Botswana boasts vast tracts of Africa in pristine condition. On this sixteen day safari you will discover some of the finest wildlife Botswana has to offer as we visit Makgadikgadi Pan, the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, the Chobe River front and the mighty Victoria Falls. This itinerary packs in a wide variety in accommodation, including luxury tented camps, private full-service mobile tenting (with en-suite bathroom) and a luxury house boat. We also use a range of transport, including 4WD, small plane and mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe). The safari ends in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, home of the mighty Victoria Falls, a world UNESCO Heritage site.
*2018 prices are a very good approximate and based on the best information currently available from our local partners. Prices will be confirmed in October 2017.
** US$ 50 from your safari will be donated to an orphanage, which we will visit on safari.
Claire worked as a conservation volunteer in Southern Africa for more than 2 years. During this time she assisted several wildlife researchers with their projects and completed two of her own research projects. The first project was in Botswana on a bird called the African Skimmer. The second project was a visitor survey at Addo Elephant National Park, in South Africa. Using her extensive knowledge, Claire has published more than 60 children's educational books about animals. These books have been photographically illustrated using her images. More than 20 of these books are about African animals.
Met by Claire at Maun Airport and transferred to Thamalakane River Lodge, on bed and breakfast basis. Rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Situated along the banks of the Thamalakane River, in the North-West District of Botswana, Maun, a term that derives its name from the San language, meaning "the place of reeds," serves as the administrative town center of Ngamiland. Maun is notoriously known as a "Frontier" town, and is referred to as the 'gateway' to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve as most tourists enter these destinations through this buzzing town.
Although classified as one of the fastest growing towns in Botswana, and boasting one of the busiest airports in Southern Africa, Maun still retains much of its old/traditional (village-like) character, which encompasses the old judicial court of chiefs who are still active. Reed and mud hut infrastructures are seen in and around town as well as donkeys/carts and livestock.
We will visit 'Place of Joy Day Care' for about half an hour. Place of Joy is one of six pre-schools in the Botswana Orphan Project, which was set up by Ryan Williams who grew up in Botswana and now lives in Australia. In Botswana, 200,000 children of the population of 2 million are orphans. The Place of Joy has been full-time day care centre with two teachers and a principal since 2007 and has regularly cared for approximately 70 pre-school children. The centre also admits paying children (non-orphans) to help offset the operational costs of the facility. We then transfer by road from Maun to Makgadikgadi National Park, by road.
Breakfast and early morning transfer to Leroo La Tau Airstrip to catch our flight to Pom Pom Camp.
The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest inland deltas situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world - the Kalahari basin. This oasis in the middle of the desert is a rich yet fragile ecosystem, providing a life source for an incredible variety of wildlife. A wealth of species have adapted to the contrasting conditions created by living in the harsh Kalahari desert which is transformed annually with the arrival of the delta flood waters originating in Angola.
The Okavango wetland encompasses Moremi Game Reserve and surrounding regions divided into areas known as Private Concessions. These concessions are wildlife management areas, carefully administrated to balance the growing community's development and conservation, whilst empowering citizens through sustainable tourism. Many of the exclusive lodges in Botswana are situated within these concessions in the delta, providing an unparalleled wildlife experience - exclusive and remote, avoiding mass tourism and exploitation.
Morning departure to Pom Pom Airstrip to catch our plane to Xakanaxa, where we will be met by our guides and camp staff who will be with us for the next 6 days.
We have five nights full service mobile camping in Xakanaxa area of Moremi Game Reserve and Kwhai Community Concession. This part of the itinerary is a privately guided mobile safari experience where we travel as one unit with our Professional Guide and camp staff. This allows you to experience the adventure of bygone days, travelling through diverse areas, witnessing the transformation as the landscapes change and different habitats meet.
Accommodation - The tents are 3m by 3m wilderness tents with high roof, well ventilated with mosquito proof screens and door. They are en-suite with bucket showers and bush toilets. The tents are fitted with stretcher beds made up with, sheets, duvets and pillows. Each tent has an LED light. Although each tent has lighting and there are lamps strategically around the camp for navigation, an essential tool for your safari is a headlamp as this lets you read a book at night in your tent or catch up with your safari journal as you listen to the sounds of the wild outside! If you are travelling as a couple then pack one per person.
We transfer to Khwai airstrip to take our flight to Kasane, from where we transfer to the Pride of The Zambezi, a luxury houseboat situated on the Namibian side of the Chobe River.
The Chobe River front is a remarkable wildlife area due to the permanent water source of the Chobe River. However its accessibility from Kasane and neighbouring towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone has created quite a busy tourist area with larger hotels and lodges than you find in the more remote Okavango Delta. The spectacle of all the animals coming to drink and frolic at the water's edge is one to behold, particularly in the dry season (May - Oct) where water is scarce away from the river. It is an area famous for its abundance of elephants, a variety of predators and, in addition, you are likely to see herds of buffalo and possibly even roan and sable antelope. In the rainy season (Nov - Apr) the game is much less concentrated at the river as the wildlife spread throughout the greater area of Chobe National Park due to availability of surface water from nearby pans. This assists the vegetation on the river banks in recovering from the massive herds that are attracted to the area in the dry months. The summer rains bring beautiful wild flowers, exquisite scenery, impressive bird life and an abundance of young animals usually born around November/December. The spectacular Chobe sunsets alone are worth a visit to the area. Please note that activities are restricted within the national park in accordance with government rules and regulations: these include no driving off-road, no walking and no driving after dark.
Morning transfer from the Pride of the Zambezi back to Kasane, then a transfer by road to Victoria Falls. On arrival into Victoria Falls (usually around lunchtime) we will book any optional activities you wish to partake in. We will then check into Ilala Lodge. After checking we visit Victoria Falls, which usually takes around 2 hours.
Victoria Falls town lies on the southern bank of the Zambezi River at the eastern end of the Victoria Falls. It is a lovely tourist town which is easy to explore on foot and which offers a wide range of activities from the challenge of white water rafting and bungy jumping, to the awe-inspiring elephant back safaris and sunset cruises. It has something for everyone.
The Victoria Falls are one of the natural Seven Wonders of the World and is the largest sheet of falling water on earth - a spellbinding and mesmerising spectacle. The sheer mass of water cascading down the 100m drop across nearly 2km makes a thunderous roar and creates a magnificent spray of water that can be seen for miles - hence the local name 'mosi oa tunya' meaning 'the smoke that thunders'.
Access to Victoria Falls is within easy walking distance from the town centre. Water flow over the Falls varies throughout the year. The river's annual flood season is February to May when the spray can reach a height of over 400m, this is spectacular from above but it makes it very difficult to see the Falls at ground level as it is under a heavy shower/mist. Water levels start dropping in August and are at their lowest October - December when much of the rocky face becomes dry. At times of low water, the falls are best viewed from the Zimbabwe side or from Livingstone Island.
After breakfast we do a short tour of the markets in Chinotomba Township. The word Chinotimba describes the roar of the water from the mighty Victoria Falls in the local Nambya language. The majority of people in Victoria Falls live in the Chinotimba township, with a population of ±60 000. Opportunity to observe township-life – from the oldest houses to the taverns, the local market and churches. Visit the Chinotimba Primary School and be introduced to the school headmaster. Tour of the school after which the children may sing a song.
After the tour you will be picked up and transferred to Victoria Falls Airport for your onward flight.
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