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South Africa & Zimbabwe escape

From $1,970/pp

From $1,970/pp

South Africa

South Africa & Zimbabwe escape

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is situated within a 3.5hr drive from King Shaka International Airport Durban and a lhr 30min drive from Richards Bay Airport. It is situated on the western boundary of Africa's oldest proclaimed Game Reserve Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, Northern KwaZulu Natal. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is the only private lodge within the park. With its four star accommodation, guests are offered spectacular scenery and excellent safari opportunities within the heart of Big 5 territory. Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the secluded Mabibi Bay, in the heart of the iSimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park, an internationally recognised World Heritage Site. With direct access onto the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast, this lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the last unspoilt and undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Mabibi is a magical place of tranquil swimming bays and snorkelling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. It's clear warm waters offer superb snorkelling and fantastic offshore SCUBA diving. Tsowa Island is situated in the Zambezi National Park, a 56 000ha game reserve which is also a renowned birding hot spot - with 400 different species and home to lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, sable and numerous antelope. The Zambezi National Park stretches approximately 50 km upstream from the Victoria Falls. Tsowa Safari Island which is 1.5 km long and 400m wide, is bisected by a small river where a pair of Pel’s Fishing Owls reside. The island, which has never been inhabited, is fringed by lush forests while the mainland is riverine woodland with natural spring lines which are hidden gems used by wildlife.

Description

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is situated within a 3.5hr drive from King Shaka International Airport Durban and a lhr 30min drive from Richards Bay Airport. It is situated on the western boundary of Africa's oldest proclaimed Game Reserve Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, Northern KwaZulu Natal. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is the only private lodge within the park. With its four star accommodation, guests are offered spectacular scenery and excellent safari opportunities within the heart of Big 5 territory. Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the secluded Mabibi Bay, in the heart of the iSimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park, an internationally recognised World Heritage Site. With direct access onto the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast, this lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the last unspoilt and undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Mabibi is a magical place of tranquil swimming bays and snorkelling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. It's clear warm waters offer superb snorkelling and fantastic offshore SCUBA diving. Tsowa Island is situated in the Zambezi National Park, a 56 000ha game reserve which is also a renowned birding hot spot - with 400 different species and home to lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, sable and numerous antelope. The Zambezi National Park stretches approximately 50 km upstream from the Victoria Falls. Tsowa Safari Island which is 1.5 km long and 400m wide, is bisected by a small river where a pair of Pel’s Fishing Owls reside. The island, which has never been inhabited, is fringed by lush forests while the mainland is riverine woodland with natural spring lines which are hidden gems used by wildlife.

Itinerary

Day 1

The beginning of your adventure

On arrival at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge you will be greeted by a refreshing drink and welcomed by our friendly team who will give you a short orientation of the lodge and its facilities, before showing you to your accommodation. After a quick refresh we will be waiting to serve you high tea on the verandah at the main lodge, which offers spectacular views over the entire reserve.

Here you will meet your guide who will prepare you for your first safari experience, offering some useful pointers about the 'do's and don'ts' of the bush. By now you will be eager to board your safari vehicle to explore the magnificent hills and valleys of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park.

At sunset your guide will take you to a special spot to enjoy drinks and snacks, after which you will travel into the night looking for nocturnal creatures like leopards, owls and jackals. When you get back to the lodge you will be given time to freshen up for dinner and then enjoy superb cuisine either on the dining deck or in the restaurant. Sit around the fire late into the night discussing the day's sightings and legendary tales of Africa, all against a back drop of a million stars.

Explore the magnificent hills and valleys of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park.

Activities

  • Game Drive

Accommodation

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

Day 2

Your Safari awaits

After an early morning wake-up call, fresh coffee, tea and rusks (a South African Tradition!), everybody departs with the guides for an early morning game drive. Be sure to have a jacket and scarf as it can get really chilly on the open 4x4 vehicle. Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses will also be needed for later in the day. Nothing is predictable in the bush; therefore each safari offers a potentially new and unique experience.

Our guides will share their wealth of bush experience which involves the identification of animals, trees, grasses, insects and birds. The medicinal uses of plants and local folklore is also discussed as well as looking for the ever fascinating Big 5! When you return to the lodge you will enjoy a hearty brunch. Now it is time for you to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge. You may wish to spend your day being pampered at our spa, do a few laps at the pool or simply relax in the privacy of your room enjoying the endless views from your private balcony.

Additional activities include guided bush walks (children 14 years & older only) in the national park with highly skilled armed trails rangers who not only ensure your safety at all times but impart their intimate knowledge of the bush and the wild animals most notably the white rhino for which this park is most famous. Visits to the local Zulu community with which the lodge works very closely can also be arranged. Bush walks are charged at an additional cost payable at the lodge.

Make sure you are back in time for high tea and the evening game drive. Hopefully this time you will spot all those other animals still on your bucket list. On returning to the lodge you will have time to freshen up before coming through for a delicious dinner.

Allow our guides to share their wealth of bush experience with you on one of your exciting game drives.

Activities

  • Morning Game Drive
  • Evening Game Drive

Optional Activities

  • Spa Treatments
  • Guided Bush Walks
  • Visit To The Local Zulu Community

Accommodation

Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

Day 3

Welcome to your beach escape

After an early morning game drive and a tasty brunch, it will be time to bid farewell to Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge and wind your way out of the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park. Make your way North to the Coastal Forest Reserve and then continue along the sand road to the the pickup point for Thonga Beach Lodge. Here you will be met by a Thonga Beach Representative and transferred via an open 4x4 vehicle to the lodge. The total travel time from lodge to lodge is approximately 4 hours.

On arrival, you will be welcomed with a refreshing drink and given a brief orientation of the lodge before being shown to your room to unpack and relax. Then join us at the bar for a cocktail before settling down for a delicious meal under the stars.

Join us at the bar for a cocktail before settling down for a delicious meal under the stars.

Accommodation

Thonga Beach Lodge

Day 4

Activities to Delight

Activities at Thonga Beach Lodge include SCUBA diving, Open Ocean experiences, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya, guided snorkelling, seasonal turtle drives/walks, Tsonga Cultural tours and forest walks. Whether you are a walker or a diver, take advantage of the wealth of activities that await you in this beautiful hideaway, or simply relax with a Spa treatment of on the beach deck.

SCUBA diving at Mabibi is phenomenal. Our professional lodge diving team can accommodate enthusiasts, from the beginner to the veteran. For those who don't dive, we have an Open Ocean Experience. An exciting launch through the surf in front of the lodge takes you beyond the breakers to a world of dolphins, whales and many other creatures. The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life.

Guests can sometimes swim with dolphins or whale sharks, or snorkel with Manta rays and giant turtles. In summer there are nocturnal walks and drives along the beach in search of pre-historic turtles laying their eggs. Witness the culmination of an incredible journey as giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests.

Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to end of February. The turtles lay their eggs from November to February. Hatchlings arrive from end December to end February. Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process and data collected from the turtle drives is submitted to the Ezemvelo Turtle Monitoring program.

Whether you are a walker or a diver, take advantage of the wealth of activities that await you in this beautiful hideaway!

Activities

  • Kayaking & Sundowners At Lake Sibaya
  • Tsonga Cultural Tours
  • Forest Walks

Optional Activities

  • Scuba Diving
  • Open Ocean Experiences
  • Guided Snorkelling
  • Seasonal Turtle Drives Or Walks
  • Spa Treatments

Accommodation

Thonga Beach Lodge

Day 5

Travel Day

After breakfast you will check out of Thonga Beach Lodge and be transferred in a 4x4 vehicle (1hr transfer) to the 4x4 pickup point. From here, you will continue South to Durban for your overnight stay before flying to Victoria Falls via Johannesburg International Airport.

Accommodation

Self arranged accommodation

Day 6

Welcome to your private island escape

You will be transferred in a closed vehicle from Victoria Falls airport to our private entrance to the Zambezi National Park, where you will be transferred into an open game viewing vehicle for a short game drive
through the park to the water’s edge where our boat will be waiting to take you across the mighty Zambezi River to Tsowa Safari Island. The total transfer time is approximately 1hr30min.

On arrival you will be shown to your tent and given time to unpack and relax before joining your guides on the main lodge deck for a delicious high tea.

After high tea the boat sets off for a fabulous sundowner cruise on the Zambezi. There will be basic fishing tackle on the boat for you to try your hand at a bit of fishing. Imagine stopping along the way either on the boat or on the shore for a refreshing sundowner drink and some snacks whilst watching an iconic African sunset with wild animals coming down to drink safely on the other side of the river. Perhaps on your way back you will spot elephant crossing over to the island as well as crocodile on the banks and hippos coming out to graze.

You will have time to refresh before enjoying a delicious dinner on the dining deck overlooking the river followed by a nightcap around the fire gazing at the magnificent array of stars above.

Enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink and some snacks whilst watching an iconic African sunset.

Activities

  • Sundowner Cruise On The Zambezi
  • Fishing

Accommodation

Tsowa Safari Island

Day 7-8

Memorable Activities

You may choose to lie in and listen to the wonderful sounds of the wild or join one of the many activities on offer. After a light early morning refreshment, you will be taken across the river by boat to the mainland where your safari vehicle will be waiting to take you on an early morning game drive. The game drives last approximately 3 hours and includes a refreshment stop.

Guides Game walks are also offered on the mainland, which is considered to be a prime area to walk. These walks are conducted by highly specialised guides, whose main aim is to ensure your safety and share their intimate knowledge of the wild animals and their environment. These walks last approximately 3 hours and also include a refreshment stop. (This activity is available to children of 16 years and older only).

Guided Canoeing in inflatable canoes is available year-round. This activity departs mid-morning and lasts until mid-afternoon. This fun activity is a great way to spend an adventurous afternoon, enjoying a picnic lunch and drinks along the way. This water safari is a wonderful way to see hippos, crocodiles, birds and elephant. (This activity is available to children of 16 years and older only).

Guided island walks of an hour or longer, if desired, are offered daily to the centre of this magnificent island - home to century-old Baobab trees. Rare ground lilies flower early in the year and a tranquil river runs through the island, where a pair of Pel’s fishing owls have their home. The birdlife along the water’s edge includes African fin foot and Schalow’s turaco.

Once you return to camp from your chosen activity, you will have time to enjoy a swim in one of our two swimming pools, relax on the decks enjoying your favourite drink or take a well deserved siesta in your tent. High tea is served in the late afternoon, before the boat cruise leaves on a water safari - a chance to marvel at another magnificent African sunset.

Upon return from your boat cruise, you will have time to freshen up or have a drink at the bar before dinner. What better way to end a glorious day than on the deck overlooking the river, enjoying a delicious meal listening to the grunting of hippos and the gentle rumbling of elephants. The pathways and dining decks are lit by lanterns that create a romantic atmosphere, allowing you to relax and soak up the sounds of nature. (Guides always accompany guests back to their tents after dark).

End your adventure filled day on the deck, listening to the grunting of hippos and the gentle rumbling of elephants.

Activities

  • Early Morning Game Drive
  • Safari Boat Cruise

Optional Activities

  • Guides Game Walks
  • Guided Canoeing
  • Guided Island Walks

Accommodation

Tsowa Safari Island

Day 9

Goodbyes

After breakfast, you will check out of Tsowa Safari Island and be returned to the private entrance of the park. Here you will continue with your onward journey, either returning home or continue your exploration.

What's Included

Accommodation

  • 2 Nights' Accommodation at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge in a Safari room, upgradeable to Bush Villa or Honeymoon Villa
  • 2 Nights' Accommodation at Thonga Beach Lodge in a Forest view room, upgradeable to Ocean View or Deluxe Ocean View Room
  • 3 Nights’ Accommodation at Tsowa Safari Island *Upgrades are subject to availability

Ground Transport

This is a self drive option

  • Rentals can be arranged on request

Exclusions

Park fees, Isibindi Foundation levy, drinks not specified, gratuities and any items of a personal nature.

Optional Extras

  • RHINO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE: Drinks, spa treatments and guided safari walks.
  • THONGA BEACH LODGE: Drinks, spa treatments, SCUBA diving, Open Ocean Experience, dive equipment hire, 4x4 transfers and vehicle driven turtle tracking tours in season (Nov - Feb)
  • TSOWA SAFARI ISLAND: Transfers to our private entrance to the park and international beer, wine and spirits.

Honeymoon Options

All packages can be upgraded to a Honeymoon Package

Flights

All International/Domestic flights and visas are excluded.

  • Flights can be arranged on request

Meals

All Meals

Bonus Inclusions

  • RHINO RIDGE SAFARI LODGE: Morning and afternoon game drives.
  • THONGA BEACH LODGE: Use of snorkelling equipment, guided walks, cultural tours, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya. Nightly turtle walks 3 times a week (Nov - Feb)
  • TSOWA SAFARI ISLAND: Basic laundry, local beer, wine, soft drinks, 4x4 and boat transfer from our private entrance to Zambezi National Park to camp. Daily game drive or bush walk, island walks, sundowner cruise on the Zambezi and guided canoeing. *Note the bush walk and the canoeing must be pre-booked. Canoeing and bush walks available to children of 16 years and older.

Extra Days

Extra days can be added at any of the lodges mentioned or at any other Isibindi Africa Lodges

Created by
Johnothan Dean Sanders

I am open to everything and trying new things. From food, to extreme and challenging adventures, I’ll be up for it! I love mysterious places, blue oceans and the true African "Braai" with people and music in the air. I like to fully submerse myself in other cultures and customs.

Traveling for me is freeing. It’s allowing myself to be moulded, shaped, transformed by a place that isn’t my home. It’s seeing that the world is so limitless, so inviting, beyond what you’ve always known. It teaches you about yourself. Your strengths, your limits, your patience, your compassion, your love for others, your openness, your confidence and your connectedness with what’s around you.

Travel With Me Africa is a fully registered one click travel agency based in South Africa, Pretoria. Our forward vision is to strive to become an outstanding entity in travel based corporate and retail service, capable of demanding unconditional response from the targeted niche. We are committed to take our achievements to the next level and travel with our clients with memorable, unique and no regrets experience.

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