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Botswana's Premium Safari

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Our Price From 9,596 Per Person
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 Trip Length
12 Days
 Trip Starts
Maun
 Trip Finishes
Victoria Falls
12 Day Botswana's Premium Safari Itinerary (Explore)
Countries Explored: Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana
Trip Style
Wildlife
Departures
Accommodation
Premium
Max. Group Size
12
Pace
Full On
Guide Level
Fully Guided
Trip Code
OZ

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Explore's 12 Day Botswana's Premium Safari. A safari through Botswana and Zimbabwe, exploring Chobe National Park, visiting the thundering Victoria Falls and sleeping aboard a houseboat in the vast Okavango Delta Panhandle. Spend time searching for wildlife including elephant, hippos and lion within remote wilderness.

Itinerary

Arrive in Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Originally a rural village, it has rapidly developed into Botswana's 'tourism capital'. However, the town has managed to retain much of its rural atmosphere.

Our lodge tonight is the magnificent Thamo Telele, set amongst a lush forest of old growth leadwood and acacia trees, around 25 minutes outside of Maun. Each luxury safari-style tent is on raised wooden platforms with hardwood floors and en-suite bathrooms, all with outdoor showers and nature as the back drop. The stylish canvas tents all have twin beds, which can be converted into doubles, and air conditioning above the bed. There is a swimming pool and central main lounge and bar area, where you'll find comfy couches and locally designed wall art. Its a truly exceptional property.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the lodge reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting followed by dinner served under the stars around 7pm.

There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Maun at any time. If you would like to receive a airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Maun Airport (airport code MUB), which is 25km, around 30 minutes' drive from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up. Stay: Thamo Telele (Premium) (D)

We will travel together as a group by 4WD safari vehicles to Mogogelo Camp, a classic safari camp in a private concession bordering the Moremi game Reserve. This majastic camp will be our base for the next two nights.

The mighty Okavango is the third largest river in Africa and its delta area covers 16,000 square kilometres of crystal clear channels, a myriad of ephemeral lakes and ever changing islands, surviving in the Kalahari desert. The river flows south east from the Angolan highlands over 1,000 km away and takes up to 6 months to reach the delta area that floods on a perennial annual cycle. The Okavango Delta covers an enormous wilderness area composed of permanent swamps, islands, forest and dry land. Exceptional though the geography of the Delta may be, it is the amazing wildlife of the waterways that draws us.

During the safaris we will travel in customised, open-sided land-cruisers for game viewings. The Landcruisers are ideal for game viewing opportunities but can be a bit brisk and windy during the longer travel days, so ensure you bring some layers for travel days, and your tour leader will provide blankets to make the journeys as comfortable as possible. The roads through Botswana can vary in quality, so travel days can be slow and bumpy but the scenery more than makes up for this. Stay: Mogogelo Camp (Premium) (B/L/D)

We will enjoy two game drives today. Setting off for our morning game drive at first light (when predator activity is most expected), we get the chance to experience one of Africa's most natural and unspoiled wonderlands in the park with hippo, crocodile and a great variety of birds all seen in the Delta, as well as the elusive sitatunga antelope. This place is also an ornithologist's paradise with fish eagle, kingfisher, heron, stork, egret, weaver and bee-eater all regularly seen.

Returning for brunch as the day starts heats up, the hottest part of the day is spent at leisure at our camp, a chance of a siesta, a dip in the pool, relax reading a book or birdwatching. Our afternoon activity departs after tea, usually around 4pm, to return in the early evening. Game drives and activities vary from one to the next, depending on sightings and animal activities, generally, we drive quite far and slowly to absolutely maximize game-viewing potential, all expertly guided by our highly experienced tour leaders.

Your guide will generally spend maximum time on game-drives, depending on what is seen, trying to cover as much area as possible. The result of this is guests are given the best chances of seeing a variety of wildlife.

Species such as Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest are but a few that occur here, along with an astonishing variety of birds. Hyena Pan is well known for its waterholes, we get the opportunity to view the wildlife from our ground level hide alongside the waterhole. For those departures staying at Mogotlho Safari Lodge there are excellent game view opportunities along the river adjacent to our camp. Stay: Mogogelo Camp (Premium) (B/L/D)

This morning we take a slow drive out of the concession and should arrive to Thamo Thelele around lunch time.

The afternoon is free for you to explore the lodge and its wild surroundings on self-guided walking trails. Alternatively relax by the swimming pool. There is also the option to book a giraffe experience. One of the most fascinating things about the lodge is its resident herd of 20 giraffe, which you can observe while on activities in the reserve and most enthralling get up close and personal to in the evening while they feed at the waterhole. There are naturalists on hand, who will be able to tell you all about these fascinating animals. See the budgeting section for more details. Stay: Thamo Telele (Premium) (B/L/D)

After breakfast drive up the west side of the Okavango Delta Panhandle to Shakawe, where we leave our vehicle behind and board a motor launch to our houseboat. On arrival, meet our friendly crew who will be our hosts for the next three nights. After settling in dinner is served in the dining room, with panoramic windows offering the most amazing backdrop of the sun setting over the Okavango river basin.

The accommodation is comfortable, with eight bedrooms with en-suite facilities. Each room has glass doors sliding open on to the wilderness of the remote panhandle area, while on the deck above are seating areas from which to enjoy the sunsets and listen to the birds. The boat will be for our exclusive use during our stay.

Due to seasonal variations in the level and strength of the river, the houseboat itself might only be able to access limited parts of the river for much of the year, whilst we explore the river on smaller launches. However, the amount of water that falls in the catchment area can be highly variable and occasionally, conditions may allow the houseboat itself to cruise in other areas of the Delta.

The next couple of days are spent enjoying this spectacular setting. During our time on the river, there is a possibility of seeing a variety of game. On our launch, we may cruise past submerging pods of hippos, while crocodiles bask in the shallows and on the riverbanks. While drifting along, it is not hard to imagine yourself as David Livingstone, exploring Africa all those years ago. Stay: Okavango Spirit House Boat (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

Today, we'll visit the intriguing and sacred World Heritage Site of the Tsodilo Hills. The San Bushmen community believe the hills are the site of the first creation and painted an astonishing 4000 rock paintings across 350 sites marking the area's significance. Here, four impressive rocks jut out of the expanse of the surrounding land, and it is believed by the San Bushmen that the largest of the rocks is the 'man', the second largest the 'woman', and the smallest the 'child'. The fourth rock, which stands apart from the others, is said to be the male's first wife. Some of the paintings are thought to be over 24,000 years old, and as well as the chance to see ancient rock paintings, the hills offer vast views across the countryside below.

A expert local guide will accompany us around the site, interpreting the carvings. The walking tour lasts around two hours, walking along a flat well graded path. It's possible to opt out at any stage and return to the shade of the small museum located at the entrance of the site, where we will also have a picnic lunch before returning to the houseboat for a relaxing evening. Stay: Okavango Spirit House Boat (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

This morning will be a early start for the very long journey to Chobe National Park. Today's total journey time is approximately seven hours depending on time spent at the border crossings, and will of course include comfort breaks and a lunch break.

The drive takes us through north to Namibia's Caprivi Strip, before heading to the riverside town of Kasane. The Caprivi Region has a colourful and interesting history, playing a central part in the Berlin Conference of 1890. Named after German Chancellor General Count Georg Leo von Caprivi di Caprara di Montecuccoli, the strip was once administered by the British before it was swapped for Zanzibar with the Germans at a time of great European political manoeuvring.

A mid to late afternoon arrival in Kasane provides just enough time for a refreshing sundowner at our hotel accommodation on the banks of the Chobe River.

A variety of habitats of flooded grassland, thicket, salt pan and particularly the banks of the Chobe River, one of the Zambezi's main tributaries, is home to an abundance of wildlife. A major feature of Chobe is its elephant population and is considered to be the largest surviving continuous elephant population and is currently estimated at 120 000 strong! This population covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe and has been built up steadily from a few thousand since the early 1900s when massive poaching at the height of the illegal ivory trade decimated other populations in the 1970s and 1980s. The Chobe elephants in this area have the distinction of being the largest in body size of all living elephants, but the ivory is brittle and there are no more of the huge tuskers from a by gone era. Stay: Chobe Safari Lodge (Premium) (B/L)

We'll maximise our time today to ensure we make the most of game drive opportunities. We head out in the morning and again in the afternoon, for the chance to spot huge trumpeting herds of elephants in and around the southern bank of the Chobe River, where we can also find Chobe Bushbuck and Puku Antelope.

Other mammals to be seen are buffalo, kudu, eland, waterbuck, sable and roan antelope, zebra, lion, cheetah, leopard, impala and reedbuck. In the river are hippo and crocodile and the waters teem with bream, barbel and tiger fish (freshwater barracuda). Our tour leader will decide on the exact running times of the day, and lunch arrangements, depending on the weather conditions and the season to ensure the best viewing.

For those that wish to there is an optional boat cruise along the Chobe River offered in the afternoon, perhaps the last river where one has a fair chance to see Lion and Elephant, Leopard or Wild Dog from the unique viewpoint of a boat. See the budgeting section for prices. Stay: Chobe Safari Lodge (Premium) (B)

Today we will continue with our morning and afternoon game drives in Chobe National Park. The northern Chobe area of Serondela is the heart of elephant country. Up to 35,000 elephants live here, the largest number in any African park. On our game drive this morning we take a slow drive along the southern bank of the Chobe River, where we can find Chobe Bushbuck and Puku Antelope. The sheer variety of animals in abundance, make this region a must-see for any wildlife enthusiast. We hope to watch huge herds in and around the great Chobe River, which also teems with hippo and crocodile. Stay: Chobe Safari Lodge (Premium) (B)

This morning, we leave Botswana and cross the border into Zimbabwe to arrive to the town of Victoria Falls. Often referred to as the adventure capital of Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is a pleasant town with a variety of land, air and water-based activities on offer in the surrounding area. Close to our lodge is one of the natural wonders of the world - Victoria Falls.

This afternoon we'll visit the falls from the Zimbabwean side of the river where the Zambezi River plummets over a sheer cliff wall spanning more than 1676 meters and dropping approximately 100 metres into the abyss below. The natives named the waterfall, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning 'the smoke that thunders' because of the plumes of water vapour that rise like smoke into the sky above the falls, accompanied by the deafening roar. After our guided tour you can take your time to further explore the network of paths and enclaves around the falls.

For the next two nights we will be staying at either the Batonka Guest Lodge or Pioneer Lodge. The two are sister properties located just over 1km from each other and are almost identical. Both are set in beautiful landscaped gardens, feature a swimming pool, spacious rooms, an expansive terrace where breakfast is taken, a bar and a stylish lounge and dining room which are both extremely comfortable. They are both exclusively reserved for residents which ensures the upmost privacy. Stay: Batonka Guest Lodge (Premium) (B)

Today is free to relax, or you may choose to book a two hour game drive in Zambezi National Park in search of the big five. Alternatively, there is the option to take a scenic flight over the falls or go white water rafting in the Zambezi. All activities can be booked at your guesthouse directly and full prices are available in the budgeting section of the trip notes. Stay: Batonka Guest Lodge (Premium) (B)

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Victoria Falls.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Victoria Falls at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), which is about 20 minutes' drive from the hotel. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Experience the ultimate Botswana Safari experience in Chobe National Park
  • Explore the Okavango Delta, one of the most extraordinary wetlands in the World
  • Comfortable and premium accommodation throughout

  • Full on paced trips are for travellers who like their holidays packed with activities and experiences, moving on quickly from place to place with lots of early starts and long, busy days. Some may find them tiring, but others get a buzz from packing their precious holiday-time as chock-a - block full of new experiences as possible.

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
About Explore!
About Explore!

Launching in 1981, Explore offer trips from over 130 countries - from classic small group tours. Read more

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Explore Leaders

Explore's leaders are more than just your typical guide. They're your local expert are are passionate about sharing their expertise with you. Read more

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Tour & cruises prices are per person. Prices shown have savings applied, are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice. Prices and trip information are correct at the time at this point in time, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking and are subject to change by Explore. For cruise itineraries, cabin images are sourced from Explore. These should be treated as indicative only. Cabin inclusions, upholsteries and room layout may differ to the image(s) shown depending on the ship selected and your sailing dates.

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