Botswana and Zimbabwe Ivory Route lodge tour
Description of Botswana and Zimbabwe Ivory Route lodge tour
This classic journey covers Botswana, Namibia & Zimbabwe & the core of the international Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. This initiative is a multi country effort to create a vast network of interlinking reserves and provide corridors for wildlife movement along natural migration routes, particularly for elephants. The lodges are beautiful, comfortable & make for a great adventure safari.
Overnight: The accommodation throughout this classic journey is of 3 to 4 star style and are chosen not only for their service and comfort level but also for their wonderful locations and local wildlife viewing opportunities. All rooms
have private en suite facilities. The Moremi lodge on a private concession between Chobe NP and Moremi GR is a particular highlight.
Meals: 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 9 dinners are included. All of which are provided by the lodges at which we are staying. Due to travel arrangements or game viewing activities, 2 of the lunches will be packed picnic lunches. Where meals are not included there will be an opportunity to buy a meal en route, but these are mostly travel days so a quick stop is required.
Transport: for the majority of this safari you travel in a safari truck with 12 seats; or (on 30% of tours) Mercedes Sprinter bus with 12 forward facing seats and air conditioning. For the game drives in Hwange, Matobos, Moremi and Chobe we use open sided 4WD vehicles with local guides.
Non participation: This is an adventure tour, and as such please expect to get involved. Where there are porters, theyll help you, otherwise youll need to carry your own bag. Included meals are all lodge provided. If you have a particular interest, please let your safari leader know, and he/she will endeavour to make your journey more rewarding.
Best time to go: The winter times (May Sep) are considered the best time to visit Botswana. Nights and early mornings can be cold.
The summer months (Oct Apr) are often referred to as the 'secret season', as the rain turns the whole of Botswana green. The many migratory bird species are in attendance, and the scenery is of lush healthy bush. While game viewing is a little more difficult it is still very good.
|Day 1:||VICTORIA FALLS - ZIMBABWE The majestic sight of the mighty Zambezi River plunging over the Victoria Falls, welcomes you to your Zimbabwe and Botswana adventure. We check into our lodge before we explore the falls and tropical rain forest surrounds on foot in the afternoon before heading out to a local restaurant for dinner (own expense). [Overnight hotel] (- - -)|
|Day 2-3:||HWANGE NATIONAL PARK Hwange National Park is a wildlife jewel, famous for its big game and large herds of elephant. Hwange is home to a wide variety of habitats, from it’s western regions on the edge of the Kalahari through large grass plains to the forested woodland in east Hwange. Our comfortable lodge for two nights is situated on the private concession on the eastern boundary of the park, our time is spent on a full day game drive, in open 4WD vehicles, in the park in search of big game. [chalets B - D]|
|Day 4-5:||MATOBOS NATIONAL PARK The rounded granite boulders and undulating valleys of the Matobos National Park are home to some of the last of the rhino in Zimbabwe. We spend our day on an excursion into the park that includes a game walk to see the rhino, discovering the ancient Bushmen paintings that adorn the rocks, and admiring the landscapes from Worlds View, the site of Cecil John Rhodes’ grave. [Overnight chalet] (Bx2, Lx1, Dx2)|
|Day 6:||NATA This morning we leave Matobos and head west towards the Botswana border, we cross at Plumtree and we make our way to the Nata area for our overnight stop. In the late afternoon we will head out onto the Makgadikgadi Pans, vast saltpans that seem to stretch on to infinity. We will explore the area and have some fun taking photographs before the sunsets golden over the horizon. [chalet B - -]|
|Day 7:||MAUN Maun’s name is derived from a San word meaning “place of the short reeds” is nestled at the southern end of the Okavango Delta where our lodge overlooks the beautiful Thamalakane River. Here we prepare for our trip into Moremi Game Reserve and our afternoon is free to bird watch along the river, relax around the pool or take a optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (own expense). [Overnight lodge] (B - -)|
|Day 8-10:||MOREMI GAME RESERVE Startling and unexpected contrasts are created as the waters of the Okavango flood into the drier Kalahari creating the magnificently rich wilderness area with amazing wildlife of the Moremi Game Reserve. Rivers, lagoons, savannah, woodland, Moremi offers some excellent game viewing. With over 400 species of birds, Moremi is also a great place to sight leopard, lion, wild dog, elephant, giraffe and a variety of antelope. We spend our time on game drives in Moremi GR and the surrounding concession along the Khwai River where the lagoons attract the thirsty animals to drink in late afternoon. Our lodge is on the private concession north of Moremi, where our boma overlooks a large pan where we enjoy our meals while watching the animals drinking and enjoy the wilderness far from civilization. On the morning of day 10 we have one last game drive on the concession before heading back to our lodge in Maun. [Overnight 2 x tented bush lodge, 1 x lodge] (Bx3, Lx3, Dx2)|
|Day 11-12:||OKAVANGO DELTA - SHAKAWE We drive around the Okavango Delta, and north to our lodge on the banks of the Okavango Pan handle. From the lodge we’ll explore the Okavango by mokoro and motor boat. Tranquil reed lined rivers, crystal clear water and abundant bird life. Time to rest, relax and enjoy the views of the Okavango Delta. [lodge BLD]|
|Day 13:||CAPRIVI: Crossing out of Botswana into Namibia and the Mahango Game Reserve. We game drive through the reserve to our lodge on the Kavango River. We spend our afternoon exploring on a river cruise. [chalet B - D]|
|Day 14:||CHOBE NATIONAL PARK The Caprivi Strip, Zambezi Region, is a thin wedge of Namibia, which separates Botswana in the south and Angola in the north. We cross the Caprivi, back into Botswana at Ngoma and head to our lodge in the town of Kasane. The Chobe river attracts large herds of elephant as it flows lazily along the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park. Our final afternoon is spent on arguably the best wildlife activity in Southern Africa, the game-viewing cruise. See herds of elephants, large crocodiles, pods of hippo and other wildlife as they quench their thirst at the end of the day. The magnificent river sunset is a photographer's dream. [chalet B - -]|
|Day 15:||VICTORIA FALLS ZIMBABWE - TOUR ENDS: Enjoy an optional early morning game drive (own expense) before our last breakfast together. We bid a sad farewell before we embark on a road shuttle transfer to either Kasane airport in Botswana, or Victoria Falls airport in Zimbabwe, in time for midday flight departures. Our tour ends 11:00am. [ - B - -]|
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1 Reviews of Botswana and Zimbabwe Ivory Route lodge tour
Reviewed on 29 Oct 2018 by Robert Jenner
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Walking in the bush to see white Rhino in Matobo hills, Zimbabwe. This was a very special experience.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Bring binoculars, sun hat and an open mind.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, we stayed in small lodges that employed a high percentage of local people and travelling in small groups has a low impact.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
This is a varied trip with many highlights, the wildlife viewing and standard of lodges exceeded my expectations. Our two Zimbabwean guides Brian & Chris added greatly to the trip with their knowledge and enthusiasm. Travelling in Zimbabwe was amazing with friendly people great wildlife and scenery.
Read the operator's response here:
PlanetMessage from co-Founder of this Tour Operator. My name is Bruce and I am a founder of this tour operation. I believe that the old conservation tactic of the setting aside areas of "exclusion" for conservation are outdated.
The reality is that in order for effective, sustainable conservation to take place, there needs to be an interest from the society of that country, conscious effort from government and local "buy in" from the local communities. Sadly the world is in a place where economic benefit is the overriding driving force of action and as such conservation is directly linked to economic benefit. Sustainable tourism is therefore absolutely essential for conservation to be effective. Not only for local communities to see value in conservation, but for countries as a whole to place value in protecting their natural heritage.
I believe there is a deep and instinctual link between our humanity and our natural environment. Inherently we all want to know that the wild places are still out there. And Eco-tourism gives us that opportunity, as we so often hear, to "rebalance" or "rejuvenate".
The various promises and commitments detailed below are only a representation of what it is that we do. I sincerely hope that our tours offer our clients an opportunity to experience the wonders of the African continent, and in some small way through focusing itineraries around wildlife and national parks, we contribute to environmental conservation both economically and spiritually.
If you join one of our trips, and have practical feasible suggestions about our responsible travel practices, please contact us. We strive to improve our operation and if we can do more for conservation in Africa, then we're all ears!
Low impact tourism & supporting local communities:
Small group travel: We specialise in small group travel with a maximum group size of 12 clients & minimum of 4. Small groups ensures a small impact on the destinations we visit when compared to larger groups. Smaller groups create an intimate safari experience, and mean that when we interact with local cultures and stay in environmentally sensitive areas, we do not leave a large footprint.
Fuel consumption: By travelling in a small group your carbon foot print is approximately ½ of self drive safari. The average pick-up car hire runs on approximately 12ltr/100km with generally 2 people per vehicle and this equates to approximately 6ltr/100km pp. Our average safari truck runs on 25ltr/100km with an average of 9.5 clients per tour and this equates to 2.6Ltr/100km pp. So, by joining a small group tour, your fuel consumption is less than half of doing a self-drive 4WD or pick up trip.
Cooking: We cook using gas as far as possible and, whenever feasible, avoiding cooking using fire or coal which depletes limited wood resources.
Wooden carving curios: We do take clients to local curio markets to support the local communities. If they want to buy a carving, we encourage clients purchase only small wooden carvings instead of large pieces. This is in an effort to again conserve the forests around the carving markets.
Waste: We ensure that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop, including oil traps, oil recycling, cleaning products etc).
Entrance fees: All entrance fees for the national parks in each country are used by the local authorities to maintain the condition and infrastructure of the national parks, and run regular anti-poaching patrols. These are often supplemented by government grants. The national parks support a large number of local community members often providing housing and schooling for the staff families. For us as a tour operator, supporting the various national park boards is an essential element to each tour.
Accommodation: On all tours wherever possible we use locally owned accommodation establishments which are involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. This provides direct benefits to local communities through employment. We avoid large hotel chains and more commercial properties but opt for simple self-catering lodge, B&Bs and tented camps for accommodation in rural areas. By doing this we create an intimate environment for group away from large scale tourism and the communities around the accommodation benefit directly through employment and this creates pride and further interest in sustainable tourism as the communities have tangible benefits from tourism. Our tours focus on out of the way destinations, and as such, our spend is distributed into rural areas.
Drinking Water: Each client, drinking 5 litres per day from 1 litre plastic bottles produces 100 waste plastic bottles on a 3 week safari. On this calculation, we would pollute the environment (and waste energy resources in plastic production) with over 250,000 plastic bottles per year! So as solution, each of our vehicles has a tank of clean drinking water that is filled up along the journey. This is safe tap water. We do not provide bottle water we encourage clients to drink the local clean drinkable tap water wherever possible in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottle waste produced by the purchase of bottled drinking water.
Water conservation: We are acutely aware that in many areas that we visit water is a scarce resource. Clients are encouraged to be conscious of water usage and not to take long showers or waste water.
Wildlife: On all game drives, our trained and qualified guides ensure that our groups interact with wildlife in the appropriate way. Slow movements, no loud noises and to respect the animals personal boundaries. Our philosophy is that we are visitors in the amazing places that we visit, and we do not want our presence to impact the wildlife and environment in any negative way. We also enforce a policy of not feeding any wildlife (animals habituated to human feeding will turn aggressive in the future which often results in authorities being forced to kill that animal) and to appreciate the natural state of the areas that we visit and to leave the area in exactly the same condition that it was when we arrived.
Local guides & communities: On each tour you will travel with two guides for the entire trip. In addition, we also employ local guides for certain activities on tour. These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times! The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These interactions also give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa, piece by piece.
We use local guides at:
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chobe NP, Ghanzi San Bushman excursion, national parks
South Africa: Mkuzi village walk, Qunu Mandela historical site, Kozi Bay
Swailand: Hlane walking
Lesotho: Malealea Lodge pony trekking guide
Malawi: Boat excursion on Lake Malawi
Mozambique: Dhow excursions
Namibia: Brandberg walk and drives (part of the Tsiseb Community Conservancy), Spizkoppe walk, Gariep River canoeing, Sossusvlei 4WD drivers,
Zambia: Lower Zambezi Canoe excursion, South Luangwa game walks and drives, Vic Falls optional activities
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Matobos NP, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls
For more information on each of the community projects please talk to your guide or contact us.
Underprivileged Children Groups: We operate a number of tours into the national parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from schools based in Johannesburg, South Africa. PEN Organisation is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africas future and that environmental education is important. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife (perhaps for the first time), nature conservation at work, and also show them employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry, and possibly encourage them to follow a career in tourism (for this reason we aim these groups at 14-18 year olds).
Local crafts and produce: At all local markets where fresh produce and crafts are sold and produced, we encourage the clients to barter (gently and in good humour) with the local people. This not only allows the clients to get involved with the local way of life, and interact directly with the local people, but also provides them a platform to experience local life first hand. Having said that, we explain to the clients by bartering too hard for a good deal might seem like a lot of money at the time, but if the amount being haggled over is converted to either US$, Euro or GBP, it amounts to very little. This is the local livelihood and we advise them to keep this in mind at all times.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: We assist a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Springs, Johannesburg. Judy Davidson runs a licensed rehab centre from a small holding. A variety of birds are cared for, from injured barbets, doves, and crows to a brown snake eagle, a Gymnogene, and spotted eagle owls. All birds are treated in a small makeshift clinic, and then kept in aviaries until they have recovered. Once able to fly, or care for themselves again, they are moved to a 'flight' aviary, for a period until they have regained strength. They are then released back into the wild. Those birds which are unable to be released are kept in large aviaries and fed through various donations. We assist the project with donations of practical equipment including shade netting, paint and other items on their wish list.
PeopleOkavango 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 (Kigela Africana) are being felled and the 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.
As a solution we have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fibreglass mekoros, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced with much less negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fibreglass 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 the our office 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 have been successful in replacing 30+ (circ. 2015) mekoro thus far.