Biologist Led Conservation Safari
- Day 1 – Arrive to Maun, Botswana by 2:30 p.m. Met by your specialist guides, lion researcher Bill Given and African wild dog researcher Botilo Tshimologo. Transfer to private bush plane for our flight to the Okavango Delta. Vumbura Plains Camp with private vehicle throughout stay.
- Day 2 – Okavango Delta, Vumbura Plains Camp
- Day 3 – Okavango Delta, Vumbura Plains Camp
- Day 4 – Scenic private helicopter transfer over the Okavango to the Selinda Reserve. Zarafa Camp with private vehicle throughout stay.
- Day 5 – Selinda Reserve/Linyanti area, Zarafa Camp
- Day 6 – Selinda Reserve/Linyanti area, Zarafa Camp
- Day 7 – Selinda Reserve/Linyanti area, Zarafa Camp
- Day 8 – Following morning game drive and brunch you have a private bush flight to Maun in time to connect with homeward bound departure flight or we can add a custom extension to your itinerary.
- 1) This safari can be operated any time of year subject to availability of biologists and accommodation.
- 2) We can customize this safari to add additional camps in Botswana or completely different experiences throughout Africa such as gorilla trekking in Rwanda. The choices are astounding.
Details and Costs
Cost for November through May is $28,500 per person sharing
Cost for June through October is $34,500 per person sharing
Minimum of 2 People Required
In Botswana cost includes private internal bush flights starting and ending in Maun, Botswana, a private helicopter transfer between camps, accommodation, meals, drinks, laundry, park/conservation fees, and activities. Activities include private vehicle and camp guide along with Botswana lion and African wild dog researchers. Your price also includes a tax deductible contribution of $5,000 per person for conservation research efforts of Botswana predators through efforts of the Denver Zoo/Kalahari Research & Conservation Program.
Not Included Out of Pocket Costs to Consider:
- International Air to and from Johanensburg and round trip between Johannesburg and Maun, Botswana.
- Travel Insurance is required by the camps – we can assist with Travel Guard or you are welcome to secure your own policy.
- Health – visit to a Travel Clinic and any medications or vaccines needed.
Note: This is a discounted pay by check or bank wire price. We can process credit cards but the cost is 4% higher for all credit payments.
This safari is different than all others as you are led by Botswana Lion Researcher Bill Given and African Wild Dog Researcher Botilo Tshimologo. These researchers know the wild areas of Botswana like few others and will enhance your safari by sharing their in-depth knowledge of the charismatic wildlife with you. The result is a one-of-a-kind safari experience! By taking this special safari you are also making an important contribution of $5,000 per person toward the conservation of Botswana’s top predators – Lions and African wild dogs. These funds will be used toward the critical conservation work on predator/livestock conflict being conducted by your Biologist leaders.
Botswana is considered by many to be the premier safari destination. Wildlife sightings are astounding, camps are set in magical locations, service is supreme and the standard of guiding is very high. Due to the remote and wild nature of the camps you will have short flights between locations, including a private helicopter transfer between your safari camps — an incredibly scenic way to change camps as you take in the scenery and wildlife below.
Your safari will take you to two of Botswana’s most luxurious camps, Vumbura Plains and the stunning Zarafa Camp. Both are in magical settings and feature high luxury, but more critically they are in two of the absolute best wildlife viewing areas. These camps are in exclusive private concession areas which allows for off-road driving and night drives. The ability to go off-road creates opportunities for incredibly close viewing of predators. Other activities include motor boating and bush walking. These areas are beautiful with a great variety of habitats and species, you will likely see around 30 different mammal species along with a spectacular array of birds and other life.
Working for two decades as a Wildlife Biologist, Bill has conducted studies on a diverse array of species ranging from endangered butterflies and jumping mice to owls, Mexican wolves and African lions. Currently, as a Research Associate of the Denver Zoo and member of the Botswana based Kalahari Research & Conservation group his focus is as the Principal Investigator of a lion research project in Botswana. The study is an effort to determine the effectiveness of trans-locating lions from cattle areas back into reserves as well as to mitigate predation by lions on livestock. Bill is applying a powerful technique, conditioned taste aversion, for the first time on African lions and if successful it could be a revolutionary conservation tool for predators around the globe.
Since 2004 Bill has organized and guided small group safaris where he is able to share his knowledge and passion of African wildlife with his guests. As you might imagine Bill is particularly keen in seeking out the great predators and spending time with them to witness their unique behaviors as well as appreciate how evolution has sharpened the skills of both predator and prey. While the predators and other megafauna are the draw for most visitors and worthy of the attention they receive, Bill also likes to instill an appreciation for all of the diverse life encountered on safari.
AFRICAN WILD DOG RESEARCHER
Botilo has conducted research on African wild dog packs (Botswana’s most endangered carnivore) in the Okavango Delta, Linyanti/Selinda and Kalahari regions of Botswana as a member of the Kalahari Research & Conservation (KRC) Program. In 2014 he earned his Masters of Philosophy degree in Natural Resources Management (Zoology) from the University of Botswana. His research focused on scent marking and feeding behavior of African wild dogs. Botilo has earned a great reputation as one of Botswana’s finest in the new generation of Conservation Biologists.
Botilo was born and raised in a village called Sefhophe in the Central district of Botswana. His passion for nature dates back to days as a young boy herding goats and hunting scrub hares and squirrels. Botilo’s fascination with nature landed him in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Botswana where he focused on Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Wildlife conservation modules. Botilo joined the University‘s Wildlife Conservation Society where he was exposed to real life fieldwork through vacation trips to national parks and game reserves. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Science with a double major in Environmental and Biological sciences before finding his way to wild dog research.
VUMBURA PLAINS CAMP
OKAVANGO DELTA – 3 Nights
Vumbura Plains is in a private concession in the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta, in the same region as its sister camp, Little Vumbura. Vumbra Plains Camp offers both land and water activities, focusing mainly on game drives in open sided vehicles but boating and mokoro are also available.
This is one of the more beautiful areas of the Okavango with undulating habitats that support dry habitat species like sable antelope but also wetland dependent species like red lechwe. In recent years African wild dogs have denned in this area and there is often excellent big cat sightings in the area. Biologist’s Botswana Conservation Safari
Vumbura Plains is split into two separately functioning camps, each with their own dining, lounge, and bar areas. It is in the upper echelon of Botswana luxury camps with incredibly spacious accommodation with each unit raised on wooden decks and consists of bedroom, lounge, and full en-suite bathroom. Each room also has an outdoor shower, private plunge pool and sala area to relax with views of the plains.
SELINDA RESERVE – 4 Nights
Zarafa Camp is located in the 300,000 acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana and has one of the most spectacular sites of any safari camp. Every part of the camp overlooks the beautiful flood plains of the Zibadianja Lagoon. Wildlife, particularly elephant, is a common sight in front of and in camp.
The Selinda Reserve is well known for its outstanding predator viewing as the open plains are especially good for observing the highly endangered African wild dog and cheetah. Lions and leopard are also seen with frequency and there is a good variety of antelope species including spectacular red lechwe, sable and roan antelope. Giraffe and elephants are regular fixtures.
Zarafa Camp offers game drives throughout the day – focusing primarily on early morning and afternoon/early evening game drives – but guests can travel out at midday to enjoy a siesta at one of the game viewing hides that are mostly located overlooking water. Short or full morning walks can be arranged and boating is also on offer as is fly-fishing (but guests must bring their own fly rods).
Zarafa Camp is Africa’s most luxurious, pampered and romantic under canvas accommodation. Zarafa’s turn-of-the-century explorer style design makes for a sense of stately adventure. The main lounge and dining area, also under sweeping canvas, are built on raised decks harvested from the old railroad sleepers that used to support Africa’s railways a hundred years ago. The camp’s raised position offers some of Botswana’s most awe-inspiring views.
Across the fringes of Zibadianja Lagoon, the camp’s iconic landmark, there is always regular wildlife activity – antelope or elephant in for a refreshing drink, partially submerged hippos hiding from the African sun and prolific birdlife. Dining is either under the dappled shade of the Ebony tree, under canvas or under the stars.
Zarafa is a premier level camp, consisting of just four expansive tents under flowing canvas, each with its own private plunge pool. At over 1500 square feet, each tent comprises a spacious bedroom, your own private lounge, en-suite bathroom with modern appointments, a deep copper bath, indoor fireplace and spectacular outdoor surround shower.
Enjoy tea or an evening cocktail on the private verandah, with sweeping views of the wilderness, or cozy up in the comfortable lounge. Hot water and electricity are available 24 hours a day from the 220-volt solar farm. Each tent is supplied with a Canon D40 digital camera, 35 to 135 and 100 to 400 Canon lenses, Backpack, Tripod and digital memory cards. On departure, guests are given a complementary CD with the images that they took with that camera.