Can you imagine the sight and sound of a hundred elephants marching by your Land Rover at close range? In the wilds of Botswana, thatÂ’s not unheard of. In fact, Botswana offers a safari experience evocative of earlier days, when the African wilderness was uncrowded and synonymous with adventure. The private expedition camps make that possible still, situated deep in the bush among buffalo, elephants, zebras, gemsbok, kudu, hartebeest, giraffes, lions, leopards, cheetahs, warthogs, hyenas and hippos. A commitment to small-scale eco-travel is sustaining vast animal populations in Botswana--come discover the wonders!
Day 1: Livingstone, Zambia & Victoria Falls
The marvels of Africa begin on arrival, with a tour of Victoria Falls. Over a mile wide, this is the largest cataract in the world, plunging 320 feet into the Zambezi Gorge. Toka Leya upstream, replete with contemporary elegance, overlooks the Zambezi, where hippos are often seen. This evening, enjoy a sunset safari cruise before dinner.
Days 2-4: Chobe National Park / Linyanti
By road and ferry you reach BotswaÂnaÂ’s Chobe National Park, home to AfricaÂ’s largest elephant herds Â– a population that exceeds 70,000. On your boat cruise down the Chobe RivÂer visitors sometimes see 500 of them in a single day. Water birds abound as well as hippos and crocodiles. Later you depart by light aircraft for the Linyanti Concession. There are few experiences that compare with flying over the African landscape, watching game on the move below. Entering the private reserve of Linyanti, you are in dramatic big-game country. Its tree-dotted plains are home to lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas and packs of wild dogs, all of which you may see on game drives. Elephants sometimes spray themselves with water from the river. You glide through its channels on a canoe trip (hippo conditions permitting), silently observing wildlife in the marshes. As night falls, youÂ’ve never seen so many stars glittering in the black sky.
Days 5-6: Selinda Concession
Travel by safari vehicle to Selinda, the seasonally flooded region in the northeast Okavango Delta. Your canvas-domed tented camp provides a secluded base from which to exÂplore this private reserve on day and night game drives and bush walks. It is an area of exceptional game diversity, and you may see elephant, feline predators and a host of hoofed game on the floodplains. Hammocks beckon for afternoon siestas beneath the shade trees, when the animals are resting, too.
Days 7-8: Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta
Fly to Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, a vast green oasis teeming with life. As the river spreads over the sands of the Kalahari Desert, it creates a labyrinth of channels, lagoons and wetlands, which you explore by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. Watch for lechwe and impala browsing in the grass as well as elephants, giraffes, buffalo and crocodiles. You stay on an island at Xigera, a private adventure camp, for the ultimate delta immersion.
Days 9-10: Kalahari Desert
You fly to Maun, then drive to the Makgadikgadi Pans and NHAÂ’s private expedition camp. These salt pans in the Kalahari are the largest in the world, the bleached remains of an ancient lake. Surprisingly in such a stark environment, life abounds. Hyenas, oryx and springboks are some of the desert-adapted species you may see. Back at camp, you meet meerkats up close.
Day 11: Maun / Home
Depart Botswana, traveling via Maun for flights home or an extension to Namibia or Cape Town.