Travelling with Oryx is the most immersive wildlife experience you can have. Merely game spotting – and snapping on the camera – is not what we’re about at Oryx. Yes, we love to see the wildlife close up (safely and without disturbing it), but we also want to understand the bigger and more important picture of conservation.
Through our special partnerships with Tusk Trust and Wildlife Conservation Society, we get you highly privileged access to the very top people and places. We’ll get you behind the scenes of the cutting edge science and to areas otherwise out of bounds.
We suggest our trip for you to Botswana goes through Maun (the gateway to the Okavango Delta, which from UK is an 11-hour international flight to Johannesburg, followed by a 2-hour international flight) and with a short 30-minute flight we reach the HQ of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT), one of the longest running conservation research projects in Africa. The goal of BPCT is to preserve Africa’s large predators – African wild dog, cheetah, leopard, lion and spotted hyena – and their habitats, using scientific enquiry to better understand the behaviours and communication systems of these animals.
We’ll be greeted at their HQ (known as ‘Dog Camp’!) by Dr J. Weldon “Tico” McNutt, who for more than a decade has been driving the work of BPCT, creating several successful projects under BPCT’s umbrella, all of which are tailored to provide workable solutions to the various challenges.
BPCT’S remote research camp (known locally as ‘Dog Camp’) is less than 5-star, but it was the company and the great knowledge of Tico and his team that brought their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Harry out in 2010. They survived a frosty African winter night and an open air dinner under the stars warmed by a large campfire to learn about preserving Botswana’s predators. From Dog Camp, we can take a 10 minute flight into Chitabe Camp, which is located in a private concession in the south east of the Okavango Delta. Much data for BPCT is collected within the Chitabe concession.
We’ll should get close to leopard, wild dog and lion which are often seen near Chitabe Camp due to the high numbers of impala in the vicinity. We’ll also learn about the complex needs of the herds of buffalo and elephant. By night we should see civet, serval, genet, porcupine and aardwolf.
MAUN SPORTS CENTRE
Depending on your own familiarity with the Okavango Delta, we might head north to Chobe, or move back to Maun, where we will be treated to an exhibition of BPCT’s ‘Coaching for Conservation’ (C4C) programme. This will reveal the inspiring ways BPCT is using to encourage the children of the region to care about their futures and their environment. Prince William entertained them on his trip. They will appreciate a visit from you, too.
BPCT LABORATORY FOR WILDLIFE CHEMISTRY
BPCT have a laboratory in Maun which is the headquarters for the Bioboundary Research Project. This ongoing applied science approach to conservation is developing innovative and game-changing ways of chemically managing iconic and threatened wildlife species. In essence, a synthetic chemically formulated mixture could communicate a specific territory boundary. You will discover how the project and its findings are having far-reaching implications for the conservation of wild dog, rhino, elephant, and lion. It is truly remarkable work.
The Mokolodi Wildlife Reserve is 15 km south of the capital of Botswana, Gabarone. The Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation was formed by General Sir Ian Khama (now President of Botswana), himself a dedicated conservationist. The aim is to promote a love of nature in Botswana’s youth through environmental education. The Foundation created an educational nature reserve near Gabarone, where tourism would subsidise nature study for young people on a sustainable basis, and provide a living example of how wild animals and birds could pay their way in modern Botswana.
Botswana’s first full wildlife clinic and orphanage is the country’s only formally recognised wildlife rehabilitation centre and orphanage. The Education Centre hosts over 12,000 Botswanan children every year from primary and secondary schools, where they learn to love and appreciate their environment in the ‘outdoor classroom’ of the Park. Young environmental educators are empowered here and students at the teacher training colleges visit Mokolodi for short courses. Environmental studies is now a prescribed component of the national curriculum.
From Botswana you might also wish to visit Tusk projects in Zambia’s Lower Zambesi National Park, visit the Kruger and the work of the South African Wildlife College, the Lewa Conservancy in Kenya or Dr Amy Dickman’s incredible project on the edge of the Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania.
Don’t forget, we give 10% of all sales to Tusk Trust, so your visit really does leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy the wildlife.