Safaris for Travelers with Disabilities on April 3, 2013 Share Extraordinary Journeys is incredibly excited to be working with Endeavour Safaris and Desert & Delta to offer a trip to Botswana that is completely accessible for persons with limited mobility. The trip combines some of our favorite Desert & Delta lodges with Endeavour’s luxury mobile camps. At Extraordinary Journey’s we chose the operators, suppliers and properties we work with very carefully. We seek out partnerships with operators who provide outstanding service to clients but also prioritize and emphasize sustainability, conservation, productive and respectful relationships with local residents and communities. Given these priorities we are thrilled to be working with companies like Endeavour and D&D who are working to promote Inclusive Tourism and handicapped accessibility into their work. About The Partnership Mike and Silvia Hill founded their company to make “the remote parts of Africa accessible to persons with Disabilities.” Today their company has a team of specially trained professional field guides, a fleet of game-viewing vehicles with electric lifts and locking mechanisms for wheelchairs and tents designed to allow ease of movement by wheelchair. In addition to trips for individuals with a wide range of impaired mobility (find a full itinerary below), we are also working with Endeavour to accomodate travelers who are visually or hearing impaired and travelers who need regular dialysis. At Extraordinary Journey’s we were drawn to the partnership because it means that we are able to offer our clients a Botswana safari experience that combines luxury camping and great lodges and is fully accessible for travelers with limited mobility. Inclusive Tourism simply means that guests with and without disabilities can be hosted in the same place and can participate fully and together in all the activities on offer. We all feel strongly that just because a property is handicapped accessible does not mean that it can’t be stylish, comfortable and luxurious. For example most of the rooms used don’t have any outward signs that they are handicapped accessible except a lack of stairs and enough open space to easily maneuver a wheelchair. The itinerary below is just an example, meant to give you an idea of how a safari that accommodate mobility issues might look but your trip can be designed to match your interests and needs. 10 Night/11 Day Botswana Safari for Travelers with Limited Mobility Days 1/2 ~ Makgadikadi ~ Leroo La Tau After landing in Maun you will meet your guides and specially designed game-viewing vehicle (complete with lifts and wheelchair locking) and drive 1.5 hours to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park where you will stay at Leroo La Tau. Makgadikadi Pans was once an inland sea that stretched 31,000 square miles and was up to 100 feet deep. Today salt pans and a vast and timeless wilderness are all that remain of this great lake which once covered most of northern Botswana. Makgadikadi Pans National Park was established in 1992 and covers 8100 square miles. The now dry Boteti River last flowed in 1993 and is the natural boundary of the national park. On the cliffs overlooking this arid riverbed is Leroo La Tau. Leroo La Tau’s 12 glass and thatch chalets each have en-suite bathroom and raised wooden decks with breathtaking views of the riverbed. The main lounge, bar and diningarea is a welcoming space of wood and thatch. From the pool you may see herds of the zebra and wildebeest that are often found on the grounds. Leroo La Tau means “footprints of the lion” and you will see these and many other predators and pray on your day and night game drives. Species common to the area include leopard, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, jackal, kudu, chobe bushbuck, porcupine, genet and caracal. Other unique animals seen in this area include the white rhino and the isolated crocodiles and hippos who manage to survive here in these very difficult conditions. Overnights at Leroo La Tau. Days 3/4 ~ Okavango Delta/Moremi Game Reserve ~ Okuti Camp Today after breakfast you will leave the Kalahari semi-desert area and drive Northwest via Maun into the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta is the earth’s largest inland water system. Its headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands where numeroustributaries join to form the Cubango River. It then flows through Namibia where it is called the Kavango and finally enters Botswana, where it becomes the Okavango. Millions of years ago the Okavango River flowed into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans). Tectonic shifts interrupted the flow of the river forming what is now the Okavango Delta, a unique system of waterways that supports a vast array of animal and plant life, in what would have otherwise been dry Kalahari savannah. In the heart of the Delta is the Moremi Game Reserve. Established by the BaTawna people to help preserve the region’s wildlife, today Moremi supports one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in Africa including endangered wild dog and huge herds of elephant. Buffalo, lion, leopard and cheetah are also common in the region. The birdlife is prolific with waterfowl and waders being particularly common. Camp Okuti comprises five twin-bedded units, each with en-suite bathrooms, shower and bath, hot and cold running water and flush toilet. An additional two family units consist of two rooms which share spacious bathroom facilities – ideal for families in this child-friendly lodge. Shaded by large trees at the edge of the Xakanaza Lagoons, Camp Okuti is close to shallow flood plains, papyrus swamps and dense riverine forest. Activities include game drives and excursions by motorboat which gives you the opportunity to explore the Delta by boat. During breeding season flocks of herons nest in the area. Hippos, crocodiles and small water-dwelling animals are abundant and easily visible from the motorboat. In the evening relax by the campfire and discuss the days events with your guides and other guests. Overnights at CAMP OKUTI. Days 5 / 6 ~Okavango Delta/Khwai River Area ~Endeavour Fully Serviced Semi‐Luxury Mobile Camp Today a day long game drive will take you from the Moremi to a mobile camp set up for you in a private area along the Khwai River, which is the Okavango Delta’s eastern outflow. The Khwai River is at the northeastern boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve. The river is the first water source for wildlife moving between Botswana’s northern reserves of Chobe and Linyanti and the Okavango Delta and so attracts high concentrations of thirsty wildlife. These mobile camps have large tents (4.5m x 3m) with en-suite bathrooms and a partition between the bedroom and the bathroom. In the bathroom is a toilet and hot bucket shower with custom supports for the toilet and shower ensuring transfers from the wheelchair to the shower or toilet are uncomplicated. The tent is very spacious to allow ease of movement and ensure comfort. Inside, the room is furnished with two beds, specially designed to allow easy transfer from a wheelchair to the mattress and vice versa. Days 7 / 8 ~ Savute ~ Savuti Safari Lodge After an early breakfast begin a full day game-drive through the Mababe Area and the southern part of Chobe National Park to the Savute Area. This drive through the wild, can take 4-6 hours depending on the animal sightings and photographic opportunities on the way. A picnic lunch will be served en-route. The Savute area offers a harsh and desert‐like landscape in the dry season where the wildlife is supported by the now flowing Savutechannel. This contrasts dramatically with the rainy season where the seasonal pans fill with water and the Savute Marsh and surrounds are covered with lush green vegetation that attracts an annual migration of zebra and wildebeest, as well as an abundance of birdlife. The sand ridge, the Ghoha Hills, and the dead trees on the Savute Marsh, offer some spectacular photographic opportunities. The Savute Marsh has been the stage for many of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. The wide open country, good ungulate populations and particularly strong prides of lion and hyena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. The marsh is prime for predators. Savute Safari Lodge accommodates just 24 guests in 12 local timber and thatched chalets. The chalets have been elegantly furnished in calm neutral tones to compliment the natural environment and feature expansive private decks, a combined bedroom and lounge area plus en-suite facilities. Sink into one of the numerous comfortable leather, wood or wicker sofas in the lounge – and library – or sip a cocktail in the stylish bar, all of which are situated in a beautiful two-story thatch and timber main building. Savute Safari Lodge boasts a shaded viewing deck, al fresco dining area and swimming pool, ideal for watching the varied wildlife including the resident elephants as they make their way down to the Savute Channel to drink. Activities are centered on game drives throughout the Savute area. Many trips will incorporate a visit to the Savute Marsh for your chance to see the historic presence of the Savute Channel at the marsh against a teeming backdrop of wildlife. Guests can also enjoy a visit to the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills – a small hilly outcrop which forms a remarkable landmark in the otherwise flat landscape. Overnights at the SAVUTI SAFARI LODGE. Day 9 / 10 ~ Chobe National Park ~ Chobe Game Lodge After breakfast you will drive North until reaching the Chobe River, situated in the Chobe National Park. Today you will be driving into the heart of one of the most exciting and interesting parks in Botswana, Chobe National Park. Chobe is the country’s second largest national park and is home to one of the world’s biggest populations of elephants. Botswana’s elephant population is currently estimated at around 120,000 and depending on the season, it is possible to see as many as 1,000 of these magnificent animals as they come to drink from the Chobe River in the late afternoon. In addition to elephants, the parks diversity of habitats-from riverine forest to floodplain to marsh to mopane woodland and rocky outcrops- supports a wide variety of wildlife. The Chobe River is known for its magnificent bird viewing, with over 400 different species including eagles, kingfishers, marabou storks and bee-eaters. There are over 90 species of fish in the local waters, great for fishing if you are so inclined. While visiting the national park you will stay at the Chobe Game Lodge, the only lodge located within the Chobe Reserve. The lodge is beautiful with yellow-gold stucco décor and an open, colonial style. The rooms have electricity, air conditioning, minibar and balconies with breathtaking views of the Chobe River. Relax in the lounge or on the raised deck that stretches along the river, or cool down in the swimming pool. Overnights at Chobe Game Lodge. Day 11 ~Depart ~ Kasane Airport After a morning game viewing activity, your guide will transfer you to the local international airport with ample time to check in and bid Botswana a very sad goodbye. The price for this trip is between $6360 and $9265 for 2014 (prices tend to increase incrementally each year). This price excludes international airfare, depends on season and is based on 4 passengers.