After our Tanzania Adventure (in case you missed it, you can read all about it HERE), four of our original group headed to Zimbabwe for some R&R at the Old Drift Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, just a stone’s throw from the famous Victoria Falls. This was really Day 3, with Day 1 arriving at the Kilimanjaro Airport to the news that our original flight to Nairobi and then one to Victoria Falls the next day were canceled due to a pilot strike at Kenya Airways. We ended up sitting there over 6 hours trying to get rebooked onto new flights so that we wouldn’t miss the Falls, but every option we had either didn’t have four seats (we were NOT going to separate because there is safety in numbers and we were in this together) or the connections were so bad, it would take 2 days to get there from Tanzania. We finally found a solution, but it involved purchasing an all-new ticket (thank GOD for travel insurance trip delay coverage) on Qatar Airways and traveling to Johannesburg by way of Doha, Qatar, and then taking a puddle jumper to Vic Falls. So, Day 1 ended at the Planet Lodge near Kilimanjaro Airport where we rested up for the start of our Day 2 journey to Doha and Day 3 flight to Victoria Falls. If it were our original 2 direct flights, it would only be 1500 miles. The route we ended up taking was a total of over 6600 miles!!!
This is a perfect example of why I will never design a client trip going from East Africa to Southern Africa. There is just no good way to get there, and there are not a lot of options when something goes haywire.
The journey was worth it, because we got to experience a little slice of heaven at the Old Drift Lodge, have lunch at the Lookout, and take a sunrise cruise up the Zambezi River to the Falls.
The highlight of this leg of the trip was a private interaction with the magnificent elephants at the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage where we spoke with guides about their experiences with the elephants and learned about herd structures. We also learned about the elephants’ history, their care, and today’s threats of elephants every day. Be prepared to be bombarded with Elephant photos!
On our departure, a large herd of elephants emerged in front of the lodge and blocked our escape route. Even the elephants didn’t want us to leave! It was glorious!
We finally arrived at Kasane Airport to meet with our fellow travel advisors on this leg of the trip and transferred to Chobe Game Lodge, where we jumped right into the safari action! Chobe Game Lodge is the only property located within Chobe National Park and one the banks of the Chobe River, so it is extremely well-positioned for game drives. Chobe is home to the world’s largest concentration of elephants, and we definitely saw (it definitely lived up to the hype) some of these gentle giants during our trip! Chobe Game Lodge also offers boat safaris and eco-tours to keep guests entertained between traditional game drives.
Yesterday, we arrived at Camp Xakanaxa, located in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve on the banks of the Khwai River, where the group will spend two nights. These all-canvas accommodations mean that our group will be up close and personal with the wildlife, listening to the sounds of snorting hippos as they fall asleep. Here, one of the highlights is gliding in a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) or motorized boat through the channels of the Okavango while keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife.
Located on the remote Nxaragha Island in the heart of the permanent Okavango Delta, Camp Okavango is the ultimate water-based wilderness experience. The camp offers mokoro excursions, motorized boat safaris and fishing. Since the camp is water-based, they don’t offer traditional game drives, but there is an opportunity to take guided bush walks on the surrounding islands.
The final stop on our journey will be Leroo La Tau, located along the Boteti River along the border or Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, home to the second-largest zebra migration in the world (next to the Great Migration in the Serengeti of Tanzania, which I wrote about last week. If you missed it, you can read about it HERE.) The environment in the park is harsh and dry, which means the Boteti River serves as an important source of water for zebra, wildebeest, and many other animals.
Here is where the journey ends! We’ll head to Maun Airport for our flight to Johannesburg (hello again!) and then onward to our U.S. destinations on overnight flights.
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