The Kalahari – Okavango serviced Mobile & Lodge Safari
Duration: 10 Nights/11 Days Routing: Maun to Maun
Itinerary Overview & Highlights:
1 Night Haina Safari Lodge a great first night in Botswana. An evening presentation on Conservation, Nights Skies & the San People of the Kalahari by expert Mr Paul Sheller (bio below)
3 Nights serviced camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve
2 Nights serviced camping in the Makgadikgadi National Park in search of the Makgadikgadi Pans zebra migration
1 Night Camp Kalahari with a visit to a habituated meerkat colony
3 Nights Moremi Game Reserve with an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta and Chiefs Island
8 Nights Serviced Camping in meru style en-suite tents on a mobile safari
1 Night Haina Safari Lodge – click here for more information
1 Night Camp Kalahari – click here for more information
An evening presentation on Conservation, Nights Skies & the San People of the Kalahari by an expert on all subjects Mr Paul Sheller. Paul Sheller has been living in Botswana for over 40 years. He has a diverse array of experiences ranging from a Bushmen Survey Officer in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to chairman of the Kalahari Conservation Society. Some of the organizations he has worked with include Kalahari Conservation Society, First People of the Kalahari, European Union, IUCN, World Health Organization and National Geographic Society.
Paul’s passions in life are the Kalahari, conservation and the stars, with a desire to share his passion and knowledge about these topics with other interested people. Armed with his trusty 10 inch telescope, San Bushman stories about the stars, scientific facts and the amazing big skies and dark nights of Botswana, you will be transported into another dimension looking back in time thousands of years, listening to stories being told from the beginning of time. You will learn how we are connected within a universal “ecosystem” – from the Big Bang to Bushman to the Kalahari.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
The CKGR established in 1961 by the British Government to protect the traditional way of life of the nomadic San Bushman tribes. The park covers an area of 52,800 km2 and makes up an 11th of Botswana’s total land area making it the second largest game reserve in the world, the first being the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania covering 54,000 km2. The CKGR is a scrub desert with almost no surface water available.
Home to the famous “Kalahari Lions” the area has healthy populations of cheetah, brown hyena, gemsbok, springbok, giraffe, wildebeest, bat eared fox and the tenacious honey badger. A landscape with endless horizons, the early evening air is dominated by the never ending calls of the Kalahari barking geckos.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
The Makgadikgadi zebra migration moves east away from the Boteti River into the huge open grasslands of the Makgadikgadi Pans after our first good rains. Our camp will be erected in the grasslands just north – west of the expansive Ntwetwe Pans or further north at Baines Baobabs or Nxai Pan. The salt pans cover an area of over 16,000km2 in the Kalahari Basin and form the bed of the ancient Lake Makgadikgadi which evaporated millions of years ago.
Although Nxai Pan was once part of the great super lake, it is quite different to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans as it boasts broad hectares of short sweet grasslands with occasional “islands” of trees. The rich grassland provides good grazing and attracts springbok, impala, gemsbok, giraffe, kudu, hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest, all followed by lions and hyena, as well as a wide array of birdlife. The grasslands of the Makgadikgadi hide small colonies of meerkats that have become habituated to people and provide a few hours of rewarding interaction. Baines Baobabs, a cluster of seven Baobab trees are located within the park. The Baobabs were painted by Thomas Baines when he passed through travelling with John Chapman in 1862.
Okavango Delta & Moremi Game Reserve
The Okavango is a unique ecosystem, an inland delta situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world – the Kalahari Basin. This wetland lies like an oasis in an otherwise inhospitable landscape. Where land and delta meet, a mosaic of pans, grasslands, forests and lagoons provide an extremely rich and diverse habitat in which a multitude of animals and birds flourish. This wetland is one of the natural wonders of the world and is a fragile ecosystem that remains one of the worlds least spoilt and most beautiful wildernesses and is home to various unique species e.g. sitatunga antelope and red lechwe. Moremi Game Reserve is situated in the eastern corner of the Okavango Delta. Moremi is one of the most beautiful and varied reserves found on the African continent with a diverse selection of wildlife and incredible scenery. The reserve consists of both swamped areas like Xakanaxa and dry-land areas like Khwai.
Your Safari Includes:
- 1 Night Haina Safari Lodge (DB&B) with San Bushmen walk
- 1 Night Camp Kalahari (LDB&B) including a visit to the meerkats
- 8 Nights Serviced Mobile Safari in Meru Style Tents with en-suite facilities
- Comfortable walk-in tented accommodation in a meru style tent with built in floors and mosquito gauze at windows and entrance. Beds are comfortable and include all bed linen and a towel
- En-suite bathrooms with a bucket shower and bush loo
- Licensed and experienced professional guide for the duration of your safari
- Game drives and local transfers in custom made open game drive vehicles
- A 2 ½ hour mekoro excursion in Khwai
- All entrance and camping fees within the National Parks & Game Reserves
- Private wilderness campsites
- All meals & selected drinks (wine, beer, Gin & Tonic, Coke, Coke Lite, fruit juice, bottled water)
- Dedicated safari team including cook, camp assistants and back up driver
- Bathroom amenities (soap, shampoo and insect repellent)
- Medical evacuation insurance
- All activities as specified in the itinerary
Your Safari Excludes:
- International & domestic or charter flights and airport departure taxes & visas
- A 50 minute scenic flight from Maun to Moremi Game Reserve flying over Chiefs Island
- Travel, cancellation and medical insurance (essential on all safaris)
- Optional safari extensions
- Spirits (other than Gin)
- Items of a personal nature
- Tips and gratuities – see our suggested guidelines on the “Useful Information” page on our website
Arrival and road transfer to Haina Safari Lodge
Your guide for the duration of your safari will be there to welcome you on arrival at Maun Airport around noon. The exact departure time from Maun Airport will be advised closer to the time, as this depends on the commercial airline’s flight schedules. We expect to leave Maun and begin our journey around lunchtime where we head south to the Kalahari and Haina Safari Lodge. Most of the scenery en-route to CKGR is cattle country and dry savannah bush. We arrive mid to late afternoon. Enjoy sundowners around the fire on your first night in Botswana and an evening presentation on Conservation, Nights Skies & the San People of the Kalahari by an expert on all subjects – Mr Paul Sheller.
Serviced Camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – CKGR – B&L&D
Following an early breakfast, we depart on a walk in the Kalahari with the resident San Bushmen. After a 2 hour drive, we enter the CKGR and Deception Valley in time for lunch in our mobile camp. We will spend the next three nights in the CKGR. After approx. 2 hours the vegetation changes and small dry pans (open areas) appear and at one stage the land falls gradually away to Deception Valley. The valleys in the Kalahari are extinct river valleys that occurred millions of years ago and are now covered in short dry grass. After a little rainfall, the grass turns green offering the wildlife much needed nutrition. We explore areas like Deception Valley, Passarge Valley, Sundays Pans and Letiahau. To get a better idea of this unique ecosystem we recommend you read “Cry of the Kalahari” by Mark and Delia Owens. A fiercely beautiful but hostile environment – the CKGR will creep into your soul and for many months after your visit, you will yearn to return.
Serviced Camping in the Makgadikgadi National Park – B&L&D
We pack and move camp east to the huge expansive grasslands of the Makgadikgadi Pans in search of the huge numbers of zebra (up to 25000 animals) that leave the Boteti river system and concentrate on the open grasslands in search of nutritious grasses to give birth to their young. Despite their numbers, they can be elusive and we spend the next two nights in search of the herds and exploring this vast open landscape.
Camp Kalahari (lodge)
After breakfast and a short morning game drive, we pack camp and head further east to Camp Kalahari in a private Concession just outside the park. We arrive in time for lunch and you will settle into your tents at Camp Kalahari. In the afternoon we head out for a late afternoon drive in search of the meerkats. Dinner will be serviced at the lodge.
Serviced Camping in Moremi Game Reserve and Okavango Delta – B&L&D
An early morning road transfer takes us from the Makgadikgadi to Maun in time for lunch at a quaint local restaurant and then a road transfer to the mobile safari camp in the Khwai area adjoining the Moremi Game Reserve. The Moremi Game Reserve forms part of the unique ecosystem called the Okavango Delta and Moremi covers up to one third of the Okavango. The total area of the Okavango covers up to 18,000 square kilometres of which the Moremi Game Reserve is 5,000 square kilometres. We spend the next three nights camping at a campsite in the adjoining community area exploring the Khwai floodplains on game drives both during the day and at night. Experience a 2 ½ hour mekoro trip exploring the waterways of Khwai which is the most eastern reach of the Okavango River system.
Exploring after dark with a spotlight offers you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day. These activities are conducted outside the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Khwai community area.
Maun – B & L
Following our customary early morning breakfast and early game drive, we say goodbye to our back up team and camp staff and head for the bush airstrip to board a charter plane for a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta – this is optional and at additional cost. The route takes us from a bush airstrip over Chiefs Island for an approx. 50 min flight landing at Maun airport to connect with your onward arrangements. Alternatively, accompany your guide for a road transfer back to Maun.
NOTE: Although we make every effort to adhere to schedules, itineraries and activities, these are subject to change in light of changing local conditions (weather and roads) as well as availability. You will be notified accordingly.
Rates are subject to National Park increase by Botswana Government without prior notice.
A TYPICAL DAY ON SAFARI
The day starts with the rising of the sun. Your wake-up call will be between 5am and 6am – a gentle “koko” (knock knock in Setswana) at the entrance of your tent. A camp assistant will be on hand to fill your wash-hand basin with steaming hot water and freshly made tea and coffee will be served around the campfire.
A light breakfast will be served before the early morning game drive which consists of tea, plunger coffee, juice, rusks, fruit, cereal, toast and jams. The best time of day to enjoy game viewing is in the early morning and late afternoon as most animals retreat to the shadows to rest during the heat of the day.
Having spent the morning exploring the surrounding wilderness in search of Botswana’s hidden treasures, you will return to camp for lunch under the shade of a Marula tree (subject to availability). Lunch consists of salads, freshly baked bread on the open campfire, cold meats and pickles. Just as the animals retreat to escape the heat of mid-day, so will you. This is your time to enjoy reading, chatting, relaxing or taking a nap.
Later in the afternoon you will head out into the wilderness once more as the animals awake from their days’ slumber and gather at the watering holes. As the sun sets on the horizon, one can only marvel at the sheer splendour of an African sunset and with refreshments in hand, toast to the wonder of nature.
On your return to camp, enjoy a hot shower under the starry night sky and gather around the warmth of the campfire to relive the day’s events and excitement. A three course dinner is served with South African wines against the magical backdrop of the African night sky. Dinner consists of Botswana beef or a lamb potjie followed by banana mekoros with chocolate or malva pudding with custard.
Retreating to the comfort of your tent after enjoying a nightcap around the campfire, you can fall asleep to the calls of the African wild. Good night.
On moving days, the safari team will pack down the camp, then travel to the next camp site and prepare the camp at the next location. When travelling between locations, the route is most commonly through the parks and reserves and is therefore an extension of your daily game drives. A picnic lunch will be served en-route. The “Kalahari Okavango” combines the classic feel of Camp Kalahari and Haina Safari Lodge with the authentic experience under canvas of an Okavango Expeditions Serviced Mobile Safari.
This safari ticks all the boxes says Managing Director Clint Gielink – only 3 departures are available for early 2018 to coincide with the peak times in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Zebra Migration in the Makgadikgadi Pans. A classic mobile safari allows you the diversity of experiencing these unique wilderness areas at their best. From the black maned lions of the Kalahari, the Zebra migration and meerkats in the pans to the amazing diversity of Khwai and Moremi this safari has it all.
The Kalahari Okavango is a 10 night combination safari covering the CKGR, the Makgadikgadi and the Okavango Delta. The safari includes a night at Camp Kalahari and Haina Safari Lodge – where our small group will have the opportunity to be briefed by a local expert on the night skies the San people of the Kalahari and everything in between.