Botswana Under Canvas - African Encounters

Botswana Under Canvas

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Regular departures
FromUS$6,395
Regular departures
FromUS$6,395

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    425
    • 11 days / 10 nights
    • Max Guests : 6
    • Maun to Kasane
    • 21 - 31 October 2024

    This Botswana Under Canvas safari is, without a doubt, an exceptional way to experience some of Africa’s last unspoilt wilderness areas. It’s back to basics, following in the footsteps of early explorers, but vastly improved in comfort! This isn’t just about seeing Africa’s extraordinary wildlife, it’s about being immersed in nature. It’s hearing the sounds of the night, feeling close to nature, experiencing the wilderness with all the senses – and enjoying delicious food cooked over an open fire!

    Wildlife sightings on your Botswana Under Canvas safari include an abundance of predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, and wild dog, as well as elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and more… The birdlife is superb too, with migratory birds in their vibrant breeding plumage at this time of year.

    You’ll explore Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai Concession Area in the stunning Okavango Delta, and the diverse landscapes and incredible wildlife of Savuti and Chobe National Park on day and night game drives, walking safaris, and boat and mokoro excursions.

    Your fully catered mobile safari is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. You’ll sleep in a spacious wilderness tent with camp beds and an ensuite bathroom with traditional bucket showers. Your friendly camp crew will take care of everything, from erecting and dismantling the camp to preparing delicious meals cooked on an open fire. An open-sided, custom-built safari vehicle ensures optimal wildlife viewing, and your professional guide is a fountain of knowledge about local culture as well as wildlife and nature. 

    Optional extensions: I recommend arriving in Maun at least one day prior to your safari. I can recommend my favourite accommodations here.

    Your safari ends in Kasane, which is just an hour’s drive across the border to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the perfect place end to your safari. Ask about my favourite lodges in Victoria Falls.

    Botswana Under Canvas Highlights

    Your eleven-day Botswana Under Canvas adventure through the prime wildlife areas of northern Botswana guarantees an authentic wilderness experience – up close and personal!

    • Charter flight over the Okavango Delta
    • Moremi Game Reserve, Khwai Community Area, Savuti, and Chobe
    • Explore the Okavango Delta by mokoro
    • Night drives & guided walks
    • Boat cruise on the Chobe River

    Details

    Price Includes

    • Arrival & departure transfers
    • 10 nights in spacious and comfortable tented accommodation, including beds, bed linen and towels, private en-suite bathroom with safari shower.
    • Services of a professional guide, safari chef and camp assistants
    • All meals and drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine and G&T)
    • Exclusive camping in private campsites within the national parks and reserves
    • All entrance and camping fees within the national parks and reserves
    • Scenic flight over the Okavango Delta to your first camp

    Price Excludes

    • International flights
    • Visa (if applicable)
    • Travel Insurance (mandatory)
    • Any personal expenses
    • Tips & gratuities

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Independent arrival in Maun, transfer to your accommodation.

    Day 2: Maun to Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta

    After your independent arrival at Maun International Airport you’ll be escorted to your charter flight which departs to the Moremi Game Reserve at approximately 14h30. Your guide will meet you at the airstrip with your open-sided land cruiser. Your first three nights are spent in the Xakanaxa region of the Okavango Delta where you’ll explore the surrounding wilderness on morning and afternoon game drives. 

    Wildlife: From the air you’ll see the large breeding  herds of elephant that live in the mopane scrub. On the open plains large herds of  buffalo and lechwe can be seen and in the waterways, pods of hippopotamus are a common  sight. Once you land in Xakanaxa  you’ll see the smaller game animals. 

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Game Drives

    Days 3 & 4: Moremi Game Reserve

    Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta. Habitats here range from wide-open floodplains,  marshes, lagoons, papyrus fringed channels, woodland and savannah. As  a result of the extremely variable habitat the diversity of both wildlife and birdlife is excellent.

    Wildlife: Moremi is one of the best game reserves in Africa to see the endangered African wild dog. Xakanaxa is home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo and at least 4 lion prides which may often be seen flanking the ever moving herd. Breeding herds of elephant move between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango. Red lechwe are one of the more unusual antelope species commonly found here. 

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Morning and Afternoon Game Drives

    Day 5: Moremi Game Reserve to Khwai Conservation Area

    Following an early morning breakfast you’ll drive through Moremi Game Reserve north-east to the Khwai and Mababe Areas. While travelling to you next camp you’ll enjoy a mokoro excursion in the calmer back-waters of the Khwai and Mbudi channels as opposed to doing the mokoro in the faster moving section of the Khwai River that runs through Mababe. 

    Habitat: At its eastern-most extremity the Manuchira Channel is known as the Khwai River. The day’s journey follows  this water course, with the track weaving from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the woodlands to the Mababe Private Reserve where you’ll camp on the banks of the Khwai River before it flows out and into the Mababe Depression. We’ll pass the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools in the morning stopping to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippos, and game drive through Khwai to Mababe.

    Wildlife: The south-east mopane veld is home to mostly breeding herds of elephant while the more northern reaches of Mababe is home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai River and are far more approachable while drinking and bathing than the breeding herds. The river has an unusually high density of hippo as well as some huge crocodile. Leopard, cheetah, serval and lion are common predators along this route and both Xakanaxa as well as Mababe are included in the home ranges of different packs of wild dog. General game includes southern giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, tsessebe and red lechwe with roan and sable antelope being less common residents.

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Game drive and night drive

     

    Days 6 & 7: Khwai Conservation Area

    The Khwai River meanders through the concession with ample riverside routes to explore. We spend the following  two nights camping at an exclusive campsite in the Mababe concession that has a strict max of 20 vehicles for the whole  concession at any given time. You’ll explore the river banks, Kalahari shrub to the east, and cathedral mopane to the south on both day and at night game drives. Exploring after dark with spotlights offers you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day.  

    You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the surrounding wilderness on foot (please note that this activity is seasonal  based on rains and grass height, your guide will determine the safety of walking in Mababe) to enjoy an up close and  personal encounter with Botswana’s flora and fauna. It is important to note that night drives and guided walks are not  permitted within the national parks and reserves. These activities are conducted outside the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Mababe Private Reserve. 

    Habitat: We spend our time between the dry-land habitats of the leadwood and camelthorn woodlands and savannahs and the riverside banks of the Khwai River, as well as the “mini-CKGR” habitat in the western parts of the concession.

    Wildlife: The Mababe region boasts excellent populations of both bull elephant as well as breeding herds. Lion, leopard, serval and African wildcat are common predators of the region with wild dog and cheetah being less common. Buffalo use this area seasonally with large herds moving in during the summer rains. Other ungulates include tsessebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, sable antelope, roan antelope and impala, and even eland and oryx in the western parts.

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Game Drive, Walking Safaris (conditions permitting), Night Drives

    Day 8: Khwai Conservation Area to Savuti/Central Chobe

    Today you’ll head further north en-route to the Central Chobe region, exploring the desert-like landscape on game drives.

    Habitat: A fascinating drive today, looking at some of the evidence of the Paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi that dried up some  ten thousand years ago. The most challenging part of the trip is crossing the Magwikhwe sand ridge that formed the shoreline for this massive inland sea. The winding track through this deep sand makes for interesting travel in summer! The old lake bed is now the Mababe Depression. The vegetation on the dense clay floor of the depression provides high protein feed for wildlife, and the area teams with game after the rains. During the rainy season the depression is impassable due to the “cotton soil” and alternative routes must be used. 

    Wildlife: A day when anything could happen. The range of habitat that is covered encompasses most of the habitat  types of northern Botswana. We pass through excellent lion country and some of the best cheetah country that our  safari will cover. Elephant occur throughout the drive but are more common at the start and end of the drive where  permanent surface water can be found. 

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Morning and Afternoon Game Drives

    Days 9 & 10: Savuti/Central Chobe

    Unlike the vast majority of the country, Central Chobe is not a totally flat landscape. Large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. These hills provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife, birds and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for some of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. The wide open country, good ungulate populations, and particularly strong prides of lion and hyena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. The now dry Savuti Channel runs through this  landscape linking the dry sand-veld, the waterholes, the hills and the grassland that was the Savuti Marsh. 

    Wildlife: Undoubtedly it is the interaction between lion and elephant that is the most interesting aspect of Savuti. The area is inhabited by a huge pride of lions with numbers fluctuating from 20-30 members. These remarkable lions have learned over the years how to hunt these massive pachyderms that are supposedly above predation. Launching their attack under darkness and  using their numbers, they manage to kill adolescent and even young adult elephant. The marsh is prime cheetah country and in the wet season it is not unusual to have the wild dog hunting here in Central  Chobe. 

    Accommodation: Mobile Tented Camp 

    Activities: Game Drives and Bushman Painting Walks

    Day 11: Savuti to Kasane

    On your final day on safari you’ll leave Savuti early to travel along the Chobe River to arrive in Kasane where you’ll stop for a picnic lunch before an afternoon cruise on the Chobe River to end the safari.

    The habitat on today’s drive takes us through the stunted  mopane scrub of the Goha clay basin, across the sand-ridge and through the wonderful Zambezi teak woodlands of the Chobe Forest Reserve and along the Chobe River itself. The Chobe floodplain is tens of kilometers wide and in years of exceptional rains the water stretches as far as the eye can see. 

    Wildlife: While you’ll pass through community areas that are settled by local tribes, for the vast majority of today’s day’s drive you will pass through wild country where wildlife moves uninhibited by fences or man. Roan and sable antelope thrive in the teak woodlands where the low density of predators and lack of competition for food by other ungulates makes this prime habitat for these large ungulates. Leopard occur in these woodlands in low numbers but they are highly secretive and seldom seen. The Goha region has natural waterholes that hold water well into the dry season and herds of buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, greater kudu and elephant come down to drink.

    Activities: Game Drives & Chobe Boat Trip 

    Optional extension: Victoria Falls

    Your safari ends in Kasane, and it’s just an hour’s drive from here across the border to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, the perfect place end to your safari. Ask about our favourite lodges in Victoria Falls.

    Keen to visit Botswana.... here are a few common questions.

    Are airfares included?

    International airfares are not included. We are happy to recommend a travel agent to book your flights.

    What airlines fly to Botswana?

    The most direct flights from New Zealand or Australia are with Qantas/South African Airways to Johannesburg, with connections by Airlink or Air Botswana to Maun in Botswana.

    Do I need a visa?

    Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Botswana for up to 90 days. However, visa requirements are subject to change so please check for the most up to date visa information before you travel. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of departure from Botswana.

    What vaccinations are required?

    There are no mandatory vaccinations, however malaria prophylaxis (tablets) is strongly recommended. If you’re travelling from a country where yellow fever is widespread, you’ll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Botswana. 

    Can you organise accommodation before or after the safari?

    We are happy to arrange accommodation before or after your safari.

    What kind of people join my safaris?

    Most of our guests are from New Zealand and Australia. They are typically mature, well travelled people who are looking to venture off the main tourist route to explore some of Africa’s less well-known destinations – but they also appreciate quality accommodation back at base after an exciting day of game drives and guided walks! They are flexible and easy going, and they are keen to give back by supporting local conservation and community projects during their safari. A sense of humour is always welcome!

    Still have a question?

    Have a look at our FAQ page, you may find the answer there.

    OR email me – I love to chat about Africa!