The Gem of Africa
A Cultural & Wildlife Safari through Botswana
Gem of Africa ~ The Culture & Wildlife of Botswana
August 28- September 9, 2019
Registration Deadline: March 28, 2019
Join wildlife writer Bonnie Fladung (see below to learn about Bonnie or visit www.BonnieFladung.com), Earth Ark Travel, and GrassTrack Safaris for a cultural and wildlife safari to Botswana. This small country is one of Africa’s most remarkable destinations for wildlife, conservation, and culture. It has the highest concentration of elephants left in Africa, the largest African wild dog population and one of only nine viable lion populations on the continent. Botswana is also home to one of the oldest cultures on earth - the San Bushmen.
This unique, privately guided safari includes 12-nights of accommodation, meals & drinks (as specified), San bushmen village visit, Tsodilo Hills UNESCO World Heritage Site tour, and Botswana’s best game reserves.
We will travel to a remote San Bushmen village (which few tourists see) and spend two nights interacting with the villagers, learning about their customs, daily lives, and the challenges of living in the harsh Kalahari Desert. We'll join them around their evening campfires and learn about the local environment on a bush walk. The Khoisan speaking people are the oldest link with our past. Thankfully, and partly due to people like yourselves visiting the region, there is an incentive for the people to maintain their language and culture in a dignified manner.
Next, we’ll travel to the Tsodilo Hills, a sacred place to the San Bushmen and one of the best sites for ancient Bushmen rock art. Finally, you’ll spend six nights camping in the wildlife-rich Moremi Game Reserve.
Accommodation will be in a lodge while in Maun. On the road, the camp staff will set up mobile safari campsites, which are comfortable dome tents with cots and an en-suite private toilet/shower. We feel camping is the best way to experience the African wilderness. While the camp staff takes care of all the chores, you will be immersed in the bush and surrounded by the sights and sounds of Botswana's abundant wildlife.
Your host Bonnie Fladung is the co-author of “When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer,” which has received many accolades, including BookAuthority’s "One of the Best Wildlife Books of All Time" and National Geographic’s recommendation as the book to read before going on safari in Africa. She recently penned an illustrated children’s book about the last of the big tuskers: “The Elephant’s Euphonium: A Little Tusker's Adventures in Africa.” While researching her books, Bonnie had the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see how game parks operate in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. She also traveled to Morocco where she studied the art of storytelling with the last of the master storytellers, and became fascinated with the craft of oral storytelling and ancient cultures.
Bonnie is excited to host this trip to visit the bushmen, one of the oldest cultures to walk the planet. These San People are expert storytellers, and we will see and hear their stories told through song and trance dance at their campfire rituals. At the Tsodilo Hills, known as the “Louvre of the Desert” with the highest concentration of rock art in the world, ancient stories are told though pictures. We will have the opportunity to capture these historical markings with photographs or sketch the art in your journal.
On this trip to Botswana, Bonnie hopes to share her love of storytelling. For those who are interested, there will be time every day between game drives to work with her on projects, whether it’s keeping a trip journal or diary, sketching the wildlife and scenery, or creating a photo essay of your pictures. For more about Bonnie, visit www.BonnieFladung.com
“Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one.” - Beryl Markham from “West with the Night”
Learn More About The Gem of Africa Safari
Aug 28 | Arrive in Maun | River Nest Cottages
Aug 29-30 | Xai Xai Village & San Bushmen Experience | Comfortable Camping
Aug 31 - Sept 1 | Tsodilo Hills World Heritage Site | Comfortable Camping
Sept 2 | Return to Maun | River Nest Cottages
Sept 3 - 5 | Moremi Game Reserve | Comfortable Camping
Sept 6 - 8 | Khwai River Community Area | Comfortable Camping
Sept 9 | Return to Maun for departing flight or extend your safari to Chobe National Park or Victoria Falls (highly recommended for those visiting Africa for the first time)
One departure only: Aug 28-Sept 9, 2019.
River Nest Cottages: Located in the frontier town of Maun, Botswana, the River Nest offers an exceptionally tranquil environment under indigenous trees on the banks of the Boronyane River. The River Nest Cottages offer simple and comfortable lodging with a quiet garden area, pool, restaurant and bar.
Tents: Accommodation is in spacious 3 x 3-meter tents each with a made-up stretcher bed. Two basins are located outside each tent. We use bucket showers (best experience!) and long drop loos for ablutions that are attached to each tent.
Vehicles: Our vehicles are ones adapted to carry 6 people. Each person has a window seat to maximize their experience. The vehicles carry bean bags to support camera equipment, a tea box for morning break and a cooler box or fridge. Each vehicle has a charging facility to recharge cameras, iPads, iPods and laptops.
GROUP SIZE: A minimum of 4 guests is required to confirm this safari. Maximum group size is 12.
REGISTRATION: The deadline to register is March 28, 2019. If 4 guests are not confirmed the safari will be cancelled. A $300 early registration discount is offered if you sign up before February 15, 2019,
PAYMENT: A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm booking and due within 7 days of receiving an invoice from GrassTrack Safaris. Your deposit will be refunded only if safari is cancelled due to lack of interest. Once 4 clients are confirmed, deposit will not be refunded. Full balance due by June 14, 2018. Other terms & conditions apply.
INCLUDES: Lodging, meals and local drinks (while on safari), dinner in Maun, activities as indicated; professionalguide, camp crew, and transport in 4x4 game vehicle, private flight from Shakawe to Maun; Botswana park fees; Maun airport transfers.
EXCLUDES: All flights, pre- or post-safari accommodation/extensions, premium drinks/wine, drinks in Maun, optional activities, visas, travel insurance, gratuities, personal items.
$6995 per person sharing
Length: 13 days/12 nights
Route: Starts and ends in Maun, Botswana.
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