Lion Safari

Two weeks of thrilling wildlife encounters, stunning scenery and cheerful companionship, this safari will really open your eyes to all that Botswana has to offer. From the sweeping grassland and huge skies of Nxai Pan to the watery wilderness of the Okavango Delta, from the elephant-filled Chobe River to the thundering majesty Victoria Falls, it’s highlight upon highlight. This semi-participation safari is a real adventure and excellent value for money, truly a winning combination.

Price from: £2,025 pp

plus flights from £1200

Summary - 14 nights

Kasane – 1 night
Nxai Pan – 2 nights
Maun  – 1 night
Okavango Delta – 3 nights
Moremi Game Reserve  – 3 nights
Chobe National Park  – 3 nights
Livingstone (Victoria Falls)  – 1 night

Day 1 You’ll arrive in Kasane where you’ll be met and taken to a shop to stock up on drinks for the first few days of your safari, then settling into your camp. In the late afternoon you’ll enjoy a cruise on the Chobe River which will include wonderful sunset views, later returning to camp for dinner and a chance to get to know your fellow travellers.

 

 

 

 

Day 2 It’s an early start this morning as your route will cover some 500 kilometres, travelling south to Nxai Pan National Park. On the way you’ll stop for a wholesome picnic lunch followed by an afternoon game drive in the park. The landscape is dominated by sweeping grasslands with glades of acacia trees and is home to a surprising range of animals. Reaching your campsite you’ll help put up your tent, later enjoying a shower and sitting down to a delicious dinner.

Day 3 lion safariToday you will explore Nxai Pan and the plains which are often dotted with grazing herds of impala, kudu and springbok. You can also expect to see giraffe, zebra, ostrich and lion. In the afternoon you’ll have an excursion to Baines Baobabs, seven huge trees situated on the edge of an expansive saltpan. They’re named after the 19th century explorer Thomas Baines who, struck by the sight, was moved to immortalise them in paint. The scene remains unchanged today and you’ll share his sense of wonder as you gaze on them.

Day 4 After enjoying a morning game drive, your journey continues to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. In Maun you will have time to visit the shops and enjoy a relaxing afternoon or you could choose to enjoy a scenic flight over the delta for a fascinating bird’s eye view of the delta. Whatever you choose, you will have time to stock up on drinks and snacks. You’ll have one night at the campsite here.

Day 5 okavango deltaToday you’ll travel to the southern tip of the Okavango Delta, where you’ll meet your poler and climb aboard a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe for your island adventure. This area really is a little corner of beautiful and peaceful paradise. You’ll get time to look out for the varied birdlife of the region and enjoy the beautiful landscape.  This is the quintessential delta experience – sit back and enjoy the ride to your camp!

Day 6 mokoroYou’ll spend a full day enjoying guided walks on the islands and mokoro excursions on the water ways. Your guide will lead you on these discoveries, helping you spot wildlife and explaining the intricacies of ecosystem of the largest inland delta in the world. It’s a magical place and you’re sure to fall under its spell. Back in camp you can review the day’s highlights with your friends, sitting by the camp fire.

Day 7 Today you will start to make your way to the drier region of the delta and you will see how the landscapes change.  Your home for the night will be a camp just outside of the Moremi Game Reserve, ready for the next exciting chapter of your trip.

Day 8 After breakfast your adventure continues, heading to Moremi Game Reserve, one of the best wilderness areas of Botswana encompassing swamp and dry areas. This is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful reserves not just in Botswana but in the whole of Africa. You’ll spend the afternoon viewing the wide variety of animals and birds for which this area is known, including the Big 5. The habitats are equally beguiling, a rich mix of lagoons, waterways, pans, grasslands and forests.

Day 9 & 10 ElephantsThere’s so much to see and do here that you’ve got 2 days to explore. You’ll set off on a game drive early each morning, a great way to begin your day, returning to the camp to sit out the heat of the day, savour lunch and rest. The second game drive takes place in the late afternoon. Both are timed to take place when animals are at their most active. This, coupled with the skill and experience of your guide, will optimise your chances of top quality wildlife sightings.

Day 11 It’s time for a change of scene and today you’ll head north towards Chobe National Park. It’s a journey of about 5-6 hours and there are plenty of chances for game viewing en-route as you pass through the Savuti region along the way. The area is home to various antelope, elephant, giraffe and zebra. By late afternoon you’ll reach camp and a chance to stretch your legs and take in your new surroundings.

Day 12 lion Continuing northwards you’ll follow the course of the Chobe River. This is another opportunity to look for wildlife and enjoy the superb vistas as you travel. The terrain incorporates mopane forest, marshes and dry scrubland, and the animal and bird life is prolific. Keep your camera at the ready to capture memorable wildlife and scenery photos. After 5 hours or so you’ll arrive at camp, where you’ll spend 2 nights.

Day 13 You’ll have a full day in Chobe. The park is associated with large herds of elephants and you should certainly see plenty of these splendid creatures today. Buffalo, waterbuck, puku and giraffe thrive here too, and they attract predators such as lion, leopard and hyena. Spending time here will give an insight into the interaction of these animals and their environment. After a busy day you’ll welcome dinner by the fire.

Day 14 Victoria falls After a morning game drive you’ll take a ferry across the Zambezi River and will be driven to Maramba River Lodge, your final destination. The lodge is a just a few kilometres from the Victoria Falls, so you’ll be able to witness this famous natural spectacle for yourself this afternoon, a fitting climax to your African adventure.

Day 15 After breakfast and maybe a quick swim in the pool you’ll be driven the short distance to the airport for your flight home.

Getting there:

This trip starts in Kasane and ends in Livingstone. From the UK, we recommend getting a flight with a combination of British Airways, Air Botswana and/or South African Airways via Johannesburg. This trip can be done in reverse. A rough price guide per person would be £900 – £1400 in economy depending on the season.

Departure dates 2018:

This is a small group set departure safari.

January: 6 ,27 July: 7, 21
February: 17 August: 4, 18
March: 10, 24 September: 1, 15, 29
April: 7, 21 October: 20
May: 5, 19 November: 3, 24
June: 9, 23  December: 15

Bushways-vehicle Bushways-camp building

 

 

 

The safari vehicle: The vehicle takes a maximum of 12 people, and has a trailer for mobile kitchen and luggage. If the weather is good the vehicle will be kept open, though hard perspex sides can be put up if it’s rainy, and there is a canvas roll-top. There is a fridge so cold drinks are on hand, and there is even a charger so that you always have charging facilities at your disposal – night and day.

Sleeping arrangements: The 2-man dome tents are 2 metres square. You will be given a decent mattress, but either need to bring your own sleeping bag or hire one. If you are a single person and willing to share a tent with someone of the same sex, then even if you end up with your own tent, you are not charged a single supplement. You can however guarantee your own tent by paying a single supplement.

Camp facilities: For every 8 people there is one bush shower and one bush toilet. Both are within a tented cubicle for privacy. An awning provides shade for the dining table and chairs. Of course there is also the kitchen trailer and all the equipment need for the cooking – all very important! There is a first aid box on board, and there is communication via radio.

 

Bushways-tent-outsideBushways-shower

£2,025

Jan-June, Nov-Dec

£2,200

July-October

Includes:

1 night lodge accommodation, 13 nights camping (bow tents with mattresses), all transfers, meals as indicated, teas/coffees on safari, services of a professional safari guide and camp assistant, specially adapted safari vehicle, park and concession fees.

Excludes:

Visas, international flights, vaccinations, drinks, meals not listed, sleeping bag & pillow (can be hired), Vic Falls entry fees, optional activities, travel insurance, items of a personal nature.

Lion-Safari-Map

When to go

Rollover the months for more details >

January NPeak of the wet season, though it still doesn’t rain every day. Warm days (average 30°c but can be as hot as 40°c) and nights (20°c). Lush green foliage and flowers and birds in song. Peak breeding time for many migrant birds. Great month for photography, with gorgeous colours and dramatic skies. Predators have an easy time preying on the young plains game. The Kalahari and Salt Pans are now flush with fresh grass attracting lots of wildlife. In the Pans, thousands of zebras and wildebeest have come to graze here from the west. Lions and other predators benefit from this surfeit of game.
February NPeak of the wet season, though it still doesn’t rain every day. Still very hot. It can reach up to 40° during the day but the average is still about 30°c. Waterlilies are at their best, as are many of the smaller creatures such as birds, frogs and butterflies. The Kalahari and the Pans are still at their best for wildlife. It’s still a great month for photography.
March NNStill hot days and warm nights, but cooling a little, and the rain is dwindling. The Kalahari and the Pans are still generally good for wildlife. Birding is still very good. Nearby Victoria Falls is in full flood. Marula trees are in fruit and elephants go a long way to find these tasty treats.
April NNThe rain has stopped. Nights begin to cool off, though days can still be very hot. The impala rutting season is well under way, with males in peak health displaying to females and trying to ward off rivals. In the Salt Pans the herds can begin to move from between about now and May over to the permanent water source of the Boteti River. The aptly named sausage trees are now bearing their pendulous fruit. In Nxai Pan the waterhole is the focus as general groundwater has mostly dried up now. Large numbers of mammals, and especially elephants hog the waterhole for as long as they can.
May NNNTemperatures begin to drop more noticeably, with nights averaging about 15°c and daytime temperatures still around 30° but rarely getting above 35°c. Floodwaters begin to reach the top of the Okavango Delta. Migratory birds begin to depart for winter. The land begins to dry out and animals start moving towards permanent water sources.
June NNNIt’s getting colder. You’ll need warm clothes for the cold nights, evenings (down to around 5°c, less in the desert) and mornings, but these give way to sunny warm days in the mid-20s. Wild dogs begin to den. For the next 3-4 months the dogs are generally easier to find as they are never too far from the den. All but the largest seasonal waterholes have dried up by now, so the main rivers and lagoons are the focus for wildlife. It’s getting dusty, grasses are dying back and trees are shedding leaves. It’s all turning brown.
July NNNThis is winter and it can be very cold in mornings and evenings. By now, most areas of the Delta have felt the arrival of the floods. It’s a godsend for an increasingly parched landscape and its inhabitants. Mokoro and boat trips trips are available in many Delta camps near the water now. Game viewing is excellent.
August NNNThis is winter and it can be very cold in mornings and evenings. Thousands of breeding birds such as storks and herons begin to congregate to nest in heronries such as the one at Godikwe near Kwara in the Delta. It’s dry and dusty away from the water sources, and wildlife is finding itself in smaller areas close to water which can sometimes cause tensions and drama. It’s a good time for bush walks now that the high grasses have died down.
September NNNIt starts to get hot now and the heat builds up quickly over this month and the next. Temperatures of mid-30s are common and night temperatures are back to around 15°c. The floodwaters start to slowly drop from now on. Carmine bee-eaters and other migratory birds begin to arrive back in good numbers. The Godikwe heronry is jam-packed now. September and October are the peak months for elephants and buffalos by the Delta and rivers such as the Chobe, Linyanti and Kwando. This is a time of plenty for predators as the dry season inevitably takes its toll on some of the plains game. In the Kalahari, solitary black-maned lions begin to call the females to them once more – it’s a great sight (and sounds), but be warned that it is seriously hot.
October NNNThis is the hottest month in Botswana with daytime temperatures often well over 40°c. If you can stand the heat, this is one of the very best months for game viewing, but you (and the wildlife) definitely need to avoid the midday heat. September and October are the peak months for elephants and buffalos by the Delta and rivers such as the Chobe, Linyanti and Kwando. This is a time of plenty for predators as the dry season inevitably takes its toll on some of the plains game. The heronries are now absolutely full of birds – an awesome sight. The Kalahari is off-limits for most visitors due to the heat often reaching the high 40s.
November NNIt’s stiflingly hot until the rains arrive. The first rains come about mid-late November and everyone and everything breathes a sigh of relief. With the rains come the newborns – first the tsessabe, then the impala, red lechwe and more. It is feast time for the predators once more. Herds once again begin to move away from permanent rivers to seasonal grasslands. Life seems to begin again and colour and freshness returns to the landscape. Migrant birds start to arrive later in the month.
December NNAntelope youngsters grow quickly, and the wildebeest begin calving. The first rains hit the desert regions and very quickly the temperature drops and the arid plains become bright green grasslands which attract herds of antelopes and more. The pans such as Nxai and Makgadikgadi once again fill with zebra and wildebeest and other wildlife, to the joy of attendant predators. Thunderstorms come every few days and this is again a dramatic time for photographers. Most of the migrant birds have returned by now.