Botswana with Wilderness Safaris: Best Luxury Camps and Lodges in Botswana

I will start with the good news wherein a new e-visa facility has recently been introduced for Botswana. This will make the Botswana visa process seamless and hassle free.

The government of Botswana has officially launched an online visa application platform, click here to have a look. Foreign citizens (including Indian Nationals) who previously needed to apply for a visa to travel to Botswana can do this now online. Travellers may now log onto the portal to create an application, make payment, complete the visa application and upload all supporting documents. You can also check their visa status via the portal.

Click here to view all the countries that require visas for Botswana.

Now lets continue to discuss everything Botswana:

Botswana with Wilderness Safaris Luxury Camps:

About Wilderness Safaris:

They are dedicated to conserving and restoring Africa’s
wilderness and wildlife by creating life-changing journeys
and inspiring positive action.

Wilderness Safaris began in Botswana in 1983, offering rustic mobile safaris to like-minded guests who were passionate about nature and exploring the country’s remote wildlife areas. It was also the first safari outfitter at the time to realise the need for its financial benefits to flow back to the country and its people, ultimately ensuring the sustainable protection of Botswana’s diverse wilderness.

Today, Wilderness Safaris owns and operates over 40 camps/lodges and safaris in some of Africa’s best wildlife and wilderness areas; creating lifechanging journeys in seven countries: Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Its reputation and operating experience has enabled the company to successfully tender for prime leases in key wildlife areas, offering guests an unrivalled suite of camps/lodges and concessions in Africa, and, in turn, contributing materially to their ongoing conservation.

The company traverses nearly 2.3 million hectares (5.7 million acres) of prime wildlife and wilderness areas, covering parts of six of Africa’s 11 biomes (communities of flora and fauna). At the same time, Wilderness Safaris shares the benefits of ecotourism with local communities, partnering with them to ensure the future protection of Africa’s spectacular wildlife heritage.


Why Wilderness Safaris:

  • With over 35 years of experience, they are Africa’s leading ecotourism operator and offer purposeful travel in a range of the finest luxury camps.
  • They have their own office infrastructure in Botswana ensuring maximum service and attention to their guests while they are travelling with them.
  • They have exclusive access to some 2.3 million hectares (over 5.6 million acres) of Africa’s best wildlife areas. All there properties in Botswana are in Private Concessions (except Kalahari Plains in Central Kalahari).
  • They own and operate their own fleet of light aircraft – Wilderness Air – creating a seamless journey between their camps.

Benefits of Safari Experience in Private Concessions:

  • You can go Off-Road on Game Drives.
  • Night Game Drives.
  • No vehicle rush at game sightings.
  • Walking Safaris.
  • Canoeing.
  • Sleep-outs.
  • Safe, low-volume Tourism.
  • Un-spoilt free movement of wildlife.
  • Best for Photography.

Understanding Botswana and its regions:

Botswana offers perhaps the best wildlife experience on the planet – thanks to its contrasting areas and large concentrations of diverse wildlife throughout.

The miraculous Okavango Delta – in which lies the celebrated Moremi Game Reserve – with its network of channels, islands and lagoons, is complemented by the elephant corridor of northern Botswana’s private Linyanti Concession; a part of the Chobe ecosystem. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve, with its arid scenery delivers one of the most remarkable desert experiences on the planet.

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN BOTSWANA:
• The profusion of wildlife, including predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena and wild dog
• Exploring the blue-green Okavango Delta by mokoro (traditional canoe) or boat
• Huge herds of elephants in the Linyanti
• Walking ancient paths through the desert with a Bushman
• Flying between our camps and witnessing the truly unique and pristine ecosystem below

Okavango Delta:

The world’s largest inland delta and a World Heritage Site, the Okavango is one of the richest and most varied habitats in Africa, and ranks as a top wildlife destination.

The Okavango Delta consists of 15 000 square kilometres of water channels, lagoons and islands, forming an incredible wilderness sanctuary. Each year, floodwaters flow from Angola, over 1 000 km away, to create this incredible wetland habitat. Home to hundreds of species of animals and birds, the Delta offers the chance to spot creatures that are not often seen elsewhere, such as sitatunga, wild dog and wattled crane.

Wilderness Safaris Camps in Okavango Delta: The list is divided into Land Camps (offer only land activities and game drives), Water Camps (offer only water based activities like mokoro and boating, no land based game-drives) and Combination Camps (these are Camps which offer both Land and Water activities, safaris and excursions).

WATER CAMPS
Jacana Camp; Pelo Camp; Xigera Safari Lodge

LAND CAMPS
Chitabe Camp; Chitabe Lediba Camp; Little Mombo Camp; Mombo Camp

COMBINATION CAMPS
Abu Camp; Jao Camp; Kwetsani Camp; Little Tubu Camp; Seba Camp; Little Vumbura Camp; Tubu Tree Camp; Qorokwe Camp; Vumbura Plains Camp

Map of Botswana with location of Wilderness Safaris Camps:

Linyanti Wetlands:

The Linyanti Wetlands are largely made up of private concessions and therefore are only
accessed by a private charter, this makes for an incredibly private and intimate luxury
experience, specially staying at one of the Wilderness Safaris Camps. It boasts the famous Savuti Channel, an ancient and sporadic watercourse that supports abundant wildlife, and the productive Linyanti River.

The Linyanti Faultline governs this area and stops the water from Chobe moving in, in turn attracting a large concentration of game.

An abundance of activities can be enjoyed here from land: game drives and walking, to
water-based: Mokoro and boats.

Wilderness Safaris Camps in Linyanti: DumaTau Camp; King’s Pool Camp; Little DumaTau Camp; Savuti and Linyanti Tented Camp

Central Kalahari:

Occupying a significant swathe of the middle of Botswana, the five million-hectare Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. While it may seem barren at first sight, the Kalahari is in fact home to a great many plants and animals, as well as San clans.

The Central Kalahari is a vast expanse of scrub-covered fossil dunes between ancient river valleys. During the rains (Nov-April), the desert comes to life, with huge herds of plains game followed by predators large and small, resulting in some of the best summer wildlife viewing in Botswana.

Wilderness Safaris Camps in Central Kalahari: Kalahari Plains

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans:

I have included this region, since it offers a great combination during the dry season June – October, along with Linyanti and Okavango Delta.

This is because the pans itself is only accessible during the dry season – from March to October. When the glaring white surface spreads so far that you can see the curvature of the earth. This season includes peak winter days with sunny and warm daylight hours, but the nights are extremely cold.

The Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is a salt pan – with an area of 3,900 kilometers. Situated in the middle of the dry savanna of north-eastern Botswana. However, it is one of the largest salt flats in the world. Lying south-west of the Okavango Delta and surrounded by the Kalahari Desert.

Wilderness Safaris does not own and operate a Camp in this region, but it offers an alternate partner camp – Jack Camp, owned and operated by Natural Selection, which is the best and most suitable to Wilderness Safaris luxury and discerning guests visiting Botswana.

Quad biking across the vast expanse of dry salt pans is one of the highlights of visting the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Among the many things to do in the Makgadikgadi Nationals Park are safari rides, game drives, birdwatching, tour of the Gweta as well as sight wildlife such as eland, lions, zebras, cheetah, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest bushbuck, giraffe, steenbok, elephants and many more.

However, experience the view of large herds of antelope converging on the great lakes to drink water and play. Encounter Bushmen trackers that will take you on guided walks to historical sites as well as you will learn about the connection between their ancient culture and the natural environment.

Natural Selection’s Camp in Makgadikgadi Pans: Jack Camp

How to Reach Botswana and Wilderness Safaris Camps:

Most guests arrive in Botswana by air, with Johannesburg, South Africa, being the main transit point. Regional flights connect Johannesburg with Maun – gateway to the Okavango and Wilderness Safaris camps – as well as Gaborone and Kasane.

There are also flights from other African airports. Maun is the main operational base for Wilderness Safaris and the hub for Wilderness Air.

Both SA Airlink and Air Botswana offer daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Maun.

VIP experience on arrival in Maun by Wilderness Safaris:

From the moment you arrive in Botswana, representatives of Wilderness Safaris will be on hand to welcome you and ensure seamless transfers from airport to camp, camp to camp, and back to your departure point. Their Maun office (just across the road from the airport) features a comfortable air-conditioned lounge for relaxation between flights.

Wilderness Air:

Wilderness Air is a key element of your safari experience, connecting you to the wilderness and to the hubs of Maun, Kasane or Livingstone for onward connections.

Light aircraft transfers between camps give guests a new perspective on the landscape, adding to their understanding of the ecosystem. They also offer wonderful photographic opportunities.

Look down on the mosaic of habitats that form the Okavango Delta.

Seasons in Botswana:

Seasonality is an important part of the Botswana experience and what to expect when you visit during this period. It is positioned as an year round destination, and each season offers a different perspective to the Botswana experience.

But the dry winter season from June – October remains the most popular time to visit Botswana due to rising water levels after the summer rains. This ensures that you get to experience the water activities like Mokoro excursions and Boat safaris.

Below will give you more details on what to expect when you travel to below regions in Botswana during the Dry Season – June to October:

Okavango Delta

The unusual aspect of the Okavango is that it receives its water in Botswana’s dry season. Only after summer rainfall has ceased do the floodwaters arrive in the Delta from further north (Angola), creating a fertile oasis filled with life.

It can take upto six months for the waters to filter down from the Panhandle in the north to the outer limits of the Delta. The level of each year’s flooding is primarily dependent on rainfall in the catchment areas in Angola as well as over the Delta itself and there is a distinct short- and long-term cycle to the flooding patterns of the Okavango and the associated river systems

June to August is the height of the annual flooding. This very special occurrence, seasonal in nature, is much-needed in maintaining the spectacular biodiversity of the area. The effects are fantastic, as due to large grassland areas and floodplains, all creatures must adapt to a watery existence.

Waterbirds and other predators follow the waters taking advantage of opportunities due to this changing environment. Game densities on the Delta fringes can rise significantly due to seasonal movements from regions such as the Kalahari.

Linyanti Region
Predator sightings are frequent owing to the reduced vegetation cover and the predictive movements of some species along the reduced and more isolated water sources.

Nesting flocks of southern carmine bee-eaters arrive – one of Botswana’s greatest avian spectacles as they dazzle visitors with colour, numbers and sounds.

Elephant and buffalo tend to be found in larger herds. General game species are plentiful with large herds of zebra, kudu, giraffe, waterbuck and impala seen daily. The best time to see wild dog is during the denning season which spans the dry winter months between June and August. This is a good time to possibly view the rare roan and sable antelope.

Central Kalahari (Best Season is summers from December to March)

You can combine Central Kalahari along with your dry winter season visit to Botswana covering Okavango, Linyanti and Central Kalahari. But you can expect below when you visit Central Kalahari during it’s not so popular season i.e. June – October.

So basically Okavango Delta and Linyanti follow opposite favorite seasons (I mean best time to visit) as compared to Central Kalahari.

  • Okavango and Linyanti: Best time June to October
  • Central Kalahari: Best time December to March

At this time, the Central Kalahari is typically a dry desert-type system, when game viewing moves into the vegetated dune belt and pan systems surrounding the fossilised valleys: most antelope move into the thickets to feed on small shrubs and tubers.

Sightings are good around Wilderness Safaris Camp – Kalahari Plains itself, especially springbok, giraffe, gemsbok, red hartebeest and steenbok, as well as predators such as lion, cheetah, leopard, daytime brown hyaena and caracal for the lucky.

Small predators still around are blackbacked jackal, meerkat (suricates), Cape fox, honey badger and a dozen mongoose species

But during it’s more popular summer (rain) season from December to March, you can expect below:

With the advent of the summer rains (December to April) the desert truly comes to life. Here, in the ancient fossil riverbeds and associated pans, the brief spring rains create the miracle of endless seas of nutritious grasses that attract large concentrations of gemsbok, springbok and red hartebeest, their newborn calves and lambs, followed inevitably by predators such as lion, cheetah – often seen at this time with cubs – and black-backed jackal.

Brief afternoon thunderstorms create a dramatic backdrop for some of the best summer wildlife viewing on the continent, as the landscape is almost instantly altered
into several hues of green; fields of wild flowers burst out of the ground taking advantage of the limited moisture on offer.

Summer birding opportunities are excellent.

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans:

I have included this region, since it offers a great combination during the dry season June – October, along with Linyanti and Okavango Delta.

This is because the pans itself is only accessible during the dry season – from March to October. When the glaring white surface spreads so far that you can see the curvature of the earth. This season includes peak winter days with sunny and warm daylight hours, but the nights are extremely cold.

• Take an exhilarating quad bike across the salt-crusted pans.
• Lie out on the pans just before night fall and watch the planetarium of stars unfold above you.
• Hunt for stone tools in the crusty salt flats of the enormous Sowa Pan.

Suggestive Itinerary for Botswana: 9 Nights:

I suggest below options, combining below regions for a perfect once in a lifetime Botswana trip:

Season to visit for below options: June – October

Option 1:

  • 3 Nights Linyanti
  • 3 Nights Okavango Delta – Combination Camp which offers both Land and Water activities
  • 3 Nights Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (I have included this region, since it offers a great combination during the dry season June – October, along with Linyanti and Okavango Delta.)

Option 2:

  • 3 Nights Linyanti
  • 3 Nights Okavango Delta – Land Camp like Mombo
  • 3 Nights Okavango Delta – Water Camp (like Xigera) or a Combination Camp which offers both Land and Water activities

Option 3:

  • 3 Nights Linyanti
  • 3 Nights Okavango Delta – Combination Camp which offers both Land and Water activities
  • 3 Nights Central Kalahari (Do remember that this is not the best season, but you can still visit (you can read what to expect in my brief under regions above), combining it with rest of your Botswana trip. This is surely a not to be missed region offering a unique habitat and landscape.

NOTE: Option 3 also becomes an option to consider, if you are seeking to travel during summers (November – March)

Details: About Wilderness Safaris Camps and Activities:

In Botswana, Wilderness Safaris camps are small, intimate safari bases in superb locations, ranging in size from 3 spacious tents to maximum 14 tents. The camps are located in the country’s northern areas, specifically the Okavango and Linyanti areas, as well as in the center of the country in the Kalahari.

Of paramount importance is the fact that all WS camps have as little impact on the environment as possible. This is relevant not only during the building process, but also during their day-to-day operations.

Wilderness Safaris offers 3 categories of Camps in their Portfolio. Premier, Classic and Adventure Camps.

For the purpose of this BLOG, I am only mentioning info with regards to their best in class Premier Camps, and one Classic Camp in Central Kalahari, since they don’t have a Premier Camp in Central Kalahari.

Camps in Linyanti:

King’s Pool Camp:

OVERVIEW:

Once a rustic campsite for Scandinavian royalty, King’s Pool overlooks the handsome oxbow lagoon of the same name in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, bordering Chobe National Park.

This 100% solar-powered camp has 9 luxurious tents each boasting a large bedroom area and lounge leading to a veranda with a private thatched sala from which to soak up the gorgeous views and possibly even spot elephant crossing the channel.

The river along which King’s Pool is located hosts numerous species of birds and is a magnet for game in the dry winter months. The spacious main area comprises a
lounge, dining and a convivial bar area stylishly set on expansive raised decks. There is also a pool and an open-air ‘kgotla’ for evening dining under the stars.

UNIQUE POINTS:

  • Premier, luxurious camp in enormous Linyanti region.
  • Excellent dry-season game viewing concentrations … elephant herds, lion, giraffe, leopard and also wild dog.
  • The sunken hide offers a completely different perspective on wildlife.

WILDLIFE:

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve has abundant wildlife in a wide variety of species, but is most noted for its very large elephant population which can reach enormous densities during the dry winter months. Other game is abundant, such as impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and bushbuck, and their predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyaena. Rarer species such as sable and roan antelope also emerge from the woodlands during the dry season. Birding is spectacular.

ACTIVITIES:

  • Day and night game drives with 05 x 06-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers – hot water bottles, blankets and lined ponchos are provided on cold winter mornings.
  • The camp has a supply of bean bags for guests to use to steady their camera while on game drives, as well as a monopod for specialist photography.
  • There is a pair of Olympus binoculars in each of the game drive vehicles for guests to share amongst themselves whilst out game viewing.
  • Guided nature walks, seasonal and on request, subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide.
  • Water-based activities on the Linyanti River are primarily offered on the 01 x 08 seater Queen Silvia barge.
  • A sunken hide is located at a waterhole approximately ten minutes’ drive from camp and can accommodate a maximum of six guests.
  • Viewing hide on the western end of camp.
  • Birding in an internationally recognised Important Bird Area (IBA),
  • Stargazing with a spotting scope.
  • Fishing on a catch and release basis (fishing is prohibited in Botswana in January and February for fish breeding purposes).
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes – operated in a Robinson with guest numbers as a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 03 (activity takes place between 11:00 and 15:00 when animal densities are high).

CHILD POLICY:

  • Children of 06 years and older are accommodated.
  • For families travelling with children between 06 and 12 years, private activities need to be booked and paid for.
  • Children between 06 and 16 years must share with an adult/s in the same room.
  • The minimum age for walking activities is 13 years (subject to season and availability of a qualified walking guide).

RATES:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD3093 Per person per night sharing

Duma Tau Camp:

OVERVIEW:

DumaTau, meaning ‘roar of the lion,’ is a luxury tented camp located in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve on the western boundary of Chobe National Park. The area is famed for large herds of elephants and exceptional game viewing along the Savuti Channel. DumaTau has a very light carbon footprint and runs on 100% solar energy

UNIQUE POINTS

  • The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve boasts the greatest habitat diversity and game viewing in northern Botswana.
  • Enormous concentrations of elephant in the dry season; good viewing of leopard and wild dog.
  • Guests take part in conservation initiatives.

WILDLIFE:

DumaTau is located close to the source of the Savuti Channel, with access to the Linyanti Swamps, floodplains and mopane woodlands, thus offering an excellent combination of habitats.

Well known for its elephant concentrations as they congregate along the
waterways and lagoons during the dry winter months, the area is also renowned for general wildlife including red lechwe, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, buffalo and warthog. Predator sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyaena are good.

ACTIVITIES

  • Day and night game drives in 05 x 06-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers.
  • During winter months hot water bottles (on early morning game drives only), blankets and lined ponchos are provided.
  • The camp has a supply of bean bags for guests to use to steady their cameras while on a game activity.
  • A pair of Olympus binoculars is available in each of the game drive vehicles for guests to share amongst themselves whilst game viewing and may be requested from the guides.
  • Guided nature walks (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide).
  • Water-based activities in 01 x 06-seater and 01 x 08-seater motor boats (water levels permitting), plus 01 x 08-seater barge for lunches, picnics and sundowners.
  • Birding in an internationally recognised IBA (Important Bird Area).
  • Fishing on a catch and release basis only, however, is prohibited by Botswana law in January and February due to breeding purposes.
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes – operated in a Robinson with guest numbers as a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 03 (activity takes place between 11:00 and 15:00 when animal densities are high).

CHILD POLICY DUMATAU AND LITTLE DUMATAU

  • Children 06 years and older are accommodated.
  • Families travelling with children between the ages of 06 and 12 years, will be welcomed at DumaTau in the family unit, or triple on request, with sole use of a vehicle required as per standard policy.
  • Families travelling with children between the ages of 06 and 12 years, at Little DumaTau, will need to book and pay for sole use of the camp. Note that child rates will not apply at Little DumaTau.
  • Children between 06 and 16 years of age must share with at least one adult in the same tented suite.
  • The minimum age for walking activities is 13 years (subject to season and the availability of a qualified walking guide).
  • The minimum age for boating activities is 06 years (water levels permitting).

Little Duma Tau:

OVERVIEW:

With just 4 supremely spacious guest tented suites, each with its own lounge, private plunge pool, bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, this intimate camp promises an exceptional Linyanti safari experience. It is situated just to the north of the main Camp – Duma Tau on the same lagoon frontage.

Little DumaTau’s dining and lounge areas offer uninterrupted views over Osprey Lagoon, and it is here that guests have the opportunity to learn more about elephant conservation and the concession’s important biomonitoring project.

Little DumaTau shares a new wellness centre and gym with it’s main Camp – DumaTau; this includes an inviting shaded deck, a lap pool, spa, The Osprey Retreat and Safari Boutique.

With easy access to the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve extraordinary range of habitats, prolific plains game and attendant predators are a certainty all year
round.

It is most suitable for a small group of Family (including kids between 6-12 years) and Friends travelling together, seeking privacy, and book Little Duma Tau on exclusive sole-use basis. But otherwise it is also available for booking on per tent basis.

Camps in the Okavango Delta:

Mombo: Land Camp

OVERVIEW:

Long known as “the Place of Plenty,” Mombo boasts enormous concentrations of plains game and predators and is considered to be one of the best areas for game viewing in Africa.

Located just off the northern tip of Chief’s Island, the largest landmass in the Okavango, Mombo is considered the most fertile area in the Delta, with its mix of habitats attracting large herds followed by numbers and varieties of predators.

The 8 spacious suites afford sweeping views over a floodplain teeming with wildlife. The sitting room, separate bedroom and bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers and bathtub with copper and brass fittings all contribute to Wilderness Safaris’ ideal of responsible luxury.

UNIQUE POINTS

  • Arguably the best big game viewing in all of Africa.
  • Bountiful hunting ground for large prides of lion and star-struck leopard.
  • An opulent safari camp in the very heart of the Delta.

WILDLIFE:

The Mombo Traversing Area is highlighted by the massive concentrations of plains game and predators that live here. These include all the big cats, of which lion sightings are frequent. Leopard, spotted hyaena, large herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, blue
wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and more abound, while cheetah and wild dog can occasionally be spotted moving through the area.

ACTIVITIES

  • Daytime and early evening game drives only (returning an hour after sunset due to Moremi Game Reserve regulations) in 04 x 04-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers. Accommodating four guests per vehicle means they have a more exclusive experience and dedicated time with their passionate guide.
  • During winter months hot water bottles (on early morning game drives only), blankets and lined ponchos are provided.
  • A pair of Olympus binoculars is available in each of the game drive vehicles for guests to share amongst themselves whilst game viewing.
  • Birding (Internationally Recognised IBA – Important Bird Area).
  • Stargazing with a laser pointer,
  • Picnic baskets can be prepared for daytime drives allowing for full day excursions.
  • Skimmer Hide (seasonal and approximately a 30 minute drive from camp, this is an elevated structure overlooking the floodplain and accommodates a maximum of 06).
  • Kubu Kaya Hide (seasonal and approximately a 20 minute drive from camp, this is an elevated structure overlooking a channel that is dry during low water levels, and accommodates a maximum of 06).
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes ; half day (morning or afternoon).
  • Tsodilo Hills (UNESCO World Heritage Site) excursion to learn more about Botswana and the history of the San – with guest numbers as a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 10 (via scenic helicopter flights only).

CHILD POLICY MOMBO AND LITTLE MOMBO

Children aged 12 years and younger:

  • Parties with children 12 years and younger, are accommodated at Mombo on the proviso that the party have a private vehicle or sole use of a vehicle.
  • Parties with children 12 years and younger, may only book Little Mombo if it is on a sole use basis, otherwise they book and stay at Mombo main camp.

RATES:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD 4070 Per person per night sharing

Little Mombo: Land Camp

OVERVIEW:

With just 4 suites tucked away on the other side of the same island, Little Mombo is a smaller, more intimate version of its sister camp – Mombo. Built under a shady canopy of jackalberry and sausage trees, overlooking a floodplain regularly visited by herds of herbivores (and their predators), the camp has its own facilities, including a dining area, boma, kitchen, lounge and pool, while being connected to Mombo via a raised boardwalk.

Renowned as “the Place of Plenty,” the enormous number and variety of wildlife around Little Mombo makes it a hugely sought-after wildlife-viewing destination.

UNIQUE POINTS

  • A sumptuously-appointed camp perfect for small groups.
  • Found in the Okavango’s premier wildlife viewing area.
  • High concentrations of plains game and their predators, including all the big cats.

Rates:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD 4070 Per person per night sharing

Vumbura Plains: Land and Water Camp

OVERVIEW:

Luxurious Vumbura Plains lies in an area that is a mix of water and dry land. The wildlife is diverse, so that both land and water activities on vehicles, mokoro and boats deliver an all-round African safari experience.

Vumbura Plains comprises two separate but linked camps, consisting of a total of 14 raised, spacious suites, unique and contemporary in design with indoor and outdoor showers and an en-suite bathroom. Additional features include a private plunge pool and ‘sala’ –from where you can watch the passing parade of wildlife or even enjoy a relaxing soothing massage.

UNIQUE POINTS

  • Beautiful, diverse area with a range of herbivore and predator species.
  • Best antelope diversity in the Delta, particularly sable.
  • Large, lavish camp with contemporary, modern design.

WILDLIFE:

The annually flooded grasslands of the Okavango Delta surrounding Vumbura Plains are locally referred to as ‘melapo’ and offer good seasonal viewing of elephant, giraffe, impala, sable antelope, kudu, zebra, common waterbuck and reedbuck, tsessebe, wildebeest, red lechwe and Cape buffalo. Hippo and crocodile are common in the waterways.

Predators include the African wild dog, several resident prides of lion, as well as leopard, cheetah and African wildcat. Birding is exceptional all year round.

ACTIVITIES

  • Vumbura Plains North: Day and night drives in 04 x 10-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers.
  • Vumbura Plains South: Day and night drives in 03 x 10-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers.
  • The camps have a supply of bean bags for guests to use to steady their camera while on a game activity.
  • There is a pair of Olympus binoculars in each of the game drive vehicles for guests to share amongst themselves whilst out game viewing.
  • Hot water bottles, blankets and lined ponchos are provided on game drives.
  • Water-based activities in 03 x 02-seater mokoro and 01 x 06-seater boat (water levels permitting) – available at North and South.
  • Guided nature walks (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide).
  • Birding in an Internationally Recognised IBA – Important Birding Area.
  • Fishing on a catch and release basis (fishing is prohibited in Botswana in January and February for fish breeding purposes).
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Hot air ballooning (weather permitting). Transfers to the launch site are done via helicopter flight ONLY, while the return to camp can be either a game drive or scenic helicopter flight at guest’s choice.
  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes; half day (morning or afternoon) (via scenic helicopter flights only).

CHILD POLICY

  • Children of 06 years and older are accommodated.
  • For families travelling with children between 06 and 12 years, private activities need to be booked and paid for.
  • Children between 06 and 16 years must share with an adult/s in the same room.
  • The minimum age for boating activities (water levels permitting) is 06 years.
  • The minimum age for mokoro activities (water levels permitting) and walking activities (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide) is 13 years.
  • For the hot air ballooning, the minimum age restriction is 07 years and a parent or guardian must accompany any child under 16.

RATES:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD3216 Per person per night sharing

Jao Camp: Land and Water Camp

OVERVIEW:

Jao is located on a remote island in one of the most picturesque concessions in the Delta. From waterways and lagoons to dry Kalahari grasslands, Jao can offer both land and water experiences, depending on water levels. Mokoro, boating and fishing take place seasonally, with day and night game drives usually all year round.

The camp (rebuilt in 2019) comprises a main area elevated into the tree canopy, two exclusive villas and five suites, all with private plunge pools, lounge and dining areas, and en-suite bathrooms, including indoor and outdoor showers.

The two Jao villas, accommodating four people each in two identical guest rooms, share a main area, and also have an exclusive vehicle, guide, chef and butler.

UNIQUE POINTS

  • Luxurious, sophisticated camp with individually-designed villas and suites each with private plunge pools.
  • In the midst of archetypal Okavango floodplains with access to Hunda Island in the dry season.
  • The best and most unique spa experience in the Delta.
  • A unique main area with amazing views and individual areas for privacy as well as a “floating” fire deck and main pool as well as the most unique and picturesque gym in the Delta
  • Wine cellar, Safari Boutique and museum in a double story building creating and amazing atmosphere and history of Wilderness Safaris unique beginning and growth.

WILDLIFE:

The game viewing at Jao is superb. Huge herds of red lechwe can be seen, followed by their primary predator – prides of lion.

Other game typical of the area includes elephant, buffalo, leopard, tsessebe, zebra, hippo and crocodile as well as the uncommon sitatunga and spotted-necked otter.

Many bird species are resident such as Meyer’s parrot, African harrier hawk, black heron, copperytailed coucal, and black crake as well as the unique and rare Pel’s owl, slaty egret and wattled crane, being some of the avian treasures found at Jao.

ACTIVITIES

  • Day and night drives in 04 x 06-seater open 4×4 Land Rovers – hot water bottles are provided on early morning game drives.
  • Water-based activities in 10 x 2-seater mokoro and 02 x 10-seater boat used in the waterways to the east of camp.
  • The camp has a supply of bean bags for guests to use to steady their camera while on game drive.
  • Full day game drives and picnics on Hunda Island – a 45min boat ride away from Jao Camp – mainly during times of high water levels or an approximate 1 hour drive during dry season.
  • Fishing on a catch and release basis year round except January and February when fishing is barred by law for breeding.
  • Guided nature walks (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide, therefore pre-booking is essential).
  • Birding (internationally recognised IBA – Important Bird Area).
  • Stargazing with a spotting scope.
  • Wine and Gin tasting in the wine cellar.
  • The Jao Star Bed is approximately 20 minutes’ drive from camp.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes; half day (morning or afternoon).
  • Half day excursion to Tsodilo Hills (UNESCO World Heritage Site) to learn more about Botswana and the history of the San (ex scenic helicopter flights).

CHILD POLICY

  • Children of 06 years and older are accommodated.
  • For families travelling with children between 06 and 12 years, private activities need to be booked and paid for.
  • Children between 06 and 16 years must share with an adult/s in the same tent.
  • The minimum age for boating activities is 06 years, and for mokoro activities is 13 years (water levels permitting).
  • The minimum age for Spa treatments is 06 years with the Kid’s Pamper treatment applicable for children between the ages of 06 to 12 years.

RATES:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD2999 Per person per night sharing

Abu Camp: Land and Water Camp

OVERVIEW:

At Abu, you are invited to immerse yourself in the majestic world of the African elephant. Be both humbled and inspired as you gain a deeper understanding of elephant conservation – the premise on which Abu is based.

Named after a very special bull elephant, Abu Camp blends in seamlessly with the magnificent surrounding hardwood trees. Looking out over a large lagoon, an imaginative use of canvas has created a unique and luxurious style of tent.

Each of the 6 en-suite tents has its own distinctive furnishings and fittings, imparting an air of opulence in the bush, and featuring an indoor and outdoor shower, an outdoor copper bath and a plunge pool sunk into the elevated teak deck.

The multi-decked lounge and dining area and well-stocked library and study, gym and pool will keep you entertained, informed and energised while at Abu.

WILDLIFE:

Unlike some of the water-flooded areas of the Okavango Delta, the Abu Private Reserve varies from open grasslands to secluded island sanctuaries and papyrus-fringed channels.

This variety of natural habitats allows for an abundance of general game. Giraffe,
zebra, elephant, impala, tsessebe, lechwe, wildebeest, buffalo and warthog roam the reserve.

Lion often move through the area too and can sometimes be heard calling at night, while hyaena and leopard are resident and so are encountered more frequently.

ACTIVITIES

  • Day and night drives in 04 x 05-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers. Hot water bottles, blankets and lined ponchos are provided on game drives.
  • Guided nature walks (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide).
  • Water-based activities in 06 x 02 seater mokoro and 02 x 06 seater boat (both water levels permitting).
  • Fishing on a catch and release basis only, however, prohibited by Botswana law in January and February due to the breeding season.
  • Birding (Internationally Recognised IBA – Important Bird Area).
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES

  • Scenic helicopter flights ranging in duration from 30, 45 to 60 minutes; half day (morning or afternoon).
  • Half day excursion to Tsodilo Hills (UNESCO World Heritage Site) to learn more about Botswana and the history of the San (ex scenic helicopter flights).

CHILD POLICY

  • The minimum age for walking (seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide) and mokoro activities (water levels permitting) is 13 years
  • The minimum age for boating activities is 06 years (water levels permitting).
  • Specific to game drives and boating, private activities must be booked and charged for between the ages of 06 and 12 years inclusive.

RATES:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022: USD3294 Per person per night sharing

Xigera Safari Lodge: Water Camp

OVERVIEW:

Every aspect of Xigera is handcrafted to charm guests’ senses and stir their souls – from the evocative interiors to one-of-a-kind wilderness encounters.

This is Xigera (pronounced ‘kee-jera’), named for the pied kingfisher that makes its home amid the watery channels of Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve.

Wilderness Safaris is proud to market this Red Carnation Hotels property – rooted in a strong family history and devotion to unparalleled luxury in service.

Xigera Safari Lodge is located in the Moremi Game Reserve with private access to a 4, 500-hectare (11 120-acre) wetland paradise in the heart of the Delta.

Situated on one of the Okavango’s key waterways, Xigera Safari Lodge is surrounded by picturesque papyrus swamps and wooded islands and is renowned for its very high density of sitatunga antelope.

It offers 12 luxurious fully air-conditioned suites (including a 2-bedroom family suite) with each suite providing 184 sqm (1,980 sq ft) of indoor and outdoor space including a separate lounge, bedroom and dressing room area.

UNIQUE POINTS:

Xigera is primarily a water based camp, but land-based activities are also in offering, providing guests the opportunity to experience both aspects of the Okavango Delta.

During the annual flood, guests can boat across floodplains and along channels to reach islands where there are regular sightings of buffalo, elephants, zebras, giraffes, lechwe and sitatunga as well as numerous other Delta species.

Hippos can be spotted on mokoro and boating excursions, along with an abundance of birds.

WILDLIFE:

The area is known for remarkable mammal sightings including red lechwe, spotted-necked otter, elephant, buffalo, reedbuck and tsessebe.

Predators include lion, spotted hyaena and leopard. Guests are sometimes treated to close-up views of lion or leopard using the footbridge connecting Xigera to the next island!

This concession lies in an International Birding Area (IBA) with many ‘Okavango specials’ being present, including Pel’s Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Brown Firefinch, Greater Swamp Warbler, Wattled Crane, African Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana.

ACTIVITIES

• While the emphasis at Xigera is on water activities, game drives are offered all year round.
• No night drives due to Moremi Game Reserve National Park regulations.
• Day game drives in open 4×4 vehicles (four vehicles will be 4-seaters and two vehicles will be 6-seaters).
• During colder or wetter weather, hot water bottles, blankets and lined ponchos are provided
• Water-based activities are offered; in 2-seater glass-bottom mokoro; and 6-seater motorboats, 2 of which have a glass-bottom and 2 have a super structure with roof seating available (seasonal water levels permitting).

UNIQUE ACTIVITIES:

Private yoga sessions; Spa treatments; a 1-night Baobab Treehouse Sleepout for 2 adult guests at a surcharge, subject to availability and weather permitting and scenic helicopter flights.

CHILD POLICY:

• Only children aged 12 and over are welcome at Xigera Safari Lodge.
• Children aged between 12 and 16 must share a suite with one adult.
• Children partaking in boating or mekoro excursions must wear life vests at all times.
• For safety reasons, children aged under 13 years may not participate in walking or mokoro activities

RATES:

01 May 2021 – 31 May 2021: USD 3160 Per person per night sharing

Central Kalahari:

Kalahari Plains:

OVERVIEW:

Kalahari Plains lies in a remote part of the diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and offers some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in Africa, particularly in summer (December – March).

Located in the Kalahari Desert in central Botswana, this reserve is the largest conservation area in the country and one of the largest in the world.

It’s star attractions include the legendary Kalahari blackmaned lion, as well as some of the world’s best cheetah viewing. Kalahari Plains overlooks an immense pan with endless horizons and beautiful skies.

It offers accommodation in 8 canvas tented accommodation on a raised deck (including one family unit). The camp, including its main area with pool and deck, takes in the sweeping, spacious views across the Kalahari. Innovative insulated canvas walls and roofs keep the temperatures inside comfortable.

UNIQUE POINTS

  • Excellent access to the vastness of the Central Kalahari.
  • Summer (December to March) brings plains game concentrations, and the best cheetah viewing in Africa.
  • Experience traditional San culture in a respectful, authentic manner.

WILDLIFE:

Healthy wildlife populations are present in the area all year round, but with the advent of the summer rains, the desert comes to life. A plethora of plains game such as springbok and gemsbok converge in their hundreds to graze, followed by lion, one of the highest concentrations of cheetah in southern Africa and leopard.

In winter (June – October), the Kalahari is a typical desert. General game is still easily seen, from the carnivores to wildebeest, red hartebeest and steenbok, as well as small predators like black-backed jackal, Cape fox, honey badger and myriad mongoose species. Some 220 bird species have been recorded.

ACTIVITIES:

As Kalahari Plains is located in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, we adhere to all the Department of Wildlife and National Parks regulations including no off-road driving and no night driving.

  • Daytime game drives and early evening game drives only (no night drives – permissible an hour before and an hour after park closure, due to Central Kalahari Game Reserve regulations which includes no off road driving) in 04 x 10-seater open 4×4 Land Cruisers.
  • During winter months hot water bottles (on early morning game drives only), blankets and lined ponchos are provided.
  • The camp has a supply of bean bags for guests to use to steady their cameras while on a game activity.
  • A pair of Olympus binoculars is available in each of the game drive vehicles for guests to share amongst themselves whilst game viewing and may be requested from our guides.
  • Full day excursion to Deception Valley with a picnic brunch (only possible on a minimum 3 night stay or more – alternatively on a stay of 2 nights, to guarantee the excursion a private vehicle needs to be booked and paid for.
  • Guided, interpretative walk with the San (led by camp staff members who are descendants of the San and within close proximity to the camp – 800 meters).
  • Guided nature walks [(seasonal and subject to the availability of a qualified walking guide) approximate duration 1.5 hours, departing camp just before sunrise and toward one of the pans in the area],
  • Birding (Internationally Recognised IBA – Important Bird Area).
  • Private rooftop area for sleep-outs accessed by stairs from the tent deck [(two mattresses and solar lights provided) – weather permitting and operated subject to the discretion of the Camp Manager.
  • Stargazing with a laser pointer.
  • Presentations by camp staff.
  • Wilderness Safaris and Olympus Photo Hub experience.

CHILD POLICY

  • Children 06 years and older are accommodated.
  • For families travelling with children between the ages of 06 and 12 years, private activities need to be booked and paid for.
  • Children between 06 and 16 years must share with at least one adult in the same tent.
  • The minimum age for walking activities and sleep-outs is 13 years (subject to season and the availability of a qualified walking guide).

RATES:

June – October:

01 Jun 2022 – 31 Oct 2022 – USD767 Per person per night sharing

November – April:

20 Dec 2021 – 05 Jan 2022 – USD1098 Per person per night sharing
01 Nov 2022 – 19 Dec 2022 – USD1098 Per person per night sharing

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans: A Natural Selection Property

Jack’s Camp:

OVERVIEW:

After several decades of setting the standard in the Kalahari, the Jack’s Camp has undergone a full rebuild and has now reopened in 2021.

The brand-new Jack’s Camp pays homage to the property’s enduring and much-loved 1940s campaign style. The guest tents, 7 twins and 2 doubles, are much larger and each is 270 square metres in size.

The iconic interiors remain and are embellished with rich textiles from around the world, Natural History Museum cabinets, and an overhead bed cooling system. Ensuite bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers and outside, each veranda has a private plunge pool.

The new, larger mess tent is resplendent with the renowned Natural History Museum, library, antique pool table and a well-stocked drinks chest. The iconic nomadic Persian tea tent has been made larger and the shop has been renovated and restocked with new treasures.

UNIQUE POINTS:

  • Enjoy the ultimate in space and exclusivity; the camp is one of just three in a one million-acre private wildlife reserve.
  • There’s an impressive choice of extraordinary activities to be enjoyed including quad biking, bushman walks, classic desert game drives, meerkat visits and horse rides.
  • After an early morning desert exploration, retreat back to the sanctuary of camp to sit back and relax in the elegant Persian tea tent.
  • The camp has one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient artefacts in Botswana, collected and curated by the Bousfield family over decades.
  • Indulge in a lazy afternoon in your private plunge pool overlooking the Makgadikgadi pans, watching the world go by.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the year-round desert wildlife: brown hyena, oryx, Kalahari lion and, after dark, aardvark, porcupine, honey badger and bat eared fox.

WILDLIFE:

The desert is never a place of abundance. But Makgadikgadi is full of surprises offering elusive species and desert-adapted animals and a perfect complement to Botswana’s traditionally game-rich areas, like Linyanti and the Okavango Delta.

The brown hyena is a symbol of what’s to come in the Makgadikgadi. There are only 8000 of these special hunters left in the world, and there aren’t many other places you’ll encounter one.

Other carnivores that know how to eke out their survival here include aardwolves and bat-eared foxes, honey badgers and black-maned Kalahari lion.

Then there’s aardvark, gemsbok, springbok and black-backed jackals to look out for on game drives, and perhaps even an elephant or two. And last, but definitely not least, the meerkats.

Jack Camp’s team have been busy pioneering a meerkat habituation project with some of the world’s pre-eminent researchers. The cheeky creatures are still very wild, but they do enjoy coming to say hello.

ACTIVITIES:

One of the most original and exciting camps in Africa, the safari experience at Jack’s is unique. Here the living desert is constantly full of surprises. At first sight, the lunar-like salt pans appear devoid of life, but in the hands of the of the knowledgeable camp guides the story of the Makgadikgadi begins to unfold.

Throughout your stay you will find an impressive choice of extraordinary activities and desert culture experiences to enjoy in and around camp.

Year Round Activities:
• Get up close and personal with the habituated meerkats.
• Discover the secrets of the pans with the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on a fascinating bush walk.
• Take game drives and night drives in custom built 4x4s to spot the unique desert wildlife that inhabits the pans, like the elusive brown hyena or Kalahari lion.
• Enjoy a visit to the site of the historic Chapman’s Baobab. Once one of the three largest trees in Africa and a national monument of Botswana, Chapman’s Baobab was visited by many a tourist and was originally even used as a landmark for travellers.
• Enjoy game drives in the Makgadikgadi National Park during longer stays.
• Go on an thrilling helicopter flip
• Embark on an adventurous horseback safari (for all levels of riders; additional charge applies, but one two-hour safari is included if staying for three nights or longer). Multi-day riding safaris are also available for experienced riders – please contact us for more information.
• After an afternoon exploring the Kalahari desert, enjoy a refreshing sundowner while watching the sun set over the pans.

Dry Season (1st April – 31st October)
• Take an exhilarating quad bike across the salt-crusted pans.
• Lie out on the pans just before night fall and watch the planetarium of stars unfold above you.
• Hunt for stone tools in the crusty salt flats of the enormous Sowa Pan.

Green Season (1st November – 31st March)
• Witness the second largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in Africa (and it’s also the last remaining one in Southern Africa).

In Camp
• Sleep inside a tent that’s a designated Natural History Museum.
• Relax on your private veranda with a sparkling plunge pool and breath taking views of the Makgadikgadi pans.
• Treat yourself to a wellness therapy on your private deck.
• Spend time looking at the fascinating Natural History Cabinets, dripping with artifacts from this ancient landscape as well as telling stories from around the world.
• Relax in the new larger mess tent, enjoying the well-stocked drinks chest and antique pool table.
• Soak up the sun at the swimming pool pavilion, the only one of its kind in Africa.
• Enjoy sweet treats in the Persian tea tent.
• Grab a book from the large collection in the library and find a quiet spot to read.

CHILD POLICY:

Children of all ages are welcome. But Private vehicles must be booked for families with children 12 years and younger.

RATES:

Range: USD1,450 — USD2,195 per person per night sharing

Botswana Experiences Image Gallery:

Image and Content Credits: Wilderness Safaris

Wilderness Safaris Botswana Nature Guide – Species Checklist:

How to Book:

You can book a memorable, once in a lifetime experience using Wilderness Safaris’s preferred sales partner in India – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd., based out of New Delhi. They are a boutique travel design company and Africa Safari specialists with expertise and long established connections to be able to plan and execute your next trip to Botswana.

– Amit Kalsi, Private Travel Designer

Published by experientialtraveljourneys

A Private Travel Designer specialising in private, luxury, experiential, transformational, off-beat, off-the-grid, bespoke, tailor-made, bespoke, authentic, sustainable journeys to destinations worldwide.

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