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Aland-locked countrystraddling the Tropic of Capricorn,Botswana offers one of the last unspoiledwildernesses in Africa. In its huge,unfenced game reserves, the largest herdsin southern Africa roam free and wild,together with some of the continent's mostspectacular and varied birdlife. Remarkablyfor an African country, Botswana has a tinypopulation; just over two million inhabitantsoccupy this nation that is the size of Franceand Germany together! Nearly one fifth ofits area is given over to national parks. It isa dry land, the majority of the countryabsorbed by the waterless Kalahari, yet theworld's largest inland delta- theOkavango-transforms 15,000 squarekilometres of this desert into a paradise ofpalms, papyrus and crystal clearwaterways. The water that feeds the Deltais Botswana's lifeblood. Falling as rain onthe Angolan highlands a thousandkilometres away, it takes up to six monthsto reach the Delta-a pulse of floodwater that brings life-generating moistureduring Botswana's long, dry winter season.We begin our holiday by flying toLivingstone in Zambia, via Johannesburg.Two nights spent here will allow us to explore the lush forests around the VictoriaFalls. One of the seven natural wonders ofthe world, the Falls are twice as high asNiagara, and one and a half times as wide. In the gorges beneath them, the rare Taita Falcon and Rock Pratincoles cansometimes be seen; in, and from, thelodge gardens we will look for Knysna and Grey Louries, TrumpeterHornbills, Black-collared Barbets, TropicalBoubous and a variety of colourfulsunbirds and weavers.From Livingstone it is 100 kilometres byroad to northern Chobe National Park. Inthis region of the park we will concentrateour attentions on the Chobe River. This isElephant country, and it is possible to seeseveral hundred of these giants in one day,as well as a host of other game. The birds,too, are excellent, particularly thewaterbirds-herons, egrets, ibises,ducks and waders. We have two days inthe area, to enable a thorough exploration,before heading to southern Chobe. Herewe will explore the Savuti Channel, whereElephant frequently graze around ourcamp, and the surrounding savannahholds Lions, Cheetahs, a variety ofantelopes and a rich birdlife.Moremi Wildlife Reserve, on the easternedge of the Okavango Delta, is our nextdestination. This is one of the mostbeautiful and unspoiled reserves in Africa,its western reaches consumed by theDelta, its eastern sector comprised ofMopane woodland and grassland. For twodays we will discover the birds andmammals of the reserve on game drives.Arnot's Chat, Southern Black Tit, SlatyEgret, Heuglin's Robin and a variety ofwoodpeckers, barbets and weavers areamongst the specialities.Moremi is also home to a wide range ofmammals. Large herds of Buffalo, RedLechwe, Tsessebe, Zebra and Waterbuckdot the lightly wooded plains. Parties ofGiraffe stride gracefully across the sceneand herds of Elephant visit the lush greenmarshes to bathe and drink. With such anabundance of big game it is not surprisingthat Moremi is one of the finest reserves inwhich to see Africa's large predators. Lion,Cheetah and Hyena are all common and,with a degree of luck, we may even find aLeopard lazing in a tree or a pack of WildDogs hurrying across the plains. Our holiday now reaches its conclusionwith a most comprehensive 4-dayexploration of the central Okavango Delta.We will visit a cross-section of the region'scomplex habitats and aim to see as manyof its bird and mammal species aspossible. Flying first to our 'wet' camp,situated in the heart of the Delta, we willexplore the permanent waters of the innerOkavango by 'mokoros', the traditionalcanoes of the Delta that are punted alongthe waterways by local boatmen; we willalso travel as much as possible on foot aswe explore the larger islands. This area ishome to Sitatunga and Red Lechwe, aswell as an abundant birdlife. Next wetransfer to a 'dry' camp where we willenjoy the rich variety of mammals thatfavour this part of the Delta. Lion, Leopard,Buffalo, Elephant and even Wild Dog areregularly seen here. Finally we must leavethe Delta behind and return to Maun forour onward flight to Johannesburg, andthen London. BotswanaA comprehensive 15-day wildlife adventure to Chobe National Park, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Victoria Falls and a 4-day exploration by foot and by boat of the magnificent Okavango Delta.Friday 1st November - Friday 15th November Cost: £6,495 Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London. Day 2/3Livingstone and VictoriaFalls. Day 4/5 Chobe River, NorthernChobe. Day 6/7Savuti, Southern Chobe. Day 8/9Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Day 10/13Okavango Delta. Day 14Depart Maun. Day 15Arrive London.AccommodationFully serviced camping, Chobe andMoremi. First class lodges andpermanent tented camps,Okavango and Victoria Falls, mostwith private facilities.FoodAll included in the price, except forlunches and dinners in Livingstone.GradingDay walks in the concession areasof the Okavango Delta. Grade A.FocusBirds and mammals.LeaderA local naturalist.Single room/tentsupplement£995. Web quick search: BWA01160Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryNAMIBIANAMIBIAZAMBIAZIMBABWE'DRY' CAMPOKAVANGODELTAMAUNNXAI PANNATIONAL PARKMAKGADIKGADI PANSGAME RESERVEVICTORIAFALLSMOREMI WILDLIFERESERVECHOBENATIONAL PARKSERONDELLACHOBE RIVERSAVUTICHANNELOKAVANGO RIVER'WET'CAMPLAKE LIAMBEZILINYANTI RIVERLINYANTI SWAMPSCAPRIVI STRIP (NAMIBIA)MAKGADIKGADIPANSBOTSWANARed Lechwe, Okavango DeltaVictoria FallsWild Dog

Ethiopia is a magical land of myth andlegend. It was perhaps the earliesthome to man, and later to PresterJohn and a dynasty originating fromQueen Sheba and concluding with theEmperor Haile Selassie in 1974. It is a land of mixed race and mixed religion, of countless tribes and even morelanguages, mingled and matured by timeand history. It is filled with donkeys, cattle,and an elegant people ... plus the finest ofAfrica's mountain scenery. Ethiopia hasbeen a melting pot, since Christ, for ideasfrom the East, West and from Africa; todaynothing seems straightforward. Amharic,the national language, has an alphabet ofover 200 characters; the year, following theJulian calendar, has 13 months! Its wildlife-particularly its avifauna-isoutstanding. Over 830 birds have beenrecorded-29 of them endemic -and we will hope to see nearly half of them,whilst 80 species of larger mammalssurvive with mixed fortunes, seven ofwhich are also endemic.We begin in Bahar Dar, at the edge ofLake Tana, the country's largest lake. Herewe have two days to enjoy the excellentlakeside birding, as well as visits to thesource of the Blue Nile and thespectacular Blue Nile Falls. It may also bepossible to visit one of the wonderfulCoptic monasteries on one of the lake'sislands before we set off on the drive around the lake to Gondar. Founded byKing Fasilidas in 1635, this town served as the imperial capital for 250 years and is full of historical sites, notably its groupof 17th century castles and thefantastically decorated church of DebreBirhan Selassie.From Gondar we head up into thedramatic Simien Mountains National Park,one of Africa's most extensive and ruggedmountain ranges, reaching its highestpoint of 4,620 metres at Mount RasDashen. We will explore the region on a 3-day trek in search of its birdlife and,especially, its three special endemicmammals. The Gelada Baboon has itsstronghold in these mountains, where apopulation of around 20,000 individualslive in troops that can number up to 400-strong. In much smaller numbers, theendangered Walia Ibex may also be seenon the trek, whilst the elegant EthiopianWolf is now sadly declining in thesemountains and infrequently seen.Our walking route takes us first fromSankaber to Geech, from where weascend to the summit of Mietgogo to enjoythe spectacular views, before proceedingto Chenek, an area favoured by the WaliaIbex. On completion of our trek we returnto Gondar for a flight to Addis. From therewe head south to Awash National Park,where we will stay for two nights in acomfortable lodge. Awash, spanning 905square kilometres, became Ethiopia's firstsanctuary in 1966 and, with its rollinggrasslands, acacia scrub and the volcanoMount Fantalle, resembles a classical eastAfrican game reserve. Beisa Oryx, bothGreater and Lesser Kudu, Waterbuck,Soemmering's Gazelle, Warthog, Swayne'sHartebeest and Salt's Dik-dik graze theacacia-dotted grasslands alongsideOstriches, Kori and the rarer ArabianBustards. Lion, Leopard, Caracal andServal have all been seen on our tours butthey are both infrequent and hard to see. Amongst the larger acacias along theAwash River, hornbills, parrots, finchesand doves feed. We will explore the parkon foot and also drive into the nearby hills.Leaving Awash, we follow the Great RiftValley southwards to the lush, forestedhills of Wondo Guenet. Our lodge, with itsnearby hot springs, was once a favouritehome of Haile Selassie's daughter, itsgarden still ablaze with floweringbougainvilleas, jacarandas and amaryllis,its large figs and acacias the homes ofColobus Monkeys and Silvery-cheekedHornbills, plus a number of Ethiopia'sendemic birds. It is, indeed, a relaxingspot in which to stay.Finally, we transfer our focus to thebeautiful Rift Valley Lakes. These Iieamongst acacia woods and farmlandbetween the distant valley walls, each onewith a different depth, salinity andcharacter. Lake Awassa offers the greatestabundance of waterbirds, plus the colourand bustle of the local fishermen. At LakeShalla the views are tremendous and thebushland birds and mammals oftennoteworthy; whilst Lake Abiata, a vast andshallow soda lake, is Ethiopia's Nakuru -its margins thick with flamingoes, pelicans,cormorants, storks, herons and waders.Our last stop is Lake Langano, where wewill spend two nights in a pleasant lakesidelodge. Here we have plenty of time to enjoythe tranquil surroundings and, with a veryrealistic chance of sighting the elusiveAardvark by night, this lovely lodge makesa fitting finale to our holiday.The Best of EthiopiaA 17-day holiday, including an optional trek in the Simien Mountains, focusing on the varied andspectacular landscapes of Ethiopia, and the country's abundant birdlife, mammals and rich history.Friday 19th October - Sunday 4th November 2012 Cost: £3,395Friday 18th October - Sunday 3rd November 2013 Cost: £3,595Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationSUDANKENYASOMALIASOMALIADJIBOUTIRED SEAERITREAGONDARLALIBELASIMIENMOUNTAINSLAKETANABAHAR DARADDIS ABABAAWASHNATIONAL PARKLAKE LANGANOGOBABALE MOUNTAINSWONDO GUENETLAKE AWASSARIFT VALLEY LAKESETHIOPIAOutline itineraryDay 1Depart London, flying toAddis then Bahar Dar.Day 2/3Bahar Dar. Day 4Gondar. Day 5 Simien Mountains. Day 6/8 Trekking in the Simiens. Day 9Fly Addis Ababa. Day 10/11 Awash National Park. Day 12/13Wondo Guenet. Day 14 Lake Awassa. Day 15/16 Lake Langano. Day 17 Fly London.AccommodationGovernment and private hotels withen suite facilities, plus fully servicedcamping in the Simien Mountains.FoodAll included in the price.GradingModerate, occasionally strenuous, 3-day trek in the Simiens is optional.The rest of the tour is easy-paced.Generally grade A but trek is grade C. FocusBirds, mammals and history.LeaderAndy Smith, plus local guides.Single room supplement£295.ExtensionsAvailable on request in Ethiopia andto other parts of Africa. Web quick search: ETH05161Simien MountainsGelada BaboonWalia Ibex