Secluded Botswana Itinerary
Our Botswana trip begins just over the border in Livingstone, Zambia, where you're 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—Rhino Walk / Village Visit / Victoria Falls
In Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a wildlife drive offers our first sampler of the species diversity we'll see during our safari, plus our best chance to see a white rhinoceros. Accompanied by a local guide and park rangers charged with guarding the park's rhinos around the clock, we step out of the vehicle for more intimate encounters, learning 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. We also visit a nearby village to learn about the culture and daily life of the local people. Then, it’s off to Victoria Falls, the world’s most astounding
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. Spend time in a hide that faces the Linyanti Channel, elevating us close to elephants, hippos
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.
Please note: Water levels and activities may vary based on fluctuating annual rainfall.
Days 9–11: Southeast Okavango—Santawani Private Concession—Visit with Predator Researcher
Fly by light aircraft to Gomoti Tented Camp 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
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.