Botswana - Tailor Made Safaris
With such a vast diversity of landscapes and habitats, planning your safari in Botswana can be great fun.
There is a huge variety of accommodation for you to choose from and several different ways for you to get from place to place.
It all comes down to your budget and how much time you have available.
Light aircraft flights are the norm for covering longer distances, so you don’t need to restrict your itinerary to places that are close together or easy to drive between.
To help you get started, we’ve featured here a selection of lodges and camps that we are happy to recommend, based on our own visits and feedback from clients.
Maun is Botswana’s safari capital and the entry point for the majority of international visitors heading to the Okavango Delta, Mkgadikgadi Salt Pans or Central Kalahari, yet very few travellers actually stay in Maun itself, preferring to head straight out on safari.
If you’d like to slow down the pace a bit and freshen up from your long flight before you head out on your safari, there are few better places to do it than Royal Tree Lodge.
it’s not just about luxurious accommodation and old world hospitality. Marked walking trails invite guests to create their own adventure allowing safe, intimate interaction with wildlife. For the more adventurous, set off on a horseback safari, scenic flight over the delta, or mokoro canoe trip down the river.
The lodge has an abundance of wildlife including giraffe, zebra, springbok, ostrich, eland, gemsbok and kudu as well as an extensive variety of bird life.
Green season special – US$190pp, dinner, bed & breakfast, valid until 31 March
Low season – US$314pp, dinner, bed & breakfast; valid from 01 April to 30 June & 01 November to 31 December
High season – US$364pp dinner, bed & breakfast; valid from 01 July to 31 October
With a brand new International airport, Kasane is an ideal gateway for your safari into Chobe NP or the Okavango Delta.
It is also just a short drive from Botswana’s borders with Zimbabwe and Zambia, so you can also use it as a base for visiting the incredible Victoria Falls or as a link between the Botswana section of your safari and the Zimbabwe or Zambia section.
There are several large lodges in Kasane but we tend to prefer smaller more intimate places to stay.
Kubu Lodge, on the banks of the Chobe River just outside the town of Kasane, is a small privately owned and run Lodge. No radio’s, no television and no 5* prices, just the beauty of the Chobe River, the Tree’s and the Birdlife for company.
With just 11 guest chalets, Kubu Lodge is a wonderfully tranquil place to stay and makes an ideal base for safaris into Chobe NP, boat trips on the Chobe river, or for an excursion across the border into Zimbabwe to visit Victoria Falls.
US$465 for 2 people sharing a chalet, Full Board.
This rate includes 3 meals per day, laundry and 2 activities per day (game drive or boat cruise)
If you are want to make your safari budget stretch as far as possible, then The Old House represents great value for money and could be just the place you are looking for.
The Old House is a small family owned and run guest lodge overlooking the Chobe River and within a short walk of the town centre.
It’s just a 10 minute boat cruise from the entrance to the Chobe National Park.
Offering 3 family rooms, 4 double rooms and 3 twin rooms.; The Old House has a restaurant and a bar and is a favourite spot for travellers to gather for a chat.
US$95 per person sharing on a bed & breakfast basis.
The waterways and islands of the Okavango Delta are one of the prime attractions for visitors to Botswana.
Camps in the Okavango Delta are referred to as either water based or land based. This is to differentiate between those that offer traditional game drives and those that concentrate on water based activities like mokoro rides and boat trips. Both are likely to offer walking as one of the available activities.
To get the best from your visit to the delta we recommend that you stay at at least 2 camps; one water based and 1 land based. By doing this you will be able to enjoy the full delta experience.
There are lots of camps to choose from in the delta, with a wide range of prices. Here are a few of our favourites.
Chief’s island is in the heart of the Okavango Delta and is home to two of our favourite camps, Oddballs and Delta Camp. Located within walking distance of each other, these two camps are part of the same family.
A short flight from either Maun or Kasane will take you over the Delta to a private air strip on Chief’s Island. From here it is just a short walk to Oddballs or a short mokoro ride to Delta Camp.
Which one you choose will probably depend on your budget, though each camp has a distinctive character of its own.
Accommodation is in large tents set on elevated wooden decks, and shaded by shelters or trees. Each tent is equipped with bedding, a storage trunk and a light. Beautiful outdoor showers and ablutions are en-suite. The central bar and lounge area has comfortable chairs and sofas, a selection of books and games, and raised viewing decks overlooking the sweep of the delta – the perfect place to sip a sundowner and watch the sun set over the palm trees, and view whatever wildlife may be visiting.
More upmarket than Oddballs, the guest rooms at Delta Camp are quirky to say the least.
Scattered in the forest of a large, beautiful and palm-studded island deep in the Okavango Delta, Delta Camp’s chalets are designed and built to take advantage of the many indigenous, old-growth trees of the island forest. Built of natural materials and elevated off the forest floor, each chalet has hot and cold running water, a shower with a view, a variety of beds and areas in which to relax, mosquito netting and solar-powered electric lighting. Each chalet is individually designed and decorated to fit unobtrusively into its setting and to take advantage of the views of the surrounding bush and flood-plains, and each features the work of an indigenous artist
Game viewing on foot
The main activities at these 2 camps is walking and game viewing by mokoro; there are no game drives but the thrill of seeing game whilst on foot is very special indeed.
One thing that we really like about these camps is that they have a policy of 1 guide for every 2 guests. That means that you won’t be grouped together with other guests, your walks will be private, just you and your guide.
Game of all sorts abounds: lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, giraffe, all manner of antelope including the rare lechwe, tsessebe and sitatunga, otters, honey-badgers, the shy pangolin, and a variety of the smaller wild cats such as civets, servals and genets are amongst the many mammal species you may see.
A real wilderness experience
Something else that we love about these 2 camps is the option to head out on Adventure Trails. If you feel like a true wilderness experience this will appeal to you. Essentially a short expedition by mokoro into the further reaches of the Delta. All equipment and provisions are packed into your mokoro as you set off with your guide for an unforgettable wilderness experience. Your overnight camp will be your base for exploring the area on foot; your nights will be spent under the stars. You won’t get closer to nature than this.
The standard or equipment provided for these trails varies depending on whether you are staying at Oddballs or Delta Camp; Oddballs is a bit more basic, Delta Camp more luxurious.
Price is affected by time of travel. As to the best time of year to visit – July through October are ‘high’ season, the best months for game-viewing (becoming progressively better until it rains in October – December) but with prices to match. April, May and November are ‘shoulder’ season, with better prices and slightly more challenging conditions, and December through March are ‘low’ season, exceptionally beautiful but generally considered more suitable for second-timers who have seen the game at its best and are happy to dig a little deeper for their experience. Although accommodation prices are seasonal, airfares and air transfers are priced the same throughout the year and are a significant part of the cost, so the effect on the overall package of seasonal pricing is somewhat mitigated as a result.
The Delta Camp Family Special allows for either one or two children, under the age of 16, sharing a chalet with two paying adults to stay FREE, depending on the availability of family chalets at the time of booking.
01 Dec – 31 Mar
US$315 per person
01 Apr – 30 Jun & all of November
US$385 per person
01 Jul- 31 Oct
US$476 per person
01 Jul- 31 Oct
US$505 per person
01 Apr – 30 Jun & all of November
US$745 per person
01 Jul- 31 Oct
US$900 per person
Not as well known, or as frequently visited, as the Okavango Delta or Chobe National Park, the Central Kalahari is well worth including in your Botswana safari.
The landscapes here are completely different, much drier and more wide open; this is the home of the famous black-maned Kalahari lions and the San Bushmen.
This owner run lodge is located on the northern border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. Classically African, relaxed and informal accommodation is offered in both Luxury & Superior tents; accommodating a maximum of 20 guests in 9 spacious tents. (1 is a family unit accommodation 4 people)
Here you can enjoy guided game drives or explore the area on foot in the company of San bushmen.
Low Season – 01 Nov – 30 Jun – US$458 for adults / US$229 for children
High Season – 01 Jul – 31 Oct – US$556 for adults / US$278 for children
Don’t forget to talk to us about including Central Kalahari in your Botswana safari.
Tau Pan is the first semi-permanent camp inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and offers truly incredible views from the elevated ridge of an ancient sand dune, an unusual experience in a land as flat as Botswana, and overlooks the famous Tau Pan – recognised for its stark beauty and remoteness.
Activities offered at Tau Pan are game drives, day trips to the well-known Deception Valley, Sunday, Piper and Passarge Pans, star gazing, and nature walks with Bushman trackers.
US$ 577 per person sharing
US$ 220 single room supplement
US$ 288 children under 16 years of age
Prices are the same throughout the year, except at Christmas when there is a US$ 88 per night supplement between 20 Dec – 04 January.
Private Mobile Safari
This is the real deal, your own private mobile camp in the African bush; and there’s no better place to experience it than Botswana.
Because Botswana has designated ‘wilderness campsites’ set aside for local safari operators, you can be sure that your camps will be exclusively for you.
A fully serviced mobile safari means that everything is done for you. Our camp crew travel ahead in a separate vehicle and erect the camp ready for our arrival; they also prepare all the meals. You’ll travel with your guide in a custom built game vehicle.
Our tents are large, with proper beds and private WC and shower facilities.
Because it is your safari, you can choose how long you want it to be, where you’d like to go and how many nights you’d like to stay.
Our most popular itinerary starts in Maun and ends in Kasane, visiting Moremi, Savute and Chobe National Park. Because of the work involved in moving and setting up camp, we strongly recommend staying at least 2 nights in each place; if you want to stay longer that is no problem.
A sample price for an 8 night safari, based on 3 nights Khwai (Moremi), 3 nights Savute and 2 nights Chobe is $3,780 per person.
These suggestions are based on what has worked well for previous guests, but of course you’re free to do something completely different. In which case you could use our recommendations as a starting point and then make your alterations, or we could simply start with a clean slate. It is entirely up to you.
If you’d like to discuss ideas for your safari in Africa we’d love you to get in touch; either by email or by telephone.
or give us a call on +44 7918162984