Into the African Wild

Botswana and Zambia

August 8 - 27, 2017
Cost: $10,850
Leader: Nkosi Sibanda or Geoffrey Lungu
Group Size: 7
Days: 20

Safari Overview

Travel to the edge of the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park then onto South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Seek out impressive wildlife in Moremi Game Reserve on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the Savuti area of Chobe National Park in Botswana, and South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Join expert guides adept at finding Leopards, Lions, and other exciting predators while positioning the vehicle for the best photography opportunities. Spend a night at spectacular Victoria Falls – the widest curtain of water in the world. Travel to Mfuwe in South Luangwa National Park – Zambia’s best game area. Experience the African wild with your own “window” seat in an open air Land cruiser, and relish mobile camping in Botswana, a luxurious resort within walking distance of Victoria Falls, and permanent safari tents overlooking the Luangwa River in Zambia.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Feel the pulse of the African bush during carefree mobile camping in Botswana.
• Experience an elephant extravaganza along the Chobe River.
• Hear the roar of Victoria Falls, the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
• Spend four days exploring South Luangwa with concentrated congregations of game at the Luangwa River.

Itinerary Updated: April 2016



FAQ Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Aug 8 - 9 Travel days to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Aug 10 Morning flight from Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana. Fly to Moremi Game Reserve. Mobile camping at Moremi D
Aug 11 - 12 Explore Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve in the famous Okavango Delta. Mobile camping at Moremi B, L, D
Aug 13 - 15 Explore Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve with more spectacular game drives. Mobile camping at Khwai B, L, D
Aug 16 - 18 Investigate the wildlife rich Savuti Marsh region of Chobe National Park. Mobile camping at Savuti Marsh B, L, D
Aug 19 Game drive to the Chobe River and look for Sable Antelopes and other thirsty wildlife. Late afternoon boat trip on Chobe River. Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa, Kasane B, L, D
Aug 20 Cross the Zambezi River to Livingstone, Zambia, visit Victoria Falls. Avani Victoria Falls Resort B, L, D
Aug 21 See the Falls under morning light. Fly from Livingstone to Mfuwe then drive the short distance to South Luangwa National Park. Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia B, L, D
Aug 22 - 24 Visit South Luangwa National Park, one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia B, L, D
Aug 25 Fly to Lusaka for overnight near the Lusaka Airport. Protea Tower Hotel, Lusaka B
Aug 26 Depart homeward from Lusaka. B
Aug 27 Arrive home, depending on flight schedule.

Our Trip Leaders

Nkosi Sibanda

Nkosi has led safaris for many years in Zimbabwe and Botswana. His love of the bush and its amazing wildlife inspired him to earn both Zimbabwe and Botswana Professional Guides licenses. He also has an advanced degree in Tourism and Travel Agency Management and is an all-round knowledgeable guide with a great personality. Nkosi loves photography and is very helpful with photo assistance.

Geoffrey Lungu

Geoffrey loves to observe and interpret Zambia's animal behavior and interactions and leads with great enthusiasm. To put it in his own words, "there is never a chance to get bored in the bush." Always keen to encourage interest in all his guests, his ambition is to write a book about the mammals of the South Luangwa. Geoffrey enjoys pointing out reptiles and birds and is always keen to listen to your questions and photo requests.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Fly to Johannesburg

Aug 8 - 9

You’ll likely depart home August 8 to arrive in Johannesburg in the evening of August 9.

Travel to Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta

Aug 10

Greater Kudu by Debbie Thompson

In the morning you’ll fly from Johannesburg to Maun, to catch your charter flight to Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta. Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta and has many types of habitats, including wide-open floodplains, marshes, ox-bow lakes, riverine forest, lagoons, papyrus-fringed channels, vast reed-beds of Miscanthus and Phragmites, woodlands, and savannah. En route to your campsite, discover mopane (pronounced Mo-pa-ni), the dominant tree in the wooded areas, in dense stands that provides a safe refuge for rare, timid, large antelopes, especially Greater Kudu. You’ll encounter every type of mopane habitat – the towering cathedral woodlands called Xakanaxa (pronounced Ka-kana-ka), the classic climax mopane woodland and, in the drier and harsher habitats, extensive stretches of scrub mopane. Rainfall from the Angola highlands surges 745 miles (1,200 kilometers) into the Okavango Delta, creating a unique wetland that supports and sustains a huge diversity of wildlife.

Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve

Aug 11 - 12

You’ll have daily morning game drives to search for African wildlife. Moremi Game Reserve is among the best game reserves in Africa for viewing the endangered African Wild Dog, especially around Xakanaxa. With luck, you’ll also see breeding herds of African Elephant moving between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango or even Red Lechwe, one of the more unusual antelope species.

In the afternoons, enjoy a walk in the vicinity of the camp, looking for animal tracks in the sand. Botswana is built on sand and its soil is the result of thousands of years of termites turning wood into soil. Your afternoon game drives are timed to be in the field for the best light and during the magic hour of dusk to dark when nocturnal animals become active.

Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve

Aug 13 - 15

Little Bee-eaters

The Khwai area is the North Gate region of Moremi Game Reserve. You’ll travel to the Manuchira Channel, weaving along from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the woodlands. You’ll visit the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippopotamus. The western mopane veld is home to breeding herds of elephant, while the eastern reaches of Khwai are home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai and are more approachable while drinking and bathing than elephants in breeding herds.

Khwai is a great ecotone area between the contrasting habitats of the marshy backwaters of the Khwai River and the dry-land leadwood and camel thorn woodlands and savannahs – truly one of Botswana’s birding meccas! Marula trees, a species of fig that produces the delicious liquor, and giant wild ebony trees shelter outstanding birdlife in the delta such as Bat Hawks that hunt along the entire length of the river. Away from the waterways, we will encounter hornbills, bee-eaters, rollers, starlings, and others.

Savuti Marsh area in Chobe National Park

Aug 16 - 18

You’ll stop for wildlife along the way from Khwai to Savuti Marsh. You will see the remains of a once vast paleo-lake called Lake Makgadikgadi, which dried up some 10,000 years ago. Then, you’ll traverse a winding track through deep sand while crossing the Magwikwe Sandridge that formed the shoreline for this massive inland sea. The old lakebed is now the Mababe Depression, and the dense clay floor of the depression results in high protein food for wildlife after the rains.

The Mababe Depression is a birder’s paradise. The nutritious grasses that grow on the rich soils provide excellent seed for an impressive array of estrilids and viduids, such as the Village Indigobird and Shaft-tailed Whydah. These birds provide a good food source for small raptors such as the Little Sparrowhawk, Shikra, Gabar Goshawk, and Lanner Falcon.

Unlike the vast majority of Botswana, the sandy Savuti area is dotted with small rocky outcroppings of volcanic rock amidst the Kalahari sands that provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa because of the wide-open country, healthy ungulate populations, and particularly strong Lion prides and Spotted Hyena clans.

Chobe River area in Chobe National Park

Aug 19

African Elephants on the Chobe River

Your last day in Botswana is spent traveling along the Chobe River. You’ll drive through the stunted mopane scrub of the Goha clay basin, across the sand ridge, through the wonderful Zambezi teak woodlands of the Chobe Forest Reserve, and along the Chobe River floodplain. You’ll take a late afternoon boat trip on the Chobe River within the heart of elephant country among large herds congregating along the river to drink and bathe.

Cross the Zambezi River to Victoria Falls

Aug 20

Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is located on the wide and powerful Zambezi River. The spectacular falls are the widest curtain of water in the world and plunges 330 feet! Several species of birds, including Trumpeter Hornbills, do well in the moister forests bordering the falls.

Explore Victoria Falls and fly to Mfuwe in Zambia

Aug 21

Victoria Falls

Soak up the breathtaking scenery at Victoria Falls this morning, then transfer to the nearby Livingstone Airport for your flight to Mfuwe via Lusaka. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon to meet your Flatdogs Camp guide at the airport and drive to Flatdogs (meaning “Crocodiles”) Camp. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the grounds with a view of the Luangwa River.

South Luangwa National Park in the Mfuwe Sector

Aug 22 - 24

Flatdogs Camp in Zambia

South Luangwa is often called one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the lifeblood of the park's 9,050 square kilometers, and more than 60 mammal species and 400 bird species reside along the river.

During night drives in the Luangwa, you’ll have opportunities to see Leopard and many nocturnal animals. You may encounter African Civets, Common (or Small-spotted) Genet, Spotted Hyenas, as well as owls, nightjars, foraging hippos, Honey Badgers (Ratels), and Lions. On most nights you may hear Hyenas and their plaintive, eerie cry, so characteristic of the African bush.

The Luangwa River has an extraordinarily high number of Nile Crocodiles, often seen basking on the riverbanks or floating down the river, which at first glace may look like a floating log. In Luangwa Valley many large water birds wade through the shallows. Yellow-billed Storks move with their beaks open underwater, disturbing the muddy water with their feet until the fish flop into their mouths. The striking 1.6-meter tall Saddle-billed Stork makes quick darting movements into the water to capture prey. Southern Ground-Hornbills emit the sound of a deep base drum early in the morning. The melodious White-browed (Heuglin’s) Robin-Chat and cry of the African Fish-Eagle are very distinctive against the ever present cooing of all the resident doves.

Fly to Lusaka

Aug 25

After a morning game drive, you’ll fly from Mfuwe back to Lusaka for an overnight near the Lusaka Airport.

Depart homeward

Aug 26

In the morning, you’ll transfer back to the Lusaka Airport to fly to Johannesburg and connect with flights homeward.

Arrive home

Aug 27

Depending on your flight schedule, arrive home today.

Botswana & Zambia

Travel to the edge of the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park then onto South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

-19.975580, 23.42818

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip cost, double occupancy $10,850
Single supplement $890

We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement fee. Single rooms are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $500
Second October 15, 2016 $1,000
Final March 1, 2017 Remaining balance

Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.


Cancellations

Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, landing fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • We make reservations for your charter flight from Maun to Moremi and flights in Zambia from Livingstone to Mfuwe and from Mfuwe to Lusaka.
  • Accommodations for the nights of August 10 to August 25.
  • Meals from dinner on August 10 through breakfast on August 25, plus breakfast on August 26.
  • Drinks while in your private mobile camps and drinking water while on game drives.
  • Airport transfer from Moremi to your mobile campsite on August 10 and airport transfer from Protea Tower Hotel to Lusaka Airport on August 26.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $2,300 to $3,000 from USA to Maun, Botswana and from Lusaka, Zambia to USA.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • Lunch and dinner on August 25.
  • We can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
  • Accommodations, transfers, meals, and any other arrangements in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Gratuities: tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting about $20 per participant per day for August 10 to 24 with our guides and camp staff (about $300 total per participant).
  • Emergency medical and evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance. Read more about travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, and items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.

Climate

The weather in August can vary between below freezing (32°F, 0°C) and up to around 85°F (29°C) during the day, and some rain is possible. In the last five years the dynamics of climate change are impacting the climate here and temperatures are increasingly warmer than previous years. Dressing in layers is the best way to deal with the varying temperatures.

Fitness Level

Early morning and nighttime game drives in addition to usual daytime game drives require good energy levels. Most travel is in open-air safari vehicles on sometimes dusty and bumpy roads. You may have short walks around camp and lodge grounds between game drives, if conditions permit.

Flights

Airfare, except flights listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Maun (MUB), Botswana around midday on August 10 via the South African Airways flight from Johannesburg (JNB) to Maun. Depart from the Lusaka Airport (LUN), Zambia on August 26 (late departures on August 25 may be possible, contact us for details before booking).

Flights we book for you: Flights from Maun to Moremi, Livingstone to Mfuwe, and Mfuwe to Lusaka. These flights are included in the tour cost.

FAQ

What is the difference between our February-March and August safaris in Botswana?

In February-March, the temperatures are higher, and it is the end of the rainy season. Storms are typically short, lasting an about an hour. Short rains turn the foliage green providing more food to support reproduction and birth, so there is less need for animals to congregate at water holes. The Kalahari Desert is alive with abundant wildlife from the rains.

In August, the temperatures are cooler, getting down into the 40s°F during the night. Wildlife will be plentiful at the rivers and watering holes where we will visit to watch interactions and behavior.

There seems to be a lot of driving; how long will we be in vehicles?

The distances between locations vary greatly. Generally we will travel to a new location after a morning game drive when the animals are less active.

How much focus is placed on photography?

Like most of our safaris, photographers will appreciate our long days in the field to capture that perfect photograph, especially during soft early morning and late afternoon light. We also tend to watch and understand wildlife behaviors instead of simply ticking-off the species on a list, this gives photographers more time to get engaging photos. However, you do not need a camera to fully enjoy all of the wildlife, in fact, sometimes it is best to put your camera down to really soak in the amazing spectacle surrounding you.

What is the difference between experiencing Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe encompasses about 75% of the falls and Zambia has 25% within its borders. During the drier seasons, portions of the falls on the Zambia side dry up. Zimbabwe provides more viewing locations (about 16 overlooks) to give different views of the falls. Zambia provides a view of the “knife drop” and you are able to get much closer to the falls.

Is it dangerous to camp in the “bush” in Botswana?

Camping immerses you in nature to give you the real experience of the African bush. You will be safe as long as you follow camp rules that will be thoroughly explained at the beginning of your camping stay. There is always camp staff nearby to assist you and to ensure your safety.

Accommodations

While mobile camping in Botswana, our outfitters handle all camp set up and take down as well as cooking so you can fully enjoy your wilderness experience. We camp in HATAB (Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana) sites where there are no fixed buildings or facilities. You will be in tents (9×9 feet) with a high roof an attached en-suite bathroom (9×7.5 feet), and a covered area in front of the tent (9×7 feet). Comfortable camp beds are made up with mattresses, sheets, duvets, and pillows. A canvas tent stall with a large overhead spray bucket provides hot showers. You’ll dine in a dining tent or beneath the stars depending on the weather. Wine, local beer, and soft drinks are provided. There is no electricity while in our mobile camps; the safari vehicle has the ability to charge camera batteries at any time.

In Zambia, we stay at Flatdogs Camp in their “luxury en-suite safari tents.” Each tent has a door leading to a shaded open-air bathroom with a hot shower, flush toilet, and washbasin.

Seasickness

Transportation

We travel in one open-air jeep-style four-wheel drive vehicle with rows of seats that provide 360° viewing. Our leader will drive the vehicle. You are on dusty and bumpy roads, so dust protection for your camera and gear is necessary. Blankets are provided but warm layers are essential.

Conditions

  • Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours.
  • Maximum time in the field: We try to spend as much time in the field as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience.
  • Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops, and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
  • Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
  • Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation/Release Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.