WELCOME TO GREAT PLAINS EXPEDITIONS – BOTSWANA
There are few things more satisfying than settling down in a tent, with just the thickness of canvas between you and Africa and hearing the grunt of lions not that far away, the rumbles of elephants or a lonesome hyena calling to make contact.
After 35 years of filming big cats, I remember these moments with a great sense of romance and nostalgia because they were authentic and uncluttered. My mind wanders to those filming days where Beverly and I slept either in our vehicle or under a tree. We bought tents later! I do not expect you to do that on this Expedition, but it is the connection to nature that most captivated us and made us get lost in the essence of what Africa truly offers explorers, and this is what I want to share with you.
The idea behind the Great Plains Expeditions – Botswana is to help us as we travel up the Selinda Spillway through the highest density of elephants globally (something we showed in our film, The Soul of the Elephant) and attempt to survey them regularly. We overnight in the bush as we get into Selinda Reserve and then drive slowly along the Selinda Spillway’s winding channels, exploring some of Africa’s most incredible buffalo and elephant concentrations. We often see wild dogs, lions and cheetah here.
This area is one of the most remote places in northern Botswana, a land that most people only see from 7500 feet above the ground as they air transfer from camp to camp. But, here, the smell of the earth and vegetation, the calls and the sights of almost forgotten days of authentic wildness still exist.
The following days cut through what has to now the best, or even the final, large concentrations of sable and roan antelope left in Botswana. This is before we come across those large elephant herds that can easily number between 50 and 300 in a herd. The Great Plains Expeditions – Botswana experience includes three overnight camps. At the 2nd camp, we spend two nights because there are both excellent walking and canoeing (water levels permitting) opportunities from here.
In the spirit of a genuine expedition, we aim to involve our guests in data collection as we drive this cross-section of the private Selinda Reserve. We have spot pattern analysis tools and software for leopard and wild dog identification. We would be assembling data on pangolins, a collection of four species, together with elephants, being targeted by poachers across Africa and Asia. We need eyes on the ground, and for too long, there has just not been the opportunity for travellers to assist in data collection on a meaningful basis. So our new Great Plains Expeditions brand has been launched to fill that gap and help us fill in the points to add to our scientific understanding for future conservation.
We are going back to the style of old traditional expedition safaris, reminiscent of the Out of Africa days, where you made a trip to Africa to explore and collect data and enhance the world’s knowledge. We are looking for a similar opportunity for you in Kenya and Zimbabwe. A more immersive dive into what makes complex ecosystems work is necessary now and will add the authenticity we try to deliver.