IMPORTANT NOTICE: Vantage Status Update (Updated: 6/29/2023).
On June 29, 2023, Vantage filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts. All reservation activity is suspended pending the conclusion of the sale proceedings.
Additional Information will be made available once the process is completed and no later than 1 September, 2023.
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They say that once you’ve experienced Africa, a piece of your heart remains there forever. With Best of Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana, you’re sure to fall in love with the continent on this exciting adventure into three southern African countries, all rich in wildlife and culture.
Experience the thrill of finding big game in Kruger, Hwange, and Chobe National Parks by land, water, and on foot. But this is also a safari for interacting with local people and discovering tribal culture. Whether lunching with locals in South Africa’s Soweto Township where Nelson Mandela lived or gathering by the campfire for legends and folklore enacted in story and dance, you’ll come closer to a greater understanding of the rich tapestry of African culture. You’ll even join a local Zimbabwean family for a home-cooked meal and rejoice in the song and dance of children during a school visit near UNESCO-listed Victoria Falls.
With the best accommodations, including three luxury safari camps, 24 included features and Cultural Discoveries, and a pre-extension to Pilanesberg Game Reserve, this truly is the African safari of a lifetime!
For those who can’t get enough of the safari experience, don’t miss this thrilling and new adventure into Pilanesberg Game Reserve! You’ll sleep in a luxury suite at an intimate safari lodge with en suite amenities, perfect for reveling in the beauty and tranquility of the bush. Pilanesberg is not only home to the Big 5, but its abundance of bird life — including the endangered blue crane and martial eagles — make it one of South Africa’s premiere birdwatching destinations. Enjoy daily safaris by open-air vehicles in small groups to maximize the thrill and excitement of spotting everything from lions to rhinos, hippos to wildebeests. Don’t miss this thrilling safari extension!
Depart home for Johannesburg, South Africa
Leave your cares behind and travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, on an overnight flight, arriving on Day 2.
Arrive in Johannesburg, one of Africa’s most important cities
Touch down in Joburg or Jozi, as it’s affectionately known, South Africa’s city of gold. A Vantage Representative will be at the airport to meet, greet, and escort you to your hotel in one of Joburg’s leafy city suburbs. Rest and recover from your journey for the rest of the day.
Tour Soweto and visit Nelson Mandela’s former home
After breakfast, we head off on a guided bus tour of South Africa’s largest township, Soweto. Known before as a shanty town, Soweto now has affluent neighborhoods. You’ll sense the significance of the anti-apartheid struggle history as you walk along the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates used to live: Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Stop at the house in Vilakazi street where Nelson Mandela lived prior to his arrest. Walk around the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, a poignant reminder of how this 12-year old boy was killed in the struggle against apartheid. Taste township hospitality with lunch at a vibrant Soweto restaurant. You may just be treated to a delightful singing performance by the proprietor of the restaurant, too!
After lunch, it’s back to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxation, admiring the magnificent views over the city of Johannesburg from the poolside.
We’ll come together for a tour orientation before a Welcome Dinner.
Fly to Kruger National Park, South Africa
After breakfast at the hotel, it’s time to head to our first safari camp beside Kruger National Park. We take a short transfer to the airport and a 50-minute flight, followed by a 1-hour road transfer to our idyllic tented safari camp on the banks of the Sabie River. This is our base for exploring Kruger National Park and it’s Big Five animals.
The afternoon is yours to spend at leisure: explore the grounds, admiring the prolific birdlife, or sip a glass of fine South African wine beside the Sabie River while nibbling on macadamia nuts grown on this subtropical plantation.
Dinner is at camp tonight.
Morning game drive with picnic breakfast inside Kruger National Park
Be sure to pack your binoculars and camera for your first game drive in Kruger National Park this morning. We’ll drive slowly along routes known for the best animal sightings in the hope of seeing lions and their prey — including antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes — as well as elephants. And, if we’re lucky, we may even spot rhinos and leopards to round out our first Big Five spotting.
With nearly 500 species of birds, you can start the process of selecting your favorite. Will it be a majestic bateleur eagle soaring above the floodplain, or smaller colorful little bee-eaters or lilac-breasted rollers, often perching by the roadside?
There will be time to stretch your legs at a scenic spot inside the park and eat a picnic breakfast. Then, return to the camp for a tranquil afternoon at leisure and dinner.
Round out your Kruger safari with an early morning game drive
As the lions in the park are naturally night owls, we’ll want to catch them in action as early as possible. We will have an early morning continental breakfast in Kruger Park while predators are still at large. It’s the best time of the day for seeing game activity! Our eagle-eyed rangers will seek out the animals while we are still waking up!
We’ll be leaving the park in time to be at our safari camp for lunch.
After such an early morning, you can catch up on rest during an afternoon at leisure. Tonight, we enjoy an evening meal at our South African safari camp.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Board a special cultural cruise on the Zambezi River, sip sundowner cocktails, and watch the sun set over this timeless waterway. Learn more
Extend your safari experience in Kruger National Park and set out on an afternoon game drive. Enjoy the beautiful warm sunset as your expert guide points out the best animal sightings and be sure to keep an eye out for the Big Five. Don’t forget to bring your camera along! At the end of your game drive savor a refreshing African cocktail before returning to camp.
Due to high call volume, we recommend you visit MyPortfolio to book this Destination Enhancement. Don’t wait — these optional experiences are limited to a select number of guests and are selling out fast!
Fly to Livingstone and transfer to Victoria Falls
This morning we’ll check out and drive to Kruger Airport for a short flight to Livingstone, in Zambia. From here, we’ll transfer by road across the famous Victoria Falls bridge and through the border into Zimbabwe.
Enjoy lunch at the Lookout Café before heading to The Wallow, Victoria Falls safari lodge, our home for the next three nights. You can relax at the lodge this afternoon, while observing the far-off mist rising up from the torrent of water falling over Victoria Falls.
On this special cultural cruise, we’ll sip sundowners and watch the sun set over the timeless Zambezi River, while listening to a talk about the ‘Trails of David Livingstone.’ Our sightseeing boat will float along the very same stretch of river once navigated by the legendary explorer, and our third-generation Zimbabwean storyteller will reveal Livingstone lore that few history books include. After hearing these riveting tales, you’re sure to look at Livingstone’s life a little differently. Your guide will also help point out wildlife along the river’s edge, including hippos, crocodiles, and even elephants. Snacks and drinks are included.
Engage with local residents with a primary school visit and lunch with a local family, plus visit Victoria Falls
We'll start the day with a visit to Victoria Falls Craft Market after breakfast, followed by a visit to the Chinotimba Primary School. Through your patronage, Vantage Cares — our philanthropic arm — positively affects the lives of these children. These joyful youngsters often show their appreciation with vivacious songs and dance. Many guests have cited this experience as the highlight of the trip.
Following the primary school visit you will be treated to an authentic Zimbabwean meal hosted by a local family in their own home, a heartfelt encounter that will truly enrich your trip. Any gifts you bring along are always most welcome, such as canned peaches, coloring books and crayons, or anything else. After lunch, we'll head to Victoria Falls National Park for a guided visit. Highlights of the park include the Main Falls, Devil's Cataract, and Rainbow Falls. Afterward, we will return to the lodge where you will have time to relax before dinner.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. See the Zambezi River from a new perspective with a choice of two optional helicopter tours. Learn more
When writing about his first time seeing Zimbabwe’s spectacular Victoria Falls, David Livingstone said “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” This optional ‘Flight of Angels’ helicopter excursion actually gives you the chance to see the falls from a bird’s-eye view. This, the most popular of local helicopter flights, lifts off less than two miles from the town center of Victoria Falls and takes you over the Zambezi River to fly a complete circuit above the Falls in both directions. The approximately 15-minute flight gives you the best possible views of the falls, and will certainly leave you in agreement with Dr. Livingstone.
**Park Conservation Fee of USD $18 pp must be payable direct onsite.
For a longer ride than the ‘Flight of Angels,’ treat yourself to an unbelievable helicopter flight over both Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi River. This approximately 25-minute scenic flight guarantees spectacular views, making a complete circuit over the Falls in both directions. You’ll also fly over the zig-zagging Batoka Gorge and see eight past positions of the Victoria Falls, carved away by water over the past millennia. Finally, you’ll fly over Victoria Falls Private Game Reserve, where you’ll be able to spot wildlife from the air.
Enjoy a Vantage-exclusive three-course bush dinner
Following breakfast at the lodge, you’ll have the day at your leisure to spend as you wish. Tonight, our final evening at The Wallow, we’ll gather for a Vantage-exclusive safari cocktail party, then head out to a secret location in the bush, where a three-course bush dinner awaits under a glittering night sky. If you hear drumming emanating from the darkness, it just might be the music and dance troupe coming to entertain you.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Take part in a powerful experience with an early morning elephant encounter and hear about the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Learn more
Pay a visit to The Wallow, a thatched boma overlooking the Masuie River, which provides the perfect setting for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: interacting with elephants in the Wild Horizons Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon arrival, enjoy fresh tea, coffee, croissants, and muffins. After an introductory talk, you’ll be able to interact with these majestic animals up-close and feed them treats. The knowledgeable staff have formed a strong bond with the animals in their care, and you’ll see firsthand the love, trust, and understanding between the handlers and the elephants. Later, hear more about the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (a Vantage Cares program), and enjoy an exclusive visit to the Wildlife trust’s laboratory and learn about the great effort that goes into wildlife conservation. Your tour will continue with a visit to Mpisi village, where the chief will do a presentation and take you to visit a few households. You’ll get to see the various huts families live in, and learn about the daily life in a traditional Mpisi household. At the kraal, you’ll see their livestock and get to know about common animal husbandry practices.
Transfer to Iganyana Tented Camp in Hwange National Park
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll transfer by coach to Iganyana Tented Camp on a private concession of Hwange National Park, which is renowned for excellent game viewing.
Spot game on morning and afternoon safari drives; then, hear traditional tribal stories around the campfire
Early morning is the best time to see wildlife. So, we’ll be up at dawn in search of lion, leopard, hyena, and — with luck — rare and elusive wild dogs. But we’ll be enraptured by all the many animals of the bush however large and small.
Then, it’s back to the camp for lunch and a short rest before tea. After, we head out on another exciting game drive, this time lasting beyond sunset so we can look for nocturnal animals by spotlight on our way back to the camp. During the afternoon drive, we’ll head to a water hole and stop for a while, quietly observing who comes to drink and who gets right of the way, taking advantage of the golden light of dusk to snap some great photographs.
With special sightings still fresh in your mind, we return to camp for dinner, often cooked over the coals by our cheerful chef. To finish off this special day, make yourself comfortable around the fireside under a dazzling Milky Way, where a local storyteller will entrance you with stories and legends from the area.
Enjoy an exciting last day in Hwange with a game drive and entertainment from an African dance troupe
You’ll have breakfast and a morning at leisure at the camp today. Later, enjoy lunch before heading out for a game drive. By late afternoon, you’ll be in the game-viewing vehicle to see what’s out and about in the dead of night. As darkness descends, our guide’s well-trained eyes will find elusive nocturnal animals in the spotlight, including big-eyed bush babies, bat-eared foxes, spotted hyenas, chameleons, and even large spiders. Be aware that we can’t shine the light into the eyes of zebras and antelopes, as it would blind them to lurking predators. This is just one of the many ways that nighttime in the bush can be simultaneously serene and exhilarating.
After such an enjoyable day, you’ll be ready for dinner and one last surprise for your final evening in Hwange: a special performance of traditional African dance that will get your feet tapping and hands clapping.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Join a morning guided bush walk and visit to the Painted Dog Conservation Center. Learn more
Set off on foot, camouflaged in neutral-colored safari clothes, for a morning safari walk. You’ll be led by an experienced guide, qualified to lead guests in Big Five country. You’ll get much closer to the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush on foot; and learn some survival tricks and tracking skills, like identifying footprints. There are many secrets of the bush to be discovered and your guide will reveal them all to you.
Before lunch, head over to the Painted Dog Conservation Center. You’ll hear how community awareness, education, and anti-poaching measures are helping in the conservation of this IUCN Red List species, whose numbers are declining. There are about 700 wild dogs in Hwange and this is the best place to see them. This is a rare privilege indeed.
Travel to Botswana’s Chobe National Park for an afternoon safari river cruise
After breakfast we take an easy 2-hour drive through the Zimbabwean countryside to Victoria Falls, where we stop for lunch. Then we continue on to the Botswana border and pass through customs and immigration before arriving at our gorgeous lodge right on the banks of the Chobe River. Every air-conditioned room has river views and a private balcony.
You’ll have time to settle in before an afternoon safari river cruise on the mighty Chobe River, where you will find out why it’s so famous . . . which has a lot to do with elephants! Get your cameras ready for the famous Botswana sunset as we cruise back to the lodge after an exciting safari on the water.
Savor a delicious dinner while sitting beside this river of life and listen for the inimitable grunt of hippos as they proclaim the end of another spectacular African day.
A sensational relaxing day cruising the Chobe River after a morning game drive
We re-visit Chobe National Park this morning on an early game drive, exploring its lush riverine bush and sandy thornveld, which contain one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. Whatever the season, large herds of elephant and buffalo are often seen near the river, while predators like lion and spotted hyena are always around. Look out for huge leguaan lizards and crocodiles sunning on the banks. Game such as kudu, warthog, baboons, and vervet monkeys find refuge in the grounds of the lodge and elephants sometimes crash their way in, too!
Back at the lodge, there’s time to freshen up before embarking on the triple-decker Chobe Explorer cruising boat, where you can truly relax for the rest of the day. This is your time to slow down and soak up the beauty of this incredible wetland and its abundant wildlife. Sit under shaded loungers, binoculars at the ready, to tick off some of the 460 species of birds and still more animals.
When you detect the delicious aroma of sizzling food, you know the traditional braai (barbeque) has been fired up on the lower deck and lunch will be ready soon. The vegetarian options are very popular, too. If you feel an afternoon siesta coming on, there’s nothing to keep you awake, except a few trumpeting elephants or grunting hippos. To complete our special day, we cruise back to the lodge with sundowner drinks in hand and admire the sun’s golden orb sink into a watery horizon. There’s nothing quite like a sunset on the Chobe River.
Senses saturated from a day of new adventures, we return to the lodge for dinner this evening.
Embark a Chobe River photo safari and learn photography from professionals
After an unhurried breakfast, enjoy a morning at leisure, or opt for our Four Corners of Africa private river cruise with an included breakfast.
Later this morning, we all take to the Chobe River again for what many Vantage guests say is one of their most memorable experiences: the Chobe photography safari. We board special boats equipped with swivel chairs and state-of-the-art zoom lens DSLR cameras and a memory stick for you to take home, containing all the masterful wildlife photos you took during this Feature. We’ll be spread between three boats taking a maximum of 8 people each for individual attention. Take it from Vantage traveler Maureen Robb, who said, “I had never been much interested in birds, but this photographic safari changed my mind!”
The excitement isn’t over. After lunch at the lodge, you can use your newly-honed photography skills on an afternoon game drive in Chobe National Park. We then return to the lodge for a very special Farewell Dinner on your last night on safari.
Destination Enhancement: Customize your journey when you add an optional on-tour experience. Take a fascinating Chobe River cruise to the only international quadripoint in the world. Learn more
Take the opportunity for one last fascinating cruise on the Chobe River’s iconic dark waters. Depart from your lodge for a short drive to your private boat for a once-in-a-lifetime excursion unavailable anywhere else in the world. While there are many tripoints in the world, the Four Corners of the World — where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all meet — is the only international quadripoint. Your boat will take you to a spot where you’ll be able to view all four countries at once, plus you’ll see the impressive Kazungula Bridge that joins Botswana and Zambia. A local storyteller will convey the history of the fabled rivers that feed Victoria Falls, and you’ll hear some fascinating stories about the area’s journey from a war-torn region to one of the world’s most sought-after safari destinations. While on board, you’ll enjoy a continental breakfast as you cruise along the mighty river.
Transfer to Kasane Airport and fly home
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to Kasane Airport to catch a plane to Johannesburg and connect with your flight back home. For those on the recommended post-trip extension to Cape Town, you’ll transfer to Victoria Falls Airport for a direct 3-hour flight to Cape Town.
Home comers have been known to clap or even cry as they see Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain from the airplane window, such is the emotion roused by this city’s mother icon. It’s also been likened to a sleeping goddess, the stairway to heaven, and watcher of the south. You will experience its quarzitic energy on a trip to the top by cable car, where this long thin peninsula — with Cape Town at its head and Cape Point at its tip — spreads out before you.
Cape Town’s scenic beauty is unsurpassed. We’ll drive you along mind-blowing coastal scenic routes, through the genteel Cape Winelands for wine tasting at ancient estates, around the historic city, and jet you off on a luxury yacht motor cruise for an ocean adventure that also includes a first-hand account of life on Robben Island from one of Nelson Mandela’s former prison wardens. Remember: there’s no rush, take your cue from chilled-out Capetonians. They are so laid back that citizens of industrious Johannesburg say it’s called the Mother City because it takes 9 months for anything to happen!
Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or local representatives at the destination.
Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary.
Note: That hotel ratings are based on the hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.
FREE AIR on all 2023 departures**