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NEW! Southern Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia & Botswana 2014

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Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: Botswana's Okavango Delta

Sprawling across more than 5,000 square miles, the lush Okavango Delta is truly unlike any other place on earth. The fan-shaped “Jewel of the Kalahari” beckons wildlife and adventurers alike with its diverse terrain. In landscapes where elands play, birds wing overhead, and even rare black and white rhinoceros can thrive, you’ll explore by land and by mokoro boat, enjoying the rich flora and fauna from an array of perspectives.

It's Included:
Scheduled flight from Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana; charter flight from Maun to Okavango Delta
Accommodations for 1 night in Johannesburg and 4 nights in Okavango Delta
13 meals—5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners
8 small group activities
Services of expert driver-guides and camp staff
All transfers
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    You depart from the U.S. on an overnight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

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    Today, arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.

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    This morning we fly to Maun, Botswana, where we board a private charter flight to the Okavango Delta this afternoon. We transfer from the airstrip to our camp, arriving in time to enjoy a late afternoon game-viewing drive here in one of the world’s largest inland deltas. Covering a vast 5,700 square miles, the delta is home to a rich array of species and terrains.

    Afterwards, you are free to relax until dinner together at our lodging.

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    We devote the next three days to in-depth exploration of the Okavango Delta. Each year, nearly 3 trillion gallons of water pour into the delta, and none of it flows out again into rivers. With less than 6 feet of height variation across its thousands of square miles, the delta holds the water like a vast pool in season. That huge volume is all simply evaporated or absorbed by the thirsty earth. Yet there are also times when the parts of the delta become arid plains, where moisture is scarce. That’s because it is nestled in the Kalahari Desert, and its seasons fluctuate wildly from heavy rain in African summer that causes flooding, to the hot spring seasons that parch the land.

    This also means that, month to month, the wildlife changes, as resident species which thrive here year-round are joined by visitors seeking the rain-fed foliage. We’ll discover a varying array each morning and afternoon, as we split into groups and choose from a variety of options for exploring the area: including a mokoro canoe ride (seasonal), or a game-viewing drive.

    The rhythm of our days will follow a pattern of a morning game-viewing, followed by a return to the camp in time for lunch. After we enjoy our afternoon tea, we’ll depart on our next game-viewing excursion, returning to the camp after sundown. Please note: Mokoro excursions are dependent on safety and water levels, which fluctuate constantly in the Delta, regardless of the season. When you arrive in the Delta, your Trip Leader will monitor conditions and advise you of whether it’s possible to explore by mokoro.

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    Today, we continue to explore the Okavango Delta. We'll again split into groups and explore the area by your choice of mokoro on the Delta,  a game-viewing drive in the neighboring savannah, or on a bush walk. In the Delta, we’ll see a stunning variety of birdlife, including the vibrantly plumed lilac-breasted roller and the similarly striking pygmy goose (actually a species of duck). The elusive Pel’s fishing owl, though nocturnal, can sometimes be spotted here during the day. These species join a total 400 species that live here year-round.

    Mammals beckon for our attention as well, both on land and in water. Hippos spend the days submerged in the Delta waters, and sitatunga and red lechwe (with their water-resistent fur) frequent both the swamps and dry land. While on land, we are likely to see herds of buffalo, sable antelope, kudu, and elephant.

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    As we again split into groups and explore the area by mokoro,on a game-viewing drive, or on a bush walk, more of the dozens of local species will come into view. With an estimated 200,000 large mammals passing through the wetlands each year, viewing opportunities may include lion, cheetah, plains zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe. Keep your eyes out for more elusive but colorful characters like the chacma baboon and endangered black rhinoceros.

    If you are exploring by mokoro, be sure to look down: Okavango is home to 71 species of fish, including the Sharptooth Catfish and the fearsome striped Tigerfish. And birders will thrill to sights that may include ostrich, ibis, crested crane, and lilac-breasted rollers.

    We’ll toast our memories of this natural paradise over a last dinner together at our camp.

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    • Meals included:

    This morning, after a last game-viewing opportunity, we fly by light aircraft from the Okavango Delta to Maun, and then on to Johannesburg, South Africa to begin your Southern Africa: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia & Botswana adventure the next day. You’ll arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon and have your evening at leisure.