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.
A night in Maun at the start or end of your safari gives you a chance to relax and freshen up.
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.
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.
Thamalakane River Lodge has a lovely location on the banks of the Thamalakane River, just 19kms from Maun, and en route to the famous Moremi Game Reserve.
En-suite stone chalets, some with private splash pools are positioned in the shade of the riverine forest, overlooking the river. Chalets and our swimming pool take advantage of the 180 degree view of the riverbanks lined with fluttering reeds visited by an ever changing array of water fowl, and birds and the occasional hippo. It is a delightful place to come home to after a day spent exploring.
All accommodation types feature free wi-fi mosquito nets, ceiling fans, tea and coffee station and 2 bottles of mineral water daily.
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.
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.
The Okavango Panhandle is the main watercourse supplying the Okavango Delta. The Panhandle is the stretch of approximately 70km of the Okavango River, from where the river enters Botswana until it fans out into the alluvial plain of The Delta.
This area is wonderfully peaceful and is a great place to chill out. It is terrific for birders too.
Shakawe village and the nearby lodges can be reached by air or by road from Maun.
Located on a private island, surrounded by the permanent waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Nxamaseri Island Lodge offers a unique African experience.
This small lodge has just 3 family chalets and 6 standard chalets, all en-suite; each with a private deck overlooking the water. Teak walkways link the guest rooms to the main communal area.
Nxamaseri Island Lodge is a great place to stay if you enjoy birding, fishing or simply want to experience a tranquillity you won’t find anywhere else.
Xaro Lodge is located a few miles outside the village of of Shakawe, in north western Botswana and on the tranquil banks of the Okavango River.
Xaro is an 18-bed luxury Meru tented lodge. Nestling amongst giant Mangosteen trees and accessible only by boat, the lodge is home to a myriad of birds and makes a great base for a visit to the Tsodilo Hills.
A visit to the Panhandle would not be complete without an excursion to Tsodilo Hills, a rocky outcrop about 40km to the west of the Panhandle. The area is little visited and boasts fascinating Bushman cave paintings and walking trails.
Both Xaro Lodge and Nxamaseri can arrange excursions to visit the Tsodilo Hills.
If this kind of adventure appeals to you, then get in touch for more details.
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The waterways and islands of the Okavango Delta are one of the prime attractions for visitors to Botswana.
The Okavango is produced by seasonal flooding. The Okavango River drains the summer (January–February) rainfall from the Angola highlands and the surge flows 1,200km (750mi) in around one month. The waters then spread over the Delta over the next four months (March–June).
The flood peaks between June and August, during Botswana’s dry winter months, when the Delta swells to three times its permanent size, attracting animals from miles around and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife.
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.
Setari Camp is located on a picture-perfect palm island within a private concession of 120,000 acres of unspoilt wilderness in the very heart of the Okavango.
The area is a birder’s paradise, boasting a huge number of migrant birds, aquatic birds, raptors, a seasonal heronry and to top it all, the hauntingly beautiful Pel’s Fishing Owl.
The camp resembles an enormous tree-house where the entire construction is elevated with wooden walkways linking the guest rooms with communal areas. 8 light and airy tents and 1 suite designed for families provide accommodation for 20 guests.
All of the tents have private decks with spectacular views over the Okavango.
Safari activities include bush walking, boating or gliding gently through the waterways in a traditional Mokoro.
The use of drones is permitted at Setari.
Chief’s Island, the largest island in the delta, was formed by a fault line which uplifted an area over 70 km long (43 mi) and 15 km wide (9.3 mi). Historically, it was reserved as an exclusive hunting area for the chief. It now provides the core area for much of the resident wildlife when the waters rise.
Chief’s island 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.
Khwai Community Concession
Khwai Tented Camp
With sweeping lagoon views connecting to the Khwai River, Khwai Tented Camp seamlessly blends into the surrounding woodland area.
The camp consists of six en suite tents all dotted along the lagoon for the utmost privacy. As Khwai is a community-run concession all proceeds from tourism go directly to help the local people and projects through the Khwai Community Trust.
Besides the day-time drives which can feature Africa’s big attractions – lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, buffalo, hippo and giraffe – you will be able to explore nature after sunset with a night drive.
Khwai Bush Camp
Located on the eastern edge of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Khwai Bush Camp has a truly magical setting ideal for year-round wildlife encounters.
The camp itself consists of four standard and two-family chalets dotted along the Khwai River where, from the sanctuary of a cool thatched interior and a veranda that overlooks the richest game viewing area in Botswana, you will be able to watch the magic of Africa unfold.
From the enchanting forests and undulating grasslands to lush floodplains and meandering lagoon, the varied ecosystems mean this is one of the most consistent areas for wildlife encounters year-round.
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.
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.
The Tuli Block is a narrow fringe of land at Botswana’s eastern border wedged between Zimbabwe in the north and east and South Africa in the south.
Largely made up of privately owned game farms it reaches from the south-east corner of Botswana, where the Shashe and the Limpopo rivers meet, down to the Notwane River north of Olifants Drift in the South West.
The entire conservancy area comprises about 800,000 hectares and the eastern section up to and including Redshield has been declared a game reserve, known as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve.
The Tuli Block is quite different from anywhere else in Botswana.
The red sand of the Tuli area is distinctive, as are the massive trees that occur along the banks of the Limpopo. Gigantic Nyala trees and the yellow barked Fever trees grow along the riverbanks. Gaunt sesame trees take root in rocky outcrops. Characteristic baobab trees are ubiquitous amongst the rock koppies.
Animals flourish in the wild terrain.
Lions, leopards and cheetah are drawn to prey animals like wildebeest, kudu, eland, and impala and large herds of elephant are not uncommon.
Bird life is prolific. Tuli is one of the best places in southern Africa for keen birders with over 350 species of birds identified in the area.
The Tuli is readily accessible by road from South Africa and all the major cities in Botswana.
Tuli Safari Lodge has just 10 guest suites, 8 tented and 2 thatched. Furnishings present a modern interpretation of the classic ‘out of Africa’ décor, with a flowing open plan design. All suites feature an island bed, lounge area, free-standing bath, large separate shower, double basin vanity area, toilet, ample storage space.
Tuli Safari Lodge is an ideal base for you to explore the landscapes and wildlife of this unique region.
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.
We are able to offer both standard game drive vehicles and customised vehicles for photographic safaris.
A typical 8 night safari will spend 3 nights in Khwai Community Concession (Moremi), 3 nights Savute and 2 nights in Chobe NP.
Price will depend on the level of comfort chosen.
Get in touch
If any of our suggestions or itineraries stimulate the travel bug in you and get your feet itching then just drop us an email or give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.