Day 1 – Saturday
Arrive at Johannesburg International Airport (OR Tambo) – flights for your own arrangement.
On arrival transfer from Johannesburg International Airport to your nearby hotel, via the free shuttle service provided by the hotel.
Your accommodation for the night is on a bed & breakfast basis and check in is from 2.00 pm.
Enjoy dinner at your hotel complex – for your own expense.
Enjoy a private afternoon tour of the facility, with the likely opportunity to have your photo taken with one of the centre’s “Cheetah Ambassadors”.
Day 3 - Monday
Early breakfast at the lodge.
After breakfast we transfer to the centre where the morning will be spent observing, and where possible, assisting with the management tasks at the centre. Staff will take guests behind the scenes for a look at how things are run.
Return to the nearby lodge for lunch.
After lunch we transfer to the Elephant Sanctuary - approximately 30 minutes by road - where we will participate in an afternoon tour of the facility and meet the individual elephants in a hands-on experience.
Enjoy packed lunch en route.
Check in mid afternoon and enjoy a short game drive (time and mood dependent after the day’s drive) and sundowners before returning to camp for an evening at leisure with dinner and overnight at our lodge.
Day 5 - Wednesday
Early morning light breakfast/tVLNR is 34 000 hectaea/coffee followed by a transfer into the neighbouring nature reserve (VLNR) which we’ll be working in.
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 such as the African Wild Dog, elephant and lion. The Reserve’s best-known programme is the African Wild Dog programme, which has already been running for years and is set to continue. The project focuses on the resident wild dogs and their role in sustainable Eco-Tourism. An integrated predator research project is also underway in the reserve and surrounding area, under the auspices of the Endangered Wildlife Trust and any veterinary work we do while here assists this project. Participation also ensures additional donations to this project.
We will join researchers this morning and learn more about their work and the skills of tracking wildlife using telemetry, as well as the conservation issues surrounding endangered species, and the veterinary aspects and involvement of veterinarians. If there is any veterinary work that needs doing with the dogs, or other species, we may do this at the same time.
Return to the lodge later in the morning for brunch (and some leisure time).
After brunch there will be some informative talks on issues relating to lion/predator immobilisation and conservation/management and the actual procedure, equipment, drugs, etc. This will also cover safety aspects and guests involvement in the procedure.
Mid to late afternoon we return to the reserve for the immobilisation procedure on one of the predators (lion or cheetah or hyena or African Wild Dog) requiring management procedures such as contraception or 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 predator!
Enjoy dinner and a good night’s sleep, if you can….
Please note: If we are working with a diurnal species then the afternoon programme today will be slightly different and we will try dart tomorrow morning instead.
Day 6 - Thursday
Early morning light breakfast/tea/coffee followed by a game drive on one of the two local nature reserves, depending on how the game viewing and tracking progressed the day before.
Return to the lodge late morning for brunch and some leisure time.
After brunch we’ll explain how the dart gun system works and guests will be allowed to load tranquiliser darts with water and fire them at a target!
Mid to late afternoon we head out again, this time to enjoy a game drive in a different area and sundowners in one of the most magnificent spots in Africa! If we have not been successful with our planned immobilisation the night before, we will again attempt an immobilisation tonight.
Return to the lodge for dinner and to overnight.
Day 7 - Friday
After late breakfast we check out and head across the border into Botswana at 1.00pm. If the river is in flood we may have to cross the river by cable car…. Another adventure…
We drive through the reserve for approximately 45 minutes to get to our camp and check into our new camp mid afternoon and enjoy some leisure time before high tea.
Late afternoon we head out on game drive into this new environment with our local ranger and your Brothers Safaris vet to explore, and in search of more wildlife…….and new species not yet seen….
We enjoy sundowners in the bush before returning to camp for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Day 8 - Saturday
Early morning tea and coffee is followed by a game drive, this time with a local resident researcher, the focus is elephant…… Learn more about this species in the wild, in particular in this unique environment. Of course there will be other species to view along the way too…
Return to the lodge late morning for breakfast and leisure time to relax and enjoy your surroundings and facilities.
Enjoy a late afternoon game drive with another of the resident researchers, this time we focus on the elusive but exquisite leopard, but also taking in the other game 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 9 - Sunday
Early morning tea and coffee are followed by a bush walk, who knows what you may come across…..
(Any guests who do not wish to participate in the walk, or are unable to, will be taken on a game drive with other lodge guests during this time, subject to availability)
Return to the lodge mid morning for breakfast and leisure time.
After high tea we head out again on a game drive in search of any species still not seen….
Return to camp after sundowners for dinner and to overnight.
Day 10 - Monday
Early morning tea and coffee is followed by a short game drive, or for those who have had enough activities, sleep in and wake to the sounds of Africa……….
We have breakfast earlier than usual to ensure a timely check out and crossing of the border post, without rushing.
Late morning departure back to Johannesburg International Airport to arrive in time for connecting flights back home. Lunch en route for own expense.
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