Portraits of Wild Africa
Botswana and Zambia
July 31 - August 19, 2021
Travel to the edge of the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park then onto Luangwa National Park in Zambia to capture unforgettable moments on your camera with professional photographer Tom Murphy. Ride in an open-air Land Cruiser 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 a night at 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, staying at a luxurious resort within walking distance of Victoria Falls, and then move into permanent safari tents overlooking the Luangwa River in Zambia.
- Feel the pulse of the African bush during carefree mobile camping in Botswana.
- Experience an elephant extravaganza along the Chobe River.
- Spend four days exploring South Luangwa, concentrating on where animals congregate at the river.
- Hear the roar of Victoria Falls, the world’s largest sheet of falling water.
- Study photographic composition and technique in this hands-on photography workshop.
- Begin your journey a few days early on our Meerkats extension from July 28 to August 2, 2021. Ride quads through the Ntwewe Salt Pans and towering 4,000-year-old Baobabs as you make your way to a friendly meerkat colony in the Kalahari Desert.
- Continue your journey with Tom Murphy on our Mountain Gorillas trip in Rwanda from August 16 to 22, 2021. You’ll come face-to-face with these gentle giants as they interact and socialize in close proximity.
Itinerary Updated: June 2020
Print Trip Safari Options
|Jul 31-Aug 1||Travel to Johannesburg, South Africa.|
|Aug 2||Continue from our Meerkat extension to Maun, Botswana to join the Botswana and Zambia trip, or fly in the morning from Johannesburg to Maun. Then fly to Moremi.||Moabile camping at Moremi||D|
|Aug 3-4||Explore Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve in the famous Okavango Delta.||Moabile camping at Moremi||B, L, D|
|Aug 5-7||Explore Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve with more spectacular game drives.||Mobile camping at Khwai||B, L, D|
|Aug 8-10||Discover the wildlife rich Savuti Marsh region of Chobe National Park.||Mobile camping at Savuti Marsh||B, L, D|
|Aug 11||Fly to Kasane, then take an afternoon boat trip on the Chobe River.||Cresta Mowana Safari Resort and Spa, Kasane||B, L, D|
|Aug 12||Cross into Zimbabwe for guided tour of Victoria Falls. Then transfer to Livingstone, Zambia for a free afternoon.||Avani Victoria Falls Resort, Livingstone||B, L, D|
|Aug 13||See the Falls under morning light. 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 14-16||Visit South Luangwa National Park, one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries.||Flatdogs Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia||B, L, D|
|Aug 17||Fly to Lusaka to continue on our Mountain Gorillas trip or stay in Lusaka for an overnight.||Protea Tower Hotel, Lusaka||B|
|Aug 18||Depart homeward from Lusaka.||B|
|Aug 19||Arrive home.|
Our Trip Leaders
Tom has offered custom photographic tours and seminars for nearly 30 years, specializing in snowy environments such as Yellowstone National Park and Antarctica. He also holds a great interest in African wildlife and leading African photo safaris. His passion and talent is photographing wildlife in their 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).
A glimpse into our journey
Travel to Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta
If you are joining from the Meerkat extension, fly to Maun to meet the other trip participants. If you are not joining from the Meerkat extension, 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
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 the sand. Botswana’s sandy foundation is 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 of dusk to dark when nocturnal animals become active.
Khwai area in Moremi Game Reserve
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 hippopotamus. 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 the 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, we will encounter hornbills, bee-eaters, rollers, starlings, and others.
Savuti Marsh area in Chobe National Park
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.
Chobe River area in Chobe National Park
Your last day in Botswana is spent along the Chobe River. Take an early morning flight from Savuti to Kasane, then enjoy some down time and lunch at the hotel. You’ll take a late afternoon boat trip on the Chobe River within the heart of elephant country among large herds congregating along the river to drink and bathe. This is one of the best ways to get really close to elephants for photography and to observe behaviors and herd life.
Cross the Zambezi River to Victoria Falls
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 cross the Zimbabwe border, 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 crossing over into Livingstone, Zambia for free afternoon and overnight.
Explore Victoria Falls and fly to Mfuwe in Zambia
Soak up the breathtaking scenery at Victoria Falls this morning then transfer to the nearby Livingstone Airport for your flight to Mfuwe via Lusaka. You’ll arrive late in the afternoon to meet your Flatdogs Camp 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
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 it may look like a floating log, but often times it 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 5-ft (1.6-m) 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
Fly to Lusaka and join our Mountain Gorillas trip
After a morning game drive, you’ll fly from Mfuwe back to Lusaka for an overnight near the Lusaka Airport or fly onward to Kigali to join our Mountain Gorillas trip.
In the morning, transfer to the Lusaka Airport to fly to Johannesburg and connect with flights homeward.
Botswana and Zambia
Mobile camping immerses you in the wilds of Botswana, giving you a true African safari experience.
Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$13,890|
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 find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||July 15, 2020||$1,000|
|Final||January 15, 2021||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
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.
- 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 2 through August 17.
- Meals from dinner on August 2 through breakfast on August 17, plus breakfast on August 18.
- Drinks while in your private mobile camps and drinking water while on game drives.
- Transfers from Moremi Airport to your mobile campsite on August 2, from Lusaka Airport to Protea Tower Hotel on August 17, and from Protea Tower Hotel to Lusaka Airport on August 18.
- Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $1,800 to $2,500 from US to Maun, Botswana and back to the US from Lusaka, Zambia, depending on origin.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Lunch and dinner on August 17.
- We can arrange divergent airport transfers and extra hotel nights for an extra cost.
- 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 August 2 to August 17 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.
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.
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.
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) around midday on August 2 via South African Airways – we will send details when the flight schedule is confirmed. If you are arriving from our Meerkats extension, see the Flights section in its itinerary for arrival information. Depart from Lusaka, Zambia (LUN) on August 18. If you are continuing on our Mountain Gorillas trip, see the Flights section in its itinerary for departure information.
Flights we book for you: Four internal flights are included in the trip cost.
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. 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.
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).
Read our current Terms and Conditions.