Days 1–3: Maun, Botswana / Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Arrive in Maun and fly to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. We drive to our camp, which offers a sweeping vista of the valley floor, and we feel quite alone here in this little-visited national park. Our Kalahari safari commences in these remote environs, where animal movements are dictated by nature and the rains. We track them on extended game drives, studying the desert ecology along the way. The petrified riverbed is vibrant after brief rains, covered with nutritious grasses that attract herds from all over the enormous reserve. Predators follow these large congregations of desert wildlife with their young into the broad riverbed, creating natural drama we may be privy to observe. The famous black-maned Kalahari lions live here, as well as a healthy population of cheetah.
Days 4–6: Okavango Delta
After breakfast, we depart for the airstrip and fly via Maun to Little Vumbura, our tented camp in a private reserve in the Okavango Delta. We search for elephant herds within the mopane forests where they are often found breeding. Buffalo and other plains game frequent the wetlands, attracting a variety of predators. Inside the delta’s maze of canals and swamps, we look for wildlife by mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) and boat trips into the floodplains. Open 4x4s take us close to animals on the savanna, where we often see lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants and, if we're lucky, the rare sable. Island walks and night drives round out our diverse wildlife-viewing perspectives. Our camp provides exceptional comfort at the end of the day, with hot and cold running water in each tent and a plunge pool for added refreshment.
Days 7–9: Chitabe Private Concession
Fly today to Chitabe Main Camp or Chitabe Lediba, one of Botswana’s premier private concessions. The Chitabe Concession contains the widest range of habitats in the Okavango Delta, from savanna to forested islands and floodplains. We explore this diverse landscape on twice-daily game drives and optional safari walks where we may see elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, tsessebe, giraffe, kudu, impala and possibly even a pack of rare wild dogs on the hunt. Afternoon drives usually return after dark in the hopes of spotting the shyer nocturnal animals of the delta such as hyena, genet, civet, serval, porcupine, and on rare occasion, aardwolf. In the evening, share stories around a flickering campfire before retiring beneath the stars on one of Chitabe’s elevated platforms, listening to soothing night sounds of the African bush.
Days 10 & 11: Chobe National Park / Victoria Falls
After a short morning drive, we fly to Chobe National Park. Chobe is famous for its massive herds of elephants during the dry season but also supports a stable population of general game species throughout the year. On a boat cruise down the Chobe River we may see crocodiles, the elusive puku and Chobe bushbuck, and up to 400 bird species this time of year. Leaving Botswana, we drive into Zambia via the Kazungula border, where Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia meet. Our destination, Toka Leya, offers a luxurious setting on the banks of the mighty Zambezi. Individual chalets faces west over the river for marvelous sunset views, and we frequently see and hear elephants and hippos on shore. A guided tour of Victoria Falls is a fitting finale to our adventure.
Day 12: Livingstone / Home
After a leisurely morning, our Kalahari safari comes to an end as we transfer to the airport for flights home.
Physical Rating: Easy