Depart London (overnight flight via Johannesburg to Maun)
The group flights usually arrive mid-morning into Maun, from where it is only a short transfer to the lodge for the first night. Those not on the group flights will join the group in Maun throughout the day. The rest of the day is free to relax and settle in. Maun meaning, 'place of short reeds' is the gateway to the northern parks of Botswana. Take a stroll around the town, along the riverside, or relax in the pool and recover from your journey. There will be a welcome meeting this afternoon to meet your leader and the rest of the group.
This morning you transfer (1.5 hours) in an open 4WD game vehicle to Moremi Game Reserve which is one of the finest wilderness areas in Botswana. Proclaimed a wildlife reserve by the Batawana people in 1963, it was the first wildlife sanctuary to be created by an African tribe in their own area, and as such it is unique. The landmark act was described at the time as a shining mark in African tribal history. It is a rich and fascinating area, and is an intricate part of the Okavango Delta. The area comprises permanently swamped areas, lily-covered wetlands, seasonally swamped area and also dry land. Once in the park you game drive for approx. 3 hours. Search for giraffe, hyena, kudu, elephant, hippo, crocodile, buffalo, lion and leopard. We stop for lunch a North Gate. Then we leave the park and embark upon a game drive in a private reserve to reach your accommodation for tonight. At sunset there is plenty of time to relax and absorb the sounds and beauty of this region. Later you will dine under the stars and exchange stories around the blazing camp fire.
This morning we take a game drive through the private reserve (approx. 2.5 hours) and then follow the gravel road which will return you to Maun, via Mababe village. You will have a picnic lunch en route. Arriving back in Maun the afternoon is free for relaxation, you might like to take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango.
The Okavango Delta is a unique river delta that, unlike most, flows not into the sea but into the Kalahari Desert. The great Kavango River was blocked from its original course by a series of geological shifts and now flows from its mountain source in Angola to meet the desert. Its waters spill out over the sandy ground to produce a vast aquatic wetland amid equally vast areas of aridity; a true wonder of the natural world and a unique accident of nature, occurring nowhere else. Today your Okavango adventure begins as you travel by 4WD to the mokoro (canoe) station. Here you will meet the mokoro guides and be assigned to your boat, you will travel 2 people per canoe with your guide. Your safari begins as your poler skillfully transports you along the Delta. Gliding silently along the waters allows you great game viewing opportunities that will likely take your breath away at times! You will stop for a picnic lunch on one of the islands and have a chance to stretch your legs a little. After lunch your safari continues back to the station with more exciting game encounters along the way. Your day ends with a transfer by 4WD back to your lodge in Maun where you can relax and relive your adventures this evening over dinner.
Today you drive to the Kalahari Desert (3.5 hours), a region which makes up two thirds of Botswana. In the afternoon you will enjoy a cultural experience and learn about the San Bushmen tribe. The Kalahari is the largest remaining territory for the San who are one of Africa's oldest peoples. Over the years the San have been pushed from their land by farmers and herders into an environment in which they barely now survive, still living their traditional hunter gatherer lifestyle. Recent droughts have made their plight more difficult. Later you will reach your campsite where your camping safari adventure begins. You set up camp on a private reserve just outside of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Kids will love the freedom of being outdoors and getting stuck in with the chores of the day. Tonight you can take the chance to learn some of the star formations in the Southern Hemisphere's clear skies.
Today you will explore the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which is a small patch in the middle of this vast desert region. Making an early start you drive to Deception Valley (approx. 3 hours). This is the second largest game reserve in the world, you can spot wildlife such as gemsbok, springbok, wildebeest, and there is a good lion population here so chances of seeing the king of the jungle are good, plus cheetah and jackal. There are also some interesting drought resistant plants that have evolved to survive these harsh conditions. Later return to camp.
Breaking camp this morning you head off on a long journey to Gweta (approx. 5 hours driving). Today is a long travelling day and a chance to rest a little before your next adventures. Gweta is a traditional thatched village with towering palm trees, grey sand, vagrant donkeys and horses, and a petrol station. Gweta in San means 'where the big frogs meet'. You set up camp beside some large Baobab trees, this distinctive African tree is very unique and appears rather like it has been planted upside down.
You break camp and set off today on a drive to Nata (approx. 2 hours). Makgadikgadi Pans is an impressively large area of 12,000 square metres. About 2 million years ago the Okavango Delta and the pans were part of an enormous lake that flooded across northern Botswana. The deepest parts of the basin became todays Makgadikgadi Pans. The surfaces of the pans area smooth, blemish free grey clay. The feeling of space, together with the silence and isolation is strikingly overwhelming. The area is particularly beautiful after rain. You visit the Nata sanctuary on the Makgadikgadi Pans in the afternoon. The sanctuary hosts 165 different species of birds, including pelicans, spoonbills, eagles, ostriches and both Greater and Lesser flamingos seasonally visit at different times of year. In addition plains game and predators wander the sanctuary, including springbok, jackal and wildebeest.
Make a drive from Nata to Kasane (approx. 5 hours). Kasane is a small town and a popular access point to Chobe National Park. Arriving at your riverside campsite you set up camp and enjoy the rest of the afternoon free. Take the chance to stock up on any supplies you need from the town.
The day starts with a game drive (approx. 2.5 hours) in Chobe National Park, the park entrance is just a few minutes away from your campsite. Chobe is very different from the Okavango and the Moremi parks that you have already visited, it is a raw and compelling wilderness packed with game. The park was created in 1968 and named after the river that passes through it. Watch for herds of elephant and buffalo, rhino, giraffe, kudu, hyena, waterbuck, eland and other game. This afternoon take a cruise on the river (3 hours) where you can watch for game while supping a refreshing drink on the viewing platform. Spot hippo lazing in their pods and Monitor lizards and crocodiles basking in the sunshine on the rivers edge.
This morning you head out of Botswana and into Zimbabwe (approx. 2 hours drive). This afternoon you venture to see one of the most awesome sights in the world, 'Mosi-oa-Tunya'- the Smoke That Thunders (the name given to the falls by the Makololo people). The waterfalls are without doubt one of the greatest and most unforgettably scenic spectacles in Africa, guaranteed to make your jaw drop. It's hot and humid here, and walking through the rainforest that thrives in the spray from the falls, you can feel the immense power generated by the Zambezi River. It plummets over a width of nearly 2km into a deep gorge over 100m below, causing the ground to vibrate under your feet. The wide basalt cliff over which the falls thunder, transforms the Zambezi from a wide placid river to a ferocious torrent, cutting through a series of dramatic gorges.
Today is free - there are many optional excursions to choose from during your stay here. You might not have time to do all of them! There's the option to take a helicopter ride over the falls, to go canoeing (minimum 12 years old) or white water rafting (minimum 18 years old). You can also enjoy some time to relax by the hotel swimming pool as your holiday is drawing to an end. Many people choose to fly over the falls for the best aerial view; you can either try a flight by light aircraft, microlight or helicopter over the falls. The 'Flight of the Angels', as it is known, takes its name from a passage in Livingstone's journal. The overwhelming force and beauty of what he had just seen inspired him to write, 'on sights as beautiful as this, angels in their flight must have gazed.'
For those not on the group flights, your tour ends here after breakfast. There are no planned activities today. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home via Johannesburg.
The group flight usually arrives into London early this morning.