Intimate Highlights of South Africa and Botswana Safari

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Total Trip:

13 Days
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Countries Visited:

South Africa, Botswana
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Places Visited:

Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Maun, Okavango Delta, Linyanti Reserve
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Departure Dates:

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
South Africa and Botswana create the perfect safari combination. Start with urban color and culture and ease into your vacation during three nights in Cape Town. Surround yourself with wildlife in the Sabi Sands, which is a small, private concession that provides intimate safari highlights. Escape to the wetlands where you can admire the bounty of seasonal change in the Okavango Delta. Finally, appreciate migratory channels and the scale of the wilderness with Linyanti providing exclusive safari

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Customizable Itinerary

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Day 1

Cape Town – Relaxing Beneath Table Mountain

Today, you will touch down and tune in, landing in the Mother City to feel how nature can dominate everything in Africa. Table Mountain will stand tall and proud, dominating the cityscape with its imperious glee. As dusk comes near, the mountain will cast shadows through the streets, and its frame can be spotted from the Atlantic Ocean. After landing in Cape Town, you will immediately sense that this is a unique continent where Mother Nature has her hand in everything. You will be staying at a boutique lodge that is located just beneath the mountain and just above the heart of the city. From here, you only need to look up to feel sheer grandeur of the mountain. This evening will be at your leisure, and the concierge will advise you regarding delicious restaurants nearby.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

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Day 2

Cape Town – Cultural Highlights of the Mother City

Legacies will whisper through Cape Town’s streets of change. The city’s transformation has been quite remarkable since Mandela led South Africa out of apartheid. Street markets will impress with vibrant hues and exotic smells, and pastel-hued houses will ensure an old slaving heritage is not forgotten. Out on Robben Island, you will be guided around by Mandela’s former prison guard, Christo Brand, listening to tales of friendship and adversity. With a full day to explore, a city guide will show you marvelous places and histories. In the late afternoon, you will ascend by cable car up the mountain. You will take some time to walk one or two of the trails upon the summit and then gasp at sunset over the city.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 3

Cape Town – Luxuriating in the Winelands

The Cape Winelands start just 45 minutes from central Cape Town. Vineyards will blanket the landscape, basking in harmony with mountain pinnacles. They have been making wine on these slopes for over three centuries, and your first stop will be an old-world winery, which is a rustic farmhouse that introduces you to the region’s main varietals. Next on the journey is De Vaal, which is the vineyard where Pinotage was first cloned, and there is nowhere better to taste South Africa’s indigenous grape. You will have lunch in Stellenbosch, strolling around the country’s second oldest town and absorbing its slow and laid-back atmosphere. Then, you will finish in the new world, which is one of the fresh waves of wineries that are taking South African production to new heights.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Tour

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 4 - 6

Sabi Sands – Intimate Big-Game Safari in the Kruger Ecosystem

From Cape Town to the Sabi Sands, and from Table Mountain to the Sabi River, a different kind of nature will take over. Zebras will splash around as they drink, and acacia trees will lie above the water. Kudu and springbok will also be at the river, drinking during the hottest part of the day. The safari will have already started, yet you will be sitting around a pool, sipping on drinks. That will be the style in the Sabi Sands where there is a contemporary luxury in the bush. While you will be going on game drives, the animal experience always continues for 24 hours a day.

There are three game drives a day: early morning, late afternoon, and after dark in the evening. These reflect when the animals are most active. Game drives do not need to travel far. They tend to stick close to the Sabi River, which is a permanent water source that snakes through Greater Kruger National Park. There are no fences, and the reserve is a jigsaw piece of the larger Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, which is a protected wilderness area that is spread across three countries and some 100,000 square kilometers. Wildlife will move freely around the Sabi River, and you never need to travel far in order to see it.

As dawn breaks, the tracker may see a lioness on the move. Up ahead, you can see the zebra, and the guide will position you beyond them, so you do not interrupt the hunt. Monkeys will howl from above as the zebra become increasingly alert. If one runs, the others will follow. There is no telling whether they run into an ambush or not as every game drive is different. Sometimes, you will encounter these dramatic scenes, perhaps even lions feasting on a carcass, and at other times you will find more charm than drama.

Leopards are a particular highlight of this reserve and can be wonderfully followed on a nighttime game drive. The area supports great numbers of elephants and rhinos as well, along with buffalo herds that are sometimes 60 or 70 strong. The famous Big Five are just the start. The Sabi Sands supports over 100 large mammal species, helping to provide a diverse overview of African wildlife in its natural habitat. Think wildebeest, springbok, kudu, eland, giraffe, hippo, baboon, peculiar antelope, and small nocturnal predators. Most poignantly, these three days on your safari will reveal how the species interact with each other, highlighting behavior in a way that is only possible in the wild like watching a baby elephant chase a warthog from the river.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 7

Maun to Okavango Delta – First Impressions of the Wetlands

It will take three short flights to reach the Okavango, so most of today will be taken up with travel, but the Okavango Delta will provide a serene place to relax after your journey. The camp will be perched on an island of palms trees and surrounded by the seasonal waterways of a desert oasis. Water is essential, especially in the desert, and animals migrate here from thousands of kilometers away just to get a sip. If you gaze out, you will be able to see their enthusiasm. Animals will skip in the water, and elephants will splash with their trunks. Even the hippos will not appear to be bad-tempered. In such a lush, watery oasis, you will quickly experience how seasonal change attracts life in wild Africa.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 8 - 9

Okavango Delta – A Safari on Land and Water

Hippos will grunt, and their calls will sound a lot like burps. Elephants are more harmonic, which sound much like a chorus of horns and trumpets. Lion calls echo in a sonorous and surreal way as they stretch across the landscape. There will be more immediate sounds as well: red lechwe wading, exotic birds above your suite, and oryx nibbling around the reeds. Smells will also entice, slowly impressing the life that surrounds you. You will explore in a mokoro canoe, and the safari will continue to be a multi-sensory experience. These traditional canoes are constructed from a single tree trunk. A gondolier will push you down narrow channels, taking you silently alongside everything around the banks.

With a mokoro you can get incredibly close to the wildlife, often being able to look up at the four-legged giants. A motorboat is the equivalent of a safari vehicle here as traveling by water is the easiest way to get around. You will travel slowly, going around islands, across lagoons, and through the heart of the Delta. In a water world, you never know what animals have been marooned somewhere. Buffalo and elephants will swim across while hippos dip their heads under the water. Game drives and game walks will also be a part of your safari program with the exact itinerary being planned on a day to day basis.

Your camp is to the west of the Delta, which is the area that floods first and has water all year around. This side of the Okavango is recommended for a multi-destination safari, as it proves to be a massive contrast from Sabi Sands and Linyanti. Hippos will become your neighbors, elephants will wander past your camp each evening, and wildlife will thrive in this bountiful space. By using all your senses, you will pick up on more of the details, learning what different animals do at different times of the day, and appreciating the daily battles between and within species.

What's Included:

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 10 - 12

Linyanti Reserve – Drama and Charm in an Atmospheric Safari Wilderness

The short flight to Linyanti will be spectacular, providing a scenic impression of how the Okavango Delta spills eastwards. You will cruise above snake-shaped channels, islets, and floodplains, spotting elephants and giraffes that are on the move. Landing in Linyanti, you will immediately grasp a mix of habitats. There will be water here along with open plains and thick swathes of forest. To the north is Chobe, which is a woodland that is home to the world’s largest elephant population. To the south, you will have the Okavango Delta, which is a seasonal wildlife haven. Linyanti is on the migratory path between them, and it is a reserve that has been made even more special during the last few years. For decades, the Savuti Channel was dry, but now it runs strong and clear, making the reserve a popular place for year-round residents.

Massive herds of buffalo will graze on the open plains, joined by zebra, wildebeest, oryx, and, clusters of more bashful antelope. Giraffes poke their heads above the trees, and you will quickly lose count of the elephants with herds roaming past at all hours of the day. Most of all, this is a place for predators. Deep in the trees, you will find a leopard that is draped along an acacia branch, and around the savannah fringes, you will discover lion prides that are learning how small their territories.

Across the savanna, you will see something move as figures move their heads in and out of the grass. You may be lucky and witness a pack of wild dogs that are out on their afternoon hunt. They move with tact at first but quickly pick up the chase. In comparison, the big cats must get really close in order to pounce. Working as a pack, the dogs chase their prey, trying to isolate a target. Once isolated, the animals run and run as the wild dogs work their prey to exertion.

This wildlife drama will be complemented by daily charm. Not every sighting will be thrilling and exciting. Soon, you will find that many animals are so numerous that they begin to blur into the landscape. After nine days on your safari, it will be hard to picture a land that is not populated by hippos and elephants. Walking safaris will bring a new impression. Now, you will be sharing the land with these giants, looking up and across at them. You will be just another mammal, and the herds will look at you inquisitively and unsure of what to make of such two-legged visitors. Walking safaris can be incorporated into your safari program along with nighttime drives as well.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Accommodation

included

Activity

included

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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Day 13

Linyanti to Maun – Departure

You will depart Botswana by first flying to Maun, meaning another dreamy view over the Okavango Delta. In Maun, you will connect onto your international flight.

What's Included:

included

Transfer

included

Breakfast

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Trip Highlights

  • Surround yourself with wildlife during a three-day stay in the Sabi Sands, which will prove to be an intimate safari introduction
  • Discover the bounty of the wetlands with three days in the Okavango Delta, encountering life on land and on water
  • Track the predators and bask in the exclusivity of Linyanti, which is one of Africa’s ultimate and private concessions
  • Uncover the best of Cape Town from Table Mountain to vineyards and evocative heritage
  • Explore the safari wilderness after dark on stunning nighttime drives that are great for tracking spotted cats
  • Cruise on the water in a traditional mokoro canoe, enjoying incredible proximity to Africa’s four-legged giants
  • Participate in short game walks where you feel the thrill of sharing the land with animals
  • Hop between safari destinations on safari flights, admiring the landscapes as you go
  • Stay at a handpicked selection of Southern Africa’s finest camps, which are places to luxuriate in the wild
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Detailed Description

South Africa and Botswana are Southern African neighbors that provide a complementary safari. One eases you into the experience, settling your senses into the rhythm of the wild and revealing the wildlife that thrives in protected areas. The next takes you deeper, scratching away a surface of ochre-hued dirt to reveal migratory patterns and dramatic seasonal changes. South Africa needs to come first, which is a more urban and contemporary land as opposed to catapulting straight into the heart of the wilderness. After six days in Cape Town and the Sabi Sands, you will be ready for pure African adventure out on Botswana landscapes where people can only ever be visitors.

Handcrafted to celebrate the complementary highlights of these two countries, this 12-night vacation has four very distinctive stops. The three safari destinations build upon each other, bringing new activities, different wildlife, and a real sense that not all of Africa is the same. All three are unfenced private concessions in the midst of conservation areas that are larger than most US states. Handpicked lodges and camps fully immerse you in a surreal natural world where the encounters continue while drinking sundowners around the fire. Combine the three, and not only do you get the complete variety of animals, but you also discover places where individual species really thrive.

Cape Town provides charm and color as you touch down in Africa. Stroll upon Table Mountain to explore Mandela’s legacy and cultural heritage. Then, take a day to relax around the Cape Winelands. Rather than jumping straight into the bush, Cape Town eases you into the vacation, providing a little teaser of what the continent can offer. Fly direct to the Sabi Sands and spend most of the next three days around the Sabi River, which is the lifeblood of a conservation area that measures over 100,000 square kilometers. All of Africa’s famous big mammals live here with rhino and leopard encounters particularly regular. You will game drive during the day and night, exploring the eclectic beauty of Africa’s wildlife world.

Day seven is mostly a travel day as you take short flights to nature’s greatest oasis. Waterways spill in every direction, and your camp is perched on a palm-fringed island. During the next three days, you take safaris on the water and the land, exploring the seasonal bounty and sinking your senses into a temporary world that is mostly inaccessible to people. End in the Linyanti, which is a vast, private concession on the migratory route between Chobe and Okavango. Such a location creates a dazzling intensity of life, particularly the battles between predator and prey. Linyanti is deep in the wilderness and is where wildlife can truly thrive without interruption. Looking for more recommended Africa travel inspiration? Consider browsing our Africa travel reviews page.

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Starting Price

$6495 per person (excluding international flights)

This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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.

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