At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to Botswana scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. If you are interested in Botswana as a destination please contact us for further information.
From the Delta in the Desert to Victoria Falls
Day 1 – Wednesday, July 27: New York City to London and on to Johannesburg, South Africa
This morning we will depart from our gateway city, New York, and begin our long journey to Johannesburg, South Africa. We will fly from New York to London and once we arrive in London we will change planes for our overnight flight to Johannesburg. Please plan to arrive at New York’s JFK Airport no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time.
Day 2 – Thursday, July 28: Arrival in South Africa and Transfer to Pretoria
We will arrive in South Africa this morning and, after clearing immigration and customs, we will transfer to our accommodations at the Crane’s Nest Guesthouse in South Africa’s capitol of Pretoria. The Crane’s Nest is a beautiful, tranquil little hotel with comfortable rooms that will be a welcome retreat after our long journey. In the afternoon we will visit the adjacent Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary. This sanctuary is home to 189 species of birds including South Africa’s national bird – the blue crane. We will spend some time exploring the sanctuary and viewing birds from the blinds before we have dinner at the Blue Crane Restaurant. After dinner we will return to our hotel for a night of much needed rest. (D)
Day 3 – Friday, July 29: Flight from Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana
This morning we continue our journey as we transfer to our flight from Johannesburg to the city of Maun in northern Botswana. We should arrive in the early afternoon, and after clearing customs and immigration, we will drive to the Moremi Game Reserve deep in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Our accommodations for tonight and each night while we are on safari will be our own private mobile tented safari camp. Africa is best experienced under canvas, but that does not mean that we will go without comfort! Our luxurious spacious tents include comfortable beds complete with duvets, pillows and battery-powered lamps for illumination. Each tent has its own en suite bathroom and a bucket shower. There is a dining tent for meals and a hot shower and cold drinks will be waiting for us after each long day in the field. Our camp will be fully mobile and, besides catering to our needs, the camp staff will break camp down and set it back up when we change locations – all while we are searching for wildlife. Our camp will be more rustic than the lodges located within the national parks, but being able to sit around a campfire listening to the sounds of an African night is pure magic and Africa at its purest. (B,L,D)
Days 4, 5 & 6 – Saturday, Sunday & Monday, July 30, 31 & August 1: Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve
After breakfast we will begin three days of exploring the Okavango Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve. The Okavango is one of the most remarkable ecosystems on earth and is home to an astonishing diversity of animals. The Delta covers over 6,000 square miles and is a mosaic of habitats including clear lagoons dotted with palm-fringed islands, lush open savannahs, rivers, Mopane forests and vast floodplains. Hippo, crocodile, red lechwe and large herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe are common near the water. Impala, wildebeest, tsessebe, waterbuck, sable antelope and perhaps even the elusive sitatunga can also be found. Predators are prevalent with lions, leopard and hyena commonly seen. The Okavango is a paradise for bird watchers. As might be expected waterfowl and other waterbirds are abundant, but the wide range of habitat types also support a host of hornbills, parrots, shrikes, plovers, finches and weavers. Raptors and owls are very common and with luck we might spot the rare giant Pel’s fishing owl. On one of our days we will take a boat and spend the whole day exploring the papyrus-lined waterways of the Okavango. Boating is a unique way to get close to wildlife and may yield species difficult to see while land based. The other two days will be spent in the Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi is part of the Okavango ecosystem and is one of the best game viewing areas in all of Africa. The timing of our visit coincides with the early dry season when the bush has thinned out making wildlife sightings easier. As a result there should be an abundance of excellent photographic opportunities. Along with the species mentioned previously, we will also be on the lookout for reedbuck, ostrich, roan antelope, greater kudu, zebra, cheetah, ratel (or honey badger), bat-eared fox and both black-backed and side-striped jackals. Moremi is also a great place to find African wild dogs. Along with the fantastic diversity of mammals, Moremi is home to spectacular numbers of birds. Eagles, hawks, kites and falcons hunt abundant prey, vultures clean up numerous kills and thousands of red-billed quelea flock together forming dense, synchronously, moving clouds. Majestic wattled cranes and huge southern ground hornbills stalk the grasslands and colorful bee-eaters, barbets, rollers and waxbills flit in the treetops. It will truly be a privilege to spend three full days in this remarkable ecosystem! To coincide with the peak of animal activity, our days will normally consist of an early morning and late afternoon game drive with time to rest and relax during the heat of the day. After our late afternoon game drive we will return to camp for hot showers, cold drinks, great food by candlelight and a campfire under a vast swath of stars sweeping across the African night. (B,L,D)
Days 7, 8 & 9 – Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, August 2, 3 & 4: The Savute Area of Chobe National Park
Today we will journey north out of the Okavango Delta area to the southern portion of Chobe National Park – known as Savute. Savute is normally an arid region of dusty plains punctuated by small man-made waterholes, but recently the rains have been very heavy. As a result the once dry Savute channel now has water flowing through it into Savute Swamp. Animals adapt to these changing conditions and by the time we arrive for this trip Savute should be lush and green and full of game. Savute is famous for large prides of lions and herds of bull elephants. The lions and elephants will still be there, but should be joined by large herds of zebra and antelope taking advantage of the flush of new plant growth. Despite Savute being wetter than normal, the waterholes will still draw the grazers in to drink. The predators know this making these waterholes ideal places to watch the action-packed drama that is Africa unfold. We will have three full days to explore Savute and once again camp will travel with us. (B,L,D)
Days 10 & 11 – Friday and Saturday, August 5 & 6: River Area of Chobe National Park
On the morning of the 14th we will break camp and travel north to the Chobe River where we will spend two days exploring this section of the park. This section of Chobe National Park is dominated by huge herds of elephant. It will be possible to see literally hundreds of elephants and these herds are some of the most vocal and active in Africa. The constant trumpeting, mock charges and occasional sparring with each will make our encounters with these herds very exciting! This area of the park is also good for hippos, crocodiles, lion, greater kudu, sable antelope, African fish-eagles and Nile monitor lizards. Game viewing is often good in the mid-day as other animals come to river to drink after the elephants disperse. The permanence of the Chobe River also means this area is great for birds. One of our game drives will take place in a boat along the Chobe River – which should produce an exciting game viewing experience! We will have two full days in this part of the park and will return to the comfort of our tented camp each night. (B,L,D)
Day 12 – Sunday, August 7: Travel to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls
After breakfast we will bid farewell to our tented camp and safari staff before traveling east out of Chobe National Park and into neighboring Zimbabwe. Not far across the border we will drive through Zambezi National Park to the entrance of Victoria Falls National Park. Once we arrive at Victoria Falls Village we will check into our accommodations at the Victoria Falls Hotel. This elegant old colonial-style hotel is only a ten minute walk from the falls and will provide a comfortable retreat for the next two nights. Once we have checked in we will eat lunch and then depart for our first look at the falls. The native name for Victoria Falls is Mosi-ou-Tunya which means the smoke that thunders. This is a great description as more than 550,000 cubic meters of water per minute crash onto the rocks below throwing spray up to 1,650 feet high. Victoria Falls consists of five separate waterfalls each at least twice the height of Niagara Falls. To view these spectacular falls we will hike along paved pathways that wind their way through a verdant rainforest nurtured by mist from the falls. These riparian forests are also home to wildlife and with luck we could spot vervet monkeys, banded mongoose, Chobe bushbuck, baboons and an incredible variety of birds. After an afternoon of taking in the majesty of the falls, shooting photographs and searching for wildlife we will return to our hotel to prepare for dinner. Tonight we will transfer to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for dinner and their traditional African dance show. (B,L,D)
Day 13 – Monday, August 8: Victoria Falls and Zambezi National Park
Today is a free day full of optional activities which could range from adrenalin-filled white-water rafting to relaxing by the pool. The choice is yours, but we will facilitate whatever you choose to do. You could spend the day shopping at the Craft Village or visit the falls again. There will be an opportunity to go bird watching. The forest near the falls, the Zambezi River upstream of the falls and the Batoka Gorge below the falls are all excellent places to look for some of the specialty birds that live in this area. For those that choose to do so we will utilize a local bird guide to help us find trumpeter hornbills, green pigeons, collared palm-thrushes and Schalow’s turaco in the forested areas. We will also take a boat upriver early this morning searching for giant kingfisher, African finfoot, rock pratincole and white-crowned plover. The Batoka Gorge is great for raptors including African hawk-eagles, Verreaux’s eagle, crowned eagle, augar buzzard and perhaps even the rare Taita falcon if we are lucky. If you would like a more adrenalin-filled experience today you could choose the “Flight of Angels” helicopter ride over the falls or an incredible white-water rafting trip on the Zambezi River below the falls. The Zambezi River offers one of the most exciting and challenging white-water experiences in the world with numerous class five rapids. If you choose to raft it is an all day trip and one of the wildest raft trips available – so hang on and enjoy the ride! Due to the many choices of activity, lunch will be on our own today. Regardless of what you choose to do today we will all convene at our hotel in the early evening and transfer to the boat docks for our evening sundowner dinner cruise on the Zambezi. We will cruise for two hours among the wildlife while the sunset paints the sky over Africa. Once our cruise is over we will dock and be served dinner along the river as twilight fades to darkness. This should be a fitting end to a fantastic safari! (B,D)
Day 14 – Tuesday, August 9: Victoria Falls to Johannesburg and on to the US
We will have most of the morning to pack up and prepare for our long journey home. Also, early this morning, we could have some leisure time to visit the falls again or do a little last minute shopping. Later in the morning we will transfer to the airport at Victoria Falls for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. Once we arrive in Johannesburg we will check in for our international flight home and transfer to our departure gate to London. We will depart for London on an overnight flight and then once in London transfer to our flight back to the US. (B)
Day 15 – Wednesday, August 10: Arrival in the US and Transfer to Flights Home
We will arrive in New York City late this morning, and after we clear immigration and customs, we will transfer to our departure gates for our home cities.
* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.