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Gail’s Completely Breathtaking Botswana Experience

Gail’s Completely Breathtaking Botswana Experience

14 Days

Botswana Experience – 2 nights Chobe | 2 nights Savuti | 3 nights Okavango Delta | 3 nights Makgadikgadi Salt Pans | 2 nights Central Kalahari | 1 night Johannesburg

Overview

Ute contacted me in November 2018.  They were wanting to get a great Safari experience in Botswana – the Okavango Delta in particular.  They were really open to experiencing an African Safari through game drives, walking safaris, canoeing and anything else that would bring them close to nature.   We pushed the boundaries of the “normal” African Safari and tried something a little different to what most travellers do.  For their Chobe section, I chose a lodge that is on an island and that only does water tours before heading to Savute for excellent game viewing and then onto the Delta.  After this, they flew across to the Makgadikgadi Pans before ending off in the wide open spaces of the Central Kalahari, home to the San People.  This is an area that begs to be experienced, not just simply visited, and Ute and Jim did just that – and they absolutely loved it.   I had such a great time putting this trip together for Ute and Jim and I am so happy that they had such an incredible time.  I am already putting together their itinerary for their return visit next year.

Trip Highlights

  • Chobe Game Reserve
  • Okavango Delta
  • Central Kalahari National Park
  • Ultimate Botswana
  • Savuti National Park
  • Water Based Safaris
  • Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
  • Big Five Game Viewing & Birding

Itinerary

On arrival at Kasane, you will be met and transferred to Namibian immigration 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.

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 game activity and breakfast, you will be driven to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to your lodge in the Savuti National Park.

Stretching from the Linyanti River all the way to Savuti Marsh, the winding waterways of the Savuti 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 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 rain waters 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.

This morning after your game activity and breakfast, you will be driven to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to your lodge near the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve.

The Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, a salt pan with an area of 3 900 square kilometres 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.

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. The pan is home of one of only two breeding populations of Greater Flamingos in southern Africa, and only on the Soa pan, which is part of the Makgadikgadi pans.

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.

Day 11-13 :
Central Kalahari

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 activity and brunch, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your light aircraft flight to Maun where you will meet up with your regional flight to Johannesburg. You will stay one night near to the Airport.

The morning in at leisure until you board your flight home from OR Tambo International and bid farewell to Africa.

Chobe Game Reserve: 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.

Savuti National Park: Savute Safari Lodge

Savute Safari Lodge accommodates just twenty-four guests in elven thatched chalets built of local timber and one family room which consists of two double bedrooms. 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.

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.

Okavango Delta: Camp Okavango

Camp Okavango, an enchanting and authentic African safari lodge situated on the remote Nxaragha Island at the heart of the permanent Okavango Delta, assures an unparalleled year-round water wilderness experience. Camp Okavango’s traditional thatch and lethaka (reed) main lodge features a cocktail bar, lounge and wildlife reference library. The dining room leads onto an expansive open-air patio which is perfect for brunch, afternoon tea and tranquil evenings around the fire. Other facilities include a secluded bird-viewing hide and a sundeck with plunge pool for relaxing during the sunny midday hours. Other facilities include a secluded bird-viewing hide and sundeck with plunge pool.

Accommodating just 24 guests in custom African-style safari tents on raised teak platforms, Camp Okavango offers guests en-suite facilities and enjoys sliding glass doors which open onto private viewing decks.

Water-based game-viewing activities are conducted by experienced professional guides who will expertly navigate guests through the many meandering, reed-lined waterways. Roam the vast expanses of water from the comfort of a modern motorboat or explore the intricacies of the Okavango Delta the old fashioned way, in the traditional contours of the Mokoro (canoe). For those looking to get a little closer to nature, guided bush walks are conducted on a number of the nearby islands, offering an opportunity to track some of the larger land-based species that inhabit this water wilderness.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Leroo La Tau

Situated on the river bank of the Boteti River with the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park in the distance, Leroo La Tau offers a stunning seasonal game-viewing experience as wildlife can be seen congregating along the river. Leroo La Tau has 12 luxurious thatched en suite chalets, all of which are situated on individual raised wooden platforms.

A wide private balcony provides the perfect setting to enjoy the views of the river and bush landscape beyond.

Each chalet is furnished with two twin beds, a writing desk, fan, and electric lights. Although the camp aims to provide total comfort and luxury, this is done while still maintaining a rustic bush atmosphere.
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.

Central Kalahari: Dinaka Safari 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. Families are accommodated in a two-bedroomed tent, sharing a spacious en-suite bathroom – ideal for families in this child-friendly camp. Dinaka’s tents are well spaced and raised up on wooden decks giving the perfect vantage point over a permanent water hole. Connected by wooden walkways all areas of camp are accessible by wheelchair.

The annual rains transform the arid desert landscape into a lush profusion of Kalahari vegetation, offering guests a unique insight into the lesser known desert experience. The Sleep Out Deck offers guests a panoramic view and the opportunity to spend the night under the magnificent African night sky.

Johannesburg: City Lodge OR Tambo

Based at Africa’s busiest airport, City Lodge at OR Tambo Airport will provide business and leisure travellers with “home away from home” accommodation that is ideal for those commuting to and from Johannesburg and perfect for those who require immediate access to the airport.

The hotel boasts boardroom and conference facilities, a fitness room as well as a deck with a pool and a large commercial area with a coffee shop. There is a sociable bar where you can while away an evening. The 303 spacious air-conditioned rooms have either queen or twin beds and en-suite bathrooms.

OR Tambo Airport offers a number of services from banking to a wide range of retailers, so whether it’s a good book or a scrumptious meal, the airport’s facilities have everything you need.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Chobe Game Reserve: Daily Safari Programme at Chobe Savanna Lodge

As this is a water-based lodge, guests have a choice of aquatic activities. River excursions in small, easily manoeuvrable boats are ideal for close encounters with the wild visitors to the river’s edge. Fishing is also a popular pastime; our catch-and-release fishing trips for Bream or Tiger Fish are a firm favourite with guests of all ages.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Savuti National Park: Daily Safari Programme at Savute Safari Lodge

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 Okavango Delta: Daily Safari Programme at Camp Okavango

Water-based activities are conducted by experienced professional guides who will expertly navigate guests through the many meandering, reed-lined waterways. Roam the vast expanses of water from the comfort of a modern motorboat or explore the intricacies of the Okavango Delta the quiet, old-fashioned way, in the traditional mokoro (dugout canoe).

For those wanting to get a little closer to nature, guided bush walks are conducted on a number of the nearby islands, offering an opportunity to track some of the larger land-based species that inhabit this water wilderness. Birding opportunities are outstanding and anglers may pit their skill against Bream and Tiger Fish. Camp Okavango is a water-based camp and game-drive activities, using safari vehicles, are not possible.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park: Daily Safari Programme at Leroo La Tau

 

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 three nights stays, day trips to Nxai pan and Baines Baobabs can be arranged.

INCLUDED IN PRICE Central Kalahari: 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!

Ute F & James P, Germany & UK, 31st March 2019

Always friendly, always professional and always gave us the confidence that we’ll get a great safari! Gail listened to our wishes and used her knowledge and skills to more than exceed our safari expectations. Also our questions were always answered promptly and very clearly. From the moment we touched down in Johannesburg we were immediately looked after and guided through the airport to begin our adventure in the most relaxed way. Put that together with an excellent choice of lodges, brilliantly knowledgeable nature guides, super friendly staff and excellent food and drinks we had an incredible time on safari. Oh yes, we also saw lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and white rhinos as well as an amazing number of other animals and birds! Would we do it again? Definitely! We are already planning with the most excellent Gail from Pembury Tours for next year!

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This itinerary started on:

31/03/2019

Cost Per Person Sharing

When this tour took place, the cost per person sharing was: $6720

Remember

This is an actual itinerary, 100% tailor-made to meet this client’s expectations. We can use this itinerary as a starting point for you.

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Meet the Team

Susan Pattison-Wait
Susan Pattison-Wait
Managing Director & Tour Consultant
+27 87 353 7873 EMAIL ME
Melanie Macphail
Melanie Macphail
Tour Consultant
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Heidi Bedford
Heidi Bedford
Tour Consultant
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Anya Jarvis
Anya Jarvis
Tour Consultant
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Gail Davis
Gail Davis
Tour Consultant
+27 87 353 7869 EMAIL ME
Tammy Harding
Tammy Harding
Tour Consultant
+27 87 353 7870 EMAIL ME
Kerry Ririe
Kerry Ririe
Tour Consultant
+27 87 353 7871 EMAIL ME

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