Days 1 - 3 : Hwange National Park
On arrival at Victoria Falls Airport you will go through departure formalities and helped to your charter flight to Hwange airstrip where a representative from The Hide Safari Lodge will meet you. The drive into camp game viewing en route will take approximately 1hr30m.
The Hide is a family owned and family run safari camp that was built in 1992 by the Prestons’ and is situated on a private concession on the Eastern boundary of Hwange National Park. The waterhole, just metres from The Hide, attracts such a variety of life that you may not need to roam far from your veranda to be a part of the action. Accommodation at the Hide consists of 10 Deluxe Tents and a Private Safari House. All boasting en-suite bathrooms and private verandas overlooking the busy waterhole. There is a swimming pool, lounge, bar, upstairs viewing deck, mini museum, 2 underground hides, an underground wine cellar and a complimentary treehouse sleep out. Wi-Fi is available.
Activities at the Hide are varied depending on whether you prefer to go on game drives, walks, or just relax next to the waterhole. Early morning walks are there for the thrill of encountering wildlife on its own terms and exploring the little surprises of the bush. Alternatively, the day can be spent further afield on game drives in search of predators and prey alike. We like to do things properly so sundowners are an important part of the experience. Hwange National Park is the largest park in Zimbabwe, and world famous for its healthy elephant population. The beauty of this area is in its diversity – vast, palm-fringed plains and classic grasslands are interspersed with acacia woodlands and teak forests and this diversity ensures the sighting of great numbers of animals all year round. Of course, keen photographers will want to spend time in the hide that overlooks the popular waterhole.
What to Expect at the Hide and Hwange
- A vast playground to explore
- Thrilling wildlife encounters
- Outstanding natural beauty
- Experienced Guides
- Flexible itinerary
- No limit to the activities you want to fit into your day
- A popular wildlife watering hole in front of the camp
A significant feature of Hwange is the absence of permanent surface water. Animals rely heavily on a series of waterholes, many of which dry up completely during drought years. The Friends of Hwange now maintain a number of these waterholes throughout the year thereby ensuring the livelihoods of thousands of animals, and excellent game viewing as wildlife congregates at these points.
The waterhole at The Hide is particularly special, being the only source of permanent water for a good-sized area. So even if you don’t feel like venturing out, you will still be able to enjoy the daily visitors to the camp, which often include elephant, giraffe, zebra, impala, waterbuck and kudu. Lion come in from time to time and wild dog have even made kills in full view of the camp.
Hwange National Park is a haven for over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, the park protects populations of all of Zimbabwe’s endangered species, elephants numbering in excess of 20,000 (up from around 4,000 when the park was proclaimed), and what is thought to be one of the largest populations of African wild dog left in the world. Large prides of lion and buffalo are frequently seen here and you have a good chance of spotting leopard in addition to cheetah and spotted hyena. The wild and woolly brown hyena also occurs here and is something of a rarity.
Days 4 - 5 : Matusadona National Park
Today you are off onto your next stop, and will catch your 1hr30m flight to Lake Kariba. On arrival at Lake Kariba, you will be met by a Changa representative and transferred to the stunning Changa Safari Camp.
Lapped by the waters of Lake Kariba, shaded by Mopane woodland and hidden from the world, Changa Safari Camp is an oasis of tranquility and an ideal retreat from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Changa has been designed to blend in with the environment using natural materials. The camp furniture has been built using Zimbabwe’s finest teak and the bar has been fashioned around the hull of an old boat. You will enjoy a lunch looking out over the lake and then you can choose to either relax by the pool, hop on the afternoon/evening game drive or try your hand at fishing for the famed fighting tiger fish.
A typical day in the camp starts early to coincide with the best times to view animals. You will be awoken by the age old “knock knock” at your door, accompanied by your choice of tea and coffee. You will then depart for your morning activity – either a game drive or walk or a fishing safari. The game in the area is excellent, home to a wide range of mammals, and over 350 bird species. Then, just before it gets too hot, we'll have you back in camp for a delicious full breakfast set up. After lunch why not hop on a short boat ride across the lake to the scenic Sanyati Gorge, where you can meander peacefully through the steep cliffs for up to 10 km. The Sanyati Gorge is both unspoilt and undisturbed with an abundance of birdlife, the occasional sighting of antelope and great fishing.
There are a varied range of exciting and relaxing activities to choose from including both morning and afternoon game drives, fishing for the famed fighting Tiger fish, boat rides, and stunning game walks on the concession with an experienced and knowledgeable guide.
What to Expect at Changa and Matusadona
- An unspoilt piece of paradise
- A remote and secluded part of the Matusadona National Park located
- In the heart of shimmering Lake Kariba.
- 4km of lakeshore frontage
- unique and authentic safari experience, on foot, by vehicle and by boat
Changa Safari Camp is situated in a private concession area within the famed Matusadona National Park and is a stunning combination of flat plains and rugged mountain country. The north of the park is within the Mopane woodlands ecoregion and the south within miombo woodlands ecoregion.
Open game vehicles are the perfect way to discover the area, providing a fantastic opportunity to see a large variety of game, as well as lion, cheetah and elephant whilst taking in the beautiful scenery. Occasionally you may come across some fresh tracks on a drive so wear comfortable shoes just in case you choose to track the animal for a short while! There are early morning and afternoon game drives available.
The birdlife in the park is prolific, with 350 different species identified in the area including ducks, herons, plovers and storks that congregate along the waterfront and darters and cormorants who use the dead tree base for their fishing forays. Other adept fisherman are ospreys and the iconic African fish eagle who is often seen perched majestically on a high branch and whose clear, ringing call has to be the most characteristic and evocative sound on Lake Kariba.
Boat Cruises on the lake allow you to relax and enjoy one of Lake Kariba’s most popular activities. If you are interested in birding, then our boat cruise is perfect for you as it will provide a different vantage point to get up close and personal to numerous species of birds. Whilst drifting along the banks of the lake, you will also encounter some great wildlife sightings in their peaceful surroundings.
What better way to end your day in Kariba, than listening to the sounds of hippo around you and witnessing an unforgettable sunset on the lake.
Days 6 - 8 : Mana Pools National Park
After an early breakfast, you will be transferred back to the airstrip to catch your 30 min flight to Mana Pools where the John’s Camp team will meet you.
John's Camp is situated on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, nestled amongst canopies of Trichelia and Mahogany trees. It is a truly natural wilderness. Across the vast floodplain one can walk with the giants - our African Bull elephants, dine amidst herds of buffalo, gaze upon prides of lion, and enjoy sundowners with hippos.
The camp comprises of 12 beds, made up of 6 twin or double en-suite Meru style tents, a common dining area
A typical day on safari has guests woken just before sunrise for a quick cup of tea or coffee, a bowl of porridge or a muffin. You will head out on either a game walk or drive returning to camp for a late morning brunch. Midday siesta time is spent in camp and afternoon tea is served at 3.30pm. Head out again for an afternoon of game viewing as the day cools. Fishing from the banks of the river is also an option. Sundowners can be enjoyed while out on your afternoon game drive or back in camp. All guests will be back in camp by 6.30pm. Warm bucket showers will be ready on your return. Gather around the campfire to share your stories from the day before enjoying a three-course dinner.
What to expect at John's Camp and Mana Pools National Park,
- A World Heritage Site
- In the heart of a natural valley on a unique flood plain
- Rich and diverse in flora, fauna and wildlife
- Home to 4 of the Big 5 (excluding only Rhino)
- Walking safaris a speciality - you can walk withthe wild animals and get to experience Africa as it should be - on foot!
- Small & intimate camp, with a maximum of 12 guests
- Excellent guiding team
- Tailored safari to suit you
- Highly personalized experience
Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a beautiful 2,196 sq. km wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe. Mana means "four" in Shona, (one of the main vernacular languages in Zimbabwe) and it refers to the number of large permanent pools left by the Zambezi River as it flows into the flood plain. Mana is known as one of Africa’s best game viewing areas, as many large animals come here in search of water. It is also an excellent area for fishing, of course, and bird-watching, being rich in vegetation diversity from river frontage to forests of mahogany, wild fig, acacia albida and baobabs.
The resident elephant herds have become somewhat famous for their ability to 'stand' for short periods on their two rear legs, in order to reach the delicious fruit at the tops of the trees!
The resident wild dog packs also became international celebrities when the BBC featured them in one of their recent Dynasties wildlife programmes.
Day 9 : End of Itinerary
Today transfer to the airstrip and fly back to Harare, after which own onward international flights.
Option to return to Victoria Falls at small additional cost for a few days relaxation and viewing the Falls from Victoria Falls town or in a lodge on the banks of the mighty Zambezi.