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Itinerary: Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker

Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker

Visitors are afforded some of the best game viewing and cultural explorations available over three Southern African countries. This fully accommodated tour offers adventure at an affordable price.

Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker

There is currently a 5% Special discount on the Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker departing 25Feb17 - offer expires 25Jan17

The Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker (ZBa16) is from Johannesburg to Johannesburg on a circular route with simple international flights & includes a chance to see rhino.
The Zimbabwe & Botswana Game Tracker (ZBa15) is from Johannesburg to Maun offers the opportunity to fly out of Maun on day 15 and avoid the drive back to Johannesburg.

Accommodation: For 11 nights on safari we stay at small lodges, with en suite facilities. Of which, 1 night is in Khama and the 1 night at Letaba, is in Kruger NP (in self-catering chalets where two bedrooms share a bathroom), and there are 2 nights in a tented camp in the Okavango Delta. Each tent has twin camp beds with linen and an en suite chemical toilet. Here there is a shared bucket shower tent with hot water off the fire.

Meals: 15 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 11 dinners are included. Of which 6 breakfasts & 4 dinners are provided by the lodges. The remaining included meals are prepared by our crew at the vehicle and enjoyed around the campfire.

Transport: For the majority of this safari you travel in a custom-built trucks with 12 forward facing seats; or (on 40% of tours) in Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 forward facing seats and air conditioning. For the game drives in Chobe, Hwange, Matobos and the transfer into the Okavango we use local open sided 4WD vehicles with local guides.

Limited participation: An essential part of your safari is some participation. From carrying your own bag to cleaning your window and packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Where the tour leaders provide meals we ask that clients help (on rotation) with the washing up.

Day 1: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Departing Johannesburg at 06:30am we head into the world famous Kruger National Park. We visit the northern part of the park and stay in the Letaba area of the reserve. We enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in our safari vehicle and hope to spot lion, elephant, rhino and other animals in this icon of wildlife conservation.

Day 1: Breakfast is not included
Day 1: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 1: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes: Entrance to Kruger National Park & afternoon game drive
Overnight: Kruger National Park Chalets – we stay in national parks board chalets. 1 night chalets at Letaba – twin chalets (or lodge tent) shared facilities, swimming pool & restaurant. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 550km, ± 8 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch

Day 2: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
This morning we wake early and game drive north through the park to the Pafuri region. The northern Kruger is dominated by mopane veld and is the domain of large elephant bulls, wilddog and lions. As we reach the Limpopo Valley the vegetation changes to forest and birdlife is prolific. We exit the park, late in the afternoon, and overnight at a lodge just outside the Kruger.

Day 2: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 2: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 2: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge

Includes: Entrance to Kruger National Park and full day game drive
Overnight: Awelani Lodge – en suite rooms, restaurant. Awelani Eco-Tourism Park is owned and run by the local Mutele community. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 305km, ± 8 hours, game viewing drive, excluding stop for lunch

Day 3: GREAT ZIMBABWE
Entering Zimbabwe at the Beit Bridge border post, we travel north to our overnight stop. The following morning we visit the Great Zimbabwe Monuments. These well preserved ruins are some of the oldest and largest stone structures in Southern Africa and were built during the 11th to 14th centuries. We explore these ancient stone structures on an informative walk with a local guide.

Day 3: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 3: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 3: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge

Includes: Entrance and guided tour of the Zimbabwe Ruins
Overnight: Great Zimbabwe Hotel – hotel, twin rooms with en-suite facilities, restaurant & bar. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 480km, ± 6½ hours, excluding stops for border crossing (which can take 2 to 4+ hours) sightseeing & lunch

Day 4 -5: MATOBO NATIONAL PARK
Travelling via the city of Bulawayo we move on to the Matobo National Park and our chalets on the outskirts of the park. This afternoon we enjoy a sundowner from the granite ridge overlooking the park. The following morning we visit World’s View and the historical site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave. Unusual rock formations are home to an array of ancient bushman paintings which we visit while on our game drive and walk. This area is also home to Zimbabwe’s rhino which we hope to see on our excursion in the national park.

Day 4: Breakfast provide by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 4: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge
Day 5: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 5: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 5: Dinner will be a set meal provided by the lodge

Includes: Entrance to Matobo National Park and game walk
Overnight: Hermits Peak – chalets - twin rooms with en-suite facilities (hot showers), swimming pool, restaurant, bar & telephone. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 340kms, ± 5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, shopping & lunch

Day 6 – 7: HWANGE NATIONAL PARK
Named after a local Nhanzwa chief, Hwange National Park is the largest Park in Zimbabwe occupying roughly 14 650 square kilometers. Hwange is famed for its large elephant population. Our chalets are in the game management area that borders the park, and we explore the park with our local guide, on a full day game drive in an open 4WD game viewing vehicle.

Day 6: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 6: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 6: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 7: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 7: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 7: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes: Entrance fees, full day game drive in open 4WD game viewing vehicle
Overnight: Miombo Safari Lodge – for 2 nights at Hwange National Park, we stay in twin chalets with en-suite facilities, swimming pool and central boma area. (Subject to availability, we may stay in twin en-suite tree houses). WiFi not available
Distance/time: 335kms ± 5 hours, excluding stops for sightseeing, game viewing & lunch

Day 8 – 9: VICTORIA FALLS
We enjoy a spectacular guided walk through tropical vegetation to the very edge of the “Mosi oa Tunya” or “the smoke that thunders” - Victoria Falls. There are opportunities to white water raft on the mighty Zambezi River, bungi jump or take a “flight of angels” (own expense).

Day 8: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 8: Lunch will be an own expense meal
Day 8: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant
Day 9: Breakfast will be provided by the hotel
Day 9: Lunch will be an own expense meal
Day 9: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant

Includes: Entrance Fees to see the Victoria Falls
Overnight: Rainbow Hotel, twin rooms with en-suite facilities. Swimming pool, restaurant, bar and telephone. Free WiFi available
Distance/time: 200kms ± 3 hours excluding stops for sightseeing & curio shopping
Optional Activities: White water rafting, sunset cruises, scenic flights & many more

Day 10: CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
Entering Botswana, we head to the town of Kasane and our accommodation on the banks of the Chobe River The river flows lazily along the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park attracting some of the largest herds of elephant in Africa. A highlight of any trip to the Chobe is the afternoon game viewing cruise where we hope to see large herds of elephants and other wildlife as they quench their thirst at the end of the day.

Day 10: Breakfast will be provided by the hotel
Day 10: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 10: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes: Chobe N.P entrance fees & sunset cruise on Chobe River
Overnight: Thebe River Safaris – twin chalets with en suite facilities. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. WiFi available
Distance/time: 85kms ± 1 hour, excluding border formalities
Optional Activities: N/A

Day 11: NATA
This morning there is time for an optional (own expense) game drive in the Chobe National Park. Heading south through the Kasane Forest Reserve we make our way to the Nata area for our overnight stop.

Day 11: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 11: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 11: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant

Includes: N/A
Overnight: Nata Lodge – twin share luxury tents with en suite facilities. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 300kms ± 4½ hours, excluding stops for sightseeing & lunch
Optional Activities: Game drive in Chobe NP

Day 12 – 14: OKAVANGO DELTA
We transfer into the delta by open 4WD game viewing vehicle. Our local guides will take us deep into the heart of the Okavango Delta on Mokoro (dugout canoes) to our pre-erected tented camp. The delta forms as rain water from the Angolan highlands flows out over the flat Kalahari Desert sands, forming a delicate, green oasis for birds and wildlife. Our camp is on a remote island in this amazingly dynamic environment and we enjoy bush walks, bird watching and swimming in the clear waters. Camping with our local guides we learn more about their lifestyle and culture. Returning to Maun in the afternoon of day 14 there is time for an optional scenic flight over the Okavango (own expense).

Day 12: Breakfast provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 12: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 12: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 13: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 13: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 13: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 14: Dinner will be an own expense meal at a local restaurant

Includes: Entrance to Okavango Delta, Mokoro excursion, morning and afternoon game walks with local guides
Overnight: 2 x nights Okavango Delta – wilderness tented camping - 2 nights tented camp in the Okavango. Each tent has twin camp beds with linen and an en suite chemical toilet. Shared bucket shower tent with hot water off the fire. Tents have built-in insect nets. We need to take our own water and all equipment. Wild tented camping can be very enjoyable but please remember that we leave no trace of our stay and take all rubbish away with us. The wilderness tented camp supplies all linen blankets and pillows. The camp chairs have a backrest. You will need to bring your own towel. WiFi not available. 1x night Maun Rivernest Cottages, chalet - twin share bedrooms with en suite facilities. Swimming pool, bar, restaurant, telephone. WiFi not available
Distance/time: 300km, ± 4 hours + 2 hour 4WD transfer into the Delta, each way
Optional Activities: Scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (+/-USD95-120) pp depending on number of people in each aircraft)
Clients can end this tour on day 15 at 08:00am after breakfast to catch flights from Maun to Johannesburg.

Day 15: KHAMA RHINO SANCTUARY
Heading south from Maun, we cross the wide open spaces of the Kalahari Desert on our way to Khama Rhino Sanctuary. This is a community based wildlife project established in 1992 to assist in protecting rhino and restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its natural state. The reserve provides economic benefits to the local Batswana community through sustainable use of natural resources. We hope to spot rhino on an afternoon game drive.

Day 15: Breakfast will be provided by the lodge
Day 15: Lunch provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 15: Dinner provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group

Includes: Entrance fees and afternoon game drive.
Overnight: Khama Rhino Sanctuary, 2 twin share bedrooms in each chalet with 1 bathroom shared between 2 rooms.
WiFi not available
Distance/time: 450km, ± 6½ hours, excluding stops for sightseeing
Optional Activities: Night game drive in open game viewing vehicle

Day 16: JOHANNESBURG – TOUR ENDS
Crossing back into South Africa, we make our way to Johannesburg where the tour ends at +/- 17:00.

Day 16: Breakfast will be provided by the tour leaders with the help of the group
Day 16: Lunch own expense meal
Day 16: N/A

Includes: N/A
Overnight: N/A
Distance/time: 630km, ± 7½ hours, excl border formalities & stops for sightseeing & lunch
Optional Activities: N/A

Note: We do a free drop off at Johannesburg airport on day 16 at 17:00pm so you can book your flight out for the last day of tour. The distance and travel times quoted above are an estimate only, and subject to local road conditions and animal sightings!

Note: That the accommodation specified above and in the itinerary, is a guide only and is subject to availability. Alternatives will be of a similar standard, and accommodation changes will be made without notice.

Special Interest: Great Zimbabwe Monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage site and its massive curving walls (some 11m high), constructed from millions of granite blocks fitted together without mortar, remain the largest ancient stone structure in sub Saharan Africa. The city had an estimated 18,000 inhabitants and archaeological artefacts including Chinese pottery shards and coins from Arabia suggest a vast trading network.

Sustainable Tourism:
Zimbabwe has for many years been off the tourist chart. Conservation has been a challenge for many Zimbabweans working in the national parks and on private land. In Matobos and Hwange national parks we use locally owned camps, operators and guides. Bringing tourist revenue back to the people on the ground will help support the protection of these beautiful wildlife regions.

SOS trees project – Okavango Botswana:
For hundreds of years, the local communities in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta have used the wood of the sausage tree to craft their traditional mokoro (dugout canoes). The knowledge and skill have been passed down from generation to generation and, up until recently, has been a sustainable practice. With increasing numbers of people visiting the Delta each year, more mokoro are needed and as a direct result, more and more sausage trees are being felled and the sausage tree is sadly disappearing from the region. A traditional wooden mokoro will have to be replaced every five years, thereby placing increased pressure on the dwindling sausage tree supply.

We have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fiberglass mokoro’s, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced without any negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fiberglass mokoro is needed, and a portion of the tour cost will be donated to the project, but we also will offer our clients the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile cause. Please feel free to contact us for more information on the SOS trees project or if you would like to make any contributions towards this project. It is something that is close to all of our hearts and we hope that it will be successful.

Local Payment:
A local payment is required on this safari and this will be collected by your tour leader on departure. The local payment forms part of your overall tour cost, and must be taken into consideration when booking your safari. It will be used by your tour leaders to pay for some of the operational costs incurred on safari.

We prepay, as many of the tour costs as possible. However, in many cases, a cash payment is the only option: certain of the destinations that we visit, only accept cash. For example entry fees to most national parks, some of the campsites and also local food markets (and even some shops) are only payable in cash. In addition, each vehicle has a garage card but these are only accepted in South Africa and parts of Namibia, therefore in all other countries, fuel must be paid for in cash. Due to the remoteness of some departure points, having a local payment system enables us to manage tour funds effectively. The efficiency of this system helps keep the overall tour prices down.

For these reasons, it is necessary to charge a local payment. It also ensures that a portion of the tour costs goes directly into the country you are visiting, thereby benefiting local communities and contributing to the conservation of the areas we visit. This is all part of our ongoing effort to operate sustainable safaris that make a real difference.

Participation:
An essential part of your safari is participation – from putting up your tent or packing away in the morning to helping with meal preparation and cleaning up – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your tour leaders will do all the meal preparation but we do ask the clients to help with the washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun!

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