Join us as we visit the true Africa—Botswana—where the landscape has remained relatively unscathed and offers vintage Africa adventure travel. Here we find all the major wildlife: elephants, buffalo, lions, hippos, plains antelopes, leopards, cheetahs, and more. Well over half of Africa’s most endangered carnivore, the wild dog, is here. Our Botswana expedition includes mokoro cruising on the Okavango Delta, searching for more than 350 bird species (including the scarce black egret and pygmy goose), and romantic accommodations in some of Africa’s best camps. Join Lex Hes, a renowned South Africa tour guide, for this journey to Africa of yesteryear.
Botswana Expedition Highlights:
- Water-bound Xigera, one of Botswana’s best-kept secrets, where we meet lions, hyenas, leopards, kingfishers, eagles, Pel’s fishing owls, and more.
- Drive ATV vehicles and accompany Bushman trackers to Chapman’s Baobab tree, learning about their folklore and lifestyle on the way.
- Centerpiece of your Botswana expedition: Time spent with Lex Hes, one of Africa’s premier naturalists & wildlife photographers with over 30 years of experience.
- Chance for night safaris, using spotlights to seek out rare nocturnal species—one of the most memorable aspects of your Botswana tour.
- Opportunity for South Africa adventure travel at the beginning and end of your Botswana tour; we depart from and return to Johannesburg.
What to Expect:
Botswana adventure travel is one of the most sublime experiences one can have. Please be mindful that some safari drives can be long and over bumpy surfaces. Most of our accommodations during this Botswana tour will be in spacious, en suite tents with hot and cold water; be aware that there are no fences around the camps and animals of all sizes are sometimes encountered within the camp boundaries. With a healthy spirit of adventure, flexibility, and sense of humor, this can only add to your lifelong memories of this superb journey.
USA / Johannesburg, South Africa
Depart from the USA on your international flight to Johannesburg.
Arrive Johannesburg and transfer to the InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Johannesburg / Maun, Botswana / Chitabe
Early-morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Maun. We then transfer to chartered bush planes for the short flight to Chitabe, which borders the Moremi Game Reserve in the southeast of the Okavango Delta. Upon arrival we have time to settle in before embarking on a late-afternoon game-watching activity.
Our camp is built on one of the most beautiful of the Okavango Delta’s islands. During our time here we explore the region, a combination of open floodplains, wooded islands, and lagoons harboring an outstanding assortment of African wildlife. Game viewing is excellent, and, accompanied by local guides, we ride in open 4x4 vehicles or go on foot in search of buffalos, elephants, lions, leopards, reedbucks, lechwes, zebras, and hippos. Wild dogs are also a possibility here.
In addition to the customary morning and afternoon game drives and walks, we may also have the option of night safaris, using spotlights to seek out rare nocturnal species.
Xigera (pronounced Keejera), situated in the central Okavango Delta within the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, is one of the Okavango’s best-kept secrets. Water surrounds Xigera year-round, and many islands are home to large concentrations of wildlife. It is the perfect water-activity camp, and one of the only Okavango camps that offers foot safaris, mekoros (dugout canoes), and boating trips.
Aboard mekoros, silently glide through the tranquil Okavango waterways amid numerous delta creatures. A paradise for avid birders, Xigera is home to Pel’s fishing owls, African skimmers, slaty egrets, lesser jacanas, and a host of eagles, vultures, and kingfishers.
A feature unique to the camp is a wooden footbridge that connects Xigera to the neighboring island. Guests are often treated to close-up views of lions, hyenas, or leopards padding across the bridge as they move between islands. Xigera also boasts the highest density of the rare sitatunga antelope found anywhere in the Okavango Delta, as well as hippos and crocodiles. We can observe the wildlife and unique delta scenery from the comfort of a 4x4 vehicle or, for the more adventurous, track animals on foot.
Many regard Mombo as Africa’s premier game capital and we spend four days exploring the area. This natural paradise provides the visitor to Africa with the highest-quality wildlife viewing—the complete “Okavango encounter.” Set on the northwestern tip of Chief’s Island, Mombo offers wide, expansive plains filled with unparalleled wildlife and scenery.
All the major predators—lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs—may be seen close to camp. Elephants, buffalos, and various species of antelope are also abundant in the region. Birdlife is profuse, with huge concentrations of pelicans, storks, and cranes. Also seen are Dickinson’s kestrels, pink-throated longclaws, and Meyer’s parrots. Because of Mombo’s unique position and abundance of wildlife, many award-winning Africa documentaries have been filmed near the camp. These include The Sisterhood, a highly acclaimed film on spotted hyenas and the National Geographic documentary by Dereck and Beverly Joubert The Eyes of the Leopard (about a young female leopard sometimes seen by guests).
Although Mombo is considered a land camp, the ebb and flow of the Okavango Delta’s waters constantly modify the region. At times it is an island of its own, and at other times it is linked by a land bridge to Chief’s Island. Hippos, crocodiles, and large numbers of waterfowl and wading birds are regular sights on our daily drives.
We spend two days at Camp Kalahari, located on the edge of an ancient super lake and adjacent to the Makgadikgadi National Park. Our visit offers a unique perspective of the arid vastness of the Kalahari Desert. During our time here we go in search of the desert-adapted wildlife that survive in this harsh environment; meerkats, aardwolves, oryx, and springbok among them. This is also our only opportunity to spot the rare brown hyena.
The birdlife here is varied as well, and the species we hope to spy include white-backed and lappet-faced vultures; several types of hornbills; tawny and martial eagles; ostriches; lanner and red-footed falcons; and red-crested and northern black korhaans.
In addition to our guided game safaris in open 4x4 vehicles, and weather permitting we have the chance to drive ATV vehicles across the endless pans and accompany Bushman trackers on foot as they take us to Chapman’s Baobab—a historic tree used by Livingstone, Selous, and other early explorers—as they explain their folklore and way of life en route.
DumaTau’s spectacular game-viewing opportunities are the perfect conclusion to our Botswana safari. We spend three days here, in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, which borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park. The camp is built on raised boardwalks under a shady grove of mangosteen trees, overlooking a large hippo-filled lagoon on the Linyanti waterways. The source of the Savuti Channel is close to DumaTau, and game drives along it are one of the highlights here.
The Linyanti Reserve consists of 1,250 square kilometers of unspoiled wilderness and is totally uninhabited by humans. It supports a wide variety of species, but it is most noted for its very large elephant population. Herds of elephants congregate near the waterways and lagoons and at the water holes located along the Savuti Channel. The area is also home to large numbers of impalas, lechwes, kudus, zebras, giraffes, sitatungas, sables, roans, waterbucks, and buffalos. With such diverse prey, all of the major predators—lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas can regularly be sighted here. Nocturnal species include bush babies, spring hare, aardwolf, and serval. The birding is spectacular with such Okavango specialties as slaty egrets, white-rumped babblers, and wattled cranes, in addition to the bushveld species.
Activities are varied as we explore by water, 4x4 vehicles, and occasionally on foot. The many hides along the Savuti Channel and the banks of the Linyanti River provide a chance to enjoy wildlife viewing close up and away from a vehicle.
DumaTau / Maun / Johannesberg, South Africa / USA
On our last day here, time permitting, we embark on one final game drive before returning to Maun where you meet your flight to Johannesburg and connect to your homeward flights.
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Options and Extras
Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.