Zimbabwe
March and April
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Northwest Zimbabwe Birding & Wildlife Safari

This unique itinerary focuses on an extremely varied spectrum of avian habitats – from Victoria Falls to Hwange National Park – and is timed to coincide with the end of the rainy season when water levels are at their peak within the wetlands and the area is rife with bird life.  In addition to bird life, the areas explored also boast a high density of Africa’s charismatic megafauna – including elephants, buffalo, lions and cheetah –   along with other iconic African wildlife. Finally, no trip to Zimbabwe would be complete without a visit to the thundering Victoria Falls!

Safari guests will experience an array of environments by vehicle and on foot, escorted by expert local guides. Each evening, deluxe safari lodges and tented camps will provide a comfortable retreat where guests can relax, enjoy a cocktail and recount the day’s adventures and bird tally!

Departs in March and April 

2016 Pricing: $3,975 per person sharing, $1,400 single supplement.  All inclusive in-country.

2017 Pricing: $4,200 per person sharing, $1,500 single supplement.  All inclusive in-country.

Meet your host

Adventure Highlights

  • Victoria Falls
  • Hwange National Park
  • Zambezi National Park
  • Kazuma Pan National Park
  • Focus on wildlife and photography, particularly birds
  • Expert local wildlife and birding guides

Day 1 – Arrival to Vic Falls & Gorges Lodge

Upon arrival at Victoria Falls Airport, you will be greeted by your local guides, who will then transfer you to Gorges Lodge, perched above the mighty Zambezi River. If you arrive early enough, enjoy lunch at the lodge before heading out to explore the gorge edge, scanning for raptors on the cliffs as well as swifts, martins, and other birds soaring on the updrafts.

If you arrive later in the day, enjoy a leisurely afternoon around the lodge before getting up close and personal with wild Verreaux’s (Black) Eagles that nest close by. We will be joined by children from the Chisuma School, who will be given an educational lecture on raptor conservation before sharing a short traditional song and performance over the Gorge.

Wrap up the day with dinner in the main lodge while listening to the Zambezi rapids below.

Overnight: Gorges Lodge

Day 2 – Victoria Falls Rain Forest and the Batoka Gorge

After beginning your day with coffee or tea on your veranda while overlooking the 800-foot gorge, head to Victoria Falls town to see Mosi oa Tunya, or “The Smoke that Thunders.” One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls is truly a sight to behold and well worth spending a couple hours soaking in the dramatic views (and perhaps getting a bit soaked yourself!).

Afterwards, visit the local artisan center before heading back to the lodge for a late lunch. Spend the afternoon at your leisure either strolling the indigenous gardens of the lodge or catching up with journals and photos while lying by the pool or sitting at the Gorge’s edge.

We will kick the evening off with a traditional performance by Sebenze and his troupe from the nearby village, which will then be followed by a braai – a local barbecue style –  under the stars!

Overnight: Gorges Lodge

Day 3 – Hwange National Park

Awaken to the ‘dawn chorus’ of birdlife and enjoy one last breakfast at the Gorge’s edge before heading south to Hwange National Park,  Zimbabwe’s largest Game Reserve. After a 2.5-hour drive to the Gwaai River, we’ll jump into 4×4 safari vehicles for the last 1.5 hrs to Camelthorn Lodge.

Built on the edge of the Ngamo Plain, a fossil lake bed and the largest savannah in Hwange, Camelthorn Lodge is an ideal base to explore the acacia woodlands, plains and wildlife rich waterholes that surround the lodge. At this time of year the plain is a lush Eden, rife with birdlife. Upon arrival, a late light lunch will be served, followed by a short game drive to orient yourself and learn about the area. Enjoy “sundowners” and canapes on the plain near camp before dinner.

Overnight: Camelthorn Lodge

Day 4 – Exploring the Ngamo Plain

Today we will enjoy an early start and full day in the field, exploring the Ngamo Plain.  This area is home to a staggering array of large mammals, particularly the elephants which are frequently spotted at close range, and is a key breeding area for a large diversity of birdlife. It is also a wintering ground for many intra-African and Palaearctic migrants.

At this time of year the water pools that flood the plains are covered with Nymphaea water lilies, providing a beautiful backdrop to the savannah experience.  A typical day’s birdwatching involves driving and walking from congregation to congregation of birds, keeping an eye out along the way for elephant, lion, buffalo, cheetah, and other large mammals.

In the evening, spotlight your way back to camp with a red filter, carefully watching for the nightjars, owls, coursers, and other nocturnal wildlife that frequent this area.

Overnight: Camelthorn Lodge

Day 5 – Discovering the Kalahari Sandveld

After another early breakfast, depart for a full day of exploring deep into Hwange National Park to water pools or pans such as Wexcau and Hwa Hwa Du, named by the San who once inhabited these Kalahari sands.  Explore the fossil sand dunes and the Baikiea woodlands associated with them, searching for birds and large mammals in the inter-dune valleys and their Mopane woodlands. During the wet season, the numbers of birds seen are truly staggering – literally hundreds of Eagles can be seen everyday along with huge flocks of mixed storks and clouds of bee-eaters. 

Enjoy the day’s end with another round of sundowners and an excellent dinner back at camp.

Overnight: Camelthorn Lodge

Day 6 – Acacia Adventures

Today’s focus will be the Camelthorn Acacia woodlands that border the Ngamo Plain. Short drives and walks through this habitat will yield many new species of birds for the trip, while also offering an opportunity to study the numerous nesting strategies woodland species employ this time of year.

In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner under the stars at a pan a short distance from the lodge, keeping a keen ear out for lion, hyena, and nocturnal avifauna such as Giant Eagle-Owls, Fiery-necked Nightjars, and Spotted Thick-knees.

Overnight: Camelthorn Lodge

Day 7 – Zambezi National Park

After breakfast, we’ll pack up and begin our 5-hour road trip to Zambezi Sands River Camp, upstream of Victoria Falls in the Zambezi National Park. The first part of the drive is across the indigenous Baiekiea woodlands of the Ngamo Forest Area, followed by traversing the Hwange Communal lands, and finally up to Zambezi Sands River Camp, birding and spotting wildlife along the way.

After an orientation, settle in and enjoy a light late lunch. The late afternoon will feature a short interpretative walk along the Zambezi River shoreline, looking for hard-to-find species such as African Finfoot, before dinner is served in camp.

Overnight: Zambezi Sands River Camp

Day 8 – Discovering the Zambezi River

We’ll get an early start this morning to take advantage of a full day along the Zambezi River. Start the day with coffee, tea, and/or fruit juice in your tent overlooking the Zambezi, followed by a light continental breakfast before departing on foot to explore the Zambezi Sands shore line.

Towards the end of our early morning walk, we will be met with a freshly-cooked brunch along the banks of the River. Vehicles will then return us to camp for a few hours of R&R by the pool or in our tents – but even during the heat of the day, keep your binoculars handy to scan the canopy overhead for passing migrants, and for elephants crossing the river in front of camp.

Later in the afternoon embark on a game drive up the Zambezi River road, enjoying sundowners at an idyllic spot before returning to camp at twilight, scanning for nocturnal species en route.

Overnight: Zambezi Sands River Camp

Day 9 – Exploring Kazuma Pan National Park

Today you’ll journey westward towards the Botswana border, birding and game-viewing down the old Pandamatenga road to Kazuma Pan National Park. Kazuma Pan is one of the largest ephemeral wetlands in this region, and in a reasonable rainy season can be up to 2500ha in size. Apart from being an important wintering ground for Palaearctic migrants, in particular waders, it is also an important wetland for a huge variety of African waterfowl.

After a morning scanning the Kazuma Pan, we’ll take a slow drive back along the Botswana Border across the Matetsi to Zambezi Sands (~2.5 hours by road). Freshen up with a hot shower or bath back at camp, and adjourn to the main deck for an unforgettable final dining experience as a group, basking in the glow of stars and overlooking the Zambezi River.

Overnight: Zambezi Sands River Camp

Day 10 – Departure Day

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll pack up and hit the road for the 1-hour transfer to Victoria Falls Airport for your international flights back home, or to your next destination if you are lucky enough to be extending your stay in Africa!

Gorges Lodge

Victoria Fall Gorges Lodge Zimbabwe

Gorges Lodge is a mere 30-minute drive from Victoria Falls town and offers a unique base from which to experience Victoria Falls, perched idyllically on the edge of the Batoka Gorge.

At Gorges you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls town – the peaceful guest accommodation is nestled in an indigenous garden that makes walking to your room a joy, and Gorges staff are renowned for their warm hospitality.

 

Camelthorn Lodge

Camelthorn Lodge Zimbabwe

Camelthorn Lodge can be found tucked away in the cool woodlands on the southern edge of Ngamo’s famous Plains in a private concession within Hwange National Park. Here, you will be treated to a truly memorable safari experience, in pure comfort and style.

Enjoy al fresco dining under an ancient camelthorn tree, savor your morning coffee in front of a roaring fire, track herds of elephant by foot, and enjoy close-up photography from inside our look-up blind. This flagship lodge ticks all the boxes for an authentic yet unique African safari experience.

Zambezi Sands River Camp

Zambezi Sands River Camp Zimbabwe

Opened in August 2014, Zambezi Sands is a refreshing new luxury camp nestled into the banks of the Zambezi River. The surrounding habitat provides a wealth of opportunities for drives and walks with experienced guides, while the River itself invites exploration by inflatable canoe or motorized launch.

However, relaxing in your private splash pool on your deck overlooking the Zambezi is also just as enjoyable. Elephant can be found loitering on the mainland or in the river, while hippo, waterbuck, and bushbuck frequent the reed banks and islands.  Lions can be heard calling at night, and the birdlife is prolific – keep an eye out for specialties such as African Finfoot, African Skimmer, and Pel’s Fishing Owl, as well as a plethora of other species moving through the riverine canopy above camp.

ACCEPTANCE: Deposit or Payment on your booking constitutes your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions, which are subject to change without notice.

 

DEPOSIT & PAYMENT: A minimum 25% deposit is required at time of booking – deposit amount will vary based on the itinerary, destination, and partner operators. Some tours, accommodations, or events require earlier payment or deposits and you will be advised if this is the case. Late or nonpayment may cause automatic cancellation of your booking. Final payment is due 60 days prior to departure. If cancellation is received 60 days or more prior to departure, the full deposit can be used towards a future booking. Cancellation must be received in writing. If cancellation is received 14 to 59 days prior to departure, 75% of the trip cost is non-refundable. If cancellation is received within 2 weeks of departure, 100% of the trip cost is non-refundable. Additional change and cancellation fees may apply based on the discretion of the service providers used in said itinerary.

 

*Please note: Change and cancellation fees do not include penalties incurred by third parties that are out of our control. Other cancellation fees or refunds for customer cancellation are at the discretion of the hotels, tour operators, caterers, rental car agencies, and other service providers with which EverGreen Escapes has reserved on the customer’s behalf for travel and tour related services. Insurance purchases are always non-refundable.

 

AIR CANCELLATION/CHANGE PENALTIES: In addition to the above mentioned EverGreen Escapes’ cancellation penalties, airline tickets, once issued, are 100% non-refundable. Changes may be made depending on the fare purchased and fees will apply. These fees will be advised when the changes are requested and can vary by airline. Please note it is the passengers responsibility to provide EverGreen Escapes with the correct full name for your airline ticket, if a ticket needs to be re-issued because EverGreen Escapes was not given the correct information a ticket re-issue fee will apply.

 

INSURANCE: Travel insurance is not included but can be purchased to cover penalty costs in the event you need to cancel or change your travel plans (subject to approval of claim by the insurer). It also can provide medical and emergency assistance protection as well as some loss and delay coverage. Travel insurance can be purchased through EverGreen Escapes.

 

VALIDITY/CHANGES: Your itinerary contains information believed to be accurate at the time of publication. EverGreen Escapes reserves the right to modify an itinerary or substitute tour components and inclusions without prior notice. Once a deposit has been received, a minimum $50 per booking change fee will apply. Other change fees are at the discretion of the hotels, tour operators, airlines, rental car agencies, and other service providers.

 

QUOTES: Unless guaranteed in writing with a specific expiration date, quotes from our office are subject to change until full payment is made.

 

CHILDREN: Child discounts are sometimes available depending on the travel products selected. Please note some travel products do not allow children below a certain age. If traveling with children please always check for specials and restrictions. All children under the age of 18 MUST have a parent or guardian with them at all times.

 

PASSPORTS/VISAS: A passport valid for six months beyond the date of return travel is required for entry into all destination countries. Customers/travelers with a passport from a country other than the US or Canada should request information regarding any necessary documents from the destination countries’ consulates or their travel agents. All travelers are required to carry valid identification at all times. Additional Travel Documents, such as Visas, may be required depending upon the countries to be visited and the citizenship of the traveler. It is the sole responsibility of each traveler to ensure that he or she meets the Travel and Immigration requirements of their country of citizenship and those of the countries to be visited. EverGreen Escapes will not be held liable or responsible in any way for any traveler’s failure to obtain Travel Documentation necessary for their trip.

 

PRICES: EverGreen Escapes quotes prices in US currency based on the exchange rates for the respective foreign currency as of the date of the quote. Customer’s exchange rate is only fixed when full payment is made, unless otherwise noted on Customer’s itinerary. Any price that EverGreen Escapes quotes is subject to change without notice until full payment is made. All prices are ‘from’ and seasonal surcharges and currency fluctuations apply.

 

RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTIES: EverGreen Escapes shall be deemed to be an independent contractor for all purposes under these Terms & Conditions. EverGreen Escapes is acting solely to facilitate the reservation and purchase of Travel Related Services and is not acting in any other capacity with either the Customers or the Service Providers, including, but not limited to, any partnership, joint venture, co-ownership, or agency relationship of any kind with any Customer or Service Provider. EverGreen Escapes does not have any control over the quality, timing, safety, or legality of any Travel Related Service actually reserved or purchased by or for a Customer. EverGreen Escapes does not and can not control whether a Service Provider represents its products accurately or fulfills any agreement or obligation with any Customer.

 

ENVIRONMENT & WILDLIFE: Our clients always maintain a respectful distance while watching or photographing wildlife. Move slowly and quietly around wildlife when hiking. Avoid brightly colored clothes; wear drab greens and browns instead. Do not pick plants or wildflowers or trample over their habitats. Stay on the trail. Shore side, refill all holes and return large rocks to their original positions. Observe limits on the collection of edible species, and forgo the collection of others for souvenirs. Handle tide pool creatures gently and briefly, and return them to their original places. Educate others about ethical wildlife observation – spread the word.

 

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: EverGreen Escapes shall not be liable for any claims, losses, damages, costs, expenses, delays, sickness, injury, or loss of enjoyment, of any nature or kind whatsoever, resulting from events beyond EverGreen Escapes’ or a service provider’s reasonable control. In no event will EverGreen Escapes’ liability exceed the total amounts Customer paid EverGreen Escapes for Customer’s travel. EverGreen Escapes assumes no responsibility for lost tickets, documents, passes, or coupons.

 

DISPUTES & INDEMNITY: As EverGreen Escapes is not involved in providing the Travel Related Services for the Customer, any and all disputes between a Customer and Service Provider are solely between that Customer and that Service Provider, and the Customer and Service Provider should handle all such disputes directly with that Customer or Service Provider. If Service Provider or Customer contacts EverGreen Escapes relating to any dispute between the Customer or Service Provider, EverGreen Escapes may, in its sole discretion, facilitate dispute resolution and reserves the right to take any action that EverGreen Escapes deems appropriate under the circumstances. Customer agrees to release EverGreen Escapes and its agents and employees from claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind and nature, known and unknown, suspected and unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes. Furthermore, Customer agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless EverGreen Escapes from any liability, loss, claim, and expense, including reasonable attorney’s fees, arising out of or in any way connected with such disputes.