South Africa & Zambia Travel Guide

This summer we got to experience the incredible opportunity of going on a Micato African Safari Tour. It has been at the top of my travel bucket list for a while and it was even better than I imagined – if it’s not on your list yet, it needs to be! Our safari experience not only showed us the incredible African wildlife, but also the local lifestyle and some amazing people.

Day 1:

We started our journey by flying into Johannesburg, South Africa. From there we went straight to our hotel for the night – InterContinental Johannesburg O.R Tambo Airport Hotel  beautifully decorated with subtle African influences from culture to environment. It also has an incredible panoramic view of the Johannesburg skyline. I enjoyed the views of Johannesburg from their gym and indoor pool.

Day 2 – Day 5:

For the next couple of days we stayed at the Cheetah Plains Game Reserve – with it’s up-close and immersive wildlife of lions, leopards, elephants and so much more. We were located in the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve right in the heart of the African plains. Not only the animals but wild plants and beautiful sunrises/sunsets.
Our lodge was just as incredible as it’s natural surroundings, with a private deck that brings the indoor/outdoor setting. One of my favorite spots was the outdoor dining area, having the opportunity to eat within the bushveld (and of course the gym!)

We normally started our day with hot tea, coffee, and and an early game drive at 6:00am. Around 9:30am, we’d return for breakfast, gym time, and some r&r before a light lunch and the evening game drive. Getting to see how the animals behave at night was an exhilarating scene. We encountered crocodiles, lions hunting a herd of Cape Buffalo, and much more. Tracking the Kings of the Jungle has definitely ranked in my top 10 exhilarating life experiences – the lions used our vehicle as cover for their charge, we were so close it was unbelievable!

Day 6 – Day 8:

From here we flew to Livingstone, Zambia and stayed at the luxurious Royal Livingstone Hotel. This hotel has more of a colonial-style look compared to the reserve, with a richer look into South African history. I was still greeted with wildlife every morning, this time by zebras who wander around the property. The hotel is located along the banks of the Zambezi River and only a short walk from the beautiful Victoria Falls. When the Zambezi River isn’t at high season, you can swim right on the edge of life or death. It’s one of the most awesome and terrifying things I’ve ever seen. It truly feels like another world.

Seeing the sunset over the Victoria Falls was another bucket list item I could cross off! We watched from the Royal Livingstone Express, a luxury train journey with beautiful, rare sights and a 5-course meal. Although the views are impressive, the steam-train itself was a picture perfect moment. On the journey to the Victoria Falls Bridge we were on the Bushtracks siding, seeing more elephants on our journey. Compared to on the way back, going through the township and onto the Palm Grove Siding. It was so magical!

Later in the week we went to The Elephant Café, where we ate on a riverside deck surrounded by the beautiful elephant sanctuary. Having the opportunity to interact with them was beyond a dream come true for me and Ava. They say Elephants never forget, but I’ll never forget that experience!

We also got the chance to visit locals in the Simoonga Village. This is where I met the most bright and beautiful little girl, Virginia as well as many others. From the moment we met we were stuck together. Although I’ve visited orphanages before, I’m still astounded by the spirit and resilience of the people who live in circumstances like these. It was heart-breaking having to leave the village and Virginia. Visit Simoonga Orphanage Home Livingstone to learn more about how you can make a difference.

Day 9:

We made our way back to Johannesburg from Zambia and then connected through Atlanta to Dallas. It was about a day and a half of travel back home. I’m so grateful and my soul is so full after experiencing the magic of Africa. The light of the people there and the majesty of the animals is special. I’ll always cherish this trip and the time with my family.

Hi! I'm Gracie.

I’m the former Miss Kansas USA! I’m an avid sports fan and fitness enthusiast. I hope this blog inspires your everyday and encourages you to go Live Gracefully!

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  1. Valori_New2 wrote:

    Such a Wonderful Family vacation Sweet Gracie, I can’t get over your Sunset photos, 😍😍😍🌄🌄🌄 they are So Magical! You were truly glowing #SunKissed in that African Sun! ☀️☀️☀️ You feeding the Elephants with Ava 🫶🐘 is so heartwarming, one of my Favorite moments of you ever 🥰🥰🥰, they loved you both so much ✨🩶 Then the Giraffe 🦒🌳 posing with you 📸📸, he didn’t mind at all 😉😉🧡🧡 as he ate his tree leaves! 🌳🌳He totally enjoyed having a Gorgeous model by his side! 💃😉 Your Train 🚂🚂🚂 video was so timeless and full of Class straight out of the 1920’s-30’s where life was simpler in many ways, yet still Amazing! 💭💭💭 The Perfect picture /video of you as the train went along the tracks, you were so Elegant in your white Dress, the Wind kissing your skin then your hair! 👰🏼‍♀️🩶 Wow, Rainbow pics with Victoria Falls… was Like Heaven on Earth 🌈🌈🌈🏞️🏞️🏞️ with a little splash that was well deserved. ☔💧 Sweet Virginia she loved you so much, her and the boys were so full of life! Their creative ways of making a futbol and then playing with it was awe Inspiring. ⚽⚽⚽ The Smiles they shared give us all hope! 🙏🙏🙏 I Loved every part of your Special Africa Trip especially your Safari Outfits! Such a Wonderful sense of taste you have relative to the attire and the functionality needed. Comfort was a big part and safety! I’d say you did Fabulous all the way around while looking so stylish at the same time! Good job Babe! 👏👏👏 So Proud of you! ✨🩶 Thanks for Being so Amazing! 🤗🤗🤗
    Love you 😘💋

    Posted 7.6.23 Reply
  2. Randy Fox wrote:

    Are you going to see the Mountain and Lowland Gorillas ? That is on my bucket list ! I’m an army vet age 63 and LOVE nature !! God Bless 🙏☦️🙌

    Posted 7.6.23 Reply
  3. Michael wrote:

    So Beautiful

    Posted 7.6.23 Reply
  4. Mike west wrote:

    Beautiful trip and pictures of you beautiful friend

    Posted 9.4.23 Reply