Botswana - Okavango Delta and Kalahari
Botswana is magic! Imagine herds of over thousand buffalo stampeding across a swamp escaping the threat of hunting lions; elephant mothers gently guiding their tiny calves across the deep waters of an Okavango Delta channel; or a concert of lions roaring and hippos grunting at night near your camp; not to forget the breathtaking experience of African wild dogs organizing a fierce hunt for impalas. There is not a dull moment while being on a game drive in comfortable open Land Cruisers or while silently drifting in a dugout canoe on one of the myriads of Okavango channels, not knowing what surprise might await around the next bend. Being on an African safari reminds one of watching a thriller. There is constant anticipation and tension. And during moments where you might not be surrounded by wild animals you will take in the aromatic smell of sage or listen to the hundreds of bird species that are home to the Okavango Delta.
Our first stop is a visit of the Makgadikgadi, one of the largest salt pans on earth that was once a huge inland lake. For much of the year, the salt pans glimmer in white, parched by the sun and the salt and allowing little more than algae to grow. But during the rainy season (roughly November to March), the area can be transformed into a crucial wetland. Water can flow in from the Boteti and Nata rivers, filling ephemeral ponds, watering holes, and shallow lakes and creating short-lived but abundant grasslands. The event draws migrating wildebeest and zebras, as well as the predators that hunt them. The waters fill with ducks, geese, pelicans, and flamingos—one of just two breeding spots in southern Africa for the long-legged birds. We however will be there during the dry season when the pan resembles some otherworldly landscape bar of any life. To get a feel for the emptiness and vastness of this place we will have the opportunity to use ATVs that will take us far away from the shore into total silence, surrounded only by blazing white.
A stark contrast to the lifeless salt pan are the lively and extremely cute suricates who live at the fringes of the pan. We will watch them coming out of their burrows early morning when the sun starts chasing away the coolness of the night. One after the other of these little creatures will pop out of the ground, standing straight up, absorbing the warming sun while always on alert looking out for birds of prey.
A charter flight over the northern Kalahari will take us to the edge of the wildlife rich Okavango Delta. Usually a river spills its water into an ocean. The Okavango River however flows into the sand of the vast Kalahari where the water disappears underground. The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland that is home to some of the world’s most endangered species of large mammal, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, African wild dog and lion. More correctly an alluvial fan, the delta covers between 6000 and 15 000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana.
Here in Moremi Game Reserve, the easternmost extension of the Okavango Delta we will enjoy a quiet and peaceful time in a private mobile tented camp situated near a lagoon where hippos hang out during the day and elephant breeding herds may come to drink and bath. In the mornings and late afternoons until sunset we will explore this wildlife rich area by safari vehicle before returning back to the camp where a cozy campfire atmosphere is awaiting us with cold drinks and snacks.
After two days we will be spoiled by magnificent views while flying a long distance over the Okavango Delta. Below us stretches a mosaic of waterways and lagoons in all shades of green and blue interspersed with with islands that found their origin in the activity of termites. The following 3 days we will explore the papyrus-fringed delta channels near our camp by mokoro (dugout canoe) and motor boat.
We cannot leave Botswana without having experienced Savuti, a place that occasionally is dominated by the water-filled Savuti Channel that empties into a vast marsh. For decades the channel had been dry until about 10 years ago when it started flowing again. Due to tectonic movements and the resulting upheaval of the land NW of Savuti the channel once again is dry. Nevertheless this doesn't prevent large numbers of elephants gathering around the few waterholes every evening. Savuti though acquired fame because of its large number of lions. Having been to Eastern Africa and other parts of Botswana many times we can surely say that Savuti has never disappointed us with excellent lion sightings. Actually the most exciting lion action we have witnessed has been in Savuit which covers the southern part of the vast Chobe National Park. Here once again we will enjoy the privacy of comfortable private tented camp and will be happy to see friendly staff again who looked after us in the Moremi Game Reserve.
Please read the REVIEWS of our previous Botswana expeditions!
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Letters correspond to points on the map in the map tab.
Day 01: July 14We will arrive in the Kalahari in the late afternoon and will check into camp. Camp Kalahari is a small camp that is located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans - a salt pan located in the Kalahari. The highlight of this camp is that it is one of three sister camps that has access to habituated meerkats. These curious little fellows are still wild, but because they are habituated, they oftentimes will climb up on your back or even on your head for a view of the desert before they take off on their foraging trips. It is one of the only three places that offers anything like this in Africa. This is the least expensive camp of the three, but it is still absolutely wonderful. This camp offers horseback riding across the pans, quad bike riding, walk with the bushmen, star gazing and more. You can relax this evening after you settle into camp to get rested from your flight or decide to go star gazing after dinner.Camp Kalahari (B,L,D included and all activities)
Day 02: July 15:You will have a full day in the Kalahari but will start the day bright and early to go to the dens of the meerkats. These little guys venture out of their dens as the sun starts to rise. They stand in the sun as it slowly begins to warm the cool Kalahari morning. After our time with the meerkats, we can go for a short game drive or head back camp for a delicious breakfast. Your family can choose to do any of the activities offered in camp and also relax by the pool.Camp Kalahari (B,L,D included and all activities)
Day 02: July 15:
Day 03: July 16We will spend our last morning with the meerkats before returning to camp for a warm breakfast. Today we will fly to Xakanaka in Moremi Game Reserve. Our drivers will pick us up and we will immediately begin to look for wildlife as we slowly make our way to our private camp in time for lunch. We will have time to unpack and settle in to our home for the next three nights. After a short rest, we will have afternoon tea and then depart on our first official game drive in the bush. We have the most experienced guides in Botswana. Theo, Jami and the guides are experienced trackers and you will be in the best hands. In Moremi we hope to see all kinds of antelopes, lions, leopards, hyenas, possibly cheetahs and even hopefully wild dogs - the most exciting predators to behold with the highest hunting success rate of all the predators. Elephants, hippos and crocodiles will also be on our radar as well.Private Tented Camp (B,L,D and drinks including wine, beer and some cocktails)
Days 04-05: July 17-18And now our bush safari begins. The next few days will get us into the safari rhythm. We will wake up in the dark, have our coffee/tea around the fire with a biscuit or small bite and then head out looking for the animals that use the night to their advantage. We will concentrate on animal behavior and action and we have things in mind that we will be looking for. You will see the methods used in the bush when tracking animals. Finally, when we are satisfied and our adrenalin is surging, we will stop and enjoy our breakfast in the bush al fresco - maybe along the river watching hippos or sitting with he elephants. We will then slowly return to camp continuing our search for things to see. We will relax in camp until lunch is served. Most everyone is amazed at how our chef can prepare such delicious meals over a camp fire.We then relax for a few hours until our afternoon coffee/tea is served and then we head out for our afternoon game drive. When we return back to camp as night falls, we will be welcomed with a roaring fire where we can enjoy a hot cup of cocoa, a glass of wine and a few things to nibble on before dinner is served. As our days start early, we typically turn in early to get rested and prepared for the next day. Hot showers are available any time they are requested. They literally boil the water and fill it in a bucket just next to your tent. We are not sure how they do it, but the hot water is always the perfect temperature. The showers are outside in the sun or beneath the stars. You will lay in your tent at night and listen to the sound of Africa. There is nothing quite like it.Private Tented Camp (B,L,D and drinks including wine, beer and some cocktails)
Days 04-05: July 17-18
Day 06: July 19After our last breakfast in camp, we will slowly make our way to the air strip. We may have to chase the animals off the runway so that our plane can safely land. We will fly to one of two islands in the Okavango. The Okavango is a fresh water river that slowly disappears into the Kalahari. It is teeming with wildlife and is comprised of many islands. The Okavango Delta was declared a Natural Wonder of Africa - and it is, a wonder. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is created by seasonal flooding from the Angola Highland. The flooding peaks between June and August. It has lagoons, canals, river beds and water holes attracting large numbers of animals. We will spend the next 3 nights in a camp located on one of these remote islands. Many activities and game viewing will be available while we are in the Okavango.Tubu Tree Camp (B,L,D and drinks inclusive)
Days 07-08: July 20-21We will spend the next one - two days exploring the Okavango Delta on game drives and by boat (including small dug out boats called mokoro canoes). It is a magical place and one of the highlights of BotswanaTubu Tree Camp (B,L,D and drinks inclusive)
Days 07-08: July 20-21
Day 09: July 22Savuti (Savuti) is very famous in Botswana as the place to see predators. Savuti equals action. Game viewing here is exceptional and we will spend the next three nights in this area of astounding concentrations of wildlife under canvas. It is a huge sprawling area across the western side of Chobe National Park. Years ago, it became famous for large prides of elephant-hunting lions - knows as the Savuti pride. Elephants congregate here in large numbers during the dry season. It is a very special place.We will fly from the Okavango to Savuti and upon arrival make our way through the bush to our next camp which will be prepared and waiting for us. We will have lunch, relax, enjoy our afternoon tea and then rejoin our guides for an exciting game drive.Private Tented Camp (B,L,D and drinks including wine, beer and some cocktails)
Days 10-11: July 23-24We will explore this vast area looking for predators and the action that surrounds them. We will resume our safari schedule and slip back into that rhythm while we lay in our tents as night listening to the calls of lions and whooping cries of hyenas which are all active at night.Private Tented Camp (B,L,D and drinks including wine, beer and some cocktails)
Days 10-11: July 23-24
Day 12: July 25After our last morning game drive in the bush, we will make our way to the airstrip in Savuti. Here we will say goodbye to our guides and to Botswana. We will get our last look at the elephant herds and the even the Savuti Channel and Marsh as we look out from the windows of our last bush flight.Once we arrive, we will cross the border between Botswana ad Zimbabwe by road and be transferred to Victoria Falls.We will check into our hotel which is a lovely old Colonial hotel from a past era in southern Africa. It is perfectly located in the town of Victoria Falls and is a short walk to the falls. After we settle into our rooms, we will meet for High Tea on the veranda of the hotel. From here we can see the spray of the falls as we overlook the lawn and garden sipping our tea.A few hours later, we will be transferred to the Zambezi River for an evening sunset cruise. We will have appetizers and drinks as we cruise along the banks of the mighty Zambezi looking for hippos, elephants and crocodiles from the safety of our boat.Victoria Falls Hotel (B,High Tea, Dinner on boat)
Day 13: July 26After a lovely breakfast on the veranda of our hotel, you will have some free time to shop in town for African carvings (Zimbabwe is well known for these among other things) and/or to walk down to see the falls. The Bulawayo referred to the falls as “The Smoke that Thunders). They are considered one of the world’s natural seven wonders.Lunch will be on your own but you will need to return to the hotel at a designated time as we will be transferred to the local airport where we will fly by helicopter on a scenic flight over Victoria Falls.After our exciting flight, we return to our hotel to freshen up before dinner. For our last dinner in southern Africa, we will go to a restaurant called the Boma just outside of Vic Falls. It offers a large buffet of various African foods including local game. As I am writing this, I just remembered that only six people in your family will eat meat! So I need to rethink this!! :-). This place is touristy, but it has a drum show where the guests can dance - I thought the kids would enjoy it on their last night.Victoria Falls Hotel (B,D included)
Day 13: July 26
Day 14: July 27After our last breakfast in Zimbabwe, we will make our way to the Victoria Falls Airport to connect to our international flights home.(B included)End of Services
We look forward to seeing you on your next Wild Focus Expedition!
- All airport transfers
- Two Wild Focus Expeditions guides
- Experienced, English speaking drivers
- Unlimited game drives as per itinerary
- All national park and conservation fees
- Charter flights from Maun to Kalahari, Kalahari to Xakanaka, Xakanaka to Delta, Delta to Savuti, Savuti to Kasane
- Land Transfer from Kasane to Victoria Falls
- Two morning with meerkats
- Two nights full board Camp Kalahari
- Camp Kalahari activities
- Three nights at Tubu Camp and all activities
- Three nights mobile tented safari Moremi Game Reserve
- Three nights mobile tented safari in Savuti/Chobe National Park
- Laundry services except in Victoria Falls Hotel
- Mineral water during game drives
- All meals excluding dinner on first evening in Macushla House and last evening at Sheraton Four Points
- Selected beverages where mentioned above
- Mineral water during game drives
- Drinks included where indicated
- Two nights in Victoria Falls Hotel
- Helicopter flights over the Victoria Falls
- High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel
- Boat cruise on the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls
- Dinner last night in Victoria Falls
- International airfare to Maun/Botswana and from Victoria Falls/Zimbabwe
- Change of itinerary
- All beverages (unless where mentioned as included)
- Any items of personal nature such as telephone calls, beverages, laundry except where mentioned
- Tips / gratuities for your driver / guide and camp / lodge staff
- Travel/medical insurance
- Any extras not mentioned in the included list such as extra meals and activities
Note: There is a baggage allowance of 27.5 kg per person inclusive hand luggage. Soft (duffel) bags are required for all charter flights
Our Botswana safaris will be in permanent to semi-permanent tented camps. All of our tents are en suite, are designed to the highest standards, and are comfortable with hot showers and an adjoining toilet. All of our camps will have separate lounge and dining areas which add to the excitement and ambiance of being on safari. It should be noted, however, that there are no fences around our camps, and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries. Please be assured that you will be safe at all times. Our Expeditions Leaders and camp staff will be there to assure your safety.
From May through August, temperatures are very comfortable during the day. Mornings can be quite cool to cold while warming up as the day continues. Nights can be cold and midday temperatures range from 70ºF (20ºC) to 80ºF (26ºC0. Our Handbooks provide more detailed information about clothing and trip preparation.
We recommend that our travelers bring an adventurous spirit, as you will often enjoy the closest animal encounters.
Jami Tarris & Theo Allofs
Jami and Theo have spent several years in Botswana, one of their most favorite wildlife destinations in Africa. When they are not guiding they explore southern Africa with their own fully equipped Land Cruiser.
Wild Focus Expeditions provides specialized, small group photography tours. Our photography expeditions are designed to get participants into distinctive, engaging locations around the world at the optimum times for photography. Our photo tours are created by our team of photographers who want to experience and photograph the world's top wildlife, nature and traditional cultures locations.
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