Day 18: Zambia
The tour has crossed the Zambezi River by boat at Kazungula, an area where the borders of Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana all meet. After checking into our hotel, the tour group has spent an afternoon visiting the incredible Victoria Falls, before then going on a walking safari to see Southern White Rhino at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. A truly spectacular way to end the tour. Tonight we will spend our last night of the trip eating dinner by the mighty Zambezi River, before we pack and head to the airport tomorrow morning to start the long flights home. The group will be bringing back many memories, and several thousand photographs of the trip!
Day 16: Chobe River, Chobe National Park
Our last nights spent camping on the trip, and what a place to finish. This location is the spectacular Chobe National Park. Second in size only to the Zambezi River in this area, the Chobe River is home to the largest elephant herds in the world, and certainly did not disappoint. We were also fortunate enough to see a Hyeana Den with 8 pups, Nile crocodiles , Warthogs and Lots of Impalas. We camped in a Teak forested dune that overlooks this beautiful river, a permanent water source that attracts many species to the area. The Drive has been bumpy and dusty, as we have been driving through deep sand, but our guide KK has navigated it well.
We have been fortunate to spend the last two nights camping on the northern bank of the Khwai River, entering Chobe National Park intot he region known as Savute. The camp site is located close to the flowing Savuti Channel, meaning that game are in high numbers this time of year and we have not been disappointed in what has been visible. Some highlights over the last couple of days have included male Lion on a Kudu kill, Honey Badger in camp, Tsebbe and Iliac-Breasted Rollers. We got a flat tyre today, which was an adventure within it self. Tomorrow we are going to climb one of the hills to see San Bushman wall paintings that date back 2-4000 years, a special moment for all.
This region is perhaps one of the most diverse in the whole of Botswana, a feature that was recognised when it was made a conservation area back in 1964. The group is now well and truly into the routine of an early start before dawn, a quick breakfast before we have our first game drive of the day, then back to camp for a siesta, shower and washing in the hotter parts of the day. Then we do it all again in the afternoon, heading out in the cooler hours for a second game drive to view animals that become active again near dusk. This timetable maximises our chances of seeing interesting wildlife, and we've certainly been able to do that with highlights thus far including 4 Wild Dogs , Lions hunting Red Lechwe , 2 Cheetahs and 2 Leopards, one of which was hunting Impalas
Day 8: Cultural Night in Maun
Last night the group stayed in Maun for a brief break from camping, enjoying the luxuries of a hotel bed. Thanks to Bonti and her team we were able to enjoy a visit to her property where we treated to a very lively talk about life in Botswana, enjoyed some local cuisine and were able to do some souvenir shopping to support the local economy. To top the night off we all got to try our hand at dancing before watching the experts show us how it is done. All this while taking in a beautiful sunset on the edge of the Thamalakane River. This morning we were lucky to see 4 elusive Sitatunga on the river banks, as well as hippos, on our boat trip along the Okavango Delta , ending it off with a picnic on its banks. So far we have been lucky to see Small Spotted Genets and Hyenas up close around camp, as well as many elephants and giraffes on our travels. Next up the group travels to Moremi Game Reserve.
The group is currently camping in Nxai Pan National Park. This is a very dry area at this time of year, so wildlife converges on the few remaining water sources, allowing spectacular and close views. We have been lucky enough to see a pride of 9 Lions, Gemsboks , Springboks ,a Cape and Bat-Eared Fox. As well as a range of birds including a Crimson Breasted Shrikes so far on our game drives.
We have arrived in Botswana! After landing in Maun, we have driven out to Planet Baobab for the first two nights camping. It has been a long drive, but well worth it as the group has been able to see Meerkats, Elephants , Giraffes and Zebras. We have another night here at Planet Baobab before we head off for two nights camping in Nxai Pan National Park and visit the iconic Baines' baobabs.
The planning is done and we are finally on African soil after a very long flight through to Johannesburg, South Africa. They have settled into their hotel rooms, enjoying a group meal in the hotel before flying on to Maun, Botswana tomorrow morning. Everyone is a little jet-lagged and tired, but excited to get underway.
Tickets have been picked up and all is now ready. Students are on the final countdown for when we leave in a week. Weather conditions in Botswana and Zambia are perfect, so it promises to be a cracking trip!