Secluded Botswana Safari
Botswana is one of the very best locations for wildlife viewing and a paradise for photographers. This expert operator has designed this experience for maximum close-up wildlife encounters.
Botswana: Drink It In
In the wilds of Botswana, you'll find the wonders that drew adventurers to the African continent over a century ago. Vast elephant herds still roam the savanna. Buffalo, giraffe, zebra and antelope thrive in the Okavango Delta and at watering holes that sustain life on the parched plains. Lions laze in the shade of mopane trees while leopards sprawl in the branches, icons of genuine wilderness that exists in Botswana. If you're a wildlife photographer, Botswana will exceed your wildest dreams! Our intimate tented bush camps are reminiscent of a nostalgic safari era, yet replete with contemporary luxuries. If you're searching for the classic romance of Africa, it's still here in secluded Botswana.
Travel Curator’s Insights:
- • Led by top guides, follow rhinos on foot, meet a predator researcher, and capture stunning wildlife images, including big cats and huge elephant herds.
• Exclusive small camps on remote private reserves offer unsurpassed comfort, seclusion and astounding proximity to wildlife, often on view from our tents.
• This outstanding operator always delivers a fantastic experience on this award-winning itinerary.
From $14,995 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.
April to November Ask us for your preferred date range.
April - Nov 2023
Hover here for specific dates
Trip Sustainability Awards
Offsets all CO2 outputs from trips and office operations
Has contributed more than $4.5 million to the WWF
Has eliminated use of single-use plastic bottles and straws
Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River
Our Botswana trip begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you're met on arrival and transferred to Toka Leya to spend the night. This luxury camp sits in a prime location overlooking the mighty Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s name means “The Smoke that Thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker, as we see mist clouds rising off the falls from miles away. Enjoy a classic sunset cruise before a welcome dinner with your Expedition Leader and traveling companions.
Premier & Classic Plus Accommodation: Toka Leya
Toka Leya: This luxurious camp occupies a prime spot overlooking the Zambezi River and its islands, with hippos and crocodiles on view from tents that are raised on stilts and connected by wooden walkways.
Day 2: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Rhino Walk / Village Visit / Victoria Falls
In Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a wildlife drive offers our first sampler of the species diversity we may see during our safari, plus our best chance to see a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers charged with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we'll get out of the vehicle for more intimate encounters, learning how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and follow their movements. With no predators in the park, we can also walk safely in search of zebra, giraffe, warthog, various antelope species, and other smaller mammals and birds. Elephants regularly cross the river, and we often see them wandering throughout the park. We also visit a nearby village to learn about the daily life of the local people. Then, it’s off to Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding cataract, for a guided walking tour. The profuse spray has created a rain forest on the rim, and a network of walkways offers varying viewpoints over falls, which span more than a mile and plummet 350 feet into the Zambezi Gorge.
Premier & Classic Plus Accommodation: Toka Leya
Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
Traveling by road and ferry, we cross the Chobe River into Botswana's Chobe National Park, famed for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a private boat cruise down the river and its myriad channels, we sometimes see several hundred elephants in a single day. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are on view along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water.
This afternoon, fly to the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, some of Africa's most dramatic big-game country. Its tree-dotted plains are home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog, as well as enormous elephant herds. We expect to encounter wildlife in amazing proximity along the Linyanti River and surrounding environs. Spend time in a hide that faces the Linyanti Channel, elevating us close to elephants, hippos and numerous birds. In the evenings, relax at our secluded camp, where well-appointed walk-in tents evoke a nostalgic era of safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches overhead we see more stars than we ever dreamed of, scattered across an impossibly black sky.
Premier Accommodation: Linyanti Tented Camp
Classic Plus Accommodation: Savuti Camp
Linyanti Tented Camp: Set under magnificent knob thorn acacia trees with a splendid view over the Linyanti waterways, this nostalgic safari camp is replete with the atmosphere of a bygone era of African exploration. One of the area's most famous attractions is a chance to watch scores of elephants refresh themselves in the many water channels that lace the region.
Savuti Camp: On the banks of the ephemeral Savute Channel, this isolated camp sits within a legendary region known for abundant predators and elephants, with seven large walk-in tents with private verandas. Each elevated tent has its own bathroom with a large indoor shower, twin copper hand basins and a separate flush toilet. Four-poster beds are draped in gauzy mosquito netting and ceiling fans keep the air moving overhead.
Days 6–8: Linyanti / Okavango Delta—Exploring the Marsh
After a final game drive in the wilds of Linyanti, transfer by light aircraft to the Okavango Delta, Earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola, joining with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert, where a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. When rains create rising floodwaters, the delta is a vast network of waterways and islands that are home to a profuse collection of wildlife and lush vegetation.
Jacana Camp is located in the heart of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by a maze of wetlands that sustain many rare birds. Look for wattled cranes, Pel’s fishing owls, jacanas, rails, crakes and moorhens. Following the reed-fringed channels, we may also spy water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses. Depending on water levels, explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro, a traditional poled dugout canoe, offering a chance to observe wildlife at eye-level in complete quiet. We'll also hope to do a guided walk for an intimate perspective on the smaller wonders that surround us.
Please note: Water levels and activities may vary based on fluctuating annual rainfall.
Premier Accommodation: Jacana Camp
Classic Plus Accommodation: Tubu Tree Camp
Jacana Camp: Situated on a private reserve in the heart of the delta on a thickly forested island, five Meru-style tents built on wooden decks sit high on a lush palm-forested island with views across the floodplains. Each tent has an en suite bathroom that is enclosed, plus an additional attached outside shower and clawfoot bathtub looking out across the floodplain.
Tubu Tree Camp: In one of the permanently dry areas of the Okavango Delta on Hunda Island, Tubu Tree's eight traditional canvas tents are built on raised decks, enjoying territorial vistas and passing wildlife. In addition to an elegantly appointed bedroom, each tent has a private deck and en suite bathroom facilities with an outdoor shower open to the African sky.
Days 9–11: Southeast Okavango—Santawani Private Concession—Visit with Predator Researcher
Fly by light aircraft to Gomoti Tented Camp in the heart of the Santawani Concession, a private community-owned reserve encompassing nearly 15,000 acres in the southeast corner of the Okavango Delta. Our intimate camp, isolated in the wild, offers a tremendous sense of seclusion. While some parts of the delta are permanently flooded, other habitats create a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier regions like the area that surrounds our camp.
A mix of dense riverine woodland, open savanna and acacia scrub provides ample food for a large array of browsers and grazing species, as well as predators including cheetah, leopard, lion and rare wild dog. The Gomoti River is a year-round lifeline for animals, while inland waterholes also sustain them during the dry season. The diverse range of habitats makes the Gomoti region ideal for all-day excursions, including traditional 4x4 game drives, picnic lunches and night drives in search of nocturnal species. During our stay in Santawani, we're joined by a local researcher to learn about studies on the wide range of predators in the area, including research projects on wild dog, cheetah and leopard.
Premier Accommodation: Gomoti Tented Camp
Classic Plus Accommodation: Chitabe Lediba Camp
Gomoti Tented Camp: Our private camp, exclusively for our guests, has just five canvas tents, evoking the bush accommodations of early explorers—yet we enjoy exceptional comforts, illumined by the vintage glow of paraffin lanterns and a crackling campfire.
Chitabe Lediba Camp: Chitabe Lediba is a small and intimate camp within the concession – perfect as a private accommodation for small groups or families, as its two family units have adjoining bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms. All five spacious Meru-style tents are built on raised decks. En-suite bathrooms complement the outdoor shower "with a view."
Day 12: Maun / Depart
Our grand Botswana safari comes to a close as we depart by air for Maun to connect with homeward flights, or to continue with onward extensions.
What to Expect in Different Seasons:
Green Season (November – April): Green season is a time of new life, as mothers drop their young and a refreshed delta sprouts anew. This is Botswana’s summer, when daytime temperatures rise into the 80s and 90s, evenings dip into the 50s and late afternoon thunderstorms are chased by clear skies and brilliant rainbows.
Botswana's Brief Metamorphosis (May): In May, the Okavango Delta’s waters start to rise, the landscape dries out and vegetation begins to thin. Rain is unlikely and daytime temperatures are moderate in the upper 70s to mid 80s.
Dry Season (June – October): Botswana’s dry winter season offers prime wildlife viewing with peak elephant season in the Linyanti and a rise in predators appearing in the Okavango Delta. Air temperatures vary widely from cold mornings to warming days, getting gradually hotter as the dry season wears on.
Limited to ~7 Travelers: A very important feature of our Secluded Botswana Safari is the limited group size of just seven travelers, since nature and wildlife encounters are greatly enhanced when fewer people are present. Secluded Botswana Photo Safaris are limited to eight travelers, who are then split between two vehicles with a maximum of four travelers per vehicle.
Photo Itinerary: Travel with just four guests per vehicle on our Secluded Botswana Photo Safari, led by a naturalist Expedition Leader who is a pro photographer and expert instructor. Plus, you'll get additional baggage allowance on internal flights, special expeditions at sunrise and sunset to capture the best light, and an exclusive doors-off helicopter flight over the Gomoti River and Okavango Delta for aerial imagery.
Classic Plus: On Classic-Plus departures, our itinerary varies slightly to offer guests an even higher level of safari luxury. The itinerary includes stays at Botswana's truly premier properties: Savuti Camp (Linyanti Private Reserve), Tubu Tree Camp (Hunda Island, Okavango Delta) and Chitabe Lediba Camp (pictured, southeast Okavango). There is a surcharge for these departures.
Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers: An essential element of this safari is our use of a combination of two specialized vehicles during different parts of the trip, facilitating unmatched wildlife viewing opportunities. Sometimes we travel in open Land Cruisers that provide a comfortable and safe ride over the sometimes uneven terrain of Botswana’s desert and delta environs. We also use 4x4 Land Rovers, with a unique suspension system and an open-sided, tiered seating arrangement designed to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities and comfort. It is common to have a shade net over the vehicle to provide sun protection and cover during possible intermittent rains. This protective net comes off during the cooler summer months in Botswana to allow the sun to warm us on morning and afternoon drives.
Both types of vehicles have 10 cushioned passenger seats—one in front next to the driver, followed by three rows of three seats each—though we limit our capacity to seven travelers per vehicle on wildlife drives during our Secluded Botswana Safari, again for maximum comfort, viewing and photo opportunities. Secluded Botswana Photo Safaris accommodate a maximum of four travelers per vehicle. Vehicles have a mini fridge stocked with cold drinks, a small library with reference books and field guides, and ponchos for each traveler in case of rain. Each custom-built vehicle sports front bull bars and runner boards, as well as a full recovery kit, including spare tires and a high-lift jack. Vehicles are updated or replaced regularly and meticulously maintained to provide our guests with an outstanding safari experience.
I've sent many people to Botswana with this operator because they really do have the most fantastic itinerary and guides in this region. Highly recommended!
Joy Martinello, Founder
What’s Included & Cancellation Policy: