EXPLORE regularly partners with Harvard Alumni Travel to offer unique, educational trips throughout Africa. Not only do you travel with a knowledgeable private guide on these trips, but each group is accompanied by a Harvard University professor who provides insightful lectures during travel. Destinations offered with Harvard Alumni Travel are diverse and change each year, but always incorporate fascinating destinations at a great price. Past trips have included: a Pan African exploration by private plane, following the Great Rift valley from Ethiopia south to Cape Town, including stops in Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana; a journey by private plane to top destinations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa; an exploration through Mozambique, including exploring Gorongosa National Park in the company of Greg Carr, a Harvard alum who has been instrumental in the rehabilitation of the park; and a classic southern Africa safari, to wildlife-rich destinations in Zimbabwe and Botswana, staying at top-notch safari lodges. Below is an example of a past itinerary offered in conjunction with Harvard Alumni Travel. To find out what is currently available, please contact EXPLORE at 970.871.0065 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see Harvard Alumni Travel’s full listing of current trips, please visit www.alumni.harvard.edu/travel/trips.
SOUTHERN AFRICA DISCOVERY: Botswana, Zimbabwe & Zambia
Botswana and Zimbabwe contain some of the best safari destinations on the African continent. While Botswana boasts one of Africa’s most stable democratic governments and most well-known safari destinations, Zimbabwe has overcome past political issues and is coming back strong, with its national parks better than ever. In Zimbabwe’s remote and extensive Hwange National Park, a myriad of bird and wildlife awaits. Watch a large herd of elephant drink from a waterhole as one of Africa’s spectacular sunsets plays out behind them, then embark on a night game drive in search of nocturnal species and the elusive leopard. Continue on to Botswana’s Okavango Delta, often referred to as ‘Earth’s Last Eden,’ which not only houses over one-third of the world’s population of elephants, but also supports strong populations of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, buffalo and innumerable species of mammals. Thousands of tiny islands support 400 bird species which adorn the verdant landscape with their jewel-like plumage. In Zambia, the mighty Zambezi River forms the border with Botswana. Here one can enjoy the majesty of the river and view Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Join Harvard study leaders, fellow Harvard alumni and like-minded, sophisticated travelers on this journey through Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Day 1 DEPARTURE
Depart the USA (or other gateways) on an overnight flight to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Day 2 VICTORIA FALLS/ VICTORIA FALLS HOTEL
Upon an early afternoon arrival in Victoria Falls, you are met and transferred to the beautiful Victoria Falls Hotel, an historic landmark in the town of Victoria Falls. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy the lovely landscaped gardens and swimming pool. At sundown, meet your Harvard study leader, fellow travelers and private specialist guide for welcome drinks on the terrace overlooking the Batoka Gorge, with the mist from Victoria Falls rising in the background, followed by dinner in one of the lodge’s beautiful restaurants.
The Victoria Falls Hotel, a beautiful example of typical colonial design, is an African landmark. Established in 1904, the hotel is set in The Victoria Falls National Park with a private path to the Falls. The corridors reflect the past glories of the Empire and are a museum in and of themselves. The courtyard entrance to the hotel overlooks lily ponds, lush flowering shrubs and palm trees, and the hotel’s grounds are defined by meticulously landscaped gardens. Traditional high tea is served every afternoon on the Terrace with a spectacular view of the Victoria Falls Bridge and gorge in the background.
Day 3-5 HWANGE NATIONAL PARK / DAVISON’S CAMP
Following breakfast, you are driven south to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s premier safari destination, and Davison’s Camp. The camp lies deep in Hwange, in the south-eastern Linkwasha Concession, one of the best game viewing areas of the entire park. Game viewing is productive year-round in the Linkwasha Concession and wildlife frequently encountered here includes lion, large herds of elephant, buffalo, leopard, white rhino, spotted hyena, southern giraffe, sable, blue wildebeest, impala, common waterbuck and reedbuck. There are a number of large, open plains areas in the concession which make for excellent game viewing. Bird life in the area is prolific (400+) and varied, with species that frequent the teak woodlands as well as those typical of the drier Kalahari being present.
Activities include game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, or guided walks in the early mornings, while during the siesta hours you can view wildlife coming down to the waterhole to drink.
Day 6 & 7 LIVINGSTONE / THE RIVER CLUB
Do a morning game drive transfer to the local airstrip, where you board a scheduled charter flight back to Victoria Falls. Once in town, you view Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwean side. The waterfall spans the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, but the majority of the waterfall is on the Zimbabwean side. Viewing the Falls from this side provides numerous overlooks and truly gives you a feel for the full majesty of this natural wonder. Afterward, enjoy a light lunch at the Victoria Falls Hotel before crossing the border into Livingstone, Zambia via the breathtaking bridge that spans the Batoka Gorge just downstream from the Falls.
\In the late afternoon, take a sunset cruise downstream (with “sundowners”), watching the banks for many different species of game which utilize the river as a rich food and drinking source. Islands along the river are dotted with crocodiles and families of hippos. There is a possibility that you may see herds of elephant drinking along the banks of the Zambezi.
You are taken into the charming town of Livingstone for a guided tour of the town and its colorful produce market, as well as its crafts market. Livingstone is a classic old colonial town of former Northern Rhodesia, and is now regarded as an adventure hotspot due to the numerous adrenaline activities offered in the area. Visit the Livingstone Museum, known for its archaeological and ethnographic displays; its premier exhibit is a collection of letters, notes and other artifacts that belonged to David Livingstone. Top off the morning with a visit to Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls is where the Zambezi River opens out into an extravaganza of roaring, spray-tumbled water, known to the locals as “Mosi oa Tunya” (the smoke that thunders). Few sights are as awe-inspiring as this when the ground rumbles with the forces of the water. You view the Falls this morning from the Zambian side. After lunch at the lodge, the early afternoon is free to relax or participate in one of the many optional activities offered in the area (at additional cost).
Day 8 – 10 LINYANTI RESERVE / KINGS POOL
A morning ground transfer, and short boat ride across the Zambezi River, takes you across the border into Kasane, Botswana. Here, you board a charter flight to Kings Pool Camp, located in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The Linyanti is a vast, private concession in the northern part of Botswana, on the western boundary of Chobe National Park. The accommodation here is luxurious and the wildlife is spectacular.
Kings Pool Camp overlooks the Linyanti River and the oxbow-shaped Kings Pool Lagoon, apparently named after a Scandinavian monarch who spent a number of nights camping out on the banks of the lagoon, long before any camp was built here. The Linyanti area has a large amount of wildlife with a wide variety of species, but it is most noted for its very large elephant population, which can reach enormous densities. Other game is abundant, such as impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and bushbuck and their predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena. Rarer species such as sable and roan antelope are also spotted on occasion.
Activities here include day and night game drives and walks, while boat cruises along the Linyanti River (water levels allowing) offer spectacular viewing. The reed and papyrus swamps are ideally suited for numerous and diverse species of birds and are a magnet for game.
Day 11 & 12 OKAVANGO DELTA / JAO CAMP
Take a charter flight to Jao Camp, situated in the Okavango Delta on a densely wooded oval-shaped island overlooking the vast flood plains. A variety of habitats here ensures diverse and interesting game viewing. Jao Camp offers an excellent Okavango experience with game drives, mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursions, short guided walks and boating available. Night drives allow guests to view the nocturnally active animals in the area such as the elusive civet cat, bat-eared fox and the genet.
The Okavango Delta qualifies as one of the most unique and beautiful environments on Earth. Hundreds of tiny islands are formed as the Okavango River fans out over the flat Kalahari sands of Northwestern Botswana, creating a verdant, Eden-like utopia for wildlife. The delta covers an area of up to 12,470 square miles. The Okavango River starts in the Angolan highlands where the rainfall ranges from 47 to 80 inches per annum. It then flows about 808 miles, bringing the lifeblood to the Okavango Delta.
Day 13 DEPARTURE
After one last game viewing activity in the Delta, you board a charter flight to Maun. In Maun, connect to Johannesburg. Upon arrival in Johannesburg, connect to your international flight back home or the start of the optional extension to Namibia.Note: This is just an example of custom itineraries that we can design for you. For additional itinerary options, please contact us.