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Botswana Explorer

9 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
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Day 1: Maun, Botswana / Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
On arrival in Maun, our Expedition Leader meets us at the airport before our overland transfer to Makgadikgadi Pans. We settle into our classic tented safari camp overlooking the Boteti River in the Kalahari Desert—360,000 square miles of sandy, semi-arid savanna that sustains a plenitude of wildlife. Following afternoon tea, we'll take a private boat cruise (if water levels permit) or watch wildlife from a floating hide where we often view scores of elephants at close range. The river is a lifeline flowing through these parched environs, and it attracts Africa’s second-largest zebra and wildebeest migration. It's common to see lounging crocodiles—our camp's namesake. And we frequently see other animals stopping for a drink in front of camp, too, including oryx, springbok, Kalahari lion, cheetah, hyena, jackal and ostrich.
 
Day 2: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Explore the park's western reaches by 4x4, where a multitude of game ranges across a landscape of scrub, palms, riverine trees and grassy plains. Within the Kalahari Desert, the immense Makgadikgadi salt pans are an otherworldly landscape traversed by zebra, giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, wildebeest and more. Both greater and lesser flamingos flock to this expanse when tiny shrimp and other dormant crustaceans are released from the salty crust during rainy seasons. Above all, this is a rare experience of remote isolation. Today we also have an opportunity to explore on foot with local Kalahari bushmen who reveal as much about their indigenous culture as the native plants and wildlife we observe. At day’s end, return to camp for dinner under the stars, followed by a chance to swap stories around the campfire.
 
Day 3: Makgadikgadi Pans / Nat Hab Expedition Camp—Northern Okavango Delta
After a leisurely breakfast, we drive back to the airport in Maun, then fly by light aircraft to our mobile camp in the northern Okavango Delta. The delta has grown over millennia as millions of tons of sand have been carried down the Okavango River from its source in Angola. It is a planetary marvel, with meandering waterways patrolled by hippo, crocodile, red lechwe and wattled cranes. The shimmering emerald landscape creates a verdant contrast with the surrounding desert as the 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. In 2014, the Okavango Delta became the 1,000th destination to be officially inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. From our authentic bush camp base in the heart of this vast wilderness, we’re in prime position to encounter lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hippo and much more.
 
Days 4 & 5: Northern Okavango Delta
Sink into the natural rhythms of the delta’s marshes and grassy plains as we explore via 4x4 wildlife drives, bush walks and excursions by mokoro, the traditional poled canoe of the delta. Within this watery expanse in Southern Africa's unspoiled interior, surprise encounters with nature await at every turn. Wake to the call of an African fish eagle before setting off into a labyrinth of lush palm- and papyrus-fringed waterways. Once the sun dips and the Milky Way takes over the sky, fall asleep to the sounds of the bush, with nothing but a layer of canvas between you and the African wilds.
 
Day 6 : Northern Okavango  / Khwai Private Reserve
After a leisurely morning at our mobile camp, we fly at midday to the private Khwai Concession. This massive wildlife sanctuary is a community-owned reserve that encompasses riverine woodlands, floodplains, mopane forest and open grasslands bordering the famous Moremi Game Reserve. The Khwai River is a lifeline for the region, and elephants abound. We’re often likely to see waterbuck, reedbuck and many antelope species, including the water-adapted red lechwe, along with lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Khwai's varied habitats also support the majestic sable antelope and less frequently spotted rhino and wild dog. In addition, more than 450 bird species have been recorded in the area.
 
Days 7 & 8: Khwai Private Reserve
Private game reserves managed by local communities protect threatened species and keep wildlife corridors intact, opening our passage into a continuous sanctuary of marshes, sand-covered plains, and acacia and mopane forest. Explore Khwai's vast territory on morning and afternoon wildlife drives, walking safaris led by local guides, and mokoro (when water levels permit). This serene time on the water gives local polers a chance to share their deep knowledge of this ecosystem and how it has sustained their people for generations. Wildlife abounds, including elephant, buffalo, herds of plains game and countless bird species. Khwai's community-based concession has been a conservation triumph, bridging safari tourism with Khwai village life and enhancing economic stability for the local people.
 
Day 9: Khwai Private Reserve / Maun
Make a final quest for wildlife during a game drive on the Khwai Reserve this morning, or spend the morning hours viewing wildlife around our tranquil camp. By late morning, we fly back to Maun by light aircraft to connect with onward flights.
Map
All This Included
This deep immersion in the Botswana bush unveils a sparsely inhabited land teeming with wildlife. Behold the true essence of wilderness, protected by a conservation-minded country that leads the continent in habitat stewardship. An ancient landscape occupied by the San people for more than 100,000 years, today Botswana is a stronghold for elephants, home to Africa’s largest population of more than 130,000. Sprawling grasslands, deltas and savannas provide havens for endangered species like rhino and wild dog, plus a dizzying array of other wildlife that thrives within this mosaic of ecological diversity. Stay true to the terrain’s raw nature experience while taking refuge in traditional canvas camps that are exceptionally comfortable without extravagance. Explore a breadth of habitats on 4x4 game drives, bush walks and dugout canoe excursions. And when night falls, gather around the campfire to revel in each day's wonders, as a million stars glitter overhead and the calls of animals resound in the darkness. 
 
  • 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-Rich Regions: Traverse Botswana's diverse habitats on a nine-day adventure that probes the most remote, wildlife-rich reaches of the Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert.
  • Secluded Mobile Camps: Feel the essence of Southern African hospitality as you live it intimately inside our rustic and mobile tented camps secluded in the wild bush;
  • Expert Safari Guides: Explore private reserves with Botswana’s top safari guides, ensuring the closest encounters with charismatic predators, great elephant herds and more.
Accommodations
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Meno a Kwena
Okavango Delta: Nat Hab Expedition Camp—Northern Okavango
Khwai Private Wildlife Reserve: The Jackal & Hide
Pre and Post Add-ons
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.
 
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.
 
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...with Two Guides! A very important feature of our Botswana Explorer safari is the limited group size, as wildlife viewing on safari is best experienced in quiet, intimate settings. We facilitate this by traveling with two guides—a Nat Hab Expedition Leader with you from start to finish, and a knowledgeable local guide at each camp. This arrangement allows us to divide our group into two safari vehicles with no more than seven passengers each...assuring more personalized wildlife encounters augmented with excellent interpretation. 
  • 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. 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. 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.
  • 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 Maun, Botswana anytime after 1:30 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.