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Secluded Botswana Photo Safari

13 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River Cruise
Our Botswana photo safari begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you're met on arrival and transferred to Toka Leya to spend the night. This luxury camp sits in a prime location overlooking the mighty Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s name means “The Smoke that Thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker, as we see mist clouds rising off the falls from miles away. Great photo opportunities are on offer right away during a classic sunset cruise, as we look for hippos and crocodiles on the riverbanks. Afterward, join our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner.

Day 2: Victoria Falls / Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Rhino Viewing / Village Visit
Start the day with a guided walking tour of Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding cataract. The profuse spray has created a rain forest on the gorge rim, and a network of walkways offers varying vantage points over the falls, which span more than a mile across. Then, it’s off for Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park for a wildlife drive offering a sampler of the species we're likely to see on safari, plus our best chance to photograph a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers tasked with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we'll get out of the vehicle frequently for more intimate encounters, learning how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and follow their movements. With no predators in the park, we can also walk safely in search of zebra, giraffe, warthog, various antelope species, and other smaller mammals and birds. Elephants regularly cross the river, too, and we frequently get great photos of them wandering throughout the park. Later this afternoon we’ll visit a nearby village to learn about traditions and daily life of the local people.

Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
Traveling by road and ferry, we cross the Chobe River into Botswana’s Chobe National Park, famed for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a private boat cruise down the river and its myriad channels, we sometimes see several hundred elephants in a single day, with excellent chances for close-up photos. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are on display along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water—they make entertaining subjects.

This afternoon, fly to the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, some of Africa's most dramatic big-game country. Its tree-dotted plains are home to lion, leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog, as well as enormous elephant herds. We'll expect to encounter wildlife in amazing proximity along the Linyanti River and surrounding environs. Spend time capturing thrilling close-ups in a newly built hide that faces the Linyanti Channel, elevating us in exciting proximity to elephants, hippos and numerous birds. In the evenings, relax at our secluded camp, where well-appointed walk-in tents evoke an earlier romantic era of safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches we see more stars than we ever dreamed of, scattered across an impossibly black sky.

Days 6–8: Linyanti / Okavango Delta—Exploring the Flooded Marsh
After a final wildlife drive in the Linyanti wilderness, transfer by light aircraft to the Okavango Delta, Earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola and join with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert, where a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. With its vast network of waterways and wetlands, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and lush vegetation.

Jacana Camp is a dream base for wildlife photographers. Located in the delta’s watery heart, it's surrounded by a maze of canals and lagoons that sustain a profusion of wildlife. We explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro, the traditional poled dugout canoe of the delta, offering a chance to photograph wildlife at eye level in complete quiet. These wetlands and islands are home to many rare birds, and we may see wattled crane, Pel’s fishing owl, jacana, rails, crakes and moorhen. Following the reed-fringed channels, we may also capture shots of water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses. Depending on water levels and wildlife movements, we'll hope to do a guided walk during our time at Jacana, offering an intimate perspective on the small wonders that also surround us. (Please note that water levels and activities may vary based on actual amounts of anticipated annual rainfall).

Days 9–11: Southeast Okavango—Santawani Private Concession
This morning we fly by light aircraft to Gomoti Tented Camp in the heart of the Santawani Concession, a private reserve encompassing nearly 15,000 acres in the southeast corner of the Okavango Delta. Our aerial transfer offers exhilarating views of the landscape below. While some areas of the delta are permanently flooded, other habitats create a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier regions like the area that surrounds our camp. A mix of dense riverine woodland, open savanna and acacia scrub provide ample food for a large array of browsers and grazing species, as well as predators including cheetah, leopard, lion and rare wild dog.

The Gomoti River is a year-round lifeline for animals, while inland waterholes also sustain them during the dry season. The diverse range of habitats makes the Gomoti region ideal for all-day photography excursions, including traditional 4x4 wildlife drives, picnic lunches and night drives in search of nocturnal species. During our stay in Santawani, we're joined by a local researcher to learn about studies on the wide range of predators in the area, including research projects on wild dog, cheetah and leopard. A special highlight is a doors-off helicopter flight over the Gomoti River and Okavango Delta, with a chance to get aerial photos of the richest wildlife enclaves in all of Africa.

Day 12: Maun / Depart
Our Botswana photo safari comes to a close when we depart by air for Maun, where we connect with homeward flights or continue with onward extensions.
Map
All This Included
In the wilds of Botswana, you'll find the wonders that drew adventurers to the African continent over a century ago. Vast elephant herds still roam the acacia-studded savanna. Hippos and crocodiles crowd the Chobe River's marshy channels. Antelope, giraffe, buffalo and zebra thrive in the Okavango Delta wetlands and at watering holes that sustain life on the dry plains. Lions laze beneath mopane trees while leopards sprawl in branches above, icons of genuine wilderness that is vanishing all too quickly. Intimate tented safari camps are reminiscent of a nostalgic era in the African bush, yet replete with modern-day luxuries that ensure your comfort even in some of the planet's most remote wild places. If you're searching for the classic romance of Africa, it's still here in secluded Botswana—and it's ripe to exceed every wildlife photographer's wildest dreams!
 
Travel with just four guests per vehicle on our Secluded Botswana Photo Safari, led by a naturalist Expedition Leader who is a pro photographer and expert instructor. Plus, you'll get additional baggage allowance on internal flights, special expeditions at sunrise and sunset to capture the best light, and an exclusive doors-off helicopter flight over the Gomoti River and Okavango Delta for aerial imagery.
  • Internal scheduled light aircraft flights
  • Accommodations, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Non-alcoholic drinks at camps and in vehicles
  • House alcoholic beverages in camps
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leader
  • Safari Coordinator (Secluded Botswana Safari only)
  • Local guides and lodge staff
  • Some gratuities
  • All permits, entrance fees and taxes
Highlights
  • Botswana's Best Wildlife Viewing: You won't find a higher-quality, more in-depth privately guided safari to Africa’s most exclusive nature reserves, designed for maximum wildlife encounters!
  • The Most Intimate Luxury Camps: Small luxury mobile camps in remote private reserves offer unsurpassed comfort, isolation and astounding proximity to wildlife, which is often on view from our tents
  • Outstanding Safari Expedition Leaders: Led by Botswana's top guides, capture images of charismatic predators, track rhinos on foot, and photograph the Chobe River's massive elephant herds.
Accommodations
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park: Toka Leya
Linyanti Private Reserve: Linyanti Tented Camp
Okavango Delta: Jacana Camp
Santawani Concession: Gomoti Tented Camp

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 7 Travelers. A very important feature of our Secluded Botswana Safari is the limited group size of just seven travelers, since nature and wildlife encounters are greatly enhanced when fewer people are present. Secluded Botswana Photo Safaris are limited to eight travelers, who are then split between two vehicles with a maximum of four travelers per vehicle.
  • 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.
  • This consummate safari includes prime accommodations in Botswana’s best and most remote wildlife locales. Each safari camp is small and intimate (usually accommodating just our small group), with electricity and private en suite bathrooms. After full days of exploration and thrilling wildlife encounters that our Expedition Leaders help facilitate, our comfortable and hospitable accommodations provide an additional highlight. On these safaris, itinerary changes may occur in order to take advantage of conditions unique to the season and/or to accommodate unexpected changes in water levels; therefore, itineraries may need to be rerouted or redesigned without notice.
  • 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.
  • You must arrive in Livingstone, Zambia by 1 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.