Veritable Wilderness Safari and Community-Driven Conservation
September 9 to 24, 2024
From the grandeur of Victoria Falls to the truly untamed corners of Hwange National Park, encounter the glory and reality of Zimbabwe. Safari on private concessions where you will share wildlife sightings only with others from our small camps and lodges. Enjoy the proximity and flexibility to, at a moment’s notice, jump in a Land Cruiser and rush to watch a lion’s sunset hunt. Spend time in the villages bordering the park, and not only see the positive impact of ecotourism, be a part of the solution for human-wildlife conflict. Visit and learn about a water pump project funded by your trip in remote Southern Hwange, where few people travel, and therefore, less investment filters in to benefit the local people and to protect the wildlife.
- Witness the splendor of one of the world’s natural wonders: Victoria Falls.
- Dwell amongst elephants, lions, buffalo, and more in lodging set in the action.
- View thirsty wildlife up close from custom “look-up blinds” located feet from freshwater pumps the elephants love.
- Experience the thrill of walking alongside white rhino and meet the team that protects this threatened species.
- Continue your journey on our Primates trip from September 23 to October 1. Spend precious time with the chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and other primates in the Ugandan jungles.
Updated: June 2023
Print Trip Safari Options
|Sep 9-10||Travel to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from home.|
|Sep 11||Arrive in Victoria Falls and join the group for dinner.||Illala Lodge, Victoria Falls||D|
|Sep 12||Tour the massive falls; road transfer and game drive to Nehimba.||Nehimba Lodge, Hwange National Park||B, L, D|
|Sep 13-14||Explore wildlife-rich Northern Hwange in Land Cruisers and on foot.||Nehimba Lodge, Hwange National Park||B, L, D|
|Sep 15 - 16||Fly to Jozibanini; explore remote Southern Hwange by Landcruiser, foot, and even mountain bikes if you wish!||Jozibanini Camp, Hwange National Park||B, L, D|
|Sep 17||Enjoy full day safari including a visit to a pump project on the way from Jozi to Bomani.||Bomani Tented Lodge||B, L, D|
|Sep 18||Game drive in the morning and watch wildlife converging on a waterhole from a “look-up blind” in the afternoon.||Bomani Tented Lodge||B, L, D|
|Sep 19-21||Between game drives, visit a local school and village, then meet the white rhinos reintroduced into Hwange and their caretakers: the “Cobras.”||Bomani Tented Lodge||B, L, D|
|Sep 22||Take the Elephant Express game-viewing train back to Dete Railway Station and continue by road to Victoria Falls; later join a sundowners’ cruise on the Zambezi.||Palm River Hotel||B, L, D|
|Sep 23||Spend your morning at leisure until transferring to airport.||B|
Our Trip Leaders
Vusa leads safaris in Hwange National Park as a fully licensed Professional Guide, the culmination of ten years of hard work and dedication. Zimbabwe's Professional Guides are known as among the best in Africa due to the intensive qualification procedure. Vusa guides with expertise in the plant, wildlife, and culture of Zimabawe, and he entertains travelers with his humor and warm personality. Vusa exudes passion for his native country.
A glimpse into our journey
Arrive in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Welcome to Zimbabwe! Our local agent will provide transfers from the airport to the hotel. If you would like to arrive earlier, we can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra nights. Join the group and your leader for dinner at the lodge.
Tour Victoria Falls, then off to Northern Hwange
Spend the morning viewing, from different vantage points, the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest in the world by volume, but not by size. Still, the enormous falls measures 360ft high and 5,306ft wide. You will see why in the local language Victoria Falls is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya – “the smoke that thunders.”
Transfer halfway by road (2 ½ hours) and game drive the rest of the way to Nehimba. Arrive in time for a walking safari, then have sundowners and dinner on the deck of the lodge as the elephants gather just steps away for their evening drink.
Explore Northern Hwange
Enjoy game drives and walks where mopane woodlands merge with the Khalahari sandveld. Meet many elephants and hopefully the elephant-hunting lions the area is known for! Stop for bush lunches or return to camp for a midday break. The dry season provides rich opportunities to encounter diverse wildlife as animals drink and play at the waterholes and the famous Nehimba Seeps, a sacred ancient water source once used by the San huntsmen. The area is frequented by elephants digging for nutritious minerals in the water. Take time to engage with the camp staff; you will be captivated by their excitement about the elephants’ visits to the Nehimba waterhole, even though they come every day! Travelers and staff never tire of watching these intriguing and social giants!
Discover the remote African bush
Sep 15 - 16
Take a charter flight to the incredibly remote Jozibanini, 4 hours from the next nearest camp. In addition to providhing an authentic African bush experience, the existence of Jozi, a 5-tent rustic camp, provides the presence and resources to quell poaching in this previously unpatrolled and unprotected part of the park. After a day walking or mountain biking the elephant paths and game driving far from all other civilization, witness the Milky Way as you never have before. You can even roll your beds outside and sleep under the stars if you choose! Though the least luxurious of all your lodging, this camp is most often heralded as the favorite.
Game drive to Bomani and visit pump project
View more exciting game as you travel towards Bomani, stopping along the way at a remote village to learn about the pump project funded by your trip. With no natural water source in the dry season, the people and animals of Hwange are 100 percent dependent on water originally pumped by windmills, later replaced by diesel engines, and now solar power. The safari lodges build and maintain all the wells, and thanks to you, another much needed one will be in service in an often-overlooked village.
You will arrive at Bomani in time for sundowners at one of the favorite pans in Ngamo Plains before a 3-course dinner under the stars.
Experience the Ngamo Plains
Check off each of the Big 5 from your list as you explore the plains surrounding Bomani. Encounter Cecil the Lion’s descendants and other big cats, like leopards and cheetahs, as well as traditional favorites such as giraffes, zebra, buffalo, and of course, more elephants. Don’t discriminate; appreciate your time with the Ugly 5 (wildebeest, warthogs, hyenas, marabou storks, and vultures) too!
Between game drives, visit the local village and rhino project
Wake up early for game drives, then be immersed in Zimbabwean culture. Join village children on their walk to school and get a glimpse into their lives. Listen to their songs and walk through their classrooms. Stop by and meet the Head Man of the community and learn about how he seeks to blend progress and traditional cultural practices. Get up close and personal with the successfully reintroduced white rhinos and their guardians, the “Cobras.” Tour the medical clinic the village voted to finance with money generated by rhino encounters. Because the safari lodges are built on public lands, the communities have a voice in the development funded by the lodges. Enjoy games drives, the “look-up blind,” and unbelievable sunsets as the days wind down.
Head back toward Victoria Falls on the Elephant Express
After one last game drive or walk, board the custom-built, open-air train car on what was once the longest straight rail line in the world. The elegant and comfortable Elephant Express provides unrestricted game viewing. Enjoy drinks of all kinds and delicious snacks en route!
Upon arrival at your luxurious lodging in Victoria Falls, take a breath and enjoy views of the Zambezi before a sundowners’ cruise and a lovely dinner.
Say goodbye to Zimbabwe for now
Spend a relaxing morning enjoying the hotel’s amenities before being transferred to the airport for your flights home.
Perceive the majesty and authenticity of Zimbabwe from the colossal Victoria Falls to the truly wild edges of Hwange National Park.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$7,820|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except one-way flight from Giraffe Springs to Libuti), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will try to find a roommate for you, but if we cannot pair you with a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$1,000|
|Final||March 10, 2024||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
- Carbon offsets for the duration of this trip.
- All leaders, transport, park entry fees, landing fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
- One-way flight from Giraffe Springs to Libuti.
- Accommodations for the nights of September 11 through 23.
- Meals from dinner on September 11 through breakfast on September 23.
- Beverages, including alcohol, from dinner on September 11 to breakfast on September 23.
- Sundowners from September 11 to September 22.
- Transfers on September 11 from the Victoria Falls airport to Illala Lodge and September 23 from the Palm River Lodge to the Victoria Falls airport.
- Trip Planning Materials – information about entry requirements, flights, packing, gratuities, etc.
- Carbon offsets for your flights to/from this trip.
- All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Round-trip airfare is approximately $1,200 to $1,600 between the US and Victoria Falls, depending on origin.
- Passport and visa fees.
- COVID tests.
- Divergent airport transfers (arranged by us) and extra hotel nights.
- Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $10 to $20 per participant per day for 12 days with our leaders to be given to your guide at the end of your trip (about $120 to $240 per participant). In addition, we suggest budgeting $10 to $20 per day for 12 days (about $120 to $240 per participant) for lodging staff. The safari camps have a tip box for your convenience.
September is well into the dry season in Hwange National Park. The average lows are in the upper 50’s°f, and the average highs are in the upper 80’s°f. Rain is unlikely.
Good energy levels are required for long days in the field riding in bouncy Land Cruisers. You will also have the opportunity for walks on elephant trails, usually less than 2 miles at a time, and you can take an optional mountain bike ride at Jozbanini.
Detailed logistical information is included in the Trip Planning Materials we will send you.
Flights you book
- Arrive in Victoria Falls (VFA) by 4:00pm on September 11.
- Depart from Victoria Falls (VFA) after 10:00am on September 22.
Flights we book.
- The one-way flight from Giraffe Springs to Libuti is included in the trip cost. Important: this flight has a strict luggage allowance of 44lbs (20kg), included carry-on, and dimensions no more than 11.8in by 13.8in by 27.5in (30cm by 35cm by 70cm). Also, soft luggage is required.
Nehimba and Bomani have rustic, but luxurious accommodations, while Jozibanini is more basic but comfortable. All lodging has electricity and flush toilets.
Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:
- Ecotourism and Conservation Zimbabwe
- Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral
- Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. You can purchase offsets with most airlines (Delta includes them automatically), use our handy carbon calculator and donate to Sustainable Travel International, or contribute to your favorite offsetting organization.
Read our current Terms and Conditions.