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Botswana Zambia Astounding Wildlife

Written by Eva Stelzer. Posted in Trips, Uncategorized

Zebras

Highlights of Botswana – Zambia

  • Experience one of the natural wonders of the world – magnificent Victoria Falls from the Zambian side.
  • Explore Moremi Game Reserve, a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary in the delta.
  • Discover the fascinating world of the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world, the Kalahari basin.
  • Stay in distinctive safari accommodations.
  • Track Africa’s big five game animals on safaris by vehicle, boat and on foot.

Days 1 & 2:  Livingstone, Zambia

You will be greeted at the airport in Livingstone for a transfer to the Tongabezi Lodge. You will have time during your stay to enjoy the many activities at Tongabezi including: guided canoeing excursions, guided walks with lunch on one of the islands, fishing, a visit to the Victoria falls on the Zambian side, a game drive to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a walk in the gorges below the falls, a cultural visit to the local museum, and sunrise and sunset boat trips on the Zambezi.  Other activities on offer are white water rafting, horse riding, elephant back safaris, lion walks and bungee jumping. These latter activities should be booked prior arrival to ensure availability The camp also has its own croquet lawn (African rules apply!). Take an excursion to colonial Livingstone – a historic famous for its proximity to the Victoria Falls.  The town has experienced a revival in the last decade and old colonial buildings lining the shaded main avenue being renovated for use as shops, cafes and a variety of local businesses.  (B, L, D)

Accommodations: Tongabezi Lodge is an exclusive property away from the crowds on the banks of the Zambezi River, 15 km upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls.  The small and secluded lodge, set in a tranquil grove of African ebony trees on a sweeping bend of the Zambezi River, accommodates 18 guests. There are five cottages and four spacious, open-planned stone and thatch houses. All rooms have fabulous river views and en-suite bathrooms.  Each house and cottage at Tongabezi has valet service and each valet has in-depth knowledge of Tongabezi and the surrounding area. The camp’s swimming pool is landscaped into a natural cliff and meals are served in the large dining room or on the deck overlooking the river.

Days 3 & 4: Livingstone / Linyanti Wildlife Reserve

Following the morning activity (time permitting) and breakfast, guests will be transferred by road to Kasane Airport, for their transfer in a light aircraft to Selinda Camp.  This intimate camp offers understated luxury on the banks of the eastern Selinda Spillway – a waterway that links Botswana’s Okavango Delta to the Linyanti and Kwando marshes, rivers and floodplains.

Activities in the Selinda Reserve include both day and night game drives in open 4×4 vehicles and game viewing by boat on the Zibalianja Lagoon (subject to water levels). Game viewing is of a high standard, particularly in the drier months and typically seen in the Selinda area are giraffe, baboon, black-backed jackal, elephants, wildebeest, cheetah, crocodile, lion, wild dog, hippo, honey badger, reedbuck, roan, sable and a host of birds. For the more energetic, short guided walking trails are available on request within the vicinity of the camp as well as short mokoro sessions and fishing.

The Linyanti area lies to the northeast of the Okavango Delta were the Kwando and Linyanti rivers meet at right angles, forming a swamp area within this triangle.  The area’s relative remoteness makes it a favored safari destination. The wildlife in the Linyanti area is spectacular and the region is famous for its enormous herds of elephant and buffalo, which move down to the Linyanti area at the start of the winter months and only move back inland once the summer rains arrive in November. The Linyanti is also known as one of the best wild dog areas in Africa.  The rare dogs start denning anytime from June onwards, after which they can usually be found with relative ease for 3-4 months afterwards as they hunt from their den. An abundance of cat species also frequent this area and there is a rich birdlife. Best birding months are between October and January.

Accommodations: Selinda Camp – Tent

The shaded camp is raised a meter or so off the ground and offers extraordinary views over the floodplains, waterways and wide-open savannas which are only broken by attractive palm islands. It is these views that are one of Selinda’s most compelling features.  The recently refurbished camp has nine spacious tents under thatch, each with two comfortable three-quarter-sized beds draped with flowing mosquito nets, which add to the romantic atmosphere. The thatch roof combined with ceiling fans and roof vents cool the living space during the hot days. The rooms have spacious, en-suite bathrooms, with full sized stone baths and antique showers. Dual vanity basins complement the sense of luxury and sliding doors allow for privacy or create an open-air bathroom. (B, L, D)

Days 5 & 6: Linyanti Wildlife Reserve / Moremi Game Reserve

After an early morning activity (time permitting) and breakfast, we will transfer you from Selinda Camp to Chiefs Camp by light aircraft.  You new camp is located in the exclusive Mombo concession of the Moremi Game Reserve.  This concession is revered as one of the region’s prime game-viewing destinations and is known as the “predator capital” of Africa.  Twelve luxury-tented rooms each offer en-suite facilities and a private balcony.  Your comfort is insured with five-star amenities including ceiling fans, mini bars and hair dryers in each room.  Electricity is supplied by a combination of a silent packed generator and battery system allowing a 24-hour power supply and communication from the lodge with Internet facilities.

Game viewing in the Mombo area of Chief’s Island is nothing short of spectacular at any given time.  Apart from its predators, the area is also renowned for its large concentrations of plains-game, elephant and buffalo. Game-drives are conducted in open 4×4 safari vehicles and mokoro excursions, depending on water levels

Moremi Game Reserve is a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary within the great Okavango Delta. The reserve is unfenced and its boundaries are defined naturally by river systems. The vegetation is varied, with dry land complemented by permanent and seasonal swamplands, resulting in an excellent diversity of both wildlife and birdlife.  There is a network of game drive routes through the reserve as well as access to the permanent delta waterways in Xakanaxa where boating can be enjoyed (not available from lodges in the Khwai area).   Xakanaxa is home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least four prides of lion, which may often be seen flanking the ever moving herd.  Breeding herds of elephant move between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango. Red lechwe are one of the more unusual antelope species commonly found here. Game is more concentrated around the permanent water during the dry season (Apr – Oct) with it becoming very hot in the later months. The heronries become active as the migrant birds return to Botswana from September through November, and general bird watching is excellent throughout the summer months. The rainy season (Nov – Apr) invigorates the lush scenery with wild flowers, dramatic thundershowers, spectacular sunsets and the birthing season brings great predator and prey interaction. Please note that activities are restricted within the national park in accordance with government rules and regulations. These include no driving off-road, no walking and no driving after dark.  (B, L, D)

Accommodations: Chief’s Camp – Luxury Tented Room 

The main lodge complex houses the dining area, where sophisticated cuisine is served with African ‘flair’.  There is an elegant bar, curio shop, library, and on the lower deck a large swimming pool with views across the floodplains where you will often see elephants at close range. In addition Chief’s Camp features a luxury-secluded spa with a full range of treatments, available for an additional charge.

Days 7 & 8: Moremi Game Reserve / Okavango Delta

After an early morning activity (time permitting) and breakfast, guests will be transferred from Chiefs Camp to Xaranna Camp by private helicopter transfer for a two-night stay.  The camp overlooks one of the permanent lagoons of the Okavango Delta in 25 000 hectares of pristine wilderness.  The camp boasts breathtaking views of the channel, providing guests with a water and wilderness experience that combines the best of what the Okavango has to offer.

The camp is set in pristine wilderness that is shared by only 18 guests. It consists of nine contemporary safari tents, each with breathtaking views, a romantic sala and private plunge pool. All guest areas are carefully positioned to maximize the sweeping view across the water. An al fresco dining deck ensures the perfect backdrop for all meals. You can opt to have refreshments served while lounging on the plump cushions in the comfort of your own tent.

Xaranna offers opportunities to enjoy the delta wilderness, with a selection of game drives, mokoro trips and bush walks available. Huge herds of buffalo, numbering up to 220 individuals from calves to impressive old bulls, are frequently encountered. You experience this irresistible combination of water and wildlife on twice-daily game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, mokoro and powerboat excursions. Bush walks provide an opportunity to explore the surrounding areas and encounter animals on foot, while night drives give a fascinating glimpse into the busy nocturnal activities of the Delta.

The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world – the Kalahari basin. This oasis in the middle of the desert is a rich yet fragile ecosystem, providing a life source for an incredible variety of wildlife.  A wealth of species have adapted to the contrasting conditions created by living in the harsh Kalahari desert which is transformed annually with the arrival of the delta flood waters originating in Angola.  The Okavango wetland encompasses Moremi Game Reserve and surrounding regions divided into private concessions.  These concessions are wildlife management areas, carefully administrated to balance the growing community’s development and conservation, while empowering citizens through sustainable tourism. Many of the exclusive lodges in Botswana are situated within these concessions in the delta, providing an unparalleled wildlife experience – exclusive and remote, avoiding mass tourism and exploitation.

Flood levels fluctuate dramatically throughout the year, with high water levels peaking in the central Okavango during the dry winter months and water levels at their lowest during the later summer months, contrary to the seasonal rainfall.  The landscape, activities and game viewing vary considerably throughout the delta depending on your location, the season and flood levels. Some areas have larger tracts of permanent dry land which generally means there is more focus on land based activities (game drives) and big game viewing.  Lodges situated on islands deep in the delta concentrate more on water activities such as mokoro excursions, walking, boating, fishing and bird watching.  Those lodges situated on the outer fringes of the delta, referred to as the ‘seasonal’ delta, offer varied experiences at different times of the year – more water based during high flood levels and more land based as the flood recedes.  Game is more concentrated around the permanent water during the dry season (Apr – Oct) with it becoming very hot in the later months. The heronries become active as the migrant birds return to Botswana from September through November, and general bird watching is excellent throughout the summer months. The rainy season (Nov – Apr) invigorates the lush scenery with wild flowers, dramatic thundershowers, spectacular sunsets and the birthing season brings great predator and prey interaction. (B, L, D)

Accommodations: Xaranna Camp – Luxury Tent

Day 9: Okavango Delta / Maun / Depart

After breakfast there is a private transfer to Maun Airport by light aircraft, for a return flight home or onward to South Africa. (B)

Weather:

Summer: (Sept-April) Frequent rain and thunderstorms; days and nights are very hot, but cooling off after rain spells.
Winter: (May-July) Dry and cold days and nights especially in the early hours of the morning.

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