Few natural spectacles can rival the Okavango Delta; big cats prowling on evocative floodplains, hippos yawning along lush watery channels, and elephants using their trunks as snorkels. Celebrating the very best of the 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 13-day signature safari is handcrafted for travel from June to September, when the lush waterways provide a dreamy journey through authentic Africa. Expect mokoro canoes, exceptional accommodations, and inspiring wildlife encounters.
Jao Concession – Treehouse Safari Seclusion
Your intimate safari camp is hidden in the trees, built on stilts above Hunda Island in the private Jao Concession. Flooded plains roll out from your viewing deck, the lush colors complementing the greens of the forest. Animals congregate along the shallow banks, just beneath your tented tree house, providing a surreal introduction to authentic Africa. After landing in Maun, you’ll transfer to a light aircraft for a flight to Hunda Island in the west of the Okavango. When the Okavango floods, the camp becomes a dry refuge above the plains. Treehouses with canvas walls to complete your immersion in the wilderness. Your safari experience starts from your viewing deck and continues with a short introductory game drive on the island; many animals are marooned, and there’s a tense battle between the resident leopards and the huge herds of red lechwes.
Jao Concession – A Private Mokoro Journey
Jao Concession really changes with the seasons, the rising water levels transforming the plains into blue lagoons and reed-fringed waterways. It provides a wonderful impression of the Okavango during high water, the animals huddled onto palm islands, or migrating from the Kalahari to enjoy the bounty. Such a pristine environment encourages you to travel slowly and silently. So enter the mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe that’s paddled expertly by your gondolier guide. Circumnavigate the hippo pods, pass hundreds of lechwes taking a drink, admire a zebra skipping in the shallows, and twist through ancient channels in search of the big cats. The morning mokoro safari offers a tranquil journey that celebrates the wonders of the water. This is then complemented by an afternoon game drive around Hunda Island, where you discover the animals that lurk behind the waterline; in particular, Jao Concession has a legendary leopard population.
Shinde Concession – Spectacular Motorboat Safari
For two days, you’ll have been admiring the details; the glint in a lion’s eye, gestures between rival male hippos, baby elephants playfully splashing beneath the camp. Today’s motorboat safari provides a celebration of scale. You cross the floodplains, wind down the waterways, and connect the lagoons. Hippos and elephants are seen in the hundreds, perhaps in the thousands. Buffalo herds and giraffe towers regularly grace the journey. Up to a dozen antelope species are seen along the banks. Your destination is Shinde, a private concession in the center of the Delta. Close to Moremi Game Reserve, this is where the battle between predator and prey is at its magnificent best. After leaving at sunrise, you should arrive in time for lunch, which is followed by a few quiet hours and an afternoon game drive in the concession.
Day 4 - 5
Shinde Concession – The Best of Land and Water-Based Safari
Hiding amongst the open floodplains and permanent water, your tented chalet provides elegant vistas and luxurious accommodation. Despite the proximity to the world-famous Moremi, there’s a real sense of seclusion here. Throughout the day, you can simply sit back and watch a private nature documentary. But that’s only for part of the day, as your camp offers a very rounded collection of safari activities. Create your own safari program with the expert guides, choosing a mix of land and water-based activities to gain an impression of the Delta’s big-game heart. Mokoro and motorboat safaris remain available, complemented by exhilarating game drives across swamps and grasslands. These can continue during the night, providing a rare opportunity to discover the Okavango’s nocturnal world. Walking safaris add further charm, another tranquil means of getting incredibly close to the wildlife.
Shinde Concession is where lions roam, prowling prides beautifully juxtaposed with spirals of the forest. Nomadic herds cross the floodplains, with the water reflecting elephant trunks and buffalo horns. Zebras and wildebeests move en mass, an inspiring sight when you’re drifting off on a private viewing deck. And like every day on this signature safari, none of these animals are seen in isolation. This isn’t an animal tick-list experience, with the guide rushing to take you around as many sights as possible. Go slow, watch redolent scenes play out, and appreciate the interaction between animals. Baboons shout, alerting a herd of kudus to a hiding leopard. The antelope run, setting off a chain reaction of fear, causing a zebra herd to thud their hooves into the mud. With three nights here, you’ll discover how the Okavango world reflects nature at its untouched best.
Vumbura Reserve – Safari Chic in a Legendary Private Reserve
A light aircraft provides a very different impression of scale, especially when the Okavango is flooded. This is a natural phenomenon that’s visible from space, one that dances with enchantment when seen from the air. Today you gaze down onto the endless lagoons, spot elephants as the plane swoops low, and touch down in the iconic Vumbura Reserve. Located in the north of the Delta, this private reserve is where the floodplains meet the woodland, blurring the habitats and attracting a sublime wildlife cast. Most famously, Vumbura is known for the daily battles between lions and buffalos, something you might even see from your decadent suite. You have a private plunge pool overlooking the floodplains, a palatial suite with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and a shower beneath the stars. This is one of Southern Africa’s finest lodges, a kind of safari chic on a landscape with a legendary animal abundance. Like Shinde, the safari program is personally tailored, and a full range of activities is available (note that the density of big cats means that walking safaris are only intermittently available).
Day 7 - 8
Vumbura Reserve – Iconic Big Cat Safari on the Floodplains
Three lionesses rile the herd, dragging out the big buffalo males in an attempt to separate a young calf. It’s more than a game of cat and mouse, because when the entire herd charges, a lion doesn’t stand a chance. On another drive, you watch a pride hunt for zebra, harassing the herd into a frightened gallop that sends a young female straight into a preplanned ambush. Sometimes you watch the scene through the eyes of the hunter, admiring the precision of every movement. From another vantage point, you can appreciate the tension amongst the hunted or the fearful glances shared between individuals. There are two sides to every battle and Vumbura Reserve gives you both.
Safari activities don’t just bring drama. There’s also the cute and enchanting, like the sitatungas hiding themselves in the water, or the horned oryx skirting the edge of the woodland. Birdlife is diverse and abundant, while a collection of primates adds another layer to the experience. Tranquility accompanies every day, the sounds and smells of the wild drifting across the floodplains to your private deck. A safari in Okavango is always an adventure, but in private concessions like Shinde and Vumbura, it’s also an escapist journey that helps your mind and body unwind.
Linyanti Concession – Surrounded by the Elephants of the Chobe Forest
Your final safari stop is on the far northern edge of the Okavango Delta. The flooding hasn’t reached here for many years, but it’s still a destination that celebrates the atmosphere of a spectacular ecosystem. When water comes to the desert, animals migrate to feast on its bounty. Linyanti Concession is on a busy migratory route, with thousands of elephants and antelopes passing through on a weekly basis. After a very short flight north, you settle into your tented camp and start watching the show. Game drives and walking safaris allow you to follow the four-legged nomads, while the camp provides a very traditional safari-under-canvas atmosphere. Although it’s the simplest of the camps used on your safari, it’s exceptionally positioned to maximize the feeling of being in the heart of nature. Just open the curtains, and there’s likely to be something wandering past.
Linyanti Concession – In Search of Wild Dogs
Predators abound in Linyanti. Often elusive leopards and cheetahs are almost always spotted on a 3-day stay. Lions roam freely, and you’ll have lost track of how many prides this safari has provided. A new safari highlight comes in Linyanti’s exceptional wild dog population. Hunting in packs, these animals are becoming one of Africa’s rarest sights. They’re the focus of today’s game drive. Spot resplendent coats drifting in and out of the woodland, follow the echoed calls as the pack sets off on a hunt, and discover another side to a safari in the Okavango. Ten days is just a start; it would take more than ten years to discover everything that’s taking place in this remote wildlife world. And that’s why safari is so special.
Livingstone – Morning Game Drive and Cruising the Chobe River
Leaving the Linyanti Concession, you game drive west, weaving into thick tracts of the Chobe Forest. Elephants are everywhere, trumpeting wildly and blocking the trails with their gargantuan rumps. Chobe is home to the world’s largest elephant population, and some researchers estimate there to be over 100,000; on the game drive, it’s hard to go more than two minutes without seeing another herd bulldozing across the landscape. After a picnic brunch, you arrive at the Chobe River and spend a few hours cruising on a luxury boat. This is a very relaxed way to bring your safari to a close. Sit back, sip on beer or wine, and admire the elephants and hippos that line the banks. After disembarking, you’re transferred across the border to Zambia and your comfortable accommodation on the Zambezi River.
Livingstone – The Wonder of Victoria Falls
June to September bring ancient rainfall to the Okavango. It’s also when the Zambezi River swells to its highest level, turning distant rains into a rumbling mile-wide sheet of falling water. You’ll hear them first, a monotonous growl that becomes deafening as you take the walking trail across from Victoria Falls. Floods of water disappear into the canyon and then return as clouds of spray. Part of the experience is standing on the walkway and allowing the spray to drench you within seconds. It’s a showcase of power, one that reveals exactly why the locals call this “the smoke that thunders.” Spend a relaxed day at Victoria Falls then return to the lodge, where a sunset Zambezi River cruise completes your journey through Southern Africa.
Livingstone – Departure
From the camp, it’s a short ride to Livingstone International Airport and your homebound flight. You’ll have full use of the hotel’s facilities before departure, including a final sumptuous breakfast.
- Explore four private concessions, each offering exceptional big-game safari without any of the peak season Okavango crowds
- Celebrate safari chic with a handpicked collection of Botswana’s finest accommodations, including a treehouse on Hunda Island and luxurious tented camps that immerse you in the wilderness
- Drift along the waterways in a traditional mokoro canoe, passing thousands of animals coming to the banks to drink
- Take a motorboat over the spectacular floodplains, a full-day journey that evokes the inspiring scale of the Okavango Delta
- Game drive across remote islands, where marooned antelopes are chased by a thrilling collection of big cats
- Watch lions battle with buffalos in the iconic Vumbura Reserve; a contest made more exciting by the rising water levels
- Search for the legendary wild dogs of Linyanti Concession, be baffled by the abundance of the Vumbura plains and watch the big cats prowl across Shinde Concession
- Surround yourself with the elephants of the Chobe Forest, then drift through big-game Africa on a Chobe River cruise
- Complete the safari with another remarkable natural wonder, the roaring Victoria Falls that will be heard before being seen
- Tailor the program to your mood with a complete mix of water and land-based safari activities, including rare experiences like nighttime drives and walking safaris
$8,055 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.
Reviews of Zicasso's Referral Service
4.94 stars based on 108 reviews.
Reviewed By Kathy K.
Reviewed By Janet W.
Reviewed By John O.
Reviewed By Candace O.
Reviewed By Randy S.
Reviewed By Sandy H.
Get Weekly Inspiration and Expert Advice on Travel
during the COVID and post-COVID era