Cruise the Chobe River into Botswana & Namibia & Safari Overland in Private Reserves
Day 1: Maun, Botswana / Okavango Delta—Jao Private Concession
Our grand African adventure begins in Maun, where your Expedition Leader meets you at the airport. From here, we transfer by light aircraft to Tubu Tree Camp, located in the private Jao Concession on the edge of Botswana’s famed Moremi Game Reserve. The camp sits on Hunda Island, the largest area of permanently dry land in this part of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by grasslands that attract many species of plains animals. Its location amid varied habitats, including a network of water channels and marshes, makes it am optimal base for both land- and water-based activities. We begin exploring the area before officially kicking off our safari with a welcome dinner this evening.
Days 2 & 3: Exploring the Moremi Game Reserve from Hunda Island
The range of diverse habitats surrounding our camp, from dry Kalahari sandveld to mopane and riverine forest on the edge of permanent waterways, supports tremendous game populations and ensures outstanding wildlife viewing. Our activities focus on drives in open 4x4 vehicles across the sprawling floodplains in search of elephant, lion, Burchell's zebra, red lechwe, southern giraffe, tsessebe, blue wildebeest and more. In forested areas, look for kudu, impala and bushbuck. And, of course, we’ll hope to see the predators that track them, including lion and especially leopard, which live on the island in substantial numbers. Night drives reveal nocturnal species such as civet and caracal, and larger predators that hunt at night.
Days 4–6: Selinda Private Reserve
Fly to Selinda Explorers Camp, located on a remote stretch of the Selinda Spillway in the heart of the private 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve. Because our camp accommodates just eight guests in four tents, we feel secluded and alone in this vast wilderness—except for the constant company of wildlife. This is vast big-game country, once traversed by legendary explorers like Livingstone and Selous. The landscape is largely unchanged today, and wild animals still roam freely in spectacular numbers. The region is home to huge herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as lion, wild dog, sable and roan antelope that we spot on a regular basis along with plenty of other wildlife, exploring via open 4x4 vehicles and canoe, as well as on foot. Because the focus at this camp is on walking, we'll also observe a multitude of small, fascinating phenomena often missed on game drives. After dark, the camp takes on a romantic ambience with the flicker of kerosene lanterns and the glimmer of a crackling campfire under the stars.
Day 7: Chobe National Park / Board Riverboat
This morning we fly via light aircraft from Selinda to Kasane, then continue by boat on a 10-minute journey across the Chobe River to Impalila Island in Namibia. Here, we'll clear border formalities on the island before traveling by tender boat another 20 minutes to reach the boarding point where our African river cruise adventure begins. The Chobe Princess,
our privately chartered luxury houseboat, is our home for the next three days, and we are welcomed with lunch aboard. Soon, we are meandering through the vast river system that sprawls along the nexus of four national borders, including Zambia and Zimbabwe. While we’ll see plentiful wildlife from the boat deck, we also make more intimate excursions via tender boats along narrow channels and inlets for a closer vantage.
Our first outing happens late this afternoon, after we dock for the evening. Our Expedition Leader packs a cooler with chilled drinks as we head off in the skiffs to explore the various waterways around us, bird book and binoculars in hand. As the orange ball of sun dips behind the river, return to the Chobe Princess
to savor dinner aboard. There’s plenty of time to get further acquainted with the friendly onboard staff and learn more about the region, its wildlife, history and local people.
Days 8 & 9: Exploring the Chobe River System
While each day’s discoveries are different, we’ll experience a wide range of wildlife encounters and cultural activities during our riverboat safari. Chobe National Park is known for its tremendous elephant herds, a population that exceeds 70,000. We often see several hundred elephants in a single day! Large herds of buffalo and antelope are also present, and we get exhilaratingly close on skiff excursions into their midst. We’re also likely to see lots of hippos and crocodiles, and birds abound, too—more than 400 species. Look for waterbirds such as storks, herons and egrets as we ply the channels.
Other activity options include a guided walk on Impalila Island to meet local villagers and a chance to climb an ancient baobab tree, rewarding adventurers with spectacular views of the Chobe and Zambezi confluence and four bordering countries. For those who'd like to try a hand at landing one of the Zambezi’s famed tiger fish, both fly fishing and rod-and-reel options are available. Each evening we return to the respite of our houseboat for dinner and a comfortable night's rest, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the African wild all around us.
Day 10: Kasane / Depart
After breakfast, transfer by tender boat from the Chobe Princess
to the customs office on Impalila Island to exit Namibia. Crossing the Chobe River once more, we retrace our steps to re-enter Botswana, where our safari comes to an end in Kasane and we connect with onward flights.
Click here to view the seasonal variations of weather and wildlife viewing in Botswana.