5-Day Zambezi-Chobe Safari (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana)

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Victoria Falls
(Zimbabwe)

Kasane
(Botswana)

Can start any day

Suitable for solo travellers

Suitable for all ages

Can be customised

Overview
Cost
Activities & Transport
Travel Advice
Map
Images

This safari visits the majestic Victoria Falls and the iconic wildlife of the Zambezi-Chobe region of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is a private journey and can be customised to suit the number of days you wish to travel and can also include other destinations, such as Hwange (south of Victoria Falls) or the Okavango Delta (south of Chobe).

There are daily flights to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwean side of the falls) and/or Livingstone (Zambian side of the falls) from Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Johannesburg-OR Tambo, Kruger-Nelspruit, Nairobi and Windhoek.

From US$1335 per person, based on two adults in a double/twin room

Children under 12 receive a discount.
The cost excludes regional flights but we can book these for you. A road transfer back to Victoria Falls/Livingstone can also be arranged.

COST INCLUDES:

  • All accommodation (en-suite)
  • All breakfasts in Victoria Falls
  • All meals in Chobe
  • Complimentary visit to the Victoria Falls (Private guide)
  • Game drives and boat safaris in Chobe National Park (Private guide and vehicle/boat)
  • All National Park entrance fees
  • Private transfers and cross-border assistance from Victoria Falls to Chobe
  • Private airport transfers
  • All local taxes

COST EXCLUDES:

  • International flights to/from Africa
  • Regional flights to Victoria Falls/Livingstone and from Kasane
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Victoria Falls activities (except complimentary visit to the falls)
  • Personal travel insurance and (if required) visas
  • Items of a personal nature, such as drinks and laundry (unless specified)
  • Tips for all guides, drivers, domestics, porters and wait staff

ACTIVITIES

  • Visit to the Victoria Falls (both sides, incl. national park fees).
  • Game drives and boat safaris in Chobe National Park.

TRANSPORT

  • Airport transfers and Victoria Falls-Chobe road transfer in an air-conditioned mini-van.
  • Game drives in custom-designed open-sided 4×4 safari vehicle.
  • Boat safaris in a custom-designed boat with an overhead canopy.

WHEN TO VISIT

We are often asked to recommend the ‘best’ time to visit Southern Africa and the main factor that influences this decision is the climate. The seasons in Southern Africa are opposite from those experienced in Europe and North America, and are the same as in Australia and New Zealand. Spring/summer is generally from October to April and autumn/winter from May to September. However the weather you may experience during these seasons greatly depends on your location within Southern Africa.

SAFARI REGIONS – WET SEASON

November to March is what we term the “wet season” in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa’s Kruger region. The weather is generally characterised by hot, humid days that are sometimes cooled down by afternoon thunderstorms and accompanying light-to-heavy showers. Due to the rain, the vegetation is at its highest and thickest during these months and this can impact on wildlife viewing because the thick foliage can obscure your view plus the wildlife is widely dispersed due to the amount of ground water available. However, this season of abundance can still be a great time to be on safari as it’s the time that many mammals give birth. These ‘nurseries’ are usually easy to locate/view and make for some wonderful memories and photographic opportunities. It’s also worth noting that there are always resident populations of predators that prey upon the newborn, and the guides at your camp/lodge will have a good idea of where to find them. The birding is also very good at this time due to the increase in insect activity. Perhaps best of all and with particular reference to your own wishes, there are far fewer visitors to our safari regions during the wet season and the cost of accommodation is usually much more affordable.

SAFARI REGIONS – DRY SEASON

If travelling in the same regions between April to September, you will usually encounter clear and warm days and generally no rain at all. Known as the “dry season”, this is regarded the best period for wildlife viewing as the permanent waterholes attract many animals and the thin vegetation offers unobstructed views. While the dry, brown landscape can be a bit underwhelming, the wildlife viewing can be exceptional. Botswana’s Okavango Delta is worth a special mention, as the dry season is when the annual flood enters the delta from further upstream and you therefore have the amazing contrast of a barren, dry landscape pocketed with flooded channels that are flanked with verdant growth. The temperature during the dry season is mild to warm, however the evenings can get surprisingly cold from dusk to dawn. While the morning game drive initially requires warm clothing, the day has usually warmed up considerably even before the end of the drive and you are taking off layers by the time you return to your camp/lodge.

OCTOBER

It’s worth noting that the month of October can be especially hot and uncomfortable in the safari regions, as the rains have usually not arrived but the cool winter weather has usually ended. But your wildlife viewing will be tailored around this, with your game drives departing very early in the morning as well as later than usual in the afternoon.

 

PASSPORT AND VISAS

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the end of your time in Southern Africa, and it is a good idea to bring a few photocopies in case you lose the original. In addition to a passport, children under 18 years of age entering Botswana with only one parent or with parents who have a different surname are required to produce additional documentation upon arrival. See here for further information about travelling with children.

For travel in Zambia and Zimbabwe, travellers of most nationalities are required to acquire a visa upon your arrival. This visa is called the “KAZA Uni-Visa” and costs US$50 per person. Most visitors to Botswana are not required to obtain a visa. Compass Odyssey does not issue visas nor can we complete visa applications for our travellers. While we will obviously assist you with the documentation required for any visa applications, it is your responsibility to investigate the visa requirements for your journey and to complete any necessary applications.

An immigration form sometimes needs to be completed when entering and departing countries. This form requests information such as passport and birth particulars, as well as the address of your first accommodation. Prior to your safari, we provide you with a personal Safari Dossier that includes a swathe of information including the booking references, transport timings and contact addresses/numbers specific to your journey.

 

TRAVELLER’S HEALTH

COVID-19 REQUIREMENTS (AS AT JANUARY, 2021; SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

Upon arrival in each country, travellers undergo health screening and temperature testing to check for any COVID-19 symptoms. Travelers are also required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no older than:

48 hours (Zimbabwe)

72 hours (Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland/eSwatini)

7 days (Namibia)

14 days (Zambia)

Arriving travellers who simply transit South Africa (i.e. Johannesburg) are still required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no older than 72 hours.

We will arrange all in-country testing that is required and our local guides will assist you at the time.

 

YELLOW FEVER AND MALARIA

Yellow Fever and malaria are the two other major health considerations for travellers coming to Southern Africa.

Yellow Fever is a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, and approximately 200,000 cases occur each year with the vast majority of these occurring in parts of Africa and Central/South America.  A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is not required for entering Southern Africa unless you are coming from – or you are in airport transit for more than 12 hours within – a country deemed to be infected with Yellow Fever. The World Health Organisation lists the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe as being free from Yellow Fever. For further clarification on Yellow Fever, refer to tables 4-23, 4-24 and 4-27 on this page of the website for the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Malaria is present in most of Southern Africa’s safari regions. See here for further information. A number of other tropical diseases are present in Southern Africa but generally the biggest health risk you will face on your safari is usually an upset tummy (often caused by dehydration) or a cold.  For complete peace of mind we recommend you visit your local GP or Travel Health Clinic.

Itinerary
DAY 1-2: ZIMBABWE & ZAMBIA

Day 1Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Today you arrive in Victoria Falls or Livingstone where our local guide, Mortimer greets and transfers you into the town of Victoria Falls where your accommodation is located in a quiet and leafy area, still within earshot of the constant roar coming from Mosi oa Tunya, the “Smoke that Thunders”.

The town of Victoria Falls – just minutes from the falls and on the fringes of the Zambezi National Park – is a bustling hive of activity and although home to a seemingly endless variety of adventure sports, “Vic Falls” – as the town is called – still offers many quality wildlife experiences and has a pioneering and colonial atmosphere.

Dining options include African-style feasts with accompanying tribal entertainment at The Boma or Jungle Junction restaurants, as well as an afternoon High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel.

Accommodation: Batonka Guest Lodge
Upper mid-range lodge located in Victoria Falls

Day 2Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

We are pleased to offer you a complimentary guided visit to the Victoria Falls during your stay (Zimbabwean and Zambian sides; includes entrance fees). We have not included any other activities in your safari, allowing you the freedom to choose what you’d like to do and when you’d like to do it. The plethora of activities on offer include Zambezi river cruises and white-water rafting or canoeing, rhino and elephant walking safaris, helicopter and microlight scenic flights, African township and village tours, adrenaline activities like bungee jumping and zip sliding, and much more. We especially recommend “Tour the Township” with our local guide, Mortimer who introduces you to his home turf and often invites our travellers to lunch with his wife and family. We will send you our separate “Victoria Falls Activities” booklet, and we can pre-book any of these for you or they can be organized by Mortimer upon your arrival.

Accommodation: Batonka Guest Lodge
Upper mid-range lodge located in Victoria Falls

Meals:
Breakfast

DAY 3-5: BOTSWANA

Day 3Chobe River & Chobe National Park, Botswana

Today you travel to Botswana and Garden Lodge, located in the small safari town of Kasane on the banks of the Chobe River. The private road transfer from Victoria Falls passes through bushveld that is home to wildlife such as elephant and giraffe, sightings of which often occur during the drive. You are again accompanied by Mortimer who will assist with the cross-border formalities. This afternoon you embark on a private boat safari along the Chobe River. The accompanying sunset on the river often provides a truly memorable moment of your African safari. From your riverside accommodation, you are usually ‘serenaded’ to sleep tonight by the grunts coming from nearby pods of hippo as they venture out of the water to graze on the lodge’s lush lawn.

Accommodation: The Garden Lodge
Mid-range lodge located on the Chobe River in Kasane

Meals:
Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 4Chobe River & Chobe National Park, Botswana

Your day revolves around morning and afternoon private game drives within the Chobe National Park. You’ll also enjoy delicious home-style meals and have time for some quality lazing by the pool and perhaps even a midday siesta.

Note: You have the option today of a full day private game drive that ventures further into the park and takes along a picnic lunch. To make your safari extra special, Compass Odyssey travellers are provided with a private vehicle and boat during your stay in Chobe – other companies typically offer game drives with up to 10 passengers and boat safaris with 10-50+ travellers on board.

During your game drives, be on the lookout for predators such as lion and hyena, and iconic herbivores such as buffalo, zebra, giraffe, warthog and wildebeest. On your boat safaris along the Chobe River, you will encounter all manner of wildlife, including Nile crocodile and the Chobe’s great herds of elephant as they come to the river’s edge to drink and frolic in the fresh water.

Accommodation: The Garden Lodge
Mid-range lodge located on the Chobe River in Kasane

Meals:
Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Day 5Chobe River and Farewell

This morning’s private boat safari on the Chobe River offers a serene and tranquil end to your safari. After a hearty brunch, we then say tsamaya sentle (“goodbye and go well” in the local Setswana language) as you are transferred the short distance to Kasane Airport for your further travel arrangements. There is a daily flight to Johannesburg that departs Kasane at 2:00pm, arriving at 3:45pm. If you wish, we can also arrange for Mortimer to return you to Livingstone or Victoria Falls (2½-3hrs).

Meals:
Breakfast