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Zimbabwe Safari    Botswana Safari

Botswana - Botswana Lodge Explorer - 10 Days

Small group Lodge Safari - 9 nights / 10 days

Return to Budget Safari Packages      
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Leopard in the Moremi National Park Buffalo Zebras
Tour code: BLE

Experience the stunning beauty, the unimaginable vastness, the open plains at Nxai Pan, the world-famous Moremi Game Reserve & Khwai River Area and the untamed wildlife of the Chobe River and Chobe National Park. Your journey then takes you to Hwange National Park before ending at the spectacular Victoria Falls.

Departs: Maun, Botswana.
Ends: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Group size: Guaranteed from 4 guests; 12 guests maximum. *Guaranteed departures with no minimum pax available, please enquire.

Summary
A small group lodge safari from Maun to Victoria Falls through Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Highlights
Planet Baobab, Nxai Pan or Ntwetwe Pan Victoria Falls, Sunset cruise on the Chobe River, Game drives in Moremi National Park, Khwai and in Chobe National Park.

Meals
9x Breakfast, 6x Lunch, 6x Dinner. Where included most breakfasts and dinners will be enjoyed in the restaurants of the various accommodation establishments, however on certain nights the guide will provide an authentic meal for the group, which will be enjoyed together in the evening, often around a camp fire. Please advise us of any special dietary requirements in advance.

2017
SAFARI COST:
$2,720 per person sharing, plus cost of flight from Khwai to Kasane.
AIR COST: $370 per person, subject to change.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $755

CLICK TO SEE DEPARTURE DATES

 

Botswana Lodge Explorer map


DAY 1; (1 Night)
MAUN TO PLANET BAOBAB, Botswana  [Huts]

Game Drive in BotswanaOn arrival into Maun Airport, you will be met by your guide and continue onto the area of the Makgadikgadi Pans. After settling into our accommodation, we take a stroll with our guide through the surrounding baobab grove, as he explains the local ecology, geology and the unique biology of the baobabs, which are in fact not trees but the largest succulents in the world.


Departure: 3:00pm
Distance / Time:
210 kms
Overnight:
Planet Baobab or similar (Bakalanga huts with en-suite bathrooms, swimming pool & bar).
Meals: Lunch prepared by the guide. Dinner at Planet Baobab or similar.


DAY 2; (1 Night)
PLANET BAOBAB, Botswana  [Huts]

Planet BoababAfter breakfast, we depart for either Nxai Pan or Ntwetwe Pan. These excursions are seasonal based on wildlife sightings and road conditions. Both pans form part of the greater Makgadikgadi system.

Nxai Pan Excursion: January – May & December
An early departure takes us West towards Nxai Pan National Park. Nxai Pan adjoins the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park on its northern border. The pan itself is a fossil lake-bed about 15 sq. miles (40sq. km) in size. Covered in nutritious short grasses and small islands of acacia trees, Nxai Pan attracts vast numbers of desert herbivores such as gemsbok, springbuck, and extraordinarily large herds of giraffe, upto 30 in a group! In the South of the park are Baines’ Baobabs, a cluster of millennia-old baobab trees, named after the famous artist who discovered them in 1862, Thomas Baines. It is rare to see Baobab trees so close together and as one was growing on its side, Baines named his painting 'The Sleeping Five'. The famous explorers: The Green brothers passed this way too and to this day their inscription into the bark, 'Green's Expedition 1858 -1859, can clearly be seen. We return to the lodge in the late afternoon after exploring this unique area.

Ntwetwe Pan Excursion: June – November
The Ntwetwe Pan is one of the two major pans that make up the Makgadikgadi Pans, and is amongst the largest saltpans in the world. The pan was fed by the Boteti River until it was left permanently dry following the construction of the Mopipi Dam, which provides water for the diamond mines in Orapa. The waters may have returned to the river but Ntwetwe is now famous for its extraordinary lunar landscape, particularly the rocky outcrops, dunes, islets, and channels found along the western shore. We explore the area, in search of uniquely adapted desert species such as bat eared foxes, springbuck, kori bustards, and some of the Kalahari’s most fascinating inhabitants, the meerkats. We return to the lodge in the afternoon with some time to relax by the pool.


Overnight: Planet Baobab or similar (Bakalanga huts with en-suite bathrooms, swimming pool & bar).
Meals: Breakfast at Planet Baobab or similar; Picnic lunch; Dinner at Planet Baobab or similar.


DAY 3; (1 Night)
PLANET BAOBAB TO KHWAI RIVER, Botswana
  [Tented Camp]

Moremi National Park, BotswanaThis morning we travel via Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta, to our camp, which is situated in a private concession in the Khwai River region. This large area is renowned for its concentration of mammals and it is not unusual to see many different types of wildlife during just one game drive.

Game viewing is seasonal; depending on the time of the year you may see different species in different areas. The best time for game viewing is the end of the dry season or spring from August to November. During this season, in order for us to offer the best game viewing possible, extra driving may be required due to the animals migrating closer to the river. In the summer, birdlife can also be viewed in abundance with exceptional sightings of wildfowl and raptors. After dinner, we will explore the concession on a night game drive.


Departure: 7am
Distance / Time: 330 kms
Overnight: Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar (semi-permanent tented camp with en-suite bathrooms). Please note that there is no electricity at the camp.
Meals: Breakfast at Planet Baobab, Lunch and Dinner at Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar.

DAY 4; (1 Night)
MOREMI GAME RESERVE, Botswana
  [Tented Camp]

Maun, BotswanaToday we head into the famous Moremi Game Reserve known as one of the most beautiful and varied reserves in Africa with an unprecedented concentration of wildlife. The full day is spent in the unspoiled nature of the Moremi Game Reserve.


Departure:7am
Distance / Time: 150 kms
Overnight:
Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar (semi-permanent tented camp with en-suite bathrooms).
Meals: Breakfast at Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar, Lunch pack on game drive, Dinner at Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar.

DAY 5; (1 Night)
CHOBE, Botswana
  [Lodge]

ElephantYou will be transferred to Khwai Airstrip for your flight to Kasane (For your own account). On arrival you will be met and transferred to your lodge. We enjoy a boat cruise on the Chobe River in the afternoon from where we can watch elephants, hippos, crocodiles and a variety of birds without having to reach for our binoculars – you’ll be near enough for close-up photographs, as well as having the chance to witness a spectacular African sunset.

NOTE: The cost of the flight from Khwai to Kasana is quoted separeatey -- see air cost quoted above.


Departure: 9am
Distance / Time:
90 kms
Overnight:
Chobe Safari Lodge or similar (rooms with en-suite bathrooms, swimming pool, bar & restaurant).
Meals: Breakfast at At Khwai Bedouin Camp or similar, Lunch and Dinner are on your own account.

DAYS 6 - 7; (2 Nights)
CHOBE TO HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, Zimbabwe
  [Chalets]

Hippo'sThis morning we depart Chobe and make our way to our lodge in a private concession near to Hwange National Park. The next two days are spent exploring this wildlife rich area.

The first afternoon you can partake in an optional game drive if time allows. On the following day, we will have plenty of time to explore this vast wilderness on a game drive.

Hwange National Park is one of Africa's finest havens for wildlife and is home to vast herds of elephant, buffalo, and zebra and has a very large concentration of giraffe. It is also home to many predators and endangered species plus varied birdlife. We will also visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre to witness the work that is done to protect these endangered species.


Departure: 8am
Distance / Time: 270 kms (Day 6)
Overnight:
Sable Sands or similar (chalets with en-suite bathroom, swimming pool & bar area).
Meals Day 6:
Breakfast at Chobe Safari Lodge, Lunch prepared by guide en-route, Dinner at Sable Sands or similar.
Meals Day 7: Breakfast at Sable Sands, picnic lunch on game drive, Dinner at Sable Sands or similar.

DAYS 8 - 9; (2 Nights)
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe
  [Chalets]

Victoria Falls, ZimbabweToday we travel to Victoria Falls, full of real African experiences. We visit the Victoria Falls on a guided tour and then have the rest of the day and the next day at leisure or to partake in one of the many optional activities. (For own expense).


Departure:
8am
Distance / Time:
190 kms
Overnight:
Ilala Lodge or similar (rooms with en-suite bathrooms, swimming pool, bar & restaurant).
Meals Day 8:
Breakfast at Sable Sands, Lunch and Dinner on your own account.
Meals Day 9: Breakfast at Ilala Lodge, Lunch and Dinner on your own account.

DAY 9; (1 Night)
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe  [Lodge]

Victoria Falls, ZimbabweToday we leave Botswana behind us and come to the place where we started this trip full of real African experiences – Victoria Falls. You the rest of the day at leisure or to partake in one of the many optional activities. (For own expense).


Departure: 9am
Distance / Time:
150 kms
Overnight:
Ilala Lodge or similar (rooms with en-suite bathrooms, swimming pool, bar & restaurant).
Meals: Breakfast at Chobe Marina or similar, Lunch on your own account, Dinner on your own account.

DAY 10;
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe
   [TOUR ENDS]

Our safari ends after breakfast. You will be transferred to Victoria Falls Airport in time for your departure flight. We hope to welcome you again one day on another of our African adventures.


Meals: Breakfast at Ilala Lodge.

Note: The accommodation specified in the itinerary is a guide only and is subject to availability. Alternatives will be nearby and of a similar standard.

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Included
Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary, all transport in fully kitted 4x4 safari vehicle, game drives as mentioned, meals and activities as mentioned in itinerary, park entrance fees, experienced local guide.

Excluded
Travel insurance, flights, pre and post tour accommodation, optional activities, all drinks, telephone calls, gratuities, curios and all personal expenses.

Departure
The Botswana Lodge Explorer departs from Ilala Lodge or similar.

Please note that the daily departure times are a guideline only and are subject to change due to seasonal variations, as well as unforeseen circumstances. The final decision rests with your guide who will advise you at what time you will be departing each day.

Whilst it is our every intention to adhere to the above mentioned itinerary, there may on occasion be a necessity to make alterations in order to make the tour more enjoyable or practical. Therefore please treat the itinerary as a guide only.

Transport
Fully equipped Toyota Land Cruisers, 12-seater 4x4 safari vehicles or other appropriate vehicles with comfortable seating, large windows for game viewing, a music and PA system and air-conditioning. All luggage, besides hand luggage and photo equipment, is carried on the vehicle or trailer roof racks to ensure maximum comfort in the vehicle. Some game drives may be conducted in open-sided safari vehicles. For transfers between Kasane and Victoria Falls (or vice versa), 2x4 vehicles may be utilised.

Travelling Times and Distances
All travelling times are affected by road conditions, border crossings, detours and weather conditions, therefore on certain days travelling times may be longer than anticipated especially where there is a lot of distance to be covered. Please keep in mind that the time it takes to travel 100 km in your home country is not equivalent to the time it takes to travel 100 km on African roads, therefore we encourage you to sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery Africa has to offer. Where possible additional stops will be made to ensure your travelling comfort at all times.

Accommodation
We make use of mid-range typical African standard lodge accommodation. Accommodation is situated either in national parks, on the banks of a river, or in other places of interest. The accommodation will be a mix of lodges, chalets and tented camps with en-suite bathrooms. Some properties are equipped with swimming pools, restaurants and/or bar areas.

Visas
The onus is on the client to organize all visas required to visit Zimbabwe, Namibia & Botswana prior to departure. Kindly remember that a multiple entry visa would be required for Zimbabwe & Botswana should clients partake in our Botswana Lodge Explorer scheduled tour.

Information on Areas Visited
BOTSWANA
The San were among the first human inhabitants of this region before the Setswana migrated southwards and slowly occupied the region from the 16th century onwards, until early in the 19th century. By mid-century missionaries arrived, including David Livingstone and Robert Moffat, and by 1885 the territory was a British protectorate. Botswana gained its independence in 1966 and has been the most stable democracy in Africa. The first president ruled from 1966 until his death in 1980, the second till 1994 (re-elected twice, then resigned) and the third from 1998.

The country has a strong currency with one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa, maintains a neutral international political stance. It is heavily reliant on mining (especially diamonds) & tourism and maintains close ties with its neighbor South Africa, an economic powerhouse for the region.

Wildlife is abundant in Botswana and includes lion, giraffe, leopard, antelope, elephant, crocodile and ostriches. Botswana is semiarid and has an average annual (summer) rainfall of 640 mm (about 25 in) in the north to less than 230 mm (less than 9 in) in the Kalahari. Drought is therefore not uncommon and the vegetation is mostly savannah. Geographically Botswana is relatively flat (the average elevation of about 1000 m) and can be viewed (for all intents and purposes) as three major regions as follows:

Chobe National Park in the north, another outstanding wilderness area of enormous diversity – lion and elephant can be viewed from river cruises or 4x4 game drives. The Okavango Delta is a vast marshland and one of the largest inland river deltas in the world – 15 000 km2 of wilderness and prime safari area. The Kalahari Desert in the central and southwestern regions occupies over half the land area of Botswana. It is a mystical, harsh and unspoiled landmass. The saltpans of north-central Botswana and the Tuli block in the far eastern corner of Botswana are also areas of significance.

Chobe National Park
Chobe is approx. 11 000 km2 of wilderness area watered by the Chobe & Savuti Rivers and thus attracting huge concentrations of game. This includes lion and some of the highest concentration of elephant in Africa – an estimated population of around 25 000 in winter. Game viewing is renowned and in the Northern areas near Kasane, both the riverboat game viewing experience and the 4x4 vehicle option are popular. In addition the spectacular annual summer migrations of plains game, especially Zebra, is a highlight, as well Giraffe, Warthog and numerous antelope including Sable, Roan, Oribi, Reedbuck, Lechwe and the colourful Chobe Bushbuck.

Bird watching opportunities in Chobe are ample and include some 350 species including the awesome African Fish Eagle, the rare Pell's Fishing Owl, saddle-billed storks, long-toed Plovers, pink-backed Pelicans, African Skimmers, Bradfield's Hornbills and Carmine Beeeaters. In addition, the sunsets are spectacular.

Makgadikgadi Pans
The lesser-known Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is situated between Maun and Nata in Botswana. The shimmering saltpans of Makgadikgadi are the size of Switzerland and most of the time appear as a glaring, white, endless plain. When the rain comes a dramatic change takes place as the pans come to life with frantically feeding water birds and great herds of game. The best time to visit this area to coincide with the migration is from December to March or in the dry season from April to October when the pans are dry.

The park contains four main vegetation types: riverine woodland, scrubland, pure grassland and saltpans. The pans support palm groves and peculiar looking Baobab trees whose branches look more like roots, giving rise to the name 'upside down tree'. These are interspersed with short spiky yellow grass found on rises between the pans, known as 'prickly salt grass'. This grass is extremely saline resistant to the extent that salt crystals can sometimes be seen on the leaves. The interior of the reserve comprises scrub and grassland with a few 'islands' of Real Fan Palms and Camel-thorn Acacia. From April to November game such as Springbok, Gemsbok, Wildebeest and Zebra move slowly from the pans area in the south east of the park, to the Boteti River in the west. During this migration animals accumulate in their thousands. The heavily wooded areas beside the river also contain shy antelopes like Duiker and Bushbuck.

Maun
Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and one of the best safari experiences you will have. Countless safari and air-charter operators have offices here, thus it is busy with people coming and going especially around the airport. The best time to go is during the winter months from May to October when there is little or no rainfall and the days are warm and cloudless. Nights can be cold though so take a jacket. November to April can be very hot, with most of the rainfall between December and February. Maun has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town and has spread along the wide Thamalakane River. It now boasts good shopping centers, hotels and lodges as well as car and 4x4 vehicle hire. However, it still retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen still bring their cattle here to sell and you could see antelopes grazing the riverbanks.

Moremi
In the centre of the Okavango Delta is the Moremi Wildlife Reserve, a 3,000 km2 paradise. Proclaimed a wildlife reserve by the Tswana people in 1963, Moremi is undoubtedly one of the world's most pristine wilderness areas. The foresight of the local community has ensured that nature has flourished undisturbed, offering a glimpse of the divine, averitable Garden of Eden. Moremi is a place of lily-covered wetlands, grass plains and forests, where even at the busiest time of year you're likely to be the only spectators at a most dramatic animal sighting. Moremi consists of a network of waterways surrounding two large islands, Chiefs Island in the west and Mopane Tongue in the east. The area's diverse ecosystems, riverine woodland, flood plains, wetlands and reed beds, mopane forest and dry savannah woodland are all flourishing, broken only by the occasional jeep track. This diversity of habitats provides rich pickings for an impressive variety of animals and around 550 bird species. As Moremi is a fenced reserve, game viewing is impressive throughout the year. However, the cool dry winter months from March to September are an ideal time to visit, as the chances of seeing lion, elephant, leopard, hyena, eland, kudu, roan antelope, giraffe, zebra, impala and buffalo are excellent. On the sandy riverbanks and wetlands, sightings of hippo and crocodile are commonplace.

Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta in northern Botswana (near Maun) incorporates the Moremi Game Reserve and is a unique wildlife paradise - one of the finest in the world. It is also one of the largest inland river deltas in the world. This unsurpassed natural environment is a maze of waterways, islands and reed banks creating a perfect habitat for lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, hyena, wild dog, kudu, impala, roan, zebra, lechwe, hippo and crocodile, amongst others. There are approx 440 bird species in the delta and fish species are also abundant, including tiger fish, sharp-toothed catfish, barbell and bream. Travel through the swamps and surrounding areas is generally done by open 4x4 game viewing vehicle or a peaceful meander in a 'Mokoro', a flat-bottomed dugout canoe. The Delta is hot throughout the year with temperatures ranging from approx 14°C in January to 24°C in July. Rainfall averages 525 mm annually, but varies greatly from year to year. Water levels and flooding reach a maximum between March and July, after rains at the source and the usual 15 000 km2 can expand to approximately 22 000 km2 in high-rainfall years.

ZIMBABWE
This is a country blessed with great natural beauty, game reserves and mineral wealth. The diverse landscape changes from mountainous to wilderness to typical Bushveld. The country is also home to large animals and a large bird population. Zimbabwe is a country located in the southern part of the continent of Africa, between the Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Kariba Dam and the Limpopo River. Zimbabwe is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west, Zambia to the north and Mozambique to the east.

Victoria Falls
'So lovely it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight' said David Livingstone of the supreme Mosi-oa-Tunya ('The smoke that thunders'). This legendary traveler first saw the falls from the Zambian side and his memory is enshrined in the nearby town of Livingstone. The views from the Zimbabwean & Zambian side are quite different, varying dramatically depending on the season and water flow. The Falls are over a mile in length and boast the largest curtain of water in the world - over 500 million litres of water per minute cascade over the falls and drop 100 m at Rainbow Falls on the Zambian side. Not surprisingly is it the seventh natural wonder of the world and fast becoming one of the top adventure destinations in the world.

The river is divided into a series of braided channels that descend in many separate falls. Below the falls the river enters a narrow series of gorges, which represent locations successively occupied by the falls earlier in their history. Since the uplifting of the Makgadikgadi Pan area some two million years ago, the Zambezi River has been cutting through the basalt base rock, exploiting weak fissures, and forming a series of retreating gorges. Seven previous waterfalls occupied the seven gorges below the present falls, and Devil's Cataract in Zimbabwe is where the next cut back will form a new waterfall that will eventually leave the present falls lip high above the river in the gorge below.

Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is one of Africa's finest havens for wildlife and is home to vast herds of elephant, buffalo, and zebra and has a very large concentration of giraffe. It is also home to many predators and endangered species plus very large and varied birdlife.

The park is situated on the main road between Bulawayo and the world famous Victoria Falls. Hwange National Park covers just over 14 600 square kilometers. The Park carries 105 mammal species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores. Elephant make up the largest proportion of the biomass. All Zimbabwe's specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange and it is the only protected area where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in reasonable numbers. The population of wild dog to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today. The landscape includes desert sand to sparse woodland as well as grasslands and granite outcrops. Due to the lack of water, man-made waterholes were introduced to sustain the animals through the dry season. The park has an interesting variety of landscapes with one part running alongside the North-eastern end of the Kalahari Desert. The south is sandy with extensive forests and open grassland. A feature of the area is ancient fossil dunes - ancient sand dunes held together by vegetation.

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SCHEDULED SAFARI DATES

Please contact us for 2017 dates.



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