Botswana & Zimbabwe Adventure Trip Notes
Trip code: GABZ
Trip valid from: 01/01/2011
Trip valid until: 30/06/2013
Trip length: 21 days
Trip starts in: Johannesburg
Trip ends in: Johannesburg
Maximum group size: 24
- Hwange National Park - Home To The Second Largest Population Of Elephants In The World
- Walk With Lions In Antelope Park - The World’s First Lion Rehabilitation And Release Into The Wild Program
- ‘The Smoke That Thunders' - Victoria Falls
- Wildlife Safari In Greater Kruger National Park
- Camp By The Great Zimbabwe Ruins
- Blyde River Canyon - The Largest Green Canyon In The World
- Khama Rhino Sanctuary
- Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
- Okavango Delta By 'mokoro'
- Nxai Pan National Park's Fossil Lakebed And Baobabs
- Chobe National Park's River
Over three incredible weeks we explore parts of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining the ‘Backroads of Botswana’ and ‘Waterfalls and Wildlife’ safaris.
Contrasting the fantastic wildlife at Chobe National Park with the stunning scenery of the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls makes this one of the best trips on offer. We travel from Pretoria to Khama Rhino Sanctuary, where we experience our first sightings of African wildlife. There is a chance to learn more about this community-based conservation effort through our local site guides, as well as enjoying an optional night drive. Travelling along the back roads of Botswana we arrive at the Okavango Delta. Here we explore the most spectacular floodplain in the world, both in traditional mokoros (dug-out canoes) and on foot. The birdlife is prolific and the sunsets are simply spectacular. Travelling past the Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pans we continue to Chobe National Park, spending our day game viewing in open four-wheel drive vehicles and by boat. We watch large herds of elephants rolling in the mud, hippos relaxing at the water's edge, antelopes frolicking through the grasslands and, hopefully, lions keeping a watch on their territory. We then travel to Victoria Falls, where a smorgasbord of adrenaline-fuelled activities are on offer (such as whitewater rafting or bungy jumping). Take time to experience the magnificence of the actual falls themselves, as the Upper Zambezi River spills over the 1.7km wide chasm. Wildlife viewing opportunities continue at Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier game reserve. From there we travel to the Antelope Park, where we get to walk with lions in this great private reserve. Our safari then takes on an architectural and cultural focus as we visit the Great Zimbabwe Ruins - the largest sub-Saharan, man-made structure and once the focal point of a powerful kingdom. We leave Zimbabwe as South African beckons us with its rejuvenating hot springs and scenic canyon. The wonderful Kruger National Park provides a fitting climax to this brilliant and highlight-packed safari.
Pretoria/Johannesburg (South Africa)Today is an arrival day, so you may arrive at any time. The remainder of your day is free to enjoy at leisure before dinner, which is served at our lodge. This spacious lodge is located in a quiet rural area between Pretoria and Johannesburg. A transfer from Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport need to be pre-booked and is strongly recommended. If you would like to but any South African rand, it is advisable to do this today as there will be no time to visit banks tomorrow. The airport is an ideal place to do this with its abundance of ATMs and forex bureaus in the arrival hall. There is a pre-departure meeting tonight at 6pm. (D)
Khama Rhino Sanctuary (Botswana)(Driving time: approx 7 hours not including time at border) Leaving Pretoria early we travel north to Potgietersrus and then continue northwest to the Martins Drift border post. After exiting South Africa we cross the Limpopo River to enter Botswana before continuing on to Khama Rhino Sanctuary at Serowe. Tonight we camp inside the sanctuary at Mokongwo Camp, where each site is set out in the atmospheric shade of large mokongwa trees. In 1989 a group of Serowe residents conceived the idea of establishing a wildlife reserve near Serowe. One year later the Ngwato Land Board allocated the land around Serwe Pan to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust. Covering approximately 4300 hectares of Kalahari sandveld, the sanctuary is centred around Serowe Pan - a large grass-covered depression with several natural water holes. Serowe Pan provides prime habitat for white rhinoceros and other grazing animals, whilst the dense vegetation in the southern area of the sanctuary is favoured by browsing animals such as giraffe. The sanctuary is home to other wildlife that have either settled here naturally or were relocated. This includes a wide range of plains game, leopard, several varieties of smaller cats and a host of bird species. Best of all the sanctuary is a community trust governed by a board of trustees, who are elected from the local communities of Serowe, Paje and Mabeleapodi. Our visit here helps the local community to maintain this worthwhile project. (B, L, D)
Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Maun (Botswana)(Driving time: approx 7 hours) This morning we take an early morning game drive through Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which is guided by well trained and knowledgeable rangers who are based at the sanctuary. Following breakfast there may be time to further explore the sanctuary. The tour then continues to Maun, the safari capital of northern Botswana. We have time to explore the town in the afternoon, as well as stock up on supplies. Tonight we camp just outside Maun, which is our base to prepare for our upcoming Okavango Delta adventure. (B, L, D)
Okavango Delta Excursion - Maun (Botswana)No visit to this corner of Africa is complete without exploring the irresistible wilderness around the Okavango River. The third largest river in Africa snakes its way from the Angolan Highlands through Namibia and into Botswana, before spilling out and emptying into the vast sands of the Kalahari Desert. Often described as the river that never finds the sea, the Okavango loses 97% of its water to the great sands before joining the Thamalakane River in the south, near Maun. Arguably the best way to explore the delta is on a mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursion. During our three-day/two-night excursion we explore the area by mokoro and on foot. Laying back in a mokoro and being gently propelled through the tranquil waterways of the Okavango Delta is a magical experience. We spend the nights camping in the wild under the stars of the southern skies, enabling us to experience the full majesty of the area. This excursion is operated through the Okavango Polers Trust, whose aim is to preserve and maintain the traditional lifestyle of the Batswana people who inhabit the delta region. This trust ensures that all members of the community are given the opportunity to become polers, which allows them to earn money through tourism. Poler and guides fees are set by the trust and additional income earned by the trust is used to assist various community projects in the area. On our final morning in the delta we enjoy a last mokoro trip before returning to the polers' station and our vehicle. Leaving the delta we head back to Maun, where we are welcomed by hot showers and cold beers. This afternoon you have the chance to take an optional sunset flight over the Okavango Delta in five-seater planes. This flight is one of the best in Africa and affords stunning views over the delta system and flying at low altitudes allow plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. For the two nights in the Okavango Delta you need to pack clothing and other personal items into a smaller overnight bag, as space is limited. There will be no access to showers and you will be away from the safari vehicle. (3B, 3L, 3D)
Chobe National Park (Botswana)(Driving time: approx 8 hours on Day 7; game drive times variable) This morning we drive for six to eight hours, travelling from Maun to Kasane and our campsite on the banks of the Chobe River, where we spend our first night in this area, with an option to do a sunset boat cruise. This drive takes us between two large salt pans - the Nxai Pan to our left and the Makgadikgadi Pan to our right. Keep an eye out for wildlife along this road – giraffe, ostrich, zebra and elephant are often sighted roaming freely! Two days in this region gives us ample opportunity to search for many of the fantastic wildlife in the Chobe National Park. Known throughout the world as Africa’s greatest elephant sanctuary, Chobe is also home to a wide variety of other animals including Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra and many species of antelopes. With the help of a local site guide we explore the park in open 4WD vehicles on game drives, watching elephant and other animals coming down to drink. (2B, L, 2D)
Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)(Driving time: approx 2 hours not including time at border) Today we exit Botswana and cross the border into Zimbabwe. Upon arrival in Vic Falls, we set up camp for one night at our campsite located in Victoria Falls Township. From here your tour guide can assist you in arranging some of the optional activities that are available in the area. There are many to choose from including whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, elephant riding safaris and game drives. In addition there is also time to view the falls themselves and to explore the nearby craft markets, as well as the town. Victoria Falls town is well set-up with many restaurants and bars. No trip to southern Africa is complete without a visit to Victoria Falls and nothing will quite prepare you for this awesome sight. At its peak, it is estimated that five million cubic metres of water passes over the cataracts every minute! (2B)
Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)(Driving time: approx 2 hours; game drive times variable) From Victoria Falls a two-hour drive takes us to Hwange National Park and our campsite for the next two nights. Hwange is rightly acclaimed as Zimbabwe’s premier wildlife sanctuary. It covers a massive 14,650 square kilometres and is home to large breeding herds of elephant, Cape buffalo and most of the antelope species, as well as predators such as lion. At Hwange we enjoy a full day of game viewing, exploring the park in open vehicles. At night we can hear nocturnal creatures chattering and grunting just outside our campsite, which is located just outside the park. (2B, 2L, 2D)
Antelope Park - Gweru (Zimbabwe)(Driving time: approx 6 hours) Leaving Hwange National Park we make our way through large swathes of countryside to Bulawayo and then on to the nearby Antelope Park, located just outside Gweru in the Zimbabwe midlands. Here we are treated to a truly unique experience - and we really do mean unique. After all, where else in the world can you go for a walk with lions? Afterwards we have plenty of time to relax and take in ambience of the African bush, but there are also many other activities we can partake in. Optional activities available include the chance to ride elephants (on land and also in water), go game viewing on horseback, on foot or in a vehicle, or canoeing and fishing in a wonderfully scenic dam! Besides lion and elephant, other species of wildlife seen here include giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, tsessebe, waterbuck, blesbok, red hartebeest, impala, duiker, steenbuck and many more. There are also over 150 species of birds. (2B, 2L, 2D)
Great Zimbabwe Ruins (Zimbabwe)(Driving time: approx 3 hours) Leaving Antelope Park and its cuddly lion cubs behind, we travel south to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins at Masvingo. Here we spend the afternoon exploring this impressive archaeological site that gave the country its name. The ancient ruins of Great Zimbabwe dates back to the 11th century and was once the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa. For decades these ruins have awed archaeologists and historians alike and there is a good chance we will be similarly inspired on our visit here. (B, L, D)
Tshipise Hot Springs (South Africa)(Driving time: approx 4 hours) After a chance to watch the sunrise over the Great Zimbabwe Ruins we travel south to Beitbridge, the busy border post that separates Zimbabwe from South Africa. From here we drive to Messina and stock up on supplies, before reaching the hot springs of Tshipise. This campsite incorporates the hot springs with outdoor and indoor swimming pools, where you can lay back at night in the warmth of the spring waters and gaze up at the stars - a great way to relax! (B, L, D)
Kruger National Park (South Africa)(Driving time: approx 4 hours; game drive times variable) This morning we travel southeast from Tshipse on well-maintained roads to Kruger National Park. The landscape around Kruger is varied and fascinating. Stretching for some 350 kilometres and sharing a common border with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, much of the park consists of flat grass and scrubby plains. It supports an enormous variety of wildlife and bird life, including elephant, giraffe, zebra, Cape buffalo, many antelope species and white rhino. If we are lucky we may see lion, leopard or the endangered Cape hunting dog. We spend two nights in the park and embark on game drives to explore the riverbanks and bush. At night we have the option to board an open safari vehicle and, with the help of a local site guide, embark on a night game drive in searching of nocturnal animals rarely seen during the day hours. Both nights are spent at campsites, located in the park. (2B, 2L, 2D)
Kruger National Park - Blyde River Canyon - Graskop (South Africa)(Driving time: approx 3 hours) After a final morning game drive we bid farewell to Kruger National Park and drive out to Hazyview. Here we travel out of the lowveld and into the Panorama Region of Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon in the world. The centrepoint of the area are the Bourke's Luck Potholes, where a series of striking rock formations are found in the canyon walls, formed by the meeting of the Treur and Blyde Rivers. The canyon also boasts other viewpoints including God's Window, where we enjoy expansive views over the lowveld and the Kruger plains. Our campsite tonight is at Graskop, perched on the edge of the highveld escarpment. (B, L, D)
Pilgrim's Rest - Pretoria/Johannesburg (South Africa)(Driving time: approx 6 hours) Leaving Graskop we stop in Pilgrim’s Rest, a town that is now a national monument. Pilgrim’s Rest was once a major gold mining town, but when the gold was finally exhausted the town was sold to the government in 1972 as a historical village. Much of the main street has been restored and here we spend an hour or two browsing around the shops and exploring the many quaint old buildings. We arrive back at our lodge outside Pretoria in the early evening, but this time we pitch our tents for a final night of camping. (B, L, D)
Pretoria/Johannesburg (South Africa)Our tour ends this morning and you may depart at any time. Transfers to Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport are available at additional cost and may be arranged prior to travel with Imaginative Traveller’s or through the lodge itself. (B)
Itinerary VariationWhile the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Take your pick: hunt for tigers in northern India, listen to monkey chatter and birdsong in the jungles of Costa Rica and Peru or gawp at the Galapagos’ diversity. And of course, there's the big one: Africa. The names alone evoke images of wildlife: the Serengeti, Masai Mara, Kruger. And the reality’s even better. Africa’s got the lot, so go beyond the Big Five by hiking to close encounters with gorillas in Uganda’s forests, walking with lions at Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park, or canoeing past crocs on the Okavango Delta. From the Cape’s loveable penguins to Egypt’s loping camels, Africa’s animals await.
You need to be in good health. You also need to be able to get in and out of the mokoros (canoes) and game vehicles without extra assistance.
• Gecko’s experienced English-speaking local safari leader, professional driver, and camp cook who will prepare all included meals.
• Gecko’s specialist English-speaking local site guides in Hwange National Park, Chobe National Park and at the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.
• Transport in a custom-built safari vehicle with large opening windows for unrestricted game viewing (maximum of just 24 clients).
• 18 nights camping in large dome tents, with mosquito netting and a foam mattress provided. Camp sites include: inside Khama Rhino Sanctuary; in Victoria Falls Township; at Tshipse Hot Springs; in Kruger National Park; and at Graskop, on the edge of the highveld escarpment.
• 1 night in tented bush camp inside Chobe National Park.
• 1 day in Khama Rhino Sanctuary, 3 days in the Okavango Delta, 1 day in Chobe National Park, 2 days in Hwange National Park, 2 days in a private wildlife reserve and 2 days in Kruger National Park (including all park entrance fees, where applicable).
• Game drives in open 4WD vehicles in Hwange National Park and Chobe National Park.
• 3 day excursion on the Okavango Delta by mokoro (dugout canoe) and on foot, guided by an expert poler from the Okavango Polers Trust.
• Rhino Trail lead by rangers based at the sanctuary, and walk with the lions at Antelope Park.
• Sightseeing of Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Blyde River Canyon and Pilgrim’s Rest.
International flights, local payment, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre-tour or post-tour accommodation, all other meals, drinks, sleeping bag, pillow, all optional additional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights (unless specified).
20 breakfasts, 16 lunches, 18 dinners
18 nights Camping,1 night Lodge,1 night Tented bush camp
Single room supplementMost of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
4WD vehicle,Boat,Custom-built safari vehicle,Mokoro
camping equipment,sleeping mat
This trip includes 1 day in Khama Rhino Sanctuary, 3 days in the Okavango Delta, 1 day in Chobe National Park, 2 days in Hwange National Park, 2 days in a private wildlife reserve and 2 days in Kruger National Park.
*prices below are guide onlyAntelope Park, Gweru - Canoeing
- Elephant back ride and swim (1 hour) - US$65
Game viewing on horseback- US$35
Guided Fishing Trip- US$30
Lion Cub Feeding- US$15
Lion Cub Viewing- US$25
Night Game Drive- US$95 pp (Min 6)
- Swim with elephants (30 mins) - US$30
Tour of the Breeding Programme- US$15
Elephant back ride (30mins)- US$35
Evening Game Drive- ZAR 160
Morning game walk- ZAR 310
One hour scenic flight over the Okavango Delta- US$200 (dependant upon numbers in plane)
Entry to the falls- US$30
Full day upper Zambezi canoeing- US$120 (+15 Park Fees to be paid at check-in point)
Full-day white water rafting (Option may not be available depending on water levels).- US$120 (+ US$15 Park Fees to be paid at check-in point)
River boarding- US$150
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & Gecko's Adventures This trip is operated by our partner company, Gecko's Adventures. Gecko's is an Australia based company with more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code shared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Gecko's travellers on your trip.
Last updated: 01/05/2012