Best of Botswana and Zimbabwe
Description of Best of Botswana and Zimbabwe
Discover the best of Botswana and Zimbabwe, two of southern Africa’s most exciting and wildlife rich countries on this 14 day tailor made tour. See huge concentrations of wildlife at thrillingly close quarters, including prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, hippos, elephants and thousands of antelopes. In Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is the country’s largest game park with a huge variety of scenery, vegetation and game. Explore this unique landscape before heading to the unforgettable, thundering Victoria Falls, while in Botswana you’ll travel to Chobe National Park, which has the largest density of elephants in Africa, and travel through the entire Okavango Delta. A warm, smiling welcome is guaranteed everywhere you go.
PlanetAs wildlife conservation advocates we place a huge importance on ensuring that your trip has a 100% positive effect on the conservation efforts that are in place to ensure the continued survival of the remarkable animals that you can expect to encounter on this tour. As a company we support many wildlife organisations worldwide. We believe that tourism to Botswana and Zimbabwe certainly has a positive effect. Many of our customers return from their trips with a renewed passion to help in the fight to protect the landscapes and wildlife that make this country so unique. From the moment you book your tour you will be offered advice and information on how you, the tourist, can help to make your trip as positively influential as possible.
On every game activity you participate in you will be given clear guidance on how to act around the wildlife you will encounter, including strict distances that must be kept at all times, not only to ensure your safety but equally importantly so as to not encroach upon the natural habitats of the area’s wildlife population. Throughout your tour you will also learn about the conservation efforts in place, what is being done in terms of anti-poaching and rehabilitation for animals, and how you can help.
We also place great importance on ensuring that all of our local partners and accommodation providers take their responsibility to the country’s resources seriously. This is evident in all of the lodges used on this tour. For example the operators of Pelo Camp are responsible for a variety of wildlife management, research and education projects throughout southern Africa. A portion of each guest's fare is allocated to the Trust, and 100% of these funds go to Trust-approved projects. The projects deal with the needs of existing wildlife populations, seek solutions to save endangered species and provide education and training for local people and their communities. Further to this the ground handlers that we use for this trip are 100% committed to ensuring the ongoing protection of wildlife by supporting charities such as the Maun Animal Welfare Society which provides free veterinary treatment to low income individuals in Northern Botswana. In turn this vital service assists in preventing the spread of disease from domestic animals to the world famous Botswana wildlife population.
Throughout your tour your guides will also offer help with any questions you may have on how you can minimise the impact your visit has on the stunning landscapes and ecosystems of both Botswana and Zimbabwe. Your pre-departure information will include advice on how to travel in an environmentally responsible way, including responsible use of water and appropriate waste disposal.
As part of our commitment to you we also ensure that all of the lodges and accommodations we use on this trip have appropriate “green” credentials and have policies in place for environmentally friendly operations. This will be particularly evident to you on your stay at Chobe Elephant Camp which is renowned as being a true Eco Lodge. The camp was constructed in an exceptionally eco-friendly manner using the sand-bag technique, negating the need for transporting bricks or concrete from far away and instead using the natural resources available onsite. All the construction timber and furniture in the Chalets and in the main area was also manufactured on site and are made from renewable wood sources or from reclaimed wood. As well as the construction techniques, meticulous processes are in place for the day-to-day operations of the camp, resulting in a significant impact on the reduction of the camp’s carbon footprint. Every movement of any vehicles coming in or going out of the camp is planned, thus fuel is used efficiently and not wasted thoughtlessly. The power usage is also kept as low as possible with solar energy being used to heat water, low wattage LED lights being used throughout the camp and insulation techniques keeping the use of air-conditioning units to a strict minimum. The camp also has a special waste disposal plant and excellent processes in place for the correct handling of sewage and waste.
Likewise, the operators of Pelo Camp work tirelessly to ensure that the camp causes as little impact on the environment as possible. The camp is 100% powered by solar energy for water and lights and has been constructed as far as possible using locally sourced canvas and thatch. Silenced generators and technologically advanced aboveground sewerage plants and stringent clean-up operations are just some of the further processes in place.
PeopleHelping the people of the countries we visit to sustain the revenue streams created from tourism is exceptionally important to us. We take every step necessary to ensure that the tours we provide create a 100% positive impact on the communities of the regions we visit. As a company we believe in promoting tourism as a sustainable natural resource with the power to conserve, protect and improve lives, and this is particularly relevant on our Botswana and Zimbabwe itineraries.
Solely using local agencies to provide the elements of your tour means we have up to date & relevant local information that we can pass on to you. This includes information on on-going initiatives and community efforts that we actively encourage our customers to become involved in, information on cultural etiquette and advice on how to engage with and help the local communities. We offer first-hand advice on creating meaningful and respectful relationships between tourists and residents and suggest local areas and communities to visit gaining cultural insights along the way, along with advice on where to buy souvenirs (to ensure the proceeds are going directly to the vendors), where to eat & where to drink.
The local providers that we use are also exceptionally passionate about protecting the communities, wildlife and landscapes of this remarkable country. They are committed to creating and upholding transparent and honest relationships with local communities and suppliers. We use small, local management companies so that not only do they hold intimate knowledge of the regions and how to protect them, but also so that as much of the revenue created as possible is filtered straight through to the local communities. The suppliers that we work with ensure continued revenue streams for local communities and only hire local people. Our agents provide career opportunities that without the tourism aspect would not be possible, and through established in-house training programs, mentoring systems and ongoing training the local people of the communities we visit are encouraged to prosper.
On top of this we are also committed to ensuring that on all of our tours we only use lodges and hotels that have a proven track record of treating staff well and fairly, and which have processes in place for giving back to the local communities. The operators of Pelo Camp for example work tirelessly to ensure excellent relationships between themselves and the people who reside in the local areas. They believe in honest, mutually beneficial and dignified relationships with their rural community partners in ways that deliver a meaningful and life-changing share of the proceeds of responsible ecotourism to all stakeholders. Their mechanisms include community-centric employment, joint ventures, education and training, social and health benefits, capacity-building and infrastructure development. Staff and guide training is a vital part of their operation. Through regional training programmes, they provide local people with the skills to become some of the best guides and managers in the African tourist industry. Their innovative HIV/AIDS programme, formally implemented with the assistance of primary health care and HIV specialist Dr Clive Evian, has built a solid foundation over the past 15 years. Its stated aim is: "The removal of the stigma and mystery of HIV/AIDS, the creation of a safe, unprejudiced environment and the testing and treatment of all infected and affected members of the community.”
Likewise the owners of Chobe Elephant Camp take their responsibility to the local community very seriously. Their community support statement reads: “Chobe Elephant Camp is closely linked to the community. A number of the staff were involved with the initial building of the camp, and joined the team with no previous experience in the hospitality industry. With constant skill training from our base and in the Camp we are proud to now employ over 30 people at Chobe Elephant Camp. The positive impact of having community members deriving direct benefits from tourism are already being felt as the local communities begin to realise the value of conserving the wildlife and environment. We have engaged with local schools and invite the children to the lodge to educate them on conservation and tourism as well as taking them into the national park to experience a ‘game-drive’ as our guests do. We also encourage village tours for our guests – these are authentic experiences which show our guests how people grow up and survive living amongst Africa’s wild animals and it also educates the local communities about other cultures, as they get to interact.”
All of the lodges and camps used on this tour give back to their communities in various ways, be it through ongoing employment or fostering economic and social development of the local communities through projects such as Bana Ba Letsatsi which is supported by the owners of the Kanana and Shinde camps. Bana Ba Letsatsi is a charity with the mission of supporting vulnerable, orphaned and at risk children living in Maun. They are also part of the Pack for a Purchase scheme which invites those who are travelling to the area to leave some space in their luggage to bring with them much needed supplies for local children and families. We encourage our customers to become involved in the scheme and can provide a list of suitable items that are currently required.