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Northern Botswana Safari

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Overview

Day-by-day

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Day 1 - Maun

On arrival you are met and driven to a comfortable guesthouse to relax after your long flight. This is likely to be Thamalakane River Lodge which is situated about 15 minutes drive from Maun Airport and in a tranquil setting overlooking the Thamalakane River. You'll overnight in stone-and-thatch cottages and have the option to swim in the pool before dining in their open-sided restaurant and bar area.

No meals included.

Day 2 - Moremi Game Reserve

After a leisurely breakfast and a relaxing morning you return to Maun Airport around midday to meet the rest of the Northern Botswana Safari group. A 30-minute light aircraft flight takes you over the Okavango Delta to the Moremi Game Reserve, where you will meet your safari guide.

On arrival at the mobile camp you are shown to your tents and introduced to comfortable camping Botswana style, before heading out on a short afternoon drive. Your day ends with a three-course dinner back at camp.

The Okavango Delta is formed by the Okavango River running into the middle of the Kalahari basin - the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world. A third of this unique ecosystem was set aside by the local BaTawana people in 1962 who named it the Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi now encompasses a large area of the Okavango Delta's eastern wetlands. In the reserve there is a large peninsula that juts into the wetlands; this is known as the Mopane Tongue. Xakanaxa Lagoon lies at the end of this peninsula and it is here, where land and delta meet and wildlife flourishes, that you explore in your 4WD safari vehicle with your guide.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Days 3 & 4 - Moremi Game Reserve

Each morning, after an early coffee and a light breakfast, you continue your exploration of this game-rich area on a safari drive. The Xakanaxa area of Moremi is home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo which ranges through the territories of at least 4 lion prides. Breeding herds of elephant move between the fresh waters of the Okavango Delta to their browsing areas in the mopane forests. Antelope species are numerous, from the dainty yet common impala to the more unusual red lechwe. Following a usually productive morning, you return to camp for a sumptuous brunch and the relaxation of an afternoon siesta. Tea is then served just before the afternoon safari drive, after which you return to camp for dinner.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 5 - Khwai Community Area

The support team breaks down your Moremi camp while a game drive takes you to your next location in the Khwai region, just north of the Moremi Game Reserve. Today's transfer/game drive through Moremi is a relatively long one; you'll head out early to catch any morning wildlife activity in the Xakanaxa area before setting off towards Khwai. Taking your time so as not to miss anything of particular interest along the way, you'll first stop for a morning tea and cookie break, followed by a picnic lunch under a shady grove of trees a little later on. Depending on what route you travel, and what you see on the way, you'll expect to arrive at your new camp around mid-afternoon.

Khwai area is somewhat drier than the Xakanaxa area of Moremi as it is east of the Okavango Delta. The change in habitat heralds a change in the dominant wildlife species and you have the opportunity to explore all of this before arriving at your new comfortable mobile safari camp. If your campsite is situated in or near the Khwai community area, and animal movements permit, you have the chance to take an afternoon bush walk with your guide. A spot-lit night drive to see the area's nocturnal wildlife might then follow dinner. Guided safari walks and night drives are not allowed within Botswana's national parks so being outside Moremi's borders is a bonus. The boundaries are unfenced so the wildlife roams free between the two areas.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Days 6 & 7 - Khwai Community Area

Over the next two days, you'll explore the vast floodplains, riverine woodland and mopane veld bordering the Khwai River - the eastern most extremity of the Delta's Manuchira Channel. The region supports a great variety of animals and birds from elephant to mongoose, lion to wildcat and bee-eater to goliath heron. You are also likely to have the opportunity for a mokoro (traditional dug-out canoe) excursion through lily-filled waterways. This tranquil mode of travel is the perfect opportunity to view Botswana's colourful water birds and spot smaller creatures such as the fascinating painted reed frogs. After each day's tasty lunch and relaxing siesta, a late-afternoon game drive gives you a final chance to search out big game before nightfall, including a break to watch the sunset and take in the sounds of the African bush. Finally, each day ends with dinner at your comfortable mobile safari camp, and the background chorus of owls which is characteristic of this area at night.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 8 - Savuti

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before you depart for Savuti in the Chobe National Park. After your initial early morning game drive to see what's out and about whilst it's still cool, the day's transfer drive is a long but interesting one and takes about five hours. You'll pass through the ever-changing scenery of the famous Mababe Depression to arrive at your new camp.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Days 9 & 10 - Savuti

Central to this productive wildlife area is the unpredictable Savuti Channel which flows from the Linyanti's waterways into the heart of Chobe, resulting in the Savuti Marsh. Records show that when David Livingstone first visited Savuti in the early 1850's the channel was flowing. By 1879 the channel had stopped and the Marsh began to dry out. The river began again in the late 1950's, drying up once more around 1980. No one's quite sure whether rain fall or tectonic plate movements cause these changes but in 2008 the channel became a waterway once more, creating a habitat for hippo and attracting a myriad of aquatic birds. Sadly 2014/15 were drier years and the channel has begun to dry up again. Savuti has always been famous for its wildlife in the dry season - especially for its large population of bull elephant; but the change in landscape and the water source renews, animal species become relatively prevalent year round. When rains are particularly good, the Savuti Marsh may also flood, with waters creeping towards the skeletons of long dead Camelthorn trees which dot this landmark and were drowned at least 40 years ago.

In addition to a wide variety of herbivores, predators are numerous here: lion are often sighted and cheetah and wild dog range through the open plains. Unlike the vast majority of Botswana, Savuti is not a totally flat landscape. Large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. These hills provide the perfect habitat for leopard and, unusually for the country, even the diminutive klipspringer antelope can be seen amongst the boulders from time to time.

Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 11 - Chobe River & Livingstone

Leaving Savuti, you cross the Goha sand ridge on a long drive lasting about five hours en route to the northern region of Chobe National Park and its natural border - the Chobe River. What time you arrive will depend upon the wildlife sightings you enjoy along the way. If there's time you'll stop for a picnic lunch along the river's banks, if not you'll drive straight on to the town of Kasane where you'll board a shaded boat and enjoy your lunch during the afternoon's leisurely safari cruise on the Chobe River.

This river supports a large number of wildlife species but is particularly renowned for its herds of elephants and buffalo which sometimes gather along the river in their hundreds to drink during the heat of the day. A boat trip will give you a hippo's eye view of the surrounding countryside and provide good opportunities to see all manner of wildlife drinking from the river. Birdlife abounds here, and depending on the time of year there are numerous rarities awaiting discovery.

In the late afternoon you bid farewell to your guide before a transfer from Kasane to the Kazangula border post where you connect with your road transfer to Livingstone (Zambia), arriving in the late evening. Here, you'll spend two nights at the Avani Victoria Falls Hotel beside the mighty Victoria Falls.

Includes breakfast and lunch.

Day 12 - Livingstone, Zambia

Livingstone itself is not a wildlife destination, but rather the current epicentre of adrenalin activities in Africa. There are a multitude of options to cater for all preferences (all payable locally and taken at your own risk), from bungee-jumping, jet-boating and white-water rafting to boat cruises, horse- or elephant-riding and helicopter flights over the Falls. Lunch and dinner for these two nights are at your own expense so that you're free to spend your days out and about enjoying the Victoria Falls area, or more quietly by the pool at the hotel.

Includes breakfast.

Day 13 - Flight home

You will be met at the Avani Victoria Falls Hotel for your transfer to Livingstone Airport to connect with your scheduled flight home.

Includes breakfast.

Northern Botswana Safari

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