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
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.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - 7
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.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - 11
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.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.
This vacation is for couples who want to completely escape. There are no roads, no wifi, and no other tourists. Some might call it an escape from reality. But Botswana offers its own version of the world, one where the Big Five roam past luxury private camps and you open the curtains to the eclectic cast from a National Geographic documentary. Where you're going there won't be any other people. It's those on four legs that call Botswana's unfenced land home: giant elephant herds, abundant lion prides, thousands of migrating zebras, and everything else from the annals of African safari reverie. This Botswana safari itinerary has been carefully crafted to maximize the country's natural bounty; it's a vacation of private mobile camps, landing on airstrips patrolled by elephants, and only sharing this immersive African safari with your partner. The Kalahari, the Okavango Delta, Magdakigadi Pans; this is an escape into three of Africa's most untouched big game landscapes.
The Kalahari alone is big enough to feature in the world's largest 30 countries. Except it's not a country, it's just a jigsaw piece in the epic landscape of this near-deserted Southern African nation. You start here, surrounded by ravenous big cats and an assortment of charming ungulates. Don't be scared, even when lion roars form part of nature's evening lullaby. The locals have been coexisting with big cats for millennia. Their expert knowledge ensures intimacy and authenticity, yet keeps you safe in the middle of untamed African plains. You won't need game drives to spot the famed Big Five; it's all available in the sweeping panoramas available from the mobile camp. A discreet team attends to your every need so sit back, relax, and marvel at nature's dramatic theater. Then, whenever you're ready, an expert guide will craft an itinerary of safari activities personalized to your exacting preferences.
Walking safaris follow elephant trails, hopper flights give perspectives on scale, and nighttime drives provide exciting encounters with nocturnal delights. Just don't expect to see other people. This itinerary is designed to take you to the most untouched and inaccessible parts of Botswana, places where the animal world is completely uninhibited by man or development. The Magdakigadi Pans are your second base, an immense landscape of salt and migratory zebra. Mirages flicker towards the horizon, rare creatures appear from beneath the crust, and the silence is often absolute. Like each destination, the mobile camp ensures maximum comfort in the wilderness. You have hot showers, solar powered lights, a personal chef, and a sumptuous and spacious bedroom with king sized bed, wooden flooring, and stylish touches. As for your private verandah; that would be thousands of square miles of African plains.
A light aircraft catapults you into a third remote world, the lavish waterways of the Okavango Delta your final safari base. Animal life is concentrated here, reveling in the flourishing grass and splashing across blue channels of enchantment. There's perhaps nowhere in Southern Africa with such an abundant collection of big game. Camp above a popular waterhole and predatory scenes accompany your breakfast. Dinner tables are fringed by elephant herds, mokoro boat safaris cruise through hippo pods, and a dazzling collection of unique game seems to inhabit every corner. This isn't merely an escape; it's the discovery of an animal world without boundaries. And while this getaway doesn't come in the form of white sand or tropical retreat, experiencing African wildlife is as equally romantic.
$7195 per person (excluding international flights)
This trip is customizable for your private travel.
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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