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Botswana: Kalahari, the Delta & Beyond

Icy FPO

Experience Botswana's lush summer on this one-of-a-kind expedition: witness Africa's second-largest migration and delight in the unique sight of baby animals during this vibrant season.

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SPECIAL OFFER

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9.2*

ECO SCORE

7

PASSENGERS

12

DAYS

3/5

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Botswana: Drink It In

Welcome Aboard the

Offer

Botswana’s lush summer, its most productive and colorful time, offers natural spectacles most travelers miss. Sporadic light rains in the Kalahari Desert mark a time of dramatic change, signaling a great influx of migrating wildlife and plains animal births..."bush babies" are everywhere! From January to April, witness Africa’s second-largest migration, with 50,000 zebra and wildebeest passing through the Kalahari. Meet the San people, the earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa, whose culture dates back more than 30,000 years. In the Okavango Delta, water levels are typically low during this season, and the drier region of the delta offers superb wildlife viewing, with stable populations of lion, leopard, wild dog and much more.
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    • Enjoy unsurpassed wildlife observation and photography on game drives and guided bush walks, at the time of year when new births fill the plains.
    • Witness Victoria Falls during its mightiest seasonal flow, producing enough spray to create a rainforest microclimate on the rim.
    • Relax as you travel with this trusted operator who offers expert guiding and exceptionally well-planned itineraries.

Travel Curator’s Insights:

SPECIAL OFFER:

Rates:
From $14,495 per person
Policies and protocols provided before you book.

Departures available most weeks November through March;
Ask us for your preferred dates.

November - March;
Hover here for more information.

Departures:

Trip Sustainability Awards 

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CARBON

Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.

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ENERGY

On the East African Energy Renewal Board

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EDUCATION

Runs local educational facilities for children.

Itinerary 

Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River

Our Botswana green season safari begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where our Expedition Leader meets you on arrival at the airport. Transfer to Toka Leya Camp on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. Individual chalets face west over the river for sunset views, and we frequently see and hear elephants and hippos on shore. Admire the scenery on a  sunset cruise before returning to camp for a welcome dinner.


Day 2: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Victoria Falls / Village Visit / Rhino Walk

Our focus today is Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which means "the smoke that thunders" in the local Kololo and Lozi languages—a reference to the park's centerpiece, Victoria Falls, which we explore on a guided walking tour this morning. The world's most astounding cataract, Victoria Falls spans more than a mile and plummets 350 feet into the Zambezi Gorge below, producing so much spray that the intense moisture has created a rainforest micro ecosystem on the rim. A network of walkways offers varying viewpoints over the falls, with exciting photography opportunities.


Next, we visit a nearby village to learn about the culture and daily life of the local people. Then, we head farther into the national park for our best chance to see a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers charged with guarding the rhinos around the clock, we learn 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.

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Day 3: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Okavango Delta—Santawani Private Concession

Leaving Zambia by road, we reach the Kazungula border on the Chobe River, where Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia meet. Entering Botswana, our destination is Chobe National Park, known for its enormous elephant herds and stable population of general wildlife species throughout the year. On a private boat cruise on the Chobe River, expect to see plenty of elephant, hippo, crocodile and possibly the more elusive puku and Chobe bushbuck. Up to 400 bird species reside in the park at this time of year, and waterbirds abound, especially herons, storks and egrets. Later this afternoon we fly by light aircraft to Nat Hab's Gomoti Camp in the heart of the community-owned Santawani Concession in the Okavango Delta. This small, intimate camp is reserved exclusively for our group, offering a tremendous sense of seclusion on this private reserve.


Days 4 & 5: Okavango Delta—Visit with Predator Researcher

Earth’s largest inland water system, the Okavango Delta, became UNESCO's 1,000th World Heritage Site in 2014. The Okavango River’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. With its vast network of channels and wetlands, the delta is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and vegetation. Though some of the region is permanently flooded (or typically has been in years past), the water recedes during the southern summer months, opening up normally wetter areas of the delta for game drives and expansive wildlife viewing. Specific wildlife sightings, while always abundant, will depend somewhat on seasonal water levels.


Beyond the flooded areas, a mosaic of varied landscapes includes drier zones like the one surrounding our private Gomoti Camp. A mix of riverine woodland, acacia scrub and open floodplains provides ample food for a large array of browsers and grazers as well as predators. During a private visit with an on-site predator researcher, learn about local studies on wild dog, cheetah and leopard. Wildlife is abundant around camp, and we often see animals wandering through. The diverse range of habitats, plus the year-round lifeline of the Gomoti River, make this region ideal for all-day wildlife excursions, including traditional 4x4 game drives, guided walks (safety permitting) and night drives. A special highlight of our time at Gomoti is the chance to view wildlife from our own fully electric safari vehicle, charged with renewable solar energy. Regular sightings include leopard, lion, wild dog, hyena, cheetah, giraffe, elephant, impala, kudu, zebra, wildebeest and buffalo. Birdlife is also outstanding, and we may see ground hornbill, crimson-breasted shrike and yellow morph, among many others. In the evenings, paraffin hurricane lanterns and a crackling campfire create a romantic ambience in camp.

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Days 6–8: Central Okavango—Jao Private Concession

This afternoon we fly to the center of the Okavango Delta for a three-night stay on the private Jao Concession, marked by palm-studded islands, riverine forests and sprawling floodplains. Our secluded camp is set within a productive wetland nurturing water-adapted wildlife like the rare sitatunga and abundant red lechwe. In the summer months when typical inundation recedes, lechwe, tsessebe and elephant are prevalent, and we may see lion and the occasional leopard. In the channels, look for hippos and crocodiles, plus scores of birds in the marshes. Pel’s fishing owl is a prize sighting, and we may spot African and lesser jacanas, slaty egret, African skimmer, wattled crane and malachite kingfisher, to name just a few. Wildlife concentrations depend on water flow and volume, changing from season to season.


Encounter wildlife in thrilling proximity on 4x4 drives, guided walks and poled mokoro excursions if water levels permit. The mokoro is the traditional dugout canoe of the delta, and Okavango-born polers reveal intimate secrets of delta life as we spot tiny frogs and colorful waterbirds. Guests may also add an optional 30-minute helicopter flight over the greater Okavango Delta (additional cost), with doors off for the most spectacular photography opportunities! Each evening, retreat to camp for dinner and stories around the flickering campfire before retiring under canvas, surrounded by the night sounds of the African bush.


Please note: Water levels and activities may vary based on actual amounts of anticipated annual rainfall.


Days 9–11: Eastern Kalahari—Makgadikgadi Pans

Transfer via Maun by light aircraft to the eastern side of the 360,000-square-mile Kalahari Desert, enjoying a thrilling aerial view on the stark landscape and roaming wildlife below. Our tented camp rests on the edge of the world’s largest salt pan, an oasis of comfort shaded by acacia and palm trees. The Makgadikgadi Pans formed when an ancient lake evaporated thousands of years ago, and these shallow depressions are all that remain of once-enormous Lake Makgadikgadi. Today, this vast expanse of salt glitters in the intense sun, evoking a moonscape. The only visible plant life is a thin layer of blue-green algae, but seasonal rains turn the pans into an important habitat for migrating animals, including wildebeest and one of Africa’s largest zebra populations, along with the predators that pursue them, including the Kalahari's famous black-maned lions.


During our visit, look for unusual desert-adapted creatures on private game drives as we head out in search of gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest and steenbok, plus many small mammals such as honey badger and mongoose, and plentiful birds and reptiles. We'll also interact with a friendly habituated colony of meerkats. Quad bikes offer an exciting way to explore the lunar-like surface of the pans should weather permit. The Kalahari is also the ancient home of the San people, who have subsisted in these austere environs for millennia. Our time includes cultural engagements offering insight into the history and traditions of the clans in the area. Back at camp each night, enjoy some of the best stargazing on the planet.


Day 12: Maun / Depart

Our Botswana safari comes to a close today when we depart by air for Maun to connect with onward flights.


Please note: During Botswana’s green season, photography and game viewing offer a unique experience, as mother ungulates give birth at this time and the lush landscape provides a spectacular backdrop against which to observe the animals. To maximize access to the most exciting and remote areas, we stay in luxury tented camps (all amenities en suite) to provide comfort while enhancing the total safari experience. Changes to the itinerary may occur on these trips in order to take advantage of conditions unique to the season. Depending upon availability, itineraries may run in a different order from what is designated.

ACHIEVEMENTS 

Life On Board

Deck Plan

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Questions?

Rates

Rates
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DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

Two people traveling in a room together. Rate is per person.

From in USD:

$14,495pp

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SOLO SUPPLEMENT

As a solo traveler, a cost supplement will be added to your trip.

From in USD:

$1,395pp

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INTERNAL AIR

These flights are for locations within your adventure. Rate is per person.

From in USD:

$1,824pp

This unusual itinerary that includes Victoria Falls, the elephants at Chobe National Park, the watery world of the Okavango Delta, and the mysterious Kalahari Desert is pretty spectacular. If you’re hoping to see all these highlights in one trip, this is an excellent option.

Joy Martinello, Founder

Questions?

Cancelation

What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

WHAT'S INCLUDED:
Accommodations in luxury safari camps, services of professional Expedition Leader, local guides and camp staff, premier open-sided 4-wheel drive Land Cruisers or Rovers, private Chobe boat cruise, visit with predator researcher at Gomoti Camp, all meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final day, some alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, all activities and entrance fees, all taxes, permits and service fees.

NOT INCLUDED:
Travel to and from the start and end point of your trip, some alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees (if any), optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry and internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes (if any), required medical evacuation insurance, optional travel protection insurance.

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