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Botswana & Victoria Falls

 

This trip


A top safari experience including all hotspots from the northern circuit, but costing a lot less than the 10.000 to 15.000€ per person (or 15.000 $ to 20.000 $ per person) which are the norm in Botswana.



In a nutshell

Number of nights:

Lodges:




Price:













International flights:


14

Delta Belle houseboat (3 nights)
Sango Camp (4 nights)
Camp Savuti (3 nights)
Chobe Elephant Camp (4 nights)

From 99.250 Rand / 7.420 $ / 5.840 £ / 6.865 € per person (based on a group of 6 people)
From 106.000 Rand / 7.925 $ / 6.230 £ / 7.335 € per person (based on a group of 4 people)
From 105.000 Rand / 7.850 $ / 6.180 £ / 7.265 € per person (for 2 people, but boat substituted by lodge. See below)
Includes local flight from Johannesburg to Maun
Includes rental car (to get to Delta Belle and back)
Includes all bush-flights (Maun to Sango, Sango to Savuti, Savuti to Kasane)
Includes transfers to/from Kasane airport
Includes a day-trip to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Includes local flight from Kasane to Johannesburg

Based double room occupancy, but with a minimym participation of 4 people
(an alternative for 2 people is possible - see below)
Price depending on season

Not included
Approximately 380 £ per person from UK, or 850 $ per person from US
See examples at the bottom of this page


Preface


Botswana is the place to be what safari experiences is concerned. Which other African country’s President is as committed to nature as Botswana’s? Which other country has banned commercial hunting? Which other country has an army with a flawless "track record" what anti-poaching is concerned? Botswana is rather unique resulting in it being one of the most expensive, if not THE most expensive safari destination in the whole of Africa.

It seems as someone with an average holiday budget can hardly afford it but that’s because everyone’s attention goes to (the most central part of) the Okavango delta which is the most expensive place in Botswana. People wanting to stay in Mombo Camp (Wilderness Safaris group) will pay up to 2000$ per person per night! br />
There is an alternative though; don’t focus on these eco-tourism hotspots. It is not as if you can’t have a similar experience anywhere else in Botswana.

To give a few examples:

  • ◦    In the Okavango Delta there are “dry camps” and “water camps”. At the first you will find the known mammals while at the latter you only do mokoro trips on the water where you mainly get to see birds, some crocodile and hippos. Many tour operators combine these lodges to make your safari more affordable, although it still costs a lot. There are cheaper alternatives which offer about the same experience though. Why look for a water camp in the expensive part of the Okavango Delta itself? There are other lodges at half the price. You just have to look a bit more to the north; to the Okavango river instead od the Okavango Delta. The habitat and experience are the same but you’ll pay less. We even go one step further and rent a houseboat for you! This makes it even cheaper (per person). The only condition being that there’s a minimum of four people. And if you’re six people it’s even more interesting because you have to rent the entire boat anyway. On top of that you’ll have a better experience compared to a regular lodge as with your floating lodge you can go wherever you want!

  • ◦    Why opt for a “dry camp” in the Okavango Delta itself? The Delta has dry and wet cycles that last for about 10 years. Now is the top of such a wet cycle. That means you’re better of choosing for a lodge at the edge of the Delta; it’s cheaper and better! Because of that we opt for a lodge at the Khwai river. Same here; similar habitat and experience but up to four times less expensive!

  • ◦    Those who visit Chobe Nationaal Park (the part at the river, not the Savuti half desert) ends up at either the entrance in the west (expensive lodges, few people that side, better experience) or the east side (many affordable lodges, close to Kasane so busier and a less interesting experience). But there’s one lodge at the west side that is affordable. You just have to know where they are. Of course this lodge is included in our offer.

The below schedule is put together with the necessary care and with two criteria in mind; off a similar (or better) than the known travel schedules and keeping the cost reasonable.




Strong points

 

  • ◦   No compromises; you will visit all wildlife-hotspots of the northern safari-circuit
  • ◦   Rental car included (needed for the first part of the trip, all driving on tar)
  • ◦   Experienced guides and trackers
  • ◦   Qualitative and very comfortable lodges
  • ◦   Local flights from/to Johannesburg included
  • ◦   All bush-flights and inter-lodge transfers included
 



Lodges


 
 
 

Delta Belle Houseboat

 
 
 
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Delta Belle is one of the hidden gems of the Okavango Delta. This houseboat offers an experience that is not only unique, but also much more affordable than any water-based camp in the Delta itself (at least; if you share the boat with at least four people).

This luxury houseboat has four rooms. Two are located at water-level, where the sundeck is, and two are on the first level, where the kitchen, salon and dining area is. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms with toilets.

There’s three crew members; a chef, kitchen help and guide who takes you out on the water is a smaller motorised boat (with second extra silent engine). With this boat you explore the canals where you get to see many birds, hippos, crocodiles and spectacular sunsets. The perfect way to unwind and start your safari.
Important: The Delta Belle is getting rather expensive if you’re only two people. In that case Nxameseri Lodge is a better option. This is the only lodge -just like Delta Belle- that is accessible by road (which saves you the cost of a bush flight) and is located in the Okavango Delta itself, on an island close to the point of the Delta, where the river splits. Per person it is more expensive than the Delta Belle with six people and cheaper than the Delta Belle with four people. But still about 1/4th cheaper than any other large in the middle of the Delta (plus what you save on a bush flight because you don’t need one to get to this lodge).
 
 
 
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Sango Safari Camp

 
 
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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 bordering Moremi Game Reserve, the camp offers guests the perfect base from which to explore the wildlife and culture of this unique habitat.

The Khwai area offers a unique variety of safari experiences due to its ideal position on the edge of the Okavango Delta. Although this region is known as the drier part of the Okavango Delta, the presence of the Khwai river provides a year-round water source attracting one of the most fantastic wildlife concentrations in Botswana, and allows Sango Safari Camp to offer both land-based and water-based activities.

Developed on the outskirts of the quaint village of Khwai, Sango Safari Camp offers a unique encounter with the local community and leads you right to the heart of Botswana.

Accommodating 12 guests in six en-suite meru tents Sango Safari Camp is designed in the style of the classic tented safari camp of days gone by. With its open-air showers, hand crafted furnishings and classic styling Sango Safari Camp aims to rekindle the atmosphere of the luxury mobile safari camp, successfully blending the rustic with the luxurious.
 
 
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Camp Savuti

 
 
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Camp Savuti epitomises the Botswana safari experience. From the abundant game viewing to the authentic, tented accommodation, this is the traditional way to spend time in one of Africa's most superb wildlife regions.

Visit Camp Savuti to experience the thrill of getting close to top predators and to watch them in their natural habitat from the comfort of an open-air 4x4 vehicle, guided by knowledgable rangers. Here, one can witness the mass migration of zebra, a wildlife movement second only to the Great Migration of East Africa.

The area is renowned for its large population of bull elephants and visiting Camp Savuti offers the chance of witnessing the unique interaction of the resident predator species. Visit Camp Savuti for an unfortgettable experience in an exceptional area of Chobe. Experienced and passionate guides will ensure that visitors leave with irreplacable memories in wildest Botswana.
 
 
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Camp Savuti is a small, intimate camp consisting of 5 Meru-style tents accommodating a maximum of 10 guests in comfort and style. The tents have been positioned to ensure privacy and a modest level of exclusivity throughout the camp. Each tent sits on a platform, with views over the Savuti Channel. The tents are large and spacious with ensuite facilities and views from the deck.

Savuti is the dry part of Chobe National Park. Half-desert! A canal that has been dry for almost thirty years runs through the Savuti. Three pumps were installed and three artificial waterholes helped the animals to survive the drought.

About two years ago the water in the river started flowing again. No one knows why there was no water for such a lang time and why the water came back. Probably it has something to do with the flat landscape and tectonic of the earth crust. If one plate is lifted 10cm higher at one side that’s enough to make the water flow the other side.

When the water started running, nature got a push in the back ; the river ends in a wetland. By now the water has stopped flowing again and the abundant animal population again concentrates around the remaining water. Same with predators. The result is an unseen spectacle, just like about thirty years ago when the river was dry. At that time the area formed the base of one the most controversial National Geographic documentaries "Eternal Enemies” about the battle between hyenas and lions, filmed by the known Joubert’s.



 
 

Chobe Elephant Camp

 
 
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For game drives on the bank of the Chobe river there are only two possibilities; you take the west or you take east gate. The latter is close to Kasane. Both gates are connected with a tar road that runs through straight through Chobe National Park. Luckily this road stays far away from the river bank.

In the east, because of the presence of Kasane (and the airport) it is very busy at the gate. Sometimes it's so busy that self drivers are not allowed to enter. Also; people often break the rules; we've seen five vehicles or more at sightings that side! This is unfortunately the result of the many cheaper lodges and hotels in and around Kasane. The wildlife experience is certainly not what it should be.

In the west you also have some lodges, but because most of these lodges are very luxurious, and because the area is much more pristine, they are rather costy. Chobe Elephant Camp is about the only exception at that side of the park. The lodge has all the comfort you need, but is less luxurious and is aimed at the middle segment traveller.

With 12 rooms, Chobe Elephant Camp can comfortably accommodate 24 guests. All rooms are en-suite with both indoor and outdoor showers. The whole lodge has been designed to take advantage of the spectacular views over the Chobe River, so whether you choose to relax on your private veranda, read a book in the lounge, have a drink at the bar or cool off in the pool, the vista will always be there to enjoy.

Chobe Elephant lodge offers game drives in open vehicles, in Chobe Park, but also included is one boat trip on the Chobe rivier (leaving from Kasane). A full day trip to Victoria Falls is also included in our offer.
 
 
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Safari
itinerary
in detail



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Day 17

Morning (US) or afternoon (EU); depature. International flight to South Africa.


Morning; arrival in Johannesburg
Noon: flight from Johannesburg to Maun and collect rental vehicle
Namiddag: drive to Shakawe, a small village on the banks of the Okavango River
Evening: board the Delta Belle and dinner
Overnight on the Delta Belle houseboat


Morning: breakfast, followed by a boat ride through the small canals on both sides of the river
Noon: relaxen on the boat and lunch. Delta Belle sails to another spot
Afternoon: again a boat ride using a small motorboat
Dinner and overnight on the Delta Belle houseboat
To moor during the night, a secluded spot is chosen, far away from civilization


Morning: breakfast, followed by a boat ride through the small canals on both sides of the river
Noon: relax on the boat and lunch. Delta Belle sails to another spot again
Afternoon: again a boat ride using a small motorboat
Dinner and overnight on the Delta Belle houseboat

Morning: breakfast and relax on the boat hile it sails back to Shakawe
Noon: drive back tor Maun. Lunch in Maun (not included)
Afternoon: bush flight from Maun to Khwai
Dinner and overnight at Sango Safari Camp


Morning: game drive in the Khwai concession, followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Namiddag: game drive in the Khwai concession
Dinner and overnight at Sango Safari Camp


Morning: game drive in the Khwai concession, followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Namiddag: game drive in the Khwai concession
Dinner and overnight at Sango Safari Camp


Morning: game drive in the Khwai concession, followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Namiddag: game drive in the Khwai concession
Dinner and overnight at Sango Safari Camp


Morning: game drive in the Khwai concession, followed by breakfast
Noon: bush flight from Khwai to Savuti and lunch at Camp Savuti
Afternoon: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area)
Dinner and overnight at Camp Savuti


Morning: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area), followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Afternoon: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area)
Dinner and overnight at Camp Savuti


Morning: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area), followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Afternoon: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area)
Dinner and overnight at Camp Savuti


Morning: game drive in Chobe National Park (Savuti area), followed by breakfast
Noon: bush flight from Savuti to Kasane, transfer to Chobe Elephant Camp
Afternoon: lunch and game drive in Chobe National Park (waterfront)
Dinner and overnight at Chobe Elephant Camp


Morning: game drive in Chobe National Park (waterfront), followed by breakfast
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Afternoon: lunch and game drive in Chobe National Park (waterfront)
Dinner and overnight at Chobe Elephant Camp


Morning: breakfast and boat ride on the Chobe river
Noon: relax at the lodge and lunch
Afternoon: lunch and game drive in Chobe National Park (waterfront)
Dinner and overnight at Chobe Elephant Camp


Morning: breakfast and drive to Zimbabwe
Full day; visit Victoria Falls. Lunch included
Afternoon: drive back to the lodge
Dinner and overnight at Chobe Elephant Camp


Morning: transfer to Kasane airport
Noon: flight from Kasane to Johannesburg
Evening: International flight home


Morning/noon: arrival in EU/UK/US

 
 

Included / not included

 

Included;

  • ◦   Local flight Johannesburg to Maun
  • ◦   rental car + insurance for the first four days, type Opel Corsa
  • ◦   Three nights on the Delta Belle, moored on the Okavango river, at Shakawe
  • ◦   Bush flight from Maun to Khwai
  • ◦   Four nights at Sango Safari Camp, in the Khwai concession
  • ◦   Bush flight from Khwai to Savuti
  • ◦   Three nights at Camp Savuti, in Chobe National Park (Savuti area)
  • ◦   Bush flight from Savuti to Kasane
  • ◦   Four nights at Chobe Elephant Camp, westen of Chobe National Park (waterfront)
  • ◦   Transfers from Kasane airport to Chobe Elephant Camp and back
  • ◦   Alle meals at the lodges, as mentioned in the above detailed itinerary
  • ◦   Accompanied by experienced wildlife guides and trackers
  • ◦   Two safari-activities per day (boat rides, game drives), unless transfers do not allow this
  • ◦   Full day trip to Victoria Falls including lunch
  • ◦   Local flight from Kasane to Johannesburg


Not included;

  • ◦   International flights
  • ◦   Travel insurance
  • ◦   Personal expenditure
  • ◦   Medical expenditure (vaccinations, malaria tablets)
  • ◦   Tips & gratuities
  • ◦   All drinks
 
 

About international flights

 

There are uncountable ways to get to Johannesburg.

From EU: via Schiphol, Paris, Heathrow, or Frankfurt. Or using middle-eastern airlines (Qatar, Emirates, Etihad); via Doha or Dubai.

The latter are the cheapest (starting at around 500€ / 380£), and they deliver amazing quality; prices are lower because their governments subsidize them, not because they deliver sub-par quality. If you use them, what you have to watch out for is that you do not end up with too long stopovers in Doha/Dubai. And that those stopovers are not in the middle of the night.

There is no stopover-issue if you fly with British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa or Air France, in the sense that you get just one long flight (in one go all the way to Johannesburg), and this one is typically a red-eye. But they are a bit more expensive. Prices start at about 800€ / 610£, or 650€ if you are from Belgium (no direct Johannesburg-flight from Brussels means that all airlines from neighbouring countries compete for the Belgian customer).

From US (let's take JFK as airport of departure) the cheapest is Qatar airlines at about 850$. Again; watch out for long stopovers in Doha.

Also posible is South African airlines. They can take you directly from JFK to Johannesburg. Prices start at 1050$. Jetblue and United offer this too, but are more expensive (1270$ and 1670$ respectively). However, SA Airlines offers slightly lower quality.

Other options are Emirates, United and British Airways, with stopovers in respectively Dubai, Frankfurt and London. Prices starting between 1030$ and 1140$.

 
 

Additional info

 

There is a single supplement for any person traveling alone.