Tailor-Made Holiday

Ultimate African Elephant Conservation Journey

Travel across Africa in search of the continent's threatened giants

31 days

from £29,995pp

The war on elephants. these iconic animals are under threat as never before.

It is becoming increasingly clear that The War on Elephants is in full swing; if we fail to act, then African elephant populations may soon be on a downward spiral towards extinction. Part of the cost of this holiday includes a donation to Save the Elephants, who are battling to protect elephants from a bloody, insatiable demand for ivory.

However, at Steppes, we believe that tourism also has an important role to play in conservation. By visiting threatened elephant population, you not only give them an economic value and bring money to desperately poor communities, you also help to draw attention to their plight.

This journey not only highlights the plight of Africa’s elephants; it showcases a range of outstanding conservation projects – the last hope for this threatened species. These include empowered national parks, pioneering elephant research projects, vital conflict management schemes and intensive captive-elephant rehabilitation programmes.

Price includes a £3,000 donation to Save the Elephants

Visit grasslands, forests and deserts during a month-long immersion into the lives of Africa’s elephants. Learn about pioneering conservation projects, encounter isolated populations and interact with elephants as part of this incredible journey.

Start with the West African parks of Odzala and Zakouma – the latter a conservation success story, before heading to Samburu, birthplace of Save the Elephants. From here, head to southern Africa; track desert-adapted Namibian elephants, before interacting with Abu Camp’s rescued herd, in the heart of the Okavango Delta.

Odzala, Republic of Congo. One of the last refuges for West Africa's forest elphants

Odzala National Park is one of the last strongholds of the diminutive forest elephant. This forested expanse is part of multinational tranche of jungle – itself crisscrossed with ancient elephant tracks. Managed by African Parks, the park is bucking the trend.

  • One of the best places in West Africa to see forest elephants in their jungle-shrouded glory
  • Stay at a pair of beautiful tented camps that hide amongst these verdant, humid forests
  • Explore the park on foot, by vehicle and on small boats

Zakouma, Chad. African Park's remarkable conservation success story.

Zakouma National Park - found in Chad, where lush savannah and the sands of the Sahara meet - is staging a remarkable fightback. Thanks to community support and highly effective ranger patrols, poaching has almost ceased. Just one recorded incident in the last three years is testament to the success that the park is experiencing.

  • Also managed by African Parks, Zakouma is home to a fragile, but resurgent elephant population.
  • Short-tusked thanks to decades of poaching, they have learned to move as one impenetrable mass
  • Zakouma is now recognised as one of the exciting wildlife destinations in West Africa

Samburu, Kenya. The birthplace of Save the Elephants

The beautifully rugged scenery of Samburu, in Kenya, is home to vast numbers of savannah elephants. Stay at Elephant Watch Camp – home to the Douglas-Hamiltons. Situated just a few kilometres away from Save the Elephants’ research base, this Bohemian luxury retreat is immersed in the life of the region’s elephants.

  • Visit the nearby Save the Elephants research base
  • Set out on game drives in search of wandering herds – each one dominated by a wise matriarch
  • Meet exceptional guides – some of whom are even able to identify almost 1,000 individuals by sight 

Kunene, Namibia. Where Desert-adapted elephants roam wild.

The dry landscapes of the remote Kunene Region, in Namibia, are home to the hardiest of all elephants. Amidst wind-sculpted rocks and dry riverbeds, an incredibly resilient elephant population survives, adapted to the seeming inhospitable environment. Stay at a simple tented research camp, run by Elephant-Human Relations Aid, whose work centres on reducing elephant-human conflict.

  • Meet the researchers who study these desert-adapted creatures and gain an insight into their valuable work
  • Join EHRA in tracking these wide-roaming animals, who tramp slowly across the harsh landscape
  • Visit local community projects that help to educate, inform and support nearby villages.

Abu Camp, Botswana. Encounter elephant rehabilitation in action.

Abu Camp sits amidst the lagoons, islands and channels of the Okavango Delta – a landscape in complete contrast with Namibia. Meet the camp’s resident herd, which is made up of individuals that come from a variety of captive backgrounds. Learn about how the camp plans to rehabilitate these rescued animals.

  • Experience close-up interaction with the elephants; gain a remarkable insight into their habits, behaviour and capacity for emotions
  • Meet the handlers who raise these animals; see the connection they have with them
  • Learn about Abu Camp’s work with Elephants Without Borders

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Paris

Fly Paris to Brazzaville


Simpler and quieter than its noisy neighbour Kinshasa across the water, Brazzaville is surprisingly relaxed and welcoming. Having been the epicentre for France's interests in central Africa for nearly a century, there are a handful of interesting sites, easily explored on foot.


You will be staying at Radisson Blu, Half board

Day 2

Fly Brazzaville to Ollombo

Drive from Ollombo to Etoumbi (Road Journey)


You will be staying at Hotel Etoumbi, Full board

Day 3

Drive from Etoumbi to Odzala National Park


The drive from Etoumbi to Ngaga Camp is around 4 hours, leaving at around 06:30 in the morning. On arrival at camp, you will be welcomed by the camp managers and given time to freshen up before lunch.


This forested expanse is part of multinational tranche of jungle - itself crisscrossed with ancient elephant tracks. Managed by African Parks, the park is experiencing a revival, after years of neglect. Western lowland gorillas can be seen here - one of the few places they are habituated to humans - whilst it is also one of the last strongholds of the diminutive forest elephant.

Now opening up to the outside world, albeit slowly, the park is home to three beautiful tented camps that hide amongst these verdant, humid forests. Dotted around the edges are a number of isolated forest villages, where superstition and sorcery are strong-held beliefs, but the welcome is unrivalled.


You will be staying at Ngaga Camp, Full board

Day 4

Transfer from Ngaga to Mboko


Leave Ngaga Camp for your next camp where you may have the chance to pass a local school and, if possible, we will try and arrange a visit. The three-hour drive offers a fascinating glimpse into a little visited region in the Congo, arriving at Mboko Camp around lunchtime.


In the afternoon, relax and recover, or take a nature walk through the forest.


You will be staying at Mboko Camp, Full board

Day 5

Mboko - Boat Trip on the Lekoli River
Set out on the Lekoli River, following its winding course as it cuts its way through the heart of Odzala's forests. Look out for wildlife on the banks, with animals often coming to drink from the river's cool waters. Watch out for primates, birds and forest elephant as the forest drifts by. In the river, spot dwarf crocodiles, forest ducks, kingfishers and - occasionally - hippos.


Safari, Boat Trip or Short Walk
Explore the surrounding area on foot, by boat or in a 4x4 vehicle. Spot colobus monkeys, forest elephants, hippos, hyaenas, buffaloes and dwarf crocodiles. Wildlife abounds in the rivers, amongst the grasslands and throughout the forest canopy.


You will be staying at Mboko Camp, Full board

Day 6

Ngaga - Ombo Village Visit
Set out through the forest to visit the nearby village of Ombo. Here you are able to gain a genuine insight into the lives of the local Ba’Aka, who call the forest home. There is the chance to learn about more about their beliefs providing a fascinating glimpse of this remote forest community. This is a genuine cultural experience and your guide will be on hand to act as interpreter. The community here work closely with Lango in terms of guides and trackers, but please always ask before taking photographs.You then return to the lodge.


Transfer back to Ngaga Camp


You will be staying at Ngaga Camp, Full board

Day 7

Drive from Odzala National Park to Ollombo (Road Journey)

Fly Ollombo to Brazzaville


You will be staying at Radisson Blu, Full board

Day 8

You will be staying at Radisson Blu, Full board

Day 9

Fly Brazzaville to Addis Ababa

Fly Addis Ababa to N'Djamena


N'Djamena is one of the poorest capitals in the world - its international airport must be one of the smallest international airports in a capital city.

Surprisingly, N'Djamena is home to a thriving horse scene. Every Sunday from December to June, the residents of N'Djamena flock to the spectacle of racing on a dusty track not far from the presidential palace. As a result it is worth trying (although it is not always possible) to coincide your visit so that you have a Sunday at the races.


You will be staying at Hilton N'Djamena, Bed & Breakfast

Day 10

Travel from N'Djamena to Zakouma (Air Transfer Journey)


Zakouma is 3,000 square kilometres, a sixth of the size of the Kruger. Its habitat is varied and in parts reminiscent of Kafue and Luangwa in Zambia and also Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. The park is largely flat riverine forest and grassland plains. Large pans, around which numbers of wildlife and birdlife congregate in the dry season, are dotted throughout the park. Lonely inselbergs rise up on the horizon.


You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, All inclusive

Day 11

Game drives in Zakouma National Park
Much of the time on game drives will be dedicated to tracking down Zakouma's remarkable elephant population, although close encounters cannot be guaranteed. Extraordinarily the elephants in the park all live in one single super-herd. However, spend a lot of their time in thick acacia seyal forest.

The elephants are the poster boys of Zakouma and a rare conservation success story. Their numbers spiralled down from an estimated 4,000 in 2005 to around 450 in 2012. However, since the involvement of African Parks, security has improved, so too community engagement and the decline in elephant numbers has been reversed.

Until January 2016, not a single elephant had been poached in three years and numbers are once again rising. Due to hundreds of years of persecution they are still very wary of people, but thanks to conservation efforts are becoming more tolerant and accustomed to human contact. Breeding herds are a little edgy, but the bulls are settling down.


You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, All inclusive

Day 12

Game walks in Zakouma National Park
With a private guide and accompanied by an armed ranger, a walk or walking safari is a great way to appreciate a very different side of the landscape and learn more about the intricacies of the ecosystem. It is not a forced march and a walk may last from half an hour to a couple of hours. It is about going slow and taking time to admire the landscape. The focus is on insects and plants, discussing their role in nature.

Whilst Zakouma may be most famous for its vast elephant herds, it is the staggering amount and diversity of wildlife that make this park unique. It is an entirely different experience to a safari in southern or eastern Africa. The utter profusion of wildlife, often seen in groups of hundreds or thousands of animals at a time, is incomparable. The birdlife is also incredible, with pelicans, geese and cranes seen in their thousands.


You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, All inclusive

Day 13

Night drives in Zakouma National Park
This evening there might be a chance to embark on a night drive. Night drives in Zakouma are a real treat. The chance of seeing nocturnal predators is always a thrill, but there is also an abundance of Africa's smaller predators. The chances of seeing servals, pale foxes and civets are good. The glint of crocodiles' eyes in torchlight along the Salamat River is also quite a sight.


You will be staying at Tinga Lodge, All inclusive

Day 14

Travel from Zakouma to N'Djamena (Air Transfer Journey)


Transfer from the airport to the hotel.


You will be staying at Hilton N'Djamena, Bed & Breakfast

Day 15

Fly N'Djamena to Addis Ababa

Fly Addis Ababa to Nairobi


Used mainly as a quick stopover, Nairobi is an interesting city with some good places to visit. Central Nairobi is like many other African cities with traffic jams, noise and a hint of chaos. The suburbs, however, are quite different, with excellent markets, restaurants and great places of interest to visit, such as The Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, the wonderful Giraffe Centre and the Karen Blixen Museum.


You will be staying at Hemingways Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 16

Travel from Nairobi to Samburu (Air Transfer Journey)


Samburu is as renowned for its colourful people as much its wildlife and arid landscapes. This is a region of big skies and jagged peaks, and where the Ewaso Ngiro River flows, giving a life-force to this northern area and sustaining excellent plains game and predators. Properties range from highly polished lodges to authentic bush camps with superb guiding and conservation initiatives. Walking with local Samburu guides and rangers is a real highlight.


You will be staying at Elephant Watch Camp, All inclusive

Day 17

Game Drives
After an exciting flight across Kenya's Samburu, land at the airstrip where you will met by the team and then drive to camp, with lunch on arrival. Take a late afternoon drive with EWC guides who have been trained by Save the Elephants (STE) researchers. Being located in the north of Kenya, Samburu is hot and dry and so the palm-lined Ewaso Ngiro river provides a lifeline to this otherwise parched landscape. Drives often follow the course of the river and as well as many of the usual suspects, Samburu is home to some interesting wildlife such as imperial zebras, gerenuks and reticulated giraffes. Spend the evening with your hosts learning about Samburu people, the country, the elephants and the team.


You will be staying at Elephant Watch Camp, All inclusive

Day 18

Visit Save the Elephants
The camp is very closely connected to the Save the Elephants which was established by Iain Douglas-Hamilton as part of his pioneering research on the world's largest land mammal. It is recommended that you try to visit the centre where researchers can talk to you about the elephant collaring programme, research on orphans and the beehive fence.


You will be staying at Elephant Watch Camp, All inclusive

Day 19

Walking Safari
Today, perhaps take a short walk around the camp in search of the smaller five - elephant shrews, buffalo weavers, ant lions, leopard tortoises and rhino beetles or take a meadering bird walk. There are around 400 specis, hornbill can be found nesting along the river bank and eagle owls also live close to the camp. For the adventurous, you can hike up to the famous flat topped sacred mountain, Ol Donyo Sapache or the peaks of the Matthew's range.


You will be staying at Elephant Watch Camp, All inclusive

Day 20

Travel from Samburu to Nairobi (Air Transfer Journey)


You will be staying at Hemingways Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 21

Fly Nairobi to Johannesburg

Fly Johannesburg to Windhoek


Namibia's capital and only city, Windhoek, is a vibrant place of many contrasts. Seemingly misplaced German architecture stands side by side with modern sky scrapers, while African drums and wood-carvings from the north displayed on pavements vie with elegant shops offering sophisticated Swakara garments and gemstone jewellery.

A pedestrian-friendly city with a cosmopolitan outlook, Windhoek makes for a wonderful stopover. This is modern Africa at its most fascinating - a melting pot of modernity, colonial echoes and African tradition.


You will be staying at Olive Grove Guesthouse, Bed & Breakfast

Day 22

Travel from Windhoek to Palmwag Reserve (Air Transfer Journey)

Drive from Palmwag Reserve to KUN (Road Journey)


You will be staying at EHRA Camp, Full board and house beverages

Day 23

First Day at the EHRA Camp
During your stay, you will be hosted by one of EHRA's leading elephant trackers and conservationists. After lunch, take a short drive to visit nearby communities and EHRA projects. Also visit subsistence farmers who live along the Ugab River and hear about the challenges involved when living with elephants. If time allows, there will also be a visit to Gariseb Primary School. Once back at camp, take a short nature walk to watch the sunset with views of the Brandberg and Ugab River.

The spectacular scenery of Kaokoland ranges from rocky mountain ranges, to the rivers, spanning on to pan-flat plains of arid mopane savannah. Here you can see some of the rarest wildlife within the country, including the famous desert elephant as well as the world’s only free-roaming black rhino. Birdlife in the area is also diverse, with hundreds of endemic and migratory species to be seen.

Enjoy a diversity of attractions and activities from the beautiful Kunene River and Epupa Falls offering an oasis of calm and lush valleys, to traditional Himba settlements for a glimpse into the cultures and history of the nomadic tribes of Namibia.


You will be staying at EHRA Camp, Full board and house beverages

Day 24

Day 2 at the EHRA Camp
After an early breakfast, head out for a day of elephant tracking with one of EHRA's leading elephant trackers. There are three resident herds of elephants and four resident bulls in the Ugab river area. These herds will dictate the plan for the day. During the day, the EHRA guide will explain how elephants are tracked. Once with the elephants, the guide will explain more about their identification, behaviour and family structures. Lunch will be taken in the desert. Arrive back at the EHRA camp to watch the sunset. Later in the evening there will be a presentation on EHRA's PEACE Project, the educational programme that is run by the camp.


You will be staying at EHRA Camp, Full board and house beverages

Day 25

Drive from KUN to Palmwag Reserve (Road Journey)

Travel from KUN to Windhoek (Air Transfer Journey)


You will be staying at Olive Grove Guesthouse, Bed & Breakfast

Day 26

Fly Windhoek to Maun

Travel from Maun to Okavango Delta (Air Transfer Journey)


The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest and most beautiful inland water systems, with perpetual and seasonal swamps and floodplains. Its waterways glisten like the fine silks of a spider's web and its numerous habitats offer superb breeding grounds for an abundance of wildlife. Depending on camp, activities centre on game drives, mekoro (local dugout canoe) trips, walking and horseback safaris. It is therefore a must for any first time visitor to Botswana.


You will be staying at Abu Camp, Full board

Day 27

Days at Abu camp
Full days exploring this area on the following activities: elephant interaction, game drives, mokoro excursions, nature walks and birding. Included are 2 activities per day.


You will be staying at Abu Camp, Full board

Day 28

You will be staying at Abu Camp, Full board

Day 29

You will be staying at Abu Camp, Full board

Day 30

Travel from Okavango Delta to Maun (Air Transfer Journey)

Fly Maun to Johannesburg

Fly Johannesburg to London

Day 31

Arrive into London Heathrow

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Hemingways Hotel

Hemingways Hotel

This plantation-style property has 45 spacious suites, spread out overlooking the garden to the iconic Ngong Hills in the distance, designed in such a way as to give the hotel a much smaller, more intimate atmosphere than the number of rooms might suggest....

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Elephant Watch Camp

Elephant Watch Camp

Situated in a stand of riverine forest on the northern bank of the Ewaso Ngiro River, Elephant Watch Camp sits at the heart of Samburu National Park....

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Abu Camp

Abu Camp

Abu Camp is an exclusive elephant safari experience located in the private 180,000 hectare concession....

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Olive Grove Guesthouse

Olive Grove Guesthouse

Olive Grove is a small boutique guest house located in a leafy residential area of Namibia's capital city Windhoek....

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Ngaga Camp

Ngaga Camp

Located in the Ndzehi Forest on the western boundary of the park, the lodge sits at the crest of a glade, blending in seamlessly with the surroundings, looking out across the forest canopy....

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Tinga Lodge

Tinga Lodge

An old government-style lodge of some fifty years ago overlooking the Rosse River....

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Mboko Camp

Mboko Camp

Spread along the banks of a tributary of the Lekoli River, the beautiful Mboko Camp looks out over an area of lush grassland....

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Botswana

Bridget Cohen, Travel Expert

"Bridget had a great knowledge of the areas being looked at and given I have spent time in both countries, it required someone who completely understood the type of camps preferred."

"Bridget's service was very personal and friendly whilst maintaining a professional manner. All my questions were dealt with promptly and efficiently."

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Jackie Pearson, Travel Expert

"Every part of our trip was the highlight and it is not possible for us to point out just one thing, event or place."

"However, we received a magnificent surprise of a helicopter ride between camps in Botswana which meant a flight over the delta and an opportunity to see the delta and how it is formed. It was a wonderful surprise organised by Jackie and we were both absolutely overjoyed with the opportunity. I do not believe that there was more that could have been done as we had a magnificent trip."

"Jackie was excellent- she listened and was very knowledgeable."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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Tailor-Made Holiday Ideas

Booking a Tailor-made holiday gives you the flexibility to customise your journey, travelling when and where suits you.

Forest Elephants

20TH CENTURY
In the 20th century, there were 700,000 forest elephants

Now, there are just 100,000 forest elephants left
NOW

Desert Elephants

HERDS WALK UP TO
Desert-adapted elephants in Kunene walk up to 70 kilometres in search of food.
IN SEARCH OF FOOD

Zakouma

2002
In 2002, there were 4,300 elephants in Zakouma, Chad.

In 2015, there were just 430 elephants left in Zakouma, Chad.
2015

Samburu

FOR EVERY TWO FEMALE ELEPHANTS...
Female elephant in Samburu, KenyaFemale elephant in Samburu, Kenya
Male elephant in Samburu, Kenya
...THERE IS ONLY ONE MALE

Holiday Ideas in Botswana

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Expertise

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  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

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