Kalahari Desert, Makgadikgadi Pans, Okavango Delta
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Botswana's immense wilderness offers the ultimate private getaway for couples for a romantic safari to Botswana. These 12 days unveil the glory of the Kalahari, Makgadikgadi and Okavango, each destination elevating the romance and rich impression of escapism. You won't see other people. Light aircraft catapult you to Africa's most inaccessible and untamed landscapes, luxury mobile camps are surrounded by wildlife, and the safari is never interrupted.
Kalahari – Welcome to the Hidden Heart of the Kalahari
The Kalahari is a land unknown. This rugged dusty landscape is virtually uninhabited, save for a few nomadic Bushmen whose lifestyle remains unaltered. Lion prides roam, elephants wander in search of water, antelope graze on brittle grass, and there isn't a building for thousands of square miles. It's an idyllic escape and an indelible jump into the animal kingdom. But how do you get there? After your international flight lands in Maun, central Botswana, a light aircraft takes you out into remote Kalahari, landing on a rarely used airstrip. It's practically the only way to get here and this inaccessibility is a perfect way to start the escape. Upon arrival, the two of you are practically alone in the heart of the Kalahari.
Day 2 - 4
Kalahari – Romantic Private Immersion in Big Game Country
When couples think of romantic escapes they're perhaps thinking of opening the curtains to white sand and palm trees. This morning's view is a little different. You've got a few wandering giraffe, a nomadic elephant herd, and a sprinkling of antelope inspecting the camp. There's no need to rise from the luxurious king sized bed to enjoy the action. With a mobile camp in the Kalahari you can just marvel at the animals coming to you. Your personal chef cooks up breakfast, dazzling panoramas extend in all directions, and the camp comes with some fabulous little touches. This might be camping, but it's camping Botswana style; think hot showers overlooking the elephants, thick lounge chairs with a view, and wooden flooring that raises the spacious tent above the landscape. A small and discreet team attends to your every need. So if you want to eat dinner beside a hippo pool then the table will be quickly arranged, complete with wine glasses and candles.
This first stop sets the tone for the whole vacation. The exact location of the camp is dependent on the abundance of wildlife, distance to other visitors, and animal migratory patterns. It effortlessly blends into the landscape and attracts lots of curious attention from four-legged visitors. An ungulate herd might be scared of a lodge. The same herd will be intrigued by a small camp on the horizon. Safari starts from the camp and it continues into the night.
Lions slumber in the dusty plains, ever searching for a shaded space to rest their heads. Drive alongside them and they hardly seem to move. But a half open eye suggests that a lion is never completely asleep. Cheetahs stand on protruding rocks, gazing out at the potential dinner menu. Red hartebeest gather and gallop, ever hoping for signs of flourishing grass to graze upon. The Kalahari is often barren and desolate, so the nomadic wildlife moves great distances in search of food. You could look out and see nothing, apart from the mesmeric red beauty of scorched plains. But you could also look out and see everything.
Like everywhere on this vacation, the daily itinerary is completely flexible and dictated by the two of you. A complete range of safari activities are included and an expert guide will craft an adventure that suits your mood. That might be an epic six hour game drive across the Kalahari. Or it could be a one hour walk on the trail of giraffe. The guide's intimate knowledge of the environment helps satisfy demanding preferences. African safari is inherently unpredictable and that's epitomized by the Kalahari. Sometimes you may drive for 30 minutes and only admire singed plains. Then an elephant grabs your attention. Get closer and a whole kudu herd follows the pachyderm's footsteps. Keep approaching and there's a camouflaged leopard tracking the nomads. This is African safari at its most authentic, and probably, its most romantic.
Makgadikgadi – Into the Vast Whiteness of the Makgadikgadi Pans
As you ascend above the Kalahari the scale begins to impress. Down at the camp you had a macro perspective, complete with teardrops in zebra's eyes and prideful expressions in a lion's smile. But up here it's different. The vast emptiness of the Kalahari extends in every direction, the landscape divided by dried-up riverbeds and adolescent canyons. Hold hands as the plane soars down to Makgadikgadi, a flickering white salt pan dominating the vista. A new guide greets you at the airstrip and within moments you're savoring the panoramas from the camp. There are still no other people around.
Day 6 - 7
Makgadikgadi – Tracking the Great Zebra Migration
Spluttering out of the white mirage come shocks of black. They're out of focus, blurred images of migratory zebra crossing the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan. Sit. Be patient. And slowly they become sharp defined images, a patchwork of stripes emerging from the arid landscape. Almost everyone has heard of the great wildebeest migration. Botswana's zebra migration is Africa's second largest mass movement of animals. 30,000 sets of zebra hooves are kicking up dust as they maraud south in the early months of the year. Blue wildebeest join the search for fresh grazing land and a smorgasbord of predators provide chaperoning services.
Your camp will be erected with a view of the migration and the location may only be decided a week or so before you arrive. This provides maximum flexibility for responding to the natural phenomenon. Nxai Pan gets the action during the early months, the herds multiplying in size as they maraud onwards. Makgadikgadi is better in March and April. By then, the zebra start to scatter before completing their migration at the Boteti River. As always, a range of inimitable safari experiences get you even closer. Walk out onto the plains and wait for the rush of a thousand zebra galloping past. Experienced horse riders can sit in the saddle and actually ride along the fringes of the herds. Or you could uncork the wine and soak up the surroundings of your private playground.
It's not just about the zebra and their predators. These pans burst with the rare and inimitable. Meerkat mobs stick up their heads on crusted white salt pans. Aardwolves and bat-eared foxes emerge at sundown, and the endemic bird species provide both color and music. It's a very different world than the Kalahari. There are few permanent residents; this land is a stopover for a mass transient population in search of fresh pastures. And you'll be smack in the middle of their route.
Okavango Delta – A Remote Mobile Camp
For seven days the landscape has been dictated by a lack of water. Now you're flying above the Okavango Delta and wondering how Botswana became so blue. A luxuriant oasis stands proud in the scorched desert, Angolan rainwater igniting the riverbeds and creating lush havens sniffed out by an eclectic animal cast. It's perhaps Southern Africa's premier safari destination, but that doesn't mean you'll have any less privacy. The remote mobile camp overlooks a mushrooming waterhole and dinner for two is served with four legged silhouettes wandering around. As always, there's nothing artificial interrupting this escape into Africa's untamed nature.
Day 9 - 11
Okavango Delta – Intimate Exploration
Open the tent flap. It's buffalo saying hello this morning. Head for the hot shower where a few springbok are grazing beside the bathroom. Join your partner on the raised balcony for morning coffee, a baby elephant splashing in the nearby water and a herd of kudu trying to avoid the dangling trunk. Breakfast is served, poached eggs on toast as requested, and your guide explains all the possible options for today. You may wish to stay and watch the animal party developing beside your balcony. Or today might be a day for exploring.
A traditional mokoro traverses the waterways, the skilled gondolier picking a careful route through raised snouts. Large hippo pods cover the blue channels; males bicker and push their way up the hierarchy, youngsters rampage into the water with comic maneuvers, and females aren't shy about leaving their scent. Crocodiles also patrol the water, occasionally snapping their jaws around the hind leg of something that splashed around a little too closely. Land safaris are equally hypnotic. Game drive through dense forests, weaving into eerie quietude and spot a pair of eyes in the branches. What is it? Even with binoculars the camouflage remains faithful. But then a tail flicks and a yawn reveals ferocious teeth. It's one of many leopards preparing to feast on the arriving migrating herds.
Step, step, step, you traverse the forest edges on a walking safari. Giraffe are tall and elephants are huge. But that can only be truly appreciated when you're also standing at ground level. Quaint picnic spots offer lunch for two with a view and you return to camp to see a mischievous monkey hanging out on your chair. Don't worry, he's quick to move and you've nothing to be fearful of. Even when camping in the heart of lion country you're very safe. The locals have harmoniously lived with the Big Five for many, many centuries, so your guides know exactly how to pick up on animal behavior and clues. If there's evidence of exploratory leopards then the camp's location may be moved just a day before your arrival. A nighttime fire keeps the hyenas away. Other small tricks ensure your safety. So while this private escape is all about surrounding yourself with Botswana's wild nature, there isn't going to be any mishaps interrupting the romance.
Maun – Final Safari Impressions and Departure from Botswana
Today it's time to leave Botswana. You've had eleven days of “you and me time,” endless intimate encounters with Africa's renowned wildlife, and a nonstop roll of charming memories to take home. It's hard to pinpoint a specific moment from the safari. You think of cheetahs on a hunt, zebra herds thundering past, or walking on wild elephant trails. But most of all you're likely to think of the pure escapism, that unique feeling of being transported to an alternative world without stress or modernity. And you're already planning the next getaway into African wilderness.
- Enjoy 11 nights of luxury mobile camps, each erected in the heart of big game country and well clear of any other visitors
- Start the safari immersion in the Kalahari, a rugged landscape of prowling lions, nomadic herds, and gentle delights wandering past the camp
- Track Africa's second largest animal migration, tens of thousands of zebra galloping across the Makgadikgadi pans, chaperoned by instinctive big cats
- Spend four days soaking up the abundant animal paradise of the Okavango Delta, the lavish waterways ensuring that every angle is packed with big game
- Use light aircraft to access the most remote and inaccessible parts of Botswana's wilderness, the airstrips sometimes having to be cleared of animals before you can take off
- This is a completely private safari escape so you and your partner dictate the itinerary; game drives, boat safaris, walking safaris, nighttime drives, dinner for two surrounded by hartebeest, picnics overlooking hippo pods, all your exacting tastes realized by an expert local guide
- Savor the omnipresent feeling of being immersed in an alternative world, one without roads, people, buildings, or stress
$9,355 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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