Safaris, Reinvented

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from the river in namibia
Floating along the Chobe River in posh comfort, as life in the water and by the shore moves along, gets you closer to the action than you might imagine. Separating Botswana’s Chobe National Park from Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, the river and its banks are rife with wildlife. Within the 14-suite Zambezi Queen river boat it’s all champagne, floor-to-ceiling windows and luxe accommodations with private balconies—with decor described as “Africa meets Manhattan”—but it is outside where the real magic takes place.

Passengers can easily spot elephant and buffalo herds, hippos swimming about, prides of lion and leopard, crocodiles on the prowl and antelope on the run. Besides what they spot from the Queen, clients also enjoy viewing at Chobe National Park from 4×4 vehicles, plus close-up, water-based looks and birdwatching—or fishing, should the mood strike—on smaller crafts. The river boat itself is friendlier on the eco-system than most, relying on solar panels and water-jet drives rather than propellers so as to move along in very shallow water and reduce damage to the riverbed.

Rates include boat and game drives and meals, plus a tour of a local village, and start at $1,155 pp dbl for a 2-night cruise.

The Zambezi Queen is located about 50 miles from Victoria Falls and Livingstone, and about two miles from Kasane International Airport (BBK). Transfers from the airport to the boat are by road and take approximately 90 minutes; road transfer guests are collected from immigration situated on the banks of the river at Kasane in Botswana for the 10-minute boat transfer to the boat’s docking station.

You can also book your clients on one of AMAWaterways’ three Zambezi Queen itineraries that include a 4-night cruise plus land sightseeing throughout the region. The Golden Trails of Africa, for example, includes one night in Nairobi, eight nights at game reserves in Amboseli, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti, one night in Johannesburg, two nights in Victoria Falls and a 4-night safari cruise, during which guests are treated to a traditional African BBQ prepared by a local community, as well as visits to a local school or a fishing excursion for the famous tigerfish. Rates for remainder 2012 sailings start at $9,495 and 2013 sailings start at $8,995.

by air over south africa
Game viewing takes on a different meaning from above, with clients getting an eyeful of wildlife and South Africa’s landscapes with companies such as AirVentures. They can choose to “float” with others on a larger passenger balloon fitting eight to 10 persons or book a flight for two and sip champagne as they take in the view. The Safari Flight takes off from the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and glides silently over a few reserves over the course of an hour, with about 80 percent of flights spotting at least two of the Big Five.
The flights depart at sunrise—another plus, as the photos will be amazing—from the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site, about a half-hour drive from Johannesburg, and culminate with a full English breakfast. Rates for a Safari Flight start at $257 pp; a flight for two is priced at $756. Travelers can also arrange to go on a game drive afterwards at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.

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