There is currently a 5% Special discount on the Botswana Wildside departing 26Feb17 - offer expires 26Jan17
Botswana is considered Southern Africa’s premier game viewing destination. The remote wilderness, limited access for visitors and abundant game make for an exceptional wildlife safari. This tour is the essence of why we run safaris.
Meals: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 8 dinners will be provided by the safari crew, prepared at the vehicle and eaten around the camp fire.
Transport: For the majority of this safari you travel in a custom-built 4WD Land Cruiser with 12 forward facing seats (of which 8 are “window” seats). Roll up canvas sides allow you to feel part of the bush. For the first two days from Johannesburg to Maun we use custom-built safari trucks with 12 forward facing seats; or (on 5% of tours) Mercedes Sprinter minibuses with 12 forward facing seats and air conditioning.
An essential part of your safari is some participation. From putting up your tent to packing the truck in the morning – it’s all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your tour leaders will do all the meal preparation but we do ask you to help (on rotation) with the washing up. If there are 9 or more clients on the tour, then a supply vehicle and camp assistant travel with the group through the national parks (days 6-11). The camp assistant will help with meal preparation and washing up, and make your life a little easier!
Day 1: JOHANNESBURG to KHAMA RHINO SANCTUARY
Departing Johannesburg at 06:30am we head north into Botswana. We pass Serowe, birthplace of Botswana’s first president, Sir Seretse Khama, on our way to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. This 4300 hectare reserve situated on the Kalahari sandveld, has several natural waterholes and provides prime habitat for white rhino, zebra and wildebeest. We take our first game drive around the open grassland of Malema and Serwe Pans.
Includes: Entrance to Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Overnight: Campsite - good ablution facilities with hot showers. Distance/time: 630km, ± 7½ hours, excluding border formalities & stops for sightseeing & lunch.
BT13 Maun start clients will join the group at the campsite on arrival in Maun at +/-17:00.
The guides will give an introduction and tour briefing this evening. Airport transfers are available on request.
Day 2 : MAUN
We drive through the Kalahari to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Situated on the banks of the Thamalakane River, Maun is a bustling frontier town where we prepare for the delta excursion. After setting up camp we have a relaxing afternoon at the swimming pool.
Overnight: Campsite - good ablution facilities with hot showers, swimming pool, restaurant & bar. Distance/time: 450km, ± 6½ hours, excluding stops for sightseeing.
Day 3, 4, 5 : OKAVANGO DELTA
Our local guides will take us deep into the heart of the Okavango Delta on mekoro (dugout canoes). The delta forms as water flows from the Angolan highlands out over the Botswanan flat Kalahari Desert sands creating a delicate, green oasis for birds & wildlife. We will camp wild on remote islands in this amazingly dynamic environment & enjoy bush walks, bird watching & swimming in the clear water. Camping with our local guides we learn more about their lifestyle & culture. We return to Maun in the late afternoon of day 5 and have time for an optional (own expense) scenic flight over the Okavango, which will reveal a different aspect of the delta.
Includes: Entrance to Okavango Delta, mokoro excursion, morning and afternoon game walks with local guides
Overnight: Day 3 & 4: Wild camping – basic facilities with bucket shower.
Day 5 Maun: Campsite - good ablution facilities with hot showers, swimming pool, restaurant & bar. Distance/time: 2 hour 4WD transfer into the Delta, each way. Optional Activities: Scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (+/-USD95-120) pp depending on number of people in each aircraft).
Day 6,7,8,9 : MOREMI & SAVUTI
We have 4 nights in these conservation areas with time to explore the various habitats. We spend our time on game drives watching the plentiful wildlife including wild dog, elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion & other game.
Moremi Game Reserve rates as one of the leading wildlife areas of the world and we take our open 4WD vehicle into Moremi for fantastic game viewing! Grasslands, floodplains, forests, lily lagoons and winding water channels combine to form a variety of game viewing habitats.
Moving north over the sand ridge and into the Mababe depression we arrive at the Savuti Marsh. This open grassland area attracts herds of zebra and wildebeest, which in turn draw the large lion prides for which Savuti is famous. We camp wild in the central Chobe National Park at either Savuti or Zwei-Zwei.
Includes: Entrance fees, morning and afternoon game drives in open 4WD game viewing vehicle
Overnight: Wild camping – basic ablutions with bucket shower. Distance/time: 350kms ± 8½ hours, excludes game drives & stops for wildlife viewing (Maun – Savuti).
Day 10 – 11: CHOBE NATIONAL PARK
The Chobe River flows lazily along the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park attracting some of the largest herds of elephant in Africa. In the early morning we search for game on the flood plains of the Chobe River. The late afternoon game viewing “sundowner” cruise is a highlight as we see the mighty elephant herds returning to the Chobe River to quench their thirst. We camp at Kasane on the Chobe River for night 11.
Includes: Entrance fees, morning and afternoon game drives in open 4WD game viewing vehicle & sunset cruise on Chobe River.
Overnight: Day 10 wild camping – basic ablutions with bucket shower
Day 11 campsite - good ablution facilities, hot showers, swimming pool, bar & restaurant. Distance/time: 150kms ± 5½ hours, excludes game drives & stops for wildlife viewing (Savuti – Chobe)
Day 12 – 13 : VICTORIA FALLS / LIVINGSTONE ZAMBIA
We camp for 2 nights in Zambia near Livingstone town on the banks of the Zambezi River. Enjoy a spectacular walk through tropical vegetation to the very edge of the “Mosi oa Tunya” or “the smoke that thunders” - Victoria Falls. Opportunities to white water raft on the mighty Zambezi River, bungee jump, or take a “flight of angels” (own expense).
Includes: Entrance Fees to see the Victoria Falls
Overnight: Campsite - good ablution facilities, hot showers, swimming pool, bar & restaurant. Distance/time: 85kms – 1 hour, excluding border formalities (which can take 2 to 4+ hours). Optional Activities: White water rafting, sunset cruises, scenic flights & many more.
Day 14 : ZAMBIA - LIVINGSTONE – TOUR ENDS
Tour ends at 08:00 after breakfast. Transfers to local airports are available.
Please Note: There is a Local Payment of $300 that is in addition to the tour price. See ** •
The accommodation specified above and in the itinerary, is a guide only and is subject to availability. Alternatives will be of a similar standard, and accommodation changes may be made without notice. The distance and travel times quoted above are an estimate only, and subject to local road conditions and animal sightings! In the unlikely event that road conditions in the parks prevent us visiting Savuti, then the alternative route will be run via Nxai pan (It is possible that this may happen between January – April, but it is subject to rainfall, so only in special circumstances).
** • A local payment is required on this safari and this will be collected by your tour leader on departure. The local payment forms part of your overall tour cost, and must be taken into consideration when booking your safari. It will be used by your tour leaders to pay for some of the operational costs incurred on safari.
We prepay by bank transfer, as many of the tour costs as possible. However, in many cases, a cash payment is the only option: certain of the destinations that we visit, only accept cash. For example entry fees to most national parks, some of the campsites and also local food markets (and even some shops) are only payable in cash. In addition, each vehicle has a garage card but these are only accepted in South Africa and parts of Namibia, therefore in all other countries, fuel must be paid for in cash. Due to the remoteness of some departure points, having a local payment system enables us to manage tour funds effectively. The efficiency of this system helps keep the overall tour prices down.
For these reasons, it is necessary for us to charge a local payment. It also ensures that a portion of the tour costs goes directly into the country you are visiting, thereby benefiting local communities and contributing to the conservation of the areas we visit. This is all part of our ongoing effort to operate sustainable safaris that make a real difference.
Sustainable Tourism: The Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust is a community based wildlife project established in 1992 to assist in saving the vanishing rhino, restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its previous natural state and provide economic benefits to the local Motswana community through tourism and the sustainable use of natural resources.
Camping: For 6 nights on safari we stay at designated campsites in national parks, on private land and in towns. Campsite facilities are generally very good but in places can be basic. There are hot and cold showers, restaurants, washing facilities and telephones available at most of the campsites. Some camps in Botswana have simple reed enclosures for showers but do have flush toilets! We supply all the camping equipment with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow. The dome tents we use are 2.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 meters and putting them up or down takes only 5 minutes. Tents have built-in insect nets. We supply mattresses, which are about 5 cm thick, warm and comfortable. The camp chairs have a backrest.
Wild camping: for 7 nights while in the Okavango Delta, Moremi, and Chobe we camp wild. Wild camps have no facilities; we will need to take our own water and all equipment. Wild camping can be very enjoyable but please remember that we leave no trace of our stay and take all rubbish away with us. Toilets will be of the “dig and bury” variety and a simple bucket bush shower will be provided.
SOS trees project – Okavango Botswana: For hundreds of years, the local communities in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta have used the wood of the sausage tree to craft their traditional mokoro (dugout canoes). The knowledge and skill have been passed down from generation to generation and, up until recently, has been a sustainable practice. With increasing numbers of people visiting the Delta each year, more mokoro are needed and as a direct result, more and more sausage trees are being felled and the sausage tree is sadly disappearing from the region. A traditional wooden mokoro will have to be replaced every five years, thereby placing increased pressure on the dwindling sausage tree supply.
We have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fiberglass mokoro’s, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced without any negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fiberglass mokoro is needed, and a portion of the tour cost will be donated to the project, but we also will offer our clients the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile cause.