Elephant Workshops

The protected wilderness of the Lower Zambezi Valley in Zambia is home to over 2,200 African Elephants, one of the most intriguing animals found in the wild. During the dry season, when these majestic creatures concentrate on the banks of the Zambezi River, join world renowned Elephant expert and veterinarian Dr Johan Marais on his intriguing workshop to explore their complex social structures, behavioural patterns, genetics, their importance to wildlife areas and other mammal species, whilst gaining an insight into the management of elephants in fenced reserves. Still hunted across Africa in large numbers for their ivory, our continent’s heritage is in danger and this workshop further focuses on the overall conservation of Elephants and the protection of the Lower Zambezi National Park. You will find dates and rates here.

THE PROFESSIONAL

Dr Johan Marais, author of “Great Tuskers of Africa” and “In Search of Africa’s Great Tuskers", grew up in Namibia's Etosha where his passion for Elephants started from a very young age. When he is not lecturing students at the veterinary faculty at the University of Pretoria, he leads rescue operations as the co-founder of the non-profit organisation “Saving The Survivors”, pioneering techniques to rehabilitate large mammals. His research, promotion and implementation of the least invasive ways to manage Elephant herds in fenced wildlife areas has taken him across the African continent, so becoming a leading and highly respected scientist in this field.

THE DEAL

The workshop rates cover 4 nights' accommodation on a fully inclusive basis at Baines' River Camp, flights between Lusaka and Baines' River Camp, all entry and activity fees for the Lower Zambezi National Park, community and conservation levies. This workshop is limited to 6 participants.

THE ITINERARY

You will depart Lusaka International Airport with the other participants around 13h00 for a 30 minute flight to the Royal Airfield. From there we collect you by open game viewing vehicle for a short game drive to the camp where Johan will be waiting to take you on your first outing.

The following 3 days will be filled with safari activities by vehicle, boat and canoe, focussing on the behaviour and genetics of Elephants, with many opportunities to view other wildlife on your excursions. The fully equipped Baines Boardroom is the ideal venue for Johan’s daily lectures, interactive presentations and further discussion on this fascinating topic. During one of the evenings, you will be joined by Ian Stevenson, CEO of Conservation Lower Zambezi, who will offer a fascinating insight into the successful operations of this organisation to assist Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (previously Zambia Wildlife Authority) in the protection of this wilderness and other areas in Zambia.

On your last morning, you have the choice to go on one more safari outing, discuss the topic in more detail with Johan or to stay in camp and relax. We depart from the camp at 10h00 for your flight to Lusaka International.

Local flight times are chosen to suit the most popular SAA flights between Johannesburg and Lusaka:

SA062    arriving in Lusaka around 12h30

SA063    departing Lusaka around 13h15

Alternative local flight times can be arranged to suit other domestic connections to South Luangwa, Victoria Falls for instance or to suit your international connections to Emirates, Ethiopian Airways, Kenya Airways etcetera.

THE ESSENTIALS

For an elephant workshop, we recommend that you pack:

  • A camera with accessories (chargers, batteries, memory cards, downloading devices etc.).
  • A good pair of binoculars (10x42 is recommended).
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes with soles that can withstand sharp thorns and a pair of cotton socks.
  • General travel essentials such as sunglasses, sun block, wide brimmed hat, comfortable clothing in neutral colours that can be layered.

The accommodations, lodge, food, service and staff where above the best I have ever experienced and I have been to many places for both business and pleasure.

Will Stephens, Manalapan, New Jersey, USA, September 2015