Portraits of Wild Africa

Botswana and Zambia

August 3 to 22, 2024
Private Trip Available
Cost: $13,990
Leader: Tom Murphy assisted by local guides
Group Size: 12
Days: 20

Safari Overview

Travel to the edge of the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park in Botswana then to South Luangwa National Park in Zambia to capture unforgettable moments on your camera with professional photographer Tom Murphy. Ride in an open-air Land Cruisers with our expert local guides who are adept at finding leopards, lions, elephants, African wild dogs, giraffes, and other wildlife while positioning the vehicle for the best photographic opportunities. Spend two nights near spectacular Victoria Falls – the widest curtain of water in the world. Travel to Mfuwe in South Luangwa National Park – Zambia’s most abundant wildlife sanctuary. Relish overnighting in mobile camps in Botswana, enjoy the views from the lodge near Victoria Falls, and revel in the permanent safari tents overlooking the Luangwa River in Zambia.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Feel the pulse of the African bush during carefree mobile camping in Botswana.
  • Hear the roar of Victoria Falls, the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
  • Spend four days exploring South Luangwa National Park concentrating on the river where animals congregate.
  • Study photographic composition and technique in this hands-on photography workshop.

SAFARI OPTIONS

  • If you would like to begin your journey early to see meerkats in the Kalahari Desert, please contact us.
  • If you would like to extend your trip to see the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, please contact us.

Itinerary Updated: December 2022

Private Trip Available



Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Aug 3-4 Travel to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Aug 5 Fly in the morning from Johannesburg to Maun. Then group flight to Moremi. Mobile camping at Moremi D
Aug 6-7 Explore the Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve in the famous Okavango Delta. Mobile camping at Moremi B, L, D
Aug 8-10 Explore the Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve with more spectacular game drives. Mobile camping at Khwai B, L, D
Aug 11-13 Discover the wildlife rich Savuti Marsh region of Chobe National Park. Mobile camping at Savuti Marsh B, L, D
Aug 14 Fly to Kasane, Botswana and then drive into Zimbabwe to spend the afternoon relaxing at the lodge. Shongwe Lookout Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe B, D
Aug 15 Take a guided tour of Victoria Falls in the morning, then enjoy a group lunch and free afternoon. Shongwe Lookout Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe B, L, D
Aug 16 See the Falls under morning light if time allows. Fly from Livingstone to Mfuwe then drive the short distance to South Luangwa National Park. Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia B, L, D
Aug 17-19 Visit South Luangwa National Park, one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries. Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia B, L, D
Aug 20 Enjoy a final game drive in the morning, then fly to Lusaka for an overnight. Protea Tower Hotel, Lusaka B
Aug 21 Depart homeward from Lusaka. B
Aug 22 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Tom Murphy

Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars specializing in snowy environments, such as Yellowstone National Park and Antarctica, for nearly 30 years. He also holds a great interest in African wildlife and leading African photo safaris. His passion is photographing wildlife in its environment to tell a story. Much of his work centers on Yellowstone as highlighted in a popular PBS nature series program, Christmas in Yellowstone, and several of his own books (www.tmurphywild.com).

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Travel to Johannesburg, South Africa

Aug 3-4

Travel to Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta

Aug 5

In the morning, you’ll fly from Johannesburg to Maun, and then fly as a full group on your charter flight to Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta. Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta and has many habitats including wide-open floodplains, marshes, ox-bow lakes, riverine forest, lagoons, papyrus-fringed channels, vast reed-beds of Miscanthus and Phragmites, woodlands, and savannah. En route to your campsite, discover mopane (pronounced Mo-pa-ni), the dominant tree in dense stands that provides a refuge for rare, timid, large antelopes, especially greater kudu. You’ll encounter every type of mopane habitat – the towering cathedral woodlands called Xakanaxa (pronounced Ka-kana-ka), the classic climax mopane woodland, and in the drier and harsher habitats, extensive stretches of scrub mopane. Rainfall from the Angola highlands surges 745mi (1,200km) into the Okavango Delta, creating a unique wetland that supports and sustains a huge diversity of wildlife.

Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve

Aug 6-7

You’ll have daily morning game drives to search for African wildlife. Moremi Game Reserve is among the best game reserves in Africa for viewing the endangered African wild dog, especially around Xakanaxa. With luck, you’ll also see breeding herds of African elephant or even red lechwe (one of the more unusual antelope species) moving between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango.

In the afternoons, enjoy a walk in the vicinity of the camp looking for animal tracks in Botswana’s sandy surface, the result of thousands of years of termites turning wood into soil. Your afternoon game drives are timed to be in the field for the best light and during the magic hour from dusk to dark, when nocturnal animals become active.

Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve

Aug 8-10

Hippo
© Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

The Khwai area is the North Gate region of Moremi Game Reserve. You’ll travel to the Manuchira Channel weaving along from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the woodlands. You’ll visit the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippopotamuses. The western mopane veld is home to breeding herds of elephant, while the eastern reaches of Khwai are home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai and are more approachable while drinking and bathing.

Khwai is a great ecotone area between the contrasting habitats of the marshy backwaters of the Khwai River, the dry-land leadwood, camel thorn woodlands, and savannahs – truly one of Botswana’s birding meccas! Marula trees, a species of fig that produces a delicious liquor, and giant wild ebony trees shelter outstanding birdlife, such as bat hawks in the delta that hunt along the entire length of the river. Away from the waterways, you will encounter hornbills, bee-eaters, rollers, starlings, and others.

Savuti Marsh area in Chobe National Park

Aug 11-13

You’ll stop for wildlife along the way from Khwai to Savuti Marsh. You will see the remains of a once vast paleo-lake called Lake Makgadikgadi that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Then, you’ll traverse a winding track through deep sand while crossing the Magwikwe Sandridge that formed the shoreline for this massive inland sea. The old lakebed is now the Mababe Depression, and the dense clay floor of the depression results in high protein food for wildlife after the rains.

The Mababe Depression is a birder’s paradise. The nutritious grasses that grow on the rich soils provide excellent seed for an impressive array of estrilids and viduids such as the village indigobird and shaft-tailed whydah. These birds provide a good food source for small raptors such as the little sparrowhawk, shikra, gabar goshawk, and lanner falcon.

Unlike the vast majority of Botswana, the sandy Savuti area is dotted with small rocky outcroppings of volcanic rock amidst the Kalahari sands that provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa because of the wide-open country, healthy ungulate populations, and particularly strong lion prides and spotted hyena clans.

Travel to Zimbabwe

Aug 14

Take a morning flight to Kasane, Botswana and then drive across the border into Zimbabwe to your lodge. Enjoy some well-earned rest relaxing at the lodge for the afternoon.

Victoria Falls Tour

Aug 15

Victoria Falls
© Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris

Experience the might and beauty of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, located on the wide and powerful Zambezi River. The spectacular falls are the widest curtain of water in the world and plunges 330ft! Several species of birds, including trumpeter hornbills, do well in the moister forests bordering the falls. This morning, you’ll travel along the Zambezi River, and take a guided tour of Victoria Falls. The Zimbabwean side of the falls is known for having the best views. Enjoy lunch at a café along the edge of the Zambezi River before enjoying another free afternoon.

Explore Victoria Falls and fly to Mfuwe, Zambia

Aug 16

If time allows, soak up the breathtaking scenery at Victoria Falls this morning before transferring to the Livingstone Airport for your flight to Mfuwe via Lusaka. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon to meet your guide at the airport and drive to Flatdogs (meaning “Crocodiles”) Camp. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the grounds with a view of the Luangwa River.

South Luangwa National Park in the Mfuwe Sector

Aug 17-19

African Sacred Ibis
© Tom Murphy

South Luangwa is touted by many travel experts (e.g. Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, TripAdvisor) as being one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and supports life within the park's 9,050 square kilometers. More than 60 mammal species and 400 bird species reside along the river.

During night drives in the Luangwa, you’ll have opportunities to see leopards and many other nocturnal animals. You may encounter African civets, common (or small-spotted) genet, spotted hyenas, nightjars, honey badgers (ratels), and lions. On most nights you may hear hyenas and their plaintive, eerie cry so characteristic of the African bush.

The Luangwa River has an extraordinarily high number of Nile crocodiles. At first glance something may look like a floating log, but often will be a crocodile basking on the riverbanks or floating down the river. In Luangwa Valley, many large water birds wade through the shallows. Yellow-billed storks move with their beaks open underwater, disturbing the muddy water with their feet until the fish flop into their mouths. The striking 5ft (1.6m) tall saddle-billed stork will make quick darting movements into the water to capture prey. Southern ground-hornbills emit the sound of a deep base drum early in the morning while the melodious white-browed (Heuglin’s) robin-chat and cry of the African fish-eagle are very distinctive against the ever-present cooing of all the resident doves.

Fly to Lusaka

Aug 20

After a morning game drive, you’ll fly from Mfuwe back to Lusaka for an overnight near the Lusaka Airport.

Depart homeward

Aug 21

In the morning, transfer to the Lusaka Airport to fly to Johannesburg and connect with flights home.

Arrive home

Aug 22

Botswana and Zambia

Mobile camping immerses you in the wilds of Botswana, giving you a true African safari experience.

-18.37, 21.84

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $13,990
Single Supplement $1,000

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except for four internal flights), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will try to find a roommate for you, but if we cannot pair you with a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $1,500
Final February 25, 2024 Remaining Balance

Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.


Cancellations

Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, landing fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • Four internal flights.
  • Accommodations for the nights of August 5 through August 20.
  • Meals from dinner on August 5 through breakfast on August 21, except meals listed in Not Included section.
  • Assorted drinks while mobile camping and drinking water while on game drives and at Flatdogs Camp.
  • Transfers from Moremi Airport to your mobile campsite on August 5, from Lusaka Airport to Protea Tower Hotel on August 20, and from Protea Tower Hotel to Lusaka Airport on August 21.
  • Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.

Not Included

  • All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $1,800 to $2,400 from US to Maun, Botswana and back to the US from Lusaka, Zambia, depending on origin.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • Lunch on August 14 and lunch and dinner on August 20.
  • Divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights (arranged by us).
  • Accommodations, transfers, meals, and any other arrangements in Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $20 per participant per day for 16 days with our guides and camp staff (about $320 total per participant).
  • Mandatory emergency medical and evacuation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Optional trip cancellation insurance. For more information see travel insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages (except while mobile camping), items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.

Climate

Daily temperatures in August can vary from around 32°F (0°C) at night to around 85°F (29°C) during the day with the possibility of some rain, so plan to dress in layers. The dynamics of climate change have impacted the area by increasing overall temperatures.

Fitness Level

Minimal fitness level is required. Game drives require good energy levels, as some days are long. Most travel is in open-air safari vehicles on sometimes dusty and bumpy roads. You may have short walks around camp and lodge grounds between game drives, conditions permitting. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.

Flights

Unless listed as included, airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.

Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Maun, Botswana (MUB) from Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) at 1:45pm on August 5 via South African Airlink – we will send details when the flight schedule is confirmed. Depart from Lusaka, Zambia (LUN) after 12:00am on August 21.

Flights we book for you: Four internal flights are included in the trip cost.

FAQ

Accommodations

Camp in HATAB (Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana) sites with no fixed buildings or facilities. Our outfitters handle all camp set-up, so you can fully enjoy your wilderness experience. Accommodations are a bit more rugged than a lodge, but you will be in 2-person tents (9x9ft) with a high roof, attached bathroom (9×7.5ft) with shower (hot water provided), and a covered area in front of the tent (9x7ft). Comfortable camp beds are made up with mattresses, sheets, duvets, and pillows. You’ll dine in a dining tent or beneath the stars depending on the weather. Electricity is not available while in our mobile camps; the safari vehicle has the ability to charge camera batteries.

Take comfort in “luxury, en-suite” permanent safari tents at Flatdogs Camp in Zambia. Each tent has a door to a shaded open-air bathroom with a hot shower, flush toilet, and washbasin.

Seasickness

Transportation

Travel in two open-air, jeep-style four-wheel drive vehicles with rows of seats that provide 360° viewing. Bring dust protection for your camera and gear and layers to keep warm (although blankets are provided).

Conservation

Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:

  • Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral: As of June 1, 2022, our trips are carbon neutral.
  • Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. Use this tool to calculate your emissions and purchase your carbon offset today through Sustainable Travel International, or through your favorite carbon offsetting organization.

Conditions

Read our current Terms and Conditions.