Shell’s Signature Wildlife Explorer

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Join us on this small group, 16-day lodge safari, exploring the fascinating culture, scenery and wildlife of Southern Africa. The group is hosted by an experienced and passionate tour leader from Australia, with in depth knowledge of Africa, and a special interest in wildlife and conservation.

ITINERARY:

7 November 2019: Depart Australia.

Today you will embark on your African adventure. Meet your tour group and guide at Sydney Airport for your onward flight to Johannesburg.

8 November 2019: Arrive Johannesburg

Arrive and transfer to your hotel. Overnight: Peermont Metcourt or similar

9 November 2019: Johannesburg

Soweto and Apartheid Museum Tour. Overnight: Peermont Metcourt or similar

  • Soweto and Apartheid Museum Tour

 Soweto is a sprawling cluster of townships on the south-western flank of Johannesburg. On this day tour, you will drive past the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, the largest on the continent. Visit the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Orlando West, built in memory of the people who died on the June 16 Soweto Youth Uprising. Stop at Mandela House Museum, Nelson Mandela’s former humble house in Orlando West. The museum contains an assortment of memorabilia, paintings and photographs of the Mandela family and honorary doctorates bestowed on Nelson Mandela (entrance is option, and entrance fee is for own account). You can also have a glimpse of the mansion belonging to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in an affluent part of Orlando West.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s house and the Sisulu residences are in the same neighbourhood. After a stop for lunch (to own account) you shall proceed to the Apartheid Museum. Illustrating the rise and fall of apartheid, the exhibits have been assembled and organised by a multi-disciplinary team of curators, film-makers, historians and designers. They include graphic film footage, photographs, text panels and artifacts depicting the events and stories of apartheid.

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10 November 2019: Lowveld

Take the scenic drive through the panorama route. Overnight: Casterbridge Hollow Country Estate or similar

11 November 2019: Panorama Route

Morning visit to the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, Gods Window lookout and Bourkes Luck Potholes. Overnight: Shindzela Tented Camp or similar

  • Panorama Tour

The Panorama Route tour is home to breathtaking views and some of the most spectacular landscapes. It includes Blyde River canyon which is the third largest canyon in the world and the largest green canyon in the world. It is situated at the Northern end of the Drakensberg and offers phenomenal views over the Klein Drakensberg. The Blyde River canyon is situated in a National Reserve and as such is unspoilt by development and is home to an abundance of wildlife. Also visited is God’s Window, a viewing spot on the escarpment of the Drakensberg with panoramic views across the Lowveld and more breathtaking views of the lush indigenous forested ravine 900m below. There is no doubt as to why it is called God’s Window. We also visit Bourke’s Luck Potholes, where over centuries the river water has eroded the rocks to form perfectly smooth potholes and strange sculptures.

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12 November 2019:  Timbavati Game Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives in Kruger National Park. Overnight Shindzela Tented Camp or similar

  • Game drives

Morning and afternoon/evening game drives of about 3-3.5 hours. The camp conducts their safaris in 4×4 Landrover vehicles. Located in the Mpumalanga Province, north of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve shares a fenceless border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park. This 60 000 hectare reserve is best known for its two very rare white lions that were discovered here in the 1970s. The name ‘Timbavati’ refers to these two unique creatures, it means ‘the place where something sacred came down to earth from the heavens’. It is home to a number of exclusive African-style bush lodges set amidst spectacular African savannah and abundant game including over 40 mammal species, 360 bird species and the famous Big Five. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of activities including: daytime safaris, night game drives, guided bush walks, and bird watching.

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13 November 2019:  Greater Kruger National Park

Full day game drive through Kruger National Park. Overnight: Awelani Camp or similar

14 November 2019: Soutpansberg Mountain Range

Full day cultural tour. Overnight: Awelani Camp or similar

  • Venda Cultural Tour

Today you will enjoy a Venda cultural tour. As with most of the other peoples of South Africa the Venda (VhaVenda) came from the Great Lakes of Central Africa and settled down in the Soutpansberg Mountains. Here they built their first capital, D’zata, the ruins of which can still be seen today. Venda culture has an interesting mix of other cultures – it appears to have incorporated a variety of East African, Central African, Nguni, and Sotho characteristics. The Venda language, TshiVenda or LuVenda, emerged as a distinct dialect in the 16th Century. The history of the Venda starts from the Mapungubwe Kingdom (9th Century) where, according to historical studies King Shiriyadenga was the first king.

15 November 2019: Matopos National Park

Crossing into Zimbabwe today, we make our way to Matopos National Park. Overnight: Camp Amalinda or similar

16 November 2019: Matopos National Park

Enjoy a historical tour including a trek to Rhodes grave and viewing of bushman rock paintings. Overnight: Camp Amalinda or similar

  • Cecil Rhodes Grave

Drive through the granite hills in the footsteps of Cecil John Rhodes. Visit his world famous tomb known as “View of the World”, it’s an historical experience not to be forgotten. Leander Starr Jameson is also buried here and together with the spirits of soldiers killed in battle by Matabele warriors, they gather around at sunset, there is a definite spiritual presence. This “dwala” is known as “the dwelling place of spirits” or rather “Amalindidzimu”, the view will leave you breathless…….

  • Cave Paintings

Explore the hills where mysterious nomads once held their sacred ceremonies. The rocky granite topography boasts more than 2000 sites of the San (Bushman) tribes and is probably the richest source of San rock art known. This area, and several famous rocks here – known to the Ndebele people – hold spiritual significance of bygone rituals. Here, you can learn about their trials and tribulations, hopes and aspirations.

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17 November 2019: Hwange National Park

Making our way to Hwange National Park, we enjoy an afternoon game drive. Overnight: Ivory Lodge or similar

18 November 2019: Hwange National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives. Overnight: Ivory Lodge or similar

  • Morning, afternoon & full day game drives on the private concession.

Situated in western Zimbabwe, the Hwange National Park is the country’s biggest reserve, home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, zebra and approximately 40 000 elephants. It provides a sanctuary for all the country’s endangered species, including a population of wild dogs thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent. The park’s magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests. 

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19 November 2019: Victoria Falls

Drive to Victoria Falls, where we will enjoy an afternoon sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. Overnight: Cresta Sprayview Hotel or similar

  • Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

Fashioned after David Livingstone’s exploration boat, the Ma-Robert, the Ra-Ikane boats are named after the instrumental guide, Lazarus Ra-Ikane, who accompanied and assisted Livingstone in his monumental discovery of the natural wonder, Victoria Falls. The monohull design of the Ra-Ikane boats enables them to navigate further up the Zambezi River and bring guests closer to the banks in the shallow water and, therefore, closer to all the action! With lots of space on the flat deck and a maximum of 16 passengers, there is plenty room to make yourself comfortable.

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20 November 2019: Victoria Falls

Morning visit to the mighty Victoria Falls. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy some of the optional activities. Overnight: Cresta Sprayview Hotel or similar

  • Tour of Victoria Falls

The edge of the falls is reached through the cool, moist tunnels of the rainforest. Always shrouded in fine spray, the forest is a fairyland of exotic plants thriving in the humidity. Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than hundred meters. It is also considered to be the largest fall in the world. The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometers, while the spray and mist from the falling water is rising to a height of over 400 meters and can be seen from a distance of 50 kilometers. No wonder that the local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.

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21 November 2019: Kasane

Morning at leisure before an afternoon transfer across the border into Botswana. Overnight: Chobe Safari Lodge or similar

22 November 2019: Chobe National Park

Morning game drive and afternoon boat cruise. Overnight: Chobe Safari Lodge or similar

  • Game drive and boat cruise

Along with many species of big game, Chobe National Park boasts the largest concentration of elephant in Africa, and our game drives and boat cruises offer visitors the opportunity to witness this amazing spectacle.  The drives follow the routes along the Chobe riverfront, which supports the greatest abundance of wildlife in the game park. The afternoon boat cruises travel up the river into the National Park. Driven by their thirst, the animals make their way to the water’s edge in the afternoons, hopefully providing a unique game viewing opportunity.

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23 November 2019: Depart Kasane

Today your tour concludes. Transfer to Kasane Airport for your overnight flight home.

24 November 2019: Arrive Sydney

You will arrive back into Sydney this afternoon.

END OF ITINERARY

LAND ONLY COST: AUD $6500 PER PERSON SHARING + USD $200 LOCAL PAYMENT

  • Single supplement available on request
  • Inclusions: experienced tour leader*, 14 nights in 3-4 star hotels/lodges with breakfast daily, 10 dinners, activities as per itinerary, all transfers.
  • Exclusions: flights, visa costs, drinks, meals not mentioned, gratuities, personal expenses and any fees not stated.

Terms: Price is subject to change until paid in full. *Minimum of 10 guests to guarantee tour leader from Australia.Terms and conditions apply. Please ask your travel agent for details.