Botswana and Namibia is the ultimate southern African safari. A small group of just eight travelers will spend a fortnight crossing a vast tract of AfricaÂ’s prime wildlife regions on a guided tour that evokes the classic safaris of old. Though you stay in remote locales where you see far more big game than people, your deluxe tented camps are the apex of comfort and atmosphere in the bush. There is no Africa itinerary that offers more diversity than this; from the Namib Desert to the waterways of the Okavango Delta, teeming with life, you experience Africa at its most primal and magnetic.
Day 1: Windhoek, Namibia
Upon arrival, transfer to Olive Grove poised above NamibiaÂ’s former colonial capital, which retains its German character. Tonight you meet for an informal welcome dinner.
Days 2-3: Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
Fly to Little Kulala, amid massive gold-orange dunes that rise a thousand feet from the floor of the oldest desert in the world. Amid this arid clime you may find springbok, gemsbok, ostrich, bat-eared fox and aardwolf. Discover the desertÂ’s quiet magic on short walks and game drives, returning to the comfort of your camp for matchless sunsets and stargazing.
Days 4-5: Damaraland / Skeleton Coast
Follow the Skeleton Coast by air, where you may see the remains of shipwrecks on the beach, to the port city of Swakopmund. On a private boat cruise in Walvis Bay youÂ’re likely to see seabirds, Cape fur seals and dolphins. Inland, you come to Damaraland, where stark desert is cooled by early-morning mists from the coast. Explore the austere and rocky terrain on foot and by four-wheel-drive vehicles, tracking the uniquely desert-adapted elephants and watching for ostrich.
Days 6-7: Etosha National Park
Drive to Etosha National Park, an ancient lakebed where perennial springs draw a plethora of game. Your lodge is set on an extensive private reserve with access to NamibiaÂ’s best wildlife viewing. You will take day and night drives and walks, and watch animals up close from hides. A myriad of species reside here, including black and white rhino, elephant, lion, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok and hartebeest.
Days 8-9: Okavango Delta, Botswana
Leaving the dry Namib Desert, you fly to another realm entirely: the OkaÂvango Delta, where the river pours over the sands of the Kalahari in a green maze of canals and lagoons, sustaining a profusion of wildlife. You stay in solitude at Xigera Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve. There is water here year-round, and you glide silently in a mokoro Â– a traditional dugout canoe Â– spying a host of animals and birds on the banks.
Days 10-12: Northeastern Okavango Delta
Today you depart by light aircraft and journey deep inside the Selinda ConÂcession, a huge private reserve on the dry floodplains edging the delta. The remote camps here are only accessible by air, and you stay in old-style luxury beneath spreading shade trees. On game drives and bush walks you look for elephant, buffalo, wild dog, hyena, leopard, lion, cheetah, roan and sable antelope, and large herds of eland.
Days 13-14: Linyanti Concession
A game drive takes you into Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, one of the best game-viewing regions in Botswana. Elephants thrive in the mopane woodlands, especially in winter when they number in the thousands. Your camp, Duma Tau, is built on raised boardwalks overÂlooking a hippo-filled lagoon. Day and night drives may reveal all the large predators as well as impala, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest lechwe, tsessebe and other plains animals.
Day 15: The River Club, Zambia
Fly to Chobe National Park for more of BotswanaÂ’s magnificent big game. Famous for its vast herds of elephants, the park is also home to feline predators and plenty of hoofed beasts. You enjoy lunch aboard a game-viewing boat cruise down the Zambezi River before entering ZamÂbia, en route to the River Club. At this elegant Edwardian-flavored lodge facing the sunset, elephants and hipÂpos often frequent the riverbank.
Day 16: Victoria Falls / Home
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and arguably the most stupendous waterÂfall on the planet. Your epic exploraÂtion comes to a fitting end with a guided tour to the falls, followed by a transfer to the airport.