Ultimate Botswana Adventure |
The Best Safari Experience

Days

14

Journey Type

Ultimate Botswana Adventure | The Best Safari Experience

Cities and Landmarks

Johannesburg, Chobe, Savute, Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi  

Days

14

Journey Type

Ultimate Botswana Adventure | The Best Safari Experience

Cities and Landmarks

Johannesburg, Chobe, Savute, Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi  

Overview

Our Best of Botswana endeavors to showcase for visitors not only the diverse landscapes of this remarkable country, but also to introduce you to its people – proudly independent, yet welcoming to all who wish to share in its wildlife treasures.

With a population of only 2.35 million people, yet covering an expanse only slightly smaller than Texas, Botswana is blessed with vast tracts of land upon which wildlife roams as it has for millennia. 

The climate of the country is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, which runs through the summer months. Rainfall tends to be unpredictable and highly localized. Often a heavy downpour may occur in one area while 5 or 10 miles away there is no rain at all.  As such, wherever there is water – or the promise of water – you are bound to find the greatest concentrations of wildlife.

Your safari starts on the banks of a great African river, which you will see cascade over the largest waterfall on Earth.  Here giants roam on its banks and cavort in its depths – amongst many other species drawn to this life-giving artery of freshwater.

Next, you will visit an enigmatic 50-mile channel, which follows no laws visible to humans and flows seemingly at random – sometimes remaining dry for decades at a time.  Here, predators have attained near-celebrity status in the innumerable documentaries made in this productive hunting ground.

From there you travel to an inland delta that floods when there is no rain falling, and whose water levels recede when the rain does fall.  This confusing ebb and flow then confounds even further by disappearing into the Earth for no obvious reason.  Nonetheless, it is an oasis: both for wildlife and safari enthusiasts who flock to one of our planets’ most productive tracts of wilderness.

And finally, you will visit an alien landscape said to resemble the surface of the moon.  A salt-encrusted pan covering nearly 10,000 sq. miles.  Here, water is a most precious resource and survival seems tenuous.  That is until seasonal rains turn the expanse into a shimmering lake, drawing tens of thousands of breeding flamingos to the briny shallows, along with countless herbivores intent on the fine grazing, with dozens of predators in their wake.

Throughout your adventure, you will be hosted at a selection of lodges and remote camps, carefully chosen for both the quality of the safari experience around them and the exceptional hospitality within.  Whatever the habitat that surrounds you, you will luxuriate in absolute comfort.  Light aircraft will lift you from one jaw-dropping experience to the next.  Indeed, by the end, you will have seen the very best of Botswana.  And like the elephant that scents water on the breeze, you will be thirsting for more. 

Highlights

Johannesburg

It is said that Africa is not for the faint-hearted.  Nevertheless, we thought we’d ease your transition into safari-mode by welcoming you to Africa at the place Nelson Mandela chose to put the finishing touches on his memoir, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.  Our representative will escort you from Johannesburg International Airport to this leafy estate; home of the superb Saxon Hotel, Villa & Spa.

Rich in the cultural history of Africa as reflected in the furnishings and numerous objet d’arts, the allure of the continent will seep into your soul through warm hospitality and unabashed luxury at every turn.

Your accommodation for the night is a haven for the travel-weary, equipped with every modern amenity and furnishings that all but embrace you in comfort.  After freshening up, you might choose to sip a refreshing cocktail at the pool, stroll the manicured indigenous gardens, or reinvigorate yourself at the spa or gym.

Before you retire, a sumptuous dinner at the Qunu Restaurant, of sustainably-sourced sustenance in the form of dishes that blend contemporary cuisine with the flavors of Africa all but guarantees a restful night, leaving you refreshed for the adventure that awaits. 

Saxon Hotel Villas & Spa

Chobe National Park

In the morning, you will be chauffeured to the airport in time for your flight to Kasane International Airport in northern Botswana.  Here, a representative awaits to deliver you to your lodgings for the next three nights – the renowned Chobe Chilwero Lodge, on the border of Botswana’s second-largest national park: Chobe. 

Perched on a hilltop commanding panoramic views of the Chobe River and floodplain – the lodge is a sanctuary within a sanctuary; where your every need is met with grace in surroundings both opulent and reflecting the heart of Africa.  Indeed, while you may be in Africa for the animals, there is no shortage of creature comforts to ensure a memorable and relaxing stay.

A thatched building houses the lodges’ social spaces – including a lounge, library, and dining room – all of which lead out onto verandas overlooking the scenery.  A nearby swimming pool is set amid shady trees and it’s a great place to cool off between activities.  The lodge also boasts the largest spa in Botswana, and you may choose from a bespoke range of wellness treatments to further enhance your relaxation.  Meals at Chobe Chilwero are masterfully presented, and dinner in the evening around a roaring campfire is an iconic safari tradition.

Your accommodation is contemporary with an African flavor, as reflected in the color palette and artworks.  Spacious and furnished with style, your suite is a comfortable cocoon thanks to A/C (when required) and includes a private veranda and garden, from which to enjoy views of the adjacent plains.  Your en-suite bathroom includes a large tub and an indoor/outdoor shower.

The Chobe River, is a tributary of the mighty Zambezi River, demarcating the border between Botswana and Namibia.  A permanent water source, it is a natural magnet for wildlife, in particular the estimated 50,000 elephants that roam the park.

Game-viewing is best done in the early morning and late afternoon, when the animals are most active.  You will set off in customized open safari vehicles to explore the network of tracks in search of wildlife both big and small.  Worth mentioning; the lodge does offer a program especially catered to children; with shortened game-drives and other activities on offer.

The habitat transforms as you move away from the river, from riverine to marsh to savannah to woodland.  While some species roam equally from one to another, others tend to spend their lives predominantly in one.  

The marsh is home to the secretive sitatunga antelope, while red lechwe and puku antelope graze around the edge.  Zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo are drawn to the short grasses of the floodplain and savannah; their abundant eyes and ears attuned to any sign of predators.  Within the forest, bushbuck, kudu, and giraffes nibble leaves from the branches.

As your game-drive traverses the park, be sure your experienced guide is on the lookout for predators.  The Chobe region has healthy populations of all the large carnivores.  As you set off in the early hours, you may encounter lions, leopards, or spotted hyenas still actively seeking their next meal.  When they rest, endangered cheetahs and painted wolves take advantage of their temporary absence to secure lunch.  The competition is fierce and interspecies conflict is not uncommon.

An alternative to game-drives is a photographic safari cruise in a custom-made double-decked boat.  This option allows you to view and photograph wildlife from a unique perspective.  Getting close to wallowing hippos or deceptively still crocodiles, watching semi-submerged elephants swim across the river with their trunks held aloft like snorkels, and photographing skittish antelope slaking their thirst at the waters’ edge are all possible.  There is a bar on the lower deck, while breakfast and lunch are also served on board.  Catch-and-release fishing is also available as a separate activity.

No visit to this area is complete without a visit to ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.  Known as Mosi-oa-tunya in the local dialect, the Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall on Earth, where up to 300-million gallons plunge into the gorge per second.  A supplied raincoat might seem an odd recommendation as you depart on this optional activity, but it soon makes sense as your guide takes you to various viewpoints where the fine spray of the falls swirls on the breeze.  An included visit to the nearby market presents the opportunity to collect some local memorabilia. 

Chobe Chilwero Lodge

Savute

Time now to leave the river and head south to your next destination – Savute Elephant Lodge.  Reached by light aircraft from Kasane, the scenic flight reveals a vast landscape dotted with acacias and herds of roaming wildlife.  At the airstrip, you’ll be met by a guide who will see you to the lodge located on the banks of the mysterious Savute Channel.

The camp is positioned overlooking seasonal waterholes and the adjacent plains that typically teem with different game species.  Here you and your fellow guests will enjoy a convivial atmosphere in an airy space where you can read, play board games or simply soak in the view.  A terrace provides shade over the indoor dining area, while evening meals are enjoyed in the boma – a traditional circular enclosure in which settings are arranged around the campfire.  A lap pool overlooks the channel – tempting you to enjoy the cool waters as you look for passing wildlife.  A separate tent houses the spa, where caring hands administer a range of wellness treatments.

Your accommodation at Savute Elephant Lodge is a tent in name only – gracefully elevated to allow you to enjoy panoramic views, enhancing your sense of immersion into the wilderness.  A thatch awning keeps things cool, while your private viewing deck (complete with a shaded daybed), offers a peaceful place to pass the time between game-viewing activities.  Within, your suite is furnished with a contemporary African feel, including a romantic bed designed to ensure a good nights’ rest.  Your en-suite bathroom includes a large outdoor shower.  Feel free to enquire with the friendly staff about having your dinner served on your deck – should you want a little time alone.

The Savute Channel and surrounding area have attained a near-mythical status for the predators and the numerous wildlife documentaries about them filmed here.  The channel itself connects the Linyanti Swamp to the north with the Savuti Marsh to the south and is said to be amongst the most beautiful landscapes in all of Botswana.

A life-or-death feud spanning generations, between prides of lion and hyena clans, continues to this day, and you are bound to see interactions between the species as they vie for prey and dominance.  Equally impressive in their own right, leopards, cheetahs, and painted wolves keep the prey species alert, while wily jackals dart in for the scraps.

During the morning and late afternoon game-drives, you can also expect to see bachelor herds of elephant bulls that frequent the area.  Botswana’s diverse herbivore species are also found in good numbers, including regal sable and roan antelopes, ubiquitous zebra, wildebeest and impala, deceptively doe-eyed buffalo, and browsing species like giraffes and kudu.  This is also one of the few places where you can see the sure-footed klipspringer nimbly negotiating boulder outcrops – some of which boast ancient San artworks which your guide will point out.  Birdlife abounds too, with excellent sightings of raptors adorning the trees or gliding on the thermals.

You might also enjoy spending a few hours in the wildlife hide, where various animals come to drink.  This is an excellent opportunity to get some really special photographs as the animals are seemingly unaware of your presence.  In the evenings, be sure to ask your guide to point out some of the prominent constellations of the southern skies. 

Savute Elephant Lodge

Okavango Delta

Today you exchange one wildlife paradise for the next, as you fly southwest to the heart of the Okavango Delta to land at your penultimate destination – Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp – which will be home for the next three nights.

The Okavango is one of the largest inland deltas on the planet.  It is inundated annually by floodwaters that travel all the way from northern Angola.  As the gradient of the land levels out just north of the Kalahari Desert, the water fans out over a broad expanse, making islands of termite mounds and papyrus beds and creating an elaborate network of channels and islands for you to explore.

Nxabega camp appears to hover over this watery domain, elevated as it is on stilts just a few feet above the water level.  The social hub of the camp incorporates a lounge decorated with traditional artworks and artifacts from the surrounding bush, with comfortable settees draped in warm earth tones around a cozy fireplace.  Off to the right is the indoor dining area, where breakfast is to be enjoyed (or if the weather is unfavorable for outdoor dining).  Each of these spaces flows out onto expansive viewing decks, which reveal sweeping views of a beautiful lagoon dotted with waterlilies and a myriad of waterbirds.  An elevated walkway leads off to the swimming pool, while another trail leads you to the outdoor dining venue in a traditional boma.

The tented suites in which you will stay are an ode to the safari era – rustic, yet luxurious.  The bed looks out over the landscape, with retractable panels revealing the view beyond the private deck.  Your en-suite bathroom boasts a double vanity and showers both indoors and out.  On the deck outside, a covered sala invites you to siesta in comfort.  You could also request one of the qualified wellness therapists to visit your tent to administer some pampering or ask to have dinner served on the deck, to add a little romance.

Nxabega Tented Camp is located within a 61,775-acre wildlife concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve.  This means that you are unlikely to see many other vehicles on your game-drives, and that you will be able to stay out after sunset in the hope of spotting some of the nocturnal species such as aardvark, pangolin, and smaller predatory cats.

Before setting off, your professional guide will assess your sightings’ wishlist and make every effort to fulfill it.  Setting off in open safari vehicles, you will criss-cross the landscape – even venturing offroad when conditions and the situation allows.  As you proceed, you will learn about the vegetation and habitats you’re traveling through and may even be introduced to some of the territorial residents of the area.

You are bound to come across predators on your excursion.  Lions, leopards, painted wolves, cheetahs, and spotted hyenas are all frequently seen in the area.  So too are the various antelope and large herbivores – such as giraffes and buffalo – present in abundance.  The birdlife of the delta is as varied as it is profuse.  Soon you will recognize distinctive species such as the lilac-breasted roller and pied kingfisher.  After a refreshing sundowner stop, the spotlight comes out.  Follow the hypnotic arc of the light, hoping to spot a pair of reflecting eyes before your guide does.

A perk of staying on a private concession is that you may walk through the wilds in the company of your guide.  In this case, you will learn about the traditional uses of the various plants, and more about the intricacies of the ecosystem – best viewed on foot.

An exciting option unique to the delta is to explore the narrow channels of the delta in a traditionally shaped mokoro (dugout canoe).  To preserve the trees of the delta, these are now made from fiberglass.  Nevertheless, the excitement as you wend your way amongst the reeds is as authentic as ever.   See if you can spot a colorful painted reed frog on a papyrus stem, or playful otters gamboling in the crystal clear water.  Coming across a raft of bellicose hippos, or a browsing bull elephant will get your heart racing and rejoicing in equal measure.  

Good photographic opportunities also exist when you exchange your safari vehicle for a safari boat.  You might also like to try your hand at catch-and-release fishing, where the voracious tigerfish is a worthy opponent.  Please note that water activities are seasonal, depending on the water level.

If you would like yet another perspective from which to appreciate the delta, why not book a flight on the helicopter, which will carry you high over the numerous waterways – letting you truly appreciate the vastness of this wildlife Eden.

Nxabega also offers a special program tailored to families with young children.  This is a wonderful opportunity to awaken your child’s curiosity about Nature and different cultures. 

Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

Makgadikgadi Pans

Your final destination is reached via connecting flights from Nxabega to Maun International Airport and onward to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, where you will stay at the sublime Jack’s Camp – named for a latter-day adventurer who grew to love this seemingly desolate place.

The formation of this, the largest salt pan in the world, began some 2,000,000 years ago when a vast inland lake formed.  Through a series of geological occurrences, the rivers that fed the lake were diverted, resulting in it drying up to reveal a slight geological depression that retains water whenever sufficient rainfall occurs.  To this day, fossil relics are found that reflect both the aquatic life that existed, as well as the remnants of early homo sapiens that roamed its shores 200,000 years ago.

As you approach the camp from the airstrip, the camp seems to appear miraculously within the dancing mirages on the horizon.  Even on arrival, you’ll be rubbing your eyes in disbelief at the luxurious oasis you’ve come upon.  For the next three nights even more surprises will be revealed as your hosts unveil the secrets of the pan system, both past and present.

This tented camp is set on an island of grass dotted with palm trees.  And speaking of tents, there is even a special tent layered with Persian carpets, where high tea is taken, as well as one covering the swimming pool.  Oh, and lest we forget; a spa tent where luxuriant treatments are given by gentle hands.  

The so-called Mess Tent is anything but.  Instead, you will find an eclectic array of safari memorabilia, artifacts from the surrounding landscape, comfortable seating, and an antique pool table.  When the weather is unfavorable for outdoor dining, this is the place where you will be astounded by the menu, given the stark, remote location.

Stepping into your tented suite is akin to stepping into a time-machine transporting you back a hundred years to the safaris of old.  You will be astounded at the beautifully decorated interior, clothed in rich colors, the finest cloth, and authentic furnishings of the era.  Inconspicuously nestled amongst the vegetation, your tent has a lovely en-suite bathroom, along with a private deck and plunge pool.  At night, you’ll also be delighted by the ingenious cooling system incorporated into your four-poster bed.

Activities at Jack’s Camp are as varied as they are interesting!  For example, how about spending a couple of hours hanging out with a family of playful Meerkats?  You will meet them at dawn as they emerge from their burrow, then witness them bonding before they set off in search of breakfast on the go.  If you sit real still, one might even use you as a vantage point to look for danger.

The land is also home to a group of Zu/’hoasi San – people whose lineage makes them one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.  It is a rare honor to learn about their culture and relationship with the environment on walks in their company.

In the dry season, don a pair of goggles and a Bedouin-style turban before setting off on quad bikes to explore the vast lunar landscape of the salt pans.   Alternatively, enquire about the horseback safari, spending two hours at a leisurely pace, getting closer to the wildlife than you might expect. 

Game-drives in the Makgadikgadi vary depending on the time of the year.  During the dry season (April to October), you set off in open-sided safari vehicles, scanning the vast expanse for species that have made desert living a specialty.  

Unlike their spotted cousins, brown hyenas are typically solitary, covering immense distances in their quest for nutrition.  The massive ears of the bat-eared fox are normally the first thing that will alert you to their presence.  These delightful canids can hear their quarry burrowing underground – tilting their head from side to side as they home in for the kill.  A special sighting at this time of year is that of an impressive black-maned lion loping after the scattered herds of zebra and wildebeest awaiting the rains.  Springbok, oryx, and red hartebeest also keep a wary eye out for any cheetahs that might be passing through.

In the wet season (November to March) the landscape is transformed within days of the first rains.  This is the signal that tens of thousands of zebras have been waiting for and they descend on the region en masse, in what is part of not only the longest but also the second-largest land migration on the continent.  Up to 15,000 zebras – along with wildebeest and other plains game – arrive in the Makgadikgadi, attracted by grass that has unusually high mineral and protein content.  Suffice to say that this dazzling mass also attracts the attention of predators, especially lions that stalk the herd from the southern Okavango Delta. 

Jack’s Camp

Johannesburg

The safari now over, you return to Johannesburg for your final night, back at the Saxon Hotel where your adventure began.  In its’ comfortable embrace, you can contemplate all that you have seen, heard, tasted, and touched over the past fortnight.  Reflect on how your wilderness experience has transformed you as you prepare to return to the familiar routines of home.  

Enjoy a final dinner in Africa, toasting the experiences you’ve had with a bottle of fine South African wine paired with a delicious menu offering, and then retire for the night – dreaming of Botswana.

Saxon Hotel Villas & Spa

Homeward Bound

As the light aircraft rises above the plains en-route back to OR Tambo International Airport, your consciousness will be awash with memories of Africa.  Her proud history, her vibrant culture, and her diverse natural heritage.

At the airport, we bid you farewell, wishing you a pleasant journey home – with an open invitation to return. Magical Africa Awaits!

Options & Extensions

A gorilla sitting in the woods, surrounded by tall trees and lush greenery. It looks calm and peaceful in its natural habitat.

Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda

Without exception, those who have been privileged to spend time with gorillas report a near-mythical experience, as if glancing into our ancestral past.  Sharing upwards of 98% of DNA, the link between our species is undeniable.  While they are massively powerful creatures – with males weighing over 400 pounds – they are by nature shy and placid.  Primarily herbivores, they spend much of their day alternating between foraging and rest.

A picturesque beach setting under a vibrant blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds.

Zanzibar Beach Retreat

For those wishing to enjoy a little pure downtime, perhaps following an action-packed safari, our Zanzibar itinerary offers the perfect blend of luxury, simplicity and all the idyllic pleasures of beach life. We have chosen from among Zanzibar’s best beach lodges options which are suitable for either families or those seeking an intimate, sophisticated retreat surrounded by the warm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean

With table mountain in the background with blue skies, the vibrant Cape Town bay with different ships docked

In & Around Cape Town

With its spectacular landscape, diverse activities and well-developed infrastructure, Cape Town offers the modern traveler the ideal destination for leisure and adventure.  It is frequently voted among the best cities to visit on vacation by noteworthy publications – and much of the local economy thrives thanks to a robust tourist industry.  Visitors from across the spectrum are sure to find the range of accommodation, cuisine and places of cultural and historical interest highly appealing.

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Feel free to get in touch with us to begin planning your personalized dream safari today. Our team specializes in crafting bespoke safari experiences that cater to your specific preferences. Whether you’ve always dreamed of witnessing the Big Five in their natural habitat, marveling at the mesmerizing Great Migration, or simply savoring the enchanting African sunsets, we’re here to turn your safari dreams into reality.

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16531 Misty Hill Dr Chino Hills CA 91709

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+1-855-8-AFRICA
+1-855-823-7422

Email

safaris@magicalafrica.com