An All-Encompassing Adventure Featuring Southern Africa's Most Diverse Wildlife & Scenery
Day 1: Windhoek, Namibia
Our Botswana and Namibia safari begins in Windhoek. We meet our Expedition Leader on arrival and settle in to
our boutique hotel in one of Windhoek’s leafy, tranquil neighborhoods. Over a leisurely welcome dinner with our Expedition Leader, get acquainted with fellow travelers and learn about the vast landscapes and wildlife we’ll be exploring during the next two weeks.
Days 2 & 3: Kulala Wilderness Reserve—Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
A morning flight delivers us to the private 90,000-acre Kulala Wilderness Reserve, where massive gold-orange dunes rise a thousand feet from the floor of the world’s oldest desert. This is Namibia’s vast sand sea, where currents, waves
and wind cause the world’s tallest dunes to shape-shift against intense blue skies. Sossusvlei translates as “dead-end marsh”—the place where the Namib desert’s dunes come together to prevent the Tsauchab River from flowing to the Atlantic Ocean. Within Namibia’s largest conservation area, look for intermittent, ancient petrified dunes that formed as long as a billion years ago. Wildlife gems we may find amid this arid clime include springbok, gemsbok, oryx, ostrich, spotted and brown hyena, bat-eared fox and aardwolf. The rare dune lark’s entire habitat is confined to this sandy expanse. Discover the desert’s quiet magic on short walks and wildlife drives, then return to the comfort of our secluded camp for matchless sunsets and stargazing.
Days 4 & 5: Palmwag Concession
Fly north to Desert Rhino Camp in the heart of the private million-acre Palmwag Concession, a location so remote that our chartered plane will make a touchdown to refuel en route. This safari location offers the utmost privacy and isolation in one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. Freshwater springs around this desert reserve support healthy wildlife populations, including the camp’s namesake, the rare desert-adapted black rhino, which we track in the company of experts from Save the Rhino Foundation based at our camp. We also find desert-adapted elephants, endemic Hartmann’s mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok
and greater kudu. Namibia’s second-largest predator population thrives here, which includes lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Birds are abundant, too, including a number of southern African endemics.
Days 6 & 7: Etosha National Park—Ongava Private Reserve
This morning we fly to Etosha National Park, an ancient lakebed where perennial springs draw a plethora of game. The Etosha Salt Pan, visible from space, is the remnant of a huge lake that existed here two million years ago. Contrasts on the landscape come in the form of grasslands and large camel thorn trees mixed with mopane, also known as ironwood. Bare and dry today, the depression offers Namibia’s best wildlife viewing, with elephant, black and white rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, oryx, kudu and the diminutive dik-dik drawn to its life-sustaining waterholes, many of which are the result of natural springs and fountains. Birdlife is abundant, and we may see ostrich and raptors. Ongava’s private game reserve adjoining Etosha is a conservation success story, sprung when local families turned unproductive cattle ranches into a prolific 74,000-acre haven for wildlife. Our lodge is set on the extensive private reserve with access to Namibia’s best wildlife viewing. We take day and night drives and walks, and we watch animals up close from strategically placed hides.
Days 8 & 9: Okavango Delta, Botswana—Moremi Game Reserve
Leaving the dry Namib Desert, we fly to another realm entirely: the Okavango Delta, where the river pours over the sands of the Kalahari in a green maze of canals and lagoons, sustaining a profusion of wildlife. We stay in solitude at Xigera Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve. There is water here year-round and we glide silently in a mokoro—a traditional poled dugout canoe—spying a host of animals and birds along the banks.
Days 10 & 11: Okavango Delta—Chitabe Private Concession
Depart by light aircraft for our deluxe bush camp bordering the acclaimed Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Our camp is a private oasis of luxury, with all the classic scenery one expects on an African safari—open floodplains, marshlands, acacia and mopane woodlands, riverine areas and grasslands stretch to the horizon. The wildlife in this renowned corner of the Okavango is as diverse as it is prolific, from elephant and impala to lion and wild dog.
Days 12–14: Linyanti Private Reserve
A flight by light aircraft brings us into the Linyanti Reserve, one of the best game-viewing regions in Botswana. Elephants thrive in the mopane woodlands, especially in winter when they number in the thousands. From our base at Savuti Camp, day and night drives may reveal all the large predators as well as impala, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest lechwe, tsessebe
and other plains animals.
Day 15: Chobe National Park / Livingstone, Zambia—Victoria Falls
Fly to Chobe National Park for more of Botswana’s magnificent wildlife. Famous for its vast elephant herds, which number to 70,000, the park is also home to feline predators and plenty of hoofed game. We'll have lunch on board during a private boat safari down the Zambezi River, scouting for wildlife before entering Zambia, en route to the River Club. At this elegant Edwardian-flavored lodge facing the sunset, elephants and hippos often frequent the riverbank.
Day 16: Victoria Falls / Depart
Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and arguably the most stupendous waterfall on the planet. A guided tour of the falls and rain forest-clad rim provides a fitting finale to our epic exploration. Say farewell this afternoon as we transfer to the Livingstone airport, where our Botswana and Namibia tour comes to an end.
Click here to view the seasonal variations of weather and wildlife viewing in Botswana.