BOTSWANA * ZIMBABWE * ZAMBIA * MALAWI
Our new Africa adventure for 2019 is a top-quality Overland Safari holiday, packed with adventure and discovery, experienced in unique style in our classic overland vehicle, ‘The Beast’. ‘Venture to the Interior’ of Africa explores destinations in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, in an up-close and personal manner.
Our personal touch
A small group safari in safety, comfort & style with the personal Back Track Adventures touch
All destinations have been selected to ensure that our journey will provide wonderful wildlife encounters, sensational scenic attractions, and true cultural interaction. All locations visited are politically stable and offer a safe and warm welcome to tourists. This is not your normal off-the-shelf holiday package. If you like your travel to be ‘unique’ then you’ll love this journey.
This adventure is fully accommodated throughout with very comfortable hotels, resorts and lodges, and during your three day wildlife safari in Botswana, you will be comfortably camping using a mobile, semi-luxury tented camp. Hot showers, beds, warm doonas and fluffy pillows with a personal ensuite toilet, plus, readily available hot showers make camping a truly memorable experience.
This is the swansong for your hosts Trish and Jim – after 17 years of escorting safaris together, this will be their last year and they plan to make it a truly memorable experience for all their travel companions. They are passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about all things Africa.
Africa is an expensive and complex destination to travel, however, we have taken the worry of organisation out of your travel plans and made the itinerary as all-inclusive as we can. Interested? Read on and if you have any questions please call us. We’d love to have you on board.
Back Track Adventures offer a totally unique, comfortable and stylish African Overland Safari Holiday. At the same time we provide our fellow travellers, all the ‘fun stuff’ without the ‘rough stuff’ that is the traditional African Overland Safari. Spectacular wildlife, stunning scenery, meaningful cultural interaction, the romance and as well, the fun and adventure of being immersed in nature in its grandest in the wilds of Africa.
This trip is an “All Inclusive” costed holiday. Our top inclusions are:
- ‘The Beast’ is our primary means of transport. The Beast is an original, classic, Mercedes Benz Overland Truck. The Beast, now heavily modified to carry us in comfort and unique style, is a real rough and tough character. No one messes with The Beast. He is also our Safari Mascot. We love him, you will to. PLUS, when necessary, we’ll use small 4WD vehicles, canoes and charter flights.
- A Safari Crew of three staff. Driver, Safari Leader and Courier – our crew is dedicated to providing first class service while being part of the group and enjoying the comradery, fun and adventure.
- A relaxed pace, after all, we’re on holidays! We’ve got plenty of territory to cover and plenty of time to do it in.
- Exceptional wildlife encounters and a profound connection with nature in Africa’s famous Wildlife Reserves and National Parks.
- Spectacular scenery every day including the travel icons – the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, and some amazing game reserves.
- Most meals included.
- Unique quality accommodation, all ensuite, in a variety of African Safari Lodges, hotels and resorts, all picked for character and charm.
- All entrance fees, activities detailed in the itinerary and all tips and gratuities.
To ensure your experience is extraordinary, the following are very important. How we travel, where we stay, good food and wines, professional friendly guides and safari crew and meaningful contact and interaction with the local people wherever we travel.
Throughout your safari we never lose sight of the fact that most people come to Africa to experience the wildlife. Though we cannot guarantee that you will have a cheetah jump into the back seat of the vehicle with you, we can guarantee that you are up for a breathtaking wildlife experience, all in comfort and style.
Our Back Track Adventure crew
You will be escorted from Brisbane by Jim Drapes, an experienced African traveller. In Africa, we will be joined by our friends: Trish our courier, and Henry our driver. The crew is very knowledgeable on the birds, wildlife and local culture. They are a great source of information on game drives and when interacting with the locals.
Trish was born in Zimbabwe and together with her husband Garth are Directors of African Journeys, a safari company based in Victoria Falls. Back Track have been working with African Journey for over a decade and during that period we have operated many wonderful and unique safaris together, including the popular Great Southern Africa Safari. Escorting our safaris is a way of life. Trish is a fun travel companion and her knowledge and experience of the African bush adds immensely to the enjoyment of the safari.
Jim has had a love affair with Africa since his first visit to Zimbabwe in the ’80s and has escorted many African safaris over the last 26 years from Kenya to Cape Town. During that time he has continued his guiding duties in regions all over the world, but continues to come back to Africa and in particular Southern Africa. Like many others Jim has fallen in love with the wilds of Africa and will grasp at any opportunity to get back into the African bush. He has a deep knowledge of the Africa eco-systems in which you will be visiting and looks forward to sharing a wonderful experience with you.
How we travel – introducing “The Beast”
THE BEAST is our own classic overlanding vehicle. There would be no safari without him. He is big, tough and reliable and protective of his passengers. No one messes with him. The Beast has taken us all over Africa, from the gorillas in Rwanda to the snows of Kilimanjaro and to the Horn of Africa and back. He’s our mate, we love him, you will to.
The Beast has soft, comfortable seating and is designed for excellent game viewing and sight-seeing. Originally a 28-seater, recently modified, The Beast now seats 18. There is plenty of room to spread out, plus, ample storage space for luggage, safari supplies and equipment. We have two fridge freezers fitted so drinks are always cold and food fresh. Cold water dispenser is available to keep your water bottles full with fresh clean drinking water. A charging desk for portable electrical equipment, as well as a TV monitor, sound system, library and reading tables. The Beast handles the road conditions perfectly and is a safe, reliable, and well maintained. The Beast carries 18 passengers plus your four safari crew, in comfort and unique style.
In Chobe, we use smaller, 4WD safari vehicles specifically designed to handle local conditions. As well, we charter fly into the famous wildlife area -Moremi in the heart of the Okavango Delta, where we utilise specially modified 4WD vehicles on safari and local canoes to explore the waterways of the Okavango Delta.
Where we stay
We stay in a variety of hand picked accommodation rated from 3- to 4-star, encompassing quality hotels, lodges and chalets, and a comfortable safari camp.
Camping has never been so comfortable. In Moremi, we camp, away from the tourist hoards, in an exclusive private camp site for three nights. Our camp provides comfy chairs, roomy twin share walk-in style tents, kitted with beds, thick foam mattresses and covers, warm doonas, pillows, pillow slips and led lighting. You have your own ensuite toilet. After a private hot shower relax around the camp fire. We dine at night under the stars or in our dining tent. All camp equipment is supplied, even wine glasses. Just 1 star short of ‘Glam‑Camping’.
Lodges and hotels
On arrival in Victoria Falls, we ‘Home Stay’ in the family run Bayete Lodge. Private Chalets scattered in a tropical haven of peace and beauty. Everyone soon adjusts to the ‘relaxed pace of life’ that will be our holiday style for the next 22 days.
The term ‘Lodge’ encompasses the variety of hand picked accommodation used on our Safari. We use only 3-star plus accommodation throughout our safari.
Meals are provided by our accommodation hosts. The only meals not supplied are lunches at times you may wish to be out and about doing your ‘own thing’. We have arranged some very special dinners including our ‘Welcome to Africa’ dinner at the Boma Restaurant when we first arrive at the Falls, plus dinner at the Lookout Restaurant, and a Zambezi River dinner cruise.
Pure drinking water is always available 24-hours.
A dedicated supportive crew attend to all duties. Your only involvement is to enjoy your holiday. If you wish to help or to assist our driver to ‘maintain’ The Beast, you are welcome to get involved, only if it is fun for you to do so.
All activities mentioned in the itinerary are included in the tour price. The only extra costs will be for optional activities you wish to enjoy in Victoria Falls. An up to date price list for all optional activities will be provided before we depart, to assist your budgeting.
The locations through which our safari travels are safe and politically stable and popular with tourists from all over the world. In our years of traveling in this region we have never felt threatened or had a security or safety incident. Tourists and travellers are always made welcome by the locals.
The African wildlife
Our safari will bring us into close proximity with wild animals. The wildlife and birdlife spotting is superb. Our camp sites in Moremi are safe and secure. It is a never-to-be-forgotten experience to camp in the wilds of Africa. Even in Victoria Falls, where we stay outside the Wildlife Reserve, we still encounter elephants, baboons and warthogs in town. In Etosha National Park as well as our regular game drives we have the opportunity of viewing the wildlife at the waterholes adjacent to our accommodation.
Specialist safari guides
We engage specialist Safari Guides while camping for three nights in Moremi. These guides provide expert local knowledge and wildlife guiding skills essential to our enjoyment and success on what is a highlight of our safari.
The local people
We take every opportunity to interact with the local communities encountered along the way. We want all to come home with an understanding of the lifestyles of the people in each country we visit. We find that some of our best safari memories are those that involve our interaction with the locals.
Many locations now provide WiFi as a service as indicated on the itinerary.
This is an ‘all inclusive’ costed safari holiday
The top inclusions are listed above. In addition, we cover all tips required for services provided by service providers on the safari. As well you will receive:- trip notes, polo style safari shirt and cap; detailed pre-departure information to ensure you are ready to go; pre-departure telephone conference call for Safari members joining up from interstate; pre-departure get together for members joining from Brisbane; full pre-trip travel services provided via our office, email or our 1300 number; expert assistance with post trek tours in Southern Africa.
Travel insurance; a few meals as indicated in the itinerary; optional tours in Victoria Falls; and Visa fee for Zambia USD$40 and Zimbabwe USD$50 which are currently the only visas required for Australian passport holders and paid on arrival.
Costs & dates
|2019 COST & DATES||TWO OPTIONS:
*All prices are subject to change based on exchange rate fluctuations.
Contact us for the BEST FLIGHT DEALS to Africa
Jim Drapes, Safari Escort
Trish Pritchard, Safari Escort
Henry ( Driver)
|TRIP HIGHLIGHTS||Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Okavango Delta, Nyika National Park in Malawi, Luangwa River, and so much more…|
|GROUP SIZE||Minimum 12, maximum 18 people, plus three safari crew and specialist additional guides throughout.|
^Though we are not expecting any price increases from our suppliers, airline prices and/or taxes could increase. These increases will be added to our quoted holiday costs.
JOURNEY TO THE INTERIOR Overview
|Day 1||BOTSWANA. Arrive Maun. Transfer to Maun Lodge. Briefing this evening.||D|
|Days 2, 3 & 4||Semi-luxury camping safari in Okavango Eco System at MOREMI and KHWAI, canoe trip in Delta.||BLD|
|Day 5||Fly to KASANE. Transfer to Chobe Safari Lodge. Afternoon game drive.||BLD|
|Day 6||ZIMBABWE. Lunch cruise on Chobe River. Afternoon transfer to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Accommodation: Bayete Lodge. Dinner tonight at Lookout Restaurant.||BLD|
|Day 7||Early morning walking tour of VICTORIA FALLS. Rest of day free for optional tours. Some Safari Members flying into Victoria Falls today. Met on arrival and transferred to Bayete Lodge. ‘Welcome to Africa’ dinner tonight at Boma restaurant.||BD|
|Day 8||Full day in VICTORIA FALLS completing optional tours, shopping and exploring. Dinner cruise on the Zambezi River.||BD|
|Day 9||ZAMBIA. Full day drive to Lusaka. Accommodation: Cresta Golf view lodge.||BLD|
|Day 10||Fly to MFUWE and transfer to our chalets at Wildlife Camp in South Luangwa National Park. Late afternoon/night game drive.||BLD|
|Days 11 & 12||MFUWE: from our base at wildlife camp, morning and afternoon game drives plus night drives. Walks available with rangers.||BLD|
|Day 13||MALAWI. Board the Beast and enjoy the scenic drive to Kasungu. Accommodation: Chikho Hotel.||BLD|
|Days 14 & 15||Scenic drive to our cabin accommodation at Chelinda Lodge in the NYIKA NATIONAL PARK. Enjoy game drive and walks.||BLD|
|Days 16 & 17||Scenic drive from the high NYIKA PLATEAU down to the shores of Lake Malawi. Stay on the lake at Chikali Beach Resort in Nkhata Bay.||BLD|
|Day 18||Scenic drive along Lake Malawi shoreline to SALIM and the beach resort – Sunbird Livingstonia.||BLD|
|Days 19 & 20||Boat to Blue Zebra resort on NANKOMA ISLAND in lake Malawi. Activities include snorkelling, boating, birdwatching and walking.||BLD|
|Day 21||Scenic drive to LILONGWE the capital of Malawi. Accommodation at the Sunbird Lilongwe. Final group dinner tonight.||BLD|
|Day 22||Transfer to the international airport to commence your homeward flights.||B|
|Meals included as indicated: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner|
Come along on this amazing African adventure. We look forward to sharing the heart of Africa with you.
DAY 1: Botswana
20 May 2019
Arrive Maun Airport, Botswana, from Johannesburg. Met on arrival and transferred to our very comfortable accommodation at Maun Lodge. Here we meet up with Trish and over a glass of wine we will have our first group briefing, followed by our first night dinner and a good night’s sleep. (D)
DAYS 2, 3 & 4: Botswana – Moremi / Khwai
21 – 23 may 2019
An early breakfast and then we commence our journey by specially modified 4WD safari vehicles to our semi-luxury mobile campsite, deep in the heart of the Moremi and Khwai regions of the Okavango Delta Eco system. Each day we head out for morning and afternoon game drives, coming back to camp for lunch and a rest in the middle of the day. At night we enjoy night drives plus fine food, wine and banter around a blazing camp fire under a star-filled African sky. Time is found for a canoe journey with expert polers to experience the famous Delta waterways.
Our Safari Team will include some of Botswana’s best Wildlife Guides. This area is famous for the quantity and quality of its wildlife. You can expect exciting wildlife encounters: lions, giraffes, leopards, wild dogs, elephants and much more are regularly encountered. You won’t be disappointed. All tents are serviced daily by camp staff and provide camp beds with comfortable bedding, doonas, pillows, linen, towels, lighting, daily laundry service and private personal toilet facilities. Hot showers provided in closely located comfortable shower tents. All meals under the dining tent or around the camp fire. Wine and soft drinks are included with all meals. (BLD)
DAY 5: Botswana – Kasane
24 May 2019
We say goodbye to our Safari Team as they drop us off mid-morning at the Khwai air strip for our charter flight out of the jungle to the safari town of Kasane. On arrival, we are met by Henry and ‘The Beast’ and transferred to our luxury accommodation at the world-renowned Chobe Safari Lodge. Time to clean up, rest and prepare for a late afternoon, quick game drive into nearby Chobe National Park to search for the big herds of elephants that make this area famous. The smorgasbord dinner at the lodge is also memorable. You will sleep well tonight (BLD).
DAY 6: Zimbabwe – Wictoria Falls
25 May 2019
A leisurely morning at the lodge to enjoy a relaxed breakfast, swim or walk.
A highlight today is our lunch cruise on the Chobe River – truly one of Africa’s tourism gems. A short 90-minute afternoon drive in The Beast takes us across the Border into Zimbabwe and to the peace and quiet of the Bayete Lodge, which is our base for three nights in Victoria Falls.
Our comfortable ensuite rooms are private and set in lush green gardens. Before we head off to dinner tonight at The Lookout restaurant, plans will be made so we can book any optional tours required during our stay.
Refer to the Wild Horizons web site for a list and costs for Victoria Falls options. Please do not book before we arrive in Victoria Falls as discounts may be available and as well, we need to coordinate transfers and pick ups. (BLD) Click on the links to visit these sites and check them out for yourself.
OPTION: Join our ‘Venture to the Interior’ here… Those who have travelled in Botswana before or returning Back Track overlanders may wish to join on Day 7 in Victoria Falls.
DAY 7: Zimbabwe – Victoria Falls
26 May 2019
Today we welcome new members to our journey. Arriving into Victoria Falls from flights ex-Australia, they will be met at the Victoria Falls International Airport by Trish and transferred to our base at Bayete lodge.
Today is set aside for optional activities such as helicopter flights, canoeing and much more. Highlights today include a guided tour of the Falls, plus our ‘Welcome to Africa dinner’ at the Boma Restaurant, for the entire team. Two days in Victoria Falls is a minimum, as there is so much to see and do. (BD)
DAY 8: Zimbabwe – Victoria Falls
27 May 2019
For the new arrivals, an early morning guided tour of the Falls is provided, plus you will have time to do at least one extra option if you wish. If you can, be sure to find time to have High Tea on the verandah of the Victoria Falls Hotel (optional). Today most will be involved in optional tours and shopping in the markets. A sunset cruise dinner on the Zambezi River is our highlight for tonight and will round off our wonderful stay in magical Victoria Falls. (BD)
DAY 9: Zambia – Lusaka
28 May 2019
Our ‘Venture to the Interior’ begins in earnest today. Boarding the Beast early we set out on a long 400km drive.
We start with a drive over the famous Victoria Falls bridge and into Zambia. The journey is on moderate standard roads and the flow of daily Zambian life as viewed from our high perch in the Beast, will entertain. We drive mainly through farmland and sugar plantations.
Our accommodation tonight in Zambia’s capital city Lusaka is the very comfortable Golfview Hotel. (BLD)
From hereon… The Beast will be our primary source of transport throughout the journey from this point. It is an ‘iconic symbol’ from the glory days of Overland Travel in Africa during the 70s, 80s and 90s when young adventures would set off from as far afield as London and travel the length and breadth of Africa with not much more than a smile and a tooth brush. It was hard work but loads of fun and an adventure. All contributed with meals and setting up camp and even digging their truck out of bogs if necessary. The journeys always involved multiple countries and required a spirit of adventure.
DAYS 10, 11 & 12: Zambia – South Luangwa
29 – 31 May 2019 (Altitude: 673m)
The road north from Lusaka is long and rough. We leave The Beast to do that journey alone with Henry and we enjoy the comfort of a scheduled, commercial flight to Mfuwe. On arrival we will be met by our guides from Wildlife Camp. After we settle into our chalets , have lunch and a rest, we head off on our first game drive late this afternoon.
We spend three nights in a truly remote area that offers the intrepid traveller some outstanding wildlife viewing. Because of the remote location, South Luangwa receives very little tourist traffic therefore the experience becomes very special and reinforces our philosophy of seeking out the most special places in Africa to view the best wildlife that Africa offers.
Our very comfortable rustic lodge camp is located on the Luangwa River and offers an enjoyable African Lodge experience.
Morning and afternoon game drives will provide wonderful wildlife encounters and photographic opportunities. The leopard is prevalent in this region and night drives provide the perfect opportunity to find them (BLD).
DAY 13: Malawi – Kasungu
1 June 2019 (Altitude 1342m)
At Wildlife Camp we are reunited with The Beast. This morning we head off on a 340km scenic drive and cross the border at the border post of Chipata into Malawi. Malawi is known throughout Africa as, “the warm heart of Africa”. Expect loads of smiles from friendly people – this is the real Africa. Accommodation tonight is in the modern Chikho Hotel in Kasungu – a small regional capital of 60,000 people. (BLD)
DAYS 14 & 15: Malawi – Nyika Plateau
2 –3 June 2019 (Altitude 2200m)
Another long 350km scenic drive climbing to higher altitudes. The vegetation changes abruptly to tree plantations of gum and pine and as we near the plateau and the horizon is dominated by large whaleback mountains.
Our destination is the high plateau of Nyika National Park, Malawi’s largest National Park. We will have a full day to enjoy game drives and walks. By now we will have viewed a lot of Africa’s unique wildlife, however, even on the open sweeping plains of this high plateau we can see Crawshay’s zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck roan antelopes, eland klipspringer, duiker and warthogs. There are jackals, hyenas and leopard. Accommodation for the next two nights is at Chelinda Lodge.
DAYS 16 & 17: Malawi – Nkhata Bay
4 –5 June 2019 (Altitude 472m)
Leaving Nyika Plateau we face a scenic winding drive from the highlands down to Mzuzu and on to the most picturesque lakeshore town on Lake Malawi, the port of Nkhata Bay. With a population of about 15,000 it is a colourful, bustling town with plenty to keep us interested. Our accommodation is at the Chikali Beach Resort in Nkhata Bay. We have a full day to explore the area on foot and by vehicle. For those interested a visit to a local school situated in the rolling hill tea plantations can be arranged. (BLD)
DAY 18: Malawi – Salima
6 June 2019
After breakfast, a relaxed start to the day with a slow 300km scenic drive along the lake shore roads through quinine and rubber plantations. Our hotel tonight, Sunbird Livingstonia, is full of charm and character. Located on a private beach it is a relic of a former era. (BLD)
DAYS 19 & 20: Malawi – Lake Malawi
7 – 8 June 2019
This morning, we board a small motor boat to transfer to Blue Zebra Island Resort on Nankoma island, which is one of a small group of three world heritage listed islands a short distance from the mainland. Here we will spend two relaxing days and nights exploring, swimming, snorkelling, bird watching, and enjoying boat trips. We’ll be staying at the Sunbird Malawi. (BLD)
DAY 21: Malawi – Lilongwe
9 June 2019
Early morning transfer by boat back to the mainland to meet up with The Beast for the 110km journey to the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe. A bustling city of just over one million people we have time to explore the sights before we check into our hotel, the Sunbird Lilongwe, for our final night on Safari in Africa. Our hotel is a stately older style hotel located in the heart of the old city. The hotel features some very nice restaurants (BLD).
DAY 22: Leaving Malawi
10 June 2019 – departure day
Today we are transferred to the Lilongwe International Airport to connect with our home flights. The end of a great adventure and our venture into the heart and soul of Africa. (B)
We hope you can join us in 2019.
Please a read below comments from Back Track trekkers who have travelled with Back Track Adventures in Africa: