Botswana - Victoria Falls, Chobe and Okavango Delta
A wonderful safari exploration of the pristine wilderness habitats of northern Botswana, to enjoy some of the most spectacular wildlife to be found anywhere in Africa or beyond.
12 – 23 March 2021
Single Room Supplement – £600
Return flights from the UK. Local transport as specified in itinerary, including charter flights and river cruises. Nine night’s accommodation, full board basis. Services of leaders and local guides.
Visa for entry into Zambia: $50 US. Drinks with evening meals and refreshments (although most lodges are all inclusive). Gratuities. Travel insurance.
Minimum 5, maximum 9.
The Okavango Delta, a wetland paradise in north eastern Botswana, is made up of a vast mosaic of clear-flowing channels, large stands of papyrus and reeds, permanent and seasonally-flooded areas, lagoons and hundreds of palm-studded islands of varying size. This unique inland delta has areas of both permanent and seasonal water with different habitats prevailing.
Our journey begins in Livingstone, across the border in Zambia, with a visit to the magnificent Victoria Falls and a cruise along the mighty Zambezi river. From here, Chobe beckons, with its amazing density of elephants and other game. We will visit the famous National Park by both land and water. A sunset river cruise here may be one of the trip’s highlights. A short charter flight takes us on to the north-eastern corner of the Okavango, to our camp in a game-rich area, with game drives in open vehicles. Our journey ends in the southern Delta, where we will experience the quiet waterways by dug out ‘mokoro’.
This region boasts some of Southern Africa’s finest birding and wildlife, and we can expect some excellent game viewing, especially in Chobe where large herds of Elephant, Buffalo and a wide variety of antelope gather and where the rapidly declining African Wild Dog can still be found. Birding too is most rewarding: the Delta region is one of the last refuges of the endangered Wattled Crane and the main habitat for the near endemic Slaty Egret, as well as being one of the best places in Africa to see the magnificent Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 Our evening flight takes us from London, arriving in Johannesburg early on Day 2, where we transfer to a flight to Livingstone in Zambia.
Days 2/3 Our guesthouse offers a peaceful river setting adjacent to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. From here we visit the magnificent Victoria Falls and take a cruise along the mighty Zambezi river. A game drive through the Park could provide sightings of Giraffe, Impala, Warthog, Bushbuck, Waterbuck and while we are here we will have the chance to take a walking safari to see the park’s population of White Rhino at their only site in Zambia. More than 250 bird species have been found within the grounds of our lodge and the immediate surroundings.
Days 4/5 We make our way to the border some 80km away where we cross the Zambezi River into Botswana and our accommodation at the nearby Chobe Elephant Camp. Along with many species of big game, Chobe National Park boasts the largest concentration of Elephant in Africa, with over 80,000 in the park! Game drives offer the opportunity to view the abundant elephants and other big game species up close: Giraffe, Sable and Cape Buffalo are all present, as well as the possibility of an encounter with one of the large predators. We will have the opportunity to go on night drives nearby, where Galago and White-tailed Mongoose may show themselves. One of our days will include a cruise on the river, surely one of the finest game viewing experiences in Africa. Pods of Hippopotamus wallow in the deeper water, large Nile Crocodiles will be seen sunning themselves on the banks, while large herds of elephants come down to the waters edge to drink and sometimes swim across to feed on the lush vegetation on the low lying islands.
Day 6-8 We fly by light aircraft to Sango Safari Camp, situated in the north-eastern area of the Okavango Delta, just outside Moremi Game Reserve. Opened in 2010, the Camp is within the Khwai Community Concession, not far from the border of Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve and its proximity to these two areas allows us to explore both. Sango is a small and quite traditional camp, focusing on the wilderness safari experience. With just six tents, we will have the Camp to ourselves. The Khwai floodplain gives us our best chances of finding Leopard, lounging in the shady trees. The nearby ‘Mopane Tongue’ of open drier woodland offers our best chances of encountering the beautiful and increasingly scarce African Wild Dog, as well as Lion. The dominant antelope here is Red Lechwe, sometimes in herds of up to 100 animals, but we may also find zebra, Kudu, Reedbuck and Tsessebe. During our time at Sango, we will take at least one night drive: sightings could include Springhare, Serval, African Wild Cat, African Civet or Honey Badger.
Days 9/10 From Sango we take another short charter flight into the heart of the Okavango Delta, where we finally transfer by boat (there are no roads out here!) to Delta Camp. The camp is located on an island surrounded by superb wetlands: Hippos and elephants feed in the lagoon, while Pel’s Fishing Owl roosts a short walk away. The Okavango Delta is one of the last remaining unspoiled wilderness areas of Africa. The Delta is fed by the floodwaters of Central Africa and covers an area of 16,000 square kilometers. These waters fan out into the Okavango Delta forming a wetland system of palm-fringed channels, lagoons and islands that support a wealth of fauna and flora alike. With its crystal-clear channels, lagoons, flood plains and islands, the Delta is home to over 450 bird species and the full spectrum of African animals – the Okavango deserves its reputation as one of the world’s premier wilderness areas. Experienced polers will take us out in a mokoro (dugout ‘punt’) and stop at islands to view wildlife and birds on foot. A variety of wetland birds may be seen during the mokoro trips, along with technicolour frogs and iridescent dragonflies while we should encounter hippos and crocodiles in the deeper water.
Day 11 After one last morning around the camp, we will take our final charter flight, enjoying the spectacular views of the Delta beneath us, as we transfer out to Maun in time to board our flights home, via Johannesburg, arriving back in London early on Day 12.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.
We will be travelling by 4X4 safari vehicle and small charter plane. Luggage is restricted to 20kg per person.
Accommodation is at a mixture of lodges and permanent tented camps. Single occupancy is possible but very limited on this itinerary: please speak to us before booking. The maximum group size will be 10 people, including our leader.
The group flights are with South African Airways from London Heathrow. Flight times for 2021 aren’t yet available, but are likely to be similar to 2020 as follows:
12th March depart London Heathrow 18.05, arrive Johannesburg 07.15 (13th March)
13th March depart Johannesburg 10.40, arrive Livingstone 12.20
22nd March depart Maun 14.05, arrive Johannesburg 15.40
22nd March depart Johannesburg 20.50, arrive London Heathrow 06.25 (23rd March)
Morocco is two hours ahead of UK time.
You must have a passport for this trip, valid for at least six months after the end of the holiday with at least two blank pages. UK passport holders do not require a visa to visit Botswana or to transit in South Africa. An entry visa for Zambia can be obtained on entry, at a cost of $50.
If you hold a non UK passport it is essential that you check with the appropriate embassy or consulate and obtain the necessary documents prior to travel.
We will be travelling just after the wet season: the days will be warm to hot, in the mid to late 20s and should be mostly dry, although there is a chance of some rain, most likely short heavy showers, especially in the late afternoons. Nights can be surprisingly cold – warm jackets and long trousers may be needed on early morning game drives!
We will be visiting areas where malaria is present. Yellow fever is not a risk in Botswana nor in the part of Zambia we visit. You should consult your GP for current advice on travel health as soon as possible, at least eight weeks before the trip.
Please see our General Information for health and fitness requirements. We will be travelling by 4X4 safari vehicle and small charter plane. We will also be taking several boat trips, including narrow dug-out ‘mokoro’ in the Delta. We will be walking for at least some of each day, as well as taking excursions by safari vehicle. All excursions are optional.