Experience the Zimbabwean wilderness with acclaimed wildlife photographer, author and conservationist Nicholas Dyer in search of the Painted Wolves. At Natural World Safaris we firmly believe in right place, right time and Nick’s unparalleled access to leading trackers, conservationists and exclusive areas of the Zimbabwean bush offers our guests the very best opportunities to see this elusive predator in one of the most incredible wildernesses in Africa.
This is one of my favourite areas of Southern Africa. I love it because it is so wild, remote and exclusive. I have designed this incredible eleven-day trip to offer you a life changing experience in one of Africa’s last true wildernesses. - Nicholas Dyer
Spend eleven days being hosted by Nick, the founder of the Painted Wolf Foundation, and engage with his knowledge and anecdotes from having lived with these creatures for seven years and now on the frontline of their conservation. Available to only four guests, experience the true wilderness of Gonarezhou and the Savé Valley and what it is like to camp in the African bush, far from people while surrounded only by Africa’s wildlife. Each camp willbe exclusive and seeing other people will be rare.
June and July should coincide with the denning season and our objective when on Sango will be to gently seek out the dens and view and photograph the painted wolves in their most fascinating environment. We will be guided by local experienced conservationists who will help us find the painted wolves and ensure our footprint is light.
By participating in this safari you will also be supporting their important conservation efforts and contributing to the survival of the species.
While finding the painted wolves can never be guaranteed, both areas offer exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities against a backdrop of some of the most stunning African scenery. We will have the opportunity to track white and black rhino on foot and see the fabled Gonerezhou elephants and their magnificent prides of lion.
Photography will be at the core of this safari. Nick will always be on hand to discuss photographic techniques and share both his knowledge and expertise. This rare safari experience is special and unique, spending eleven days exclusively in the wilderness whilst making a real contribution to painted wolves’ conservation.
Nick has an enormous passion for painted wolves spending seven years following three packs on foot in Mana Pools, studying, photographing and documenting their lives with deep intimacy. He is the co-author of the highly acclaimed coffee table book, Painted Wolves: A Wild Dogs Life, which he wrote with Peter Blinston, providing a powerful insight into the lives of the painted wolves and what is being done to save them. He is also founder and Chief Executive of the Painted Wolf Foundation which supports the conservation of the species across Africa. Nick gives talks around the world on behalf of the painted wolves, appears on TV and radio and has articles and photographs published in myriad publications globally including National Geographic.
Day 1, June 26: Arrive Harare
On arrival at Harare International Airport, you will be met and transferred to Amanzi Lodge. Check in and spend the rest of the day at leisure and I will join you for dinner in the evening.
Day 2, June 27: Harare - Savé Valley Conservancy
This morning you will head off to Harare Airport where I will meet you and we will take our private light aircraft flight to Chapungu Airstrip in the heart of the private Sango Concession in the North of the Savé Valley Conservancy. Here you will be introduced to Sango Expedition Camp which will be home for the next 4 nights before having the opportunity to head out on a game drive to explore the area. (B,L,D)
Days 3 - 5, June 28 - 30: Savé Valley Conservancy
This is a very remote area of Zimbabwe meaning you will not only have the camp to yourself, but much of the surrounding area,Mgiving you rare exclusivity and the flexibility to focus on your particular interests each day. I not only know this area incredibly wellMbut also the conservationist that protect the painted wolves. Their trackers will help us find the painted wolves and due to theMtime of year, there is the opportunity to see their puppies if the dens are on Sango (which they usually are). Whilst staying here, we will head out on game drives and, escorted by an expert guide, we will not be confined to our vehicles. This will give us the opportunity to track animals (including rhinos) on foot and fully embrace the nature of a true African wilderness. (B,L,D)
Day 6, July 1: Savé Valley Conservancy - Gonarezhou National Park
Today we will take a leisurely game drive back to Chapungu Airstrip in time for our light aircraft charter flight to Chipinda Pools Airstrip in Gonarezhou National Park. Here we will be met by our legendary guide and good friend, Doug MacDonald who will be with us for the rest of the trip. He will drive us to Gonarezhou Bush Camp, our home for the next 3 nights. The drive takes us through dramatic scenery and the chance to see lots of wildlife along the way. (L,D)
Day 7 - 8, July 2 - 3: Gonarezhou National Park
You will have the next five days to explore the pristine wilderness that is Gonarezhou National Park, the second largest in Zimbabwe covering 5,000 square kilometres of pristine wilderness. Gonarezhou means “the place of the elephants’ but it is the home of many species and sits against a backdrop of rivers, baobab trees and some of the most dramatic scenery in Zimbabwe. Your first camp is beneath the awe-inspiring Chilojo Cliffs nestled against the Runde River. (B,L,D)
Day 9, July 4: Inter Park Transfer
Today we will head out across the park to the Mahove Tented Camp, your home for the next 2 nights. As we head East, you will get to experience the sheer scale of this park and its varied wild landscape. The wildlife viewing opportunity is exceptional with the possibility of seeing a herd of a thousand buffalo and the prides of lions that stalk them. Less likely to see is another vehicle. (B,L,D)
Day 10, July 5: Gonarezhou National Park
This is an opportunity to explore a whole different area of the park. Set near the confluence of the mighty Savé and Runde Rivers we drive through riverine forests and visit huge waterholes, rich with game and less rugged scenery. By the end of the day I think you will have experienced a safari like no other. Nothing is guaranteed here, but I have never left feeling disappointed.
Day 11, July 6: Gonarezhou - Depart Harare
Today we will drive back to the airstrip for your light aircraft charter flight back to Harare. Upon arrival into Harare, I will assist you to the international terminal to connect onto your international flight back home.
Sango is a privately owned wildlife conservancy in the southeast of Zimbabwe covering an area of 60,000 hectares, similar in size to the main game viewing area of Mana Pools. Part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, Sango is the largest property in the Savé Valley Conservancy; 300,000 hectares of prime African wilderness which very few people know about. Sango Expedition Camp captures the romance and adventure of the glorious golden age of safari, but with a lightness of spirit and footprint that offers you a true wilderness experience. The camp is 100% solar powered and has only three beautiful expedition tents with en-suite facilities; traditional hot water bucket showers and flushing toilets. Everything is there to provide a real bush experience without sacrificing the main necessities for comfort.
You will have the camp exclusively to yourself, adding an extraordinarily deeper dimension to your African safari. During your stay you will be hosted by Nick, and at all times there will be a highly professional and experienced guide with an unparalleled deep knowledge of Sango and its diverse flora and fauna.
The main focus will be on finding the enigmatic painted wolves and visit the special den sites where possible. We will be helped by the local painted wolf conservationists and their trackers which will increase are chances of finding these elusive predators. But we are not limited to painted wolves. Activities are designed around you and the private land means unlimited freedom. We can drive off road to view predators feeding or explore the bush at night and visit hyena dens. As well as our morning and late afternoon game drives, bush walking will be a key component of this safari where we will have the opportunity to track both black and white rhino on foot, a truly exhilarating experience.
Situated in the heart of the Gonarezhou National Park, Gonarezhou Bush Camp is the perfect setting to appreciate and enjoy this pristine wilderness. Set on the banks of the Runde River, you look out from your camp at the mighty red walls of the Chilozo Cliffs while elephants drink and frolic in the cool waters below.
The camp is exclusive-use which provides you with the perfect solitude to fully appreciate the tranquility of this undisturbed piece of African bush. It forgoes unnecessary luxuries, but is far from basic. The camp is solar powered and the Meru style tents have comfortable beds and ensuite facilities including a bucket shower and flush toilet.
As well as being hosted by Nick, we will be guided by Doug MacDonald, one of Zimbabwe’s and Gonarezhou’s most respected guides with over 30-years’ experience. The camp provides fresh, wholesome meals, all eaten under the African sky, and quality beverages for those exquisite sundowners watching elephants drink as the cliffs turn an extraordinary orange.
Nick has had some of his most amazing painted wolf experiences here, and the vastness of the terrain makes finding them an exciting challenge. But even if they remain elusive, there is no shortage of other predators, from buffalo-hunting lions to the leopards that walk through camp at night.
There is no set agenda and we remain responsive to the call of the wild. Each day we set out to look for spoor (footprints) and Nick and Doug combine their experience to track down predators and other animals with a focus on the ultimate prize – finding the painted wolves.
Still on the banks of the Rhunde River, but many miles downstream, the Mahove Tented Camp is in one of the most fantastic locations in the whole of Gonarezhou. It is only a short distance from where the Rhunde meets the mighty Savé River, just before the Mozambique border. The area is comprised of lush riverine forests and stunning waterholes, making it a delightful contrast to the vast expanses of the last few days.
The Mahove Tented Camp is a small seasonal tented camp which is only open from May to October each year. Similar in style to Gonarezhou Tented Camp, it is again the perfect backdrop to experience this area of the park. Because of the lush abundance of the area, the wildlife concentration is much higher here. It is teaming with Kudu, Nyala and Waterbuck…“some of the largest I’ve ever seen in Africa” says Nick. And of course, that’s quite attractive to the predators that lurk around the area.
|June 26 - July 6 2024