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The Ultimate African Safari

Discover Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, embark on a Chobe River water safari and sleep alongside Victoria Falls in a luxury treehouse, all in one Adventure.

Dates

Thu Jun 18 – Mon Jun 29, 2020 Sun Jun 21 – Wed Jul 1, 2020

Locations

Kigali, RwandaChobe River, BotswanaVictoria Falls (Livingstone), Zambia

Cost

$13665/Person

Deposit

$/Person

Featuring A PREMIUM PERMIT GORILLA TREK WITH CRAIG SHOLLEY

Experience a safari like no other and view extensive wildlife from unique vantage points in phenomenal regions of Africa. Encounter silverback gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park on Premium Permit treks with Craig Sholley, renowned conservationist and Senior Vice President of the African Wildlife Foundation. Explore the area surrounding Victoria Falls, an iconic and dramatic piece of nature. After, safari along the Chobe River onboard the luxury Zambezi Queen, a floating 5-star hotel. During your days onboard, you will have the opportunity to experience water-based safari excursions on a tender boat where you can get up close to an array of wildlife, including elephants.

Who can Participate?

Exchange Club & Adventure Club Members, family & friends ● Age requirement 15+ ● Activity requires strenuous mountain trekking with rest stops

Please note Gorillas have fragile immune systems and minor illnesses in humans such as a common cold can be life-threatening to the gorillas. Since they are considered a critically endangered species, participants must be in good health or they will not be allowed to engage with the gorillas.

ADVENTURE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Exclusive Experience into Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park accompanied by Craig Sholley, SVP of African Wildlife Foundation and protégé to Dian Fossey, with a Premium Permit to hike up into the protected habitat of the silverback gorillas
  • Safari along the great Chobe River onboard the luxury 5-star Zambezi Queen Floating Hotel
  • View extensive wildlife from unique vantage points in three phenomenal regions of Africa
  • Escape into a sanctuary built upon Victoria Falls within luxury eco-treehouse & river cottages
  • OPTIONAL – Extend your Adventure with a post-trip custom safari to another luxury camp

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Itinerary

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Depart from Home

Depart USA or home location

Arrival in Kigali, Rwanda

Travelers who are beginning their journey in Rwanda will fly to Kigali where they will be met by Craig Sholley, from the African Wildlife Foundation, who will accompany you to the Kigali Serena Hotel for the night with dinner included. Overnight at Kigali Serena Hotel. Meals included: Dinner

Kigali to Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, you will explore a bit of Kigali before visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial – the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Through education and peace-building, the museum honors the memory of the more than one million Rwandans killed during this horrific episode. After touring the memorial, the group will receive a private presentation by the Museum’s Director – Honore Gatera whose personal story of family loss is a compelling microcosm of the majority of his fellow countrymen and women. Lunch is at a local restaurant before driving to Volcanoes National Park – home to a large percentage of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla population. The park protects the steep slopes of a magnificent Virunga Mountains, a chain of extinct volcanoes that tower up to nearly 15,000 feet. It also protects the rich mosaic of montane and bamboo forests that provide habitat for the world’s most endangered great ape. Volcanoes National Park was the base for famous naturalist, Dian Fossey, who carried out her research on gorillas. She is widely credited with saving the gorillas from extinction by bringing their plight to the international community. Your accommodations for the next three nights are at the luxurious Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. The concept for the lodge was crafted by the African Wildlife Foundation 10 years ago. At the time, the idea of local community ownership in a high-end tourist lodge was cutting-edge; paving the way for a business philosophy that simultaneously benefits wildlife conservation and improves the livelihoods of local people. This evening, enjoy personal stories and experiences from Craig’s lifetime memories with the gorillas and working with Dian. Craig will also provide an orientation on mountain gorilla behavior, conservation and help you prepare for the gorilla trek again for our next day. Overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Volcanoes National Park Gorilla Trek

Today you will encounter the mountain gorillas ‘on their turf.’ THIRDHOME has arranged for exclusive access and will divide the party into two small groups in order for each to visit one of the gorilla families. Exclusive access also means that you will bypass the bureaucratic and time-consuming process of attaining a visitation permit, and get straight to visiting your pre-assigned gorilla family. With guides, you will travel by vehicle to a specific departure point to start the trek. The trekking can take from one to six hours and climb to elevations, not in excess of 9,000 feet. Although the hike can be physically demanding, and the terrain is rough and muddy at times, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make it well worthwhile. Once you’ve found your gorilla family, you will be able to observe the special nature of this family group and their interacting dynamics. This wildlife contact is often described as being the most profound natural history experience in the world. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water. Cameras and plenty of flash card memory is recommended. These are wild animals, but experienced guides are with you and will share their knowledge, expertise, and stories. Overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Volcanoes National Park (Choose Your Premium Experience)

Today you may choose another outing. Choose to gorilla trek another day (with exclusive access) to gain a second experience with a gorilla family (8 participants are required per trek to operate). Or you may opt to not trek, and instead visit the fascinating golden monkeys. These primates have a prominent golden fur coat, which adds to their unique attractiveness. The golden monkey is an endangered species and are endemic to the Virunga Mountain ranges that cover the whole Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda. This species’ habitat is amongst the bamboo forests and the verdant jungle of the Volcanoes Mountains. There are two habituated troops within the Volcanoes National Park and the larger troop is found in Sabyinyo which has approximately 80-100 members. Spend your afternoon at leisure to relax before dinner. Overnight at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Return to Kigali & Departure for Johannesburg

After breakfast enjoy a morning at leisure. Depart Sabyinyo Lodge by ground transportation to Kigali for your onward flight. Continue to the following phase of this exciting Adventure! JUN 25th evening flight departure from Kigali (3-hr flight) to Johannesburg. A connecting flight onward to Kasane (2-hr flight) is required for embarkation of the floating safari. Meals included: Breakfast

Departure from Livingstone-Victoria Falls / Transfer to Kasane for Zambezi Queen Embarkation

Departure flight from Johannesburg to Kasane (2-hr flight) for embarkation. Upon arrival, you will be met by a representative of the Zambezi Queen Collection staff, who will help with formalities at passport control for Botswana & Namibia. The Zambezi Queens guides will also assist with luggage and then the group will be taken across the Chobe River to the Namibian side of the immigration process. Journey 20-minutes further on the Chobe River to arrive at the dock, to board the Zambezi Queen for a 3-night floating safari adventure. Once all guests have boarded in the late afternoon, and if the weather permits, you will go in search of some big game by tender boat. This is the perfect time of day to make the most of that golden glow of the African sunset by getting some iconic shots of the animals, as they gravitate towards the river before night falls. Return back to the Zambezi Queen and freshen up before meeting your Captain on the upper deck with a welcome cocktail. After a safety briefing, you’ll make your way to the dining room where you’ll be served a delectable three-course dinner along with an excellent choice of paired wines. Finish off with an espresso or nightcap at the bar before retiring to bed accompanied by the sounds of African nighttime wilderness. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Onboard the Zambezi Queen Floating Safari

Some guests like to watch the sunrise as they sip on their coffee while others like to take a more leisurely approach. You choose your morning activities, depending on the type of holiday you’re searching for. Perhaps you want to enjoy a water-based safari or a village tour on the Namibian side of the river. Or perhaps you’d prefer bird watching or fishing instead. You may even decide to simply remain on board as the luxurious Zambezi Queen glides its way along the banks of the Chobe River. After your morning activities, enjoy lunch on board while using your unique vantage point to spot wild animals and drink in the expansive views. Join our guide in the afternoon for a water-based safari on a tender boat where you can get up close to an array of wildlife, including some of the 120,000 elephants for which the Chobe is well known. After a delicious dinner, settle down for a restful and tranquil night in your luxurious suite. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Onboard The Zambezi Queen Floating Safari

After a hearty breakfast, head off to experience those activities you didn’t manage to fit in yesterday: enjoy a water-based river safari by tender boat, go bird watching or go fishing for tiger or bream. Return for lunch on board and some relaxation time before the afternoon activities start. Again, you have the choice between tiger or bream fishing, game viewing by tender boat or bird watching. In the evening, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy a traditional African dinner, served with festive African singing and dancing. You can even join in the festivities if you feel like it! Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Disembarkation with ground transfer to Victoria Falls

Enjoy a morning cruise during breakfast as you do your last bit of animal spotting and take some memorable pictures. Disembark and bid the crew a reluctant farewell and make your way via boat to the Namibian Immigration Office. Once you’ve had your documents stamped, you’ll be transferred via boat to the Kasane Immigration Office where you’ll have your documents stamped once again before entering Botswana. Private ground transfer to Tongabezi Lodge in Victoria Falls. Arrive by private ground transfer to Tongabezi Lodge for the next three days of the safari adventure. Located on the Zambian side of the Falls, Tongabezi Lodges offer guests an extraordinary vantage point, with its location only a few miles upstream from the world-famous Victoria Falls. Each day, enjoy hikes and walking tours of the Falls, game drives along with walking safaris, sundowner cruises, local school and village tours, fishing, and canoeing excursions. Overnight at Tongabezi Lodge River Cottages.Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Victoria Falls

Enjoy a day to take in the dramatic scenery of your Victoria Falls sanctuaries. Enjoy hikes and walking tours of the Falls, game drives along with walking safaris, sundowner cruises, local school and village tours, fishing, and canoeing excursions. Overnight at Tongabezi Lodge River Cottages. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Victoria Falls

Enjoy a day to take in the dramatic scenery of your Victoria Falls sanctuaries. Enjoy hikes and walking tours of the Falls, game drives along with walking safaris, sundowner cruises, local school and village tours, fishing, and canoeing excursions. Overnight at Tongabezi Lodge River Cottages. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Departure from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg

After leisurely morning breakfast, perhaps take in one last activity before scheduled ground transportation to the Livingstone airport. For those continuing onward you may either opt to fly out of Livingstone Airport or continue onward to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for an overnight prior to your return international flight. (Airport Hotel day-use room accommodations are included in Johannesburg). Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Departure

Depending on your international departure flight time, this may become your actual departure date from Johannesburg

Accommodations

  • 1-night in Rwanda: Kigali Serena Hotel
  • 3-nights in Rwanda: Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
  • 3-nights on Chobe River: The Zambezi Queen
  • 3-nights at Victoria Falls: Tongabezi Lodge
  • 1 Night/Day-room: O.R. Tambo Intercontinental Airport Hotel

What’s Included

Inclusions for Gorilla Trek

  • 1 night accommodations in Kigali at The Kigali Serena Hotel with dinner
  • 3 nights accommodations at the Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner during stay at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge
  • Laundry services, room service, wines, beers and sodas
  • Premium permit for 1 exclusive hike to encounter with the Silverback Gorillas
  • Ultimate Rwanda safari leader and Senior Vice President of the African Wildlife Foundation, Craig Sholley
  • All ground transportation and naturalist guide services
  • OPTIONAL Premium Experiences: Additional Gorilla Trek day with exclusive access (OR) encounter with Golden Monkeys Tour

Inclusions for The Zambezi Queen Floating Safari

  • 3-nights accommodations onboard the Zambezi Queen Floating Yacht
  • All meals while onboard
  • All soft-drinks, mineral water, coffee & tea, beer and wine throughout voyage onboard
  • Water-based game viewing and bird watching on tender boats
  • A land-based cultural tour of a local village
  • Tiger & Bream fishing when in season
  • Ground transportation as noted per itinerary
  • ZQ dedicated professional guides
  • ZQ staff to assist with immigration clearing & luggage handling
  • OPTIONAL Premium Experience: 4×4 game safari drive into Botswana’s Chobe National Park

Inclusions for Johannesburg & Victoria Falls

  • 3 nights accommodations in Victoria Falls at Tongabezi Lodge
  • 1 night accommodations in Johannesburg at the O.R. Tambo Intercontinental Airport Hotel
  • Airport assistance & private transfers as noted per itinerary
  • All meals & local beverages except premium import brands while at Victoria Falls Lodges
  • Daily lodge activities during your stay at Victoria Falls including: walking tours & safaris, game drives, sundowners, local school & village tours, fishing, canoeing
  • All taxes – except park fees (see not included)

What’s not Included

  • Gorilla Trek
    • Premium Drinks (champagnes, liqueurs and spirits)
  • The Zambezi Queen Floating Safari
    • International flights
    • Domestic internal flights – a per person cost will be quoted by THIRDHOME Travel
    • Gratuities for the voyage at traveler’s discretion (guideline is $10 per person per day)
    • Visa fees
  • Johannesburg & Victoria Falls
    • International flights
    • Domestic internal flights- a per person cost will be quoted by THIRDHOME Travel
    • Visa fees
    • Premium imported beverages
    • Laundry services & other items of personal nature
    • Park fees into Victoria Falls – approximately $10 USD per person per visit & Falls entrance fees are approximately $20 USD per person per visit (subject to change)

Passport & Visa Requirements

  • Passports must be valid for 6 months (or more) beyond the scheduled return date.
  • Click here for information about visas and additional entry requirements for US Citizens.
  • Click here for inoculations information. 

Adventure Pricing

$7670 per person (based on Double Occupancy)

*A $1000 voluntary tax-deductible contribution to the AWF International Gorilla Conservation Program focused on the conversation of the species.

Deposit amount required to confirm: $7410 per person 

*Deposit is Non-Refundable

Final payment due date: Mar 1, 2020 

*Adventure is Non-Refundable after final payment

THIRDHOME strongly recommends that all travelers purchase travel insurance prior to participating in a THIRDHOME Adventure and that all such insurance be purchased when a tour deposit is made.  THIRDHOME travelers can purchase travel insurance through (1) the THIRDHOME preferred provider Allianz Travel or (2) the traveler’s insurance provider of choice. THIRDHOME will require proof of such travel insurance protection when a tour deposit is made.  NOTICE: Due to its affiliation with Allianz travel, THIRDHOME selects only those suppliers listed on the Allianz Global Assistance as a covered supplier.  Travelers purchasing travel insurance from providers other than Allianz Travel may not be protected in the event of a loss.  Before making any travel insurance purchase, please confirm with a travel insurance provider that the travel supplier is an Allianz covered supplier. 

Any traveler that elects not to purchase travel insurance, by either of the above means, agrees to release THIRDHOME from liability for any loss of funds incurred due to the cancellation of a specific THIRDHOME Adventure as a result of, but not limited to, an act of God, a failure to purchase travel insurance, the cessation of business with respect to a tour operator/ground operator, the failure of a tour operator/ground operator to refund consumer deposits or payments within 120 days following the cancellation of a THIRDHOME Adventure or a material failure to complete performance of a THIRDHOME Adventure.

For USA Citizenship Members – please refer to this link to obtain a quote and purchase insurance: https://www.etravelprotection.com/thirdhome/home

For International Citizenship Members – please refer to the appropriate Allianz website that pertains to your country of residency for quotes and purchasing insurance: https://www.allianzworldwidecare.com/en/international-individual-health-insurance/travel-insurance/

Our Sponsor

Your Gorilla Trek Host

Craig Sholley THIRDHOME

Craig Sholley, Senior Vice President of The African Wildlife Foundation

Craig Sholley’s experiences with wildlife and conservation began in 1973 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, Africa. He has worked and traveled extensively since that time providing conservation expertise in a variety of world arenas. As an L.S.B. Leakey grant researcher in the late 1970’s, Craig studied mountain gorillas at Rwanda’s celebrated Karisoke Research Centre with Dian Fossey. Returning to the US, he redirected his interests designing natural history educational programs and wildlife tours for the Baltimore Zoological Society. Concurrently, Craig led nature expeditions and photographed wildlife throughout Africa, South America, and Asia.

In late 1987, Craig returned to Africa full time to direct Rwanda’s internationally-known Mountain Gorilla Project. Turning the project over to the Rwandan government in early 1990, Craig continued in Rwanda acting as Scientific Advisor for the award-winning IMAX film, Mountain Gorilla. Craig has served as a Senior Associate of the African Wildlife Foundation and on AWF’s Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of the Ecotourism Society. Throughout much of the ’90s, Craig was Director of Conservation and Education for International Expeditions, an organization widely recognized for its ecotourism initiatives.

Craig returned to Rwanda in 1995 on assignment with the National Geographic Society surveying the conservation status of mountain gorillas in Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda in the aftermath of Rwanda’s civil war. The findings of that trip are the basis of a 1995 article in National Geographic Magazine on mountain gorilla conservation. Craig has worked full time with the African Wildlife Foundation for the last 16 years and presently serves as Senior Vice President.

Craig has led countless safaris to natural destinations throughout the world. His favorite continental travel destination remains Africa and he has a strong positive bias for Uganda and Rwanda.

Book Now

Deposit: $7410 per person

Deposit deadline: Jun. 14, 2019

Double occupancy required.

 
Adventure departure dates June 18 - Jun 29, 2020 SOLD OUT (contact Liz to be added to the waitlist)
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