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Zeros for Rhinos Safari in Botswana

Here at Extraordinary Journeys, we believe very firmly in the potential for responsible tourism to have a positive impact on conservation and community and this program is the perfect example.

Great Plains Conservation is the owner of some of our favorite properties in Kenya and Botswana (including Zarafa and Duba Plains) and a leader in conservation and responsible tourism. Great Plains is working to relocate 100 rhinos from poaching hot-zones in South Africa and Zimbabwe to the safety of the Okavango Delta. They have already relocated 25 and one of those has had a calf!

The best part for travelers is that just going on safari at properties owned by Great Plains and having a great time helps to fund this Rhinos without Borders initiative! A significant portion of the revenue generated by the properties in this itinerary is channeled into the Great Plains Foundation which is a primary partner of the Rhinos without Borders Initiative.

This is quite a win/win, an incredible safari that is also a donation to an important cause!

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Photo by Beverly Joubert

Days 1-3: Duba Plains Camp, Okavango Delta

Upon arriving in Maun today you will be met and transferred to your short flight to Duba Plains Camp in the Okavango Delta.

The Okavango Delta is the earth’s largest inland water system. Its headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands where numerous tributaries join to form the Cubango River. It then flows through Namibia where it is called the Kavango and finally enters Botswana, where it becomes the Okavango. Millions of years ago the Okavango River flowed into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans). Tectonic shifts interrupted the flow of the river forming what is now the Okavango Delta, a unique system of waterways that support a vast array of animal and plant life, in what would have otherwise been dry Kalahari savannah.

Overnight: Duba Plains Camp

Duba Plains is built on an island shaded by large ebony, fig and garcinia trees and surrounded by expansive plains which are seasonally flooded – usually from May to early October each year. Since Duba has access to large islands, floodplains and marshes, the camp offers a diversity of experiences, but the focus depends on how much water is in the area. The area is renowned for the conflict between prides of lion and the herds of buffalo, so you can be part of the exhilaration when tracking a buffalo herd around the concession.

Elephant Herd at Duba Plains. Photo by Beverly Joubert.

Elephant Herd at Duba Plains. Photo by Beverly Joubert.

Duba's real treat is its exclusivity. The camp is small and intimate, accommodating only twelve people in an exclusive area of almost 86,000 acres. Each of the six large tented rooms has an en-suite bathroom with shower and flush toilet facilities as well as a verandah overlooking the floodplain. The canvas structures are set on raised wooden platforms and have large gauze windows, adding to the spacious and airy feel of the rooms. Each tent has soft curtains and a classic décor style of solid dark wood furnishings and woven scatter rugs. The dining room, communal pool and pub are raised on decking under large riverine trees.

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Guests at Duba Plains receive a highly personalized experience. Each day you choose between game drives in open 4x4 vehicles, mokoro excursions and walking safaris. The night drives often provide opportunities to photograph Africa's elusive nocturnal animals in action.

Day 4-7: Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve

Today you will leave Duba Plains Camp and fly into the Linyanti and Zarafa Camp.

This 320,000-acre reserve is in northern Botswana - west (upstream) from the Savute Channel and Chobe National Park, and north of the greater Okavango Delta. This unique position gives it the advantages of both of these famous areas but with tremendous exclusivity. It is a truly spectacular and varied landscape hosting a wide range of species in diverse habitats. It is particularly well-known for African wild (painted) dog, large elephant herds and rare roan and sable antelopes.

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Overnight: Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp is located in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, near the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel. All of the wildlife you would find in Chobe National Park is present at Zarafa Camp, with incredible densities and varieties of both birds and mammals, from resident prides of lion to huge herds of elephant and packs of wild dog. It is also home to the ungulates, from the rare roan to the ubiquitous zebra. Nocturnal wildlife is prolific as well, and there are frequent sightings of aardwolf and civet.

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Zarafa Camp evokes a sense of old-style safari with its four large, luxuriously appointed double or twin 'marquis style' tents. Hosting a maximum of eight guests in the main camp, the emphasis at Zarafa is on offering a personalized and private experience. Each spacious tent and veranda is, positioned under cool and shady trees with breathtaking vistas of the Zibidianja Lagoon. A large bedroom, en-suite bathroom, featuring a copper bath and both indoor & outdoor showers, are standard. The main area at Zarafa Camp is furnished in the same 'campaign' style as the tents and evokes the traditional safari ambiance of the turn of the 20th century. Lounge and dining facilities may be enjoyed under canvas or on the full-length deck shaded by giant broad-leafed trees.

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Activities at Zarafa Camp are flexible to suit guests' particular interests and include morning, afternoon and night game drives with experienced professional guides in custom-built 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers. Short guided nature walks from camp are encouraged, to introduce guests to some of Africa's less prominent wildlife.

Day 8-10: Islands of Siankaba Lodge, Victoria Falls

Today you will fly from Zarafa to Kasane. At Kasane you will be met and driven across the border into Zambia, where you will stay at Islands of Siankaba.

One of the original natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls is breathtaking and not surprisingly a World Heritage Site. Known locally as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’, this spectacle is accessible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Unlike other waterfalls Victoria Falls has a natural catwalk across from the falls which provides for spectacular viewing.

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During your stay, activities abound; take a dip in Devil’s Pool overlooking the Falls (conditions permitting), elephant interactions, game drives, absailing, heli-flips, micro light flights and more. You may also wish to take on the mighty Zambezi River with the greatest white water rafting trip on the planet. The rapids on the Zambezi are officially defined as “Grade 5” by the British Canoe Union (Grade 6 being commercially un-run-able)! Hang on for a wild ride as the mighty Zambezi carves its way through one of the great river corridors of the world. This is the domain of the Nyaminyami, the River God of the Tonga people, and is now the highway for exhilarating rafting adventures.

Overnight: Islands Of Siankaba Lodge

The Islands of Siankaba have been developed as a luxurious tented camp, with seven tents raised up above the ground in the tree canopy on the edge of the Zambezi River. The chalets are constructed of teak and custom-made canvas tenting. Private balconies extend over the river with relaxing chairs to view all that unfolds in the Zambezi river and on the neighbouring banks in Zimbabwe. All chalets have en-suite Victorian baths and showers, double vanities and dressing table. The chalets are linked by a winding raised walkway, keeping guests safe and protecting the fragile riverine environment underneath. The finishings are of an extremely high standard yet compliment the natural feel of the construction materials used.

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Day 11: Departure

Price:

The price for this program starts at $13,200 per person and varies seasonally (excluding international flights).

Participation from Other Companies

AndBeyond, the operator of some of our other favorite properties in East and Southern Africa is also participation in raising funds for this rhino relocation effort. With an estimated $8 million required to carry out the project, AndBeyond is contributing by collecting donations through its corporate social responsibility partner, the Africa Foundation. Donations to these foundations can be made at www.africafoundation.org, specifying “Rhinos Without Borders” as the project. Depending on the amount, donors receive rewards for their donations ranging from fine art prints by Beverly Joubert; a two- or three-night stay for two guests at either AndBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge or Phinda Mountain Lodge in South Africa or at AndBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp or Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge in Botswana. Donors of amounts between $250,000 and $1 million will enjoy nine complimentary nights on safari for two, consisting of three nights at AndBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge or Phinda Mountain Lodge as well as three nights at Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp or Xudum Delta Lodge. Find more information on &Beyond's rhino relocation efforts here.

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Elizabeth Gordon