We meet you on arrival at Maun Airport, Botswana and assist you on to your scheduled flight. You will be met by your guide on arrival at Xakanaxa airstrip. Your first three nights will be spent camping in the Xakanaxa region and exploring the surrounding wilderness on game drives during the day. On the open plains large herds of Buffalo and Lechwe can be seen and in the waterways rafts of Hippopotami are a common sight.
The Moremi Game Reserve is all about searching for big game; where the habitats are as diverse as the wildlife itself. Water-adapted antelopes and wary-eyed buffaloes spill out into floodplains, behind towering woodlands where leopards hide on the high branches. Dead trees cast silhouettes over elephant-filled savannas a stone’s throw from papyrus-fringed channels stretching out to the delta beyond.
When you arrive in the Moremi Game Reserve, it’s anyone’s guess what you’ll find lurking in the long grass. From wild dogs stalking waterbucks to long sunsets by a hippo-filled lagoon, the scenes will live on in memory long after the journey home.
Kick up sharp smelling clouds of dust on a morning drive, disturbing pockets of warm air in the reeds as you splash through water crossings in pursuit of a distant lion’s call. Pause by the edge of large lagoons, squinting to catch mischief making hyenas as they emerge from the trees to drink.
When you tire of game drives, discover the channels by boat while Squacco herons fly alongside you into the wind. Watch a lazy sunset with the blue-cheeked bee eaters before returning to dry land for more hardcore bush exploration.
As Moremi Game Reserve is bound by national park rules, activities here are limited to game drives during hours of daylight with no off-roading, and boat cruises on the permanent channels.
While most of the reserve is open to the public, two private lodges sit in the Mombo Concession to the north of Chief’s Island, surrounded by the waters of the Okavango Delta. Boating isn’t possible here, instead the area offer the ultimate in dry-land game viewing. Hailed as Botswana’s predator capital, this exclusive corner is closed to outsiders and home to the big five, where the invitee list fills up years in advance.
Today we drive north 3-4 hours from Moremi to Khwai. Looking at a map of Botswana, you’d miss Khwai completely if you didn’t know it was there. Wedged between the big-ticket attractions of Chobe National Park to the east and Moremi Game Reserve to the south, Khwai exists as a significant big game destination of its own.
Lying on the eastern fringes of the Okavango Delta with a rich wildlife population and no borders drawn around it on the map, Khwai is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours, though in the winter months it can hold its own for the quality of big game viewing.
The Khwai River forms a boundary between the reserve and the community area. We spend three nights camping at an exclusive campsite in the community area, exploring the Khwai floodplains on game drives both during the day and at night. Night drives offer you an opportunity to find nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day.
We will also have the opportunity to explore the surrounding wilderness on foot. Night drives and guided walks are conducted outside the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Khwai community area. Activities include day and night game drive, walking safaris (conditions permitting).
As Khwai lies outside the parks, it offers the freedom and flexibility normally only possible with the heavier price tag of a private concession. Go off-road for a closer look at sightings, night drive in search of nocturnal species, and, with a little advance planning, head out on game walks to track wildlife on foot.
Khwai is also home to a village community where people live side by side with the resident wildlife. Some camps will offer village visits for a dose of cultural insight to go with your safari. For those not visiting the water camps of the delta, many camps in Khwai offer the chance to get out on a mokoro (traditional canoe), although excursions are less traditional in nature, skirting the riverbanks, rather than open delta floodplains.
After breakfast, we transfer to our airstrip for a scheduled flight to Selinda.
The Selinda Spillway is a safari addict’s bush nirvana. One of the most remote and exclusive pockets of Botswana, this pristine wilderness is what great game viewing and wildlife documentaries are made of.
Only private concessions are on offer here, where the rules are flexible and the crowds can’t go. The Selinda Spillway is not just for ticking off the big game; it also has a knack for delivering lesser-spotted bucket list items, whether it’s a rare bush pig or that long-searched-for wild dog.
Very few camps operate in the Selinda Spillway. Each offers different habitats and landscapes with one common theme: a strong track record for game viewing during Botswana’s drier winter months.
Together with the Chobe Riverfront, the Linyanti homes the highest density of African elephants in the world. Many camps also offer seasonally dependent water-based experiences, be it on a spillway, river, lagoon or channel to break up the game drive routine.
Here, you can follow the big game off-road, whether in a white-knuckled pursuit of a lioness chasing buffaloes, or during a quiet crawl off-track to see wild dog puppies emerging from their den for the first time.
Possibilities exist for exploring the bush on foot for adrenaline-pumping game approaches, and many camps offer game viewing hides for a more relaxed approach to wildlife sightings, or even overnight sleep outs.
After breakfast we transfer by air to Kasane Airport, and then drive to Livingstone in Zambia.
One of the original natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls is a World Heritage Site and an extremely popular tourism attraction. Known locally as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ this spectacle is accessible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe and it is an ideal place to combine game viewing and water sports. There is excellent fishing, a terrifying bungee jump and arguably the best commercial white water rafting in the world. You ccan enjoy any one of the numerous activities available in or around the falls, which we will decide together at the time you book your safari.
In the early evening a sunset cruise is in order as we reflect on the thrills of the first full day of this adventure tour.
Today we transfer to Livingstone Airport for our onward travel arrangements.
Letaka Safaris mobile camps were made famous in Nat Geo Wild’s “Safari Brothers” series, and feature fully-serviced and staffed camps with walk-in tents, real beds, private en-suite bathroom facilities and fine bush dining.
Each of the camp tents contain twin beds with sewn in floors. Each tent has its own enclosed bucket shower and bathroom facility behind it, with a sit down toilet and bush shower drawn to order. The tents are set apart from the open sided dining tent where you can sit and eat your evening dinner, and afterwards sit a while around the blazing fire with a drink before settling down for the night. The camp is full serviced, with no participation required from guests. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy being in the hands of renowned Botswana experts.
Daily schedules are flexible, and depend on local conditions. There is always so much happening in the Delta, however, that your day is sure to have you babbling about the highlights around the evening campfire. You go out with your guides on game drives and boat cruises. (Some of these activities are seasonal.) No special training is required for the walking safaris and the emphasis is on interpretive exploration and discovery; you will feel as though you are some of the first explorers in Africa as you explore this vast wilderness.
Waterberry Lodge is situated on a quiet bend of the Zambezi River, about 35 minutes from Livingstone, Zambia
Waterberry is a quiet, friendly, informal lodge, set on the edge of the river. Its distance away from Livingstone means that you are away from the hustle and bustle of the town, but within easy reach of the Falls. The lodge is comprised of seven thatched cottages, some overlooking the river, and some overlooking a private lake. Each room has its own private terrace for you to while away your time in privacy and comfort. Guest can also wander the extensive manicured gardens or lounge by the pool.
Waterberry Lodge is the perfect base from which to explore the majestic Victoria Falls, one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. A Canopy Tour at the Falls will provide you with all the exhilaration you need, constituting four different adrenaline inducing activities. Other adventures that guests will have trouble staying away from are a microlight or helicopter flight over the Falls, white water rafting, and a Zambezi River cruise.
Selinda Explorers Camp consists of just 4 custom-designed tents located on a remote stretch of the Selinda Spillway within the private 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve.
On arrival guests are always amazed at this incredible little camp – it certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Located under a stand of jackalberry and mangosteen trees, the tents hark bag to a bygone age of gentleman explorers, but with none of the associated hardships. Bathroom facilities include flush toilets and open air showers, and on request you can even have a bath drawn for you on the edge of the Selinda Spillway for a wild bath under the stars.
Mega herbivores, big cats, plains game, the small five, the ugly five, they’re all here. Selinda is a highlight in a country which in itself is a wildlife highlight. The Reserve is special because the emphasis here is very much on walking. A safari on foot with a trusted and guide is quite unlike any other. The sights, sounds and smells are completely different to that experienced in a vehicle. One truly becomes one with one’s surroundings in Selinda.