Botswana: The Elephant Highway

Botswana: The Elephant Highway


Saturday 30 Oct to Sunday 7 Nov 2021

8 days
5 days cycling
Flights NOT included
Two nights camping with excellent facilities

Botswana, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, has a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the 16,000sq km of the Okavango Delta – a startling contrast between a pure desert environment and the watery mazes of lush wetlands. Combine this with the massive Central Kalahari Game Reserve, its fossilized river valleys and undulating grasslands and the National Parks which offer the wild-life rich safaris that Africa is known, plus the thundering drama of Victoria Falls just over the border and Botswana boasts all the highlights of an African adventure.

This fully supported, incredible 5-day ride on good quality roads, takes us from the safari capital of Maun, through extremes of environment and a diversity of landscape to Kasane on the edge of the Chobe River and Chobe National Park. Long cycling distances along highways travelled by freely roaming elephants, the African Bush, the heat and camping under the stars and it’s a challenge felt on many different levels - well rewarded by the experience, the camaraderie enjoyed and the funds raised for the people we support at Norwood.

Itinerary BOOK NOW
Day 1Saturday 30 October
Overnight flight from London to Maun, Botswana with a short layover in Johannesburg.
Day 2Sunday 31 October
Arrive in Maun, the safari capital of Botswana on the edge of the famous Okavango Delta and Moremi Game reserve. It’s been a long journey, so after a late afternoon bike fitting, it’s an early dinner and full briefing on the challenge ahead.

Hotel:Maun Lodge
Day 3Monday 1 November • Maun to Leopard Plains, Boteti
Cycle 89km
After a wholesome breakfast, we leave Maun and head out into the heartlands of Botswana on good paved roads past the town of MTOPI and along the edge of the Makgadikgadipans National Park towards Leopard Plains and our first night – a mix of lodge and camping facilities. Leopard Plains is a working wildlife ranch on the edge of the Nxai Pan National Park with good quality facilities. The clear star lit skies of Botswana often devoid of rain 10 months of the year, makes camping extremely popular and comfortable in this part of the world with our overnight facility enjoying Wifi and a comfortable lounge/dining room. Over the planned 89km you will ride on slight inclines, gentle downhills and flat roads with a total height gain of 400m and a good chance of seeing farm cattle ranches and zebra.

Hotel:Leopard Plains
Day 4Tuesday 2 November • Leopard Plains, Boteti to Planet Baobab, Nr Gweta
Cycle 123km
Leaving Leopard Plains, it’s a long day in the saddle on good road with a lunch stop at the entrance of the Nxai Pans National Park. Heading out towards Planet Baobab, we’re cycling open national park land, entering elephant territory where giraffe, zebra and buffalo freely roam.

Reaching Planet Baobab, one of the most inventive lodges in the country, we’re in twin chalets and comfortable style safari tents, with a huge open air central lounge area to relax in and view the stars.

Hotel:Planet Baobab
Day 5Wednesday 3 November • Planet Baobab, Nr Gweta to Nata
Cycle 96km (plus 1 hr transfer to Elephant Sands)
Another long day on the bike, leaving Planet Baobab and heading towards NATA town. There’s a bonus of a great ice cream/coffee stop on the way and a cooling dip in the pool of our lunchtime stop at Nata Lodge. Refreshed, it’s a 1hr transfer to ELEPHANT SANDS, one of the main highlights of this challenge - an exceptional location where elephants and other wildlife visit the waterhole to refresh themselves at the salt lick, viewed from the safety of a relaxed public lounge area.
Hotel:Elephant Sands
Day 6Thursday 4 November • Elephant Sands, Nata to Panda Camp
Cycle 150km
There’s a big day of cycling ahead of us as we ride 150km, but the sun is at last behind us and there’s often a tail wind to help us on the way. It starts early at 7am with a few gentle ups and downs, where you may see elephant in the distance. Good, large road verges and giraffe plus Springbok beside the road and we enjoy the contrast of the last 20km cycled through huge commercial farm lands - stretching into the horizon with sun flower and food crops grown - towards the town of Pandamatenga. It’s a second night of good quality camping – the best way to experience Africa in the comfortable climate and starlit skies enjoyed most of the year. Great refreshment stops today, with a real sense of achievement from a tough day of cycling. 597m/600m of height gain over flat but slightly gentle hilly roads.
Hotel:Panda Camp
Day 6Friday 5 November • Pandamatenga to Kazangulu-Kasane
Cycle 110km
Another 7am early start today heading towards Kazangulu and Kasane. Kazangulu is the only place in the planet where four countries meet in such close proximity – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and is where the Chobe River meets the mighty Zambezi River - close to Victoria Falls (one of the 7 wonders of the world). Height gained today will be in the region of 500m only, but it’s an enjoyable cycle on fast road as we aim to finish mid afternoon and celebrate our achievements.
Hotel:Chobe Marina
Day 6Saturday 6 November
With masses of optional activities to choose from, there’s an opportunity to take a safari in Chobe National Park, a day trip to Victoria Falls or a sunset cruise on the Chobe river to view the bird and wildlife. There’s so much to do in Zimbabwe /Livingstone/ Zambia; white water rafting, helicopter flights, walk with lions or bungy jumping. Visit the famous Victoria Falls bridge, watch the sunset from a steam train or have tea at the Vic Falls Hotel – historically frequented by British Royalty over the years.
Day 8Sunday 7 November
Transfer from the hotel back to Kasane airport for the return journey home.
What’s included BOOK NOW
Airport Transfers if taking the recommended flights/meeting at the specified point and time
Twin-sharing accommodation in good quality lodges and camping on 2/3 nights. Limited singles available on request, subject to availability and at an additional charge
All meals – vegetarian - with the exception of lunches on non-cycling days. Includes Friday night celebration meal at end of ride
Bottled water, snacks and fruit available in support vehicles and aid stations through rides
Entry fee to the unique Elephant Sands
Fully supported ride with organised water/rest stops, lead rider, mechanics, support vehicles and doctor
Bike hire - comfortable, well-tuned mountain bike
Daily transfer of all luggage
FREE Norwood cycle jersey

What’s not included

International and internal flights, flying into Maun, Botswana and departing Kasane, Botswana
Airport transfers outside of the times of meeting the recommended flights
Lunch on non-cycling days
Personal cycling equipment, clothing or helmet
Travel insurance, visa, tips, gratuities, optional excursions and personal expenses
How challenging is it? BOOK NOW

This is a moderate to tough challenge on a mixture of good asphalt roads and paved secondary roads. There are some very long days in the saddle, and you must be comfortable riding up to 6-8hrs a day. The distances combined with the heat makes this a challenge on many different levels and a recommended kit list with care package will be provided. We recommend that you bring your own, comfortable saddle and train for long distance cycling.

This itinerary may be subject to change.


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All challenges are priced on a room sharing basis. Single rooms are available at an additional cost based on and subject to availability. Please select one of the following:

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Terms and Conditions

To be read in conjunction with the individual Terms and Conditions of any third party operator working with Norwood in organising this challenge.

1. Your Challenge

(a) To enter this challenge you must complete the online registration form. On receipt of a completed registration form and the registration deposit, you will receive confirmation of your payment and an information pack containing full details of the event. Together these form a binding contract which is subject to these terms and conditions.

(b) We will try to accommodate any special requirements as detailed in your booking subject to availability. However we cannot guarantee that these will be provided and any failure to do so is not constituted as a breach of these terms and conditions.

(c) To enter this challenge you must be at least 18 years old by the date of departure or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

(d) You must hold a valid passport which has at least six months validity from the date you return to the UK. Some destinations will require two blank pages within it. It is your responsibility to ensure that all passport information provided is accurate.

While guidance will be provided for any necessary visas for a challenge - the costs of which are NOT included within the costs quoted - it will be your responsibility to make any applications. If you are refused passage and/or entry/exit to or from any of the countries, any additional costs are your responsibility.

(e) All of our challenges are designed to be physically demanding but achievable and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate level of fitness and are in good health in order to participate. If you have any medical conditions which could be adversely affected by exercise, particularly a heart condition, or if you have any doubts about your health, please consult your doctor. You will be asked to complete an online medical form before your departure and must keep us advised of any medical conditions that develop after your registration. Failure to disclose the full details of any medical condition, or any changes that may arise prior to departure will invalidate your insurance. If you are over the age of 60 or declare any medical conditions, we will require a medical declaration form to be completed, signed and stamped by your GP.

You will be responsible for arranging any vaccinations that are required.

If while on the challenge, our doctor/medic or challenge leader gives you specific safety or medical advice aimed at protecting your welfare, you must abide by this advice.

2. Registration Fee

We do require a registration fee for this challenge and offer a seven day “cooling off” period whereby if you cancel your place within seven days of registration, we will fully refund your registration fee. Unless the event is cancelled by Norwood, the registration fee is then non-refundable and does not form part of the required sponsorship. Once your place is confirmed, a sum will be paid to the operator to cover the costs of any transportation , accommodation and ground costs.

If you have paid all of your costs for this challenge on registration and cancel more than 56 days prior to departure, then the registration fee as outlined in the brochure will be kept and the balance returned to you.

Immediately upon registration, you should ensure that you have a suitable travel and medical insurance policy in place to protect yourself against curtailment or cancellation.

3. Cancellation by you

If it becomes necessary to cancel your challenge, you may do so by notifying us in writing. Upon receipt and acknowledgement by us of your written advice, cancellation will take effect. The following charges will apply.

(a) A full refund of your registration fee if cancellation occurs within the seven day cooling off period from the date of registration.

(b) More than 56 days (8 weeks) prior to departure, loss of registration fee plus insurance premium (if taken the Norwood policy).

(c) 56 – 29 days, loss of registration fee plus 50%of the costs of the challenge as stated in our brochure, plus insurance premium.

(d) 28 – 15 days, loss of registration plus 75% of the costs of the challenge plus insurance premium.

(e) Less than 14 days prior to departure and you will be liable to the loss of your registration fee and the full costs of the challenge.

We strongly recommend that travel and medical insurance be instigated at the time of registration.

4. Cancellation of one challenge but transfer to another

If it becomes necessary for you to cancel your challenge but you are able to transfer to another challenge in the same calendar year , the below timeframes will apply

(a) More than 56 days prior to departure, your non-refundable registration fee will be transferred to your new challenge along with any sponsorship raised to date.

(b) 56 – 29 days prior to departure and costs will have been incurred for your place on the challenge. The registration fee and any sponsorship raised will therefore be used to offset any cancellation charges incurred by the charity and any balance transferred to your new challenge.

(c) 28 – 15 days, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 75% of the cost of the challenge.

(d) Less than 14 days prior to departure, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge unless an immediate replacement can be found for your place. If an immediate replacement is found, you will lose your non-refundable deposit and will be liable for any cancellation charges. If a replacement cannot be found for your place, you will be liable for 100% of the cost of the challenge.

5. Cancellation by us

In the event we have to cancel the challenge whether as a result of Force Majeure or any other reason that makes it impractical to proceed with the challenge, we will provide you with a prompt and full refund of all monies that have been paid by you to us and our liability for cancellation will be capped in the amount of all monies paid by you to us. No payments are made compensating for losses or costs you incur in the case of a cancellation. You should have an appropriate insurance policy in place to protect against cancellation.

6. Travel and Medical Insurance

The registration fee does not cover insurance. You must have adequate, valid and appropriate travel insurance for your challenge which must include emergency medical expenses, air evacuation and repatriation and trip curtailment cover. It is your responsibility to ensure the details of the insurance policy are provided to us at least 8 weeks prior to departure or we reserve the right to include you on the group policy and charge you a supplement. Any false or misleading information given by you in respect of your insurance policy which may result in your stated insurance company refusing to cover your costs relating to a claim, will make you fully liable and you will be responsible for covering any cancellation charges borne by the charity.

If you withdraw in circumstances where recovery of costs can be indemnified under your travel insurance policy, you hereby agree that you will co-operate in the recovery of these charges from the insurers and any sums recovered will be paid to Norwood.

7. Challenge price and payment options

Norwood reserves the right to pass onto you, regardless of which payment option you have chosen, any additional costs associated with the challenge which have been incurred as a result of circumstances beyond our control (including the cost of fuel, tax, landing fees, accommodation and fluctuations in the exchange rate). You will be informed in writing and should the increase exceed 9% over and above what you have already paid, you have the right to cancel your booking if notice is given within one week of being informed.

8. Fundraising

By registering on this challenge and dependent upon which fundraising option you choose, you are agreeing to raise at least the minimum fundraising target as stated in the event brochure. Approximately 50% of each total (whatever the option) will be used to cover the costs of the challenge, we therefore require that at least 50% of your fundraising target should be reached at least 10 weeks prior to departure. The balance of the funds must then be sent to Norwood no later than 4 weeks following your return from the challenge.

If you are unable to reach the minimum sponsorship amount 10 weeks prior to departure, it is at the discretion of the charity as to whether your challenge place and registration fee are forfeited.

Fundraising money raised for one named event cannot subsequently be used against another event even if the minimum fundraising target for the first event has been exceeded unless (i) the sponsors have been informed and have consented to the monies being transferred or (ii) an event is cancelled or a participant unable to take part in which case the money pledged may be transferred. No sponsorships donations made to the charity will be refunded back to you directly and only back to individual donors upon written request.

It is also important to note that Gift Aid is NOT included as part of the minimum fundraising requirement.

9. Itinerary Changes

All of our challenges are complicated and may be subject to change. They are planned months in advance and sometimes changes to the itinerary are required which are beyond both our control and that of the operator we use. Should there be a significant material change prior to departure which is not as a result of a Force Majeure we will notify you as soon as possible.

10. Flights, airlines, travel arrangements and delays

You must check all information sent to you and make sure you arrive at the airport/point of departure in sufficient time. Airlines sometimes change aircraft and flight times without advance warning and you are asked to check your departure details. Changes made by airlines and to airport destinations do not constitute a material change to your challenge and do not entitle you to cancel.

Most flights are organised through scheduled airlines and we are bound by their terms and conditions.

We do not accept liability for any delays in your travel arrangements or reasonable changes in your itinerary as a result of Force Majeure.

11. Changes by you

Some changes may be made by you subject to availability. We will try to accommodate any changes as requested but any charges incurred will be passed directly to you.

12. Information, visas and other requirements

Any information or advice provided by Norwood on matters such as permits, government travel advice or warnings, visa, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage and special equipment is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of Norwood. You accept responsibility for obtaining all necessary travel information and documentation required for the challenge. We will send you details on visa along with compulsory inoculations, but you should always seek the advice of your doctor. It is your responsibility to ensure these requirements are in place prior to departure and we accept no liability if you are denied entry to any country, port or airport detailed on the itinerary.

13. Standard and quality of accommodation and services

You should not have unreasonable expectations of the facilities that will be provided which in some remote areas and destinations may be below what you expect at home. Wherever possible, rooms will be shared with someone of your choice. Numbers per room will vary subject to size, location and availability.

14. Acceptance of risk and release

(a) You should be aware that this is a challenge. In addition to the usual dangers and risks, some of which may include physical exertion for which you may not be prepared, you may also experience weather extremes and remoteness from normal medical services. You acknowledge that the enjoyment and excitement of participating in a challenge is derived from this inherent risk in travelling and undertaking activities outside of normal safety levels at home. You agree to observe all instructions and rules issued by Norwood, its agents and suppliers whether before, during or after the challenge. The challenge leader may at any time during the course of the challenge terminate your participation if they consider it necessary for the health and safety of either you or the group.

(b) You agree that Norwood, its Trustees, directors, officers , employees and agents ("Released Parties") are hereby released and forever discharged from any and all liabilities (of any kind or nature whatsoever, whether in law or equity, direct or indirect, joint or several, foreseen or unforeseen, contingent or actual, accrued or unaccrued, liquidated or unliquidated, present or future, known or unknown, disclosed or undisclosed, suspected or unsuspected, however and whenever arising and in whatever capacity and jurisdiction) arising from or out of, or in any way relating to the Challenge. You also agree that you will not bring any legal, arbitral, administrative, regulatory or other action or proceedings against any Released Parties in relation to the Challenge and also agree that if you do take any such proceedings or otherwise assert a claim against the Released Parties damages are not an adequate remedy and, accordingly, that injunctive or other similar relief is appropriate to restrain that breach.

15. Laws

You must comply with the laws and regulations of the country visited.

16. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

These Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a) above is and all non-contractual obligations and other matters arising from or connected with it are governed by English law. The courts of England have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising from or connected with these Terms and Conditions and the contract of which they form a part as described in paragraph 1(a).

17. Photographs

By taking part in a Norwood challenge, you agree that any photographs taken during the event may be used by Norwood for publicity and marketing purposes.

18. Confidentiality

Norwood will not pass on personal information to any third parties without your consent, unless we are required to do so by law, except as may be required for the purposes of the Challenge.

Accept Terms

Photographs I appear in during the event can be used by Norwood for publicity and marketing purposes.

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