Our Flagship Safari—A Truly Exclusive Adventure into the Heart of Wildest Africa
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Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River
Our Botswana trip begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you're met on arrival and transferred to The River Club. Overlooking the Zambezi River 11 miles upstream from Victoria Falls, the tranquil lodge, replete with Edwardian ambience, is set among lush vegetation where hippos often entertain us on the banks. We’ll enjoy a classic sunset cruise before joining our Expedition Leader for a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Victoria Falls / Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Rhino Tracking
Visit a local village this morning, then explore Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding cataract, on a guided walking tour. The profuse spray has created a rain forest on the gorge rim, and a network of walkways offers varying viewpoints over falls that span more than a mile. A wildlife drive in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park offers our first taste of the species diversity we may see during our safari. The name of the park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, means “the Smoke That Thunders” in the local language, a reference to the nearby falls. Our park adventure also includes our only chance to see a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers tasked with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we trek on foot, learning how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and and track 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 see them wandering throughout the park.
Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
By road and ferry we journey across the Chobe River to Botswana’s Chobe National Park, known for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On our boat cruise down the river, braided with myriad channels, we sometimes see 500 elephants in a single day. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are prolific along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water.
This afternoon, we fly to the Linyanti private 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 tremendous elephant herds. We encounter wildlife in amazing proximity on game drives and, when safety pemits
, guided walks along the Linyanti River. In the evenings, relax at our secluded camp, where well-appointed tented accommodations 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: Okavango Delta—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. Earth’s largest inland water system, the delta’s headwaters lie in Angola’s western highlands and join with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert and create a green oasis that sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. With its vast network of channels and wetlands, the Okavango is home to a profuse collection of wildlife and vegetation.
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 excursions, including traditional 4x4 game drives, picnic lunches and night drives in search of nocturnal species.
Days 9 & 10: Okavango Delta—Exploring the Flooded Marsh
Leaving dry land behind, we transfer by light aircraft to a contrasting section of the Okavango Delta. Pelo Camp is located in the Okavango’s watery heart, a maze of canals and lagoons that sustains a profusion of wildlife. We explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro,
a traditional dugout canoe, offering a chance to observe wildlife at eye level in complete quiet. Islands and wetlands among the channels are home to many rare birds; we may see wattled cranes, Pel’s fishing owls, jacanas, rails, crakes and moorhens. We may also spy water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses.
Days 11 & 12: Moremi Game Reserve—Hunda Island
Depending on water levels, we travel by boat or 4x4 safari vehicle to Little Tubu and/or Tubu Tree, adjoining sister camps located on the edge of Botswana’s famed Moremi Game Reserve. We use one of the two camps as our base, taking meals together even though our group may be accommodated in rooms at both camps. The camps sit on Hunda Island, the largest permanently dry land area in this region of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by grasslands that attract many plains animal species. A range of diverse habitats, from dry Kalahari sandveld to mopane and riverine forest, ensures spectacular wildlife viewing at the edge of permanent waterways. Activities focus on drives in open 4x4 vehicles in search of elephant, lion, Burchell's zebra, red lechwe, southern giraffe, tsessebe and blue wildebeest on the sprawling floodplains. In forested areas we are on the lookout for kudu, impala, and bushbuck. And, of course, we’ll hope to see the predators that track them, including lion and leopard. Night drives reveal nocturnal species such as civet cat and caracal, plus large predators that hunt in the dark.
Day 13: Maun / Depart
Our Botswana trip comes to a close when we depart by air for Maun, where we connect with homeward flights or continue with trip extensions.
Physical Rating: Easy
Click here to view the seasonal variations of weather and wildlife viewing in Botswana.