Discover the magic of Zimbabwe on this 11-day adventure that takes you to four of this beautiful country’s wilderness gems.
You begin at Big Cave Camp in Matobos National Park: a surreal, hauntingly beautiful rocky landscape that is home to an extraordinary collection of ancient rock art sites as well as a thriving leopard population. Continue into the great wildlife sanctuary of Hwange to experience thrilling big game encounters with a host of plains game and their predators while luxuriating at The Hide Safari Camp.
Next, travel to Victoria Falls River Lodge on the bank of the mighty Zambezi River, within sight of the spray rising from ‘the smoke that thunders’, as the Falls are known. Here, you can engage in activities ranging from river cruises and white-water rafting to scenic flights and bungee jumping over the gorge.
Your final destination is Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, set on the shore of Lake Kariba near Matusadona National Park.
Game drives, safari walks and tiger fishing tempt you from lounging on your verandah in blissfully laid-back surroundings.
Perfect as a family getaway or as a honeymoon with a difference, this journey guarantees the best of Zimbabwe, from cultural experiences to up-close-and-personal big game encounters.
- Day & night Big 5 game drives
- Safari walks with expert guides
- Victoria Falls adrenaline activities
- Boating, fishing & canoeing
- Exclusive access to long stretch of Lake Kariba’s shore
- Family-friendly accommodation
- Secluded honeymoon suites
Type of Accommodation
Zimbabwe Victoria Falls, Matobo National Park, Matusadona National Park, Hwange National Park Zambia Victoria Falls
- 3 nights at Big Cave Camp
- 2 nights at The Hide
- 2 nights at Victoria Falls River Lodge
- 3 nights at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Day to day itinerary
Welcome to Zimbabwe
Flying from South Africa’s OR Tambo International Airport, you will arrive at Bulawayo International Airport, where your guide from Big Cave Camp will meet you. After a short drive, you arrive at the lodge, which is set on a boulder-strewn hillside overlooking the stunning scenery of Matobo Hills National Park.
The stone and thatch main building is tastefully furnished with colourful fabrics and African artefacts, with a well-stocked teak bar, comfortable lounge and communal dining area, which features a large boulder as a centrepiece. Outside, a sundeck surrounds a natural rock pool, providing the ideal spot to relax and drink in the magnificent view.
Discovering your suite, you find it solidly built with stone walls and a timber frame. The thatched roof and tiled floor helps to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter, and outside is a balcony with a comfortable seating area. The view is fantastic, especially in the late afternoon when the sun hits the rocks, lighting them in a gorgeous display of colour.
As the sun begins to set, sundowner drinks are served at the fireside in the cave-like boma, where you meet your fellow travellers and hosts for a convivial chat and to hear tales of the day’s sojourns.
Settle into the rhythm of this ancient landscape as you explore the Matobo and Whovi Parks with your guide, taking both game drives and safari walks, enjoy a host of plains game and seek out the leopards that favour these rocky koppies – the population of these big cats here is considered one of the densest in Africa.
The granite hills, outcrops and caves are also home to an astonishing collection of ancient rock art, painted by the hunter-gatherer Khoisan people thousands of years ago. There are several sites upon Big Cave’s concession, as well as others further afield in Matobos National Park. A walking tour to visit them is a wonderful way to fully experience the beauty of this landscape as you climb granitic whalebacks to soak in the tremendous views, wander through forests alive with birdsong, then gaze across the gulf of time at incredibly lifelike depictions of wildlife and the first people who walked this land.
You then travel forward in time to the not-too-distant past with a walk up Malindidzimu, a hill sacred to the Ndebele people, and the gravesite of the British Empire-builder, Cecil John Rhodes. Also known as World’s View, this is a spectacular spot to finish off the day at sunset with an ice-cold drink in your hand, contemplating a vista that has captivated us since the dawn of time.
After your morning activity, your guide will collect you for the drive to The Hide Safari Camp. Located in a private concession within Hwange National Park, the area has a great diversity of habitats and a year-round abundance of game.
Driving along, you spy elephants and giraffe, as well as a multitude of impala and zebra grazing in the open. With a wonderful sense of anticipation, allow a sense of freedom to take hold, while the breeze wafts the heady aroma of the wilds around you: sage, earth and dry grass.
After a while, you arrive to the embrace of The Hide Safari Camp, which is nestled in a picturesque grove of shady trees overlooking a waterhole where animals often come to drink. You then have time to settle into the delightful comfort of your suite, take a dip in the pool or simply relax until late afternoon’s high tea, where you sample a treat from the mouth-watering selection of delicacies while discussing the day’s adventure with your guide.
Embark on your first safari drive in the golden light of the afternoon, where a world of possibility is waiting for you. The landscape changes as you venture through it; open grassy plains give way to acacia woodlands, which in turn come to forests of teak trees. These habitats support a plethora of game, and you keep a close eye out for lurking predators.
Lion, leopard and hyena all have a strong presence here but the most thrilling encounter would be to find a pack of African wild dogs. These critically endangered animals are the most successful hunters of the wild, as well as the most social. Watching a pack engage in a greeting ritual among themselves before setting off on a high-speed chase hunting down their prey must rate as one of the most heart-stoppingly exciting experiences to be had. The speed and efficiency with which they operate as a hunting unit is unique among predators, while their nurturing social behaviour is wonderful to watch.
Allow the gentle rhythm of Hwange to take you where it will: where you rise with the sun and seek out the extraordinary in the wilds before retiring to the shade during the heat of the day, much like the animals you have been observing. Venture out as the afternoons cool down and once again feel that compelling urge to connect to nature.
Join a guided safari walk to really feel the earth of Africa underfoot, where you find every one of your senses engaged, and all of them with a clarity that comes from being on foot in this untrammelled wilderness. With your guide’s expert interpretation, you learn of the smaller details you have missed from a vehicle, tiny pieces in the vast jigsaw puzzle of life.
Thrills at Victoria Falls
A guide collects you in the mid morning for the drive to Victoria Falls River Lodge in Zambezi National Park.
This exquisite lodge lies on the banks of the Zambezi River, with wooden walkways meandering through the canopy of enormous shady trees. Each suite is on an elevated platform overlooking the river and its changing moods, making them private, secluded and romantic.
You allow the serenity of the river to envelop you, take a walk along a nature trail, enjoy a game drive in the park, visit an island for a special picnic or simply relax at the poolside while the waters flow gently past.
The incredible spectacle of the Victoria Falls is an astonishing sight. This huge curtain of water is where the Zambezi plunges over a precipice and roils into the gorge below. Such is the tremendous energy of the waterfall that the spray from the falls can be seen for miles around, giving it the name ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ in the local language.
After this impressive experience of nature’s awesome power, you can enjoy a wonderfully sedate cruise on the river at sunset as the sky turns into a dazzling display of colour.
Charting Lake Kariba
You depart Victoria Falls River Lodge in the morning and set off to the airport, where a chartered plane will whisk you off to Lake Kariba.
Landing at the airstrip, you are met by your guide, who takes you on a game drive to Bumi Hills Safari Lodge on Lake Kariba, near Matusadona National Park. The lodge has lovely views of the Zambezi River Escarpment and is surrounded by a rich diversity of game and birdlife.
Activities at Bumi Hills are divided between boat-based fishing and cruises on the lake, and game drives and walks in the company of an experienced guide. As you drift along, you enjoy the spectacular scenery plunging down to the water’s edge, and often you will see a variety of game on the floodplains. The sunsets over Kariba are nothing short of spectacular, and the silhouettes of ancient dead trees rising out of the water add a pictorial element that photographers love.
At Bumi Hills you can be as active or as relaxed as you please: the camp’s laid-back atmosphere, delightfully stylish suites, lounge and pool areas invite you to soak up the breeze, drink in the views and enjoy being pampered with impeccable yet discreet service. Or head to the spa and hand yourself over to the trained therapists for total R&R.
Alternatively, you can rise at dawn for an early morning game drive or walk into the surrounding areas of the national park where a welter of big game species can be found, including buffalo and elephant. Predators include lions and leopards, as well as cheetahs and hyenas.
Safari walks with an armed guide are an experience that is not to be missed. Following game trails worn smooth by the endless passage of hooves, feet and paws, you have only the sounds of the wilderness around you, only the aromas and sights of your surroundings. This leads to an engagement of the senses that can be extraordinary in its intensity: vision becomes clearer, smells and sounds sharper, the earth below your feet more grounding.
You will learn the intimate secrets of the wild – the information latent in a set of spoor, the life inside a termite mound, and the tribal uses of the plants around you, from medicine to fibre, food to poisons. This gives you a holistic insight to the functioning of the entire ecosystem, and the fragile balance that maintains a complex web of relationships. You arrive back to find the camp bathed in soft lantern light and drinks on ice at the campfire.
Relive the events of the day while sipping on a cocktail, before you sit down to a sumptuous gourmet dinner on the beach beneath a canopy of stars. Finally, after a last fireside drink, you slip between the sheets and lie back, serenaded by the gentle waves on the lake before you drift off to sleep.
Fond farewell to Zimbabwe
After your final morning activity, you enjoy your last delicious meal before departing to the airstrip. On the flight back to Victoria Falls, you gaze out of the window at the vast lake below you glittering in the sunlight, and the memories of the previous days come flooding back. These images and impressions will remain with you forever, and compel you to return to the wilderness of Zimbabwe once again.
- 3 Nights at Big Cave Camp on fully inclusive basis
- Flights as specified in the itinerary
- Transfers as specified in the itinerary
- Selected fees and levies
- 2 Nights at The Hide on fully inclusive basis
- 2 Nights at Victoria Falls River Lodge on fully inclusive basis
- 3 Nights at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge on fully inclusive basis
- International flights
- Airport taxes
- All meals and drinks not specified
- Tips and gratuities
- Items of a personal nature