The “Secret” Safari: 19 June to 2 July, 2019.

(Our route and destinations are safe, easy, fascinating, rewarding and memorable. And yet only the fortunate few will ever use these tracks and experience these places.)

  • Three countries.
  • Four National Parks.
  • Indian Ocean Beaches.
  • Comfortable camping (large tents, stretchers, mattresses, adjustable chairs and all other “bush” comforts.)

Starting and ending at either:

  • Johannesburg, South Africa, OR
  • Maputo, Mozambique, OR
  • Vilanculos, Mozambique, OR
  • Harare, Zimbabwe.

South Africa: Kruger National Park.

Zimbabwe: Gonarezhou National Park.

Mozambique: Gorongosa National Park.

Mozambique: Bazaruto National Park (Indian Ocean).

Note that the Itinerary can be changed due to unforeseen circumstances and/or to suit your requirements. Extra costs may be involved.

FOR PER PERSON RATE, SEE END OF THIS INFORMATION SHEET.

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Overview.

Overland travel in this part of Africa promises authenticity and adventure. Both of these very scarce commodities during the current bombardment by instant online gratification and cynical artificial news.

The old cliché “the journey is the destination” may be worn and wearisome, but it does at least partly apply to how Mozguide implements our “Safaris”.   Journeying between destinations requiring crossing into various countries via remote and rustic border posts, allows my guests an opportunity to develop an informed perspective on African realities, as well as the privilege of being immersed in some of this continent’s (and the world’s) last true wildernesses.

This adventure is personally guided and so the “fireside chats” and daytime experiences flow naturally from over thirty years spent living in and experiencing most of this fabulous part of Africa on foot, by boat, on horseback, by bicycle and in off-road vehicles.

Sharing some of these “secret spots” with a fortunate and fascinated few is a privilege and a pleasure.

These are real “journeys with a purpose”. Sometimes referred to as expeditions.

While the Kruger Park is one of the best-known destinations in Africa, our route enters the central area and traverses the less-visited northern sector before entering Mozambique’s Parque Nacional do Limpopo via the remote and quiet Pafuri Border Post.

We then drive due north on a bush track marking the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe and enter Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park via the Chicualacuala / Sango border which is also a little-used crossing point.

After absorbing the timeless and truly wild ambience, geomorphology and animals of Gonarezhou, our route continues north in Zimbabwe through a pass in the Chimanimani mountains and underneath the canopy of the primeval Chirinda Forest with its towering Big Tree.

Our point of re-entry into Mozambique is the quiet and friendly Mt Selinda / Espungabera frontier post high up on the escarpment. Roads improve on this side of the border and a newly completed paved and scenic road takes us via Dombe and the Buzi River crossing to the magnificent Moribane Forest and a very impressive community lodge called Ndzou Camp.

Ndzou Camp is owned and operated by the local community and is the base for Elephant tracking on foot or walks along streams leading high into the Chimanimani mountains.

Day by Day Details and Description.

I will assume our point of departure to be Johannesburg and end point to Vilanculos. Transfers back to Johannesburg available at extra cost over two days.

However please note that, for groups of two to six people, I can re-work the itinerary to start and end elsewhere in the region such as Harare in Zimbabwe and Maputo in Mozambique.

Day 1: Kruger Park, South Africa.

Depart Johannesburg (or other main city) at 0500. Very early, but necessary due to entry cut-off times at the Kruger Park gates. Our route initially follows the N.4 arterial route, but then branches off and follows a quieter and more scenic way through the historic highlands then winding down to the lush lowveld region. We will enjoy a picnic brunch at a stunning viewpoint at the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment called God’s Window.   We will enter Kruger National Park via the Phalaborwa Gate and enjoy our first game drive before pitching tents at Letaba Rest Camp for the night. Dinner is a traditional South African braai.

Day 2: Parque Nacional do Limpopo, Mozambique.

Another dawn departure allows us to turn the journey north into six hours of game viewing including refreshing stops at waterholes, picnic sites and hides where there are restrooms. Lunch will be under the wild fig and ana trees at the Pafuri picnic site alongside the Luvuvhu River.   We will then continue our game drive via Crook’s Corner viewpoint over the Limpopo River to the quaint Pafuri border post, one of the most remote and romantic crossing points in Africa. Just 8km from the border is wonderful little camping spot tucked underneath the riverine forest called Dumela Wilderness Safaris. We will camp here.

Days 3, 4 and 5: Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe.

We will cross the Limpopo and Nuanetsi Rivers at drifts and continue north along a rustic track to a railhead village called Chicualacuala where we will view some of the surprising architecture before entering Zimbabwe and Gonarezhou National Park at the nearby Sango post.

After checking in at the Mabalauta office, where there are clean restrooms, we take a leisurely game-drive north to our own private campsite overlooking a bend in the Runde River and the golden Chilojo Cliffs.

An optional diversion is a trip to Chilo Gorge Lodge overlooking a gorge in the Save River where we can enjoy a walk to the nearby Chivirira Falls and eat lunch at the Lodge at your own expense.

For the next three days we will immerse ourselves in one of the last genuine wilderness areas in Africa. Game and birds will be all around us and so game drives may become unnecessary, but we will still take dawn drives, visit my favourite spots and take a walk in the deep Runde River gorge to the spectacular Chivilila Falls.   Naps under a gnarled thousand-year-old baobab tree during the afternoon heat are not compulsory, but highly recommended.

Days 6 & 7: Moribane Forest, Mozambique.

Departing Gonarezhou our route back into Mozambique goes through the towns of Chisumbanje and Chipinga and includes a pass through the Eastern Highlands and a track underneath the canopy of giant mahogany, fig and milkwood trees. We enjoy a picnic lunch at a spot dominated by the tallest indigenous tree in Zimbabwe, known simply as “The Big Tree”

We will re-enter Mozambique at the Mt Selinda / Espungabera border and it is important to note that, according to official regulation, Mozambique border visas are valid for two entries.   Winding down the escarpment to Mozambique’s Central Plateau, the views stretch eastwards almost to the Indian Ocean.   After crossing the Buzi River, our route winds back up the Chimanimani mountains and we will settle in for two peaceful, cool and refreshing nights at a wonderful community tourism project called Ndzou Camp.

Days 8, 9 & 10: Parque Nacional da Gorongosa, Mozambique.

Aah, Gorongosa…

After a couple of days spent early morning tracking elephants in the forest and perhaps walking in the mountains, we continue north towards the main focus of this journey namely Gorongosa National Park. We will stop in Chimoio to re-supply before continuing to the Montebelo Lodge Campsite in Gorongosa Park where we have lunch and pitch camp.

Gorongosa’s campsites are under a stand of Mahogany trees where various animals such as warthog, baboons and bush babies.   There is a large inviting swimming pool which is very popular during steamy, hot afternoons here at the base of the Great African Rift Valley.   Self-driving is not permitted in the Park, but there are guided game-drives during early morning and late afternoon every day. The cost of these is not included in the tour fee.

Nearby Mount Gorongosa is also a magnificent feature of the area, but unfortunately it is currently off-limits due to politically-related disputes. Should circumstances change, we will take the opportunity to walk into the famed forests, and perhaps even to summit Gogogo peak.

Day 11, 12 and 13: Coastline and Bazaruto National Park, Mozambique.

To allow an opportunity for a final guided game drive, or just to enjoy the early morning in camp, we will depart at around 09.00 am and drive south along the main road.   Depending on the specific requirements of the group, we will either spend 3 nights at Goody Villas campsite in Inhassoro or at Baobab Beach campsite in Vilanculos where you can upgrade to beach front bungalows at your own expense.   There are quite a few activities on offer including Scuba diving and snorkelling, dhow safaris to the Bazaruto Archipelago and horse trails on the beach. Vilanculos also has a range of really good restaurants should you want to experience a wide range of Mozambican cuisine at your own expense.

  • If you are flying out of Vilanculos we will then say our farewells.
  • If you are returning with me to Johannesburg, we will spend two final nights en-route back to Johannesburg.
  • Note that this two- night return ferry to Johannesburg will be at extra expense. Approximately $100 pp including camping, but excluding meals and Limpopo and Kruger Park entry fees.

Cost per person of this tour:

  • Note that this includes 3 meals and snacks per day, bottled water and limited alcoholic beverages, but excludes visa fees, optional restaurant meals and optional upgrades to chalet accommodation.
  • Tents accommodate 2 people in comfort, but each person may have their own tent if required.

For two passengers: US$2200 per person.

For three passengers: US$1600 per person.

For four passengers: US$1200 per person.

Prices for one, five and for six passengers will also be supplied if necessary.

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