Backroads of Botswana - Overland Trip
1 ½ weeks: to (IMT-GABB)
IntroCombine the fantastic wildlife of Chobe National Park with the stunning scenery of Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls to make this one of the best trips on offer. We travel from Pretoria to Khama Rhino Sanctuary, where we experience our first taste of the African wildlife. There is a chance to learn more about this community based conservation effort through local guides, as well as enjoy an optional night drive which may well be the highlight of your visit. Travelling along the back roads of Botswana we arrive at Okavango Delta, where we explore the most spectacular floodplain in the world using traditional mokoros (dug-out canoes) and on foot. The birdlife is prolific and the sunsets are simply spectacular. Travelling past Makgadikgadi Pan we continue to Chobe National Park and spending a day game viewing in open four-wheel drive vehicles and on boats. We watch large herds of elephant play in the river, hippo relaxing at the water\'s edge, antelope frolicking through the grasslands and, with a bit of luck, lions keeping watch over their territory. To top it all off we finish in Victoria Falls, the adrenalin-filled centre of Africa, where there are a myriad of optional activities available for everyone.
IncludedAn experienced driver, guide and camp cook accompany us on this safari; local specialist guides in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta; all park fees; all camping equipment; 8 nights camping, 1 night lodge; transport in custom built safari vehicle, 4WD and mokoro.
ItinerariesDay 1 - Pretoria/Johannesburg
Today is an arrival day, so you may arrive at any time. The remainder of your day is free to enjoy at leisure before dinner, which is served at our lodge. This spacious lodge is located in a quiet rural area between Pretoria and Johannesburg. We recommend that you exchange some money into South African rand on arrival in Johannesburg as there is no time to visit banks tomorrow. The airport is an ideal place to do this with its abundance of ATMs and money exchange bureaus in the arrivals hall. A transfer from Johannesburg's Oliver Tambo International Airport needs to be pre-booked (at additional cost) and is strongly recommended. There is a pre-departure meeting tonight at 6pm.Day 2 - Khama Rhino Sanctuary
(Driving time: approx 8 hours not including time at border)
Leaving Pretoria early we travel north to Potgietersrus and then continue northwest to the Martins Drift border post. After exiting South Africa we cross the Limpopo River to enter Botswana before continuing on to Khama Rhino Sanctuary at Serowe. Tonight we camp inside the sanctuary at Mokongwo Camp, where each site is set out in the atmospheric shade of large Mokongwa trees. In 1989 a group of Serowe residents conceived the idea of establishing a wildlife reserve near Serowe. One year later the Ngwato Land Board allocated the land around Serwe Pan to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust. Covering approximately 4300 hectares of Kalahari sandveld, the sanctuary is centred around Serowe Pan - a large grass-covered depression with several natural water holes. Serowe Pan provides prime habitat for white rhinoceros and other grazing animals, whilst the dense vegetation in the southern area of the sanctuary is favoured by browsing animals such as giraffe. The sanctuary is home to other wildlife that have either settled here naturally or were relocated. This includes a wide range of plains game, leopard, several varieties of smaller cats and a host of bird species. Best of all the sanctuary is a community trust governed by a board of trustees, who are elected from the local communities of Serowe, Paje and Mabeleapodi. Our visit here helps the local community to maintain this worthwhile project.
(Driving time: approx 4 hours)
This morning we join the early morning Rhino Trail, which is guided by well trained and knowledgeable rangers who are based at the sanctuary. We start walking the trail at 6am and it takes about two hours to complete. Following breakfast there may be time to further explore the sanctuary. The tour then continues to Maun, the safari capital of northern Botswana. We have time to explore the town in the afternoon, as well as stock up on supplies. Tonight we camp just outside Maun, which is our base to prepare for our upcoming Okavango Delta adventure.
No visit to this corner of Africa is complete without exploring the irresistible wilderness around the Okavango River. The third largest river in Africa snakes its way from the Angolan Highlands through Namibia and into Botswana, before spilling out and emptying into the vast sands of the Kalahari Desert. Often described as the river that never finds the sea, the Okavango loses 97% of its water to the great sands before joining the Thamalakane River in the south, near Maun. Arguably the best way to explore the delta is on a mokoro (dug-out canoe) excursion. During our three-day/two-night excursion we explore the area by mokoro and on foot. Laying back in a mokoro and being gently propelled through the tranquil waterways of the Okavango Delta is a magical experience. We spend the nights camping in the wild under the stars of the southern skies, enabling us to experience the full majesty of the area. This excursion is operated through the Okavango Polers Trust, whose aim is to preserve and maintain the traditional lifestyle of the Batswana people who inhabit the delta region. This trust ensures that all members of the community are given the opportunity to become polers, which allows them to earn money through tourism. Poler and guides fees are set by the trust and additional income earned by the trust is used to assist various community projects in the area. On our final morning in the delta we enjoy a last mokoro trip before returning to the polers' station and our vehicle. Leaving the delta we head back to Maun, where we are welcomed by hot showers and cold beers. This afternoon you have the chance to take an optional sunset flight over the Okavango Delta in five-seater planes. This flight is one of the best in Africa and affords stunning views over the delta system and flying at low altitudes allow plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.
For the two nights in the Okavango Delta you need to pack clothing and other personal items into a smaller overnight bag, as space is limited. There will be no access to showers and you will be away from the safari vehicle.
(Driving time: approx 8 hours on Day 7; game drive times variable)
This morning we drive for six to eight hours, travelling from Maun to Kasane and our campsite on the banks of the Chobe River, where we spend our first night in this area. This drive takes us between two large salt pans - the Nxai Pan to our left and the Makgadikgadi Pan to our right. Keep an eye out for wildlife along this road – giraffe, ostrich, zebra and elephant are often sighted roaming freely! Two days in this region gives us ample opportunity to search for many of the fantastic wildlife in the Chobe National Park, with an option to have your second night staying inside the park in a mobile camp. Known throughout the world as Africa’s greatest elephant sanctuary, Chobe is also home to a wide variety of other animals including Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra and many species of antelopes. With the help of a local guide we explore the park in open 4WD vehicles on game drives. We also enjoy a magical morning boat trip along the Chobe River, watching elephant and other animals coming down to drink, before spending our second night at a mobile tented camp inside the National Park.
(Driving time: approx 2½ hours not including time at border)
Today we exit Botswana and cross the border into Zimbabwe. Upon arrival in Vic Falls, we set up camp for one night at our campsite located in Victoria Falls Township. From here your tour leader can assist you in arranging some of the optional activities that are available in the area. There are many to choose from including whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, elephant riding safaris and game drives. In addition there is also time to view the falls themselves and to explore the nearby craft markets, as well as the town. Victoria Falls town is well set-up with many restaurants and bars. No trip to southern Africa is complete without a visit to Victoria Falls and nothing will quite prepare you for this awesome sight. At its peak, it is estimated that five million cubic metres of water passes over the cataracts every minute!
Your trip ends today, after breakfast. You can book additional post-tour accommodation with us to experience more time in this adrenalin-filled town.