* NB- You can split this itinerary into two and join for either part:
June 2’nd to 13’th Moremi, Godikwe, Khwai, Savute & Chobe. 11 Nights or
June 13’th to 22’nd Makgadikgadi, Nxai Pan & Kalahari. 9 Nights
Nights of 2’nd & 3’rd : Moremi Game Reserve
Meet at Maun Airport at around 1pm and drive to Moremi Game Reserve to an exclusive site. We will have a cold lunch along the way. Here land and Delta meet to create an exceedingly picturesque preserve of floodplains, waterways, lagoons, pools, pans, grasslands and riparian, riverine and forests.
This makes for spectacular game viewing and bird watching, including naturally occurring herbivore and carnivore species in the region, and over 400 species of birds, many migratory and some endangered. Both Black and White Rhino have recently been re-introduced, now making the reserve a ‘Big Five’ destination
After arriving at our campsite, we will leave the Ulinda staff to erect our camp go for a game drive, and enjoy sun downers. When we return to our camp we will enjoy snacks and drinks around the campfire. Then a tasty freshly cooked meal. Wine and beer is included (throughout). The next days we arise early and go for game drives, we especially try and find lions and leopard first thing in the morning and try leave camp before sunrise.
Nights of 4’th: Godikwe heronry, Moremi Game Reserve
Drive to Xakanaxa and go by boat to a Wilderness Island near the Heronry, we camp here for the night and visit the incredible island heronry for Sunset and Sunrise. It is full of breeding herons and storks from May through to October. Just the beautiful channels and lagoons encountered along the way in the boat make this worthwhile to anyone.
Nights of 5’th, 6’th & 7’th: Khwai
Return by boat to Xakanaxa and drive to Khwai, where we spend 3 nights at a beautiful and exclusive operators site. Khwai concession is a community-run private reserve adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve, divided from it by the Khwai River. Riverine forest lines the wide water lily and papyrus covered floodplains around the Khwai River. A myriad of colourful bird life is found in this watery habitat that is a breeding area for many species. Away from the river is woodland dotted with pans where we often spot wild dog.
All fees paid here go into the local community providing schools, scholarships, water pumps and more. In addition to our normal game drives we can do some spotlighting at night, fish in the Khwai River, drive off road and get out of the vehicle at the guide’s discretion. A mekoro (wooden canoe) trip is available for an extra US$45 payable to the mekoro polers from the Khwai Community.
Our daily routine remains the same- early starts with tea, coffee and a light breakfast before a Game drive to allow the best chance of seeing predators. We return to camp for a leisurely lunch and spent the afternoon relaxing- have a siesta, read, bird watch. We go out for an evening game drive and return to camp for canapes, dinner and some fireside storytelling.
Nights of 8’th, 9’th & 10’th: Savute Channel, Chobe National Park
Drive a few hours north through Chobe National Park, and stay at an exclusive site. Savuti is Botswana’s premium wild life destination and we will do extensive game drives and explore this amazing area. For a quarter of a century, the Savuti Channel was dry, creating wide-open grassland, home to both quantities and varieties of wildlife and a legendary predator’s enclave.
In 2008, the waters returned, and abundant game has congregated and adapted in its wake. Now the Marsh is once again turning into a wetland paradise. The Savute Channel is a deep, clear waterway harbouring hippo and aquatic life with myriad varieties of waterbirds. Wildlife, from plains game to a plethora of predators, has had to adapt to a new source of water and all the opportunities and menaces it has brought with it. Vast herds of Buffalo have returned to the area.
In the rainy season (normally November through to April) Savuti attracts many grazers to its short sweet grasses, and a large number of Zebra and Wildebeest congregate on the Marsh. There is a site where ancient San rock art can be seen after a small but steep climb. It is humbling to see and puzzle over and causes one to marvel at the people who previously inhabited the area. A beautiful island of 13 Baobab trees is not so well known but makes a wonderful excursion and is a wonderful site to photograph.
Nights of 11’th & 12’th: Chobe Riverfront, Chobe National Park
We head to the Chobe River, camping in an exclusive site near the river. The first glimpse of the Chobe River – deep and dazzling in the sandy terrain – is always breathtaking. Undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalleled in the country.
The Chobe Riverfront is famous for its large herds of elephants and Cape Buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink. The Chobe River attracts thousands of animals searching for water during the dry season. The river is host to a stunning array of bird life and a 3-hour boat cruise is taken to take advantage of this. If lucky you will see Elephants swimming in close proximity to you, in addition to the normal pods of slumbering Hippo’s, Red Lechwe, Crocodile, Impala, Kudu, Leguaans, Puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen) and numerous other animals you can view.
The sites we stay in here are completely undeveloped areas in the ‘bush’. They offer an untouched wilderness experience, all sites are within a few hundred metres from the Chobe River, and in the dry season you can watch stunning sunsets with a backdrop of elephants and buffalo a few minutes away from our tented camp.
Night of the 13’th : Gweta, Planet Baobab
For those leaving today: Mid morning we transfer you to the border at Kazungula for you to go to Livingstone, Zambia or Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to see one of the Natural Wonders of the World, or you can fly out of Kasane.
If you are continuing: After restocking in Kasane we drive 400km on the tar road to Planet Baobab and spend a night in a traditionally styled Bakalanga Hut near massive Baobab Tree’s. We will dine in their restaurant and enjoy Botswanan specialties.
Night of the 14’th : Makgadikgadi - Meerkat Experience, Baine’s Baobabs
Go early to see habituated Meerkats on the edge of Makgadikgadi Pans before they go out on their early morning foraging expedition. You will have the opportunity to walk alongside them as they forage natuarally and if you sit still you may even be lucky enough to have one climb onto you.
We will then drive to Baines Baobabs for full moon, an amazing site to see the Baobabs that night as we camp a short distance from them, across the white salt pans. Seven huge, gnarled baobab trees, named after the 19th century explorer Thomas Baines, are situated on an island overlooking and surrounded by the white, crusty Kudiakam Pan. Baines stood here over a hundred years ago and painted this otherworldly scene. It has essentially remained unchanged since that time.
Nights of the 15’th &16’th: Nxai Pan National Park
Short drive to Nxai Pan and camp there at an exclusive operators site for another 2 nights. Part of the great Makgadikgadi complex, Nxai Pan National Park covers an area of 2,100 km2, and comprises several larger pans which were once ancient salt lakes. These larger pans are now grassed, and are scattered with islands of acacia trees, and smaller pans that fill with water during the rainy season - thus providing rich resources for wildlife.
During the dry season there is often the opportunity to witness a kill as the lions often set up at one of the two pumped water holes in this small National Park. Nxai Pan has become famous due to the award winning IMAX film called Roar, mostly filmed at the pumped water hole during the dry season, where the resident lions set up to kill the Springbok and other animals drawn to the only source of water for miles around. The extremely rare Brown Hyaena and Cheetah are frequently spotted here.
Nights of the 17’th &18’th: Boteti River, Makgadikgadi NP
Drive to Makgadikgadi Pans National Park for another 2 nights next to the flowing Boteti River. The Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve– incorporates the western end of Ntwetwe Salt Pan, extensive grasslands and acacia woodland.
In the wet season offers good wildlife viewing, particularly when large herds of zebra and wildebeest begin their westward migration to the Boteti region. other species include gemsbok, eland and red hartebeest, as well as kudu, bushbuck, duiker, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, and even elephant, with all the accompanying predators, as well as the rare brown hyena.
Nights of the 19’th, 20’th & 21’st: Deception Valley, Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Drive through the village of Khumaga and onto Rakops, for fuel, before driving to the Central Kalahari. We drive to Deception Valley and camp in a site overlooking the Valley. One of the remotest and most unspoiled parts of Africa, this is one of the prime game viewing areas in Botswana.
Nothing prepares you for the immensity of this reserve, nor its wild, mysterious beauty. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land; their brilliance and immediacy are totally arresting. The best time to visit is when we will be, during or soon after the rains, when large herds of springbok and gemsbok, as well as wildebeest, hartebeest and eland gather for good grazing.
Night of the 22’nd: Return to Maun
We will have one last Game drive in Deception valley before returning to Maun Airport for your departure- or if you like we can arrange your accommodation in Maun or a nearby camp. We can also book scenic flights over the Okavango Delta- a wonderful way to get an overview of this magnificent area and end your trip.