- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
Life is too short to be ordinary. At Back Track, we will ensure your safari experience is unique and extraordinary.
To achieve this, we spent a lot of time and effort, in pre-trip reconnaissance and researching where you go and how you get there, availability of good food and accommodation, safety and the opportunity for meaningful interaction with the local people. Most importantly, you will have an experienced and enthusiastic Tour Leader, backed up by the best drivers, the best safari guides and safari crew to assist you every step of the way.
We never lose sight of the fact that most people come to Africa to experience the scenery, wildlife and nature. Though we cannot guarantee that we can arrange to have a cheetah jump into the back seat of the vehicle with you, we can guarantee that you are up for breathtaking wildlife, scenic and cultural experience, all in comfort and style.
Read on and you’ll discover that we have strived to ensure that your “Venture to the Interior” will be an extraordinary safari experience.
Why ‘Venture to the Interior’?
In our interconnected world, the opportunity to get off the beaten tourist track and really get under the skin of a destination is getting trickier to do. However, there are a few pockets of magic that are often forgotten by the majority of travellers, and we believe we can show you a few on this adventure. Malawi, while often overlooked, have some of the warmest and most welcoming people in the world – they’re not known as “the warm heart” of Africa for nothing.
Just as 20th-century Afrikaner and explorer Laurens van der Post (1906 – 1996) did on an expedition in 1949, so too will we Venture to the Interior on this unique and exciting adventure. Inspired by van der Post’s journey, we traverse through the Nyika Plateau and will be as overcome by the beauty and majesty of the place enough to write memoirs of our own.
The Nyika Plateau is a stunningly beautiful high plain unlike any other terrain in Africa. It is seldom visited, with beautiful scenery and as we discovered on our 2019 recon trip, some special wildlife encounters. Your entire safari through four beautiful African countries not only is a wildlife extravaganza but will celebrate the warmth and friendliness of the African people, a ‘Venture to the warm heart of Africa’.
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Day 1Arrive at Maun Airport, Botswana, from Johannesburg. Met on arrival by Trish your tour leader and transferred to your comfortable accommodation at Maun Lodge. Maun is a small, bustling, rural administrative centre and safari kick-off point into the southern end of the world-famous Okavango Delta and ecosystem. From this point till the end of your adventure in 23 days’ time, Trish, your Tour Leader, will accompany you on every step of your journey. Tonight, over a glass of wine you will have your first group briefing, followed by dinner and then a good night’s sleep. The adventure starts in earnest tomorrow. (D)
Day 2, 3 and 4Early breakfast at Maun Lodge. Travelling by specially modified 4WD safari vehicles, your destination, on day two is your very-comfortable private campsite, deep in the heart of the Moremi/Khwai region of the Okavango Delta ecosystem. From a lovely shaded base camp, overlooking the Khwai River, over the next 3 days, you head out every morning and afternoon on game drives, coming back to camp for lunch and a rest in the middle of the day. Bird and animal activity around your camp is prolific. This is one of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. At night you enjoy night drives plus fine food, wine and banter around a blazing campfire under a star-filled African sky. During your stay here, time is found for a mekoro (local canoe) journey with expert local guides to experience the famous Delta waterways. For these three days, your 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, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras and much more are regularly encountered. You won’t be disappointed. All tents are serviced daily by camp staff and provide sturdy camp beds with comfortable mattress, doonas, pillows, linen, towels, solar lighting, daily laundry service and your private toilet and hot shower ensuite. All chef-prepared meals are served in an open-sided dining tent with drinks and appetizers served around the campfire. Wine and soft drinks are included with all meals. (BLD)
Day 5After 3 exciting days ‘glamping’ in the wilds, you say goodbye to the local Safari Team as they drop you off mid-morning at the Khwai airstrip for your scenic charter flight over the Okavango Delta to the safari town of Kasane, the northern entry point to the Okavango Ecosystem. On arrival in Kasane, you are met and transferred to your luxury accommodation at the Chobe Bush Lodge. A spectacular lunch cruise on the Chobe River has been planned. Dinner tonight at the lodge. You will sleep well tonight (BLD).
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Day 6A leisurely morning at Chobe Bush Lodge. Enjoy a relaxed breakfast, rest, swim or walk. Mid-morning transfer across the border to Zimbabwe and the beautiful tourist township of Victoria Falls and the peace and quiet of Phezulu Lodge. This is your base for three nights. Your comfortable ensuite rooms are set in a peaceful garden. After lunch, plans will be made so you can book any optional tours required during your stay in Vic Falls. An orientation drive around town will familiarize you with the layout so you can plan your own exploration on the following days. Back to Phezulu Lodge before heading out for a romantic sunset dinner cruise on the Zambezi River, above the Falls. Expect a great sunset and good hippo sightings. Return to Phezulu Lodge for an early night. Refer to the Wild Horizons web site for a list and costs for Victoria Falls options. (wildhorizons.co.za) Please do not book before you arrive in Victoria Falls as discounts may be available on the day and as well, your tour leader will need to coordinate the transfers for your optional tours, to and from the Phezulu Lodge. (BLD)
Day 7Today is set aside for optional activities such as helicopter flights, canoeing and much more. Always try and find time to have ‘High Tea’ on the verandah at the Victoria Falls hotel. Highlights today include an early morning, private, guided tour of the Falls, plus our ‘special dinner at the Lookout Café. (BD)
Day 8Always a fun day, as you finish off optional tours, go shopping in the markets and generally enjoy the tourist atmosphere of this bustling little town. Another special dinner event tonight at Dusty Road Restaurant. (BD)
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Day 9You set off early to transfer across the border into Zambia via the famous Victoria Falls bridge. It is only a short journey to Livingstone International Airport. Here you board a scheduled flight to Mfuwe in the far north of Zambia. On arrival, met by the Flatdogs’ team and a short drive by 4wd vehicles takes you to South Luangwa National Park and Flatdogs’ Lodge, a famous and popular hangout for keen explorers and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. (BLD)
South Luangwa National Park
Day 10 & 11South Luangwa National Park is a truly remote area that offers 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. Flatdogs’ Lodge 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. Local art and village tours will be included. The leopard is prevalent in this region and night drives provide the perfect opportunity to find them (BLD).
Viphya Mountains, Malawi
Day 12This morning you depart Flatdogs. You travel by very comfortable Toyota Coaster bus, ideally suited for the road and travel conditions you are about to encounter throughout Malawi. You commence with a fascinating drive crossing the border into Malawi at the border post of Chipata. Malawi is known throughout Africa as, “the warm heart of Africa”. Expect loads of smiles from friendly people. Road travel in Malawi is never boring. The roads and footpaths are always busy, with colourfully dressed, people and traffic all set on getting somewhere, or nowhere. Your destination today is Luwawa Forest Lodge in the Viphya mountains. The scenery is stunning and dramatic with rolling hills, vast plains and rocky peaks. (BLD)
Day 13You continue your adventure northwards enjoying the beautiful scenery, to reach the ultimate goal of your journey, the mysterious Nyika Plateau. Rarely visited and not fully documented until the 1950s, reaching this unique ecosystem, which could easily be mistaken as a Scottish highland region, is a highlight of your journey. Your trip today will involve travelling in your Coaster bus to the small rural village of Rumphi at the base of the plateau and transferring into 4wd vehicles for the trip up onto the plateau and your base camp for the next 2 days at the beautiful and rustic Chelinda Lodge. (BLD)
Days 14, 15By now you will have viewed a lot of Africa’s unique wildlife, however, even on the open sweeping plains of this high plateau, you can see Crawshay’s zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, roan antelopes, eland, klipspringer, duiker and warthogs. There are jackals, hyenas and leopard. On our 2019 recon trip, we even experienced lion calling at night, just outside Chelinda Lodge. We discovered lion tracks the next morning. These are the first lions recorded in this area for over 20 years, a promising sign for the future. Game viewing, forest walks, biking and even trout and fly fishing are all included activities. Try an afternoon of trout fishing which is a lot of fun and highly recommended, even for complete beginners. Two days in this beautiful environment is another trip highlight. (BLD)
Days 16, 17Leaving Chelinda Lodge you journey by 4WD vehicle on a relaxed scenic drive from the highlands back down to Rhumpi, where you board your Coaster bus and then on to a most picturesque lakeshore location for two nights on Lake Malawi at Chinteche Inn, a small, friendly lodge with sandy beachfront bordering beautiful Lake Malawi. The lodge chef is famous for his fine cuisine. The next day you can just relax or join a community walk to mingle and meet the friendly village people in the local area. A most enjoyable day in the company of this welcoming fishing community. (BLD)
Days 18, 19After breakfast, a relaxed start to the day with a scenic drive along the lakeshore roads through quinine and rubber plantations. The journey is fascinating as you observe Malawi country life. Your destination today is Blue Zebra Resort located on Nankoma Island, a short 20-minute motorboat ride from the lakeshore at Salima, where you leave the coaster bus. Nankoma Island is one of a small group of three world heritage listed islands a short distance from the mainland. Here you spend two relaxing days and nights exploring, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, bird watching, and enjoying boat trips. (BLD)
Liwonde National Park
Days 20, 21Early morning transfer by boat back to the mainland to board your coaster bus and continue along the lakeshore to the southernmost point of the lake arriving at Liwonde National Park, Malawi’s premier wildlife destination. For bird lovers, the opportunity to spot the rare and elusive Pel’s fishing owl is a major drawcard, Additionally, the park is home to a diverse range of Africa’s wildlife, as well as a refuge for the rare black rhino. You have two nights here staying at atmospheric Mvuu Camp overlooking the Shire River. (Mvuu means Hippo). The addition of Liwonde National Park is new for this itinerary and with morning, afternoon and night game drives available as well as guided walks, you’ll experience a last-minute “wildlife hit” before your adventure finishes and you start preparing for the journey home. (BLD)
Day 22Today you travel to Lilongwe, the Capital city of Malawi and say goodbye to your coaster bus and driver. This afternoon you can relax in the very comfortable Sunbird Hotel in preparation for the last night celebration before you commence the journey home. This adventure is truly unique amongst all itineraries available to Africa. It encompasses a lot of the best Africa has to offer. We know you will enjoy your Venture to the Interior, a journey into the warm heart and soul of Africa. (BLD)
Day 23Today you will be transferred to the International Airport to commence your journey home. (B)
This trip is an “All Inclusive” costed holiday. Our top inclusions are:
- All meals as indicated in the itinerary
- All land and air transport in Africa
- All accommodation (twin-share)
- All activities per itinerary
- All tips and gratuities for activities per itinerary
- Fully escorted by Back Track Tour leader.
- Polo style safari shirt and cap
- Pre-departure conference call for interstate members and pre-departure get together in Brisbane for those joining locally
- Comprehensive pre-departure information supplied.
- Travel insurance
- Two lunches as indicated in the itinerary
- Optional tours in Victoria Falls
- Visa fee for Zambia USD$40, Zimbabwe USD$50, Malawi USD$75 which are currently the only visas required for Australian passport holders and paid on arrival.