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This entry-level Botswana Safari stays at basic lodges, offering an affordable, no-frills journey through Southern Africa.
Set off from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, travelling into Botswana to explore game-rich Chobe National Park, famous for its large elephant herds. Take a scenic sunset boat cruise along Chobe River, looking out for birds and wildlife. Drive across to Gweta, visit a local village and take an optional 4x4 trip onto the open Makgadikgadi Pans, or a short walk to the massive baobab trees nearby. Venture into the watery Okavango Delta in traditional-style canoes and camp on a remote island in this truly wild place.
Take a long drive south to Botswana's Khama Rhino Sanctuary, before crossing into South Africa and driving all the way to Johannesburg, where this budget Okavango Delta Tour comes to an end.
During this trip you are likely to come across activities that encourage tourists to participate in lion, elephant or other wildlife interaction. This includes walking with lions, riding elephants and any other tourist operation putting travellers in close contact with animals that would normally live wild and separate from human contact.
We absolutely do not encourage or endorse this type of wildlife interaction operation. For more information on why this is not good for Africa's wild animals, please see our detailed blog post on the subject.
Leaving Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe we cross into northeastern Botswana, driving to the town of Kasane. Chobe National Park is the attraction here, hosting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Arriving at our lodge along Chobe River, near Kasane, we have lunch before exploring Chobe Park.
First, we set off on an open vehicle game drive in the 10566 km² Chobe National Park. The 4x4 game drive takes you into Botswana's top national park in search of the plethora of wildlife and birds inhabiting the scenic grasslands and riverine bush. Chobe is famous for its large elephant herds which are frequently sighted, along with giraffes, lions, leopards, hippos, buffalos and antelope species.
Later this afternoon we take a sunset boat cruise along the scenic Chobe River, offering superb water-based bird watching and game viewing. Watch a beautiful African sunset and look out for elephants, hippos, reptiles, baboons, buck and more.
Return to the comfortable lodge for a peaceful night under the stars.
Note: We strongly recommend that you arrive in Victoria Falls a few days before this safari departs to visit Victoria Falls and enjoy adventure activities. These include white water rafting, scenic flights, tram rides, bungee jumping, canoeing, game viewing, river cruises, gorge swings and more.
Up early for breakfast before we make our way slowly to our lodge near Gweta. The long drive takes us via Nata, where we pause for lunch before continuing to Gweta, which sits on the fringes of the Makgadikgadi Pans. One of the largest salt flats in the world, Makgadikgadi Pans consists of a network of salt pans, including Nxai Pan National Park nearest to Gweta.
This afternoon at the lodge you can rest after the long drive and take a dip in the pool, or you can set off on optional adventures. Embark on a 4x4 drive out to Nxai Pans, stopping to admire the stark scenery and have sundowners. The expansive pans are dry for most of the year but in the rainy season shallow lakes and short grasses cover the landscape, drawing migratory animals and birds. Alternatively you can join a guided walk to view the impressive baobab trees found near Gweta, the most famous being Baines' Baobabs.
First we have breakfast and then we take a guided walk in a local Tswana village. Visit a local school, interesting stops and shop, seeing what life is like in this part of the world.
After our cultural experience we drive to Maun, gateway to the legendary Okavango Delta, some four hours away. Top up on supplies and snacks in Maun before continuing to our safari camp nearby. Take it easy, cool off in the pool and enjoy the leafy setting at our camp outside of Maun. Get ready for our unforgettable trip into the pristine Okavango Delta tomorrow.
Up and away we go, driving to the delta after an early for breakfast. We travel along rough dirt roads, slowly making our way into the outskirts of the Okavango Delta. Reaching the fringes we transfer from 4x4 vehicle to mokoro canoe and continue our journey on watery channels. The local guides are experts at poling these traditional style vessels along the winding waterways, standing balanced in the back of the dug-out mokoro with a long pole. We glide slowly, quietly into the heart of one of the wildest places in Africa.
Arriving at our tented camp set in the bush we enjoy lunch amid the labyrinth of reed-lined streams, remote islands and pristine estuaries. This afternoon you can set off on a nature walk with one of the locals, looking out for the array of birds and wild animals inhabiting the delta. Or you can glide through the waters in a mokoro, spotting hippos and other animals on the secluded islands and vegetated banks of the delta. Alternatively you can take it easy at the bush camp, simply enjoying the peaceful, unspoilt environment.
The Okavango is the world’s largest inland delta, a truly unique and beautiful ecosystem covering 1.6 million hectares of northern Botswana. The delta, with its source in Angola, spreads out in an intricate web of channels on the flat plains of Botswana emptying into the desert.
In the evening we relax around the flickering campfire, listening to our guides sing some traditional Tswana songs and tuning into the sounds of nature. We sleep under starry skies in this unique wilderness area.
Waking up with the birds in the middle of the bush we head off on a thrilling nature walk. The guided walk is a great way to spot animals and birds, as many species are most active in the morning hours. We get up close to mother nature and learn more about the unique flora and fauna of this diverse ecosystem.
Return to camp for a light breakfast before gliding out of the Okavango Delta in mekoros. At the mokoro station we switch to a 4x4 safari vehicle, retracing our rough tracks to the camp near Maun. Have lunch and spend the afternoon resting at camp, visiting bustling Maun or taking to the skies on an optional Okavango Delta flight. Flying over the delta is a remarkable experience - an exciting way to take in the full expanse of the delta plains and waterways, spotting wildlife below.
Today we have a long drive ahead, travelling south to Khama Rhino Sanctuary. We get up early for a hearty breakfast before hitting the road for a full day of driving. We drive along the edges of the Kalahari Desert region in central Botswana, via the small, remote town of Mopipi.
Arriving at Khama Rhino Sanctuary in the late afternoon we embark on an open vehicle game drive in this compact and game-rich park. The local guides share their in-depth knowledge of the bush and its inhabitants with you on the game drive, giving you the chance to learn more about the flora and fauna. Sightings include rhinos, giraffes, black-backed jackals, zebras, wildebeest, springbok and many more, as well as birds.
Khama is a community-based wildlife sanctuary formed by locals in 1989 when the hunting grounds of Serwe Pan were converted into a sanctuary for rhinos. Khama Rhino Sanctuary benefits the local community and helps protect the endangered rhinos, along with other wildlife.
Tonight we share a final dinner together at the hotel near Khama Sanctuary, celebrating our adventurous journey through Southern Africa.
Last full day on the road: the long drive south to Martin's Drift and across the Limpopo River into South Africa. Covering a great distance today, we head to the dynamic city of Johannesburg, called Egoli, meaning Place of Gold.
Arriving in Johannesburg late this afternoon our Okavango Budget Lodge Safari comes to a close.
Please note that this safari requires a mandatory Safari Pass (Local Payment) at an additional cost. The Safari Pass includes most of the tour highlights and activities, as well as some accommodation en route. This compulsory payment can be made when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Safari Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
On this tour accommodation is mostly in shared rooms with twin beds in basic chalets, cabins or rooms, with en suite bathrooms. Most of the places that we stay at have a swimming pool, restaurant and bar. We spend one night camping under the stars in pre-erected tents on a remote island in the Okavango Delta – an unforgettable wildlife experience!
Transport on this tour will be in a comfortable mini-bus or microbus. Except in Chobe Park when we embark on game drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles and in the Okavango Delta where dugout-style canoes (mekoros) are used.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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