Here you will get the opportunity to preserve wildlife and enjoy living on a 240,000-acre Big-5 and Malaria Free private game reserve in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert. The project offers a true perspective of the problems facing African Wildlife and allows guests to give something back to the continent’s conservation efforts.
Break free from tourists and time limits as you follow animals in their natural habitat in this once in a lifetime conservation experience!
With habitat loss being the biggest threat facing Africa's wildlife today, numerous wildlife species face mass extinction! Urbanisation, agriculture, mining, and other human activities have plagued local wildlife habitats for decades and many animals are simply unable to adapt to such radical environmental changes fast enough. What's more, the ensuing decline in suitable habitats has led to widespread inbreeding throughout local wildlife populations. The resulting lack of genetic variation is a significant contributing factor to the demise of these animals. Growing human settlements continue to encroach on wilderness areas, and this is leading to a dramatic increase in human/wildlife conflicts.
As such, when multiple farms were purchased in the Eastern Kalahari Bushveld of South Africa and combined to form a large 240,000-acre reserve with the objective to return this part of the Kalahari Desert to its former glory by creating one massive free-roaming ecosystem...this was seen as a HUGE WIN!
Now home to the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo), Wild Dogs (Painted Wolf) and much more, you will get the chance to help return this land into former glory. This adventure and eco-safari project is designed to contribute to the reserve’s ecological needs by assisting with game counts, wildlife research, vegetation surveys, and so much more! Together, these are the tools needed to ensure a balanced ecosystem is maintained, and that the ultimate goal of restoring the Kalahari to its natural state is achieved.
GoKo travels is extremely proud to be working with the reserve’s exclusive partner in offering such conservation experiences.
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE -You can be sure that with our booking flexibility and complete financial security, you are in safe hands if you need to change your plans due to international restrictions.
REFUND GUARANTEE - We will refund you if we have to cancel the trip for any COVID-19 related issues.
30 DAY NO-FEE FLEXIBILITY - Transfer your trip date free of charge up to 30 days before departure.
COMPLETE FINANCIAL PROTECTION -Your trip is protected though our PTS & ATOL membership.
Please note: This trip must receive a minimum of SIX reservations forty-five days prior to the departure date. In the unlikely event that we do not receive SIX or more bookings for each departure, you will have two options:
1. You will be able to change dates at no additional cost to you (flexibility up to 3 years)
2. Full refund will be given.
The biggest threat facing Africa’s wildlife today is habitat loss!
Throughout Africa, you can see first hand how urbanisation, agriculture, mining, and other human activities have plagued local wildlife habitats for decades. As a result, numerous wildlife species face extinction. Many animals are simply unable to adapt to such radical environmental changes fast enough, and the ensuing decline in suitable habitats has led to widespread inbreeding throughout local wildlife populations. The resulting lack of genetic variation is a significant contributing factor to the demise of these animals. Growing human settlements continue to encroach on wilderness areas, and this is leading to a dramatic increase in human/wildlife conflicts.
Any land given back to nature should always be viewed as a significant win for conservation efforts!
When multiple farms were purchased in the Eastern Kalahari Bushveld of South Africa and combined to form a large 240 000-acre reserve with the objective to return this part of the Kalahari Desert to its former glory by creating one massive free-roaming ecosystem.
This meant that all previous signs and impact of farming activities left behind by the former occupants (cattle farmers and even canned lion hunters!) needed to be removed, the length of the perimeter (237km) had to be fenced with electrified fencing, and animal species that occurred naturally in this part of the Kalahari in the past were reintroduced. This would later become the largest introduction of wildlife ever recorded in South Africa!
Home to the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo), the reserve currently accommodates a significant part of South Africa’s Wild Dog (Painted Wolf) population and a breeding ground for two vulture species! Furthermore, the reserve has given refuge to a group of elephants formerly used for “elephant rides” on a different reserve. These elephants could become wild elephants again and have since thrived with two “born free” calves already amongst the herd!
As the reserve is situated in one of the most remote parts of the country, it offers guests some of the most incredible star-gazing opportunities imaginable due to the absence of light pollution from nearby cities and towns. In fact, the area was chosen by a group of astronomers as their ideal location to study stars. Beyond their large and highly specialised anti-poaching team, the reserve is run by a small team of professionals. The reserve simply does not have the necessary hands required to conduct their much-needed fieldwork. This adventure and eco-safari project is designed to contribute to the reserve’s ecological needs by assisting with game counts, wildlife research, vegetation surveys, and so much more! Together, these are the tools needed to ensure a balanced ecosystem is maintained, and that the ultimate goal of restoring the Kalahari to its natural state is achieved.
Guests are accommodated in a tented lodge which offers incredible game viewing and sensational star-gazing opportunities to all who visit! There are four two-sleeper tents each with an en-suite bathroom (rooms are shared between guests). There is a kitchen and dining tent, a shaded outdoor section for guests to relax, and a boma for outdoor dining. There is electricity and hot water at the lodge, and safe drinking water is available. Three home-cooked meals are supplied daily.
1. Wildlife Research - Activities
Based on the ecological needs of the reserve, we are participating in continuous monitoring of the population dynamics and predator/prey relations of African Wild Dogs and Lions. From time to time it might also include other wildlife including (but not limited to); Cheetah, Leopard, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Elephant, Rhino, Vultures, and Buffalo. *This may require following predators late at night when they are most active.
2. Nocturnal Species
The reserve is home to some incredible nocturnal species such as; Aardvark, Aardwolf, Bat-Eared and Cape Foxes, Brown and Spotted Hyenas, Caracals, Genets, Honey Badgers, Leopard, and Porcupines. Current nocturnal monitoring focuses on lions and camera traps, but it is our goal to include additional species in our monitoring project soon. It is also our goal to begin researching the reserve’s Pangolin population due to the current global pangolin poaching crisis.
3. Camera Traps
Placing and monitoring camera traps to conduct scientific research, nocturnal monitoring, and animal identification (e.g. a wild dog’s unique coat or a leopard’s unique pattern). Due to the sheer size of this magnificent reserve, placing and/or collecting these camera traps from different parts of the reserve, before even analysing the data, is no small task! These camera trap sites have been carefully selected, and camera trap sites can be located hours apart.
4. Game Counts
Conduct regular game surveys to monitor the distribution and sex and age ratios in all the reserve’s wildlife populations. Accurate game surveys are one of the most important tools for reserve management as changes in wildlife populations or sex ratios can be an early indication of specific ecological problems (e.g. too many/few predators). Management can isolate different variables and use these surveys to correctly identify the habitat that different species choose, and keep up to speed with changes happening in wildlife populations as these changes occur.
5. Vegetation Surveys
The reserve’s ecologist has set a programme in motion to monitor changes in fauna and flora. Over sixty randomly selected sites have been identified, and vegetation surveys are used to identify gradual and/or sudden changes in vegetation across the reserve, recognise changes in species composition, the health of the grass layer, bush encroachment and whether the reserve is overstocked. This data is captured and analysed and used to determine the impact that environmental factors, including herbivores, are having on the vegetation of the reserve.
6. Reserve Work
Bush encroachment is a problem throughout African savannas. Not only does it impact on the habitats available to animals, it also impacts the infrastructure that we need to use in conservation areas. As this is a large reserve that is not open to the general public, many of the roads are hardly used. In fact, you’re unlikely to encounter another vehicle during your entire stay at the reserve! This also means that many of these roads get overgrown with encroaching bush, and trimming of bushes on the road verges provides access to the road across the reserve. Other reserve work may include removing invasive plant species, and removal of old fencing wires from left over from earlier farming days that may entangle animals
Due to the ongoing poaching crisis plaguing South Africa, we offer guests the chance to help the anti-poaching team for a day! You will assist experienced rangers with their daily patrols to identify signs of poaching and collect valuable data. Keeping eyes on a vulnerable animal offers it the best form of protection. Record activities of animals at water points and other key areas as such data is used to identify poaching “hotspots” and potential vulnerabilities. This data ensures that rangers are deployed in the right areas both day and night. These activities play a huge part in keeping animals safe and your eyes and ears do make a difference!
. Small groups and in one of the most remote and isolated parts of the country
. Not open to the public
. No other vehicles to share sightings with
· Full traversing rights (including off-road) and no TIME LIMITS!
· Eastern Kalahari Bushveld on the SA/Botswana border
· Some of the most remarkable stargazing and wildlife photographic opportunities
· Home to significant African Wild Dog, Lion, Black Rhino and Cheetah populations
· Typical Kalahari species (Aardwolf, Aardvark, Pangolin, etc.)
> Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
> Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
> Passport (required) (With photocopies)
> Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
> Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
The official unit of currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. There are limited opportunities to access banks and ATMs in cities only.
South Africa Standard Time (GMT+2)
South Africa has 12 official languages (Pedi, Sotho, Tswana, Swati, Ven?a, Tsonga, Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Xhosa and Zulu) You will, however, find that English is spoken by most people.
Between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, South Africa enjoys a temperate climate with a wet and dry season. Wet season runs from October to April, corresponding with summer, and dry season runs from May to September, corresponding with winter. Average summer temperatures run around 30ºC while winter temperatures average at 25ºC.
1. WIFI: Please be aware that wifi and internet access is not as readily available in South Africa as in other parts of the world. There are often additional charges to connect to the internet, and speeds may be slower than what you are used to.
Your health and wellbeing are of great importance to us during your trip.
It is vital that you speak to a medical professional/doctor who specialises in travel medicine before you depart. Advice on your current level of fitness, pre-existing medical conditions is important. You will also need to discuss where you will be travelling to and undertake an appropriate immunisation programme and other medical requirements. Preventative measures as advised by your doctor are very important, such as applying DEET mosquito repellent from dusk to dawn as well. We also recommend that you carry a small personal medical kit.
Malaria tables may be needed during this trip, therefore, we suggest you consult your GP on which Malaria tablets to take. Risk of malaria can increase during periods of heavy rain, during the rainy seasons, and in densely populated areas of Southern & East Africa. To prevent malaria, we recommend speaking to your doctor about taking preventative medication (prophylaxis), combined with regular use of insect repellent spray/cream. Please check updated travel health advisories specific to malaria before your departure.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary, therefore, on occasions, there may be some alternations. While we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
Given the unpredictable nature of weather and travel, we are sometimes forced to make late itinerary changes due to unexpected heavy rain and/or storms and road closures. In the event of this occurring, itinerary changes may need to be implemented after the commencement of your trip. In this event, your Tour guides have full authority to change the itinerary and/or order of activities and substitute alternative destinations and activities as necessary. No refunds are available due to itinerary changes and missed activities caused by extreme weather conditions and/or road closures.
We ask you to please bringing your own reusable water bottle to refill along the way.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact GoKo Travels or your Tour leader on the numbers provided in the contact selection of this document (bottom).
If you are unable to get in touch with us via the details given on our website, please refer to our emergency contact details.
You do not need to pre-booked an airport transfer, as your tour leader will collect you from outside the airport and will take you to your accommodation.
Passports and Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity) and entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality.
Visas are not issued at South African ports of entry, and airline officials are obliged to insist on visas before allowing passengers to board. If you arrive without a visa, immigration officials are obliged to put you onto a flight back to your home country.
If you are a passport holder of the following countries/areas you do not need a visa for stays of LESS THAN 90 days:
African Union / Unity Laissez Passes, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States of America, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica
If you are a passport holder of the following countries/areas you do not need a visa for stays of LESS THAN 30 days:
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jordan, Lesotho, Malaysia Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, Peru, Poland, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Korea, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkey, Zambia
Please visit http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/applying-for-sa-visa for more information.
The visa fee is different for every nationality, so please check this with your agent or closest embassy.
** Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.
GoKo Travels doesn't currently have the facilities to book your external/international flights. Therefore, you will have to prearrange your own flights to the required destination. We are always looking to improve our services, therefore, are planning to implement this solution as soon as possible.
Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate in any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your Tour leader/ local representative, who will take note of your insurance details and emergency contact number. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability of luggage, cancellation, curtailment and loss and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. Some prefer to spend all their money on alcohol, while others prefer souvenirs. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also, make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier.
The local currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. For the latest exchange rate refer to https://www.xe.com
There are limited opportunities to access banks during parts of the trip. Although you will not need large amounts of cash, we highly recommend you withdraw what you need upon arrival at O.R Tambo International Airport.
Credit cards are generally accepted in tourist shops and some restaurants across South Africa. Visa and Mastercard are generally preferred over American Express, Diners, etc. Smaller venues take cash only. Foreign currency is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries.
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra GBP£300 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved.
Tipping is an expected, though not compulsory, component of your tour program. The gesture serves as an expression of appreciation for exceptional service, and amounts given are up to your discretion.
Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is an important source of income for those in the tourism industry. Giving a tip should be seen as a formal 'thank you', and the action should in no way be awkward.
The best method of tipping someone that has served the whole group is to plan in advance, and not rush when it comes to saying goodbye.
All accommodation is included in the price of this trip
If you wish for a private room, you must request before booking.
8 Breakfast, 7 Lunch, 8 Dinner (plus snacks)
Travellers with special dietary requirements or food allergies are required to advise us at the time of booking. If you do not inform us before departure date, it may be impossible to source special dietary requests.
You may be asked to pay for any additional food if you have not advised us of any special dietary requirements beforehand.
The below dietary can be easily catered for:
Dairy-Free (soy available )
Please bring your own staples (nuts, bars, snacks) if you require a diet differing from the above.
You will need to purchase any alcohol and other drinks separately unless otherwise highlighted in the itinerary.
ALL Transport is included.
As you may well know, adventures always carry an element of danger. Our GoKo trips are not just package holidays, they are immersive experiences that go off the beaten path and push can you beyond your comfort zone. That’s what makes them awesome, and that’s why we take safety very seriously.
Different countries have their own infrastructures, laws, regulations, transport systems, cultures, political situations, climates and ecosystems so the nature of an adventure means it carries genuine risks. With this in mind, we are dedicated to ensuring all reasonable precautions are made to provide trips that are safe.
We closely monitor all the countries we travel to, keeping in regular contact with our operators and suppliers for their local knowledge and expertise.
If you have any concerns about travelling to a particular country, most governments provide their own travel advice. Here are some useful links regarding foreign travel: UK citizens; US citizens; Canadian citizens; Australian citizens; New Zealand citizens. If you are not from one of the following countries, please visit your official government advice page.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling.
Water-based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities, have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our guides to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by a guide(s).
All GoKo travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our tour leader / local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, GoKo Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure. Information should be gathered round necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure.
For legal reasons, our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group guides or local representatives straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/ local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
If for whatever reasons, you wish to contact GoKo directly regarding changes to your scheduled trip or make a complaint while you are already on your trip, or need to contact us in cases of an emergency, please use the following details below:
Emergency Contact Number: +44 7305027666