Secluded Botswana Safari

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Secluded Botswana Itinerary

Itinerary Map
Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia—Zambezi River
Our Botswana trip begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you are met on arrival and transferred to Toka Leya to spend the night. This luxury camp sits in a prime location overlooking the mighty Zambezi River upriver from Victoria Falls, surrounded by Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park’s name means “The Smoke that Thunders,” and it’s an apt moniker, as we see mist clouds rising off the falls from miles away. Enjoy a classic sunset cruise before a welcome dinner with your Expedition Leader and traveling companions.

Day 2: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park—Victoria Falls / Village Visit / Rhino Walk
Our focus today is Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, which means "the smoke that thunders" in the local Kololo and Lozi languages—a reference to the park's centerpiece, Victoria Falls, which we explore on a guided walking tour this morning. The world's most astounding cataract, Victoria Falls spans more than a mile and plummets 350 feet into the Zambezi Gorge below, producing so much spray that the intense moisture has created a rain forest microecosystem on the rim. A network of walkways offers varying viewpoints over the falls, with exciting photography opportunities.

Next, we visit a nearby village to learn about the culture and daily life of the local people. Then, we head farther into the national park for our best chance to see a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers charged with guarding the rhinos around the clock, we learn how to read signs of the rhinos' presence and follow 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, and we often see them wandering throughout the park.

Days 3–5: Chobe National Park, Botswana / Linyanti Private Reserve
Traveling by road, we cross the Chobe River into Botswana's Chobe National Park, famed for its vast elephant herds—a population that exceeds 70,000. On a private boat cruise down the river and its myriad channels, we sometimes see several hundred elephants in a single day. Waterbirds abound, including herons and storks, and hippos and crocodiles are on view along the muddy banks. Keep an eye out for egrets perched on the backs of elephants cooling off in the water.

This afternoon, fly to the private Linyanti Wildlife 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 enormous elephant herds. We expect to encounter wildlife in thrilling proximity along the Linyanti River and surrounding environs. In the evenings, relax at our secluded camp, where well-appointed walk-in tents evoke a nostalgic era of safari travel. Through the thorny acacia branches overhead we see more stars than we ever dreamed of, scattered across an impossibly black sky.

Days 6–8: Linyanti / Okavango Delta—Exploring the Marsh
After a final game drive in the wilds of Linyanti, transfer by light aircraft to the Okavango Delta, Earth’s largest inland water system. The delta’s headwaters lie in the western highlands of Angola, joining with other rivers in Namibia and Botswana to meet the Kalahari Desert, where a green oasis sprawls amid the sands and dry savanna. When rains create rising floodwaters, the delta is a vast network of waterways and islands that are home to a profuse collection of wildlife and lush vegetation.

Jacana Camp is located in the heart of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by a maze of wetlands that sustain many rare birds. Look for the wattled crane, Pel’s fishing owl, jacana, rail, crake and moorhen. Following the reed-fringed channels, we may also spy water-adapted antelope such as red lechwe browsing in the grasses. Depending on water levels, we explore the constantly shifting marsh by mokoro, a traditional poled dugout canoe, offering a chance to observe wildlife at eye-level in complete quiet. We'll also hope to do a guided walk for an intimate perspective on the smaller wonders that surround us. Guests may add an optional 30-minute helicopter flight over the greater Okavango Delta (additional cost), with doors off for the most spectacular photography opportunities!

Please note: Water levels and activities may vary based on fluctuating annual rainfall.

Days 9–11: Southeast Okavango—Santawani Private Concession—Predator Researcher Visit
Fly by light aircraft to Nat Hab's Gomoti Camp—Okavango South in the heart of the Santawani Concession, a private community-owned reserve encompassing nearly 15,000 acres in the southeast corner of the Okavango Delta. Our intimate camp, isolated in the wild, offers a tremendous sense of seclusion. While some parts 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 provides 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. A special highlight of our time at Gomoti is the chance to view wildlife from our own fully electric safari vehicle, charged with renewable solar energy. During our stay in Santawani, we're joined by a local researcher to learn about studies on the wide range of predators in the area, including research projects on wild dog, cheetah and leopard.

Day 12: Maun / Depart
Our grand Botswana safari comes to a close as we depart by air for Maun to connect with homeward flights, or to continue with onward extensions.

Click here to view the seasonal variations of weather and wildlife viewing in Botswana.

Physical Rating: Easy to Moderate

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