Discover the wildlife and World Heritage waterways of Botswana.
Containing in its borders the world’s largest salt pans, inland delta and number of elephants, Botswana has plenty to boast about. Taking in also Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls and Namibia’s Zambezi region, this trip celebrates both the natural and cultural highlights of Botswana. Stay in a lodge overlooking a watering hole frequented by elephants, jump in jeeps and set out on game drives in Chobe National Park, paddle through the Okavango Delta in a traditional dug-out canoe, and be welcomed into the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe people. If it’s a diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures you’re after, then this is ultimate trip.
Day 1: Victoria Falls
Mhoro! Welcome to Zimbabwe. Your adventure begins this evening with a welcome meeting, if you arrive early, check out some of the optional activities around Victoria Falls. The Zimbabwe side of the falls offers the broadest view of this colossal natural wonder. After the welcome meeting, why not get to know your fellow travellers over a group dinner.
Day 2: Elephant Sands
Travel across the Kazungula border into Botswana and make your way to your accommodation for the evening, Elephant Sands. Located in a private concession bordering on the Chobe Forest Reserve, the watering hole at Elephant Sands lodge attracts herds of elephant and other wildlife in season. On arrival, settle into your chalet for the evening and perhaps soak up the sounds of the wilderness with a glass of wine as your overlook the waterhole, keeping an eye out for the roaming animals. (B)
Day 3: Maun
After breakfast, drive to Maun, a bustling town on the edge of the Okavango Delta. Arriving here in the afternoon, you’ll have the option to take in this World Heritage site from above on a scenic flight in a light aircraft. (B)
Day 4: Okavango Delta Pan Handle
Leaving Maun after breakfast, make your way further to the north-western part of the Okavango Delta, admiring the scenery along the way. On arrival, settle into the lodge where you will be spending the next two nights, located on the edge of the Guma Lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Okavango Delta Pan Handle
Today you’ll hop into mokoros (traditional dugout canoes) for a water-level exploration of the delta. Paddling through papyrus and reed beds to lily-covered lagoons and islands, be sure to keep on the lookout for elephants, antelope, warthogs and other creatures of the plains. Tuck into a picnic lunch on one of the islands and embark on a short bushwalk, returning to the lodge in the late afternoon in time to watch the sunset over the lagoon. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Caprivi
After breakfast, take the 4WD transfer back to the vehicle and make your way to the Namibian border. The drive to tonight’s camp, which is on the Caprivi banks of the Kavango River, involves passing through the Mahango Game Reserve – keep your eyes peeled for the surrounding wildlife on the drive. In the afternoon, venture out on a guided excursion to the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe people, which presents an excellent opportunity to observe village life up close. (B)
Day 7: Chobe National Park
Continue the journey along the Caprivi Strip, located in the newly formed Kavango-Zambezi Trans frontier park. After crossing the border back into Botswana you’ll arrive at Kasane, a town surrounded by the Chobe National Park. Taking its name from the river which marks the border between Namibia and Botswana, Chobe boasts the largest population of elephants in Africa, plus an abundance of birdlife, pods of wallowing hippos and more. Check out Kasane town, or perhaps take a dip in the lodge pool, sit by the open outdoor fire, or simply watch the setting sun change the colours of the sky above the Chobe River. (B)
Day 8: Chobe National Park
Take the opportunity to wake up early and enjoy an optional dawn game drive in Chobe National Park, where you may see elephants drinking at the waters’ edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impala within the park. Return to the lodge for a late breakfast and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Later in the afternoon enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe River. At the right time of year, the river is frequented by large families of elephants crossing the banks, drinking and playing in the water. It’s also ideal for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, and crocodiles. Why not grab a sundowner from the small bar onboard, then sit back and watch the sunset over the river – a perfect way to end the day. (B)
Day 9: Victoria Falls
This morning you have the option to get up before dawn and head out on an optional morning game drive. This time of day is when predators such as leopards and lions are spotted returning from their night’s hunting. Return to the lodge for breakfast, then drive across the Zimbabwean border. After completing the border formalities, drive the remaining distance to Victoria Falls. Your adventure ends upon arrival in Vic Falls this afternoon and no accommodation is included tonight. (B)
Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport: Private vehicle, Boat, Mokoro
Accommodation: Lodge (4 nights), Chalet (1 night), Hotel (2 nights), Tree house (1 night)
Images courtesy of IntrepidGroup