South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana
Cape Town, Victoria Falls & Chobe
A GROUP: DEPARTURE FEBRUARY 15 – 26, 2019
B GROUP: DEPARTURE MARCH 31 – APRIL 11, 2019
Early Bird Discount: $200 per person if booked and under deposit before Oct 15, 2018.
Book Now on-line using the button below or call 1-800-409-7755
Mervis Diamond Safari Itinerary Highlights
- 4 Nights at Cape Town’s RADISSON BLU HOTEL – This Cape Town harbor view hotel is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, with Table Mountain and Robben Island providing a beautiful backdrop.
- 2 Nights at VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI LODGE – Providing luxury accommodation at Victoria Falls. Enjoying uninterrupted views of spectacular African sunsets and year-round game at its on-site waterhole. The lodge is ideally positioned to offer the most discerning traveler a taste of Africa at its best. Diamond level travelers will enjoy upgraded Waterhole View accommodations.
- 3 Nights at CHOBE MARINA LODGE- Uniquely located in the North-Eastern corner of Botswana where the four African nations of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia converge, Chobe Marina Lodge is surrounded by the natural beauty of Africa. Gold and Diamond level travelers will enjoy upgraded Suite accommodations.
- 9 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, and 3 Dinners
- Includes intra-Africa airline flights (Cape Town-Johannesburg-Victoria Falls and Victoria Falls-Johannesburg).
- Airport transfers with private vehicle and driver, including a private ‘Meet and Greet’ service on arrival into South Africa.
- Early morning cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, for glorious views of the city, ocean and countryside.
- Half day excursion to infamous Robben island – the historic prison of Nelson Mandela. Round trip ferry and escorted island tour included.
- Full day scheduled excursion to Cape Point including a visit to the Boulders Beach penguins and a seafood luncheon.
- Full day scheduled tour to the winelands, including wine tasting and lunch.
- Gorgeous sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, amid curious hippo and crocodile.
- Guided tour of Victoria Falls and her rain forest, with monkeys clambering over the rain forest canopy.
- Exciting wildlife adventures in Chobe Park, Botswana, featuring river cruises as well as land-based safaris.
Mervis Diamond Safari Itinerary
Day 01 A Group: February 15
B Group: March 31
Washington, DC – Johannesburg
Your exciting adventure begins today, as you board your flight bound for South Africa. Award winning South African Airways – recipient of the Best Airline in Africa trophy for 17 consecutive years – will fly our group in comfort and style.
Johannesburg – Cape Town
Touchdown in Johannesburg and, after completing Customs, continue with your flight to Cape Town – the ‘Mother City’. You will be met by our Great Safaris representative and transferred to your reserved hotel.
The Mother City has a peculiar habit – once a day, Capetonians check their watches. Now, this in itself is not very unusual. The strangeness comes into the fact that everyone looks at their watches at exactly the same time without consciously thinking about it. At exactly 12:00 pm every day, a loud bang fired from cannon on Signal Hill announces to the city that midday has arrived.
The Cape was established by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a halfway house along the trade route between the East and Europe. This became a place to mend ships, rest and heal weary visitors and most importantly to collect fresh produce grown by farmers in the area in order to feed famished sailors and soldiers before heading off again for the second leg of their arduous sea voyage.
Cape Town grew quickly and soon earned the reputation as the ‘Tavern of the Seas’. Today Cape Town is still a thriving port and never ceases to enthrall visitors with its unique beauty, ethnic diversity and energetic vibe.
With its iconic Table Mountain backdrop, Cape Town is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. An eclectic mix of architectural styles reflects both the area’s history and the more pragmatic realities of the 21st century. The city’s Edwardian and Victorian buildings have been carefully preserved, and many excellent examples of Cape Dutch architecture are found in the city and its environs.
The ability to make something that is both functional and beautiful has long been a proud aspect of the African culture. Cape Town boasts some of the most original and creative handmade arts & crafts and can be found at markets and shops all over Cape Town. You’ll find something that caters for any taste or style at the V&A Waterfront or at one of the many shops that open their doors in the surrounding Cape Town area.
Being a coastal town, the ocean plays an important part in everyday lives, beyond the calming effect for which it’s famous. There is an incredible diversity of marine life to be discovered and many fun-filled activities can be planned to make use of the bountiful Atlantic and Indian Oceans surrounding Cape Town.
ACCOMMODATIONS: RADISSON BLU HOTEL
This Cape Town harbor view hotel is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, with Table Mountain and Robben Island providing a beautiful backdrop. This idyllic destination sits within walking distance to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and is only a ten-minute drive from the central business district. Located near the shopping and entertainment hub of the city, the Radisson Blu also affords guests easy access to the Winelands as well as to golf courses including Metropolitan Golf Club.
The 177 bright and elegantly designed hotel rooms offer ultimate relaxation. All rooms come with free high-speed, wireless Internet access, mini bar and coffee and tea provisions. The Radisson Blu accommodation provides handicap-accessible and non-smoking rooms, available upon request.
Offering one of the best restaurants in Cape Town, this Radisson Blu features Tobago’s Restaurant, serving local and international cuisines and a vast selection of fine South African wines. Tobago’s Bar and Terrace boasts the perfect location to catch the gorgeous sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Town (Table Mountain & Robben Island)Awake this morning to a delicious breakfast at your hotel and then your private touring vehicle will collect you from the hotel to visit Table Mountain. It is best to ascend the mountain in the early morning before the clouds have settled onto the mountain top.Later today we will transfer to Robben Island Ferry dock and depart on a scheduled boat trip across Table Bay to Robben Island. On arrival guests will be met by their guide – an ex-political prisoner and then taken on a bus ride with the guide providing commentary. Stop and visit the infamous Maximum Security Prison as well as the Murray’s Bay Harbor precinct attractions, such as the Muslim shrine, or kramat, and the Museum Shop.
For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 12 kilometers from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years Robben Island became internationally known for its institutional brutality. The duty of those who ran the Island and its prison was to isolate opponents of apartheid and to crush their morale. Some freedom fighters spent more than a quarter of a century in prison for their beliefs.
This famous island has captured hearts and minds around the globe. Situated just a few kilometers from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, it was “home” to Nelson Mandela for some 17 years. Today it has become a symbol of freedom, the transformative power of forgiveness and a place of political pilgrimage. The tour includes a 7-mile boat trip, which takes about half an hour each way and the tour lasts about three hours.
ACCOMMODATIONS: RADISSON BLU HOTEL (Breakfast)
Cape Town (Cape Point)
Depart this morning on a full day tour of the Cape Peninsula, which will feature a midday break to enjoy a fresh seafood luncheon. First you will travel via the 12 Apostles and Hout Bay, to Chapman’s Peak. This is one of the region’s most dramatic mountain drives and offers amazing panoramic views over the city and environs. Descend the mountain pass and continue on to the coastline.
This strip of the peninsula’s shoreline, commonly known as the Atlantic Seaboard, stretches some 34 miles from the waters of Table Bay along the western coast to the nature reserve at Cape Point. The exceptional beaches and rugged mountains along this coastline not only make this a popular drive, but also provide outstanding views across the Atlantic Ocean, with some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve comes to an end at majestic Cape Point. Situated at the junction of two of earth’s most contrasting water masses – the cold Benguela current on the West Coast and the warm Agulhas current on the East Coast, the Cape of Good Hope is popularly perceived as the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Guests may take (optional, cost not included) the funicular to the vantage point from where they will be able to witness the “meeting of the two oceans”.
Today’s attractions include Boulders beach, which is home to a colony of endangered jackass penguins in Simonstown. Technically, these are African penguins… but early settlers thought that their braying sound was more like a four-footed pack animal than a two-footed bird!
You will also have the (optional, cost not included) opportunity to visit the colony of seals on the aptly named Seal Island, before returning to your hotel in the late afternoon. We would be happy to recommend some fabulous restaurants… Cape Town, after all, is the ‘foodie’ capital of South Africa!
ACCOMMODATIONS: RADISSON BLU HOTEL (Breakfast, Lunch)
Cape Town (Winelands)
Another day of unforgettable scenery begins as we depart on our full day tour to the winelands. Enjoy a spectacular drive through beautiful mountain scenery to the Cape’s World-Famous Wine Estates. You will stop at a popular winery where our group can sample some of the esteemed vintages and enjoy a cellar tour.
Franschhoek is our next stop – a gorgeous village surrounded by majestic mountains and often called the ‘gourmet center’ of South Africa. Some of the country’s finest restaurants are located in Franschhoek, before continuing to Paarl. This ‘pearl of the Cape’ lies nestled in the Berg river Valley, guarded by the huge granite rocks from which it gets its name. Paarl is also well known for its wine, cuisine and culture, and it also considered the home of the Afrikaans language.
We then continue to the lovely town of Stellenbosch, with its tree lined streets and historical architecture. The Stellenbosch University is the oldest college in South Africa! There will be time to explore Stellenbosch on foot – exploring the shops on popular Dorp Street and perhaps stopping for coffee in a quaint sidewalk café.
We will enjoy lunch today at a winery and then we return to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
ACCOMMODATIONS: RADISSON BLU HOTEL (Breakfast, Lunch)
Cape Town – Victoria Falls
Transfer to the airport this morning for the flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, located at the edge of famed Victoria Falls, via Johannesburg.
The local people referred to the Falls as mosi oa tunya or the ‘smoke that thunders’. When David Livingstone ‘discovered’ the Falls, he named them after his beloved Queen of England. Today the Falls are one of the natural wonders of the world, and an extremely popular destination for visitors to Southern Africa.
Victoria Falls actually forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The deep gorges that separate the countries are spanned, overhead, by a pedestrian bridge that allows visitors to walk between the two sides of the Falls, and the two countries. The actual cascade of water pours down the Zambia side of the gorge. This spectacular event is best viewed from the Zimbabwe side. However, the Zambia side has paths and natural swimming pools right at the lip of the Falls, which allow visitors to get extremely close to the watery cascade.
Upon arrival at the airport, you will obtain your visa at the Customs point, then meet our driver who has arranged for our transport to our reserved hotel.
You will have a little time to settle in and relax before the late afternoon transfer to the edge of the Zambezi River to board your sunset cruise vessel.
The leisurely cruise along Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park and the islands affords plenty of opportunities to see a variety of wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles, giraffes and even elephants, crossing the river. Snacks and drinks are served on board. The experience is a beautiful and relaxing introduction to the glorious Zambezi River and her spectacular Falls.
ACCOMMODATIONS: VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI LODGE
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge provides luxury accommodation in Victoria Falls. Set high on a natural plateau, the westward facing lodge borders the Zambezi National Park and is just four kilometers from the thundering Victoria Falls, Southern Africa’s foremost attraction.
Enjoying uninterrupted views of spectacular African sunsets and year-round game at its on-site waterhole, accommodation at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is ideally positioned to offer the most discerning traveler a taste of Africa at its best. The lodge offers outstanding accommodation and facilities, together with an authentic wildlife experience and warm hospitality.
Built of thatch and timber, the lodge rises several levels, giving the impression of a vast open-plan tree house. Our rooms all have private balconies, most of which overlook a central waterhole, offering the opportunity to observe herds of buffalo, elephant and kudu, as the sun goes down, and hyenas later in the evening.
All our rooms have digital safes, WIFI and power points, phones, remote control air conditioning, hairdryers, fans, mosquito nets, extensive range of customized toiletries including insect repellent, message pads, complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, and extra length beds. 5 of our deluxe double rooms can accommodate a rollaway bed for a child under 12 years.
Dining options include the a la carte Makuwa-Kuwa Restaurant, the more casual Buffalo Bar and The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show. (Breakfast)
After breakfast at the hotel, depart on an informative guided tour of Victoria Falls. En-route, you will be taken past the ‘Big Tree’ where you will stop and take photos. Your group will then be will be accompanied through the rain forest by a local guide who will give a brief history of the Falls themselves as well as detailing the flora, fauna, bird, wildlife and other points of interest. Guides are also happy to assist clients with photographs whilst visiting this most spectacular of waterfalls. Raincoats are provided when needed.
The Victoria Falls constitutes one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. There is a magic about them manifested in the towering column of spray when the river is high, the thunder of the falling water, the terrifying abyss and tranquil lagoons upstream in which hippo and deadly crocodiles lurk.
The Victoria Falls is 1,708 meters wide, making it the largest curtain of water in the world. It drops between 90m and 107m into the Zambezi Gorge and an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water plummet over the edge every minute. Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors as much today as it did David Livingstone in the 1860’s.
The Falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive commercialization.
ACCOMMODATIONS: VICTORIA FALLS SAFARI LODGE (Breakfast)
Victoria Falls – Chobe, Botswana
Following breakfast at the hotel, we will meet our guide and depart on your adventurous transfer to the Botswana border. You will be transferred by vehicle to the Kazungula border which is the border post between Zimbabwe and Botswana a distance of 70km – here your Botswana Guide will meet you. Once you are through the border post you will be taken straight to the Chobe River.
Upon arrival at your safari lodge, you will be warmly greeted by the camp staff and escorted to your accommodation. Lunch is served shortly thereafter, and you will have some leisure time to enjoy the camp facilities or espy game from the comfort of your veranda. Later in the afternoon guests will congregate for refreshments as the guides prepare for the afternoon / evening game activity. This area is renowned for huge herds of elephants, and it is quite a sight seeing them swimming across the river, trunks held high!
Return to camp just after sundown, when the nocturnal species emerge and the big cats start their nighttime prowl. Enjoy a delicious dinner and the camaraderie of other travelers, as game rangers regale guests with stories and tales of the African bush.
Your first night in the bush is serenaded by the sounds of Botswana’s wildlife – both big and small – as they eat, hunt and sleep under star-studded African skies.
ACCOMMODATIONS: CHOBE MARINA LODGE
Uniquely located in the North-Eastern corner of Botswana where the four African nations of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia converge, Chobe Marina Lodge is surrounded by the natural beauty of Africa. The Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Kasane Forest Reserve, the Caprivi Strip and the mighty Zambezi River, each offer their own attractions and with Victoria Falls but 70 kilometers away, Chobe Marina Lodge is a ‘must visit’ destination when in Southern Africa.
Chalets, two restaurants and wonderful wooden decks over the river make this hotel truly world-class. Dine in opulence and sheer class at Chobe Marina Lodge, where good food and comprehensive service are part of the mix. Commissioners A La Carte Restaurant serves world-class dishes beautifully prepared by our experienced chef. For a more informal meal try the Mokoros Restaurant, which offers local cuisine in a lighthearted, friendly environment.
Accommodation is provided in thatched studios, apartments, chalets and suites, with private lounges and modern comforts such as air conditioning, ceiling fans, satellite TV, telephones and mini bars.
At Cathari Health & Beauty Spa pamper yourself with our menu of body services, facials, hands and feet treatments done by our team of carefully selected professional beauty therapists. The treatments were all designed for your total relaxation and well-being. Beauty Mobile Spa was formed to service the needs of rapidly expanding massage demands of the guests who want to go back to their busy schedule or hectic life fully refreshed. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Day 09 & 10
You will have wildlife activities each morning and afternoon – either boating on the river or in the Safari Vehicles.
The most remarkable feature of the Chobe National Park is its huge concentration of elephants (38 000) and also its great natural beauty. The park has an amazing variety of habitats, which range from floodplains to verdant grasslands and thickets bordering the Chobe River. The Chobe National Park has an amazing variety of game and many brilliantly colored birds. You can see 4 of the Big 5 in Chobe: elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo and very rarely rhino.
Chobe Marina Lodge lush expansive gardens are home to an abundance of wildlife, including the legendary fish eagle, warthog, squirrel, mongoose, vervet monkeys and fruit bat.
A river boat cruise to the park, will introduce you to a totally different game viewing experience. Other activities to enhance your experience at Chobe Marina Lodge include a leisurely sightseeing cruise to Sedudu island, or for a more thrilling experience you can try your hand at fishing for the famed tiger fish, which inhabit the Chobe and Kasai River systems.
ACCOMMODATIONS: CHOBE MARINA LODGE (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Chobe – Victoria Falls – Johannesburg – Washington, DC
After our morning activity and breakfast, we meet our driver and bid a fond ‘farewell’ to the African bush. We transfer to the Victoria Falls airport for our scheduled flight to Johannesburg. On arrival at the OR Tambo international airport we connect with our South African Airways flight bound for the USA. (Breakfast)
A group February 26
B group April 11
Arrive Washington, DC
Arrive home early today…with memories and photos to last a lifetime!
South Africa: An entry permit will be issued to you upon arrival into South Africa.
Zimbabwe: An entry visa will be issued upon arrival into Zimbabwe – the current cost is U.S. $30 for a single entry and U.S. $45 for a double entry. The visa must be paid in U.S. dollars and should be in exact change.
Botswana: An entry permit will be issued to you upon arrival into Botswana.
South Africa requires two blank visas pages in your passport. We recommend one blank visa page for each other country visited. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond intended period of stay.
There are no required inoculations on this itinerary. However, malaria tablets are highly recommended. You may obtain these pills by prescription, from your regular physician.
AIRFARE: Round trip Economy Air aboard South African Airways direct from Washington DC, including taxes, fuel and the internal fares within South Africa; subject to change.
Early Bird Discount: $200 per person if booked and under deposit before Oct 15, 2018.
Book Now on-line using the buttons below or call 1-800-409-7755
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Valid as of July 23, 2018 for departures from Washington Dulles (IAD) on February 25 and March 31, 2019 only with the same itinerary; available at higher prices during other travel periods. Other departure points and domestic flights within the U.S. can be booked at additional cost pending availability. Subject to availability and currency exchange rate fluctuations. Prices are valid for new bookings only, are not retroactive and may change without notice. Package includes all current government and airline imposed taxes and fees. Baggage and optional service fees, cancellation charges and other restrictions may apply.