Day 1 Toka Leya Camp, Mosi oa Tunya National Park, Livingstone, Zambia
After arrival in Livingstone, you will be met by a representative and transferred directly for a guided tour of the Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At 1708 meters or 5604 feet wide, it is the largest curtain of water in the world and drops 103 meters or 338 feet into the basalt depths of the sheer Zambezi Gorge. Toka Leya Camp is situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in the eastern sector of the Mosi oa Tunya National Park, some 12 kms or 7.46 miles up from the Victoria Falls. The camp consists of 12 safari style tents, each en suite with a view of the magnificent Zambezi River and some of its islands. The dining and bar area is set beneath a shaded canopy of trees overlooking the river and a swimming pool.
Toka Leya Camp has a number of systems in place that aim to rehabilitate indigenous flora in the area. The systems include a greenhouse and nursery project to grow seedlings, an environmentally friendly waste water treatment plant, and a worm farm. The fertilizer created by the worms is then placed in the greenhouse and nursery to start the cycle once more. Toka Leya Camp also pioneered the use of innovative energy saving systems, which are being used as a model to lower the environmental footprint across the region. One of the most innovative ideas yet is the Elephant Chilli Pepper Project, where farmers of Simonga and other villages are being encouraged to plant a chilli patch around their food crops! The chillies are used to prevent elephants destroying food crops as well as earning the farmer extra cash. This idea, which helps farmers protect their food crops and generate income, is run by the Elephant Pepper Development Trust, which also advises farmers on natural resources conservation and sustainable utilisation of such resources in relation to the management of conflict with wildlife. Community involvement is vital in the greater Livingstone area and one of the projects of Toka Leya is cultural visits to a nearby village, where guests interact with villagers. Projects are focused particularly on assisting children via schooling, and include those that help the inhabitants in general generate an income and therefore help the entire community.
Days 2 to 4 Chobe River boat cruise, Chobe National Park and Linyanti Camp
After a full breakfast, we leave Toka Leya and transfer by road to Livingstone Airport. On leaving Zambia, we fly over the Kazangula border, a point where the four countries of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia meet. Enjoy a leisurely shaded boat cruise along the Chobe River, with a light lunch. This boat cruise offers a unique opportunity to observe puku, large herds of elephant, numerous pods of hippo and large crocodiles, as well as enjoying fantastic views of other general game and diverse birdlife. We then depart by light aircraft transfer to the private Linyanti Camp. After a short game drive, we arrive at our private camp, which is elegantly set up under African ebony and knobthorn trees overlooking panoramic vistas of the Linyanti Swamps.
The landscape of the Linyanti varies from floodplains to open dry land savannah and forest with sweeping views, creating a paradise for a high diversity of wildlife and bird species. Activities include game drives in the private northern sector of the concession, exploring a range of habitats, from riverbanks to scrub and forest, which reveal a myriad of wildlife en route to slake their thirst from the river. The seldom seen sitatunga can also be spotted in the waterways, as well as rare roan and sable antelope, plains game and of course their predators, the lion and leopard with the endangered wild dog as an incredible bonus. A wild dog pack of three which broke away from the Zib Pack a few months ago has started denning east of Linyanti Tented Camp. The denning pack was discovered by the wild dog researchers in the area. The LTC Pack was seen hunting regularly and often came close to camp. To complete the experience, it is possible to enjoy a full day excursion to the Savute Channel, with lunch at a scenic setting. This spectacular day gives guests a real understanding of the geology of Northern Botswana, the relationship with the Great African Rift Valley and the chink in the faultline, where the Savute Channel begins. This channel, now flowing for the first time in three decades has resulted in water reaching into the heart of Chobe National Park through the Linyanti Reserve and game viewing is as a result both diverse and abundant.
Related Projects for Linyanti and Savute region
Perhaps the most topical issue for Botswana at present is its very large elephant population and the possible impact on vegetation and other animal species. As a result and in recognition of the fact that in the Selinda and Linyanti Concessions, there is responsibility for one of the two highest density elephant concentrations in the country. The company has facilitated and partially funded two MSc studies examining vegetation impact and are currently hosting a PhD and further MSc researcher examining additional elements of this puzzle. Botswana has a well-developed network of protected areas, and these include concessions that allow hunting as well as photographic safaris. There has been a choice not to hunt in the concessions and forfeit approximately 1.2 million dolldars per year in hunting quotas in preference for photographic safaris.
Days 5 to 7 Khwai Discoverer Camp, Okavango Delta
Depart by light aircraft to Khwai Discoverer Camp, located in a private concession just north of the Khwai River above the Moremi Game Reserve. The Khwai Camp is one of the most diverse areas in northern Botswana which seldom disappoints when it comes to producing extraordinary wildlife experiences. The life source for this area is the Khwai River,which the northernmost area of the Okavango Delta alluvial fan, which provides vital sustenance to numerous animals. Over time, the Khwai area has metamorphosed into a wide range of exciting wildlife habitats. Some of the most varied to be found in the entire Okavango Delta including a blend of forests, floodplain, wetland and grasslands. The narrow Khwai Channel is home to large mammals such as hippo and crocodile with buffalo and red lechwe often seen grazing along the fringe. The beautiful gallery riverine woodland found along the river provides further sanctuary to birds, primates and leopard. Elusive roan antelope often come to the river to drink. Activities focus around day and night game drives, nature walks and seasonal mokoro excursions. Away from the river there is a wonderful mix of acacia and leadwood trees of varying sizes that abuts into mopane woodland. The latter, together with the permanent presence of water, attracts large numbers of elephant to the area. Larger predators include lion, wild dog and spotted hyaena, while birdlife found here is just as varied thanks to the colorful palette of habitats.
Accommodation is in 6.3m x 3.5m or 20.67 ft x 11.48 ft walk in canvas tents. There is a maximum of two guests per tent. The tents are airy and designed to recreate the accommodation style of the early explorers, with richly colored teak director chairs and minimalist interiors. Separate bedside tables with 12v reading lamps, canvas and wood wardrobes, bathrobes, comfortable beds and mirrors are provided. Camp amenities such as conditioning shampoo, soap, shower gel and body lotion are elegantly displayed for use and private, en suite separate toilet and shower areas are part of the main structure. Activities focus around day and night game drives, nature walks and seasonal mokoro excursions. You can also enjoy a guided walk in Khwai village. Guests are taken to a homestead where they have lunch with the family and participate in craft production, as well as visiting the house of the Chief.
Days 8 to 10 Xigera Camp, Okavango Delta
After breakfast we fly by light aircraft over the shimmering water world of the Okavango Delta which represents life at its most fertile. Xigera Camp, which is pronounced Keejera, is a luxury tented camp situated in the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Xigera has something for everyone, in an area where there are no other Moremi camps and where permanent water all year round allows one to enjoy a variety of activities. Enjoy a true Delta experience while you sit back in a mokoro, or dugout canoe, and silently glide through the tranquil Okavango waterways or watch the sunset and birds gliding home to roost from a motorboat on the Xigera Lagoon. When water levels permit, game drives which usually run September to May, allow the opportunity to observe wildlife and the unique Delta scenery from the comfort of a Land Rover.
Nestled in a magnificent riverine forest, Xigera consists of 10 luxuriously furnished tented rooms with en suite facilities and outdoor shower. Xigera has been operating on solar energy for a full year now and the standby generator has not even reached its service hours yet. Each room is raised off the ground on a wooden deck offering superb views of the seasonal floodplain and waterhole. Meals and drinks are enjoyed under the thatch of the raised lounge, pub and dining area overlooking a permanently flowing channel. A traditional boma offers alternative dining under the African stars. Wooden walkways wind through the forest connecting the rooms to the main area. There is a plunge pool for cooling off and relaxation. The wooden footbridge, a unique feature to Xigera, connects Xigera Island to the next one and is often used by Lion and Leopard moving between the islands allowing guests great viewing opportunities. Birding in the area is excellent, with Pels Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, African Skimmers and a host of eagles, vultures, raptors and kingfishers to be found. The area has the highest density of the rare Sitatunga antelope found anywhere in the Okavango Delta.
Related Projects at Xigera Camp
Xigera Camp donates a portion of each bed-night charge to the Motswe Wa Tsholofelo Orphan daycare center in Maun which provides education and food to orphans living with extended family members.
Xigera Camp also supports the Bana Ba Metsi School in Shakawe which takes in problem or delinquent school dropouts and encourages them to go back to school to get an education and thus a better chance in life.
Added to this, Xigera Camp also donates the time of certain camp staff and money to the Maun Council Centre which is an AIDS counseling center.
Day 11 Transfer to Maun Airport
Bid farewell to the adventure as we transfer by light aircraft to Maun Airport.