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Africa by Private Jet
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20 days

from $132,098 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($89,995 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

Ultimate trip_detail hint icon

Ultimate expeditions feature sweeping, themed itineraries that cover great distances using a specially configured private jet. These itineraries are fully planned and comprise private performances, special access to sites, and visits with local experts. Services include travel by private jet, a team of National Geographic experts, local guides, a dedicated flight staff and expedition manager, world-class meals and accommodations, and ground transportation.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Meet Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, at an intimate reception and dinner and learn about her work to educate people about and promote conservation.
  • Encounter incredible wildlife in South Africa’s Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve and on the shores of Botswana’s Chobe River, and go gorilla trekking in the rainforests of Rwanda.
  • Delve into Africa’s diverse cultural heritage, from medieval Fez to the Omani palaces of Zanzibar, and retrace history on visits to Ghana’s Elmina slave castle and Cape Town.
  • Take in majestic natural sites, including Victoria Falls, the Cape Peninsula, and Rwanda’s conical volcanoes.
EXPERTS ON THIS TRIP

Accompanying this expedition is an extraordinary team of experts who are passionate about illuminating the wonders of the African continent—from its wildlife and wild places to the cultures that call it home. An in-flight lecture system allows for informative and engaging talks as we travel aboard the private jet.

Itinerary

Journey to Africa’s north, south, east, and west, visiting seven countries and encountering a dazzling spectrum of wildlife, landscapes, and cultures. Come face-to-face with gorillas, elephants, leopards, and much more on safari in wilderness areas from Botswana to Rwanda. Meet artists in the medieval lanes of Fez and the woodcarving workshops of Ghana. From a slave castle on the Gold Coast to Nelson Mandela’s island prison, explore difficult chapters in the continent’s history—and hear inspiring stories of resilience and innovation. Go flightseeing over magnificent Cape Peninsula, feel the spray of Victoria Falls, and delve into the spice plantations of Zanzibar on an expedition that celebrates Africa’s many wonders—of nature, culture, and human spirit.

Day 1: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

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Arrive in London on your own and meet your private driver to transfer to our historic hotel on the Strand. This evening, ride a classic double-decker bus to the stately Gladstone Library at One Whitehall Place, where we’ll have the privilege of meeting world-renowned ethologist and conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, for a welcome reception and dinner.

Days 2-3: Fez, Morocco

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After breakfast, transfer to London's Luton Airport, where the private jet awaits for our flight to Fez. Founded in the eighth century, Fez is Morocco’s oldest imperial city and its cultural and spiritual heart. Get acquainted with the artistic traditions for which Fez is known at the Dar Batha Museum, which showcases mosaics, ceramics, woodcarving, and other crafts in the stunning setting of a 19th-century palace. See the mosaic-clad Blue Gate at the entrance to the old city and gaze up at the spectacular bronze doors of the Royal Palace. Stroll the Jewish Quarter, a picturesque neighborhood of carved wooden balconies and Moorish doorways that’s part of Fez Jdid—known as “New Fez,” though it was built during the Marnid dynasty in the 13th century.

The next morning, step back in time in the ancient lanes of the medina, the largest intact medieval city in the world. On a walking tour, see the splendid courtyard of the University of Al-Karaouine and meet a scholar at the 14th-century Bou Inania Madrasa. Admire the exquisite artistry of the fountain in Nejjarine Square, covered in mosaics and intricate stucco reliefs; and visit the shrine of Moulay Idriss II, the founder of Fez. Soak up the sounds and sights of the souk, where piles of cumin and cayenne vie for space with brass lanterns and colorful ceramics. After lunch in the medina, choose one of two options: continue to explore the old city and visit a variety of artisan workshops, including the Chouara Tannery, where leather is tanned and dyed in large clay vats as it has been for centuries. Or spend the afternoon at the ancient Roman site of Volubilis, a well-preserved UNESCO World Heritage site set on the rolling plains near Fez. Tonight, we’ll be joined by a Sufi scholar for dinner in a traditional home and a performance of Sufi music.

Days 4-5: Accra, Ghana

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Bid farewell to North Africa and fly by private jet across the Sahara to Ghana. Thrumming with creative energy, Accra is a city both cosmopolitan and scrappy, where timeless traditions collide with the latest trends, and resourceful entrepreneurs try their luck with a combination of hope and grit. Retrace history today as we visit Independence Square, which marks the end of British rule in 1957; and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, a monument to Ghana’s first president. Then head to the nearby town of Teshie to visit the fantasy coffin makers, woodworkers who have taken funerary arts to a new level, crafting custom-made coffins that capture their clients’ personalities and life stories—or their sense of humor. Wander among whimsically sculpted sarcophagi in the form of everything from race-cars to chili peppers. After checking into our hotel, gather for dinner at a local restaurant.

A short morning charter flight brings us west to Takoradi, where we’ll set off on a scenic drive along the coast toward Elmina. Stop to visit a fishing village on the way, and learn about the economy and culture that have grown up around these pirogue-paddling fishermen. During lunch at a beachside resort, try out local specialties like groundnut stew and jollof rice.

As the Dutch, Portuguese, British, and other Europeans set up trading posts on the Gold Coast from the 15th to the 18th century, they built castles and forts along the shore, now collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Two of these have become world-famous for their notoriety: the so-called “slave castles” of Cape Coast and Elmina. This afternoon, venture into St. George’s Castle in Elmina, the oldest of the European fortifications, built by the Portuguese as a gold trading center in 1482 and taken over by the Dutch in the 1600s. Tour the grand, whitewashed European quarters and then descend to the dungeons, haunting reminders of one of history’s most barbaric chapters. Later, visit the posubans of Elmina town, elaborate shrines with sometimes-quirky decorations and slogans, originally erected as posts for traditional Asafo warriors of the Fante people. Return to Accra, and enjoy dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants.

Days 6-8: Cape Town, South Africa

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Board the private jet this morning and fly south to Cape Town. Surrounded by the ocean on three sides and dominated by mountains both flat-topped and conical, Cape Town is one of Africa’s most beautiful cities. Settle into our hotel on the fashionable Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and sit down to a dinner prepared especially for us by a renowned chef.

Weather permitting the next morning, ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, a beloved landmark that looms more than 3,500 feet above the city. Walk the trails at the top amid endemic flora and take in extraordinary views of Cape Town. Split into two groups to explore the Cape Peninsula. One group will board helicopters for a thrilling flight-seeing trip to the Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s southwestern-most point. Examine the prolific flora of this vast nature reserve, including exotic proteas and other unusual species. On the rocky headland separating the Atlantic from False Bay, ride a funicular to the lighthouse at Cape Point. In the afternoon, return to Cape Town by coach along the dramatic Chapman’s Peak Drive—one of the world’s most spectacular drives—and stop at Boulders Beach to see the resident population of African penguins. The second group will take this drive towards the Cape of Good Hope in the morning and return by helicopter in the afternoon, and both groups will meet up for lunch at the Cape of Good Hope. After a talk by our experts, gather for dinner in the beautiful, wine-producing Constantia region with Nelson Mandela’s former bodyguard.

The following day, choose one of two excursions: ride a hovercraft to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year prison sentence, and tour the facilities with a former prisoner. Then trace the city’s history at the colonial Castle of Good Hope and the District Six Museum, dedicated to a vibrant community that was forcibly moved during the apartheid era. Explore Cape Town’s diverse cultural heritage in the Bo-Kaap neighborhood, where brightly painted houses and mosques tell of the city’s Southeast Asian influences. Or spend the day in the Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl wine regions and visit local wine estates for private, sommelier-led tastings and lunch with wine pairings.

Days 9-10: Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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Fly by private jet to Johannesburg and continue on a charter flight to Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, tucked within the greater Sabi Sands Reserve. Our home in this iconic wilderness is the Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge or Selati Camp—both part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Stretching along the banks of the Sabie River, this private reserve allows for an intimate wildlife experience far from the crowds. After time to unwind at the lodge, set off in an open vehicle on our first safari, watching for the “big five” among the riverbeds and low woodlands of the veld. A guide and a Shangaan tracker accompany each vehicle, and the route is determined by the wildlife we encounter, whether it’s a leopard honing in on its prey or a family of elephants frolicking at a waterhole. Stop for sundowner cocktails as the sun sets, and watch for nocturnal creatures as you return to the lodge for dinner.

Rise early for a safari drive at sunrise, when wildlife is actively engaged in morning routines. Enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee in the bush, listening to the sounds of the wilderness waking up, and head back to the lodge for a full breakfast. In the late morning, join a ranger for a walking safari to learn about the smaller flora and fauna of the region. Or pay a visit to a nearby community to learn about local culture and everyday life. Later, venture back out on an afternoon safari.

Days 11-13: Victoria Falls, Zambia and Chobe National Park, Botswana

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After breakfast, return to Johannesburg by charter flight and take the private jet to Livingstone, Zambia. Here, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi River plunges off a high escarpment, tumbling some 350 feet into a narrow chasm and creating a mile-wide veil of mist and rushing water shot through with rainbows. After checking in to our hotel, experience the mighty Zambezi River on a private cruise. Look for hippos, crocodiles, birds, and other wildlife, and watch the sunset transform the landscape. Tonight, dinner is served by lantern light on the lawn of our hotel with the roar of the falls in the distance.

Approach the falls on foot the next morning, an exhilarating close-up encounter with what the area’s indigenous people call the “smoke that thunders.” Then cross into Botswana by boat and drive to Chobe National Park, where our lodge is ideally situated on the banks of the wildlife-rich Chobe River. Relax after lunch before meeting some of the Chobe Angels, an unprecedented all-female team of safari guides that is shaking up an otherwise male-dominated industry. Head out with them to discover the wildlife of Chobe on a safari drive.

Chobe National Park is known for some of the largest elephant herds on the planet, but its namesake river draws all kinds of animals to its shores, including Cape buffalo, cheetahs, rare antelope like the oribi and the sitatunga, and more than 400 species of birds. Our lodge uses electric safari vehicles, allowing us to silently observe the myriad creatures splashing and scuffling in the shallows. Enjoy a full day on safari—on drives or wildlife cruises—and end the day with a sundowner in the wilderness. Gather under the stars for a candlelit dinner at the river’s edge.

Days 14-15: Zanzibar, Tanzania

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Transfer to Livingstone for the private jet flight to Zanzibar, the famous “spice island” off the coast of Tanzania. Settle into our beachfront hotel and, if you wish, delve into the labyrinthine lanes of Stone Town on a guided walk later this afternoon. Threads of Arabian and Indian influence are woven into the Swahili culture here, thanks to a long history as an Indian Ocean trading hub, and the architecture of Stone Town reflects this intriguing blend.

Enjoy your choice of two excursions the following day: Examine the eclectic cultural heritage of Zanzibar on a walking tour of Stone Town and discover Omani-style archways and elegant mosques, and ancient houses with intricately carved wooden doors. Visit the Old Fort, built by the Omanis in the 17th century; and see the House of Wonders, a sultan’s palace that dazzled locals with its running water and electricity when it was built in the late 1800s. Browse piles of spices, fish, and exotic fruit at the lively Darajani Market and then head to a spice plantation after lunch. Follow local farmers into the plantation where cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper trees grow, and sample tropical fruits like custard apple, star fruit, and rambutan. Stop in the Jozani Forest, part of Zanzibar’s only national park, for a chance to see Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, a rare species indigenous to the islands.

Alternatively, embark on a snorkeling excursion on the Nyange reef. Sail a traditional dhow boat a half hour to the reef and discover a variety of corals and marine species—from frogfish and sea turtles to shrimp and surgeonfish.

Days 16-18: Kigali and Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

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Our final destination in Africa is Rwanda, a short flight from Zanzibar on the private jet. In this country no bigger than Massachusetts, five conical volcanoes poke out of endless forests that harbor many of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, along with other primates. Spend your time here tracking these fabled creatures, or remain in Kigali and immerse yourself in the riveting story of Rwanda’s people.

Those who choose to see the gorillas will transfer directly by 4x4 to Volcanoes National Park and enjoy a welcome drink and a briefing in the evening. Then set out into the steep forests on foot for a full day of gorilla trekking with local guides. Primatologist Dian Fossey spent 18 years in this jungle studying the species with the support of National Geographic. Learn about the conservation efforts that have brought them back from the edge of extinction and helped their numbers increase to more than a thousand in recent years. When we find a group of gorillas, observe their fascinating social dynamics up close. On our final day, choose to go in search of endangered golden monkeys with Dr. Deogratias Tuyisingize, whose research has been instrumental in their individual identification and conservation. Pay a visit to the Karisoke Research Center, founded by National Geographic grantee Dian Fossey, and attend a talk by a researcher. After lunch at a local restaurant, return to Kigali.

Those who choose to stay in Kigali will pay a visit to the Akilah Institute for women, an inspiring nonprofit that provides higher education and teaches leadership skills to women from all over Rwanda. The following day, soar over Rwanda’s volcanic peaks and gem-like lakes during a helicopter flight-seeing excursion. Later, at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, hear the haunting stories of survivors and learn how the country is reconciling its turbulent past and espousing peace, unity, and progressive ideas to create a bright future. Spend the final day in the hills outside Kigali, exploring three villages from the Millennium Villages Project, an initiative to reduce poverty that integrates health, education, and micro-enterprise.

Tonight, toast our grand adventure to Africa’s north, west, south, and east at a festive farewell dinner featuring Rwandan basket weavers and Intore dancers.

Please note: Because the hikes at Volcanoes National Park are arduous, your doctor’s approval is required. A personal porter will be available to each traveler for assistance.

Days 19-20: Rome, Italy

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After breakfast, take a final flight on the private jet. Arrive in Rome and transfer to our hotel, overlooking the Pantheon in the heart of the city. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before departing for home on commercial flights the following day.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light\/moderate; travelers should be in good health; comfortable climbing stairs and walking or standing for extended periods; and prepared for multiple hours of activity on some days. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to historic or cultural sites, game drives, or nature walks, with options for more physical activities such as hiking and snorkeling. A signed medical form from your doctor will be required for participation in certain activities, such as gorilla trekking in Rwanda. Alternative destinations or activities can be arranged if necessary. Any physical condition requiring special attention, diet, or treatment should be reported when booking so accommodations can be made.

Accommodations
We stay in world-class or best available hotels throughout the expedition.

Expedition Team
An engaging team of experts will accompany each expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life.

ACCOMMODATIONS

A Boeing 757 jet has been specially outfitted for this incredible expedition. Its long-range capabilities afford us the flexibility to fly direct and avoid layovers—which in turn gives us the freedom to make the most of our experiences on land. The jet’s interior has been refitted to accommodate just 48 travelers in two-by-two, lie-flat seats, instead of the standard 233 seats, creating a spacious interior that provides the ultimate in comfort.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Aug 4-23, 2020
  • double occupancy
    (from)
    $132,098 AUD Per Person
  • single occupancy
    (from)
    $145,294 AUD Per Person

2020 departure: The expedition cost includes transportation by private Boeing 757 jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary. Airfare to London, England and return from Rome, Italy is not included in the expedition cost. Please click here to view the Operator-Participant Contract and Terms and Conditions for this departure.

2019 departure: The expedition cost includes transportation by private Boeing 757 jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary. Airfare to and from Lisbon, Portugal is not included in the expedition cost. For your protection, all payments are protected in an escrow account. Please click here to view the Operator-Participant Contract and Terms and Conditions for this departure.

  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Transportation by private jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary
  • Deluxe or best available accommodations as indicated in the itinerary
  • All meals, from dinner on the first night to breakfast on the final morning
  • Daily activities, excursions, options, and special events as indicated in the itinerary; enrichment program, including lectures by a team of experts.
  • All beverages, including liquor, aboard the private jet and during special events and cocktail parties; house wine and beer at lunches and dinners
  • $50,000 medical evacuation insurance for covered reasons and services of an expedition physician
  • Gratuities

What's Not Included

  • Commercial airfare to the departure city, and return from the final destination
  • Trip cancellation insurance or other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, telephone, and beverages not listed above as included

PLEASE NOTE

The information shown on this page pertains to the 2020 departure of Africa by Private Jet. The 2020 departure will be operated by National Geographic Partners Chicago, the tour operations branch of National Geographic, on flights operated by Icelandair.

To see our 2019 itinerary, click on the trip date above, or call 1-888-227-7265 for more information relating to this departure. The 2019 departure of Africa by Private Jet will be operated by TCS & Starquest Expeditions, Inc., on flights operated by TAG Aviation (UK) Ltd.

A US Department of State travel advisory for Rwanda is currently in effect (travel.state.gov). We expect to operate this trip as planned, but will continue to closely monitor events in the region and will alter the itinerary if necessary.

Steve Boyes
Conservationist Biologist
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Conservationist, National Geographic Fellow, and TED Senior Fellow Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to preserving Africa’s wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. A native of South Africa, he founded the Cape Parrot Project with support from National Geographic, and is the scientific director of the Wild Bird Trust. In 2015, Steve launched what has become the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project to promote broader protection for the Okavango Delta’s watershed and its wildlife. Steve’s work takes him all over Africa, studying wildlife rehabilitation and biodiversity, fighting the wild-caught bird trade, and planting thousands of trees in forest restoration projects.

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  • Aug 4-23, 2020
Sandesh Kadur
Filmmaker Photographer
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Filmmaker, photographer, author, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2013) Sandesh Kadur creates award-winning wildlife documentary films and photography books exposing the need to conserve threatened species and habitats around the world. With subjects ranging from king cobras to clouded leopards, his films have appeared worldwide on the National Geographic Channel, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and elsewhere. His photographs also have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Recently, Sandesh joined conservationist and National Geographic Fellow Steve Boyes and the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project team in Botswana to document a new 360-degree video series, The Okavango Experience. Sandesh’s many awards include CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year, the Nature’s Best photography award, the International Conservation Photographer award, and two Green Oscar nominations at the Wildscreen film festival.

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  • Aug 4-23, 2020
Mireya Mayor
Conservationist
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National Geographic Explorer Mireya Mayor is a primatologist and conservationist who has reported on wildlife issues for more than a decade. As a correspondent on National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer television series, she went underwater with six-foot-long Humboldt squid, tracked gorillas in central Africa, and worked with leopards in Namibia. In 2000, Mireya co-discovered a new species of mouse lemur in Madagascar and convinced the nation’s leaders to declare the species’ habitat a national park. Mireya has worked extensively with the gorillas of central and eastern Africa and was featured in the Nat Geo Wild program Mystery Gorilla. A Fulbright scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow, Mireya has appeared in numerous publications and on MSNBC, CNN, and NBC’s Today show.

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  • Aug 4-23, 2020