Experience all that Africa has to offer. See such incredible natural wonders as the towering sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Encounter creatures of classic safari lore, including Rwanda’s mountain gorillas and Tanzania’s thundering masses of migrating herds. This incredible itinerary spans the continent and features eight UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Take a charter to the holy city of Lalibela to see the Church of St. George
Enjoy a guided tour through the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve
Revel in thrilling game drives in one of the oldest ecosystems
Witness Victoria Falls as it plunges down a series of gorges
Venture deep into the savannah to see lions, cheetahs, and gazelles
Fly by helicopter to the Cape of Good Hope
Visit the Kigali Memorial Center, a tribute to those who perished in the genocide of 1994
Photograph big game including white rhinos, giraffes and elephants
Day 1Lisbon, Portugal
Upon arrival you will be escorted to our luxury hotel, where we meet our fellow travelers and expedition staff for a festive welcome dinner.
Award-winning hotel Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, Lisbon
Day 2 & 3 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Arrive in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, set in the foothills of the majestic Entoto Mountains. We take a charter flight to the holy city of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the Church of St. George, the most well known of the area’s 11 monolithic rock-hewn churches. Carved from solid red volcanic rock, the churches construction is attributed to King Lalibela, who set out to build a “New Jerusalem” during the 12th century. A major center of pilgrimage, explore the cool, candlelit interiors and richly decorated grottoes, and watch as priests quietly engage in their daily rituals. Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa
Sheraton Addis, Addis Ababa
Day 4 – 6 Seychelles
With its idyllic waters, unspoiled beaches and sailboats aplenty, the Seychelles could have been directly taken from the pages of your favorite travel magazine. Of the 115-island archipelago, 50 percent of its land is protected, resulting in an exceptional ecosystem. Island culture is a colorful mix of Asian, African and European heritages, creating multiethnic customs that will leave an unforgettable impression. Snorkel in seas filled with marine life and get a taste of local flavors during a barbecue lunch. Or take a guided tour through the Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, home to the coco de mer palms found only on the island. Then travel by boat to La Digue, a biologically diverse island overflowing with coconut palms, hibiscus gardens and vanilla vines. Beyond the post-card perfect beaches daily life slows to a languid pace as locals shun cars in favor of oxcarts and bikes. Spot rare and native orchids among diverse flora during a visit to the National Botanical Gardens.
Banyan Tree Seychelles, Seychelles
Day 7 & 8 Serengeti, Tanzania
The Serengeti Plain is home to Tanzania’s largest national park and Africa’s densest “big cat” predator population. It’s also the site of the most complex and least disturbed ecosystem on the planet. Arrive in Kilimanjaro and transfer to the Serengeti Plain via light aircraft. Your safari begins the moment you land with a game drive to the lodge. Watch lions and antelope dart across the seemingly endless landscape, and take in the plain’s wildebeest, zebra and more than 500 species of birds.
Alternate: If you have already visited the Serengeti, take light aircraft to the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world, to observe its permanent population of about 25,000 animals.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti
Day 9 – 13 Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
With 11 official languages, South Africa is a vibrant mix of African, French, Dutch and Eastern cultures, creating a country of rich diversity. We land in Johannesburg and board luxurious Rovos Rail, a meticulously restored train dating from the 1930s, for a scenic ride to Cape Town. Sip tea in the charming Victorian atmosphere of the lounge while traveling through the goldfields of the Witwatersrand, a range of rocky, scenic hills. In the diamond-mining town of Kimberley, see the Big Hole, claimed to be the world’s largest excavation dug by hand.
In Cape Town, ride a cable car to the top of majestic Table Mountain and stroll along a wooden walkway to see stunning views of the city below. Fly by helicopter over the Cape of Good Hope taking in the soaring cliffs and dramatic coastal views. Or discover the acclaimed wines of South Africa during a tour and tasting at a few of the illustrious Cape Winelands district’s renowned wine estates.
Award-winning hotel One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town
Rovos Rail, Cape Town and Pretoria
Day 14 & 15 Walvis Bay, Namibia
Arguably the world’s oldest desert, the Namib Desert has existed for about 43 million years. Its stunning landscapes are in constant flux with sand dunes and plains of all sizes and shapes stretching along its coast. As a testament to the importance of this starkly beautiful environment, Namibia is the first African country with an environmental conservation clause in its constitution.
Set on the Atlantic coast, Swakopmund is a former German colony and now Namibia’s most popular holiday destination. A haven for nature lovers, Walvis Bay offers several outdoor options. Spot playful dolphins and seals on a cruise, or spy rare pelicans and flamingos in the natural lagoon. Get an eagle-eye’s view of Namibia’s wild landscape while flightseeing via light aircraft along the coast, where the colossal dunes of the Namib Desert meet the crashing Atlantic surf. On guided drives and walks explore Sossusvlei’s sea of towering sand dunes, many soaring as high as 1,000 feet, and spot rusted shipwrecks scattered along the treacherous Skeleton Coast.
Swakopmund Hotel, Swakopmund
Day 16 & 17 Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta is a wetland oasis—a wild maze of floodplains, narrow waterways and lagoons—and offers a completely different experience than the vast, dry vistas common on most East African safaris.
In the Delta, you are as likely to spot lions and cheetahs as you are crocodiles and the red lechwe, an antelope that thrives in marshlands. Enjoy a classic sundowner, taking in the grand savannah views with refreshments in hand. Start the next day with an early morning game drive or a river safari by dugout canoe. The Delta is home to a staggering diversity of wildlife, including elephants, cape buffalos, leopards, giraffes and more than 400 bird species.
Alternate: If you have already visited the Okavango Delta, opt for the Kalahari Desert. Salt pans transform the landscape into a moonlike clay terrain where meerkats and baobab trees thrive. Travel with the San Bushmen, considered to be one of the oldest cultures in the world, these hunter-gatherers’ origins date back more than 100,000 years. Learn their survival skills and ride a four-by-four through the lush grasslands to view migratory birds and beasts.
Jao Camp, Okavango Delta
Vumbura Plains Camp, Okavango Delta
Day 18 Victoria Falls, Zambia
Zambia is one of the most water-rich countries in Africa with its many rivers cascading into fabulous displays. See the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Called the “smoke that thunders” by the Kololo tribe, watch as Victoria Falls plunges loudly down a series of gorges, creating a rainbow mist that can be seen from more than 12 miles away.
Award-winning hotel Royal Livingstone Hotel, Livingstone
Day 19 -21 Kigali, Rwanda
The majestic mountain gorillas have captivated mankind since a German explorer first stumbled upon a family in 1902. Since then they have had a checkered past with humans, but today’s population is estimated around 880, up from around 250 at the time of Dian Fossey’s death in 1985.
Hike through the beautiful bamboo forest of Volcanoes National Park to get up close with a family of gorillas. Spend an hour watching these peaceful giants munch leaves, groom each other and play in the forest.
In Kigali, explore the cultural heart of Africa’s most densely populated country. The 1994 genocide seems far away now, but it tore a ragged hole in the fabric of the country. At the Kigali Memorial Center hear survivors’ stories and learn how Rwandans are creating an environment for unity, healing and economic prosperity. The nation looks forward with programs like the Akilah Institute, an inspiring college for young women that trains them in fast-growing careers including tourism.
Kigali Serena Hotel, Kigali
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Volcanoes National Park
Day 22 – 23 Lisbon & Depart for Home
On Day 22 we fly to Lisbon for our farewell dinner. The following day you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home or on to your next destination.
Award-winning hotel Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, LisbonLESS