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Destinations Offered > Botswana > Kalahari Desert, Zambezi River and Lake Malawi

Kalahari Desert, Zambezi River and Lake Malawi

Fairlawns Garden
This unique experience provides a study in contrasts as we take you to the Kalahari Desert of Botswana, the rich game along the banks of the Zambezi in Zambia and a 400 mile lake in Malawi. You will ride out of the salt pans on quad bikes to experience total silence, take the rapids on the lower Zambezi and snorkel the crystal clear waters of one of Africa’s largest lakes. Throughout you will enjoy superb food and wine, varied methods of transport and truly outstanding accommodations.
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Traveler's Overview14 Days From $7,987 per person inclusive of superior rooms in superior hotels, camps and lodges, all meals, wine, beer & spirits, laundry service, all flights within Botswana, Zambia and Malawi, game drives by vehicle and boat, personally guided sightseeing including walking safaris and private car and driver. International airfare is additional. Private departures at your convenience based on a maxiumum of six guests. Departures Jul.-Oct $8,839
Trip Dossier

Personal Highlights:

• Waking up in your luxury tent in the Kalahari to find a Meercat curled up on the bed for warmth
• Traveling out to the salt pans and stopping to listen to a silence so intense that you can actually hear the blood flowing in your ears
• A delightful al fresco dinner with wine on the banks of the mighty Zambezi
• A sunset cruise on a custom made dhow on Lake Malawi

Day 1 Depart USA

Your adventure begins as you depart the USA bound for South Africa and arrive in Johannesburg the following evening.


Day 2 Arrival in Johannesburg

Upon your afternoon arrival in Johannesburg, you will be met and personally escorted to your hotel, Fairlawns, which is situated in close proximity to the airport. This spectacular boutique hotel will offer a classic and elegant welcome to South Africa. After check in, enjoy dinner followed by a good night's sleep.


Day 3 Flight to Maun and to Jack’s Camp

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for the commercial flight to Maun in Botswana, "Gateway to the Okavango Delta". You will be met by your pilot and escorted to your aircraft for the flight to Jack's Camp. After a short flight, you land at Jack's camp, named for the owner's eccentric father, a reformed crocodile hunter and genuine character. The camp has been described as one of the most romantic on earth. Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert the camp is pitched on a low grassland knoll amongst an oasis of dignified desert palms and Kalahari Acacia trees. This evening you will drive out through the verdant grasslands to the edge of the pans which were, 10,000 years ago, one of the world's largest lakes but now a vast salt plain stretching to the horizon. All the guides are fully qualified Zoologist/Biologists most doing field work for their PhD and they will explain how the Makgadikgadi Pans were formed. You then return to camp for dinner in the elegant mess tent, a designated national museum of Botswana.

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Day 4 "Timor" and Friends

You set off in the morning to visit some of the Kalahari's sexiest Meercats (‘suricate' to science-minded people and Timor to Lion King fans) As evidenced by the success of "Meerkat Manor" these animals are the comedians of Africa and you get the opportunity to get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. On chilly mornings it is not unknown to have a Meercat snuggle up to you for warmth or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree use one's head as a sentry lookout post. By spending time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, you will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. In the afternoon you visit a remote cattle ranch to learn about the traditional culture of the Batswana people. Close by is the famous Chapman's Baobab which is acknowledged to be the largest tree in Africa. It was the campsite of early explorers like Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered the area. Tonight another elegant dinner.

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Day 5 The Makgadikgadi Pans

After an early breakfast, you wrap a kikoi around your head to ward off the sun, mount your four wheel ATVs and head out on the Ntwetwe Pan, destination: Kubu Island. The journey to and from Kubu is completely extraordinary. The convoy, each vehicle following the other to minimize our footprint, barrels across the lunar-like landscape of scorched white earth. As the day heats up, mirages appear. What appear to be topiary trees floating above a shimmering lake is actually a family of ostriches. You stop for lunch thinking that it is like having a picnic on the moon. As the sun begins to drop, squint at a smudge on the horizon – Kubu Island. This is what you have come to see. An island no longer surrounded by water but still studded with baobab trees, older than Christ; a place holy to the Kalahari Bushmen, a place of power and intrigue. The staff have set up camp with a cauldron of water ready for a shower. The dining table, the drinks tray with Beefeater and Georgian fobs on bottle labels, stands waiting. Your bedroll replete with hot water bottles and ticking comforters has been arranged. You enjoy your star-spangled silver service dinner and fall into bed...

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Day 6 Mysteries of Kubu Island

You will spend today exploring this fascinating area. You will visit the extinct mouth of the Zambezi which, together with various other rivers, once flowed into the pans. The remaining beach is covered with beautiful water-worn pebbles amongst which you can find semi-precious stones such as garnets and cornelians. Close to the island is the biggest flamingo breeding site in the world. 30,000 flamingo fledge here when water is available and although the nests are abandoned during the dry season the strangely shaped mud mounds are an eerie and strangely compelling site. After your exploration, it is time to sit back with a glass of wine and exchange stories in your million star dining room.

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Day 7 Back to Jack's

After an early breakfast, you reluctantly say goodbye to this strange but intriguing place. You re-mount your ATVs and head back to Jack's Camp for a more advanced shower and a farewell to the Kalahari dinner in the elegant mess tent.

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Day 8 From the Kalahari to the Zambezi

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airstrip where you begin your air journey from Boswana to Zambia and from the vistas of the Kalahari to the banks of the Zambezi. Upon arriving at the airport you are met by our representative and taken to Sausage Tree Camp offering luxury and adventure. This afternoon you have the option of a game drive by vehicle or one of the walking safaris for which South Luangwa is famousB, L, D

Day 9 A Walking Safari in South Luangwa

After breakfast you have the opportunity to see Africa as it should be see, on foot. There are wonderful opportunities in the area for walking safaris. Walks are conducted by a professional guide and an armed parks scout. It is on foot that the guides can show you some of the most fascinating signs of the bush, many of which are hard to spot from a vehicle. Out in the bush, you can follow animal tracks along sandy paths. It's not just the big animals that are fascinating – termites, dung beetles and chameleons all have their stories to tell too. The park hosts many herds of the endemic Thornicroft giraffe which can always be found in the prolific Mopane woodland on the valley. After lunch and a chance to relax you can take an evening game drive or just stay at the camp enjoying the sunset. This evening sit outside under the stars and enjoy superb food, good wine and companionship from your fellow guests.

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Day 10 Driving to Malawi

After breakfast you will meet your guide for the drive to the country of Malawi which is a small land locked country surrounded by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa, with friendly people, dazzling scenery, game parks, sandy beaches and a great abundance of marine and birdlife. The country is dominated by Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest lake, which runs along part of the Great Rift Valley. Described by David Livingstone as the "Lake of Stars"; Lake Malawi is almost 400 miles long and home to more than a thousand species of fish. You enjoy some of the scenery as you drive to the Lake arriving in the early afternoon in time for lunch. Your destination is Pumulani, which means "rest well" in the local Chichewa language, and is located on the protected shores of the Nankumba Peninsula. Surrounding you is Lake Malawi National Park, a World Heritage Site since 1984. In the afternoon you can relax on the beach, take a swim in the Lake or in the Lodge's infinity pool. In the evening, dinner under the stars.

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Day 11 Exploring Above and Below Lake Malawi

Some people's impression of a lake is one with murky water and muddy bottoms but not Lake Malawi. The waters are crystal clear with sandy bottom and large boulders much like the Caribbean but with fresh water. The fish are also a delight with thousands of varieties of Cichlids with colorful plumage. You can view the fish by snorkeling or scuba diving. If you feel more at home on the surface try kayaking, waterskiing of sailing in a dinghy. Take time for a light lunch and a chilled glass of wine followed by a siesta under a shade tree in the garden. In the evening board the Lodge's custom made dhow for a romantic sunset cruise on the lake.

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Day 12 Meeting the Locals

In the morning, take a trip into the local village to interact with the locals and learn more about village life. You'll find the people genuinely friendly and interested to learn more about your home. After a visit to the village, return to the Lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, take a bird watching tour along the lake keeping an eye out for fish eagles or take a mountain bike for a spin. In the evening, cocktails at sunset set up this evening's dinner.

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Day 13 Return to USA

In the morning you are transferred to Llongwe airport to catch your connecting flight to the United States


Day 14 Arrival in USA

You arrive back in the USA today
Day 2
Sandton, Johannesburg

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The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa is a privately owned 5 star hotel located in the heart of Sandton one of Johannesburg’s most exclusive suburbs. The hotel completed an expansion project in 2010 and now comprises 40 well appointed suites all individually named and decorated. The hotel offers a Bali Spa with outdoor treatment Salas and the gourmet terrace restaurant with stunning views of the tranquil gardens and rolling green lawns for which the hotel is named. In addition to luxury accommodations the hotel offers other personalized touches such as a welcome drink and refreshing hand towel on check-in, complimentary clothes pressing on arrival, complimentary shoe shine service and same day laundry service. Fairlawns provides comfortable and contemporary classic style whilst maintaining a refined charm that the hotel is famous for. Understated service, comfort and privacy are qualities that still remain in place as the property has grown over the past 14 years.
Days 3 - 5

Jack's Camp
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Ten green roomy and stylish canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms and indoor and outdoor showers (for those who want to feel the Kalahari breeze on their skin) have been fashioned in classical style and are set into a palm grove creating an oasis of civilization in what can be the harshest of stark environments… Persian rugs underfoot and cool cotton sheets form a striking contrast with the rugged wilderness viewed from the comfort of one’s own verandah
Days 6 - 7
Victoria Falls

Sussi & Chuma
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Sussi & Chuma is named after explorer David Livingstone's two faithful companions who carried his body all the way back to England from where he died in Zambia. The lodge itself is an exclusive haven in the heart of Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which in addition to the mighty roar of the Victoria Falls, also boasts a wide variety of game as well as countless opportunities for adventure. The main lodge is built on two levels, perched in giant ebony trees overlooking the Zambezi. Guests can relax in the swimming pool or the treatment room, or enjoy a drink in the elevated bar. In terms of accommodation there are twelve air-conditioned tree houses, connected by wooden walkways. Each tree house enjoys superb views over the river and is an open plan room with shower, bathtub, vanity area and private toilet. In addition, there are two private houses available, each with two bedrooms, their own dining areas and decks with plunge pools, and their own chefs and house staff.
Days 8 - 9
South Luangwa National Park

Puku Ridge Camp
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Puku Ridge Camp offers guests an authentic tented safari experience in South Luangwa, one of Zambia's best areas for game viewing and bird spotting. The region is home to 60 mammals - including elephant, lion, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and, of course, antelope - and over 400 bird species. Guests can spend an afternoon relaxing in the camp's large living area in between thrilling game drives or walking safaris. You might even hear the Puku antelope whistling to one other when danger threatens. The central dining area produces gourmet meals, despite being so far away from a city, let alone a road. The camp is designed to leave no trace on the environment and has embraced a very natural kind of African chic in its decor.The seven tents are spacious and comfortable; each with a soothing hot tub and an outdoor shower shaded by trees and stocked with luscious and environmentally friendly Africology products. Watch the sun rise from your double bed, or spot animals making their way across the plains to a waterhole from your private viewing deck.
Days 10 - 12
Lake Malawi

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Pumulani enjoys a spectacular setting on the unspoilt western shore of the Nankumba Peninsula. Surrounding us is Lake Malawi National Park – a World Heritage Site – where hundreds of species of fish, including rare and colourful cichlids, swim in the clear blue water. The lodge has ten individually-designed villas spread out along a lush hillside overlooking the lake. Each villa boasts a large bedroom, a spacious living area and a private deck with lake view. Guests can relax on the sandy beach or at our stylish infinity pool. For those seeking activity, there is waterskiing, sailing, diving, wakeboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and birdwatching. At sunset, scenic cruises are offered on a traditional wooden dhow, a 40ft sailing boat hand built by local craftsmen. It’s the perfect way to experience the beauty of Lake Malawi, described by the explorer David Livingstone as The Lake of Stars.