Botswana Vacation: Okavango Delta, Wildlife, Bushmen & Victoria Falls

A 16 day trip to Botswana & South Africa 
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Botswana is as diverse as it is unique in its majestic and wild beauty, and this safari covers the absolute best that the country has to offer. In gorgeous accommodation within areas of pristine wilderness, explore this beautiful land and encounter its hidden gems, from its wildlife to its people. Extend your trip to include Victoria Falls for a truly dynamic end to an unforgettable trip. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Chobe National Park, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to South Africa!

Step out into the warm embrace of Africa, where a night of luxury, good food and a cozy bed will be just what you need after your long flight. The cosmopolitan glitter of Johannesburg invites you to the regal Peermont D’Oreale Grande, at Emperors Palace. Recharge and revitalize before your adventure begins, and indulge in a delicious dinner at the elegant Aurelia’s, or perhaps a pampering at Octavia’s Sensorium Health and Beauty Spa. If a cocktail is what you crave, why not watch your first African sunset from Neptune’s Pool Bar? If you are too excited to sleep, explore the entertainment facilities or try your luck in the casino.

Days 2-4: The Okavango Beckons…

Bid farewell to the buzz of the city; the bush awaits! From Johannesburg you will fly to Maun, Botswana, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Here you will be met and shown to a charter plane to take you soaring over magical, sprawling swamps. Glance through your window at the glorious spectacle to see the sands of the Kalahari transform gradually into the channels of the Delta, replenished with water from the highlands of Angola. This oasis is an area of pristine bird and mammal life, and spectacular landscapes. Welcome to your home for the next six days!

Your first destination is Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, nestled between a riverine forest and a beautiful, deep lagoon. The lodge is in a private concession of 17,300 acres, southeast of the Moremi Game Reserve. Raised on wooden boardwalks, and with private decks, each of the nine safari tents is gorgeously designed with true African authenticity in mind.

After a relaxed afternoon spent soaking up your new surroundings, meet your expert guide for tea, before heading out on your first game-drive. In an open vehicle, all you need are a camera and binoculars; the guide will do the rest! There are endless grasslands, floodplains, forests and glistening water channels to explore, and many characters to discover along the way. Over the next few days, search for herds of elephant, buffalo, prides of lion or the elusive leopard, perhaps even a pack of wild dogs on the hunt. There are various beautiful antelope to be found browsing amongst the trees in addition to zebra and giraffe, curious hyena, and of course the inexhaustible baboons and monkeys! Feel those goose bumps at the first glimpse of a majestic bull elephant reaching up to an impossibly high acacia branch; feel the adrenalin pumping as you follow a lioness stalk her prey.

To immerse yourself in a true wilderness experience, a bush-walk is an absolute must. After the exhilaration of safari by vehicle, a peaceful and gentle walk that allows you to feel, hear and smell the bush and all of its wonders on a different level is an undeniable privilege. In the company of an armed and passionate guide, a leisurely walk of this kind will take you on a more intimate journey and give you the opportunity to notice the finer details of this paradise. Another unique view of Delta can be taken in from a mokoro, a simple canoe-style boat, which will glide you through waterways of papyrus and lilies with an experienced guide to help you look for an iridescent Malachite kingfisher or a basking crocodile.

Days 5-7: Cry of the Kalahari

After a last game drive or foray through the peaceful channels by boat, your guide will take you back to the airstrip to be flown to your next lodge. Set in the great, rolling expanse of the Kalahari is Grasslands Bushman Lodge, situated on the western side of the reserve in the Ghanzi district. In the heart of a true Botswana wilderness, this is a family-run lodge whose history is set in every piece of its architecture and in the smiling faces of your hosts. The Grasslands family has been here for five generations, and it is their goal to share with you the extensive knowledge and love that they have for this very special place.

Overlooking a water hole, the lodge is in an excellent spot for game viewing; simply recline by the pool and wait for the animals to come to you, if you wish. Now that you have seen the bush from a vehicle and a boat, how about experiencing it from a saddle? Horseback-riding is offered at Grasslands for an experience unlike any other; the wildlife is likely to be more relaxed in the presence of the horses, allowing for potentially fantastic encounters. Another highlight at Grasslands is the Predator Rehabilitation Project; meet and learn more about the rescued predators as well as some of the issues facing conservation in this beautiful country.

A truly unique experience that must not be missed is meeting with the local San people. This small community invites you for a rare and privileged insight into the fascinating world of the Bushman. You will learn how to look for food and medicines out in the bush, and your Bushman hosts will show you how to hunt for meat, how to make a fire, prepare food and build a home. You will be carried away in the magic of their stories and ceremonial dances, and like those who have come before, you will find it difficult to tear yourself away from the mesmerizing nature and spirit of these incredible people. 

Days 7-9: From Desert to Delta

After the wonders of the Bushman experience, re-immerse yourself in the magic of Moremi. Jump aboard your sky-chariot once more and return to the glistening swamps of the Delta, to spend two nights at Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge, where tranquility and majesty truly meet. Gorgeous lagoons and glimmering, watery channels surrounded by papyrus and grassy plains dotted with animals are lying in wait for you to explore. Each beautiful guest cottage at Sandibe is set along an ancient game path where you may walk in the footsteps of generations of elephant, buffalo and other regal giants. Set in a forest of palm and fig trees, you may relax in luxurious comfort while a true African wilderness unfolds at your feet.

Head out into the bush once more, on foot, by mokoro or by vehicle, or relax by the pool; you could even indulge in a little retail therapy at the safari gift shop. At night, the boma (a gated area) comes alive to entice you to an al fresco banquet complemented by fine wines from the charcoal-cooled cellar. There is always the option for a secluded dinner on one of Sandibe’s private decks, for those seeking a more romantic evening.

Days 10-12: Walk in the Footsteps of Giants in Chobe

Wish a final au revoir to the beautiful Delta, with one last game drive or a gentle walk; your journey will now take you northeast of the Okavango to the equally wild and stunning Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero. Here, where the elephants roam, you are in for more of that fabulous Botswana hospitality, enjoying a true pampering in the treetop spa or unwinding at the split-level swimming pool.

From the main area the Chobe River can be seen in the distance and the area is teeming with wildlife. After dinner each night, enjoy a candle-lit bubble bath on your private deck or shower under the stars. Each cottage has its own private garden where guests can sip cocktails or enjoy an intimate private dinner.

As well as game drives and sojourns along the river by boat, we urge you to try the famous spa at Chobe Chilwero. Unwind in the indoor spa bath or try one of the Vichy showers, or have someone massage those aching muscles away in a private treatment room, one of which is elevated in the treetops. After a last glass of bubbly watching the sunset (perhaps with some elephants obligingly crossing the river for you) and a delicious dinner, let the sounds of Africa lull you to sleep one last time. In the morning, you will be transferred to Victoria Falls Airport and onwards to Johannesburg, where you will meet your connecting flight home.

Days 13-14: The Drama of the Falls

If you haven’t quite satisfied your excitement-fix, then continue on towards the “Smoke that Thunders”- Victoria Falls. The Elephant Camp is your next home, a tented haven from where you may enjoy completely stunning views of the Victoria Falls as well as the gorge system that zigzags between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Not far from camp there are several activities on offer near the falls themselves; the camp’s location brings you close enough to the hustle and bustle whilst ensuring a very private experience in the heart of a game reserve. Each room has a private plunge pool for truly secluded luxury.

Near the falls there is fun to be had for all levels of thrill-seekers. From the world’s wildest one-day white water rafting trip, to the 111 meter bungee jump, to river surfing, kayaking, gorge swings and zip-wires, there is plenty to get your adrenaline pumping. For those after a more relaxing few days there are river cruises, rich local arts and crafts, cultural experiences, and fishing. Choose to do as little or as much as you like, it’s a hub of activity but there is always the lodge for peace and quiet if you need it.

Day 15: A Rather Special Safari

An early-morning transfer takes you to Woodlands for the interaction of a lifetime. Awaiting you there is a whole new perspective of the beautiful bush that you have now seen from boat, on foot and by vehicle. Meet your larger-than-life hosts for an elephant-back safari through riverine forests, crossing the water onto islands, tracking other wildlife on ancient pathways and enjoying the spectacular flora and fauna of the area. Out in the bush, you can dismount and spend some time getting to know the elephants better, learning about their special and individual characters and seeing their natural behavior within paradise surroundings. 

Day 16: Homeward Bound

You will be transferred to Victoria Falls Airport to depart on a scheduled flight to Johannesburg, where you will connect on to your flight home. As you soar above the African landscape, look back over a trip of a lifetime and start counting down to your return! Or, if you aren't ready to leave, think about adding on to this customizable trip.  Read the safari tour reviews of Botswana for ideas and to see what other travelers experienced while on safari.

Price

Starting Price 

$7,995
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.