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THE BEST OF AFRICA & the great rift valley

A Journey by Private Air
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expedition information

AUGUST 28-SEPTEMBER 11, 2019
21 GUESTS
$44,850 // DOUBLE OCCUPANCY
$2,800 // SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

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HIGHLIGHTS:
  • ♦ A unique 15-day wildlife adventure made possible by a private aircraft chartered for the group
  • ♦ The ultimate African safari allows you to gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park and enjoy classic game viewing in the Okavango Delta in a single trip
  • ♦ Go beyond the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino) and spot the Big Seven, including endangered mountain gorillas and rare African wild dogs
  • ♦ Travel with expedition host and noted gorilla expert Tara Stoinski, the president, CEO, and Chief Scientific Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund who will provide a rich educational context
  • ♦ Witness one of the natural wonders of the world: the great wildebeest and zebra migration in the Masai Mara
  • ♦ Stay at some of Africa's finest safari camps and lodges, like Vumbura Plains in the Okavango Delta, plus an option to upgrade to the new and exclusive Bisate Lodge with only six forest villas set in a stunning natural amphitheater
  • ♦ When you book this safari, Bushtracks will pay for a year of secondary education for a student at a school in Zambia or Rwanda
  • Enjoy concierge service from start to finish: from our dedicated U.S.-based team of reservation experts, and an Africa-based expedition manager who will handle all the details on your journey

Expedition LEADERS

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TARA STOINSKI | EXPEDITION HOST

Tara Stoinski, PhD, serves as president, CEO, and chief scientific officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Prior to taking on the CEO role in 2014, she worked with the Fossey Fund for 13 years in a scientific capacity. Tara has studied gorillas for more than two decades and is the author of over 90 scientific publications and books. Her work has been featured in numerous press outlets, including National Geographic Magazine, CNN, and NPR. She holds degrees from Tufts University, University of Oxford and the Georgia Institute of Technology and is an adjunct professor at Emory University and Georgia Tech. Dr. Stoinski also serves in a number of leadership positions within the conservation and primate communities, including as an executive committee member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Section on Great Apes.

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VIVIENNE GUNNING | EXPEDITION MANAGER

Vivienne joined the Bushtracks team in 1995 and has played an integral role in the private air aspect of its Africa programs. She has traveled extensively throughout Africa including 29 different countries. She is a resident of Pretoria and is passionate about art and gourmet food and wine.

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itinerary

Using a privately chartered aircraft, this 15-day adventure links far-flung and remote wildlife destinations spread across east and southern Africa in a single, comfortable journey that follows the path of the Great Rift Valley. Your expert host and excellent naturalist guides will inform your travels, and as you fly together, you'll enjoy a unique aerial perspective of the diverse habitats that in total constitute the Great Rift Valley: where a giant river creates smoke that thunders, sharp escarpments fall away to migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra, and verdant volcanoes and lakes stretch out for miles.
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August 28, 2019
Johannesburg, South Africa

Upon arrival in Johannesburg, you'll be met and transferred to a boutique hotel situated in the suburb of Sandton. Located just 25 minutes from downtown Johannesburg, this hidden urban sanctuary offers elegantly furnished interior spaces for relaxing and lush acres of landscaped gardens for strolling after your international flights. Particularly weary travelers may wish to indulge in the comforts of the Balinese-style space hidden amidst a bamboo forest garden. In the evening meet your fellow travelers and your expedition leader at a welcome cocktail reception and dinner in the hotel's stylish Manor House Bistro where you'll hear more about the adventures ahead. Fairlawns Boutique Hotel 
1 night                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

August 29 - 31, 2019
Okavango Delta, Botswana

After arriving in Maun, take a short bush flight to your camp on a private concession in the north of the Okavango Delta. That afternoon you'll take your first game drive in an open four-by-four vehicle in this enormous private reserve with a diverse habitat mix that hosts nearly every species found in the Delta. On guided day and night drives, and boating excursions, expert naturalist guides will get you up close to the reserve's many wild inhabitants including: elephants, waterbucks and reedbucks, tsessebes, wildebeest, red lechwes, Cape buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, and predators like the African wild dog, several resident prides of lion, leopards, cheetahs and African wildcats. In camp enjoy magnificent vistas across the floodplain, watch a passing parade of wildlife just outside your room, or stretch out on a stargazing deck and enjoy the African night sky. Vumbura Plains Camp 3 nights                                                                                           

September 1 - 2, 2019
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Following your arrival in Victoria Falls you'll enjoy a guided walking tour of the massive falls. The falls are often listed among 'The Seven Natural Wonders of the World' and the Zimbabwe side boasts some of the most spectacular views. Your guide will explain how the Falls were formed and what local customs and traditions surround them, before returning you to your hotel where you can enjoy a view of the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge from your hotel veranda with a cool drink in hand. The following morning, start your day with a nearby village visit as the guests of one of Zimbabwe's most distinguished herbal doctors, and then enjoy a few hours at leisure. Join the group for cocktails on a Zambezi River cruise at sunset followed by dinner at the hotel. The Victoria Falls Hotel 2 nights

September 3 - 4, 2019
South Luangwa, Zambia

A morning's flight on your private plane will bring you to Mfuwe, Zambia and to your camp in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park in time for an afternoon game drive. The Luangwa River is southern Africa's largest unaltered river system, attracting more than 60 species of mammals to a pristine landscape of lagoons, ox-bow lakes, reedy backwaters and wide flood plains. The river and its surrounding hardwood forest with African ebony, mopane, marula, leadwood, and baobab trees, are one of the best birding localities in Africa, with 400 avian species recorded. Spend the afternoon and following day exploring the park on expert-guided day and night game drives and guided walks. Tena Tena Camp or Nsefu Camp 2 nights                                                                                                                                       

September 5 - 7, 2019
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

After a flight to Kigali enjoy a scenic drive to one of two lodges dramatically set in the lush foothills of the Virunga Mountains: a chain of 15,000-foot volcanoes bordering the western branch of the East African Rift. This remote forested region is home to half of the world's endangered mountain gorillas, and the morning after your arrival you'll hike with expert gorilla guides to spend a magical hour observing one of the habituated groups. Later, relax and enjoy stunning volcanic views from the lodge, visit a nearby village where eco-tourism has created alternatives to poaching, or learn about critical reforestation efforts. Your gorillas encounter will be enriched by an evening discussion with gorillas expert Tara Stoinski, the president, CEO and Chief Scientist of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge or Bisate Lodge (with an upgrade fee) 2 nights. The next morning, you'll be driven to Kigali for a visit to the profoundly moving Genocide Memorial and an overnight stay in Kigali. Kigali Serena Hotel 1 night                                                                                                     

September 8 - 11, 2019
Masai Mara, Kenya

Arrive in the great plains of the Masai Mara in time to take your first game drive, returning for cocktails hosted by a Maasai guide who will describe the traditional practices of the Maasai people, and their enduring relationship with the land and its wild inhabitants. For the following two days, relax into a schedule of morning and afternoon game drives in an area unrivalled for its constant flow of wildlife. Your visit is timed to experience the astonishing migration of 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra which surge up from the Serengeti Plains in their annual search for the seasonal grasses that sustain them. You may also choose to view the landscape from aloft, in an optional hot air balloon ride, or stretch your legs with an optional Maasai-guided walking safari for an uniquely insightful and close look at this complex ecosystem. The morning after your farewell dinner, a short bush flight will connect you to Nairobi, where hotel dayrooms will be available prior to your evening international flights. Little Governors' Camp 3 nights

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A ONE-FOR ONE COMMITMENT TO AFRICAN EDUCATION

HELP AN AFRICAN SCHOOLCHILD BUILD A "BIG LIFE"
Bushtracks is proud to partner with PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), a U.K.-based non-profit organization which has spent a decade creating a network of 31 schools educating over 15,000 children in Uganda and Zambia. When you travel on a Bushtracks safari, Bushtracks pays for a year of secondary education for a student at a PEAS school in Uganda or Zambia, which also includes a nutritious meal during the school day, something that is often missing in these children's lives.

In Our Travelers' Words

"I believe [our host] Jared Diamond got it completely right when he called the expedition 'The Trip of a Lifetime.' On several occasions in my lifetime I have been extremely fortunate to have been at the right place at the right time when everything comes together near perfectly and which I call 'A Happening.' This expedition was A Happening.”

Dr. Byron Riegel, 2016

"I've been on safari many times, but never on one so unique. We felt like we were seeing Africa, without tourists, as it was 100 years ago.”

Cecilia De Mille Presley, 2015

"The group was amazing - very supportive, interesting, all wanting and loving adventure! In other words Bushtracks attracts like-minded people who enjoy spending time with each other! We signed on as practically everything was on our bucket list and we had only been to the Masai Mara. We are not disappointed at all.”

Jo Brandt, 2016