With its vast unfenced wilderness, spectacular wildlife and infinite horizons, Botswana is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most authentic and inspirational safari destinations. Boasting one of the largest game populations in Southern Africa as well as the highest concentration of elephants in the world, the country offers unprecedented game viewing opportunities.
Not for the faint-hearted, this tour includes many regions which are off the beaten track. Central Kalahari Game Reserve has, until relatively recently, even been totally off-limits to the general public. This pristine semi-desert is famous for its Black-Maned Kalahari Lions and its large population of Brown Hyaenas – arguably the largest remaining in Africa – as well as wild dog, cheetah, leopard, springbok, gemsbok and ostrich. Now the world’s second largest protected area, it has been inhabited by the San for thousands of years since they roamed the lands as nomadic hunters. Pioneer researchers Mark and Delia Owens made the Reserve world-renowned with their book Cry of the Kalahari in the 1970s.
We then cross over the Boteti river by ferry to the camp site on the banks of the river. We can expect fantastic bird life on the river as well as herds of elephant, zebra , wildebeest etc. The influx of animals is seasonal and depends on rainfall. The wilderbeest and Zebra migration in the Makgadigadi Game reserve is the 2nd biggest migration in the world.
Our next destination, Nxai Pan National Park, is undoubtedly one of Africa’s best kept secrets. Centered around an enormous salt pan – the northern arm of the Makgadigadi Pan – this area attracts large numbers of game, particularly elephants, which frequent this area at the beginning of the rains to take advantage of the mineral deposits.
The Okavango Delta is an oasis in the Kalahari Basin – and the world’s largest inland delta. We will do as the locals do and board dug-out canoes – Mokoros (this would be an optional extra) – to be poled silently along a maze of narrow waterways and deeper into the delta or take a trip on a boat . The bird life is spectacular, and we get the chance to spot elephants, lechwe antelopes or zebras . Driving around this area is an adventure by itself and then you have the added thrill of the animals.
Named after the famed Batawana Chief, Moremi Game Reserve is the jewel of the Botswanan parks. This reserve includes the Okavango Delta and is inundated with islands and waterways and an array of striking wildlife and waterfowl. We will explore the northern part of the park, including the Khwai River section, extensively.
Savuti needs very little introduction and is known for its large population of lions, in particular several prides which specialize in hunting elephant.
Heading north through the Chobe National Park, we explore the Chobe River banks extensively on land and from the water. It is well known for its enormous herds of elephant and its breathtaking landscape, especially in the magical light of sunset.
Victoria Falls, being one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is an impressive sight of its own. Called Mosi-oa-Tunya by the locals (the smoke that thunders), this phrase describes the impressive waterfall – the largest in the world – aptly. The small town of Victoria Falls is at the same time the adventure capital of the region, with the spectacular white water rafting on the Zambezi being only one of many possibilities to get on eye-level with nature’s forces. We will have a full day here, allowing us ample time to explore the attractions as well as to relax by the pool.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner included.
Day 1: Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
We meet at Khama Rhino Sabctuary in Botswana. It is about a 2 hour drive from Martin’s Drift border post on tar road. In transit stock up on essential supplies for the journey into Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Tonight we will enjoy our first camp fire at the beautiful Khama Rhino Sanctuary with its bizarre Mokongwa trees. This is Botswana’s premier rhino viewing reserve. B,D.
Day 2: Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
After a morning game drive in Khama Rhino Sanctuary looking out for rhinos, we are headed for the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. After an extensive game drive, we will camp at one of the many wild sites in the southern region of the park. There are no facilities in the campsite, and, after a hearty meal around the camp fire, we fall asleep to the sounds of the wild. B,L,D.
Day 3: Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Heading off at sunrise we explore the central region of the park and return to the campsite for lunch before continuing to our next destination in the late afternoon. Tonight we camp wild under the stars. B,L,D.
Day 4: Central Kalahari Game Reserve: Deception Valley.
Deception Valley and nearby Piper’s Pan were made famous by the Owens’ Cry of the Kalahari. Today we will visit this area and some of the pans in the region before arriving in our campsite in the late afternoon. B,L,D.
Day 5: Makgadigadi National Park
After an early morning game drive we exit Central Kalahari and travel the short distance to Makgadigadi National Park crossing the Boteti river by ferry or if it has subsided we drive over In the late afternoon we will explore the river banks and surrounding wilderness. B,L,D.
Day 6: Nxai Pan National Park.
After an early morning game drive we exit Makgadigadi and travel the short distance to Nxai Pan National Park. In the late afternoon we will explore the pan and surrounding wilderness before arriving in our campsite. B,L,D.
Day 7: Nxai Pan to Maun.
Departing early morning we will conduct a game drive before arriving in Maun for lunch. Perched on the banks of the Thamalakane River (one of the southern arms of the Okavango Delta), this spot is an oasis in the desert. This afternoon will be spent relaxing and preparing for the journey into the northern regions of Botswana. Tonight we will have an own expense meal under the stars. B,L.
Day 8 and 9: Okavango.( Khwai )
The Okavango Delta, with its myriad of islands and waterways, is a wildlife paradise and no visit to Botswana would be complete without it. During these 2 days we will traverse some of the delta’s channels using traditional dugout canoes and conduct some game drives in this beautiful area. Here we have a chance to interact with some of the Bayei people who have been living in this area for centuries. B,L,D.
Day 10 and 11: Moremi Game Reserve.
After resupplying in the bustling frontier town of Maun we will enter the world renowned Moremi Game Reserve. The following two days will be spent exploring the more remote areas of the park including Third Bridge and the Khwai River. B,L,D.
Day 12: Savuti.( Chobe )
This morning we will follow the course of the the Kwhai River into Chobe National Park. The Savuti channel has been flowing again for the first time in many years (recently dry again) and we will explore the river and surrounding marsh in search of the large elephant bulls which roam this area as well as a variety of plains game. B,L,D.
Day 13 and 14: Chobe River.
Leaving Savuti early today, we will arrive in the late morning in our campsite along the Chobe River. With its ancient baobab trees and beautiful scenery the river drive is the jewel in the crown of the park and we will spend the afternoon game viewing after relaxing in the heat of the day. B,L,D.
Day 15: Victoria Falls.
After an extensive game drive along the river we will arrive in Kasane for lunch after which we will partake in a Chobe River game viewing cruise which is another excellent way to see the park and its abundant wildlife from the water.
The following 2 nights will be spent at the same camp just out of town. During this time we will visit the spectacle that is Victoria Falls and, for the adrenalin seekers, there is the option of many activities offered in and around the town including white water rafting on the Zambezi River. Lunch in Victoria falls will be at own expense. You will be collected at 7h00 in the morning and bussed to Vic Falls spending the full day there. D
Day 16: Tour ends
After a hearty breakfast we say goodbye to our travelling companions. B.
Moremi Game Reserve has, in previous years, occasionally been closed due to excessive flooding. Although highly unlikely, in this event we will bypass Moremi and spend two more nights in Chobe National Park instead.