Lion Immobilisation Safari
This safari assists a reserve with the responsible management of their lion population, while giving guests a once-in-a-lifetime hands on experience! This safari affords clients the opportunity to be involved in a lion immobilisation, carried out by Wildlife Veterinarian and registered tourist guide throughout the safari, and the subsequent procedures - blood sampling, treatment and collaring if necessary. The lion on this reserve form part of an integrated predator research project which falls under the auspices of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. The time preceding and after the immobilisation allows time for traditional game drives and learning more about lion and other predators such as African Wild Dogs 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 animal/s is/are 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! Besides covering the costs of this procedure, which is crucial to the conservation project, a further donation is made to the project on behalf of each participant. So come join us for the experience of a lifetime and do something for wildlife conservation!

Day 1
Thursday
Arrive at our lodge around midday and settle in - about 5.5 hours north of Johannesburg on the Botswana border. Enjoy lunch and some leisure time in the beautiful surroundings before a late afternoon/evening game drive to introduce you to this section of the reserve and its wildlife. Enjoy sundowners before returning to camp for an evening at leisure with dinner at our lodge. Our lodge is situated on a sandstone ridge offering guests breathtaking views of the river floodplain below. The lodge is built of stone and thatch and offers simple luxury. All rooms are en-suite, air conditioned, and are set a short distance away from the main lodge area. Most rooms have twin beds. While staying here we have exclusive use of the lodge. Our stay here is on a full board basis and a reasonable amount of local drinks - soft and alcoholic - are included.
Day 2
Friday
Early morning light breakfast/tea/coffee followed by a transfer into another reserve across the road where the actual Veterinary work will be done. This reserve is 34 000 hectares in size, and home to many species of antelope, giraffe, lion, African Wild dogs, leopard, elephant, white and black rhino, and many more. The vegetation consists mostly of Mopane scrub, which presents a harsh landscape and does not favour all species, only carrying low numbers of grazers. You have to work hard at your game viewing here, but this offers a true sense of Africa and its wildlife! Various research projects are planned/in progress, and mostly focus on monitoring and data collection on various species of predators such as the lion and African Wild Dog, but elephant data is also being collated. The Reserve's best-known programme is the African Wild Dog programme, which has already been running for 6 years and is set to continue. We will join researchers on a game drive this morning and learn more about their work and the skills of tracking wildlife using telemetry, as well as the conservation issues surrounding this endangered species, as well as the lion on the reserve. As mentioned, the predator project falls under the auspices of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. We return to the lodge later in the morning for brunch.

After brunch there will be some informative talks on issues relating to lion immobilisation and conservation/management 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 Saturday as it can take quite a while.)Mid to late afternoon we return to the reserve for the immobilisation procedure on one of the lion requiring management procedures such as contraception or tracking collar replacement. Depending on the individual we may be able to "free dart" without a bait and having to call him/her up under the cover of darkness, or we may have to set up a bait in the area we expect to find our patient and try coax him/her onto our bait so we can dart. It could be a long night and there is no predicting exactly how things will go... but you are sure to return to the lodge late evening with adrenalin pumping through your body, after all, it is not every day that you handle a wild lion! Enjoy dinner and a good night's sleep, if you can..
Day 3
Saturday
Enjoy an early morning game drive/or walk and check up on any lion darted the night before if driving the same area. 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 on the lion, then we'll happily oblige. After high tea we again head out to immobilise lion if not successful the night before, or possibly some of the other predators involved in the predator monitoring project, such a brown hyena - this can be a real challenge! By now you know the drill, but the excitement is just the same, or maybe even better..and no immobilisation is ever the same! If the group feels they have seen enough behind the scenes work we'll enjoy a more traditional game drive in another reserve instead, with sundowners at an amazing spot... Return to our lodge late evening for dinner and to overnight.
Day 4
Sunday
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... Breakfast is enjoyed at the lodge, before checking out late morning (11 am) and returning to Johannesburg.

Costing
This safari is available at a cost of 1200.00 per person sharing. Single supplements may apply - subject to availability. This is based on a minimum of 6 persons participating in total, and allows for a maximum of 8 participants. Larger groups may be accommodated on special request.
This is inclusive of

Return transfers from Johannesburg International Airport to our destination;
accommodation on a full board basis;
drinks;
all activities as laid out in the itinerary;
the services of management, local guides and staff and Government VAT.
Cost excludes
Additional optional activities, items of a personal nature, gratuities, and medical insurance (compulsory).
Tailor-made departures and alternate dates are available on request.

Please note
This program is a guide and all these activities will be done, but not necessarily in this order, as lion do not read that well!! 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.

Please note the following regarding the darting/immobilisation procedures
While every endeavour is made to locate and dart the animal in question, factors such as severe weather conditions or illness involving the animal, unable to locate or approach the animal close enough due to bush conditions, failure of the animal to come to a bait, etc. which are all 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. We cannot be 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 and veterinary drug 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 and 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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