See the big name attractions of southern Africa – Vic Falls, Chobe and the Okavango Delta

Containing in its borders the world's largest salt pans, inland delta and number of elephants, Botswana has plenty to boast about. And, happily for visitors, the country knows it. 38% of the country's landscape – which encompasses everything from savanna to swamp to the sands of the Kalahari – is protected and the travel infrastructure is among the very best in Africa. Taking in also Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls and Namibia's Zambezi region, this trip celebrates both the natural and cultural highlights of Botswana. Stay in a lodge overlooking a watering hole frequented by elephants. Jump in jeeps and set out on game drives in Chobe National Park. Paddle through the Okavango Delta in a traditional dug out canoe, and be welcomed into the villages of native Bushmen. If it's a diversity of landscapes, wildlife and cultures you're after, this is the trip.


Start
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Finish
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Countries
Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe
Style
Original
Theme
Wildlife
Code
UBSZ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Take a swim at Elephants Sands while watching elephants play in the watering hole.

  • Glide through the wildlife-filled waterways of the Okavango by mokoro

  • Seek out elephant on a 4x4 game drive through Chobe National Park, home to Africa's most abundant herds

  • Be welcomed into the villages of native Xwe Bushmen

  • Stay in comfortable meru-style permanent tents, lodges and hotels on this Original style trip.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This itinerary features some long travel days which can be exacerbated by bumpy African roads.

  • Botswana temperatures rise in the hot dry period of September and October before the rains hit and temperatures can get as high as 34-38°C. Not all accommodation will have air-conditioning. This is quite common across Africa, particularly in remote locations where lodges or camps operate on solar power or generators.

  • Botswana is a very seasonal destination. What you see and experience can differ quite dramatically depending on the time of year you visit. Please consider this before you choose your departure date. See the 'Climate and Seasonal' section for more details.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Mhoro! Welcome to Zimbabwe. Your adventure begins today with a 6pm welcome meeting at the hotel. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for this, consider arriving a day early so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you arrive early, check out some of the optional activities around Vic Falls. The Zimbabwe side of the falls offers the broadest view of this colossal natural wonder. Scenic helicopter flights are incredible – if you opt for one, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only operator Intrepid endorses.

We recommend Wild Horizons activity centre to book any optional activities. However, we have not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk assessed or do not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Sunset Cruise - USD57
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD175
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD334
  • Victoria Falls - Village & township tour - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
You may also notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We ask all Intrepid travellers to avoid this activity as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many of our itineraries, we strive to only view animals in their natural habitats and to do so with the greatest level of respect. The lion walking industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions.

Read more about animal welfare and our ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge here:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/animal-welfare
Travel across the Kazangula border into Botswana. The drive to reach our accommodation; Elephant Sands is approximately 325km and will take roughly 6 hours (including the border crossing). Located in a private concession bordering on the Chobe Forest Reserve, the watering hole at Elephant Sands lodge attracts herds of elephant and other wildlife in season. We will spend the night in chalets with open plan bedroom, mosquito nets, ensuite bathrooms and views of the waterhole. There is a swimming pool, restaurant, and bar onsite.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
The Lodge is unfenced and animals roam freely. It's a good idea to pack a small torch or headlamp to use when navigating your way to and from your room at night. The lodge is powered by generators which are switched off at night. There are no electrical sockets in the chalets. If you'd like to charge your phone, camera or laptop you can do so in the restaurant.
After breakfast, drive to Maun, a bustling town on the edge of the Okavango Delta (355km, approximately 6-6.5 hours). Arriving here in the afternoon, you'll have the opportunity to take in this World Heritage site from above on a scenic flight in a light aircraft (an optional activity that your trip leader can help you arrange).
Tonight's accommodation is in the Sedia Hotel, a comfortable hotel situated on the town's outskirts.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Plane Scenic Flight - From USD75 - USD390
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leaving Maun after breakfast, drive to the north-western part of the Okavango Delta. This is quite a long drive – approximately 300km – and it will take about 6 hours. In reaching our vehicles secure parking area we transfer to a 4x4 for the remaining 12km to our Lodge. Our accommodation for the next 2 nights is situated on the edge of the Guma Lagoon just off the panhandle of the Okavango Delta.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we hop into mokoros (traditional dugout canoes) for a waterlevel exploration of the delta. Paddling through papyrus and reed beds to lily-covered lagoons and islands, be sure to keep on the lookout for elephants, antelope, warthogs and other creatures of the plains. Tuck into a picnic lunch on one of the islands and embark on a short bushwalk, returning to the lodge in the late afternoon.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro Safari & Nature Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast we take the 4x4 transfer back to our vehicle and make our way to the Namibian border. The drive is approximately 150km and will take about 4-5hours (including the time it takes to complete the immigration formalities).
The drive to tonight's camp, which is on the Caprivi banks of the Kavango River, involves passing through the Mahango Game Reserve. In the afternoon we venture out on a guided excursion to the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe Bushmen, which presents an excellent opportunity to observe village life up close.
Accommodation
  • Basic Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Negepi - Village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue the journey along the Caprivi Strip in the newly formed Kavango-Zambezi Trans frontier park. Crossing the border back into Botswana we'll arrive at Kasane, a town surrounded by the Chobe National Park (455km, approximately 7hrs). Taking its name from the river which marks the border between Namibia and Botswana, Chobe boasts the largest population of elephant in Africa, plus birdlife, pods of wallowing hippos and more. If time permits there will be the chance to take an optional boat cruise along the river – swimming elephants are a common sight.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River cruise - ZAR398
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wake early and take a dawn game drive in Chobe National Park, where you may see elephants drinking at the waters' edge, large herds of cape buffaloes and many impala within the park.

Return to the lodge for a late breakfast and enjoy the rest of the day at your pleasure.

If you didn't get the chance to yesterday, you might like to enjoy an optional sunset cruise on the Chobe River. At the right time of year the river is frequented by large families of Elephants crossing the banks, drinking, and playing in the water. it's also ideal for spotting bird life such as saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, fish eagles and beautiful bee-eaters as well as hippos, and crocodiles.
Grab a sundowner from the boats small bar and sit back and watch the sunset over the river. A perfect way to end the day!
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - Morning Game Drive in 4X4 vehicle
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River cruise - ZAR398
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
It can get very cool on the early morning game drive so be sure to rug up, and dress in layers.
You have the option to get up before dawn and head out on an optional morning game drive. This time of day is when predators such as leopards and lions are spotted returning from their night's hunting. Return to the lodge for breakfast, then drive on across the Zimbabwean border. After completing the border formalities, drive the remaining distance to Victoria Falls (a distance of approximately 100 km). Our adventure ends upon arrival in Vic Falls (approximately 2pm). No accommodation is included tonight. Ask your travel specialist about post tour accommodation options if you're considering staying on in Victoria Falls a few extra days.

Those staying longer can visit the falls and choose from various activities and excursions, including white water rafting, canoeing and flying fox rides. For an incredible scenic helicopter flight, choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), the only Intrepid-endorsed operator. Your leader can help you arrange this.
Optional Activities
  • Chobe National Park - 4x4 Game Drive - BWP380
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Minibus, 4x4 safari vehicle, Mokoro

Accommodation

Lodge (4 nights), Chalet (1 night), Hotel (2 nights), Tree house (1 night)

Included activities

  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro Safari & Nature Walk
  • Negepi - Village visit
  • Chobe National Park - Morning Game Drive in 4X4 vehicle

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. This trip finishes on arrival at Victoria Falls on day 9. Please do not book any departing flights until after 8pm this evening.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Botswana Highlights trips score an average of 4.52 out of 5 based on 25 reviews in the last year.

Botswana Highlights, September 2017

Donald Moffitt

Botswana Highlights, August 2017

Sally Cook