If you've been waiting to book a mind-blowing, post-vaccine trip, add this one to your wish list: A new itinerary from the pioneering company Wilderness Safaris that aims to support elephant research in Botswana while putting travelers up close with the remarkable animals and the scientists studying them.
The six-night trip will visit three of the top safari camps in Botswana while letting guests interact with elephant researchers, in addition to going on more traditional game drives and other bush experiences.
"[Travelers] will be able to spend time with the elephant researcher at DumaTau, as well as take a helicopter ride to visit the Eco-Exist research base, learn more about human-wildlife conflict and the work being done to address it, meet the local Kgosi (chief), and help to install a water hand-pump in the community," the itinerary summary reads.
The whole of the $25,000-per-person trip cost will support the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, a non-profit that works on conservation and anti-poaching projects across Africa.
"Guests will also have the opportunity to assist with research and tracking of the newly collared elephants," Kim Nixon, the head of Wilderness Safaris operations in Botswana, said in a statement.
The trip comes at a time when COVID-19 has severely impacted the African safari business. And while the country of Botswana has suffered pandemic illnesses and deaths, the destination has had relatively few cases of the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
The Wilderness itinerary takes all the usual precautions that pandemic-era travelers have come to expect as well as limiting the number of people on a given expedition: This particular trip tops out at just four people.
Not that the trip is all about conservation. Along the way, travelers will stay at luxury safari camps, including Vumbura Plains, in the Okavango Delta. Wilderness will also include stays at DumaTau or Little DumaTau, two camps in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The original DumaTau is presently undergoing a rebuild, while the "little" sister is slated to open this year.
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