Trip Highlights

Trip Highlights

  • Work alongside researchers at Elephants for Africa to document herd behavior in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
  • Set out on safari in the Okavango Delta with a National Geographic wildlife conservationist to seek out big cats, giraffes, African wild dogs, and more.
  • Learn wildlife photography skills and take photos with an eye to inspiring conservation efforts.
  • Hear from researchers with National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project about active conservation initiatives.
I loved talking to local people, going on sunrise and sunset game drives, and learning about each animal as we encountered them. Experiencing these moments with my peers made it all the more special.
Violet Jane S., Student Traveler, 2019

Itinerary

Itinerary

Thanks to innovative and intensive conservation efforts, Botswana is recognized as a global leader in wildlife protection and has offered a safe haven for African megafauna seeking refuge from human development and illegal poaching. Get an inside perspective on modern-day conservation challenges while working in the field alongside top researchers, including our own National Geographic Grantees.

Days 1-4: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Begin your adventure in Zimbabwe with a visit to spectacular Victoria Falls, known locally as the “smoke that thunders” and considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Victoria Falls’ mile-wide curtain of water is nearly twice the width of Niagara Falls and plunges more than 350 feet into a narrow chasm, creating clouds of mist that sparkle in the sunlight. Get to know your Expedition Leaders and fellow group members while exploring the nature paths that wind through lush forests overlooking these majestic cascades. Photograph the falls from the bridge that spans the border with Zambia, then discuss human-wildlife cohabitation as you walk through corridors specially designed for elephant passage.

Days 5-8: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

Cross the border into Botswana and head to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a reserve harboring the largest network of salt pans on Earth, as well as zebras, wildebeests, elephants, and an array of other intriguing creatures. Camp near a research base just outside the park and spend several days working alongside conservationists and scientists with Elephants for Africa, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the vulnerable African elephant through research and education.

Meet the founders of Cameras for Conservation and learn photography techniques for documenting elephant behavior and ecology, then create a digital photo book of the park’s resident herds. With the help of camera traps, track elephant movement in the area; and learn how migration patterns are changing in response to human encroachment, habitat destruction, and climate change. Interview local community members to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of human-elephant conflict, and work alongside local farmers to implement new strategies for wildlife conservation in the region.

Days 9-14: Okavango Delta

Travel north to Botswana’s most iconic landscape, the Okavango Delta. This far-reaching network of inland lagoons and floodplains is home to some of the world’s most endangered megafauna, including cheetahs, white and black rhinos, and African wild dogs. After one night preparing for the expedition in Maun, settle into camp and meet your local guide, a member of National Geographic’s Okavango Wilderness Project who grew up in the area and has intimate knowledge of the landscape. Learn about the program’s efforts to collect data on the delta’s source waters, which are vital to the health of the region and the roughly one million people who source their water from the Okavango; and hear about collaborations with local stakeholders to develop conservation strategies for these important rivers.

Over the next several days, set out on safari across the floodplains alongside your National Geographic Expert and explore the delta’s dynamic ecosystem, teeming with big cats, roaming giraffes, and wading buffalo. As you seek out incredible wildlife, document the intricacies of this habitat with your camera and learn wilderness skills from your knowledgeable guide. Conclude the program in Maun, where we’ll present our On Assignment projects to the group and celebrate our journey across southern Africa.