Uncharted Africa: A Luxurious Safari Adventure Through Zimbabwe and South Africa
Southern Africa left an indelible mark on my spirit, forever altering my perspective on nature, wildlife, and humanity's role within it. Every moment spent in the raw, untouched wilderness was a testament to the earth's profound beauty and resilience. From the thundering hooves of the Big Five in Malilangwe and Kruger National Park to the intimate encounters with leopards in Sabi Sand and the graceful ballet of whales off the coast of Hermanus, each experience was a poignant reminder of our inherent connection to nature. This trip offered not only a glimpse into the untamed animal kingdom but also a dive into rich cultures and communities whose ancestral roots run deep in this land. Each taste of the exquisite African cuisine, sip of the elegant South African wines, and interaction with the warm and welcoming people have seeped into my soul, forever changing me.
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Where to stay
Singita Pamushana Lodge
Rustic-chic all-inclusive lodge featuring a spa, an outdoor pool & water views, plus game drives in the Malilangwe Trust, Zimbabwe.
Singita Kruger National Park (Sweni and Lebombo Lodges)
Part of Singita’s award-winning 15 safari lodges, Sweni is a riverside standout and showcase of modern African design, while Lebombo offers dramatic views and glass-walled lofts.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom.
Extended check-in/out based upon availability at check-in.
Singita Boulders Lodge
A modern safari lodge and celebration of its spectacular natural setting in the unspoiled Sabi Sand reserve.
A bottle of South African wine; guests staying three or more nights get a South African wine tasting experience
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Day 1: Arrive in Johannesburg
Rest from your journey at the luxury Intercontinental Hotel right at the airport.
Day 2 - 4: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe
Your journey begins at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, a pristine, lesser-known treasure in Zimbabwe, where you'll stay at Singita Pamushana Lodge. Set on the remote wilderness of an ancient sandstone ridge, Pamushana offers panoramic views of the dam below and the lush forests surrounding it.
Enjoy daily encounters with diverse wildlife including the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo), cheetahs, wild dogs, giraffes, zebras and numerous bird species.
Spend an afternoon fishing in the serene Malilangwe Dam, listening to the hippos call. You can also explore rock art sites, a testament to ancient civilizations that once thrived here.
Unwind with a soothing spa treatment amidst the African wilderness.
Enrich your stay with an introduction to the local Shangaan culture and the reserve's community outreach programs.
Your culinary experiences at Pamushana are deeply rooted in Africa's rich heritage. With ingredients sourced from the surrounding communities, the dishes are a modern interpretation of traditional African cooking techniques. From candlelit dinners under the African sky to picnics in the bush, each meal is a unique experience in itself.
Day 5-8: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Board a flight to South Africa's iconic Kruger National Park. Spend three nights at the Singita Lebombo Lodge. Perched on the steep banks of the N'wanetsi River, Lebombo's cutting-edge design offers unobstructed views of the wilderness beyond. With the Kruger known for its high density of wild animals, including the iconic Big Five, your game drives here are sure to be thrilling. The area is also known for its sizable population of cheetah and packs of wild dogs, an increasingly rare species to encounter. After your morning and evening game drives, join a cooking class at the Singita Community Culinary School, unwind with spa treatments, or take a dip in the luxurious infinity pool.
Day 9-13: Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
Fly to the private Sabi Sand Game Reserve, known for its exceptional leopard sightings. Your time here will be filled with thrilling dawn and dusk game drives, where you might spot not just the elusive leopards, but also lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos, and a stunning variety of birdlife. Sabi Sand's experienced trackers and guides, with their deep knowledge of the African bush, will ensure you get the most out of each game drive.
Your first two nights in Sabi Sand is at Singita Boulders Lodge, an oasis that takes its inspiration from the geology of the landscape. The lodge's design is a testament to the tranquility of the wilderness, offering an intimate connection with nature. Your next two nights are at Singita Ebony Lodge, where the focus is on a colonial safari experience in the heart of the African bush. The lodge, located on the banks of the Sand River, seamlessly combines the romance of tented camps with the style of a contemporary villa.
Here, you'll continue your wildlife encounters, but also have the chance for some downtime with a rejuvenating spa treatment, or relax by your private plunge pool, while the natural world continues its pace around you.
At these lodges in Sabi Sand, the gastronomic experience is a homage to South Africa's rich culinary heritage. Think gourmet 'braai' (South African BBQ), venison steaks, bobotie (spicy minced meat bake), and malva pudding – all prepared to perfection. Across all the Singita lodges, the meals are thoughtfully paired with exceptional South African wines, curated from Singita's award-winning wine cellar, one of Africa's most renowned. These pairings heighten your culinary journey, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to each dining experience.
Day 14-15: Cape Town, South Africa
Fly to the beautiful coastal city of Cape Town. Check in at the uniquely designed Silo Hotel. This hotel offers a unique perspective of the city, with its geometric windows offering panoramic vistas of the bustling harbor and Table Mountain.
You can spend your days here exploring the vibrant dining and cocktail scene of Cape Town, which is as eclectic as the city itself. Visit the buzzing neighborhood of Kloof Street, packed with trendy eateries and bars, or opt for a more relaxed seaside dining experience at the charming coastal suburb of Camps Bay.
Don't miss out on the Robben Island tour, a poignant reminder of the country's tumultuous past, as well as a trip to Table Mountain, either by hiking or by cable car, for breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding coastline.
Day 16-18: Hermanus, South Africa
Take a scenic drive to Hermanus, a charming coastal town famous for its whale watching opportunities. You'll stay at Birkenhead House, a boutique hotel perched on a cliff overlooking the scenic Walker Bay. The hotel's curated decor, world-class cuisine, and stunning vistas create a sense of tranquility and luxury.
Here, you can spend your days exploring the dramatic coastlines, watching Southern Right whales breaching in the bay (June to November), or visiting the Hermanus Wine Route, a picturesque wine trail nestled in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. Sample some of the country's top Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays while soaking in the valley's stunning views.
Day 19: Departure
Return to Cape Town International Airport for your departure flight. As you leave, take with you the unforgettable memories of this unique journey, knowing that you've experienced the best of South Africa and Zimbabwe's wildlife, culture, and wine country.
Need to Know
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to South Africa.