Okavango, Pans, Vic Falls

YOUR ULTIMATE OVERLAND SAFARI IN AFRICA

  • Zimbabwe, Botswana
  • Duration: 15 days
  • Self-drive, experience required

Areas of Interest

David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls in 1855 and named them in honor of the British Queen.

Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. In more modern terms Victoria Falls is known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.

Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as, at the height of the rainy season, more than five hundred million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge, over a width of nearly two kilometers, into a gorge over one hundred meters below.

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 5,604 ft (1,708 m) and height of 354 ft (108 m), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width, Victoria Falls is rivaled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls.

Sundowner cruises operate above the falls, and the area is also famous for the private flights on small aircraft, as well as the bungee jumps. Rafting in the Zambezi river is exciting, as well as canoeing and kayaking. If you are looking for an active holiday, Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River is the place for you.

We strongly recommend reading a bit more about this fantastic place, an ecosystem unique in the World. The Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes (called mokoro) are used to navigate past hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes, and rhinos.

The Okavango Delta is a unique pulsing wetland. More correctly an alluvial fan, the delta covers between 6 and 15,000 square of the Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which flows from the Angolan highlands, across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, and into the harsh Kalahari Desert.

The 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is an important wildlife area protected by both the Moremi Game Reserve, on its eastern edge, and the numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland.

Chobe National Park is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta. It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which converge along the Chobe Riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes, and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras.

The main attraction is the Chobe River, and the game viewing from a boat when the wildlife congregates to drink. You are likely to see all the African iconic wildlife species. The Chobe National Park is also famous for bird watching. Variety includes open-billed-storks, kingfishers of all types, and the famous breeding colonies of carmine-bee-eaters (September to October).

It is the most diversified of all the parks in Botswana. Although just fewer than 5,000 square kilometers (1,900 square miles) in extent, Moremi Game Reserve is a surprisingly diverse game reserve, combining mopane woodland and acacia forests, floodplains, and lagoons. Only about 30% of the Reserve is mainland, with the bulk being within the Okavango Delta itself.

Chances of seeing all the Big 5 are high (May to November). By combining drier areas and waterways, the contrasts are astonishing. Imagine views of savannah game as well as birdlife around the rivers, or elephants and hippos splashing in the lagoons. Often referred to as a ‘Garden of Eden’, the Moremi Game Reserve offers excellent game viewing year-round and stunning landscapes of savannah, floodplains, lagoons, dense forests (where leopards and wild dogs hide) and winding rivers.

The Savute (also spelled Savuti) area borders the Delta to the west and Chobe National Park to the east and is one of Africa’s best known big game areas. Savuti is a place of enchantment, of beauty, and boasts one of the greatest concentrations of animals in Southern Africa.

Savuti is famous for its mysterious and fascinating channel. It runs a distance of 100 kilometers from the Chobe River, through a gap in the sand ridge, to the Mababe Depression. Falling only approximately 18 meters, this channel brings water from the Chobe to Mababe, creating a small marsh where it enters the Depression.

Predators are abundant, especially its resident lion and spotted hyena populations. Savuti areas are among the most beautiful in Botswana. The game-viewing can be exceptional, and the wide variety of activities make this an area not be missed. Savute hosts large herds of buffalo, zebra, and elephant. Because this area is a private game reserve, the vehicle concentrations are very low and the wilderness experience is one of the best in Africa.

Linyanti is situated north of Savuti in a corner of the Chobe National Park. Linyanti Swamp is one of the most attractive areas in the park. It boasts a great diversity of game and a restful atmosphere.

The north-western corner of Chobe meets the Linyanti River – this is a fragment of almost 900 square kilometers of the secluded Linyanti Swamp. This area is further expanded by the Selinda Reserve in the west and Namibia’s remote Mamili National Park on the northern bank of the Kwando River. The area’s relative remoteness makes it a favored safari destination.

Wildlife viewing in the Linyanti region is excellent. It boasts large concentrations of elephant, lion, sable, roan, hippos, and wild dog, building to a peak in the dry winter months. The area also offers spectacular bird watching year round and is best known for its enormous herds of Elephant which move down to the Linyanti River at the start of the winter months and only move back inland once the main rains arrive.

Sable and Roan Antelope occur, as well as lion, leopard, and wild dogs. The marshes are home to red lechwe, sitatunga, hippo, crocodiles and wonderful bird life. And moving along the waterways, we can see kudu, zebra, buffalo, waterbuck, and impala.

The Khwai River, the northern-most overflow of the Okavango Delta, pushes water far into the dry lands of Botswana during the dry season, attracting a multitude of wildlife and is known as one of the most dramatic wildlife experiences in the country:

    • Dry season concentration of wildlife along the channel (June to September)
    • Diversity in vegetation from open grass plains to riverine forest
    • Excellent birding during the summer months
    • Very strong predator population including lion, leopard and wild dog

Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrive Maun – Royal Tree Lodge

One of our members will be waiting for you at the airport for your transfer to Royal Tree Lodge, a private game reserve located twenty minutes from Maun. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Thamalakane River with an abundance of wildlife including giraffe, zebra, springbok, ostrich, eland, gemsbok and kudu as well as an extensive variety of bird life.

Service: Full Board

 

  • Day 2 – South Campsite – Nxai Pan National Park

Your adventure starts with the Nxai Pan, a huge salt flat, with fascinating lights and colors. South Camp is situated in a wooded area roughly 35 km north of the main entrance. The site has an ablution block with showers and loos.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 4 hours

 

  • Day 3 – Baines Baobab Campsite – Nxai Pan National Park

Today you will visit the area of the Nxai Pan around the famous Baines Baobabs. Botswana is packed with fantastic campsites, but few are more inspiring than Baines’ Baobabs in Nxai Pan National Park.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 4 hours

 

  • Day 4 – South Gate Campsite – Moremi  

Moving north, you will head back to Maun, and then onto Moremi Game Reserve. The campsite is the ideal entry point to the Moremi game reserve, and the game drive around Black Pools is always rewarding.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 5 & 6 – Moremi Crossing Lodge – Moremi

Moremi Crossing is a 16 tent, eco-friendly camp built on a palm-fringed island surrounded by the Moremi’s game-rich seasonal floodplains and overlooking Chief’s Island. Moremi Crossing is a new style safari camp combining luxury with simplicity. This is a 100% eco-friendly development featuring the latest in solar and waste disposal technology. Explore the wilderness with our guided bush walks, or sit back and absorb the scenery from a traditional ‘mokoro’ canoe. Another great way to explore the crystal clear channels of the Boro River is by motor-boat. Watch the sunset while drifting along a lagoon and sipping on sundowners.

Service: Full Board

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 7 – Third Bridge Campsite – Moremi

You will spend another entire day in the Moremi, and you will move north. The previous two days with the guides will help you to spot the wildlife yourself, while at the same time experiencing a total independent experience, on your own, with your team or significant others. This is a great area for wildlife, and also a nice place to take a mokoro trip through the channels. The facilities at this campsite are well-maintained and the sanitary facilities were renewed a few years ago. The camping pitches are very spacious here, which means you can enjoy the surroundings in complete peace and privacy. At this campsite, you are truly amongst the wildlife. There are no fences, which means wild animals can walk right by your tent. During the day, there are baboons to look out for. In the evening, there is a good chance of seeing hyenas in the camp.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 8 – Khwai Campsite – North Gate

On your way to the next area (Savute), you will stop at Khwai North Gate Campsite, which is found at the entrance to the Moremi Game Reserve. A beautiful, small-scale campsite with 10 camping pitches. Because there is no fencing, you may receive visits from wildlife at the camp. Hyenas are regular visitors in the evening and during the day there will be monkeys.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 9 – Savute Campsite – Chobe National Park

Your exposure to the best possible wildlife experience moves forward with the Chobe and the Savute region. The campsite is simple and clean and at the right place. Its specialty has always been spotted hyenas and, of course, elephants. Like the area’s private camps, it has nightly visits from spotted hyenas.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 10 & 11 – Saile Tented Camp – Linyanti

Remote Botswana! Saile Tented Camp is a small 8 bedded tented camp. The camp is situated on the river banks of the Linyanti Marsh in the Chobe area. The camp caters for guests who enjoy small groups or private family safaris with their own private guide. This is a true luxury out of Africa “camping out” experience. Game viewing is superb.

Service: Full Board

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 12 & 13 – Ihaha Campsite – Chobe National Park

The exploration of the Chobe National Park completes with the Northern part of the park. You will stay at Ihaha, a relatively new camping ground with modern facilities and attractive reception. Ihaha Campsite is on the Chobe Riverfront. The campsite overlooks a hippo pool in the dry season while in the high water season the river is in full flow below the campground.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 14 & 15 – Waterberry Lodge – Victoria Falls – Zambia

Your adventure in Botswana will finish with the visit to Victoria Falls, Victoria Falls presents a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. You will stay at the Waterberry Lodge, located on the banks of the Zambezi River, amongst Mopane woodland. A sunset cruise on the river will be the ideal way to relax and enjoy the amazing moments of your holidays.

Service: Full Board

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 16 – Depart Livingstone

Extensions

Nxai Pan National Park covers more than 810 square miles and is located in Northern Botswana. It is a fossil lake, and the landscape is famous for the baobabs. Wildlife varies from cheetah to gemsbok, eland, lions and the other predators. The highlight of the park is the Baines Baobabs, a group of five baobabs, recently painted by Prince Charles.

Makgadikgadi National Park is part of the Makgadikgadi Pans, a large area that of 4,600 square miles. The landscape is characterized by the salt pans, with a few land islands scattered in the area. The wildlife includes large herds of blue wildebeest, flamingoes, plain game and the famous meerkats. On the western side, thanks to the fact that the Boteti River is now flowing again, and wildlife viewing is very rewarding. Stargazing is also a famous highlight of the Makgadikgadi. The complete darkness produces the brightest stars you could ever imagine.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, also known as the CGKR, is one of the largest in the World, with its 20,000 square miles. Depending on the season, you will find the best cheetah population in Botswana, as well as all the other predators (December through May). The most famous part of the CKGR is Deception Valley. The area was home for the American researchers Mark and Delia Owens, who wrote the best seller The Cry of the Kalahari (a must-read).

You will find this park ideal to visit if you are planning to extend your holiday to South Africa. It is the land of the extremes, with summer temperatures exceeding 105 F (40 C). Animals have adapted to these conditions, and the areas around the Auob River and the Nossob River Valley are very rich in wildlife.

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