though they are in part made out of canvas. This is not camping, however, they are full rooms with comfortable beds, and bathrooms with hot water and are a quintessential African safari experience. Whilst the lodges are not luxury properties they are comfortable and in great locations. Please note that in Hwange NP, the lodge we normally use, Miombo Lodge, has rooms of varying standards and the lodge will alocate these randomly. In the Okavango Delta we spend two nights full service wild camping. Our camp is set up for us and all equipment is provided.. The tents are large (2.4 x 2.4 x 1.8meters) and we sleep on camp-beds topped with a mattress (about 5cms thick). There is a bush-shower and toilet. When visiting the Delta we will leave most of our luggage in Maun, taking only what we need for 2 days (bags, sleeping bags and pillows are provided). Wifi is available about half the time but is not always very reliable.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Paul Goldstein is one of very few people that has spent time with all five of the BBC's ‘Dynasty’ luminaries.

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

  • Reviewed April 2019
    Michael Freestone

    Swimming in the cool pools of the Okavango Delta

    It was hot and sticky. But swimming in the Okavango Delta, cruising on the Chobe River, seeing a multitude of birds and hearing hippos in the distance made up for the mild discomfort. We travel to get under a country's skin, experience the culture and local hospitality. Our trip to Matabeleland and visiting Cecil Rhodes' memorial was captivating; there in the wild, silent, rocky countryside, with lizards scurrying around and baboons barking in the distance was inspiring.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were two wonderful experiences. Firstly getting soaked to the skin walking through the mist and spray by the Victoria Falls. And secondly, seeing at least five rhinos snoozing under the shade of a mopane tree with gentle puffs of dust arising as they snorted and slept in the heat of the afternoon.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan Moon was just what I expected. A very sociable young chap with an Afrikaan accent who looked after our small group very well. He makes exceptional cakes by a camp fire and an excellent vegetarian stew which he seemed to conjure up from nowhere. He even flew his drone and shared some fascinating aerial shots of us canoeing in mokoros in the Delta.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for long road trips and try to go to Vic Falls twice. Once to get thoroughly soaked and second to take your cameras avoiding the wettest spots to record the atmosphere and thunder!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We would have preferred to travel from Kasane to Maun on roads which went through African villages as opposed to going in a direct line from A to B. Having travelled to various African countries the experience of stopping in villages enhances memories ie the wood smoke, the people and buying local snacks from produce stalls along the way. Lastly, when visiting Hwange NP the tour was split in two which was enjoyable but the pm tour took us on the same route as in the am.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Russell Conway

    Beautiful Africa.

    Safari means journey. This really was an intense journey through Botswana & Zimbabwe. But a journey with the added bonus of sightings along the way, magical birds at the side of the road and on one occasion slowing down the bus to see a bull elephant only to be gobsmacked by a pack of 10 wild-dog just a couple of trees away! Journeys don`t have to be boring; long bus rides are often part of the adventure. On this holiday we had the added bonus of River safari`s and, in the Okavango Delta, Mokoro rides with only the gentle sound of water lapping by your side, damsel flies and giant hawker dragon-flies buzzing around your ears and in the evening a gigantic frog chorus like something from a Fairy-Tale. Of course Safari is all about the animals but on this holiday I became more aware of the rich variety of people that helped us along the way. Kaiser the leader of the Polers in the Delta, Rowan our Tour Guide, his trusty driver Siwasu and the dozens of others who did their bloody best to give us the holiday of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a great many. But the moment that will live with me was on a walking safari in the Delta. Somebody yelled "Kudu", I looked through my binoculars and shimmering in the early morning sunlight I could just see a pair of twisted horns emerging from the long grass. The horns morphed into a beautifully marked male Kudu who, having emerged from the grass like a Gladiator in a Ridley Scott movie just stood there staring at us. He was joined by a couple of others. His long piercing stare said it all. He was a king in his own realm. We were just there to watch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan is quite a character. Good with people. Excellent at animals and he had the ability to keep everyone happy at the same time - no mean feat. I particularly appreciated his pointing out a small scopes owl one night; he knew I was interested in birds and on another occasion he showed me a fearsome video from his phone of hundreds of may-flies perishing on the lawns at Victoria Falls oddly enough something I found curiously fascinating. I think his inspired use of the Millionaire Game on the longer journeys is something other tour guides should think about doing. The number of long journeys I have been on where the leader simply goes to sleep is legion. I did not meet anyone on the trip who had a bad word to say about Rowan. I think he is a real star and somebody who actively contributed towards the success of this brilliant trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. Take warm clothes as it gets cold in the mornings; 2. Take a spare torch; 3. Don`t just take photo`s - feel and hear the animals and birds. Don`t just get caught up in the technicalities of photography - appreciate your experience. 4. Take something for the locals. I took some pens and was so very touched by the warmth of the thanks of the locals. These are people who really appreciate your kindness. 5. Don`t drink too much late at night - wandering to the "bushy-Bushy" in the middle of the night is an adventure but best avoided!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I had such a good time. I would like to go back. The group were a blast. One or two in particular will stay with me for some time. I now know what a shee-wee and a Travel Jane are. I feel very privileged to have travelled with such a great bunch of people. The dynamics of small groups means that it can be quite difficult but right up to our really rather wonderful last night meal on the Zambezi we all stuck together and, I hope, will remain friends. Safari, as I said at the beginning is a Journey. This was a Journey where I learnt quite a bit about myself but I also learnt a great deal about the others in the group. It was a Journey I will never forget.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Katherine Pagett

    Beautiful Botswana and Zimbabwe Lodges

    A truly awesome holiday! I can't stop telling people about it! We saw so many animals in the wild with memorable sights, noises and smells. We were the 'lucky lion group' witnessing lions feasting on a putrid smelling kill in Chobe in the morning and then seeing a prowling lioness on the banks of the river in the evening. Then while camping in the Okavango Delta, on our sunset walk return to camp, we came across 5 lions within 400 meters of our campsite! We also heard them roar later that night while we were sitting around the campfire and taking photos of the Milky Way...sweet dreams!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Hwange Park on the sunset safari, a herd of elephants of all ages crossed in front of us on their way to a waterhole. The closer they got to the water, the faster they ran and they put on a spectacular water show for us. They drank and splashed in the water and showered water in the air, they then rolled in the mud and the babies seemed to show such joy at rolling and splashing around. Next they threw dust over themselves which looked like they were finishing off their bathing session with powder. It really made me smile. Then at the next watering hole, the hippos finally showed themselves and opened their massive mouths - truly awesome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was good fun, a great cook with limited facilities and amazing at spotting birds and animals.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The camping in the Okavango Delta is basic. I'm not a natural camper but just embrace it because the proximity to animals, the noises, the visibility of the Milky Way is awesome. I never thought I would use the bush shower but I did and I enjoyed it, so be open minded! Take a sleeping bag liner with you, wet wipes, torches and as little else as possible because you will probably just end up wearing the same clothes for the 3 days/2 nights you are there as everything gets covered in dust. Take something to do (e.g. book, puzzle book, magazine) during the heat of the day during siesta time as it is too hot to go out then and you couldn't wander off by yourself.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Animals we saw - lions, elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras; only one rhino; one hyena, warthogs, wildebeest, impalas, kudus, steenbucks; mongooses, jeckle, lesser spotted genet, baboons, monkeys; elephant shrew, lizards, ostriches, bushbaby; flamingos, vultures, kingfishers, lilac breasted rollers and lots of other birds
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Catherine How

    Memorable

    Fantastic trip with great contrasts not just of scenery but also animals and experiences One of the top exodus trips taken over the last 12 years and highly recommended Wild camping on the delta was an unforgettable experience Great guides!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The delta: the organisation of the villagers, their knowledge and skills awesome

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great guy Rowan along with Susifso who had guided and driven us so well on an earlier trip to South Africa and the drakonsburgs 9 years ago We didn’t forget him and it was great to see him again Rowan was all that you could have wished for and humorous with it They made the dream team

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Amanda & Martin Randall

    Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

    This was our first trip to Africa and it far exceeded expectations. The itinerary was balanced and very well organised and we were fortunate to see a huge variety of wildlife - including four of the 'big five' on the first day! Although there were (by necessity) some long drives, the vehicle was comfortable and well-driven by Sofiso. Our guide Rowan both entertained us and still continued to point out interesting features and wildlife all along the way, making sure we didn't miss a thing! There was a variety of accommodation and even the tents in the Delta were comfortable. Our focus was the wildlife and the amount and variety were superlative.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were just so many highlights that choosing just one is impossible! The visit to the Okavango Delta via mokoros, camping and the game walks were inspirational. Whilst here, we watched an elephant approach our camp and then wander over to a palm tree where it proceeded to shake the tree trunk vigorously, causing the palm nuts to rain down. We watched it eat the nuts and then repeat the performance - magic. Watching a huge flock of vibrant lesser flamingos flying in the evening light at the Makgadikgadi Salt pans. In Chobe, seeing a leopard resting up a tree twitching its tail, guarding its impala prey. At Matobo, standing within a few metres from a mother white rhino and her baby (and her teenage calf) and then going to visit centuries old cave paintings which captured the wildlife so accurately (including rhino!). In Hwange, looking into the faces of lion cubs who were resting in the shade after a big meal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was very knowledgable, friendly, fun and enthusiastic and helped us to get the full benefit from all our trips. He quickly made sure that the group was a cohesive unit in which we were all equal. He was extremely well organised throughout the trip and at border crossings gave us all very clear guidance as to what we needed to do, making these parts of the trip go as smoothly as possible, too. Rowan prepared and served us some great meals after long days on excursions. We often enjoyed these sitting round the camp fire at night and he still had the energy to entertain us into the evening! Couldn't have asked for more!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were surprised just how cold the early morning game drives were in open vehicles (we were there in July/ August; winter). The blankets provided certainly helped, but we probably should have taken light windproof jackets as well as fleeces. We had hats and gloves and also neck buffs - the latter very useful to protect against the dust as well as to keep warm/ stop any biting insects/ protect from the sun! We weren't troubled by insects, as it happened! We took US dollars which were fine for Zimbabwe, but local shops & traders in Botswana preferred pula. There were plenty of opportunities to stop at ATMs for these so this was not a problem.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking about booking this trip - do it! It is worth thinking about what you hope to see and planning the time of year accordingly. (Victoria Falls still had plenty of water, even at the beginning of August). We certainly had an experience of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Susan Darnton

    One of the best African experiences!

    I am an experienced Exodus/Africa client as I love both the continent and the Exodus tours I have completed there. This present tour was outstanding in the scope, the experiences and the group: all influenced by our excellent leader Rowan. The itinerary encompasses game drives and walking drives which were very productive. We saw all the usual big 5 but had some special experiences- a leopard up a tree in full camera view with its fresh impala breakfast, wild dogs [our guides said we were VERY lucky] and a rare as hen's teeth caracal in the light of day begging from a parking attendant. WOW! The combination of two countries in one tour encompasses some amazing scenery, including the majestic Victoria Falls. Wild camping on the extraordinary Okovango Delta is a once in a lifetime experience. Our group shared interests and enthusiasms and we became addicted to the Millionaire Quiz app to which our leader introduced. Who thought we could be so competitive in such a jolly way!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The three amazing and very special animal sightings: leopard with kill, wild dogs and caracal. Last experience probably never to be repeated in a lifetime and special to me as my Abyssinian breed cat is descended ultimately from the African caracal.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hi is ace!!!!!!! His organisational skills and enthusiastic love of Africa shine through. A really god shopper and cook too over very many meals. An Exodus tour marches on its tummy we know and we marched well and on time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not hesitate if you love the African experience: this is a very special tour.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Sue Bowler

    Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari

    This was a fantastic trip, helped by a great group of people. Both the guide and driver were very knowledable and we all learnt a lot. The long drives were helped by Rowan our guide reading out who wants to be a millionaire from his phone and after several attempts we beat the odds! Some of the group were nervous about camping in the Okovango delta but it was glamping rather than camping and this proved to be one of the most enjoyable 2 days the trip. Mornings were chilly but we all layered up and with the help of blankets on the game vehicals managed to keep warm. The trip notes were inaccurate in the meals we had provided by the guide which worked out in our favour. Most of us felt that all evening meals with the exception of Victoria falls should be included. Rowan provided good meals and there was plenty to eat. We missed out on seeing lions and leopards but did see the most difficult cat to spot the cheeteh so that more than made up for it and as it is wildlife there are never any guarntees. When I booked this trip it was the animals I was most interested in but this has lit in me an interest in birds that I never knew I had and I hope to continue spotting and photographing bird in future. Victoria falls were amazing and I would recommend both the sunset dinner cruise and the helicopter flight over the falls both were superb.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Coming face to face with a white Rhino whist walking with our knowledgeable guide, John. The evening cruise on the Chobe river was truely amazing with a wealth of animals and birds at close quaters.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rowan was fabulous as was Safiso our driver. My only critisism would be that he did not ask far enough in advance if anyone wanted to fly in a helicopter over the Okovango Delta, this could also have been arranged by exodus in advance back in England. This meant we missed out on this but we did manage a plane flight.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes take a warm hat in winter months, this should be added to the kit list. Long jonhs or legging were useful too and a pair of gloves would have been welcome first thing in the mornings.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most of the accomodation was great but I would suggest exodus look for anothe lodge in Maun as River nest cottages is fairly run down compared to the other lodges we stayed at. The locks on my windows would not shut and others had issues with showers etc.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Sue for her review. We are delighted to read that she found her trip to be fantastic and that she found our local team to be very knowledgeable. It is also great to learn that Sue found the camping in the Okovango Delta to be a much more enjoyable and glamorous than she had anticipated. It transpires that during her group’s stay in Botswana, staff at the lodge offered the group complimentary dinners – we trust the group enjoyed this unexpected gesture! We can, however, confirm that the trip notes accurately described the number of included meals on the tour, but we would like to thank Sue for suggesting that all meals should be included in the itinerary; this feedback has been taken on board. We would like to apologies that certain aspects of Sue’s stay in Maun fell below her expectations. Staff at the property have confirmed that the maintenance crew have addressed the points Sue has mentioned and we hope that going forward future clients will find their stay to be comfortable – John Penge, Product Manager.

  • A fabulous African experience

    A wonderfully varied trip which combines the comforts from home whilst giving you a real wildlife experience. The lodges were each unique in character and all very comfortable, most of them with swimming pools, and the camping in the Okavango Delta was much more comfortable than anyone had expected! You get to see a good part of two quite different but equally friendly and welcoming countries and because the places you visit are so quiet you never feel that you are on a tourist trail.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many moments to choose, from standing close enough to rhinos to be able to hear them eat in Matobo, to watching an elephant walk past our camp in the Delta, and experiencing the exhilarating Victoria Falls up close. We also met some truly inspiring people who are very proud of their country and do amazing work to protect the natural landscape and wildlife. The two nights camping in the Okavango Delta were very special, made even more so by the kindness of the locals who looked after us so well. We were genuinely sad to say goodbye to them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Justin was simply brilliant and made sure this trip was as special as possible for everyone. He was our group leader, driver and cook and managed all this very well and would never accept any help. His insight into Southern African culture and wildlife really helped us to get the most out of this trip and gain a good understanding of the way of life in this part of Africa. He clearly has a good relationship with the local people and guides which was shown through the high level of service we received from everyone. We hope to be lucky enough to come across him again on future trips!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As someone else already said, just go! Yes, there are some days when you spend a fair amount of time on the bus, but there is always something to look at and otherwise you can use the time to catch up on some sleep from the early morning safari drives... There are also regular stops. If you travel in their winter months, from May on-wards, do bring a fleece or coat as the early morning drives can be cold especially when sitting on an open sided safari truck.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are a number of optional activities and we chose to do the scenic flight over the Delta, the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls and the sunset dinner cruise on the Zambezi. These are all personal choices of course but we didn't regret doing any of these and felt they each represented good value for money considering the once in a lifetime experience they gave us. This was an amazing trip and we are already looking to book our next one to Southern Africa. However, do remember that this is Africa so go with an open mind and just enjoy the experience!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    kim simkins

    Safari at it's absolute best

    Travelling with a group of friends who met in Botswana on a camping trip 7 years ago, and had so much fun and friendship that we decided to reunite the Botties for a rerun with a bit of Zimbabwe added on! Were slightly concerned that the lodges would lack the intimacy of the wild camping, however this trip was absolutely perfect for us and Exodus helped us fine tune the experience by switching a day in Vic Falls for an extra day in Hwange for our party of 6. And actually that was probably the highlight of the trip in the end, one of the greatest 24hrs safari experience of my life (and I've had a few)! I was in serious need of a break, but I came home from Africa a different and better person after one of the most amazing trips ever! I am an Exodus veteran but this had to be the best yet! Thank-you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many...hard to choose! 1. The Okavango Delta, the absolute isolation and peacefulness of wild camping, swimming amongst the water lilies and the fireflies spectacular light show at night whilst listening to the lions roaring and the elephants splashing in the water just yards from my tent. 2. Walking to track Rhino in Matobo and removing a poachers snare and the superb Hermits lodge with a great sundown dog walk with the zebra chasing the dog off! 3. The wonderful Hwange National Park. Superb game drives and even thought the landrover broke down, it meant our replacement vehicle had got wind of a leopard and we were lucky enough to see one descending from a tree. 4. Wonderful Hwange Safari Lodge hotel overlooking the waterhole, and a superb tracker guide who found us a cheetah with 3 cubs, a huge herd of elephant with a close encounter never to forget with a herd of 150 elephants doing what all elephants do best all around us. Just when we thought we had seen it all, he found us a pride of 16 lions right by the side of the road for an amazing encounter with some very relaxed and well fed cats! 5. Superb dinner cruise on the last night with great food, wonderful live music and the most amazing sunset. So emotional, it brought tears to my eyes, a perfect end to a perfect trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sheridan was very young and inexperienced and had her work cut out with some 'older' seasoned travellers. She was pleasant and helpful but didn't really add much to the experience as she didn't give us much information about the country or the wildlife. She spent a lot of time on the game drives asleep. Sometimes communication was not as good as it might have been. But I am sure she will improve with experience and has the enthusiasm to learn.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some very long drives on dodgy roads with strict speed limits and very few stops. The estimated timings were a long way out, 4/5 hrs was often nearer 6/7 so there was little down time. A significant amount of walking too on safaris so need to be reasonably fit, especially with the heat as some days were 40degrees. Zimbabwe is still quite corrupt, we had a few issues with police stops, it also has little cash so take small notes and don't expect change. If you are prepared to take old clothes, these can be bartered for goods. Things are expensive in both countries so take plenty of cash/credit cards. Don't expect luxury and its Africa and thatched accommodation so be prepared for bugs and meeting the outdoors.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just to say thanks for such an amazing time. Will certainly be going back to Zimbabwe once the furore dies down. It certainly rivals Botswana for wildlife.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Debra Dance

    Magical From Start To Finish

    Every day on this trip was like a dream come true. Over the two weeks we saw over 100 different wildlife species.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One of my highlights was watching a herd of female elephants and their calves run towards a watering hole to join the males who were already there. The 30 or so elephants drank, bathed and sprayed themselves with water with obvious joy. Seeing this close up felt like a real privilege. But every single day brought new delights, from seeing a white rhino and her two daughters during a walking safari and enjoying the polers' harmonious singing around the campfire to seeing a wide range of gloriously coloured birds, San rock art and rich sunsets.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leaders, Mira and Marco, were outstanding, enthusiastically sharing their knowledge with us about both countries and their wildlife. They were unfailingly hard-working and well-organised, as well as being great cooks, conjuring up a variety of delicious meals on basic equipment. Their love of their jobs constantly shone through. The guides in the national parks were equally passionate about their subjects and always committed to giving us the best experience. I suggest that you take more money with you for tipping than is suggested in the trip notes, as you will almost certainly want to reward the outstanding service that you receive throughout your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Of the optional activities on offer, I recommend the flight over the Delta (120 US $) to get a sense of the Delta's vastness. And in Victoria Falls I wholeheartedly recommend the lion cub interaction (75 US $). This chance to stroke and walk with lion cubs is part of a conservation project and an incredibly special experience. I felt totally safe throughout the experience and given that the 'cubs' were 22 months old, that's really saying something! The Zambezi dinner cruise (78 US $) is also definitely worth doing: a delicious five course meal, watching an elephant on the bank and hippos in the river, bathed in the warm, golden light of the setting sun. It really did feel as if life could not get any better.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Debra for her review, and we are delighted to hear that she had a wonderful trip. We really appreciate direct recommendations from our clients for specific optional activities, however, we would discourage people from taking part in the lion cub activity in Victoria Falls. Animal welfare is an important part of the Exodus Responsible Travel policy; and there are a lot of unanswered questions about this activity (and other similar activities in Zimbabwe) and about the extent of how ethical they are. We would therefore advise against people taking part in this particular activity or if they choose to, consider the potential issues surrounding these activities.

     

    Tom Harari – Product Manager for Botswana and Zimbabwe

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