Iconic Getaway Safari to Okavango and Kalahari

A 10 day trip to Botswana 
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Disappear into the wilderness on a 10-day safari to the Okavango and Kalahari, where you drift down waterways and harmonize your senses with a surreal atmosphere. With three extraordinary concessions, you spend three days each in the woodlands, the waterways, and the salt pans. Explore at your own pace on privately guided safari activities and settle into the rhythm of nature, finding an ultimate getaway from the Western world. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Maun, Okavango Delta, Selinda Concession, Jao Concession, Hunda Island, Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan, Boteti River

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Maun to Selinda Concession – Serene Safari Luxury in Northern Okavango

Touch down at Maun International Airport and a representative assists in transferring you to a local flight bound for the Selinda Concession in the far north of the Okavango. Soar over the flooded plains and touch down in big-game country, where lions battle with buffalos and there’s a dreamy collection of resident leopards. Selinda blends different habitats, attracting a diversity of wildlife to a compact area. What you won’t see very often are other visitors. This is a private unfenced concession, only accessible to those staying at one of the few camps within it. So even though you’re positioned on the migration route between the Chobe forests and central Okavango floodplains, other vehicles or visitors won’t interrupt the animal abundance. 

The stylish Zarafa Camp hides amongst the trees, blending into nature in the exclusive Selinda Concession. Your spacious suite feels like what you’d find in a boutique five-star hotel, with opulent fittings and an en-suite bathroom with a lavish copper bathtub. Head out onto the deck, and there’s a private plunge pool, an ideal place to start watching the wildlife that roams beneath the camp. Nature’s lullaby comes uninterrupted, filtering through the canvas walls throughout the day and night. It’s a lullaby of tweeting birds, roaring lions, grazing ungulates, and the sporadic calls that echo across the floodplains. After arriving in the late afternoon, the rest of the day is at your leisure, with a dinner enjoyed beneath the stars as elephants and hippos are scattered across the panorama. Zarafa Camp is a Relais & Chateaux property, and you can expect a wonderful inclusive drinks menu.

What’s Included: accommodation at Zarafa Camp, airport transfer, domestic flight, dinner

Day 2: Selinda Concession – Big-Game Safari and Nature’s Lullaby

A safari in Selinda isn’t about long hours bumping across the bush. Safari activities can be short, as many habitats collide in a small area. Over the next two days, you create your own program, with privately guided game drives that can leave at any time of the day and night. Walking safaris with armed rangers provide a new perspective, especially when you listen to the landscape’s clues and follow a herd of zebras or kudus. Every afternoon, you can cruise along the river on a pontoon boat, another journey that brings intimate moments with a full array of Selinda’s wildlife.

Elephants occupy the forest, thousands of them marching a path through the trees. Giraffes poke their heads up high, displaying an elegance and serenity that an escapist safari is all about. Lions laze on the plains, their manes flowing gently in the breeze. Soon, you’re enveloped by nature’s documentary, settled into the charms of a destination that has nothing artificial. This is nature as it’s always been, a journey through the sights, sounds, and smells, of a land untouched by man. Start out on such a journey, and you soon discover it’s a wonderful way to soothe the mind and relax the body. Even when you’re drifting off in the plunge pool, there’s likely to be a four-legged resident making you smile.

What’s Included: accommodation at Zarafa Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner  

Day 3: Selinda Concession – Walking Safari and Game Drives in a Private Concession

Each safari activity provides a new angle, helping to build a vibrant picture of the Okavango landscape. On a walking safari, you move slowly and almost silently, following antelopes and other ungulates. Game drives are likely to focus on the big cats, like leopards draped across tree branches or lions prowling for a morning meal. The boat is as relaxed as it comes, helping you take in the big and small of Selinda. Back at the camp, there is a pair of Swarovski binoculars for every room, helping you identify the animals found on the open panoramas. As with most days on your safari, the program is fully flexible, and you’ll be able to choose activities that reflect your mood.

What’s Included: accommodation at Zarafa Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Jao Concession – A Massage While Watching the Hippos

Most escapist vacations include a visit to the spa. But how many can feature a salubrious massage while you’re gazing out over a pod of playful hippos? That’s part of the appeal at Jao Camp, a superb tented camp that sprawls through a forest of ebony and leadwood trees. After the flight, you enjoy a treatment at the on-site spa and then walk along the elevated wooden platforms to a wonderful suite high above the Okavango. This is one of Botswana’s flagship camps, and there’s grandeur to everything, especially in the density of wildlife seen in the vicinity. You’re now in the Jao Concession, which blends a land and water-based Okavango safari. Mokoro and motorboat safaris are added to your flexible program, choices that help you discover new collections of wildlife. As always, everything is tailored to your interests. So if you’re in the mood for it, just lie back and watch it all from your private deck.

What’s Included: accommodation at Jao Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Jao Concession – The Grandeur and Exclusivity of an Okavango Safari

Spend the day on safari, exploring Okavango’s lagoons and the green plains of Hunda Island. Jao Concession is an all year round destination, although the experience changes with the seasons. From June to September, you’re gazing out over water, while throughout the other months, the plains become fields of mud and grasslands. Either way, this is where you’ll get to see a near-complete cast of Africa’s great mammals, including a great opportunity to see the cats out on a hunt. For something different this evening, head up the stairs to a private star bed beneath the stars. The immersion in nature is very special, every sound and smell floating up to the four-poster mosquito-net-bound bed that’s located on the roof of your suite. It’s a celebration of safari’s grandeur and exclusivity, a chance to fall asleep beneath the Milky Way as a herd of elephants are crossing the plains below.

What’s Included: accommodation at Jao Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Jao Concession – Drifting Away in a Traditional Mokoro Canoe

Of all the Okavango’s activities, it’s a mokoro that best reflects the tranquility of the landscape. This traditional dugout canoe moves softly and silently, with a gondolier paddling you gently along reed-fringed channels. Hundreds of zebras drink from the banks; hippo pods fill the waterways, and every so often you encounter an elephant or lion taking a sip from the shore. You can drift away in this serene vessel and let the safari come to you. Along with the famous animals, this area has a fantastic collection of birds, along with gigantic herds of red lechwes, cute little antelopes that always appears to be in a playful mood. A motorboat safari takes you across larger distances and is a great way to see a wider part of the Okavango Delta. It’s always your choice as every day at Jao Camp is fully customized.

What’s Included: accommodation at Jao Camp, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Jao Concession to Maun to Makgadikgadi Pans – Beautiful Aerial Safari Above Okavango and the Kalahari

Botswana dazzles from the air, so much so that the Okavango Delta is clearly visible from space. By flying over the landscapes, you get to appreciate just how remote and untouched the country is. You lose your eyes in the vibrancy of nature, admiring how the colors swirl as if painted by brushes of oil. First, you fly back to Maun, the Okavango delivering captivating swathes of blue and green. These fade away gradually, replaced by the dusty ochre of the Kalahari Desert. Change planes in Maun and discover the enormity of the Kalahari, how it continues uninterrupted for endless miles, and then suddenly transforms into a mirage of salt pans. This is the Makgadikgadi, an area that’s bigger than most countries and one that doesn’t have a single road.

Leroo La Tau stands in the west of the pans, perched above the Boteti River. It’s the only permanent water source for hundreds of square miles, attracting thousands of animals as the scarcity of the winter’s dry season takes hold. Among them are the 50,000 or so zebras and wildebeests that arrive every June, after making an epic migration across the pans. While this landscape doesn’t offer the Okavango’s intense concentration of big game, there’s a wonderful charm to discovering how the river brings life to the heart of the dusty desert and deserted salt pans. Like always, sit back on your deck and watch the show, including the myriad of colorful birds that flutter above the herds. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure, and the inclusive activities include a game drive or a cruise along the river.

What’s Included: accommodation at Leroo La Tau, domestic flights, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Makgadikgadi Pans – Journeying Across the World’s Largest Salt Pan

Stop on the Nxai Pan. Listen to the breeze that whistles across the mirage. Gaze around in every direction, trying to find an angle that isn’t one of shimmering whiteness. Few places feel as remote as one of the world’s largest salt pans. The only access is on set trails, which lead you on a full-day trip from Leroo La Tau. Stop for lunch beneath baobab trees that randomly punctuate the pans, drive across the endless mirage of white, and spot the odd meerkat colony poking their heads above the ground. It’s a journey that showcases the enormity of the Kalahari and the evocative mystique of an untouched world. Photos can only show what it looks like; visiting the Nxai Pan is more about how it feels, how the silence permeates everything and the sense of being alone in the wild is practically absolute.

What’s Included: accommodation at Leroo La Tau, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Makgadikgadi Pans – Tranquil Safari Along the Boteti River

There’s never any need to rush when on safari. Rather than tick off sights, the experience is about appreciating the nuances of nature. Like on a Boteti River cruise, which takes you on an elegant journey past the life of the banks. Zebras skip in the shallows; an elephant bathes itself using its trunk to spray water, and wildebeests splash about with a wonderful enthusiasm. Return to the lodge, and there are many languid hours to enjoy, simply relaxing on the deck and gazing out across wild Africa. In the afternoon, you have the choice of going on a game drive or visiting a local village. Or you can sit back and enjoy your final afternoon in the remote Kalahari.

What’s Included: accommodation at Leroo La Tau, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Makgadikgadi Pans to Maun – Departure

Wave farewell to the animals at the river and fly back to Maun, a short journey that continues your immersion in the mystical colors of the desert. From here, you board your international departure, a journey that takes you back to the Western world; after ten days on safari, your mind and body will stay in harmony with the serenity of the wild.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$5,995
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.