Botswana - 10 Day - Desert, Delta & Kalahari Self-Drive Safari

Tour Code:BSD01
Safari Type:Self-Drive Tour or Private Guided Safari
Duration:10 Days / 9 Nights
Departure Days:Any date of your choice & Advance bookings recommended
Departure Location:Kasane, Botswana (Travel can start in Victoria Falls)
Tour ends:Ghanzi, Botswana (Travel can continue to Namibia)
Countries:Zimbabwe - Botswana - Namibia
Vehicle:Vehicle Hire is excluded - The type of vehicle rented will depend on your group size and amount of luggage and personal preference.

Routing Highlights:

Kasane – Chobe River - Chobe National Park – Nata - Makgadikgadi Pans – Maun – Okavango Delta - Ghanzi

Unbeatable freedom & flexibility in touring ideal for independent travellers. We offer Tailor-Made Self-Drive Tours which allows visitors to explore at their own pace; almost anything is possible in terms of routes and variety of accommodation or camping.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1, 2 and 3

Kasane

After crossing the Border either from the Caprivi, Namibia or Victoria Falls into Botswana, guests will self-drive Kasane.

Area description: KASANE/ Chobe

Situated on the banks of the Chobe River, Kasane is the administrative centre of the Chobe District. This little town supplies the tourism industry that surrounds it including the Chobe National Park and Chobe Forestry Reserve. There are a number of hotels, guest houses and camp sites located along the river. The Chobe National Park is only a 10 minute drive from town. Wildlife such as warthog, elephant and buffalo is often seen wondering around and walking down the road. Activities in the area include drives into the park and boat cruises on the Chobe River. Fishing trips on the river and day trips to the Victoria Falls across the river in Zimbabwe or Zambia can also be arranged.

The Chobe River Front is a remarkable wildlife area due to the permanent water source of the Chobe River. However its accessibility from Kasane and neighbouring towns of Victoria Falls and Livingstone has created quite a busy tourist area with larger hotels and lodges than you find in the more remote Okavango Delta. The spectacle of all the animals coming to drink and frolic at the water's edge is one to behold, particularly in the dry season (May - Oct) where water is scarce away from the river. It is an area famous for its abundance of elephants, a variety of predators and, in addition, you are likely to see herds of buffalo and possibly even roan and sable antelope. In the rainy season (Nov - Apr) the game is much less concentrated at the river as the wildlife spread throughout the greater area of Chobe National Park due to availability of surface water from nearby pans. This assists the vegetation on the river banks in recovering from the massive herds that are attracted to the area in the dry months. The summer rains bring beautiful wild flowers, exquisite scenery, impressive bird life and an abundance of young animals usually born around November/December. The spectacular Chobe sunsets alone are worth a visit to the area. Please note that activities are restricted within the national park in accordance with government rules and regulations: these include no driving off-road, no walking and no driving after dark.

Day 4 and 5

Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Guests will self-drive to Planet Baobab.  Situated close to the village of Gweta, (also charmingly known as “The Place of the Bullfrogs”), on the Francistown-Maun road and sheltered by a grove of gigantic baobabs,
Activities:

Meerkat Mania Package – Dry Season Itinerary (May – Oct)
(1 Night Lodge & 1 Night Basic Camping)

DAY 1: After settling into your hut, take a walk with your guide through the surrounding bush as he explains the local ecology and geology, and, of course, the unique biology of the baobabs. Enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink before returning to the camp for dinner and your first night in a traditional Bakalanga Hut.

DAY 2: After breakfast, take a tour of the nearest thriving metropolis, Gweta to experience modern African village culture. Learn about the history and traditions of the Batswana. Visit the local primary school ‘Sekolo’, the Kgotla – a traditional court, and meet the people of Gweta including the Traditional Healer ‘Sangoma ‘.

Return to Planet Baobab for lunch followed by a relaxing siesta, before you head off to Ntwetwe Salt pan.  Enjoy exploring the pans on your quad bike (2 guests per bike) while you learn about the archaeology, geology and zoology of the area. Enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink followed by a barbeque dinner before climbing into your bedroll to enjoy a night sleeping under the stars in the vast Makgadikgadi Pans.

DAY 3: Wake up to the Kalahari sun rising between your feet. Warm your hands on a mug of piping hot coffee and soak up the solitude. Quad back to the edge of Ntwetwe Salt pan, then head off with your Guide to explore the surrounds, including a stop at Greens Baobab. Get up close and personal with a resident gang of habituated meerkats.

Head back to Planet Baobab for a much-needed shower and a scrumptious Planet Baobab breakfast before your onward journey to Maun.

Note: Quad bike trips – TWO guests per quad bike – SOLE use of a quad bike requires a surcharge to be paid. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Activities:

PB Cool Meerkat – Wet Season itinerary (Nov – Apr)
(2 Nights in the Lodge)

DAY 1: After settling into your hut, take a walk with your guide through the surrounding bush as he explains the local ecology and geology, and, of course, the unique biology of the baobabs. Enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink before returning to the camp for dinner and your first night in a traditional Bakalanga Hut.

DAY 2: Wake up early, before the sun rises and head off to the vast grasslands, past lonely baobab sentinels to the edge of Ntwetwe Saltpan.  Along the way, your Guide will explain the incredible adaptations of the species that are unique to the Kalahari Desert environment.

Head off with your Guide to explore the surrounds in search of bat eared foxes, ground squirrels and other unique desert species. Learn of their incredible struggle against the elements of Africa's harshest wilderness.

As the day starts jump off your vehicle, stretch your legs and enjoy your picnic breakfast. Get up close and personal with a resident gang of habituated Meerkats; see how these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals interact with each other and their environment. You also get the chance to view the desert through the eyes of a Meerkat – which, despite the fact that it’s only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter in Botswana.

Return to Planet Baobab for an afternoon at leisure, and a night of peace and quiet amongst the baobabs.

DAY 3: Wake up to a perfect Kalahari sunrise and a good Planet Baobab breakfast followed by your return journey to Maun.

Dry season vs. wet season and related activities

Please note that the dry season in Botswana typically runs from May through October and the wet season from November through April. Changing weather conditions have resulted in unexpected rainfall throughout the year which makes some activities hazardous and detrimental to the sensitive ecology of the pans. In wet conditions the camp will automatically revert to the wet season itinerary. Activities are subject to change at the discretion of the camp manager.

Area Description – MAKGADIKGADI SALT PANS

The network of salt pans found in Botswana's eastern regions are a striking physical feature and some of the largest of their kind in the world. The pans, huge, flat expanses of hot, sun-blasted terrain and fringed by vegetated islands and peninsulas, were once part of a great super lake that covered much of northern Botswana. This desolate landscape offers nothing but sand and sky yet its eerily silent fossil beaches and stunted red baobab trees leave an impression on every visitor. The beauty of the Makgadikgadi Salt pans lies in its stark nothingness: the sight of the vast, open pans is awe inspiring as the earth and sky blend into each other with nothing indicating the horizon but a hazy mirage. Sunset and sunrise hold a mystical quality. This area offers a unique wilderness experience full of adventure. Do not expect huge herds of animals but rather expect the unexpected, everything is interesting here especially when interpreted by the local Bushmen guides of the area. The night skies are breathtaking during the winter months with stars from horizon-to-horizon. Following the summer rains, the area is host to a spectacular migration of zebra and wildebeest.

Day 6

Maun

Guests will self-drive to Maun.

Area Description – MAUN

Situated along the banks of the Thamalakane River, in the North-West District of Botswana, Maun serves as the administrative town center of Ngamiland. The name Maun originates from the San language, meaning "the place of reeds”. Maun is notoriously known as a frontier town, and is referred to as the Gateway to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, as most tourists enter these destinations through this buzzing town.

Although classified as one of the fastest-growing towns in Botswana Maun still retains much of its village feel. The town is not considered scenic and reed and mud hut infrastructures as well as donkey carts and livestock dominate the picture. Despite having numerous hotels, lodges and bed & breakfasts, options are generally quite basic and more suited to a safari pre or post night. Maun serves as the administrative headquarters for the safari industry in the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and surrounding wildlife areas. Maun Airport is one of the busiest airports in southern Africa, with most travellers connecting directly to smaller charter aircraft off international flights.

IMPORTANT: For self-drivers, Maun is an important stop-over for re-fueling, stocking up on supplies and securing park permits.  Maun also offers several mechanics in case of any required vehicle maintenance.

Day 7 and 8

Okavango Delta

Guests will self-drive to Maun Airport, in time for their transfer by light aircraft from Maun Airport to their camp in the Okavango Delta.

Area Description – OKAVANGO DELTA

The Okavango Delta is one of the world's largest inland deltas situated in the middle of the largest stretch of continuous sand in the world - the Kalahari basin. This oasis in the middle of the desert is a rich yet fragile ecosystem, providing a life source for an incredible variety of wildlife. A wealth of species have adapted to the contrasting conditions created by living in the harsh Kalahari desert which is transformed annually with the arrival of the delta flood waters originating in Angola.

The Okavango wetland encompasses Moremi Game Reserve and surrounding regions divided into areas known as Private Concessions. These concessions are wildlife management areas, carefully administrated to balance the growing community’s development and conservation, whilst empowering citizens through sustainable tourism. Many of the exclusive lodges in Botswana are situated within these concessions in the delta, providing an unparalleled wildlife experience - exclusive and remote, avoiding mass tourism and exploitation.

Flood levels fluctuate dramatically throughout the year, with high water levels peaking in the central Okavango during the dry winter months and water levels at their lowest during the later summer months, contrary to the seasonal rainfall.  The landscape, activities and game viewing vary considerably throughout the delta depending on your location, the season and flood levels. Some areas have larger tracts of permanent dry land which generally means there is more focus on land based activities (game drives) and big game viewing. Lodges situated on islands deep in the delta concentrate more on water activities such as mokoro excursions, walking, boating, fishing and bird watching. Those lodges situated on the outer fringes of the delta, referred to as the 'seasonal' delta, offer varied experiences at different times of the year - more water based during high flood levels and more land based as the flood recedes. 

Game is more concentrated around the permanent water during the dry season (Apr - Oct) with it becoming very hot in the later months. The heronries become active as the migrant birds return to Botswana from September through November, and general bird watching is excellent throughout the summer months. The rainy season (Nov - Apr) invigorates the lush scenery with wild flowers, dramatic thundershowers, spectacular sunsets and the birthing season brings great predator and prey interaction.

Day 9

Kalahari - Ghanzi

Guests will be transferred by light aircraft to Maun Airport. Guests will self-drive from Maun to Ghanzi.

Edo's Camp differs from many of the more 'traditional' safari camps of northern Botswana, most of which are found in the riverine and Delta areas; instead Edo's Camp stands in a classic Kalahari landscape.

One of the highlights of this game conservancy is the rhino rehabilitation project, offering a home to seven of the endangered Botswana white rhino population. Guests can track the rhino on foot with the local Bushmen guides and this activity is included in this itinerary. Another special attraction is a visit to the nearby Bushman village of the san people, the true indigenous people of Southern Africa. This village visit provides a fascinating cultural perspective of traditional life and is also included in the rate.  Edos also offer game drives which can be booked additionally at an extra cost.

Area description: GHANZI

Ghanzi is located in the western part of the country. Despite its flat and featureless landscape as well as the dryness of the area, this town is the largest cattle farming area in Botswana. The area is the main supplier to the Botswana Meat Commission, of prime beef that is exported to European Countries. Ghanzi also serves as a good stopover for traveller's en-route to the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. Where culture is concerned, Ghanzi is well known for its population of the Bushmen correctly called the San people. The various lodges there offer activities such as Bushmen walks, games drives, traditional dancing and cultural tours to name a few.

Day 10

SELF DRIVE TO NAMIBIA –GOBABIS OR SOUTH AFRICAN – TRANS-KALAHARI

Guests will continue their self-drive either on to Namibia or South Africa.

 

 

Please note:

  • This tour can also be done as a Private Guided Safari or Fly-In Safari.
  • As Custom Design Travel Specialists we can tailor-make any itinerary to suit your individual needs, interests, style and travel budget.

 

IMPORTANT:

Clients who are choosing to self-drive must please be made aware that travel in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia involves bad roads, thick sand roads, seasonal flooding, river crossings, vast areas with no communications, livestock and wild animals on the roads particularly at night, limited access to fuel and emergency services.  Clients should always travel in a 4x4 with high clearance, preferably in convoy, and have a satellite phone and GPS.  Travel should definitely not be undertaken after sunset and before sunrise.

Park fees for Botswana to be paid at DWNP office in Kasane/Maun or at the entrance gate of the Parks. All fees must be paid in local currency.

Excludes:

  • International flights unless otherwise specified
  • All unspecified meals and activities
  • All drinks and laundry
  • Lunch and sole use of quad bikes at Planet Baobab
  • Errors and omissions
  • Visas & Vaccinations - Please check with your local embassy
  • Vehicle hire

Enquire for your Personal Itinerary