Botswana Wildlife Camping Safari
Botswana Wildlife Camping Safari, the casual visitor to Botswana could be excused for seeing the country as kilometer upon kilometer of flat, desolate scrubland with little or no surface water but on closer inspection, coupled with local knowledge, a whole brand new world will manifest itself, and then you will experience what is arguably Africa’s finest wildlife destination. It is a country the size of France, and over a quarter of Botswana’s land is set aside exclusively for nature conservation. That is the world you will be walking into.
Our tour will take us through the vast Kalahari plains where we meet with the local Bushmen, among the oldest peoples of Africa. Venture further north, into the magnificent Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland river delta, which spills water from the faraway mountains of Angola into the vast plain of the Makgadikgadi, creating a unique wildlife paradise. We explore the world renowned national parks in fully equipped, open 4×4 vehicles, our route following the age old game migration tracks, depending on the season. We enjoy a game viewing boat cruise on the Chobe River, in Chobe National Park, and finally we visit “The Smoke that Thunders” – Victoria Falls.
Please note: As of 1 January 2020 we will implement a minimum requirement of 4 passengers to confirm a tour departure. Our reservation office will be able to assist with any request or questions.
ROUTE : Johannesburg to Johannesburg
DEPARTURES : Every Saturday
VEHICLE : Custom 17-seater adventure truck
DURATION : 16 Days (2 Nights lodge, 5 Nights canvas, 8 Nights Camping)
- Kalahari – Bushman walk
- Okavango Delta
- Okavango mokoro excursion
- Delta walks
- National Parks (Moremi/Savuti – 5 days)
- Extensive open-vehicle game drives in national parks
- Wild remote serviced camping in national parks
- Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
- Chobe River boat cruise
- Chobe National Park
- Victoria Falls National Park and entry fee
- White water rafting
- Bungee jumping
- Scenic flight – Okavango Delta
- Zambezi River sunset cruise
Excludes single supplement. However, if you are happy to share – no single supplement will apply.
*** Please note that the itinerary may deviate from the one set out, please request itinerary for your selected tour dates
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Day 1: JOHANNESBURG – KALAHARI
Distance: 720 Km
Our adventure starts on departure from the GREENFIRE LODGE JOHANNESBURG, at 06h30. Making our way through the dry thornveld of South Africa’s North West Province, we aim to cross the Botswana border near Lobatse. On completion of customs and immigration formalities, we enter the vast Kalahari plains that stretch as far as the eye can see.
We will cover quite some distance today before arriving at our accommodation, near the village of Kang. Tonight we enjoy a catered meal while our guide explains what to expect in the days to come.
Scenic drive through northwest South Africa, Kalahari Desert
Kalahari Rest - Camping (2 person dome tents)
Lunch and Dinner own expense
Distance: 250 km
Waking up to a spectacular Kalahari sunrise, we enjoy our first cup of coffee and a scrumptious breakfast, before continuing to the frontier town of Ghanzi, home to some of the last authentic Bushmen, who continue to make a living in this harsh desert environment.
We stay on a game farm owned and managed by a local Bushman community. Apart from deriving an income from tourism, the farm provides the space and habitat for the community to teach their children their customary ways, and to keep their traditions alive. Our experience will include an educational bush walk, led by a member of the community, giving us insight into their daily lives, and teaching us how they survive in these arid conditions. Tonight, we camp on the farm, hosted by members of the community.
Guided bush walk led by Bushman
Dqae Qare San Lodge – Camping (2 person dome tents)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - 5: OKAVANGO DELTA
Distance: 390 km on Day 3
The Okavango River, emanating from central Angola, far to the northwest, flows south- and eastwards, before slowing and spreading into one of the world’s only true inland deltas, creating as it does so a unique ecosystem that supports a huge variety of animal and plant life. The sight of a Jacana striding delicately amongst the flowering lilies, the Bee Eater diving to prey on an unsuspecting insect, and of course the familiar cry of the African Fish Eagle – all combine to create the canvas of one of nature’s unique masterpieces. The river, eventually spilling its contents into the vast plains of the Makgadikgadi sands, disappears.
Our comfortable and well appointed camp on the edge of one of the largest lagoons serves as a base from which we explore. We will glide through narrow reed-lined channels by mokoro, walk on uninhabited islands, and picnic in the wilderness, while learning about the animals and plants of the Delta from local guides who have grown up in the area. Through informal interaction with the guides, we will have the opportunity to learn about the local people and their way of life in this isolated wilderness. We will also have time to simply relax and enjoy the views over a glistening lagoon from a beautiful wooden deck, cold drink in hand, go for a walk with our guide, or take a refreshing dip in the pool. One afternoon we enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise on a boat. A helicopter flip, to see the vastness of the Delta from the air, is recommended (own expense).
Okavango Delta, Guided game walks in the Delta led by local Motswana guides, Mokoro excursion in the Delta, Sunset boat trip
Twin Bedded Tented Units (On occasion tours might camp wild in dome tents on islands in the delta)
DAY 3 - 5: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Optional Activities: Scenic helicopter flight over the Delta
Distance: 354 km
Starting early, we begin our journey back to relative civilisation. This afternoon we arrive in the ‘tourism capital of Botswana’ – Maun. We will spend some time stocking up on basic supplies, before travelling the short distance out of town to the DRIFTERS MAUN TENTED LODGE, our stop for the night.
The lodge is situated on the banks of the Boteti River. The land here is so flat that the river is known to change its flow direction, depending upon the season and rainfall patterns. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation, swimming pool, bar and restaurant.
Boteti River Sunset
Drifters Maun Lodge - Twin-bedded tented units
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - 10: FLEXIBLE GAME RESERVE SCHEDULE (5 Days in National Parks)
Distance: +- 125 km Day 7
We enjoy a scrumptious breakfast at the Lodge before departing on the game viewing part of the trip, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour. We travel in well-equipped, open 4×4 Land Cruisers, with our local Motswana guides. The 4x4s aren’t just for show, as the national parks are truly wild places, the roads just track in the sand. We carry only our cameras and day packs, a picnic lunch, and drinks for the road, while a support vehicle goes ahead with our luggage and all the camp equipment. This leaves us free to game drive as much as we want during the day, to stop at hides and water holes as long as we like, and to make the most of our time here. Towards sunset we arrive at our camp in the bush, to find that the support staff has erected our tents, set up bush showers and toilets, and have a friendly campfire going to welcome us. We use exclusive private campsites in the national parks, which are no more than a GPS point in the bush, completely secluded and undeveloped – it is as if we are the first people here and are alone in the world. We bring everything we will need with us and leave nothing behind when we depart.
Our route is flexible and depends on the season. An example could be starting in Moremi Game Reserve, we spend the first night near the well-known Third Bridge. Drift off to sleep to the howl of the distant hyena or the earthy roar of a lion, and even the deep grunt of a half-submerged hippo. We might then head north via Xakanaxa, to camp near North Gate. This area is excellent for game viewing and we will conduct afternoon and morning drives along the wetland areas.
Then we might go on up to Savuti, an area that offers a multitude of game drive options and is a very active game area (keep the fruit well hidden from the roving elephant, the meat from the prowling hyenas, and everything from the monkeys). The vegetation is constantly changing, from open plains with palm trees, to marshland, to dense Mopane woodlands or Acacia scrub. This variety of habitats makes for excellent game viewing.
Our backup crew remain with us throughout, moving the camp for us, so we can concentrate on the game.
Depending on the conditions in the national parks we might also venture into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve or the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
4x4 open vehicle game drives, Private non-fenced campsites, Extensive first-hand game viewing experience, Explore the heart of National Geographic’s photography region
Camping (2 person dome tents)
Day 7 - 10: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: +- 225 km
Our last morning in the parks, we slowly game drive our way back to Maun. We enjoy an own-expense lunch, and have some time to explore the town, before heading out to the comfort of the DRIFTERS MAUN TENTED LODGE. This afternoon we relax at the lodge before enjoying a catered meal and a comfortable night.
Game drive on the way out of the park, Visit to Maun
Drifters Maun Tented Lodge - Twin-bedded tented units
Breakfast, Dinner (Lunch on this day is own expense in Maun)
Optional Activities: Game flight, fixed wing or helicopter
Day 12: MAKGADIKGADI PANS
Distance: 200 – 300 km
After the early mornings of the last few days, we enjoy a relaxed start at the lodge today, spending time along the river bank enjoying the tranquillity of the area, or lounging at the swimming pool. For those interested, we recommend going on a local village walk. Chenoga Village, not far from our lodge, is not on a regular tourist route, so you have the opportunity to explore an authentic village with one of our staff from the lodge, who lives in the village.
We have an early lunch, before continuing our journey eastward into the spectacular Makgadikgadi Salt Pans area. Oceans of golden grass give way to the stark white pans, under a very big sky. We camp the night in splendid isolation. The adventurous can sleep out under the stars and be rewarded with the awesome spectacle of the southern night sky.
In some seasons the pans are not easily accessible, in which case we will camp at a local campsite.
Village walk, Visit to Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Camping on the pans under the stars (weather permitting), Star gazing
Camping (2 person dome tents)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13: CHOBE RIVER – VICTORIA FALLS
Distance: 320 – 400 km
Venturing north today, we make our way to the slow, placid Chobe River, an ideal habitat for hippos and crocodiles, and an attraction to some of the biggest herds of elephant and buffalo on earth. This afternoon we enjoy an extensive boat cruise on the river, within Chobe National Park. Gliding close to the banks, we hope to silently approach the animals that come down to the river to drink. Back on land, we cross the border into Zimbabwe and make our way to our accommodation for the next two nights. The lodge is centrally situated and within walking distance of the falls and other attractions.
Chobe National Park, Extensive boat cruise on the Chobe River
Vic Falls Accommodation
Breakfast, Lunch, (Dinner own expense)
Distance: (Free day to explore town or do some activities)
Awaking in the adventure capital of Africa, it is with new excitement that we explore the amazing Victoria Falls, known to the locals as “Mosi-oa-Tunya “, meaning “The smoke that thunders”. This is the place where, according to ancient traditions, the Zambezi River God “Nyami Nyami”, who takes the form of a snake spirit, is in hiding. Your entry fee to the falls is included in the tour price, and you are free to spend as much time as you like viewing the falls and exploring the surrounding rain forest.
Various other attractions can be visited, and activities enjoyed, including the tribal village or curio market. Victoria Falls is also home to a multitude of adventure activities, such as an aircraft flip over the falls, a boat trip on the Zambezi River, white water rafting or bungee jumping, but allowance must be made for the extra expense of these optional activities.
We spend two nights here, thus allowing you some time to explore the town and all it has to offer, with the freedom to choose the sights and activities that interest you. Tonight, we will eat out at a local restaurant (own expense). Relax to the sound of the African night and the distant roar of the falls and drink the farewell toasts to your adventure.
Victoria Falls National Park &Entry fee for viewing the falls
Vic Falls Accommodation
Breakfast (Lunch, Dinner at own expense)
Optional Activities: Scenic helicopter flight, White water rafting, Bungee jump, Gorge swing, Many more available
Day 15: VICTORIA FALLS – FRANCISTOWN
Distance: 568 km
The guests flying out on the 15-day tour will do so today, the rest will set off to cross back into Botswana and continue south toward Francistown, home of the national football team. Tonight we spend our last night in our tents, enjoying the African night and celebrating our adventure with our last tour meal.
Last opportunity to view game on route to Francistown, Scenic drive from Zimbabwe to Botswana
Woodlands – Camping (2 person dome tents)
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16: FRANCISTOWN – JOHANNESBURG
Crossing the Limpopo River, we return to South Africa and make our way to the GREENFIRE LODGE JOHANNESBURG, where we arrive in the early evening. Post-tour accommodation and airport transfers can be booked through us
Scenic drive from Botswana to South Africa
Breakfast (Lunch & Dinner at own expense)