In 1930, as many as 10 million wild elephants roamed the African continent. But decades of poaching and conflict have decimated the African elephant population, leaving less than 415,000. But not all the news is bad. Botswana & Zimbabwe are home to nearly 200,000 elephants, the largest population in Africa. Join GrassTrack Safaris and Imvelo Safari Lodges for our Great Elephant Safari to witness great congregations of elephants in Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, enjoy the splendor of Victoria Falls, and experience the amazing diversity of Africa’s wildlife.
Only one departure for this unique safari: Oct 15 - 26, 2020
Limited to 6 participants
Registration Deadline & Deposit Due: March 15, 2020
On this unique journey we’ll spend 12 days following ancient elephant migration routes as we learn about the natural history, ecology and conservation issues facing Africa’s elephants. Mark Butcher, owner of Imvelo, will join us for a day of village visits to learn about their vital role in conservation and to see how local communities live among elephants.
Our adventure begins in northern Botswana's Chobe National Park. Enormous numbers of elephants can be found here (estimates put the number at around 140,000!) where they seek refuge from the rampant poaching and conflicts in other parts of Africa. We'll spend two nights at the Chobe Game Lodge, the only lodge within the park which boasts electric safari vehicles and an all-female guiding team. In addition to boat trips on the river and seeing abundant game, we'll learn about the ecological impact these elephants have on the local environment.
Elephants migrate between Botswana and Zimbabwe and our journey follows this ancient route as we make our way to the magnificent Victoria Falls for a night. We’ll have the afternoon to explore the trails along the rim of the Falls, walk through Victoria Falls Town and barter for souvenirs at the local market, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River or simply relax!
By road and private rail car we'll make our way south into Zimbabwe's largest and most diverse park - Hwange. This park is home to lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs but also presents an opportunity to learn about elephant conservation. During our stay at Bomani Lodge, Mark Butcher (owner of Imvelo Safari Lodges) will give us an evening talk about conservation and the following day take us to a local village on the edge of the park. Here we'll see the vital role local communities play in conservation and how they live among elephants.
For a truly wild adventure we next journey to the remote Jozibanini Tented Camp. In October, during the height of the dry season, this rustic camp is a mecca for elephants with few, if any, other tourists. We'll enjoy bush walks, game drives, and easy mountain biking on old elephant paths. Of particular interest is Jozi’s unique “look-up” blinds. By modifying a standard steel shipping container, including fitting it with a flush loo, and sinking it deep into the Hwange sands, Imvelo has created a cool, secure place from which to watch wildlife coming to drink at the Jozibanini waterhole. Watching elephants and other wildlife from a “toe level” experience is an amazing thrill.
Our journey continues as we fly from Jozi to Nehimba Lodge, in the north of Hwange. Here the environment is very different with rocky hills and mopane forests. Excellent game can be found here on our day (and night) game drives and bush walks. The swimming pool attracts many elephants and you'll be astounded as you sip a cold drink on the deck only a yard from the elephant enjoying their drink.
The safari ends with another flight from Nehimba back to the Victoria Falls Airport.
An exhilarating trek in search of endangered mountain gorillas? Experiencing the vast desert wilderness of Namibia? Following a herd of elephants on foot? Paddling papyrus lined waterways of the Okavango? Discover your African adventure on one of our safari packages or we'll help design your own itinerary.