A plush five star safari that combines sumptuous properties in Livingstone and the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Guests arrive at Johannesburg International (O R Tambo) and, once formalities are completed, make their way in the airport complex to the bus depot just behind the Southern Sun O R Tambo Hotel. From here you’ll take the complimentary shuttle - departing every 20 minutes or so - to your nearby accommodations. The remainder of your day is spent at leisure recovering after a long flight to South Africa. Aside from your hotel restaurant, there are a number of dinner options open to you while staying at the Emperors Palace entertainment complex. A popular local restaurant you might consider is Tribes, a grill and steakhouse offering typical South African specialty meals.
On request, African Sky will be happy to provide a map detailing how to proceed from the arrivals hall in the airport building to the bus station. Kindly note that a representative from African Sky will not meet you on your day of arrival. Rather, our representative will meet you the following morning before you travel to your onward location, at which time you’ll be handed a complete tour folder containing all the information you require for your holiday, including e-tickets where required. Our representative will also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
After an early start, you’ll be met in the hotel lobby and welcomed by a representative from African Sky. First, we’ll take care of a few formalities. You’ll be handed a complete tour folder containing all necessary documentation for your upcoming holiday, including e-tickets, accommodation and transfer vouchers, a detailed itinerary and our emergency contact details. Once formalities are completed you’ll be escorted to the nearby airport where you’ll be assisted in boarding a regional flight to Lusaka in Zambia. There, you’ll transfer to a local flight into the Lower Zambezi National Park. After disembarking, you’ll be warmly welcomed by the Royal Zambezi representative, who’ll transfer you the last stretch to the lodge. On arrival, you’ll be assisted with check-in.
The Royal Zambezi Lodge is located on the northern banks of the Zambezi River, wedged between Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park and Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. These renowned parks are separated only by the prolific waters of the river. The lodge hosts fifteen tented suites, ranging from classic to deluxe and presidential. The deluxe and presidential suites enjoy additional luxuries, like private plunge pools and outdoor showers.
Because it was the Zambian president’s private reserve until 1983, the Lower Zambezi National Park is almost entirely untouched by mass tourism, in contrast with many of Africa’s other large wildlife areas, notably the much better-known Kruger and Serengeti national parks. Lower Zambezi’s unique history has allowed the region to remain almost entirely pristine. Renowned for its wildlife-rich floodplains and magnificent views - and with the dramatic backdrop of the Zambezi Escarpment across the river in Zimbabwe - the Lower Zambezi is a wilderness enthusiast’s dream and the ultimate African safari destination. Spectacular scenery aside, the Lower Zambezi and its Zimbabwean counterpart on the opposite bank, Mana Pools, conjures up the Africa of times past. Here you’ll find the surrounding woodland teeming with just about every species of animal on the continent outside of the central African rainforests. Elephant, buffalo, wild dog, hyena, lion, hippo, leopard, giraffe, zebra, crocodile, impala, kudu, waterbuck, wildebeest – these are just a handful of the plentiful animals you might encounter while on safari in this little-known African Eden. What makes the Lower Zambezi particularly special is that it falls in Central Africa, while its Mana Pools counterpart in Zimbabwe is associated with Southern Africa. With the Zambezi River forming a geographical boundary hindering animal migrations, wildlife in the Lower Zambezi has over eons developed a unique set of color characteristics. Not quite reaching the status of sub-species, these animals include regionally endemic ‘focal’ populations of Thornicroft's Giraffe, Cookson's Wildebeest, Boehm's Zebra and Yellow Baboon.
Your stay in the Lower Zambezi National Park is fully inclusive. Activities conducted from your luxury lodge include game drives, canoe safaris, tiger fishing and guided walks, led by qualified and passionate safari guides. You might also avail yourself of a therapeutic treatment at the Royal Bush Spa. The Royal Zambezi employs qualified therapists who provide a wide variety of massages, as well as a host of other therapeutic and beauty skin care treatments. Many of these treatments use indigenous ingredients. The spa is also the Zambian flagship of the famous and world-leading Dermalogica brand of skincare products.
After breakfast, you’ll say goodbye to your hosts as you’re returned to the local airfield. From there you’ll return to Lusaka and then board an onward flight to Livingstone in southern Zambia. On arrival, you’ll be met and transferred to the luxury Royal Livingstone, located on the banks on the Zambezi River just above the impressive Victoria Falls. The remainder of your evening is spent at leisure.
Note: If possible, a direct Lower Zambezi – Livingstone flight will be booked. That flight, however, is seasonal, and not available on a permanent basis.
The morning is devoted to an elephant-back safari in a wilderness area not far from Livingstone. On arrival at the venue you’ll enjoy a short presentation about the project, as well as be given a lesson on how to interact with the elephants, after which the safari begins. An experienced elephant minder accompanies each elephant and guest. The route follows a trail through the surrounding woodland and might include a stop along the banks of the Zambezi River. Riding silently atop a gigantic pachyderm is certainly an experience of a lifetime. Your safari ends with a short training session and interaction with the elephants, after which you’ll be returned to your accommodation in Livingstone.
Once back at your accommodation, you’ll have the opportunity to freshen up, enjoy your lodge’s amenities or otherwise catch an afternoon nap. Some folks prefer to be on the go all day and book additional activities, easily arranged at reception. During the late afternoon, you’ll be met and transferred to a local jetty where the remainder of your day will be spent enjoying a tranquil sunset cruise aboard the African Queen on Africa’s fourth-largest river, the mighty Zambezi. Drinks and snacks are served on the riverboat and, on a good day you might see a pod of hippos or an elephant or two. After a spectacular African sunset you’ll be returned to your overnight accommodations, where the remainder of your evening may be spent at leisure.
Your last morning in Zambia is devoted to a guided tour of the mighty Victoria Falls, previously one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Falls lie within the local ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ National Park, that name meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’, which is the name the local peoples have used for the Falls for many generations. The sanctuary affords incredible views in almost every direction. There is also a curio market at the entrance to the falls, and guests may take some time to view the different arts and crafts on display. Later you’ll be transferred to the airport in Livingstone where you’ll board a return flight to Johannesburg in South Africa, bringing to an end a memorable Zambian safari holiday.
South Africa is known for its exceptional diversity, which extends to its safari areas.
Botswana is a wild paradise of myriad pristine wilderness areas, from Chobe to Savute.
Namibia's immense desert landscapes make for bewitching safari backdrops.
Zambia's national parks may be far-flung, but the safaris are absolutely worth the journey.
Zimbabwe's wilderness areas bear minimal traffic, making for rewarding safaris.
Mozambique's archipelagos - Quirimbas & Bazaruto - are stunning destinations.