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[This will be a work in progress entry as I may take a really long time to finish this post.. If you have any urgent questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll be updating my photos + thoughts bit by bit!]
It was my first visit to the continent of Africa and in order to ‘justify’ the time and money for the travel, we might as well spend a little more money and cover more attractions within the same 18-day trip. To be honest, prior to my trip, I did zero research on Africa and I just left it all to the planner.
I have no idea how the destinations were selected but in this 6D5N trip, we were intending to cover
- Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
- Chobe National Park in Botswana
- Kruger National Park
He contacted a number of travel agencies to assist us with the request above and we received a couple of varied quotes, depending on the hotel options and air flight timing. Eventually, we went with a cheaper option which gave us ‘mid-tiered’ accommodation which was not within the Kruger National Park.
Well, the benefits of staying inside the National Park would be that you will be able to go for game drives super early in the morning (like 5am) and the chances of you being able to spot predators would be higher. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see them hunt too (as they usually do it in the morning where the sun ain’t so hot). Sadly, our booking (made 2 months prior) was considered kind of late and the accommodations left were pretty expensive so in order to lower cost, the agent proposed an accommodation outside of the park (approx 30 mins drive)
For the 6D5N itinerary, we paid a total of approximately $18,128 for 5 adults, 1 child staying 3 rooms. If you break that down, it is about SGD 3,190 per pax (just for this 6D5N itinerary).
Due to the flight timings, we had to take 4 flights (in just 6 days)
- Cape Town to Johannesburg to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) @ $472
- Zambia (Livingstone) to Kruger @ $484
- Kruger to Cape Town @$350
We stayed in 2 accommodations for the 5 nights.
On hindsight, I would have preferred to stay 1 night in Botswana instead of 2 nights in Zimbabwe. 3 nights in Kruger was a little too long but when you’re traveling with family (parents above 60 and niece @ 3 years old), you need to pace out your travel to make sure that everyone gets sufficient rest.
Now that I’m typing this, it is 4:51pm and we returned from our ‘full day game drive in Kruger’ slightly before 4PM. We also started at 7am, not the recommended 5/6am.
Day 1 – Saturday
[07:30] Depart Cape Town for Johannesburg (ComAir by British Airways)
[09:30] Arrived at Johannesburg
[11:25] Depart Johannesburg for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe (ComAir by British Airways)
[13:05] Arrived at Victoria Falls airport
[14:30] Guided Tour at Victoria Falls
Depending on the time of the year you visit Victoria Falls, you will be greeted with humongous falls (like my picture below in mid March) with a certainty of getting a full shower, drenched inside out, unless you have a military raincoat. Our NDP and Daiso flimsy raincoat was useless and we were wet inside out. I was thankful to be wearing slippers instead of my (I thought could have been useful waterproof) yellow timberland boots. If I had worn the timberland, I might have to throw it away after the visit. The water from the falls is as strong as a hurricane storm where your cap will fly off if you don’t hold it down. There were some viewing points which were muddy/wet and the photos captured on camera will just be water droplets. Halfway through, especially while entering the wetter areas (walking towards the Zambia side), we didn’t even stop for photos because the water sprouts were kind of the same and you can’t really see much on the other side cause everything is just water.
As majestic as it may be, these were the only two acceptable photos that I’ve taken in my visit. We were lucky to chance upon a full rainbow (at certain angles it was a double rainbow) and according to the guide, the occurrence of rainbows is higher in the afternoon (2 to 4pm).
Well, a visit to Victoria Falls is.. pretty pricey. The entrance ticket alone is 40 USD from the zimbabwe side. If you’re at Zambia (the view is supposedly not as nice), I think it is slightly cheaper at 30 USD. Also, if you happen to be travelling with a toddler/baby, do prepare your arms as you’ll have to end up carrying him/her halfway through cause the walk is pretty annoying at times (wet, muddy) and it was a little long or perhaps the wetness made it more unbearable. For us, we didn’t even finish the full route of all the viewpoints as it was simply too wet.
[17:30] Zambezi Explorer Sunset Cruise (Signature Deck VIP)
[19:30] Dinner at Hotel (Azambezi River Lodge)
Day 2 – Sunday
[07:14] Transport to Zimbabwe/Botswana Border
Clear Zimbabwe and Botswana Custom
[08:26] Transfer to Safari Vehicle in Botswana
[09:23] 3-hour game drive in Chobe National Park
[12:56] Lunch at Chobe Safari Lodge
[13:46] Boat (River Cruise) experience along Zambezi River
[15:46] Transport back to Botswana/Zimbabwe Border
Transfer back to pick up bus
Back to Hotel (Azambezi River Lodge)
[19:14] Dinner at Boma Restaurant
[21:20] Back to Hotel (Azambezi River Lodge)
Day 3 – Monday
[10:03] Transport to Zimbabwe/Zambia Border
[10:25] Clear Zimbabwe’s Custom
[10:33] Go across the Victoria Falls Bridge
[11:03] Clear Zambia’s Custom
Transfer to Livingstone Airport
This was possibly the smallest plane that I’ve sat in my whole life! It was a 27-seater, with 9 rows of 3 seats each. It was so small that the airbridge stairs thing was not required. the airplane door opened vertically downards and there are steps on the door and you walk up from there. Pretty amazing plane ride – and this wasn’t even a propeller plane! There were 2 pilots and 1 in-flight attendant in the plane and we even had a small packet of ‘inflight food’ which was like macaroni and quiche with a chocolate.
[13:45] Flight from Zambia to Kruger Airport
[15:00] Transport to Hotel – Sabi River Sun Resort
Day 4 – Tuesday
[07:00] Full Day Game Drive in Kruger National Park
Spotted Zebras, Elephants, Hippos, Rhinos, Giraffes, Leopard
[14:30] Lunch @ Wimpy
[15:15] Left Kruger National Park & Return to Hotel
Day 5 – Wednesday
[07:00] Full Day Game Drive in Kruger National Park
Spotted Zebra, Elephants, Leopard, Lion and Lioness
[14:25] Lunch @ Wimpy
[15:30] Back to Hotel
[16:50] Walked around the Hotel area (a super big area which includes timeshare properties)
Spotted hippos in the lake
Day 6 – Thursday
[10:30] Transfer from Hotel to Kruger Airport
[13:00] Flight from Kruger to Cape Town
[15:45] Arrival at Cape Town
To be updated.