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.
Botswana is Greenwich Mean Time GMT +2 hours.
Upon arrival, proceed through immigration and baggage claims and customs. You can also exchange money at this time at the bank windows located in the airport. Big Five personnel will assist you with your baggage and escort you to your hotel & assist with check-in formalities.
Pula (P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
Chobe National Park: Chobe is one of Africa’s magical rivers, and one of the best places to explore by boat. In the late afternoon, large herds of elephant and buffalo come to drink at the river. Elephant often cross the river among scores of hippos and crocodiles. The birdlife in the park is rich and varied. Predator sightings include lion, leopard and wild dog are present in good numbers. The park’s lifeline is the Chobe River lazily meandering through savannah and woodland. The floodplains are usually dotted with animals. The interior of the park is a patchwork of mopane woodland and flat Kalahari sandveld. The Savuti Marsh, another landmark in the park, is mostly dry and is often compared to the Serengeti Plains.
Makgadikgadi Pan: Makgadikgadi Pan has a fascinating geological history. The area was once part of an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. It is composed of sandy desert amid many smaller pans. The pans are utterly desolate until the rains arrive each year between December and April. The largest single pan is about 5,000 sq. km/1,930 sq. mi, and is often covered with water. The area is the site of one of Africa’s greatest zebra concentrations, and experiences the largest seasonal zebra migration in Southern Africa in November and again in March or April. In the dry season, which generally runs May through October, seasonal ponds and channels are devoid of water. During that time, the Boteti River on the edge of the pans becomes a vital water resource for wildlife.
Mashatu Game Reserve – Tuli Block: In a remote southern corner of Botswana, where the Limpopo and Shashe rivers meet, Mashatu Game Reserve boasts a wilderness terrain of savannas, riverine forests, marshland, open plains and sandstone outcrops. This private land shelters lion, giraffe, eland, cheetah, ostrich and kori bustard. At night, bat-eared fox, African wildcat and leopard prowl the bush. The reserve has recorded some 366 species of birds. In this brilliant setting, one can discover unspoiled landscapes on horseback, mountain bike and by 4×4 vehicle as well as on walking safaris.
Mobile Safaris: A variety of landscapes include the world’s largest inland delta, seasonal wetland of channels, palm-lined islands and wide grassy floodplains. Massive salt flats spring to life with the rains. Game viewing and safaris are done on foot, by boat and in safari vehicles. Mobile safaris can take in remote archaeological sites and fossil beds of extinct giant zebra and hippo. Guides are highly trained and experienced, including the renowned San people, who share some of their survival techniques in this harsh environment, using their ancient knowledge of plants, animal behavior and the skills handed down by their elders. Here travelers have the privileged opportunity to sleep out in the open, surrounded by nature at her very best. Each day’s journey is set to the rhythms of the land and the animals.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve: This important reserve encompasses much of the eastern side of the Okavango Delta. Just under 5,000 sq. km/1,930 sq. mi, it brings together mopane woodland and acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons. The varied habitats mean excellent wildlife viewing, including buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, jackal, impala, red lechwe and African wild dog.
Okavango Delta: The Okavango Delta is a jewel in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, an isolated paradise with healthy wildlife populations. It is fed by the Okavango River, which has no ocean outlet. It forms a fan-shaped wilderness of flood plain, forest and lagoon, with large areas of open water. It is subject to seasonal flooding, starting sometimes as early as May, but generally floods do not reach into many areas of the delta until mid to late June. July and August are the peak flood months. Seasonal water levels mean islands appear and disappear. The delta’s wildlife is as varied as the ecosystems – from tsessebe and reedbuck that thrive in the floodplain to sable and roan antelope found along the streams. Migrating elephant, buffalo, zebra and wildebeest gather around pools of water during the dry season. It is a great area for predator sightings that include a rare, breeding pack of African wild dog and plenty of lion, cheetah, leopard and, now, white rhino. Game activities are land based, with mokoro excursions from the middle of July to the middle of September for elephant, blue wildebeest, giraffe, Nile crocodile, lion and hyenas as well as over 400 species of birds. Luxury tented camps in the delta offer safari experiences not found in most other areas of Africa such as walking safaris and safaris by dugout and boat (water levels permitting), in addition to game drives.
Private Concessions of Botswana: Secluded and uncrowded along with excellent wildlife viewing are the main attractions that bring travelers to private concessions in Botswana. To the north of the Okavango Delta, in the corner of Chobe National Park, the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve offers unparalleled wildlife encounters with large herds of elephants at the rivers and waterholes, and thousands of zebras concentrate in the winter before heading south. In the dry season, big buffalo herds and rare wildlife species such as aardvark can be spotted along with lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe, eland, sable, hippo and hyena. Game viewing in the Mombo Concession is excellent due, in part, to its location at the divergence of the main Okavango River into two channels. This provides a permanent water source, which contributes to the diverse vegetation that attracts some of the highest densities of species. In the wild heart of the northern Okavango Delta, Shinde is a small safari camp on the edge of Shinde Lagoon, which teems with wildlife. Shinde can offer both water and land activities throughout the year. Motorboats or mokoros go into habitants with incredible bird, plant and reptile species found in the delta. Game drives are conducted by a personal guide in comfortable, specially designed game drive vehicles. Guided walks and fishing for tilapia and tiger fish are also available. Chief’s Island Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve features seasonal mokoro excursions as well as traditional safaris in modified, open 4×4 vehicles for morning and afternoon game drives. Viewing on the plains finds thousands of antelope, zebra and buffalo here all year. This area is one of the last strongholds for the rare African wild dog. Lion prides, leopards, genet cats and hyena are present.
Selinda Spillway & Savute Channel: The eastern Selinda Spillway links Okavango Delta to the Linyanti and Kwando marshes, rivers and floodplains. The region is one of the least visited and most pristine corners of Botswana, where game viewing is spectacular, particularly in the drier months. Giraffe, baboon, black-backed jackal, elephant, wildebeest, cheetah, crocodile, lion, African wild dog, hippo, honey badger, reedbuck, roan, sable and a host of birds populate the region. This remote area is bordered by the Linyanti River, running west to east. On the far bank of the river lies Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, a long, thin finger of wetland in this otherwise arid landscape.
Best Time to Go
May to August is winter, and the dry season with sunny, cool to warm days. Night temperatures can dip below freezing, especially in the southwest. June to October is prime time in the Okavango Delta, with animals migrating to water. March and April are when zebras and others migrate to Chobe and Savuti. November to March is summer, and it is hot and rainy, but a great time to spot birds and animals migrating to summer grazing areas. Mosquitoes can be a problem. Calving season is November and December.
Day 1: Johannesburg, South Africa
One of South Africa’s principal cities is the portal to amazing adventures in all Southern Africa.
Day 2: Johannesburg / Selinda Spillway & Savute Channel
Savute Channel is a dramatic stretch of grassland mixed with desert-like landscapes in western Chobe National Park.
Days 3/4: Selinda Spillway & Savute Channel
This area harbors one of the densest, dry-season concentrations of elephants in Africa.
Day 5: Selinda Spillway & Savute Channel / Okavango Delta, Botswana
A jewel in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, the lush Okavango Delta is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Days 6/7: Okavango Delta
Mazes of waterways, lagoons, vast grassy plains and palm-fringed islands make for amazing diversity of wildlife.
Day 8: Okavango Delta / Makgadikgadi Pan
One of the largest salt flats in the world, the pan the result of a vast lake that dried up eons past.
Days 9/10: Makgadikgadi Pan
This seemingly desolate and little traveled wilderness comes vividly to life with the rains.
Day 11: Makgadikgadi Pan / Maun / Johannesburg / Depart
Custom Travel Options
Chobe National Park (3 Days)
Botswana’s first national park, and third largest in the country, features one of the biggest concentrations of game in Africa. It can be explored both by boat and safari vehicle.
Mashatu Game Reserve –Tuli Block (4-5 days)
This diverse wilderness of savannas, marshland and sandstone outcrops is home to the greatest single population of elephants, more than 500, on privately owned land.
Mobile Safaris (5 days)
Mobile tented adventures are ideal for those seeking the most authentic safari experience and for repeat travelers looking for a deeper connection to and understanding of Africa.
Moremi Wildlife Reserve (2 days)
One of the great African game-viewing parks, Moremi is also famous for pioneering walking safaris.
Private Concessions of Botswana (4-8 Days)
Secluded and uncrowded, private concessions in Botswana boast excellent wildlife viewing.
$875-$3000 per person per day. Land only, double occupancy.