Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Chobe River Front - Okavango Delta - Khwai Community Area 9 Days / 8 Nights 6 Persons 27 August 2020 - 04 September 2020
At Victoria Falls, the earth splits open and swallows one of Africa’s greatest rivers, the mighty Zambezi, creating the largest sheet of falling water on earth. As the water hits the narrow depths of the Batoka Gorge beneath, it blasts a cloud of mist skywards, lending the falls their local name ‘mosi-oa-tunya’ (the smoke that thunders). When the Zambezi is its fullest, the mist hangs a permanent raincloud above the falls, showering visitors on even the sunniest of days and visible for miles around.
Above the falls on the upper Zambezi, boats cruise the tranquil water at sunset while the distant spray catches the fading light downstream. Below the falls, the Batoka Gorge’s rocky walls funnel the lower Zambezi into a chain of world-class rapids, prime for white water rafting.
Aside from being a UNESCO world heritage site and a natural world wonder, Victoria Falls also forms a natural border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls can be seen from both countries, and for the most part the same activities are offered on both sides, from helicopter scenic flights to village visits and souvenir shopping.
Whether your idea of getting away from it all is a relaxed high tea in colonial grandeur or a heart-stopping bungee jump off a bridge, Victoria Falls keeps both the faint of heart and the most insatiable of adrenalin junkies busy for days.
From Zambia, a side on view of the falls is on offer with views into the Batoka Gorge, as well as the possibility of perching yourself at the edge of the falls on the vertigo-inducing Livingstone Island.
From Zimbabwe, you’ll get a full-frontal view of three quarters of the falls’ 1.7km wide curtain of water from viewpoints and footpaths meandering through a rainforest kept hot and humid by the spray of the falls.
Includes: bed & breakfast
This family-run lodge abounds in warmth and friendliness and is situated in the suburbs of Victoria Falls residential area.
Bayete Guest Lodge offers 25 en-suite rooms nestled among a beautiful garden, all decorated in a rustic, chic style and fitted with air-conditioning. The lodge can accommodate up to 55 guests at a time.
The Caldecott Boma is home to the dining room, which offers breakfast (included in the rate) as well as lunch and dinner on request. The Ngwezi Bridge Pub with a swimming pool offer guests the perfect place to relax. Bayete also has a small outdoor gym area.
Activities in Victoria Falls (at an additional cost) can be arranged by the front desk personnel.
Airport Transfer Time: 20 minutes
The Chobe Riverfront is an elephant mecca; home to the largest density of African elephants in the world. Travel here during winter and you’ll fast run out of fingers and toes while you count them drinking at the riverbanks and socialising out on the floodplains.
Thanks to its ease of access from Victoria Falls, the Chobe Riverfront is the busiest part of Botswana (though still a much quieter affair than most South or East African safaris). What Chobe lacks in solitude during the busier months, it more than makes up for with quality game viewing.
Chobe will leave you feeling tiny as giant elephant bulls stroll up next to your vehicle or snorkel alongside your boat. It will make you feel lost as hundreds of hippos and buffaloes crowd you out on the floodplains. It will put your heart in your throat as prides of lions stalk antelopes by the water’s edge, and it will leave you alone with your thoughts while the classic red sunsets melt over the river to a soundtrack of whistling fish eagles.
Chobe is not just a great introduction to Botswana. It also makes a rewarding repeat journey once you’ve ticked off the big stuff. It’s a place to search for the rare sable antelope, to spot that gem from the birders’ bucket list and to explore the remoter corners.
Where you stay in Chobe makes a huge difference to your safari experience. The most affordable options are at bigger hotels in a town setting where you’ll share your game drives with a few more vehicles. On the more exclusive end, stay in a wilder area in or around the park, listen to the sounds of the bush at night and get a head start on accessing the park for activities.
Includes: meals, selected drinks, laundry (5 items per stay), 4 x activities, 2 x park fees and Kasane airport/ Zambia or Zimbabwe border transfers. (Transfers are only included when travellers arrive by flight at Kasane Airport)
Excludes: premium and imported wines, all spirits, brandy & whiskey, visa fees if required & additional activities
Activities: game drives, boat cruise, village walk or cycle, full day trip to Zimbabwe (accounts for 2 activities)
Unguided full day trip to Victoria Falls includes shared transportation to the Falls and local shopping market. Excludes guide, lunch, visa fees, park fees and Falls entrance fees. This activity substitutes two Chobe National Park activities.
Bakwena Lodge is situated near the Chobe National Park on the banks of the Chobe River near the village of Kazangula.
The name Bakwena embraces the surrounding culture of Botswana, meaning ‘people of the crocodile’ and is also one of the largest tribes in Botswana.
Bakwena Lodge features ten rondavel-style river view chalets (including one family unit), and five tree top chalets.
The river view chalets sit at ground level with small, private decks in front surrounded by indigenous riverine bush, looking towards the Chobe River. The treetop chalets are elevated three metres above the ground on stilts, with large, private decks looking into the tree canopy. Both river view and treetop chalets offer twin or double beds, as well as an indoor and outdoor shower. The River view family chalet offers two bedrooms with a shared bathroom (with indoor and outdoor shower).
The personal touch of owners can be felt from the hand-selected furniture to the food served at meal times where simple, African-fusion dishes, inspired by traditional Tswana cuisine are offered. The swimming pool and main area with its lounge, restaurant and Rain Tree bar overlooking the river offers guests a relaxed atmosphere to unwind in.
Activities include game drives or river cruises in the Chobe National Park. The option to engage in a village tour or bicycle ride to the world’s only four nation border or village can be arranged with management on arrival.
Guests have the option to exchange two Chobe National Park activities for an unguided full day Victoria Falls trip. You are transported (shared) in an air-conditioned mini bus to the entrance of the Falls. You will be collected and transported to the local markets and restaurants, before returning to the lodge. Please note lunch, all entry fees and park fees are excluded
Airstrip Transfer Time: 20 minutes (Transfers are only included when travellers arrive by flight at Kasane Airport)
Kasane This property is located in the small but thriving town of Kasane, where many bigger hotels are located along the Chobe River banks. Entry to Chobe National Park for game drives is via Sedudu Gate ten to fifteen minutes drive from town. For Chobe River cruises, boats depart directly from town. Although wildlife often passes through Kasane a typical bush experience is not on offer here. Instead you’ll get all the comforts of civilization with easy access to the bush.
Please note: A preference for a particular room types can be requested, and the lodge will do its best to accommodate your preference, however a particular room category cannot be guaranteed (except for family chalet bookings).
Self drive guests: Kindly be advised to arrive no later than 2pm. Ideally guests should arrive around 1pm in time for lunch, orientation and check into the rooms before the afternoon activity departs the lodge at 3pm.
The Okavango Delta is where the wild things are: an immense, waterlogged oasis alive with elephants and birdlife, adrift in the middle of Kalahari sands. The real magic of the Delta lies in its water, trickling through from far away highlands, and spreading across the channels and floodplains.
During winter in the Kalahari, when the sun has baked the earth bare and turned the desert its driest, water fills the Okavango; transforming the floodplains into a Noah’s Ark of African wildlife.
As the water brings life to the delta, its local residents shape and recreate it. Termites slowly build mounds into islands, germinated with palm trees by passing elephants. Waterways open and close on the whim of wide-bottomed hippos, carving out channels where they crash through reeds, and leaving room behind them for exploration by mokoro.
The Okavango has many faces, which change throughout the year, prompted by that most unpredictable diva of all: the weather. Water levels rise and drop, expanding and shrinking islands, while animals move where the life is easiest and the grass greenest. In a few days, a sandy road driven by vehicle can become a waterway of unknowable depth, prompting a safari by boat instead.
Where and when you stay in the Okavango Delta will hugely influence what you do in the bush each day, the animals you’re most likely to see and finally, the safari experience you’ll have.
The delta’s watery heart is best discovered by mokoro through shallow channels and floodplains, as well as crossing the islands on foot. For less water and more of the big game, visit a camp on its drier edges (including Moremi Game Reserve and the Khwai Community Area), jump on a vehicle and seek out the animals hiding in the woodlands.
Includes: meals, local drinks, activities, park fees & laundry
Excludes: premium drinks
Activities: motor boat cruises, mokoro excursions & fishing (seasonal and water level dependent), guided game walks and game drives (one game drive per night’s stay, during low water levels)
Overlooking the legendary Chiefs Island and bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Gunn's Camp is one of the few remaining luxury, vintage safari camps. Set under leafy palms and African Ebony to blend naturally with its unique surroundings, Gunn's Camp achieves a fine balance of comfort without isolating guests from the sights and sounds of the wilderness.
The accommodation offered at Gunn's Camp consists of 6 deluxe Kenyan-style meru tents with en-suite bathrooms featuring standalone baths and outside private showers. Set on raised platforms overlooking the delta plains Gunn's Camp is ideal for honeymooners or guests looking for a more intimate and personalised safari experience. All 6 tents are discretely set within the densely treed island ensuring privacy and tranquillity. Each has been traditionally furnished with an eclectic mixture of solid wood and African furniture and offers a lounge area as well as private veranda.
The accommodation area is connected to the main camp via raised wooden walkway crossing the wetlands and magically lit by a series of fairylike lanterns. Guests have access to the elevated bar, lounge and dining room, campfire boma and swimming pool.
Activities on offer are motor boat cruises, mokoro excursions (water level dependent) guided walks and island camping (island camping must be booked in advance) which allow you to experience the beauty of the unique Okavango Delta. When water levels are low, morning and afternoon game drives with sundowner drinks will be offered in a private concession (limited to one game drive activity per night’s stay).
Airstrip Transfer Time: 5 minute walk
Looking at a map of Botswana, you’d miss Khwai completely if you didn’t know it was there. Wedged between the big-ticket attractions of Chobe National Park to the east and Moremi Game Reserve to the south, Khwai exists as a significant big game destination of its own.
Lying on the eastern fringes of the Okavango Delta with a rich wildlife population and no borders drawn around it on the map, Khwai is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours, though in the winter months it can hold its own for the quality of big game viewing.
During your time here, you’ll spend most days exploring the narrow Khwai River, which forms the natural boundary to the Moremi Game Reserve on the south. The Khwai River is a beacon for wildlife and plays host to leopards stalking lechwe in the long grass, lions swimming from the banks to save their cubs’ during territorial disputes and crocodiles competing with wild dogs for a midday meal of impala.
As Khwai lies outside the parks, it offers the freedom and flexibility normally only possible with the heavier price tag of a private concession. Go off-road for a closer look at sightings, night drive in search of nocturnal species, and, with a little advance planning, head out on game walks to track wildlife on foot.
Khwai is also home to a village community where people live side by side with the resident wildlife. Some camps will offer village visits for a dose of cultural insight to go with your safari. For those not visiting the water camps of the delta, many camps in Khwai offer the chance to get out on a mokoro (traditional canoe), although excursions are less traditional in nature, skirting the riverbanks, rather than open delta floodplains.
Includes: meals, local drinks, activities, park fees, laundry & return airstrip transfers
Excludes: Premium drinks
Activities: day & night game drives and mokoro (seasonal and water level dependent). Walking on request.
Sango Safari Camp is nestled in the shade of the trees overlooking the Khwai River. Situated on the outskirts of the traditional village of Khwai and on the border of Moremi Game Reserve, the camp offers guests the perfect base from which to explore the wildlife and culture of this unique habitat.
This intimate safari camp is named for the Sango Family, some of the original inhabitants of the Khwai area. Guests will have the chance to learn first hand about the unique lifestyle and experiences that come from living and growing up in one of the most wildlife-rich areas of Botswana.
Accommodating 12 guests in 6 en-suite meru tents, Sango Safari Camp is designed in the style of the classic tented safari camp of days gone by. Hand crafted furnishings and classic styling successfully blend the rustic with the luxurious to recreate the atmosphere of the luxury mobile safari camp. Each guest tent has its own private outdoor shower with solar heated geysers for piping hot water. The main area comprises a dining and lounge area where guests can relax and enjoy meals, as well as a viewing deck and plunge pool for whiling away the hours during siesta.
With the Khwai River forming a natural border between the world famous Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai Concession, animals can travel freely through this vast unfenced wilderness. Situated on the river overlooking the Moremi and with access to both these magnificent wildlife areas, Sango Safari Camp is focused on delivering an exceptional wildlife experience to our guests. The camp’s location allows guests to take advantage of a host of wildlife activities which include open vehicle game drives both in the Moremi and in the Khwai concession area, guided bush walks, night drives and mokoro trips.
With a combination of permanent water, seasonal floodplains, open grasslands, riverine forests, and dry woodlands this incredibly rich habitat supports a diversity and abundance of mammals and birds rarely matched in northern Botswana. Sango Safari Camp invites you to share in this bounty.
Airstrip Transfer Time: 30 minutes
Lat: 19 1634 S 19 09’ 48.2”
Long: 23 7628 E 23 45’ 46.0”