Wild Horizons Elephant Encounter – Walk With Giants.
The human spirit craves places that have not been re-arranged by the hand of man. When you explore these places alongside an elephant, you will realize that every natural beauty you can imagine already exists. The Elephant Encounter is more than an interaction; it is a complete submission to the wilderness. The experience will take you into an African paradise. In this space, society is made up of wildlife, tress are homes, dust is decoration and the every path is the one less travelled by.
Your journey begins in an open design thatch Boma that overlooks the tranquil Masuwe River. The Boma blends in seamlessly with the environment and against the backdrop of a blue sky, guests will learn about the conception and philosophies of the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage. The caretakers, who have journeyed physically and metaphorically with the elephant, will share the stories of the herd, and address the threats facing elephant populations in an interesting and informative presentation. The sanctuary’s roots are buried in the principle of conservation- the guides will tell you and the earth will show you the splendor that we strive to protect.
However, your greatest teachers on the day will be the elephant themselves. Every acre of the sanctuary feels their commanding presence. Uninhibited but their size, they roam the landscape more comfortably than our angular human bodies do, never glancing down but always knowing where to place their next step. Elephants are the only animals who manage to splash and play in the water, without diluting the wisdom in their eyes as they do. They shower themselves in dust and water, wearing each element with grace. Their flapping ears direct the wind, their long trunks disrobe the branches, and their powerful legs disrupt the dust, every casual movement make mesmerizing to those who witness it.
When guests have filled their cameras with pictures and their minds with memories, they will make their way back to the Boma for a selection of hot and cold canapés and sundowners (including local beers, wines, soft drinks, water, coffee & tea). Grateful for the experience but sad that it has ended; guests will then be transferred back to their respective hotels.
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A Day Trip to Chobe
Chobe National Park is renowned for its large herds of elephant that frequent the Chobe River on a daily basis. In the dry season an estimated 85,000 elephants make Chobe National Park their home, mainly in close proximity to the river. However, Chobe is also home to a plethora of other African wildlife. Game drives offer regular sightings of lion, leopard, buffalo and a whole host of antelope including sable, puku, kudu, eland and roan.
The river offers up its own incredible sightings of huge pods of hippo grazing on the swampy islands interspersed with some of the largest crocodiles in Africa basking themselves on the extensive flood plain and open sand banks. Chobe National Park is also an ornithologist’s paradise – the banks of the river are lined with the nests and holes of some of the most colourful and spectacular birds in Africa and a myriad of birds of prey call Chobe their home.
This tour departs daily to the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Clients will be transferred by bus to the Kazungula border post. They will be assisted through customs formalities by the Wild Horizons driver before being handed over to their Botswana guide. Once they have been assisted through the Botswana border formalities, Chobe Marina Lodge is the next stop for a quick bathroom break and signing of indemnity forms. Guests will proceed straight to the morning cruise where they will spend the morning game viewing along the Chobe River. All the boats offer protection from the sun. The cruise will end at around 12h30 and clients will go back to the lodge for an extensive buffet lunch. The lodge is situated on the river banks overlooking the Chobe River and the Namibian shoreline. After lunch, guests will board safari vehicles for an afternoon game drive into Chobe National Park. After the drive guests will be taken back to the Kazungula Border where they will be met by their Zimbabwean guide for their return transfer to Victoria Falls.
When considering attractions in Victoria Falls, keep in mind the magnificent Chobe National Park is very easily accessible and makes for a fabulous fun filled day!
• 07:00 to 07:30 – Guests will be picked up from their hotel, in a closed bus, and proceed on a 70km journey on a tar road through Zambezi National park and designated safari areas to the Kazungula border.
• 08:30 – Arrival at the Kazungula Border, where guests will exit Zimbabwe/Zambia and enter Botswana. At the border guests will change vehicles and are met by their Botswana guide.
• 08:45 – Once guests have gone through Botswana immigration, they will take a short drive to Chobe Marina Lodge.
• 09:00 to 09:15 – Arrival at the lodge, where guests will have a short bathroom break, and will also be required to fill out the Park Entry form.
• 09:30 – Depart on guests’ first activity; EITHER game drive or boat cruise. If guests would like to go on a specific activity first, then they should please specify. Soft drinks, local beer and bottled water are provided on all safaris and river cruises.
• 12:30 – Return to the hotel for lunch. This will be served a buffet style lunch, with a selection of traditional and modern day meals to choose from.
• 13:30 – Depart for guests’ second activity. This will be either a game drive or a boat cruise, depending on what activity the guests did in the morning.
• 16:00 – Return from the Park and head back to the Kazungula Border to proceed with border formalities.
• 16:30 – Guests will meet their Wild Horizons bus and are transported back to their hotel.
• 17:30 – Arrive at guests’ hotel.
Duration: 11 hours
Departures: between 07h10 and 07h30
Maximum: 9 per vehicle
Age Restrictions: Children 2-11 years are half price, over 12 pay full price.
Botswana requires an unabridged birth certificate for all minors travelling to Botswana (this has been in effect since October 2016).
The following documents are required when travelling to Botswana with minors (18 years and below):
- Valid Passport
- Valid VISA, if required
- Unabridged Birth Certificate (Birth Certificate containing the particulars of a minor and those of the parents)
- A letter of consent from the other parent should the minor be travelling with one parent
*Please note that a normal birth certificate will not be accepted.
Minimum age: We accept children younger than 2 years but on a private trip basis.
Maximum age: N.A
Language: English (French, German, Italian & Spanish available on private tours, at supplement cost – subject to availability)
Transfers: Included from hotels in Victoria Falls Town
Please note: the order of the activities are subject to change without prior notice.
I recently had the opportunity to partake in a Wild Horizons’ Sunset cruise. The cruises depart daily from a jetty on the banks of the wide and calm upper Zambezi above the Victoria Falls. The river here is so broad it splits onto three channels and it’s calm belies the thundering spectacle mere kilometres downstream. At this time of year the spray from the falls is a mere smudge on the horizon and the roar of the falls registers as a background vibration from a distance. The scene couldn’t be calmer. Pods of hippos, graceful dragonflies, cormorants, darters, splashing kingfishers, and gliding crocodiles grace the calm waters. As we take off from the jetty engines purring there’s nothing to do but relax and take in the beauty that surrounds- an experience better conveyed through images from the day, enjoy!
I first met Abraham Mhlanga, affectionately known as ‘AB’ to those close to him when he guided me at Imbabala Zambezi Lodge. From the moment we left the lodge with him he bought to life the wilderness around us. Although he first appears quiet Abraham is a small package that keeps surprising. Most apparent is his very keen eye. As he steered a pontoon boat along the glassy Zambezi river he would call out creatures on the side far before any of the rest of us could see them, and then steer us closer for a look.
And whilst on game-drives Abraham ensured we were always interested even if we weren’t seeing big game. An excellent tracker Abraham showed me how you could tell an elephants speed through the distance between it’s front and back spoor, (this distance grows closer as an elephant picks up speed and the back foot may even overlap the front track if it’s running) and led us on a fascinating follow of a group of lions. Although we never saw the lions the thrill of the chase had us all as excited as if we had.
I asked Abraham a few questions about his life and career as a guide. He was born in 1971, in Hwange town outside the largest National Park in Zimbabwe. His love of nature and great tracking skills were first born here.
…spent most of my life in this beautiful area with amazing ecotone on the edge of the seasonal Matetsi River. While herding cattle we fished, swam, and camped out- although sometimes we could do a lot of tracking of our lost cattle!
After many years of hard work studying and gaining experience Abraham had passed his Learner Guides License; Spent years doing voluntary work in wildlife conservation with several companies; ran mobile safaris for 5 years; learnt to cook at Bulawayo Polytechnic college and worked as an assistant mechanic. I think it’s fair to say that Abraham is now a very handy man in the bush!
In 2006 he started full time guiding at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge and hasn’t looked back since. It is a sign of his commitment to his passion that when I ask him if he has had any funny questions from guests he replies seriously ‘There are no silly questions to a guide.’
I always enjoy showing and teaching people about nature…To young people considering guiding as a career… this is a very rewarding career, you need passion about wildlife and the environment in general. Be prepared to work in the bush for a long stretch of time and in all weather conditions. To guests it is best to come with open minds and be appreciative of all the Flora and Fauna of Africa.
Have you been guided by Abraham? You can leave your experiences in the comments. To be guided by Abraham Mhlanga make a booking at Imbabala Zambezi Safari Lodge or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently had the pleasure of checking out the Siduli Hide with Proffessional Guide Charles Brightman. Situated on the edge of the waterhole at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, the Siduli Hide offers guests a chance observe wildlife in a unique, and very close-up way. A Professional Guide escorts guests into the hide, which is designed to look like a termite mound. This involves a short walk (5 minutes) from the lodge to the hide. Once hidden within, guests wait for a variety of mammal, reptile and bird species to visit the waterhole to quench their thirsts or to sample minerals at the nearby salt-lick.
It is truly an exhilarating way to see the array of wildlife getting on with their waterside antics – absolutely fascinating to observe! There are around 5 small crocodiles that are currently resident to the waterhole, and it is so interesting watching the water birds such as the Yellow Billed Stalk, and the Great Egret skirting around the waterthole, catching fish, whilst actually working hand in hand with the crocs! We also observed impala, elephant, warthog and baboons. Sitting in the hide truly does provide for excellent photographic opportunities, as the animals come very close up, completely un-aware that there are humans clicking away at their cameras inside the “termite mound”.
The hide ‘sits’ take place at early morning, and late afternoon. Times will vary slightly with the seasons. Sits are usually around 2 hours, but may vary according the presence of wildlife, as of course you cannot just up and leave after 2 hours whilst surrounded by a herd of buffalo or elephant! The activity requires a minimum of 2 guests, and currently can take a maximum of 4 guests. Siduli Hide will undergo alterations next year to accommodate a max of 6 guests. No children under 16 years are allowed (unless special permission is granted).
In the morning, clients will be offered tea/coffee at Vic Falls Safari Lodge, before going into the hide. The afternoon/evening sits include soft drinks, mineral water and a limited amount of beer (people need to be in a sober state due to close wildlife interactions).
Guests should know however that this is an authentic wild experience, and so they cannot guarantee wildlife sightings. Saying this, the drier it gets, the more chance there is of having some very good close up encounters!
This is a must-do activity for any brid/wildlife enthusiast and offers something so much more than the traditional game drive experience from the back of a safari vehicle.