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Arriving in Johannesburg from London, you’ll board a connecting flight to Harare and then a scheduled light aircraft to Gonarezhou. You will be warmly met by your guide and taken to Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge. Perched on the edge of the park with a beautiful view overlooking the Save river, you can stand on the viewing deck and watch wildlife basking in the waters below.
Gonarezhou holds the title of the second largest park in the country, covering over 5,000 square kilometres of undeveloped wilderness. It sits on Zimbabwe’s south-eastern border with Mozambique and, though often-forgotten, is one of Africa’s last great pristine wildernesses. It’s made up of an incredible variety of habitats and scenery, featuring three great rivers and the beautiful Chilojo Cliffs. Lions, cheetah, wild dog, hyena, buffalo, hippo and giraffe can all be seen within the boundaries of Gonarezhou, but the park is known, first and foremost, as the Land of the Elephant. These massive, intelligent creatures give their name to the park and can be found here in their thousands.
You’ll cross the river to enjoy game drives and walks in the park, but you can also embark on excursions to the Chilojo Cliffs, the Tembwehata Water Pan or the Chivilila Falls. A cultural visit to a Mahenye Village is also on offer. Your activities will be led by experienced and enthusiastic guides whose passion for the African bush is second to none.
Stay: Four nights in a double room at Chilo Gorge Lodge – full board
Leaving the drama of the bush behind, you’ll catch a charter flight to Mozambique’s coastal town of Vilanculos – gateway to the idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago – for some well-earned R&R. Upon arrival, you will be transferred by road to your sleek Greek-style property with gorgeous views across the sand and sea.
When you’re not lounging on sun-baked beaches you can paddle in turquoise waters, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding or visit a nearby fishing village. The snorkelling and diving opportunities in the area are outstanding – excellent visibility and reefs teeming with fish, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales – whilst dhow safaris and scenic flights can also be arranged. The town of Vilanculos itself is full of colourful markets and bustling bars which are a pleasure to explore.
Stay: Four nights in a double room at Santorini Mozambique – full board
Today you will be taken to the airport in time for your flight back to Johannesburg where you will board your onward flight to London.
It was a complicated and very individual trip, and several changes were made by me during the planning. None of this seemed to worry Ayesha and everything went according to plan.- AM, India