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Gail’s 17 Day Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari

Gail’s 17 Day Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari

17 Days

1 Night in Johannesburg | 3 Nights at Victoria Falls | 2 Nights on the Chobe River in Chobe National Park | 2 Nights in Savute | 3 Nights in the Okavango Delta | 3 Nights in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park / Boteti River | 2 Nights in Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Tour Consultant's Overview

Gene and Mike contacted me by email early in 2020 for a trip later that year.  This was put on hold for a year due to the Covid 19 pandemic and we were delighted to make it happen for them in 2021! Having waited for a year to embark on this fabulous trip, they were so happy to finally be able to experience a wonderful safari.  It was so lovely to work with both Gene and Mike throughout the process and to finally make it happen after the delays. We look forward to helping them on their next visit – once bitten by the Africa bug, you just HAVE to return.

Susan Pattison-Wait

Tour Highlights

  • Chobe National Park
  • Okavango Delta
  • Victoria Falls
  • Kalahari
  • Safari

Itinerary

On arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, you will be met by your driver and guide and transferred to your hotel in the heart of Sandton.

Once brash and raw, like most frontier towns, Johannesburg has over the years transformed itself into a sleek, modern city without sacrificing any of its high energy or historic past.

Gracious old colonial buildings like the Rand Club, original post offices, old police stations, historical hotels, farmhouses and shops rub shoulders with the Carlton Centre (still Africa’s tallest building at 50 storeys), glitzy shopping malls, five-star hotels, major highways, classy restaurants, award-winning museums, art galleries, lovely parks and newer historical landmarks

This morning after a leisurely breakfast, you are transferred to OR Tambo International Airport for your flight to Victoria Falls. Upon arrival in Victoria Falls, you will be met and transferred by road to your accommodation just outside the town.

Day 03 :

Day 04 :

This morning after an early breakfast, you will be collected by your driver and transferred by road to the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana. Once you have crossed the border (your driver/guide will assist you), you will meet up with your Botswana driver from the same company who will transfer you by road to Kasane and the Namibian immigration office on the banks of the Chobe River in Kasane. Once through immigration, you will step onto your boat shuttle to take you up river to your lodge (your lodge is on the Namibian side of the Chobe River).

Day 06 :
Chobe

Chobe National Park on Botswana’s north west border is a pristine wilderness of open plains, baobab trees, ancient woodland, swamps and flood plains and is home to the greatest concentration of game in the entire southern African subcontinent. One of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe River forms the Park’s northern boundary. The Chobe riverfront area is most famous for its large herds of elephants and buffalo, which come down to the river in huge herds to drink during the dry winter months. During this season, one may see hundreds of elephants at one time. Other species include waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys and baboons, along with the accompanying predators lion, leopard, hyena and jackal. Over 460 bird species have been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird Safaris. A highlight of Chobe is taking a river cruise, which allows you to get up close with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds. You also get really close to animals that come down to the river.

This morning after your morning game drive and brunch, you will be transferred by boat and road to Kasane airport where you will meet your pilot who will fly you by light aircraft to your lodge in the Savute section of Chobe National Park.

Stretching from the Linyanti River all the way to Savute Marsh, the winding waterways of the Savute Channel have pumped life into the western section of Chobe National Park for many thousands of generations.
However, this fickle and unpredictable channel, which has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up, independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere, has mystified local inhabitants, geologists and others for many years.
The Savuti area offers great game viewing at certain times of the year. The annual Zebra migration is closely followed by many Lion prides. Good sightings of Cheetah and Leopard are possible and the endangered Wild Dog also occurs here. Savuti is famous for its large concentrations of Elephants that congregate around the waterholes, making game-viewing exceptional.
Birdlife is also amazing, with Secretary Birds and Kori Bustards often seen around the Savuti Marsh. Summer migrants and water birds include Abdim’s Storks, Carmine Bee-eaters, Fish Eagles. Red-billed Queleas, which gather in their thousands, are a spectacular sight as they wheel and turn in unison.

This morning after your game activity and breakfast, you will be driven to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Maun and onwards to your lodge in the Okavango Delta.

Located in northern Botswana, the Okavango River is a unique natural phenomenon – flowing more than 1 000 km (620 miles) from its source in Angola, this river disappears beneath the sands of Botswana, creating a lush inland delta in the midst of this otherwise arid country.
The Okavango Delta is in a constant state of flux, expanding and contracting according to the rainy season. While some parts of the Delta remain permanently flooded, others only experience high water levels from May to September, when rainwaters from Angola reach the outer stretches of the Okavango.
Renowned for its abundant wildlife, the Okavango Delta and the areas surrounding Okuti are home to a large number of species, including many predators, as well as a number of species adapted to the semi-aquatic lifestyle, such as the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga. Lion prides, cheetah, leopard and African wild dog may be encountered, while families of hippo hide in the deeper channels and lagoons. The area supports the continent’s largest surviving concentration of elephant and buffalo, while roan and sable antelope roam the open woodlands.

Day 11 :

This morning after your game activity and breakfast, you will be flown by helicopter to Maun airport where you will meet up with your pilot for your light aircraft flight to your lodge on the western side of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a salt pan– with an area of 3 900 sq. kms is situated in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi. Lying southeast of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert, Makgadikgadi is technically not a single pan but many pans with sandy desert in between, the largest being the Sua (Sowa), Nwetwe and Nxai Pans. Your lodge is on the western border of the pans – near to Nxai Pan.
The pans themselves are salty desert whose only plant life is a thin layer of blue-green algae and Very little wildlife can exist here during the harsh dry season of strong hot winds and only salt water, but following a rain the pan becomes an important habitat for migrating animals including wildebeest and one of Africa’s biggest zebra populations, and the large predators that prey on them. The wet season also brings migratory birds such as ducks, geese and Great White Pelicans.

Day 14 :

This morning after your game activity and breakfast, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Maun. On arrival you will be met by your pilot for your light aircraft flight to your lodge in the Central Kalahari. You will be met off of your flight and transferred through to your lodge.

The Central Kalahari game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land; their brilliance and immediacy are totally arresting.
The park contains wildlife such as, bush elephant, white rhino, cape buffalo, spotted hyena, brown hyena, honey
badger, meerkat, yellow mongoose, warthog, South African cheetah, caracal, Cape wild dog, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, cape fox, African leopard, Kalahari lion, blue wildebeest, plains zebra, common eland, sable antelope, gemsbok, springbok, steenbok, impala, greater kudu, aardvark, cape ground squirrel, cape hare, cape porcupine, chacma baboon, red hartebeest and ostrich. The land is mostly flat, and gently undulating covered with bush and grasses covering the sand dunes, and areas of larger trees. Many of the river valleys are fossilized with salt pans. Four fossilized rivers meander through the reserve including Deception Valley which began to form around 16,000 years ago.

This morning after your morning game drive and brunch, you will be flown by light aircraft to Maun Airport to connect with your flight to Johannesburg and your international flight home

Trip Accommodation

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton

Established in 1949, the Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton is a privately owned Premier hotel, set in the heart of the trendy suburb of Sandton.
This stylish 330-bedroomed property has 2 private gardens and 2 swimming pools, lending a distinctive atmosphere of luxurious tranquility to the hotel. Each of the rooms is tastefully furnished to portray the ultimate in comfort and style.
There is an in-house restaurant, a coffee shop and a cigar bar. Each room is air-conditioned and tastefully furnished in a classic, comfortable style with its own en-suite bathroom.

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Set high on a natural plateau, the westward facing Victoria Falls Safari Lodge borders the Zambezi National Park & is just 4 km from the thundering Victoria Falls. Enjoy uninterrupted views of spectacular African sunsets and the on-site waterhole, frequented by buffalo, elephant, warthog, various antelope and an endless stream of colourful African birds.
The rooms at the lodge all have private decks and views of the waterhole or surrounding bush. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has two restaurants. The award-winning MaKuwa-Kuwa is a split-level open-air à la carte restaurant with impeccable service, mouth-watering meals, a wide selection of fine South African wines and incredible views of the waterhole. The Boma is an outdoor fireside restaurant specialising in a superb selection of traditional Zimbabwean dishes and is renowned for its warthog fillet. Sample local delicacies such as Mopani worms and venison stews, as well as more conventional Western fare, and then enjoy an evening filled with entertainment from Amakwezi traditional dancers to a local story teller and a fortune teller, followed by a drumming extravaganza. The open-plan Buffalo Bar has its own game-viewing platform overlooking the waterhole. Each day at 1 pm the Buffalo Bar offers a free vulture feeding display. Meat is put out just below the decks of the bar and hotel and you can witness the incredible spectacle of hundreds of vultures and other birds of prey descending on this free picnic while you sit and enjoy your own lunch or drink. There is a swimming pool and sun deck.
A complimentary shuttle service transports guests to the Victoria Falls and town centre on an hourly basis throughout the day.

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Chobe Savanna Lodge

Situated in the Eastern Caprivi, Zambezi Province of Namibia, a narrow strip of country on the northern bank of the Chobe River, Chobe Savanna Lodge overlooks the vast floodplains of the Chobe National Park’s Puku Flats. The Chobe River is home to large herds of Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo, as well as dense concentrations of other wildlife – including the rare Puku antelope – which come down to the river’s edge to drink and graze. Chobe Savanna Lodge is set in a classic African Savanna environment of sweeping vistas. The focal point of the lodge is a thatched, open-sided main building that features a 270 degree view over the Chobe River and beyond to the Chobe National Park.
Attractive gardens featuring a secluded swimming pool further enhance the lodge’s enviable location. In addition to the scheduled game-viewing activities, Chobe Savanna Lodge is also a perfect venue for guests to simply take time out to watch the natural world go by in one of the most spectacular settings imaginable.

Savute Safari Lodge

To ensure a private and relaxing environment, Savute Safari Lodge accommodates just twenty four guests in eleven thatched chalets built of local timber. The chalets, which have been elegantly furnished in calm neutral tones to blend with the natural environment, feature expansive private decks, a combined bedroom and lounge area and en suite facilities.
Sink into one of the numerous comfortable leather, wood or wicker sofas in the lounge – and library – or sip a cocktail in the stylish bar. All these facilities are situated in a beautiful two-story thatch-and-timber main building. Savute Safari Lodge offers a shaded viewing deck, an al fresco dining area and swimming pool with spectacular pool loungers – ideal for watching the varied wildlife – including the resident Elephants – as they make their way to the Channel to drink, bathe and play.

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Camp Maru

Located on a secluded concession in the southern region of the Okavango Delta, Camp Maru is situated on a permanent water channel, bordering the Moremi Game Reserve. This concession offers an exciting, game-rich safari experience with year-round game drives and water activities.
The design of Camp Maru is a deliberate return to the authentic safari camps of days gone by and, with just 6 luxurious tents, it offers one of the most intimate and exclusive safari experiences available in the Delta. The Camp is shaded by a grove of giant Leadwood trees on the edge of an expansive lagoon, filled with grunting hippos and fringed with waving papyrus. This permanent water source attracts many animals and birds, both great and small. The main guest areas include an open-air dining tent, a comfortable lounge area known as the “Map Room”, a congenial bar area, and a fire pit – all with views over the lagoon. The unique multi-layered design of the tented bedrooms means that the inside temperature is several degrees cooler than the outside temperature. The bedrooms offer a choice of twin or king-sized extra-length beds with mosquito nets, uniquely stylish safari furniture and a private veranda. The en-suite open-air bathrooms offer hot water showers and flush toilets. Camp Maru provides a wide variety of activities: game drives, guided bush walks and mokoro trips.

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Leroo La Tau

Leroo La Tau is situated on the western bank of the Boteti River, northwest of Khumaga Village and about 140 kilometres southeast of Maun. The eastern bank of the Boteti forms the boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, which stretches away from the riverbank towards its interior of scrubland and mineral-rich grasslands.
The lodge features twelve luxurious thatched and glass-fronted suites with en-suite bathrooms, each unit raised on a wooden platform. The main lounge and dining area, with its inviting wooden and thatch finish, allows you to relax at the bar while listening to the wide variety of night sounds so characteristic of the African bush. Alternatively you can lounge around the swimming pool or enjoy the panoramic river vista from the game-viewing hide built into the bank of the river.

INCLUDED IN PRICE: Dinaka Lodge

An exclusive private reserve hugging the northern edge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Dinaka is host to one of the most unique bio-diversities in Southern Africa. This ever-changing desert landscape gives refuge to the Kalahari lion, springbok, Oryx and brown hyena. The camp itself was acquired in 2017 and provides the perfect start or finish to any discerning travellers Botswana safari.
Guests are accommodated in seven spacious twin and double-bedded safari tents, each en-suite bathroom has an indoor and outdoor shower, hot and cold running water and flush toilet. Dinaka’s tents are well spaced and raised up on wooden decks giving the perfect vantage point over a permanent water hole.

Suggested Experiences

SUGGESTED Sunset Cruise on the Ra-lkane

The Ra-Ikane is a small luxury cruise boat that is out-fitted to suggest, in exquisite detail, an ambiance of a bygone era. This cruise boat is exclusive (14 guests only) and personalised – period decor, historic memorabilia, fine cuisine and refreshments offer a level of comfort and grace unsurpassed on the Zambezi. As afternoon fades into twilight, animals come down to the river to drink as you go by.

SUGGESTED Guided View of The Victoria Falls Tour

This morning a tour guide will collect you from your Homestead and take you on a guided tour of the Victoria Falls. As you approach the Falls and hear the water pounding and witness the vapour rising, you quickly understand why local tribesman called the Falls “Mosi-oa-Tunya” (the smoke that thunders).
This vapour has the effect of adding moisture in the form of humidity to the air in the “splash zone”, so that a unique, small rainforest ecosystem clings to the edge of the Falls, providing a toehold for no less than 70 shrub and 150 herbaceous species, as well as trees such as pod and Natal mahogany, ebony, Cape and strangler fig and Transvaal red milkwood.
There are two National Parks in the vicinity: the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe and the Mosi-oa-Tunya Zoological Park in Zambia, which means that herds of big game such as elephant and buffalo, as well as smaller species and even predators such as lion persist in the area

SUGGESTED Other Suggested Activities at Victoria Falls

– Canoeing
– Flight of Angels Helicopter Flip over the Falls
– White Water Rafting
– Jet Boat Extreme
– Rhino walking safari

INCLUDED IN PRICE Daily Safari Activities at Chobe Savanna Lodge

Chobe Savanna Lodge is a unique water-based camp, taking you to places not many visitors will ever see. The boat excursions offer to take guests up the river to remote places where few, if any, other operators visit. From the water you will get an entirely new perspective on the abundance of wildlife: river excursions in small, easily maneuverable boats are ideal for close encounters with wildlife visiting the river’s edge. The camp also offers exhilarating nature walks, fishing and birding. An excursion to a nearby Caprivian fishing village can also be arranged.
Your typical day will be: Wake up to the birds and a light breakfast after which you will leave for your morning wildlife activity. When you come back, an extensive homemade brunch awaits you, followed by a well-deserved siesta. Before you head out for the afternoon activity, tea/coffee and pastries are served. Arriving back at the lodge, it is time for a drink at sunset and dinner under a star-studded sky.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Daily safari activities in Savute

Activities at Savute Safari Lodge are centred around game drives throughout the Savute area in open 4×4 safari vehicles. Many trips will incorporate a visit to the famous Savute Marsh for your chance to see the historic presence of the Savute Channel at the marsh against a teeming backdrop of wildlife.
Guests can also enjoy a visit to the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills, a small hilly outcrop which forms a remarkable landmark in the otherwise flat landscape.
Savute lays claim to a spectacularly large summer zebra migration, which is determined by the rains but usually occurs between November and December and again between February and April when the zebras move from the rivers in the north in search of the lush grasslands and full waterholes in the southeast of the park. They are always accompanied by a myriad of predators.
Your daily routine is usually as follows: after an early morning wakeup call, a light continental breakfast is served in the dining room before leaving for your morning activity (approximately 3-4 hours). On return brunch is served at the shaded dining deck and then it is time to relax until afternoon tea is served. After tea you will depart for your afternoon activity (approximately 3 hours). You arrive back at the lodge after your game drive and enjoy a sumptuous dinner served at the dining deck.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Daily Safari Programme in the Okavango Delta

Camp Maru is in a particularly game-rich part of the Okavango Delta. The incredibly diverse habitat, which includes mopane woodland, acacia trees, savannah, floodplains, permanent channels and tiny islands, supports a wide variety of species and a dense concentration of animals, making for spectacular game viewing. The birding around Camp Maru is varied and exceptional all year round.
A variety of safari activities take place in the early morning and late afternoon as this is when animals are at their most active. Game drives led by expert guides in open 4×4 vehicles bring you face to face with a multitude of species. On thrilling night drives under the vast African sky, you search for elusive aardvark, black-backed jackal, genet cats, and the curious spring hare.
Guided walking safaris let you see this African wonderland from a different perspective. Silently glide along the papyrus-clad waterways on traditional ‘mokoro’ canoes, propelled by skilled ‘poler’ guides.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Daily Safari Programme in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park / Boteti River

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, one of Botswana’s most diverse national parks, also offers sanctuary to the second largest zebra migration in the world during the dry season when the water dries up in the salt pans, they migrate to the Boteti River.
The lodge offers guided day and night game drives. Depending on the water level, boat activities are also provided. Optional cultural excursions can be arranged to Khumaga Village, as can guided nature walks in the area surrounding the lodge.
Leroo La Tau translates as ‘lion’s paw’ but, although the surrounding area features abundant Lion, Zebra and Wildebeest, it also boasts Chobe Bushbuck, Leopard, Cheetah, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Impala, Kudu, Jackal, Porcupine, Genet and Caracal, to name but a few. Birding is also spectacular, from the rare wattled crane, to saddle billed storks, and a variety of vultures and other birds.
For 3 nights stays, day trips to Nxai pan and Baines Baobabs can be arranged.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Daily Safari Programme at Dinaka

Situated alongside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the focus of activities at Dinaka is exploring the Kalahari experience with wildlife ranging from giraffe to the antelope, small mammals like the honey badger, bat eared fox and porcupine to predators including the Kalahari lion, cheetah, leopard and brown hyena. Activities include morning and afternoon game drives in open safari vehicles, with afternoon game drives often continuing into the evening. Our window seat guarantee ensures no more than four guests per vehicle when out on game drives. Alternatively, you may get more up close and personal with nature on foot with guided bush walks. Birding is particularly spectacular as Dinaka hosts over 200 different bird species including the Kori Bustard and Crimson Breasted Shrike and a high concentration of Pale Chanting Goshawks.
Dinaka, meaning “horns”, is a private reserve located on the northern boundary of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The reserve offers guided walks in addition to day and night game drives. Year-round water holes result in spectacular photographic opportunities either from the vehicle, on foot or one of several hides/bunkers. The perfect contrast to a stay in the Okavango Delta, with an added hidden treasure!

Gene and Mike T, USA ,19th October 2021

What a WONDERFUL trip this was.  After 2020 being out of the question for travel, we set our sights on travelling in 2021 and what a trip it was.  You cannot go wrong with a safari in Botswana – I don’t think it can be beaten.  On the Chobe River, in Savute and then the wildlife in the Delta – the rest was just icing on the cake. We will definitely be back in Africa – perhaps East Africa for our next safari adventure before heading back to Botswana in a few years time.  We will be contacting Pembury for both – that’s for sure! Thank you so much Gail and Pembury Tours in putting this wonderful safari together – we could not have done it without you.  Knowing you were there every step of the way and in contact at all times, really did put our minds at rest.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Gail’s 17 Day Victoria Falls & Botswana Safari

Cost Per Person Sharing

When this tour took place, the cost per person sharing was: $13109

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Moria Rauch
Moria Rauch
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+27 41 581 2581 [email protected] I run Pembury’s transfer department. I have to ensure that all road transfers are booked on our system and that they correlate to flight times etc. It’s critical that clients booked on road transfers are...
Kerryn Ross
Kerryn Ross
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+27 82 511 3922 [email protected] I grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape of South Africa where from a young age we hosted many international guests in our family run lodge and this is where I began my...
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