Giving to
Bryn Mawr

Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center

Botswana: Desert Sunset and Delta Dawn

With an optional extension to Victoria Falls

November 2 - 12, 2012

From the vast Kalahari Desert to the fertile Okavango Delta, Botswana offers some of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness in Africa. On this exceptionally well-planned safari, you’ll travel by day in 4x4s and mokoros—traditional African canoes—in search of wildlife from hippos and crocodiles to wildebeests, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards, baboons, hyenas, and rhinos. ………

By night you’ll stay in elegant, intimate camps nestled into the countryside, where it’s not surprising to spy passing lions or hear elephants splashing in the river while you dine. Your guide will be Grant Atkinson, one of Africa’s premier naturalists with an exceptional knowledge of Botswana’s ecosystems.

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Preliminary Itinerary
(please click on location to reveal details)



Your journey begins as you board your South African Airways overnight flight. (Meals Aloft)


Often called Jo'burg, Johannesburg is the country's largest city and financial center with ultra modern skyscrapers and a bustling way of life. It is the city of gold, as its claim to fame is the gold that was discovered close-by. Upon arrival at the Johannesburg International Airport today, you will be met and escorted to your nearby hotel within walking distance, the Southern Sun – a great, relaxing place to begin your journey into South Africa’s capital city. Relax in comfort in the attractively furnished lounge or take a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool. Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy a workout in the hotel gymnasium, equipped with the latest gym equipment Shops, cinemas and banks are a short distance away. Overnight at THE SOUTHERN SUN OR TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HOTEL. (Meals Aloft)


Today you will fly to Maun, Botswana, where upon arrival you will board your light aircraft for your flight to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – one of the most remote and unspoiled experiences on the African continent. At over 20,000 square miles this reserve is one of the largest in the world. The abundance of herbivores and their prey is perfectly complemented with lush green landscapes, floral displays and beautiful skies. At this time of year these verdant flatlands are alive with aggregations of gemsbok, springbok and blue wildebeest. As a result of these populations on the fossil riverbeds, predator concentrations are also high and sightings of the almost mythical black-maned Kalahari lions are complemented with some of the best cheetah viewing in Africa. Wild dog and leopard are seen on occasion and black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox also occur. Other mammal possibilities include southern giraffe, steenbok, red hartebeest, and the charismatic ground squirrels. Your home for the next two nights will be in the rustic 12-tented camp situated in a remote part of this productive and diverse protected area. The camp is beautifully situated on a low sandy ridge fringing a typical Kalahari pan. Guided wildlife drives and walks will unlock the fascinating wildlife treasures found in this wonderful area. Overnights at the KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP. (All Meals Daily; C/P)


Board your light aircraft once again for your flight to one of the world’s most distinctive regions, the Okavango Delta – earth’s largest inland water systems. Its headwaters start in Angola’s western highlands, with numerous tributaries joining to form the Cubango River, which then flows through Namibia (called the Kavango) and finally enters Botswana, where it is then called the Okavango. Millions of years ago the Okavango River used to flow into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans). Tectonic activity and faulting interrupted the flow of the river causing it to backup and form what is now the Okavango delta. This has created a unique system of water ways that now supports a vast array of animal and plant life that would have otherwise been a dry Kalahari savannah. The Banoka Bush Camp is situated in the Khwai Community Concession in a private area in the north eastern parts of the beautiful Okavango Delta. Accommodation consists of ten tented units with en-suite facilities. The main camp area boasts a lounge as well as a dining area offering beautiful views. The camp is named in honor of the River San, or Banoka, ancestors of the Khoi and the earliest settlers of the Okavango Delta. The magnificent location of Banoka Bush Camp offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. The narrow Khwai Channel is home to large mammals such as hippo and crocodile with buffalo and red lechwe grazing along the fringe. Elusive roan antelope often come to the river to drink. Mopane woodland and permanent water attract large numbers of elephants to the area. Larger predators include lion, wild dog and spotted hyena and birdlife found here is just as varied thanks to the wide array of habitats. Some 450 bird species can be seen in the area. Overnights at BANOKA BUSH CAMP. (All Meals Daily)


This morning’s flight takes you to your home for the next two nights Xigera Camp (pronounced keejera), situated in the heart of the Okavango on Paradise Island, within the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp consists of ten luxuriously furnished walk-in tented rooms, each with en-suite facilities and outdoor showers. All rooms are raised off the ground and are built within a shady grove offering superb views of the floodplain to the east of camp and its attractive waterhole that is frequently visited by lechwe. Meals are taken in the dining room overlooking the main river, which along with the pub and lounge is under a thatch roof. You may also choose to take a beautifully prepared picnic onto one of the nearby islands for a more secluded and intimate experience. Activities focus mainly on mokoro (small, dugout canoes) rides through the quiet waterways, as well as short walking safaris. You may get lucky enough to get good views of the elusive sitatunga antelope along the way – with its webbed feet, the sitatunga seems to walk on water. Drives are also offered (if water levels are low enough) as well as boat trips on the river (if water levels are high enough). Game drives are best here in the summer months. Birding in the area is excellent, with Pels Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane amongst the many species of birds regularly sighted. One very unique feature that Xigera offers is the footbridge in front of the camp. It is the only way predators can cross from island to island without having to swim. A "long-jump pit" has been built with soft sand, which each animal is forced to walk over when they use the bridge. Every evening the sand is raked smooth. Each morning guests are able to read the "newspaper" and see what animals have walked through camp. Almost every night lion, hyena and leopard stroll through camp. Overnights at XIGERA CAMP. (All Meals Daily)


Enjoy a last wildlife run this morning and a hearty breakfast before flying back to Johannesburg via Maun where you connect with your South African Airways overnight flight to the U.S.A. (B, Meals Aloft)


This morning you land in the USA and connect with your flight home, bringing with you the memories of all the wonderful sights of Southern Africa. (Meals Aloft)



Your journey begins as you board your South African Airways overnight flight. (Meals Aloft)


Upon arrival at the Johannesburg International Airport you will connect with your flight to Cape Town, South Africa’s “Mother City”. Upon arrival, you will be met and escorted to your hotel. The provincial capital, Cape Town, is a sophisticated city with plenty to see and do, particularly around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront area, where delightful buildings of the Cape Dutch and Victorian-era architecture have been restored as shops, restaurants, museums and pubs, as the busy water traffic of the docks goes on unabated.

The Aquarium is within easy walking distance from your hotel, and well worth a visit. If interested in shopping, the area has a larger shopping plaza and numerous fine shops. Cape Town, which faces north across Table Bay, has thrived from its birth, first as a Dutch settlement in 1652 when Jan van Ribeeck established it as a supply station for ships of the Dutch East India Company, and later, under the British as a port supplying ships with food and fresh water from the perennial mountain streams.

Your home for the next four nights will be at Winchester Mansions, situated on Cape Town's Platinum mile and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This exclusive, privately-owned 4 star hotel sets itself apart among other hotels in and around Cape Town with its spectacular beachfront location, stylish elegance and personalized service. Each of the 51 guestrooms and 25 suites has been exquisitely furnished by one of Cape Town’s leading interior designers. All rooms and suites have stocked mini-bars, satellite television including international channels, direct dial telephones, tea & coffee making facilities, hairdryers, electronic safes and beautifully furnished bathrooms with separate walk in showers. All rooms have air conditioning. Each elegantly appointed room or suite has breathtaking views of either the Atlantic Ocean or historic Signal Hill. After your long flights, Winchester Mansions is a welcome retreat. Overnight at WINCHESTER MANSIONS. (B)


Your luxury motorcoach takes you on a breathtaking coastal drive to the Cape of Good Hope. You are surrounded by spectacular mountains, rugged shorelines, and the blue sea below. See Devil's Peak, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles. Pass quaint seaside towns as you continue to Cape Point where the stormy waters of the Atlantic meet up with the calm waters of the Indian Ocean. At Cape Point, climb the steps or ride a funicular to the top where you can explore a lighthouse, enjoy the views or even indulge in a bit of shopping.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and continue to Boulders Beach where the African (Jackass) Penguins can be seen – also known as the Black-footed Penguins. Return to Cape Town in the evening, where you have another chance to discover one of the numerous restaurants that Cape Town has to offer Overnight at WINCHESTER MANSIONS. (B,L)


Today you will venture off on a full day expedition to the wine lands region situated below the spectacular Boland Mountains only 50 minutes from the city. Discover the internationally acclaimed vineyards of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franshhoek on the Western Cape, along a most scenic route. You will visit the historic estate of Boschendal with some of the most brilliantly preserved Cape Dutch buildings in the Cape, and its collection of priceless period furniture. Overnight at WINCHESTER MANSIONS. (B,L)


Today you will visit the settlement of Khayelitsha, on the Cape Flats. Khayelitsha means "new hope" and was established in 1984 during the tribal war outbreak in informal settlements. Like many other townships, it was created during the apartheid era as a dormitory area for the working class. Today residents continue to face challenges of HIV/AIDS and poverty in post-apartheid South Africa.

Get a feel of what Cape Town is all about by taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, the signature of this city, easily one of the most recognizable mountains. This tour is very dependent on the wind factor, as well as the clouds.

Your day draws to a close as you visit one of the most symbolically significant and moving sights in South Africa, Robben Island. For nearly 400 years, Robben Island was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here that rulers sent those they regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. In 1997 Robben Island became a National Museum and National Monument. The Museum is a dynamic institution, which runs educational programs for schools, youths and adults, facilitates tourism development, conducts ongoing research related to the Island and fulfills an archiving function. It was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Tours are conducted by former prisoners of Robben Island, who bring to life this South African heritage, which speaks of heroic endurance and triumph of the human spirit in the face of enormous hardship and adversity.


The day is at your own leisure to relax or take advantage of the excellent shopping opportunities nearby. Later today, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Johannesburg to meet up with the group arriving from the USA this evening. (B)



Bid farewell to the rest of the group returning to the USA today and get set for a new adventure as you fly to Kasane where you will cross by ferry to Zambia and continue by vehicle to Livingstone, located on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. At more than twice the size of Niagara Falls it’s no surprise that Victoria Falls are among the Seven Wonders of the World. Mosi-oa-Tunya – The Smoke that Thunders, derived from the towering column of spray when the Zambezi River runs high, is the name that Zimbabwe's local people have given to this awesome natural phenomenon. The name is probably more appropriate and descriptive than "Victoria", which has a far too calm and composed ring to it to do justice to the masses of thundering, swirling water of these spectacular falls. But all Dr. David Livingstone probably thought of when he named the falls after his Queen in 1855 was his royal duty. Five separate falls make up this incredible spectacle that plunges more than 300 feet into a sheer-sided chasm which separates Zimbabwe from Zambia. The awe-inspiring abyss is spanned by a 1905 Edwardian bridge which links the two countries and many adventurers now use to bungee jump. The masses of water plunging down the falls and into the gorge below originate from the mighty Zambezi River that meanders through more than 1,677 miles of African countryside.

Your visit will include a tour of the falls on the Zambian side. An afternoon sundowner cruise on a private boat will be a highlight as you glide along the Zambezi River, watching hippos snort, elephants drink on the riverbank, monkeys jump from branch to branch, birds fly overhead or pose for a photograph on the branches, and much more. Enjoy your gin and tonic, cool beer, or drink of choice, and see a panoramic sunset as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the whole area in unbelievable colors of brilliant reds, yellows, purples and mauves.



Last chance to photograph the incredible Falls, visit the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park which also features rhino, or shop at Livingstone, before transferring to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg. Here, connect with your overnight flight back to New York on South African Airways. (B, Meals Aloft)


This morning you land in the USA and connect with your flight home, bringing with you the memories of all the wonderful sights of Southern Africa. (Meals Aloft)

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Cost and Program Inclusions

Cost: Per Person, Double Occupancy Main Program – Based On Pre Extension To Cape  Town
Winchester Mansions
Post Extension To Victoria Falls
Land Package & Airfare Between Botswana Camps $6,245 Per Person $2,770 Per Person $2,770 Per Person, Including Air Within Africa
Single Room Supplement** $1,995 Per Person Additional $795 Per Person Regardless Of Season, Additional, Per Person $495 Per Person Additional
Flight Between Johannesburg & Cape Town, Including Taxes N/A $400 Per Person Additional N/A
  • If purchasing own air, internal air within Africa must be purchased from Classic Escapes – approximately $700 per person
  • International Air, including departure taxes, as of today from roundtrip airfare from Dulles to Johannesburg is approximately $1,300
  • All flights between the Botswana camps. On the optional post extension, the flight between Botswana camp and Victoria Falls, as well as between Livingstone and Johannesburg.
  • Superior accommodations throughout as indicated or similar.
  • All meals while on safari. Other meals as specified in itinerary.
  • All wildlife viewing by private 4X4 open vehicles, driven by professional driver/guides.
  • Enrichment lecturer will accompany the group with a minimum of 15 passengers on the main program and 10 passengers on either extension.
  • Laundry and all local beverages during safari in Botswana except for Champagne and imported spirits.
  • Complimentary bottled water in vehicles throughout.
  • All applicable hotel and lodge taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
  • All park entry fees and sightseeing as specified.
  • Baggage tags and passport wallet.
  • Roundtrip air transportation from Philadelphia to Johannesburg. (Quoted separately).
  • Flight between Johannesburg and Maun round trip. (Quoted separately).
  • Flight between Johannesburg and Cape Town round trip. (Quoted separately).
  • U.S. and foreign airport taxes.
  • Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas. No visas are required for South Africa or Botswana.
  • Excess baggage charges levied by airlines.
  • Gratuities to driver/guides, specialist-guide and other conveyance attendants.
  • Meals and beverages, other than specified.
  • Laundry, other than specified and other items of a personal nature.
  • Personal and baggage insurance.
  • Cost for anything not specifically mentioned in the listing above.
  • Optional insurance coverage is available for Baggage, Accident and Trip Cancellation/Interruption at special low cost group rates.

Please Note That The Itinerary Sequence Is Correct At The Time Of Writing, But Is Subject To Change.


In keeping with our mission to provide exciting, educational, and fun-filled experiences that nurture and directly support the diverse wildlife and cultures we visit around the world, Classic Escapes has established the Classic Escapes Conservation Fund to ensure that a percentage of all profits go to support conservation and wildlife researchers performing their critical work in the field. Project support has included environmental education efforts in India and Bhutan, wild dog and cheetah conservation in Botswana, Kenya and Namibia, and global Earth Day education via school internet programs. By traveling with Classic Escapes, you are supporting travel as a tool for building the mutual respect, awareness and understanding that are vital to preserving this planet for future generations.


Southern Africa

  • Participants must be able to climb in and out of safari 4x4 vehicles or small aircraft and boats/mokoros unassisted. They should also be able to tolerate riding on uneven, bumpy dirt roads for long periods of time, as well as some off-road experiences when opportunities allow.
  • Participants should also be able to stand and / or walk moderate distances at an easy pace for up to a few hours at a time when visiting villages, towns or other sites. Some, if not most, of this walking may be on uneven ground or uphill, often at higher elevations and altitudes that many people are not used to.


    • True adventure in travel can sometimes be accompanied by unexpected changes in conditions, itineraries and occasionally your accommodations. Participants should travel with a spirit of adventure and flexibility. Remember to pack your patience and sense of humor! Be willing to look past self-imposed ideals of Western amenities and do not compare these new experiences with your life back home.
    • Travel often includes visiting destinations with modest infrastructures and a bending definition of comfort. That being said, some locations are nestled in absolute luxury where pampering is the norm.
    • Participants should generally be in good health and prepared to travel in locations without medical facilities.

      Air Schedules

      Choosing the best possible air arrangements for our travelers is always a challenge. We work with many airlines that offer the best level of service, routings and value for our programs. While there may indeed be more direct routings available with another airline, the cost of these flights may not be within the budget that allows us to give you the best value possible. If you prefer to purchase your own international air, please feel free to choose the “land only” rate for this program. The start city and end city is Johannesburg.

      Upon registration, you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with reissuing the ticket.

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      Faculty Study Leader


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      Kalahari Plains Camp

      Kalahari Plains Camp, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, offers one of the most remote experiences in Africa today. This camp is beautifully placed within the Kalahari Desert biome, a place famed for its outstanding wildlife with vast herds of antelope followed by abundant predators - including the legendary black-maned Kalahari lions.

      Kalahari Plains Camp is situated in a remote part of the diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and offers some of the best summer wildlife viewing opportunities in Africa. Located in the Kalahari Desert biome in the central part of Botswana, at 5 million hectares this reserve is the largest conservation area in the country and one of the largest in the world. The CKGR is home to the legendary Kalahari black-maned lion as well as some of the world's best cheetah viewing.

      Kalahari Plains Camp is perfectly situated overlooking an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful skies. It comprises 10 en-suite canvas units with a sleep-out above each from which to enjoy moonlit or star-studded nights. The main area consists of a lounge and dining area with an inviting swimming pool and deck area. The tents and main area are all raised off the ground to catch the breeze and take in the sweeping, spacious views across the Kalahari. Solar power provides all the electricity and hot water in the camp - making Kalahari Plains a 100% solar-powered camp - and innovative insulated canvas walls and roof keep the temperatures inside the units comfortable.

      Banko Bush Camp

      Banoka Bush Camp lies along the Khwai River, in the north of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where a multiplicity of habitats - from forest to riverine - is home to a plethora of wildlife.

      Banoka Bush Camp is named in honour of the River San, or Banoka, ancestors of the Khoi and the earliest settlers of the Okavango Delta. It is situated in the Khwai Development Trust Community Concession, on the banks of the Khwai River in the north-eastern corner of the Okavango Delta adjoining the Moremi Game Reserve. The Khwai River is the northernmost 'finger' of the Delta's alluvial fan. Here you can discover one of the most diverse areas in northern Botswana, with a wealth of wildlife to be seen on drives, walks and traditional mokoro rides (water level dependent).

      Xigera Camp

      Nestled in a magnificent riverine forest, Xigera Camp epitomises the region: a tranquil true Okavango Delta experience. Xigera Camp feels like a place apart, a blue-green bubble in which birds sing and baboons bark, people laugh and glide by on mokoro. Each tent looks out over water that idles dreamily past, undisturbed by the urban cacophony of modern living.

      Xigera Camp is a delight for birdwatchers, with Pel's Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane and a host of raptors, other waterbirds and colourful kingfishers to be seen. An abundance of wildlife includes red lechwe, lion, and spotted hyaena.

      Xigera Camp (pronounced Keejera) is located on a riverine island right in the heart of the Okavango Delta. This part of the Moremi Game Reserve is a true wetland paradise, with Xigera Camp surrounded by deep channels and lush vegetation.

      Xigera Camp consists of ten luxuriously furnished tented rooms - each with en-suite facilities and an outdoor shower. Raised on wooden platforms and walkways, each tent offers superb views of the seasonal Okavango Delta floodplains and the lagoon. The feeling of living in the midst of a riverine forest is one of the features of Xigera Camp.

      Meals and evening drinks are enjoyed in the lounge, pub and dining area overlooking a permanently flowing channel or under the stars in a traditional African boma. For those hot days there is a small plunge pool in which to cool off.

      Guests are sometimes treated to close-up views of lion or leopard using the footbridge connecting Xigera Camp's island to the next! The camp "newspaper" (a sand pit built into the bridge to capture paw prints) is "read" each morning and provides information on unseen nightly visitors to camp.

      Permanent water year-round allows an unparalleled variety of activities such as mokoro trips, game drives and motorboat outings. Xigera Camp is the only camp in the area - ensuring total privacy.

      A mokoro ride is mandatory at Xigera Camp. On this traditional dug-out canoe, the only sounds are the rustling of the wind through the reeds, the lapping of the water against the boat, and the call of the African Fish-Eagle. The blue of the sky is mirrored in the water, broken only by large round water lily leaves and their stunning purple and white flowers.

      When water levels permit, game drives are an attraction. During drier years, drives are available throughout the year, but if there has been a very high flood, drives take place only from late September to April.

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