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Family Botswana Safari

10 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Days 1 & 2: Maun, Botswana / Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Our Botswana family safari begins in Maun, where our Expedition Leader meets us at the airport. Then we're off for Makgadikgadi Pans National Parkin the Kalahari Desert—360,000 square miles of sandy, semi-arid savanna that sustains a surprising amount of wildlife. Our first two days reveal the park's western reaches, where a multitude of game ranges across this landscape of scrub, palms, riverine trees and grassy plains. Our classic tented safari camp overlooks the Boteti River, a lifeline flowing through these parched environs that attracts Africa’s second-largest zebra and wildebeest migration. We frequently see other animals stopping for a drink in front of camp, too—often on view are oryx, springbok, zebra, wildebeest, Kalahari lion, cheetah, hyena, jackal and ostrich.

Varied activities will delight family members of all ages, including a 4x4 wildlife drive with a picnic lunch in the bush, a private boat cruise on the Boteti River when water levels permit, and a rare opportunity to safari on foot with local Kalahari bushmen who reveal as much about their indigenous culture as the native plants and wildlife we observe. As the sun sets, enjoy sundowners overlooking the river escarpment where we may view elephants at close range. It's also common to see lounging crocodiles—our camp's namesake. At the end of each full and gratifying day, return to camp for dinner under the twinkling stars, followed by conversation about the campfire.

Days 3–5: Eastern Kalahari—Makgadikgadi Pans
Transfer by private helicopter to the eastern side of the Kalahari, 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 pans, an oasis of comfort shaded by acacias and palms. 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 dry-season sun, evoking a moonscape. The only visible plantlife is a thin layer of blue-green algae, but seasonal rains will later 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.

During our visit, look for unusual desert-adapted creatures on private game drives as we head out in search of gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, steenbok and many small mammals, 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. Back at camp each night, share stories around the campfire and enjoy some of the best stargazing on the planet.

Days 6–8: Okavango Delta—Khwai Private Reserve
Fly by light aircraft this morning into the contrasting environment of the Okavango Delta. Here in northwest Botswana, the Okavango River fans out over the Kalahari sands to create the world's largest inland delta—5,800 square miles of swampy marsh, clear channels, lagoons and islands comprising a mosaic of diverse wildlife habitat. In 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1,000th site to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Our destination is the massive Khwai wildlife reserve, a community concession encompassing riverine woodlands, floodplains, mopane forest and open grasslands. Bordering the famous Moremi Game Reserve, the private conservancy lies along the Khwai River that is a lifeline for the region. Elephants abound, and year-round wildlife includes waterbuck, reedbuck and many antelope species, including red lechwe, along with frequent sightings of lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Khwai's varied habitats also support rhino, wild dog and the majestic sable antelope for which our camp, Sable Alley, is named. In addition, more than 450 bird species have been recorded. We explore on wildlife drives, walking safaris led by local guides, and by mokoro, the traditional poled canoe of the delta, giving local polers a chance to share their deep knowledge of this ecosystem and how it has sustained their people for generations.

Our eco-conscious camp on the banks of a peaceful lagoon is part of a community-based partnership that bridges safari tourism with Khwai village life, enhancing economic stability for the local people. Wildlife literally comes to us as elephant, buffalo and herds of plains game arrive to drink. Seasonal waterholes often attract lion, hyena, eland, zebra and kudu, plus an assortment of smaller nocturnal species such as porcupine, genet, jackal and honey badger.

Day 9: Khwai Private Reserve / Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
After a last morning wildlife activity on the Khwai Reserve, depart by light aircraft for Kasane, Botswana. After border formalities, continue by road to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where we head out on a privately guided tour of Victoria Falls. The massive cataract is located inside Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, whose name in the local language means "the smoke that thunders," referring to the mighty falls and its abundant spray. The falls and park together comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans both sides of the Zambezi River, encompassing terrain in both Zimbabwe and Zambia. We follow a network of trails along the rim to various vantage points over the falls, which are more than a mile wide and plummet 350 feet into the boiling Zambezi Gorge below. This evening, our Expedition Leader hosts a festive farewell dinner.

Day 10: Victoria Falls Tour / Depart
Our safari concludes today with the option to relax this morning, or visit a nearby village where kids will love the opportunity to meet African children. Just outside the hustle and bustle of the Victoria Falls tourist zone, we'll interact with locals tending their crops or going about their chores, enjoying a glimpse into daily rural life. It's a fitting finale to our Botswana family safari, which comes to a close as we transfer to the Victoria Falls airport to meet departing flights.
Map
All This Included
For families, there’s no topping the adventure of an African wildlife safari—and in Africa, it’s tough to top Botswana. Big game is abundant, and we get amazingly close to elephants, lions and much more from our intimate tented camps, deep in the bush and far from tourist crowds. In a world of vanishing natural treasures, the chance for a family to experience Africa's wonders together is an unsurpassed gift. As you watch a cheetah sprint across the savanna or study the green glow of a hyena’s eyes at night, "wild life" takes on a whole new meaning! Our family-focused itinerary is specifically designed to maximize diversity and keep young minds captivated: from the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert with its sprawling salt pans to the emerald marshes of the Okavango Delta and the thunder of Victoria Falls, our Botswana family safari unveils new sensory thrills day by day.
 
  • Accommodations in luxury safari camps
  • Services of Nat Hab's professional Expedition Leader(s), local guides and camp staff
  • Premier open-sided 4-wheel drive Land Cruisers or Rovers
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final day
  • Some alcoholic beverages
  • Most gratuities
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • All activities and entrance fees
  • All taxes, permits and service fees
Highlights
  • Wildlife Encounters to Thrill All Ages: A family safari guided by expert naturalists—explore the Kalahari, Okavango Delta and beyond in search of lion, leopard, elephant, zebra, wildebeest and more!
  • Varied & Exciting Activities: Stay at authentic luxury bush camps and discover diverse habitats by 4x4, bush walks, quad bike, boat, poled canoe and helicopter, for the widest range of wildlife encounters.
  • Victoria Falls & Village Visit: Stand before the thunder of Victoria Falls, the largest sheet of falling water in the world, and visit a nearby village to meet people and learn about their daily lives.

Accommodations
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Meno a Kwena
Makgadikgadi Salt Pans: Camp Kalahari
Khwai Private Wildlife Reserve: Sable Alley
Victoria Falls: Ilala Lodge
Pre and Post Add-ons
Namibia Desert Extension
7 Days / Year-Round, From $3795 (+air)
Namibia’s towering sand dunes, arid canyons and desert-adapted wildlife offer a distinct contrast to other southern Africa safari destinations—look for endangered black rhino, desert elephant and more.
 
Cape Town Extension
4 Days / Year-Round, From $1595
Discover the natural and multicultural highlights of one of the world's most entrancing cities. Explore the Cape Peninsula, visit Cape Point Nature Reserve, see penguins at Boulders Beach and tour the Winelands.
 
Sabi Sand Extension
4 Days / Year-Round, From $3075
An exclusive safari experience on a 160,000-acre private reserve that's one of Africa’s best places to spot the famous Big Five—choose among intimate luxury camps and secluded boutique lodges.
Notes
  • Group Size: Approximately 13 Travelers. A very important feature of our family Botswana safari is the limited group size, as nature expeditions are best experienced in intimate settings with fewer travelers. We further divide our group into two safari vehicles, with no more than seven passengers each, for even more personalized wildlife encounters. 
  • 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.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy. A safari vehicle frequently offers a bumpy ride. Wildlife drives often involve long hours of sitting and sometimes bouncing around. While we don't consider this strenuous, it can be uncomfortable and may pose a particular type of physical demand on the body. Children must be able to sit still and be quiet while searching for or in the presence of wildlife. All travelers must be able to climb into and out of raised 4x4 safari trucks. Travelers must also be able to walk to and from the vehicle to our camp accommodations, sometimes walking over uneven ground or on boardwalks. Additionally, while any short walks are considered optional, you will get the most out of your safari experience if you can walk a mile or two over uneven ground without assistance. Please note, however, that in general, children 15 and under are not permitted to participate in general walking safaris, they will be able to explore close to camp and participate in the bushman walk. Days spent on safari can be long, as mornings typically start before daybreak and evening meals are served after sundown. Safari accommodations and vehicles are not climate controlled and, depending on the seasonality, temperatures can range from quite cold to extremely hot, so it is critical that travelers come prepared. We recommend that all travelers have an adventurous spirit, as you will often enjoy the closest animal encounters.
  • Age Limit on Family Botswana Safaris: We welcome children age 6 and older on our Family Botswana Safaris. However, while some 6-year-olds are well suited for our Botswana adventures, others may not be ready for the requirements of group travel. We believe it's best to consider this minimum age limit a guideline—you, as a parent or guardian, are best qualified to decide whether your child would enjoy the experience without compromising the comfort of others. We strongly encourage you to speak with one of our Adventure Specialists about the specific requirements of the trip so you can make an informed decision. We do not permit children younger than 6 on our scheduled departures due to safety regulations, physical limitations and concerns regarding group dynamics. Depending on the age of the child, children must be matched in rooms with adults for safety purposes and due to camp regulations in Botswana. Additionally, children under 13 years old are not generally able to participate in the traditional mokoro boat rides for safety reasons and children must be 16 years or older to participate in longer, optional safari walks. Alternative activities will be provided for children as appropriate.
  • Mandatory Insurance: Since the areas you will travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat Adventures, we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of Natural Habitat Adventures' medical evacuation policy (currently $48 per person) to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
  • Please plan to arrive in Maun, Botswana by 1:30 pm on Day 1 and you may depart Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe anytime after 1 pm on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
 

Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.