The seasonal rains transform Botswana's arid plains into verdant pastures carpeted with wild flowers. This abundance of food prompts many species to give birth, a fact not unnoticed by waiting predators...
Migrant birds also arrive in their hundreds, so for the experienced African traveller or specialist photographer, this is a special time to visit. Staying at a range of affordable safari camps in prime wildlife locations around the region’s five major rivers, you will see the awesome, thundering power of the Zambezi at Victoria Falls, the gentle meanderings of the Chobe, Linyanti and Kwara Rivers, the sporadically-flowing Savuti Channel, plus the Okavango Delta’s maze of creeks and channels.
Day1: Depart the UK
Day2: Arrive Livingstone, Zambia, transfer to lodge near Victoria Falls
On arrival at Livingstone International Airport in Zambia, you will be met and transferred to your lodge in the bush overlooking the Zambezi River, close to Victoria Falls – an ideal base for the many activities on offer in the area. The afternoon is free, so you can select from the various options available, such as an elephant-back safari into the bush, a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, or simply relaxing by the pool to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
This morning, take a guided tour of the falls (Zambian side) to see the dramatic majesty of the waters thundering into the gorge. The afternoon is left free so you can enjoy an optional trip, whether a helicopter or microlight flight over the gorge for a birds-eye view of the falls, a game drive or a boat trip.
Day4: Transfer to Kasane, Botswana, fly into Linyanti Swamp
This morning transfer to Kasane across the border in Botswana, where you board a light aircraft for the one-hour flight into the Linyanti area, then transfer to your chosen camp.
Spend the next two days exploring the Linyanti Swamp by mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) and on foot, with great opportunities to see hippo, elephant, lion, and wild dog, and also enjoy some fantastic birding.
Day7: Fly into Kwara Concession
Transfer to the airstrip and take a short flight by light aircraft into the Kwara Concession in Moremi Game Reserve, then transfer to camp. Afternoon activities are based around boat trips on the river to see wildlife and enjoy the sunset, or guided walking safaris.
Over the next two days you can enjoy the stunningly beautiful, unspoilt scenery of Moremi – which is considered to be one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries – by vehicle or on foot. Its 3,000 square kilometres of woodland, floodplain and reedbed include the Okavango Delta, attracting high concentrations of plains game and predators which you can see from the river or on land. Furthermore, as Kwara is a private concession, you can enjoy night drives and venture off-road as you search for wildlife – something that is not permitted in the reserve.
Days10-11: Explore the waterways of the Okavango Delta.
This morning transfer back to the airstrip and fly by light aircraft to your next camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta. During the green season, the Delta offers a veritable frenzy of wildlife with sightings of many different species of mammals, reptiles and birds. You explore the creeks and channels by mokoro.
After a final morning excursion, transfer back to the airstrip for a flight by light aircraft to Nxai Pan National Park and transfer to your camp.
During the green season, gemsbok, elephant and zebra migrate to Nxai Pan National Park and the adjoining Makgadikgadi Pans due to the excellent grazing. Zebra in particular come to bear their young – an event that attracts numerous predators. You also join a nature walk led by San bushman, for an opportunity to track animals from their footprints and learn about the way of life of this ancient people.
Days13-14: Wildlife watching at Nxai Pan National Park
Nxai Pan comes to life in the green season as the landscape is covered with verdant vegetation due to the regenerating rains. You spend the next couple of days seeking out the wildlife that roams these seemingly endless plains. Activities include game drives, a day trip to Baines’ Baobabs and Khama Khama Pan, and star gazing after dark to enjoy the unpolluted skies.
Day15: Fly to Maun & depart
Transfer back to the airstrip and fly by light aircraft to Maun, arriving in time to connect to an overnight international flight to the UK.
Day16: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 16 daysfrom £7,495 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 14 daysfrom £6,295 pp
When to go: Nov-Mar
This 1.6 million hectare wildlife paradise is a vast tapestry of crystal clear water channels, lagoons and small islands, and is known for its concentrations of large wildlife and birds. Outings by boat or on land, at day or night, yields fantastic sightings within the private concessions of exclusive accommodation.
Where: Northern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: hippo, Nile crocodile, red lechwe, sitatunga, tsessebe
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching
Moremi is an unspoilt and stunningly beautiful reserve, considered to be one of Africa’s finest sanctuaries. Its 3,000 sqkm of woodland, floodplain and reedbed includes the waters of the Okavango Delta, attracting high concentrations of plains game and predators which can be viewed by river or on land.
Where: Northern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: Pel’s fishing owl, red lechwe, sitatunga, fire-crowned bishop, scops owl
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris
Located north-east of the Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxai Pan National Park covers the land surrounding a large salt pan that was once part of a great lake. Nowadays, during the green season between October and March, the area attracts large herds of springbok, gemsbok and zebra, alongside lions hunting for prey.
Where: Northeastern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: gemsbok, cheetah, eland, lion, red hartebeest
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
One of Africa’s most important wetland sites, Makgadikgadi is the only area in Southern Africa to witness a migration of tens of thousands of blue wildebeest and Burchell’s zebra when, during the rains, the dry salt pans transform into lakes, attracting vast flocks of flamingos and migratory birds.
Where: Northern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: blue wildebeest, brown hyena, lesser flamingo, gemsbok, Burchell’s zebra
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching
Combining perfectly with a safari in Botswana, Zimbabwe or Namibia as well as Zambia, the Zambian side of the falls was once considered to be the ‘poor cousin’, by comparison with the views of the river and the falls from Zimbabwe. The two countries are linked by a spectacular iron bridge above the raging waters.
Where: Southern Province
Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, hippo, trumpeter hornbill, common waterbuck
Excellent for: River safaris
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Situated in a private concession in the Okavango Delta, Kwara is a luxury camp bordering Moremi Game Reserve. Each of the eight en suite tents is raised on teak decking and guests can spend time on their private balconies watching the animal and birdlife in the hippo-filled lagoon.
At the western end of the vast Kwando Concession in Northern Botswana, Lagoon Camp is set on the shady riverbank among ancient ebony and marula trees and offers an intimate and tranquil atmosphere. Eight luxury safari-style tents overlook the river and the camp has its own resident family of hippo.
Nxai Pan is the only permanent camp situated inside the National Park and is nestled deep in Botswana’s wilderness overlooking the open plains just north of Makagadikgadi. It offers an intimate safari experience as there are only nine rooms, each with a private viewing deck to watch wildlife at the waterhole.
This camp is located on Pom Pom Island in a private wilderness concession at the heart of the Okavango Delta, on the western boundary of Moremi Game Reserve. Accommodation is in nine luxury safari-style tents with views of Pom Pom lagoon, and the camp offers a true Okavango wilderness experience.
This beautiful and unique lodge lies only three kilometres from Victoria Falls, in a lovely quiet setting on a hill bordering Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Its location ensures splendid and unmatched views of the spray of the falls in the distance, as well as being able to savour the sights and sounds of the African bush.