Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Victoria Falls
Our family Botswana safari begins just over the border in Zambia, where our Expedition Leader meets us on arrival at Livingstone airport. We head straight to Victoria Falls for an exhilarating start to our African family adventure. Via trails along the top of the gorge where the profuse spray has created a rain forest, we find a variety of vantage points on the mile-wide cataract. Then it’s off to Toka Leya to spend the night. The camp sits in a prime location overlooking the mighty Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. The park’s name means “The Smoke that Thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker, that we can see clouds of mist rising from the falls from miles away.
Days 2-4: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
By road and ferry we travel to Botswana’s Chobe National Park, known for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a boat cruise through the meandering channels of the Chobe River we sometimes see 500 elephants in a single day! Hippos and crocodiles also abound, as well as a wide variety of waterbirds including herons and storks.
This afternoon we fly to the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The Linyanti, joined by the Selinda Spillway to the Okavango Delta, is dramatic big game country. Remote and unspoiled, it comprises a range of diverse habitats from riverine forest to open plains, laced with waterways and dotted with palm islands. While wildlife numbers are excellent here year-round, the Linyanti’s perennial water attracts great herds of buffalo, elephant and zebra that walk well-worn game paths to slake their thirst during the dry season. Predators follow in their footsteps, including lion, leopard, spotted hyena and more rarely seen African wild dog. Birdlife is also exceptional here. We encounter wildlife in thrilling proximity on game drives and guided walks, safety permitting. In the evenings we relax in camp, in a secluded setting evocative of the romantic era of early safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches we see more stars than we ever dreamed possible, scattered across a pitch-black sky.
Days 5-7: Okavango Delta—Santawani Private Concession
This morning we fly to Gomoti Tented Camp, located in the private Santawani Concession in the southeast section of the Okavango Delta. The earth’s largest inland water system, the delta’s headwaters lie in Angola’s western highlands, joining with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert where a green oasis 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, others are a mosaic of varied landscapes, including drier regions like the area surrounding 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, which in turn support predators such as cheetah, leopard, lion and wild dog. We may even spy the unusual pangolin, an anteater-like mammal covered in an armor of hard scales. The Gomoti River provides a lifeline for animals year-round, while inland waterholes sustain game during the dry season. The diverse habitats of the Gomoti region make it ideal for all-day game drives by 4x4, picnic lunches in the bush, and night drives in search of nocturnal species.
Days 8 & 9: Okavango Delta—Abu Private Concession
Transfer by light aircraft to Seba Camp, set in the private Abu Concession bordering the vast Moremi Game Reserve within a dry-ground section of the Okavango Delta. The camp is designed to blend into the ancient riverine forest that surrounds it, shaded by majestic hardwood trees such as sycamore fig and leadwood. Overlooking a perennial lagoon with prolific birdlife and resident pods of hippo, Seba enjoys a wildlife-rich setting. We explore the environs beyond camp on wildlife drives, nature walks and mokoro rides (water levels and safety permitting), expecting to spot lion, territorial leopard, large herds of buffalo and ever-present elephant, as well as general hoofed game including giraffe, zebra, red lechwe and impala.
Day 10: Maun / Depart
Our family Botswana safari comes to an end as we depart by air for Botswana's safari hub of Maun, where we connect with onward flights.
Physical Rating: Easy