Best of Okavango and Namibia Safari

A 13 day trip to Botswana & Namibia 
4.25
4.25 out of 5 stars
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In the Okavango and Namibia, it can feel like you are alone and engulfed by an expressive wilderness as serene as it is surreal. But at a closer look, there is always something around you as lion pride, hippo pods, endangered rhinos and so many other types of wildlife abound. From big game safari on land and water to epic sand dunes and salt pans, this 13-day vacation will reveal the best of the Okavango Delta and Namibia. You will be enveloped by Mother Nature and immersed in her rhythm to experience the world nearly untouched by man.

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General Information

Photos
Springbok (antelope) in Botwana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
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Namibia Safari - Giraffe herd in Etosha National Park
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Maun, Moremi Game Reserve, Chief's Island, Okavango Delta, Vumbura Reserve, Okavango River, Windhoek, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Etosha National Park, Etosha Pan, Damaraland 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Maun to Moremi Game Reserve (Okavango Delta) – Surrounded by Hippos

Gaze out over the Okavango Delta and you will always find the charm. Hippos are grunting as some of them bathe peacefully while others roll comically in the mud. Elephants arrive at the water and the old males squirt water over the backs as the youngsters submerge themselves in displays of playfulness. Refocus and a lilac-breasted roller have a landed on your private verandah to hold your attention briefly. In your periphery, there may be two giraffes, but your eyes are alerted to a crowd of baboons causing a racket in the trees. You could watch for hours, and there would always be something new to see, which makes the wooden verandah an idyllic place to rest up after your flight.

This morning you will land at the Maun International Airport, where a representative will assist in your transfer to a light aircraft. Soar across the Okavango Delta to touch down on Chief's Island in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve. This large island is completely inaccessible by road and restricts access to those on fly-in safaris or those taking half-day boat journeys across the Delta. There is a sense of silence and exclusivity that is enhanced as you gaze across the flooded plains and see nothing that is man-made or manufactured. Rest, relax, enjoy your first taste of safari, and then watch as the landscape transforms as the moon replaces the sun.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 2 – 3: Moremi Game Reserve (Okavango Delta) – Land and Water Big Game Safari in the Okavango Delta

By staying on Chief's Island you can explore by both land and water. Your safari program is flexible, and you will create your daily itinerary based on your interests, although it's recommended that you try out the full range of safari activities. Perhaps start in a narrow wooden mokoro (a traditional canoe), with a bushman guide to paddle you gently along the lavish channels of the Okavango Delta. The scenery is especially beautiful at sunrise when the many hippos are graze along the banks and radiant colors ripple across the water. You will travel slowly and serenely so as not to interrupt the antelope as they enjoy a morning drink. Motorboat safaris are very different as you focus on the grand scale of the Delta. For three hours you will cross the lagoons and floodplains to discover herds of elephants and many hippo pods. A mokoro will get you closer while a motorboat ride will encounter a higher number of animals.

Chief's Island is a vibrant mix of flourishing reeds, riverine forest, thick woodland, and large swathes of open savannah. Game drives connect these habitats and are the prime opportunity to get close to the predators. Slumbering beneath a tree is a lion pride as they doze with open eyes, ever alert to an opportunity. Hidden amongst the thick foliage is a leopard as the hunter cares for her two tiny cubs in her realm of privacy. Cheetahs can also be elusive, and you must look closely to discover their camouflage. Hyenas squabble, and you find them dotted across the island, always on the move in search of food. While predators do inhabit the island, there is also an opportunity for short bush walks in the area around the camp. With expert guides that understand the environment, this is a very safe experience, and a chance to walk just a few meters away from some of the many plains animals.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 4 – 5: Vumbura Reserve (Okavango Delta) – Exclusive Safari in a Private Concession

Wild dogs are on the move, and you will follow as you bounce over the mud and marshes as they track down an impala herd. Two male lions will follow the scent of a frisky lioness, and the game drive will track who will win the battle to mate. Baby elephants swing their trunks at warthogs to test their newfound strength just a few meters from the camp. As you eat your dinner, there may be commotion from the plains, and your driver is ready quickly to take you out into the night to see the confrontation between lions and buffalos. Vumbura Reserve is located in the north of the Okavango Delta, and it is a fantastic destination to see some of the most revered of African safari scenes.

Vumbura is a private reserve, so access is limited to those staying at one of the two camps. Fewer visitors and less noise make it a haven for a rich abundance of animals, as do the range of habitats that juxtapose nearby. Your safari is exclusive, so when you are on the trail of the range of wildlife, the experience is never ruined by the sight of other safari vehicles. As in the Moremi Game Reserve, you will enjoy an inclusive program of safari activities on land and water. Nighttime game drives are part of the daily itinerary with an opportunity to see the Okavango Delta in a different light. Nocturnal hunters are on the prowl, and the darkness provides the conditions for an ambush.

Your safari encounters will continue from the wooden verandah of your lodge. The accommodation is something like a contemporary luxury hotel that is hidden in the wilderness to provide an experience that you might expect in the city, yet elevated by the atmosphere given by the wild. Marshlands extend from your private wooden verandah and every morning there will be a new character grazing just a few meters below your room. As you'd expect from one of Botswana's premier safari lodges, exceptional cuisine and service accompany the wildlife experience.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Maun to Windhoek – Namibia's Leisurely Capital

With a couple of flights, you will cross Southern Africa to move from the lush waters of the Okavango to the vast desert plains of the Kalahari and Namibia. The light aircraft journey back to Maun is an amazing aerial safari and a chance to savor the scale of the Delta. Then you fly to Windhoek, where Namibia's capital awaits. The city feels more like an overgrown village than a capital city, and your vacation's pervasive sense of tranquility will continue. You will be greeted at the airport by a new guide to help you to settle in, and the evening will be at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, international flight, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Windhoek – Aerial Safari to Sossusvlei and the Sand Dunes of the Namib Desert

Namibia's desert stretches for thousands of miles as the red sand dunes ripple from the ocean to the interior. They glisten beneath the wingtips on an aerial safari, where a customized viewing window will provide an uninterrupted vista. For over an hour, you can cruise across the dunes to admire the elegant lines and fluttering colors. Touchdown close to Sossusvlei, where a Landcruiser will bring you into the heart of Namibia's most beautiful scenes. Sand dunes climb for over 200 meters to rise above the desolate clay pan of Sossusvlei and nearby is the scorched pan of Deadvlei, where a series of stunted and blackened trees provide an alluring expression of Namibia's wild beauty. Take your time here to photograph the enormity of it all, then fly back to Windhoek for a quiet evening in the capital.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 8 – 10: Etosha National Park – Iconic Desert Safari in Namibia's Flagship Destination

Another aerial safari will bring you north from Windhoek to skirt along the Skeleton Coast before you cruise inland and touchdown in Etosha National Park. Etosha is Namibia's flagship safari destination, a dusty expanse of savannah that is littered with permanent waterholes. At its heart is the Etosha Pan, a flat expanse of salt that is dappled with paw prints. Whereas the Okavango was green and lush, Etosha is dry and open as the panoramas stretch for miles in every direction. Gaze out and it is easy to see the giants as the elephants march along the horizon, giraffe stops at sporadic trees, buffalo herds are on the move, and black rhinos wander around the savannah. After Kruger National Park, this is the best place in Africa to see black rhinos, the critically endangered rhino subspecies. Only around 1,000 remain in the wild, and many of these can be found in Etosha.

On a desert safari, your experience is dictated by water. In Okavango, there was lots of it which mean that a vast profusion of wildlife could be supported. Etosha is desert, and you will not find the same large herds. However, the lack of water makes wildlife easy to find. Game drives loop around the permanent waterholes and even if nothing is having a drink, you will be able to gaze out and see the animals on route to the water. A pair of black rhino will elegantly amble past to sip slowly and then their journey. Nomadic elephants arrive to dig deeply into the pool to create a flourishing spring. Kudu and springbok drink quickly with their ears always on alert for predatory presence as the lions know exactly where to find food, and will lay their ambushes at the waterholes.

In this broad landscape, the safari itinerary is dominated by game drives. While it's a famous safari destination, the scale of the desert means that you will not encounter many other vehicles. Drive out to a lookout point and follow the migratory movements of the giants and then wind along the pan to follow the leopard prints that skirt the salt. Cheetahs are spotted on the plains and are much easier to find here because the landscape is so open. Perhaps you will not see them on a hunt, but there is also a good chance to find lionesses in raw hunting mode. Three of them can disrupt a quiet bunch of wildebeest to control the herd's movements and isolate a young male. In a flurry of dust, another two lionesses may pounce and strike from close range as the lone wildebeest is driven towards the lion's hiding place. Throughout these three days, you will stay in a lodge that overlooks a waterhole to bring the continual mammal encounters you've come to expect from an African safari.

What's Included: accommodation, flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 11 – 12: Damaraland – Walking and Cycling Across one of Africa's Great Wilderness Images

Damaraland could not be quieter as the mountains roll across the landscape, many of them created from evocative collections of boulders. The mountains rise above pristine valleys, where nothing but the odd elephant passes through during the day. Some mountains reveal ancient rock art with the stories of the ancestors painted in lines. Others bring remarkable overhangs and points, the result of winds that have gushed through for tens of millions of years. Damaraland is bigger than many of the world's countries, and there are hardly any inhabitants. Nor are there many lodges so it will feel like you are alone with the world in a serene space for relaxation at the end of a safari vacation.

While you will spot the odd elephant, giraffe or antelope, the experience is mostly about exploration at leisure. Hundreds of miles of trails lead you along the mountain peaks as you journey either by foot or on mountain bikes. A Landcruiser can also sweep you across the valleys as you engage with the photogenic splendor of Namibia. Your lodge commands an elegant spot above a valley, and it is a prime place to watch the world go by as such serenity brings the Okavango and Namibia adventures to an end.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13: Damaraland to Windhoek – Departure

The drive back to Windhoek is a beautiful one as you wind through the Damaraland valleys. You will arrive in the city for a relaxed lunch before your guide brings you to the airport for your international departure. Namibia's capital has direct connections to Europe, which reduces the travel time back home.

What's Included: transfer, breakfast, lunch

Price

Starting Price 

$7,795
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.