Arrive in Johannesburg, Cradle of Humankind Malapa site tour

Upon arrival at Johannesburg International Airport, You will be met by our airport representative and transferred to the Forum Homini Boutique Hotel.

Early in the afternoon we will meet our specialist guide for an afternoon tour of the Malapa paleontological site made famous by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Professor Lee Berger, for his recent discoveries there which were revealed during his “Rising Star Expedition”. Malapa is a site where hundreds of fossil fragments of Australopithecus sediba were found and the site continues to produce an array of fragments of non-hominin fossils such as those of sabre-toothed cat, wild dog, horse and various antelope.

Cradle of Humankind – World Heritage Site

The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is an area of outstanding universal value. Its complex of fossil-bearing caves contains a superbly preserved record of the stages in the evolution of humankind over the past 4-million years. It is the world’s richest hominin site, home to around 40% of the world’s human ancestor fossils.

More than 500 hominin fossils, thousands of animal fossils, over 300 fragments of fossil wood, and over 9000 stone tools have been discovered in caves in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and more are being found all the time.

The 53 000ha site is also home to a diversity of birds, animals and plants – some of which are rare or endangered. Artefacts dating to the early, middle and late stone and iron ages, as well as to the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War) fought between 1899-1902, have also been found. Read More >

We will return in the late afternoon to Forum Homini Boutique Hotel for a welcome dinner and our overnight stay.

Forum Homini Boutique Hotel, South Africa

Emerging from the ancient dust in the Cradle of Humankind is Forum Homini Boutique Hotel. Set within a private game estate this 5 star hotel offers deluxe cave style accommodation for discerning travellers, fine dining at award-winning roots restaurant.

www.forumhomini.com

Private charter flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia.

After an early breakfast you will be transferred to Lanseria Airport where you will be greeted by your pilots and plane for your private charter scenic flight to Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia. The flight time to Victoria Falls is expected to be 3.5 hours. We will have lunch at the Falls Resort before we explore the majestic Victoria Falls with our own private guide.

Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya – World Heritage Site

Mosi-oa-Tunya from the language Tokaleya Tonga means the Smoke that Thunders, it is the mighty waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

This is the world’s greatest sheet of falling water and significant worldwide for its exceptional geological and geomorphological features and active land formation processes with outstanding beauty attributed to the falls i.e. the spray, mist and rainbows. This Trans boundary property extends over 6860 ha and comprises 3779 ha of the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (Zambia), 2340 ha of Victoria Falls National Park (Zimbabwe), 741 ha of the riverine strip of Zambezi National Park (Zimbabwe). The waterfall stands at an altitude of about 915 m (3,000ft) above sea level and spans to about 1708 m (5,600ft) wide with an average depth of 100 m (330ft) and the deepest point being 108 m (360ft). Sprays from this giant waterfall can be seen from a distance of 30 km (19mi) away. Read More >

This evening we will enjoy dinner on-board the Royal Livingstone Express, a unique dining experience combining the luxury of Sun International’s Royal Livingstone hotel with the charm of rail travel. The train is an all-inclusive luxury rail experience rooted in the nostalgia of a bygone era. Passengers travel leisurely as the sun sets.

This is a journey into a timeless world of grace, elegance and romance, where the natural splendour will stir your imagination and the luxurious comfort soothes your soul. This unique luxury rail restoration is an extension of the five-star Royal Livingstone Hotel. The train provides fine wining and dining as you travel through the picturesque Zambezi Valley in Pullman style coaches which have been lovingly restored to their former glory.

After dinner we will return to the Royal Livingstone Hotel which for our overnight stay.

Royal Livingstone, Zambia

The Royal Livingstone’s exotic and scenic location overlooking the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, represents a haven of serenity. Our five-star, 173-roomed hotel is steeped in African customs with hints of European influences felt in the deep verandas, generous spaces and cool courtyards. You will enjoy dramatic views of the Zambezi River from the central reception as well as from your room. The à la carte restaurant opens onto spacious verandas and rolling lawns and offers international cuisine and fusion-style African dishes. Our The swimming pool visually links the waters of the river with the terraces of the hotel, and a sweeping timber deck plants its feet in the swirling waters of the Zambezi.

www.livingstone-hotel.com

Private charter flight from Livingstone to Kasane, Chobe River Cruise

After breakfast we will be transferred to Livingstone airport where we board our private aircraft for a short 20 minute flight to Kasane, Botswana. At Kasane we will be met and transferred to the Chobe River for a private boat cruise and lunch.

A cruise on the Chobe River is one of the finest game viewing experiences in Africa. With over 80 000 elephant in the Chobe National Park alone they are a very frequent sighting. Hippo, water birds, buffalo and crocodile are also viewed from the river.

After lunch we will be transferred back to Kasane for our private charter flight to Machaba Camp in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Estimated flying time is 50 minutes.

The Okavango Delta – Nominated World Heritage Site

Okavango Delta System is located in the north-western part of Botswana linked by a major channel of Okavango River (forming the panhandle) that originates in the Angolan highlands as two rivers of Cubango and Cuito that confluence into a broad channel flowing through Namibia into Botswana. Three main features characterize the region; the Okavango, the Kwando and Linyanti River system connected to the Okavango Delta through the Selinda spillway and the intervening surrounding dry land areas.

The Delta has developed in a depression in the Kalahari bedrock covering approximately 6000 km2 of permanent swamps with seasonal variation of swamps between 4000 and 10 000km2 in size. The annual inflow ranges between 7000 and 15 000 million cubic meters of which 97% is lost to evapotranspiration and seepage leaving only 3% to exit past Maun through the Thamalakane River, about 500km from the panhandle. This is a pristine inland Delta measuring over 16,000 km2 in size which supports the lives of over 120 000 people by providing freshwater, food, building materials, medicinal plants as well as employment through a viable tourist industry. Read More >

Machaba Camp, Botswana

Welcome to Machaba Camp situated in the game rich Khwai area, on the eastern tongue of the Okavango Delta, overlooking the famous Moremi Game Reserve. The camp is built in a classic 1950’s style, with luxury safari tents, en-suite bathrooms and living areas and not forgetting romantic outdoor showers. All the tents are situated on the ground and the pathways to the tents meander between large riverine trees. The name Machaba is the local Setswana name for the sycamore fig tree, the tree of life. The Machaba tree abounds in the Okavango Delta and most African riverine forests. Machaba trees are renowned for their abundant fruit, which feed a vast array of animals throughout the year, including elephant, baboons, bush buck, green pigeons and many more www.machabacamp.com

Activities at Machaba Camp:

Morning & evening game drives.
Some water activities, depending on the water levels with dugout canoes (mokoro).
Relax next to the pool with its picturesque views over the Moremi and Khwai Rivers, or spend a quiet afternoon reading in the library.

Full day of activities in the Okavango Delta

After early morning breakfast we depart of morning game drives to the best available wildlife and stay out late, if necessary enjoying brunch in the bush and return to camp for siesta until 3pm when Dr Steve Boyes gives a 1-hour lecture on the Okavango Delta. After the lecture we take to the water in “mekoro” or dug-out canoes and enjoy the afternoon and sundowners down the small channels in this remote part of the delta.

Full day of activities in the Okavango Delta

Much like Day 4, an extra day to absorb what it is to stay in one of the remotest wildernesses on the planet. Activities will be a mix of game drives and water based activities.

Use this day to think about, and reconnect with nature, while enjoy the beauty of one of Africa’s top wildlife destinations.

Private charter flight from Machaba to Shakawe, Tsodilo excursion

After early morning breakfast and a short game drive back to the airstrip we will fly to Shakawe Airstrip where will be met by local guides and transferred to Tsodilo Hills for a full day excursion.

Estimated flying time from Machaba to Shakawe is 55 minutes, we will fly directly over the heart of the Delta and it is from this view that one will truly appreciate this vast, wetland wilderness that is the Okavango Delta.

Tsodilo – World Heritage Site

With one of the highest concentrations of rock art in the world, Tsodilo has been called the ”Louvre of the Desert”. Over 4,500 paintings are preserved in an area of only 10 km2 of the Kalahari Desert. The archaeological record of the area gives a chronological account of human activities and environmental changes over at least 100,000 years. Local communities in this hostile environment respect Tsodilo as a place of worship frequented by ancestral spirits.

This is a small area of massive quartzite rock formations that rise from ancient sand dunes to the east and a dry fossil lake bed to the west in the Kalahari Desert. The Hills have provided shelter and other resources to people for over 100,000 years. It now retains a remarkable record, in its archaeology, its rock art, and its continuing traditions, not only of this use but also of the development of human culture and of a symbiotic nature/human relationship over many thousands of years.

The archaeological record of the site gives a chronological account of human activities and environmental changes over at least 100,000 years, although not continuously.

Often large and imposing rock paintings exist in the shelters and caves, and although not accurately dated appear to span from the Stone Age right through to the 19th century. In addition, within the site sediments, there is considerable information pertaining to the paleo-environment. This combination provides an insight into early ways of human life, and how people interacted with their environment both through time and space.

The local communities revere Tsodilo as a place of worship and as a home for ancestral spirits. Its water holes and hills are revered as a sacred cultural landscape, by the Hambukushu and San communities. Read More >

In the later afternoon we will return to Shakawe River Lodge for a sunset boat cruise on some of the widest parts of the Okavango River.

Shakawe River Lodge, Botswana

Shakawe River Lodge is situated on the Panhandle of the Okavango Delta in isolated splendour. The Panhandle is the main Okavango River before it fans out into the Delta. Each of the ten spacious, en-suite, air-conditioned suites are beautifully appointed and fitted with state of the art finishes. Tucked away in the shady riverine forest, the view from your private deck looks out over a small channel, lined with an expanse of papyrus and an abundance of incredible birdlife. The lodge has been designed to maximize the river view and the dining area, lounges, bar and deck all boast magnificent views of the main Okavango River. Elegantly decorated with African artefacts, the main lodge area brings style and splendour to the exquisite surroundings. Sumptuous meals prepared by our experienced chefs, are enjoyed on the deck where you will experience superb fine dining. Sundowners on the deck are a perfect way to end your African safari day.

Activities:

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy guided, boating excursions on the Okavango River to admire the abundant birdlife, perhaps taking more time to search for some of the more rare and endemic bird species (Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Skimmer, White Backed Night Heron, Narina Trogon, to name but a few). It is a true birder’s paradise! Crocodiles and hippos abound in this river system as well as the rare Sitatunga antelope.

www.shakawelodge.com

Private charter flight from Shakawe to Doro Nawas Conservancy (Damaraland)

After breakfast we will be transferred back to Shakawe airport for our private charter flight to Doro Nawas Camp in Damaraland, Namibia. We will clear customs in Shakawe, Botswana and enter Namibia at Grootfontein. Total estimated flight time is 3 hours, this leg of our flying adventure will be marked by a dramatic change in the landscape below. As we fly further westwards into the Kalahari Desert, the lush green of the Okavango Delta fades behind us.

Tsodilo – World Heritage Site

Resting on the slopes of a small hill in the dry Aba-Huab River valley, Doro Nawas Camp has panoramic views of the rugged Etendeka Mountains interspersed with valleys and sandstone cliffs. As a guest of Doro Nawas, you will be housed in one of 16 natural walled units, all well placed for you to take in the dramatic surrounds. Each unit, with en-suite facilities, has a veranda for stargazing and sleep-outs. As part of the main area there are indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as a pool and stargazing deck.

Activities:

Day and night game drives, guided walks (on request) and cultural visits, including Twyfelfontein – Africa’s largest collection of petroglyphs – make up your activities.

A healthy population of the unique desert-adapted elephant is a special highlight as well as oryx, kudu, springbok, steenbok and occasionally rare desert-adapted black rhino. Carnivores include brown hyena, bat-eared fox and black-backed jackal.

Bird life is excellent with Namibian endemics such as Monteiro’s Hornbill and Rüpell’s Korhaan.

www.wilderness-safaris.com

Full day with Twyfelfontein Tour

Twyfelfontein or /Ui-//aes

Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs, i.e. rock engravings in Africa. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceros. The site also includes six painted elephant, ostrich and giraffe, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. The objects excavated from two sections, date from the Late Stone Age. The site forms a coherent, extensive and high-quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gatherer communities in this part of southern Africa over at least 2,000 years, and eloquently illustrates the links between the ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers. Read More >

Scenic flight over the Skeleton Coast, tours of Dunes at Walvis Bay, overnight in Lüderitz at The Nest

This morning we will depart on our private charter for Lüderitz, which will take us on a scenic flight over the breath-taking vistas of the Skeleton Coast. This journey is estimated to take 2.5 hours and the sheer beauty of the almost lunar landscape will stand in great contrast of the lush green swamps of the Okavango Delta just days before.

“From the air, the bleak shoreline of the Skeleton Coast looks wonderful — a deep green sea, fringed with surf, breaks over a shore receding into infinite dunes. From land, it’s a different story. The Benguela Current rushes in, urgent and strong, hurtling the chilling Atlantic into the fierce heat of the Namib. Whale and seal skeletons from the former whaling industry still litter the coastline — the source of the region’s frightening name. Humans have suffered, too — the remains of ships wrecked on the hidden rocks offshore rust and crumble beside the animal bones. Survivors didn’t last long in this harsh environment. source

After our stop at Walvis Bay we will take a scenic flight over the Namib Sand Sea on our way to Lüderitz, another of the World Heritage Sites taken in on this expedition.

Namib Sand Sea is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Covering an area of over three million hectares and a buffer zone of 899,500 hectares, the site is composed of two dune systems, an ancient semi-consolidated one overlain by a younger active one. The desert dunes are formed by the transportation of materials thousands of kilometres from the hinterland that are carried by river, ocean current and wind. It features gravel plains, coastal flats, rocky hills, and inselbergs within the sand sea, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers, resulting in a landscape of exceptional beauty. Fog is the primary source of water in the site, accounting for a unique environment in which endemic invertebrates, reptiles and mammals adapt to an ever-changing variety of microhabitats and ecological niches. Read More >

The Nest, Lüderitz, Namibia

Lüderitz Nest Hotel is Namibia’s leading four star resort hotel and is located directly on Lüderitz Bay with its own private tidal beach and with walk-on jetty – unique in Namibia.

Located directly on the shores of Lüderitz Bay with its own private tidal beach, the multi-award winning four star Lüderitz Nest Hotel is your luxury oasis from which to visit and experience many attractions found in, and around, the historical coastal desert town of Lüderitz in southern Namibia.

Dinner this evening will be the acclaimed Penguin Restaurant overlooking Lüderitz Bay.

Website: www.nesthotel.com

Charter flight to Cape Town

After breakfast we will depart the hotel for a tour of Kolmanshop. Kolmanskop (Afrikaans for Coleman’s hill, German: Kolmanskuppe) is the most unique and best preserved diamond ghost town in Africa. It is located in the Namib Desert, 10 kilometres inland from Lüderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman. Once a small and very wealthy mining village, it is now a popular tourist destination. In 1909, the first diamond was found here and soon after the German Government declared a large area as a “Sperrgebiet” (forbidden area) and started to exploit the diamond field. The mining activities declined after World War I and were ultimately abandoned in 1954. The harsh geological forces of the Namib Desert continue to bury some of the houses in sand and provides for a wonderful experience on the tour.

We will then be transferred to Lüderitz Airport where we will clear customs and immigration for our flight to Cape Town, South Africa. The flight is expected to take 3.5 hours and will again witness dramatic changes in the environment as we fly down the West Coast of South Africa all the way to Cape Town.

On arrival to Cape Town International Airport we will be transferred to our hotel in Cape Town.

Dinner this evening will be a real treat. We will transfer in the evening to the High Constantia Wine Estate

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Savour the atmosphere of the world’s most famous working harbour at The Victoria & Alfred Hotel situated in one of the country’s top destinations – Cape Town’s beautifully restored V&A waterfront.

With 94 spacious bedrooms on three floors, it’s the detail that gives our hotel its elegance, intimacy, romance and fine reputation. All our rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, safes, interactive and satellite televisions and wireless internet connection. You room will either face Table Mountain or the Piazza. The hotel’s OYO Restaurant & Cocktail Bar offers both a visual and culinary delight specialising in seafood and is arguably the finest dining location in the V&A Waterfront.

Activities:

As a guest of Victoria & Alfred Hotel you will have complimentary access to our fitness centre.
Complimentary leisure bicycles are available.
We are situated within walking distance to the Two Oceans Aquarium as well as the Victoria Wharf.
Various sunset cruises, harbour cruises and the Robben Island cruise are available on the doorstep of our hotel.

www.vahotel.co.za

Morning tour of Robben Island, depart home on evening flight, or post-trip add-on

Robben Island – World Heritage Site

The island was used at various times between the 17th century and the 20th century as a prison, a hospital for socially unacceptable groups, and a military base. Its buildings, and in particular those of the late 20th century maximum security prison for political prisoners, testify to the way in which democracy and freedom triumphed over oppression and racism. What survives from its episodic history are 17th century quarries, the tomb of Hadije Kramat who died in 1755, 19th century ‘village’ administrative buildings including a chapel and parsonage, small lighthouse, the lepers’ church, the only remains of a leper colony, derelict World War II military structures around the harbour and the stark and functional maximum security prison of the Apartheid period began in the 1960s.

The symbolic value of Robben Island lies in its sombre history, as a prison and a hospital for unfortunates who were sequestered as being socially undesirable. This came to an end in the 1990s when the inhuman Apartheid regime was rejected by the South African people and the political prisoners who had been incarcerated on the Island received their freedom after many years. Read More >

[/fusion_tabs]

POST-TRIP EXTENSION
Mala Mala ex Cape Town – 4 Nights

Should a guest wish to do some additional safari time, we could recommend a trip extension to Mala Mala. This would entail spending 1 more night in Cape Town.

Morning tour of Robben Island, afternoon tour of Table Mountain

Itinerary as per main itinerary with the addition that after lunch you would be transferred to the Lower Cableway Station to board the revolving cable car, for a 5-minute ride to the top of Table Mountain. 1,086 meters (3,560 feet) above sea level, it affords bird’s-eye views of both the city and Peninsula as you explore its summit. Note: the cableway operation can be suspended due to bad weather; winds or clouds.

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Dinner this evening at your leisure in and around the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront complex, there are some superb restaurants to be found. Ask your tour leader for tips before departing the tour group at lunch.

Commercial flight to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, schedule transfer to Mala Mala Main Camp.

After breakfast you will be transferred to Cape Town International Airport for your flight to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport, the gateway to the Kruger National Park and its private reserves. You will be met by a representative who will assist you to board a schedule light aircraft transfer to Mala Mala.

Mala Mala – Main Camp

Since 1964, Mala Mala Game Reserve has consistently produced the most exciting wildlife experience in southern Africa. It is also the largest private Big Five game reserve in South Africa and lies sandwiched between the unfenced boundaries of the iconic Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Mala Mala Camp is the original safari camp. Every aspect is designed to appreciate and enjoy the view of the surrounding wilds. Suites have his-and-hers bathrooms, all the modern creature comforts as well as a shaded deck with beautiful views. The main area consists of a lounge, dining room, bar, library with satellite television, internet connectivity, swimming pool, boutique, fitness centre, and traditional boma. This fine-tuned experiential luxury private safari operates without compromising on its exacting standards of nature conservation.

www.malamala.com

Scheduled Light Aircraft flight to OR Tambo International Airport, departure on international flight home.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the Mala Mala airstrip for a direct flight to OR Tambo International Airport where you connect with your international flight home.

[/fusion_text]