Expedition Details

 

Soar over southern Africa’s splendid landscapes on an unforgettable journey by private air. Experience some of the world’s best wildlife viewing on safari in private reserves away from the crowds. Choose from a variety of activities, from optional flightseeing at Victoria Falls to canoe safaris and bush walks, and stay at some of southern Africa’s top safari camps.

Trip Highlights

    • Enjoy exclusive safaris far from the crowds as we soar between private game reserves in our our own charter aircraft.
    • A National Geographic expert provides insight on ecosystems like the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls.
    • Visit the Motloutse Ruins with an archaeologist and examine pottery shards and trading beads that date back thousands of years.
    • Sip sundowners on the classic steam train Royal Livingstone Express as it travels through Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

Itinerary - 10 Days

Day 1 — Johannesburg, South Africa/MalaMala Game Reserve

Arrive in Johannesburg and board our aircraft for a scenic flight to MalaMala Game Reserve, a private reserve in Greater Kruger National Park. The distinctive habitat of the Lowveld region is full of big game, including lions, leopards, and white rhinos. Settle into our luxury safari lodge, situated on the leafy banks of the Sand River, and take your first game drive before our welcome dinner tonight.
MalaMala Main Camp (D)

Day 2 — MalaMala Game Reserve

Set off on an early morning safari in open vehicles and observe wildlife at one of its most active times with naturalist guides. Enjoy time to relax and take advantage of the camp’s amenities before lunch. During our late afternoon game drive, stop for sundowners in the bush. Continue exploring as night falls, searching for nocturnal predators on the prowl. Gather for dinner around a large campfire in a reed-enclosed boma.
(B,L,D)

Days 3, 4, & 5 — Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana

Our private aircraft flies us directly to Mashatu Game Reserve, an enormous private reserve located in the remote eastern corner of Botswana that comprises a diverse wilderness of savanna, riverine forests, marshlands, open plains, and sandstone outcrops. Take morning and evening game drives accompanied by expert guides, and choose two of the following activities: go on a bush walk, join a photographer in a hide to capture close-ups of wildlife, take a game drive, or mountain bike along elephant trails. Visit the Motloutse Ruins, a significant archaeological site, in the company of South African archaeologist Grant Hall.
Mashatu Main Camp (B,L,D daily)

Days 6 & 7 — Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

Our next flight takes us soaring over the magnificent wetlands of the Okavango Delta to a tented camp in Moremi Game Reserve. Spend two days discovering this untamed habitat by land and water. Explore by open safari vehicle, and take a trip to Gadikwe Island by flat-bottom boat to see hippos and breeding colonies of herons, egrets, pelicans, storks, and cormorants.
Xakanaxa Camp (B,L,D daily)

Days 8 & 9 — Chobe National Park/Victoria Falls and Livingstone, Zambia

Board our aircraft for a flight to Chobe National Park, known for its many elephant families. On a wildlife river cruise, watch for elephants frolicking at the water’s edge and using their trunks like snorkels as they swim. Then fly along the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers to Livingstone and check in to the luxurious Royal Livingstone Hotel just steps from Victoria Falls. Design your morning according to your interests: visit a local village or the Livingstone Museum, or head into the Maramba market. Take a canoe safari, or experience the falls from a thrilling perspective on an optional flightseeing excursion. Explore the falls with a local guide this afternoon, venturing into the mists along suspended walkways. This evening, board the historic Royal Livingstone Express steam train for a festive farewell dinner as we travel through Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.
Royal Livingstone Hotel (B,L; B,D)

Day 10 — Johannesburg, South Africa

Fly to Johannesburg and connect with your return flight home.
(B)

Optional Extension

National Geographic Expert

Bill Branch

Bill BranchBill Branch has been a wildlife biologist at the Port Elizabeth Museum in South Africa since 1979 and has undertaken fieldwork across the African continent, from Ethiopia to Senegal and Madagascar. Bill is also a general naturalist and keen birder. He has described numerous new species and amphibians, received a grant from National Geographic to help fund his research on African reptiles, and published six books as well as several photographs and scientific articles. In 2015, Bill joined a National Geographic-supported science team for the land-based survey of areas around the Cuito River in the headwaters of the Okavango Delta.

Bill will join the following departures:

Dec 27, 2017 - Jan 05, 2018
May 30 - Jun 08, 2018
Aug 20 - 29, 2018
Sep 11 - 20, 2018

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Dates

2017
  • Dec 27, 2017 - Jan 05, 2018
2018
  • May 30 - Jun 08, 2018
  • Jul 22 - 31, 2018
  • Aug 20 - 29, 2018
  • Sep 11 - 20, 2018
  • Dec 27, 2018 - Jan 05, 2019

Expedition Cost

2017

$15,450

2018

$16,995

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $3,050 in 2017 and $3,750 in 2018. All flights within Africa are included in the expedition cost. Transportation within Africa is by DC-3 (minimum of 16 guests) or by small private aircraft (if there are fewer than 16 guests). Airfare to/from Johannesburg is not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Traveler Photo

Activity Level

Light

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

MalaMala Main Camp and Mashatu Main Camp are luxury safari lodges; Xakanaxa Camp is a luxury tented camp; the Royal Livingstone Hotel is a five-star hotel.

Extend Your Stay

Add a four-day pre- or post-trip extension in Cape Town. Or extend your trip to South Africa’s Kalahari with a stay at Tswalu Kalahari, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Please call for details.