Travel Day Details
Program participants will meet the group organizer at the below airline check-in counter three hours before the departure flight. If you have trouble locating the group, please notify your group organizer or contact WTT.
DEPARTURE FROM USA
RETURN TO USA
A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event WTT is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries. That being said, our travelers’ well-being and safety is our number one priority, so please know that should flight delays/cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will do our best to keep family members updated on developments.
WTT is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage. Please also make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm if this is required on your flight.
WTT will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Please read below to see who will be part of the support team on your program.
Conservation Program Director
College of William and Mary – B.S. Biology and Environmental Science & Policy
Morrison is an obsessive and experienced traveler, having been to 50+ countries in pursuit of the life-changing experiences offered by the wild places of the world. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and broken French, he is an avid wildlife photographer whose favorite subjects are beetles, spiders, and the oft overlooked microcosms they inhabit. Morrison is a percussionist at heart and has performed nationally and internationally with groups ranging in style from symphonic to experimental rock and traditional Turkish music. During his undergraduate years, Morrison conducted research in Brazil and Madagascar with conservation organizations that are actively working with communities to strike a sustainable balance between humans and the ecosystems that support them. Education is surely the most rewarding aspect of his work; Morrison constantly strives to inspire positive change by communicating his overwhelming awe of the natural world to others. Morrison hopes to build a career in biodiversity conservation and is currently in charge of developing and implementing new Conservation Expeditions.
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Community & Project Details
COACHING FOR CONSERVATION
If you’re a soccer player or young leader who’s interested in a great way to put your skills to use motivating young African children to be better soccer players by mimicking skills that animals use it the wild to survive, then perhaps this adventure is for you. The main focus of Walking Tree Travelers’ time in Botswana will be to help facilitate a soccer camp for over 100 fifth grade learners run by an organization called Coaching for Conservation. Coaching for Conservation (C4C) is an innovative program that combines sports and team building with environmental education, and offers a yearly camp to elementary school students throughout the region.
C4C aims to help the conservation of Botswana’s natural resources by using organized sport to engender self-respect and inspire a generation of “kids who care”. The link between sport, health and conservation are not always immediately obvious, but C4C is tackling issues with an innovative sports curriculum which links soccer skills to conservation and wildlife messages by using games and skill sets taught through animal coaches and animal behavior. Leopards, for example, are territorial animals successful in the wild because they are good at hunting, but they respect each other’s space. On the soccer field, elementary school students can learn to maintain their own position, and strive to be the best dribbler or best shooter, while respecting each other’s positions on the field. The conservation message linked to the leopard coach is to teach that everyone (an animal, too) has the right to a territory in a healthy habitat that includes food, water, shelter and space. By extension, young students learn the value of Botswana’s wildlife and its habitat. In this way, the animals that must be protected become familiar mentors on the sports field, enabling a relationship of respect while creating an empathetic link directly to the species.
BOTSWANA PREDATOR CONSERVATION TRUST
During our stay, we’ll be partnering with The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust (BPCT) to learn about and participate in some of the research that is being done on large carnivores in the Okavango Delta. The BPCT is one of the longest running conservation research projects in Africa, and one of a handful of its caliber worldwide. Founded as the Botswana Wild Dog Research Project in 1989, today it covers all the large carnivore species in Botswana.
The goal of the BPCT is to preserve Africa’s large predators – African wild dog, cheetah, leopard, lion and spotted hyena – and their habitats, using scientific inquiry to better understand the behavior and communication systems of these animals. BPCT also aims to link conservation and environmental issues to decision making in the ongoing development of rural Africa.
During your training leading up to the Coaching for Conservation Camp, you will interact with BPCT field staff, graduate students and their 25 years of experience investigating and studying the conservation challenges and behavioral ecology of large carnivores. You will also have a chance to see these magnificent animals in their natural environments, then apply these lessons to your interactions with the students at the Coaching for Conservation Camp.
Sitting at the edge of the Okavango Delta on the shining Thamalakane river, Maun is the fifth largest city in Botswana, and the jumping-off point for many an expedition into the wilderness. Dry and arid, antelopes can be seen drinking water alongside cattle and donkeys on the banks of the river. During our stay, we’ll get to know the town well, and take part in the many attractions and peculiarities that it offers the uninitiated visitor to southern Africa.
The term “delta” usually implies a river fanning out and emptying into the sea. But not in Botswana. The water carried into Botswana by the Okavango river fans out in to the Kalahari Desert creating a massive delta that simply evaporates at its furthest reaches. The yearly cycle of dry/wet seasons sustains one of most unique ecosystems on the planet, and one of the best for viewing wildlife. Recently named a UNESCO 1000 World Heritage Site, it is home to some of the world’s most endangered species, such as the cheetah, the white rhinoceros, the black rhinoceros, the African wild dog, and the lion. Visitors to the delta are there for the experience of sharing a landscape with big game and other animals, and often stay in tented camps and go on daily drives to learn about the unique species that abound in the Okavango Delta.
Communication & Blog
The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.
WTT tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@WalkingTree.org. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.
Here is the link to your blog:
What follows is a guideline, but you know yourself better than we do so please modify as you see fit. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a backpack, roller or duffel bag and a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
Please note that seasons in Botswana are opposite ours in the United States so we will be traveling during Botswana’s winter. Layering is the best way to prepare for variable conditions, as it will be chilly (55-70 degrees fahrenheit) during the early morning and nighttime, and hot (up to mid-nineties fahrenheit)
Botswana Packing List
One pair of underwear for each day of the program
One pair of socks for each day of the program (a mixture of good athletic socks and casual socks)
4-7 t-shirts (some quick dry)
2-3 long sleeve/button up shirts
1 warmer jacket
1 warmer hat
1 rain jacket/windbreaker
1-3 pairs of shorts
4-5 pairs of comfortable pants/jeans (plan to re-wear jeans more than one day)
1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
1 pair/s of durable athletic/walking shoes, appropriate for lots of walking
1 hat with good sun protection
1 pair soccer cleats (optional)
Toiletries: Bring the BASIC toiletries you need plus:
Band Aids and Neosporin, basic first aid
Medication in properly marked original container (better to pack this in your carry on luggage)
Journal and pen (required)
Small Alarm Clock separate from phone (required)
Durable water bottle (required)
Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
Electrical Adapter/Converter. Botswana uses a 3-prong Type M plug. Transformer necessary if electronic device doesn’t have one built in.
Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-150 in newer bills, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
1 quick-dry towel
Deck of cards or other portable games