Elephant Immobilisation Safari
This safari assists a private reserve in Botswana with the responsible monitoring of their elephant population, while giving guests a once-in-a-lifetime hands on experience! This safari affords clients the opportunity to be involved in an elephant immobilisation procedure in order to place a tracking collar on the elephant, which is vital for monitoring as part of a conservation based research program. The procedure will be carried out by a local veterinarian, with Wildlife Veterinarian and registered tourist guide, and one of your hosts throughout the safari close at hand to assist clients and the veterinarian. The elephant on this reserve are being monitored to try answer some key questions with regard to their impact on their environment and to try establishing factors that naturally limit their numbers. The time preceding and after the immobilisation allows time for traditional game drives and learning more about elephant in general, as well as preparing you for the immobilisation. Guests are given the opportunity to participate in the procedures being carried out, once the patient is immobilised, and it is thus safe to move closer. Guests have the option of a hands-on approach, or, if they prefer, simply observing from up close and getting those pictures of a lifetime! Guest participation covers all veterinary and satellite tracking collar costs, which are very expensive and unattainable for the project without assistance. So come join us for the experience of a lifetime and do something for wildlife research and conservation!

Day 1
Monday
This safari departs early morning from Johannesburg International Airport and the drive takes us approximately 6 hours north to the Botswana border. We arrive at our lodge early afternoon, after clearing the border post, and settle in. Enjoy some leisure time in the beautiful surroundings and high tea before a late afternoon /evening game drive to introduce guests to the reserve and its wildlife. Enjoy sundowners before returning to camp for an evening at leisure with dinner at our lodge. During our stay we explore some 75,000 acres / 30,000 hectares of pristine privately owned game land, which has been set aside to preserve the unique, prodigious features of this exhilarating continent. The area covers a diverse wilderness of savannah, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and sandstone outcrops, and is the home of no less than seven of Africa's giants: the African elephant, the lion, giraffe, the baobab tree, the eland, the ostrich, and the kori bustard. Our luxurious camp (5 star) offers 14 tastefully and authentically decorated suites. Each suite is furnished with either two three-quarter beds and a day bed, or two double beds and a day bed, expansive en suite bathroom with shower, bath, his and hers basins, and a second W.C.A private lounge area overlooks the unfenced surrounding bush and 24 hour temperature control completes the comfort of each suite. The camp is elevated around a waterhole and offers excellent game viewing opportunities from within the camp itself. The dining area, stunning day lounge and bar provide diverse lookouts from which to enjoy and appreciate the environment. Facilities within the camp include a swimming pool, an air-conditioned lounge and dining room and a lala-palm enclosed African Boma, in which sumptuous dinners are savored under the magnificent African night sky and around a blazing fire. A well appointed curio shop complements the facilities. The "piece de resistance" of the camp is the research room: a base for the scientific research conducted on the reserve and a magnifying glass though which the animals and history of the reserve can be examined.
Day 2
Tuesday
Early morning light breakfast/tea/coffee followed by a game drive in the reserve, focusing on the mighty elephant. We will be accompanied by the local elephant researcher and thus gain an incredible insight into the species and in particular their role in this environment. Of course we are bound to come across several of the other wildlife species found in the reserve too.

The basics of the research programme:
Elephant numbers are increasing in many parts of their range. In all of these areas, changes in habitat structure and composition are being observed. Elephants are commonly perceived as the major agents driving these changes. Emerging from discussions between wildlife managers on the effects of limiting elephant numbers and casual agents of change in elephant habitats is a realization that there is a severe lack of knowledge concerning four main issues. Firstly how elephant populations are limited; secondly, the relative importance of other herbivore species, climate and fire as determinants of systems structure, composition and dynamics; thirdly, how coexistence between elephants and trees was achieved in the past; and fourthly, how vegetation structure and composition influences overall biodiversity. This research program aims to address all four of these areas of knowledge. We return to the lodge late morning for brunch. After brunch there will be some informative talks on issues relating to elephant immobilisation and conservation/management issues, and the actual procedure, equipment, drugs, etc. This will also cover safety aspects and guests involvement in the procedure. Time permitting guests will be allowed to load tranquiliser darts with water and fire them at a target! (This activity is time dependent today may be done on Wednesday as it can take quite a while.) Mid to late afternoon we return to the reserve for another game drive, this time accompanied by another local researcher, but focusing on the elusive but exquisite leopard, also taking in the other wildlife species which we may not yet have encountered during our stay. This is chance to hopefully witness hunting behaviour. Return to camp after sundowners for dinner and to overnight
Day 3
Wednesday
This is the day we have all been waiting for, and we set out early morning after tea/coffee and snacks, heading into the area of the reserve in which we anticipate finding the specific elephant(s) that need their collars changing/collaring. Once located, the elephant will be darted from a vehicle by a veterinarian. This is a tense moment since the elephant could go down badly and there could be other elephant in the vicinity, making approach of the immobilised animal dangerous. Once the patient is secure and it is determined that the area is safe, guests will be allowed to alight from their game drive vehicles and assist with basic procedures, as well as just examining the patient from up close, hands-on….. There will of course be time for photos since the whole procedure, until we wake the patient, takes approximately an hour. Once our patient is safely back up on his/her feet, we head back to camp, no doubt filled with adrenalin and smiles! We return to the lodge for brunch and leisure time for the rest of the day. If we have not covered any aspects yet due to time constraints, or guests want more talks/interaction, then we’ll happily oblige. After high tea we head out to try locate our patient and do a visual check up, while enjoying a game drive on route. We enjoy sundowners in the bush for the last time and return to our lodge early evening. We enjoy dinner in camp and are sure to spend some time sitting around the fire discussing the day’s experiences!
Day 4
Thursday
We start early again today, with tea and coffee before heading out on our last game drive, or simply lie in and wake to the sounds of the bush. Brunch is enjoyed at the lodge, before checking out. Late morning departure back to Johannesburg International Airport to arrive in time for connecting flights back home. Lunch en route for own expense. Your safari ends at Johannesburg International Airport, at around 5pm. If you are flying home today please do not book a flight departing before 8 pm. For guests not departing today, accommodation arrangements can be made on your behalf – not included in safari cost.

Costing
This safari is available at a cost of £1300.00 per person sharing.
Single supplements apply – subject to availability.
This is based on a minimum of 12 persons participating in total, and allows for a maximum of 18 participants. Larger groups may be accommodated on special request.

This cost includes board and accommodation as laid out above, all land transfers in a comfortable air-conditioned mini-bus, guides (Veterinarian throughout the safari, and various local guides and researchers), all tours, presentations and activities as laid out above, entrance fees, VAT and Government Tourism levies. Not included are drinks, lunch on day 4, any visa costs applicable for Botswana, any optional additional activities, items of a personal nature, gratuities, travel insurance (medical insurance compulsory) and flights.
Tailor-made departures and alternate dates are available on request.

Please note
Due to the nature of this experience, times and plans may need to be adjusted slightly as we proceed, especially since elephants do not read itineraries very well! We will however always endeavour to complete all activities as laid out, but please bear with us should changes become necessary. Every effort will be made to ensure that the client participates in the darting procedure, as laid out in the itinerary, but the animal's welfare will not be compromised at any stage, and a procedure may have to be aborted and the animal revived in certain circumstances. The animal is the primary reason for this safari, and we need to bare that in mind and respect the patient. Should this be the case, we normally have a “plan B” to ensure the client still receives the same/a similar experience.

Please note the following regarding the darting/other procedure/s:
While every endeavour is made to locate and dart the animal in question, factors such as severe weather conditions or illness involving the animal, which are unpredictable, may prevent the darting from going ahead. Every effort will be made to ensure that the client participates in the darting procedure, or similar, as laid out in the itinerary, but the animal's welfare will not be compromised at any stage, and a procedure may have to be aborted and the animal revived in certain circumstances. This may shorten the procedure/down time, and hence the close up experience for the client. Africa Experience , its staff, and appointed agents will not be held liable for any losses incurred by a client as a result of such situations, and accept no responsibility whatsoever. Every endeavour is made to ensure the health and safety of all our clients, but any procedure with a potentially dangerous wild animal is of such a nature that certain circumstances may be beyond our control. Should any such situation arise which leads to death or injury due to any reason whatsoever, Safaris, its staff, and appointed agents, will not be held liable for any losses incurred as a direct, or indirect, result of such a situation, or our actions in such a situation.


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