The Great Elephant Safari
A 13 Day Journey Along the Ancient Elephant Paths of Botswana & Zimbabwe
October 15-27, 2021
Please join Dan Hopkins, owner of GrassTrack Safaris and our partner in Zimbabwe, Imvelo Safari Lodges for The Great Elephant Safari. On this unique journey we’ll spend 12 days following ancient elephant migration routes as we learn about the natural history, ecology and conservation issues facing Africa’s elephants. Mark Butcher, owner of Imvelo, will join us for a day of village visits to learn about their vital role in conservation and to see how local communities live among elephants.
Imvelo Safari Lodges has been at the forefront of community conservation in Zimbabwe since 1996. By building some of their camps and safari lodges on communal land bordering Hwange National Park, their ultimate goal is to create a symbiotic relationship between local communities, responsible tourism, and conservation. This in turn promotes conservation of the local wildlife and natural resources and encourages sustainability for these village communities while at the same time adding significantly to the safari experience.
Join Us On Zoom!
We recently held a virtual information session on Zoom discussing the Great Elephant Safari.
If you missed it, you can watch at the link below. It's about an hour in length and Mark Butcher (owner of Imvelo Safari Lodges) and Dan Hopkins (safari host and owner of GrassTrack Safaris) talked about the itinerary, accommodations, activities, covid protocols, and much more.
In 1930, as many as 10 million wild elephants roamed the African continent. But decades of poaching and conflict have decimated the African elephant population, leaving less than 415,000. But not all the news is bad. Botswana & Zimbabwe are home to nearly 200,000 elephants, the largest population in Africa. We’ll witness great congregations of elephants in Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, enjoy the splendor of Victoria Falls, and experience the amazing diversity of Africa’s wildlife.
Our adventure begins in northern Botswana's Chobe National Park. Enormous numbers of elephants can be found here (estimates put the number at around 140,000!) where they seek refuge from the rampant poaching and conflicts in other parts of Africa. We'll spend two nights at the Chobe Game Lodge, the only lodge within the park which boasts electric safari vehicles and an all female guiding team. In addition to boat trips on the river and seeing abundant game, we'll learn about the ecological impact these elephants have on the local environment.
Elephants migrate between Botswana and Zimbabwe and our journey follows this ancient route as we make our way to the magnificent Victoria Falls for a night. By road and private rail car we'll make our way south into Zimbabwe's largest and most diverse park - Hwange.
This park is home to lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs but also presents an opportunity to learn about elephant conservation. During our stay at Bomani Lodge, Mark Butcher (owner of Imvelo Safari Lodges) will give us an evening talk about conservation and the following day take us to a local village on the edge of the park. Here we'll see the vital role local communities play in conservation and how they live among elephants.
For a truly wild adventure we next journey to the remote Jozibanini Tented Camp. This rustic camp is a mecca for elephants with few, if any, other tourists. We'll enjoy bush walks, game drives, easy mountain biking on old elephant paths.
Our journey continues as we fly from Jozi to Nehimba Lodge, in the north of Hwange. Here the environment is very different with rocky hills and mopane forests. Excellent game can be found here on our day (and night) game drives and bush walks. The swimming pool attracts many elephants and you'll be astounded as you sip a cold drink on the deck only a few yards from elephants enjoying their cold drink.
The safari ends with another flight from Nehimba back to the Victoria Falls Airport.
Oct 15-16, 2021 | Chobe National Park | Chobe Game Lodge (Full Board)
Oct 17, 2021 | Victoria Falls | Batonka Guest Lodge (Bed & Breakfast)
Oct 18-20, 2021 | Hwange National Park | Bomani Tented Lodge (Full Board)
Oct 21-23, 2021 | Hwange National Park | Jozibanini Tented Camp (Full Board)
Oct 24-26, 2021 | Hwange National Park | Nehimba Lodge (Full Board)
Oct 27, 2021 | Return to Victoria Falls Airport for onward flights
End of Services
We're offering only one departure date: Oct 15-27, 2021.
Confirmation of this safari requires a minimum of 3 guests with a maximum of 6. Registration deadline is April 12, 2021. A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm booking and due within 7 days of receiving an invoice from GrassTrack Safaris. Your deposit will be refunded only if safari is cancelled due to lack of interest. Once 3 clients are confirmed, deposit will not be refunded. Full balance due by July 1, 2021. Itinerary may change depending on weather conditions and wildlife movements. We reserve the right to change safari rate due to unforeseen increases in government taxes or other fees.
Other terms & conditions apply.
- Lodging, meals and local drinks as indicated
- Activities as indicated
- English speaking, professional guides
- All road transfers
- Internal flights from Jozibanini to Nehimba and from Nehimba to Victoria Falls Airport;
- Chobe & Hwange National park fees
- Laudry (except at Batonka Guest Lodge & Jozibanin Tented Camp)
- Current government taxes/fees
- International flights to Kasane, Botswana and from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Pre- or post-safari accommodation/extensions
- Premium drinks/wine
- Meals/drinks at Batonka Guest Lodge
- Victoria Falls park fees/activities
- Any optional activities not indicated in itinerary
- Entry visas
- Travel insurance (compulsory for booking)
- Staff & guide gratuities
- Personal items
Dan Hopkins - Dan is the owner of GrassTrack Safaris, an adventure travel company specializing in creating authentic journeys into the African wilderness. He first traveled to Africa in the late 1980’s on expedition-style camping safaris and has returned to Africa on over a dozen safaris. These early trips serve as the inspiration for the safaris he offers clients: a unique, off-the-beaten path experience of the African wilderness. The safaris Dan creates will appeal to any adventurous traveler looking to experience wild animals in wild places. Besides organizing safaris for private clients, Dan has taught courses on Africa for the Osher Program at Dartmouth College and has led safaris to Botswana and Namibia for the Osher Program as well as private safaris to South Africa and Tanzania. He holds Masters degrees in Zoology from Colorado State and in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College.
Mark "Butch" Butcher - Although Butch is the owner of Imvelo Safari Lodges, he spends as much time as he can with guests sharing his knowledge of the bush and Imvelo's conservation work. His wildlife career started in 1979 as a game ranger and wildlife officer. Butch was responsible for all wildlife roaming 1.8 million acres of forest. While undertaking this enormous task, Butch realized how essential local people's support was to the wildlife conservation. He developed programs to engage local communities who quickly realized the financial prosperity from shared park fees and visits from safari travelers. This generated a vested interest among communities of protecting wildlife and the natural ecosystems. Butch will share with us his wealth of knowledge (and stories) about the intersection of elephant conservation and the well-being of local communities.
Rates are per person sharing. Single supplement applies.
Length/Route: 13 days/12 nights; Starts in Kasane, Botswana; Ends in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe