Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR)
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in Botswana, at an immense 52 800 km2. It lies in the middle of the Kalahari and in the centre of Botswana.
The landscape of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is mostly flat, interrupted in some areas by endless valleys carved by ancient rivers that once carried waters from rivers further north. It is mostly dry, and only the most adept animals can leave here, each animal and plant evolving its own technique to survive. During the dry season the landscape becomes very drab but in the areas where there are artificial water holes such as Sunday Pan, Passarge Pan, Letiahau and Pipers Pan the wildlife is often exciting.
Best Time to Visit
December to May: The best time to visit Central Kalahari Game Reserve is during the summer rainy months of December to May when everything is green and an abundance of springbok and Gemsbok are attracted north of the game reserve, into the green fossil valleys. It is at this time that Cheetahs let their young learn how to hunt on abundant baby springboks just a few weeks old. The rainstorms in the summer are frequent but not long lived and the clouds that accompany them are magnificent.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is good for dry country wildlife. Springbok and Gemsbok are abundant in the valleys after the rains. The predators here are the Kalahari Lions, Cheetah, Leopard and Brown Hyena. We have seen a lot Honey Badgers, Black Backed Jackal as well as Meerkats.
Our safaris to Central Kalahari Game Reserve
While we do not have this area in the scheduled safaris, it is one of the places we recommend a lot to Guests for tailor made safaris in the rainy months. Because of its size, we limit ourselves to the Deception Valley and Passarge areas. The length of stay here is usually a minimum of 3 nights.
Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park covers about 11,700km² of northern Botswana. In the South, it borders Moremi Game Reserve while to the North and the North West; it borders the Chobe River and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. Much of it is impenetrable Teak forest and thorn bush growing on deep sand. Like Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe was big game hunting ground. The idea of conserving this part of the Chobe area is much older, going back to the 30s. However, it is only in 1967 that Chobe National Park was finally proclaimed.
The Chobe National Park has four distinct geographical areas of interest. We will only cover 3 that our safaris go to. These are:
Serondela area (Chobe river front area)
This area lies north along the Chobe River, bordering the Caprivi Strip. The protected area itself has only the Chobe River as the only source of water, for the wildlife that lives here. During the summer rains, most of the wildlife disperses further into the Teak woodland. But in the drier months they return to the river where they will wait out the drier months before the rains return. At this time, the grazing along the river becomes the soul of the wildlife as it is the only food that would remain to sustain the life of the wildlife here, resulting in the biggest concentration of Elephants and Buffalo, not seen anywhere on the planet. This is also the only place in Botswana where one can see PUKU.
Savute lies to the South West part of Chobe National Park. The story of this area revolves around a river that seems to flow and disappear without any regard to time frames or period. The sea saw movement of the wildlife here, revolves along this mysterious river patterns.
When it flows, the Savute River, brings so much life to savute, you would imagine that you are in paradise itself. Herds of Elephant and Buffalo are resident here throughout the season, and they litter the Savute marsh with recklessness, mingling with other species like Wildebeest, Zebra, Girrafe and Impala at ease.
The inconsistency of the river flow has also created behavior not consistent with wildlife elsewhere. Here, the Lions hunt Elephants. As breeding herds arrive at the water after many hours of trekking through the Mopane, they are often greeted by waiting Lions. Savute is the amphitheater where this interaction of Lions and Elephants has played itself out so brutally, for decades, in a bitter struggle for survival. Film makers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert have captured some of the most dramatic of these scenes in their documentaries about savute.
Nogatshaa and Chinga
To the east are Nogatshaa and Chinga. These areas have better game distribution during the wet summer months, with rain filled Pans providing the much needed sustanance for the wildlife. The Mopane woodland and the Mixed Combretum veld makes the area rather challenging to find much of the wildlife.
It is in the drier winter months that game congregates at the manmade waterholes, that this area becomes interesting. One can spend hours and hours in the Hides near the waterholes and enjoy a plethora of wildlife species coming for a drink.
Best time to visit
March to November: Wildlife viewing is generally better in the dry months (March to November), when there are concentrations of wildlife along the permanent rivers and waterholes. The vegetation is thinner, and temperatures being higher later in that period, driving the wildlife to a permanent residence along the rivers.
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Wild dog, Black backed Jackal, Side striped Jackal, African Wildcat, Impala, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Elephant, Giraffe, Tshessebe, Steenbok, Zebra, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Eland and Greater Kudu.
Our Safaris in Chobe National Park
Pioneer stays 4 nights: 2 nights in Savuti and 2 nights in the Serondela.
Explorer stays 6 nights: 3 nights in Savuti and 3 Nights in Serondela.
Last frontier stays 6 nights: 3 nights in Savuti and 3 nights in Serondela.
We do not have scheduled departures that go to Nogatshaa and Chinga areas. We have tailor made trips that have included the 2 places and usually with repeat Guests looking to explore other places.
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Although the Makgadikgadi National Park was only given its current status in 1992, it has been a conservation area since the 70s. It Borders the Boteti River and its main source of water on the western side. In the south eastern side are the Makgadikgadi salt pans. This area of 4900km2 was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi that covered a better half of northern part of northern Botswana. The fossil remains of the Great Lake being the Makgadikgadi Pans to the south east.
Best time to visit
April to November: The seasonal migration of Zebra and Elephants from Nxai Pan National Park comes to Makgadikgadi National Park during the dry months of April to November, to wait out the dry season. On a good afternoons drive, one goes through herd after herd of Zebra and Elephant. The River is wide and provides sweet grasses for different types of antelope as well. Hippopotamus are occasionally seen grazing on the edges of the river during the day.
The harsh scrubby, thorny, Sickle bush away from the Boteti River makes it difficult for one to enjoy the rest of the Park away from the river. The activities are thus centered along the river limiting game viewing to Zebra and Elephant. Small variety of antelope comes along to the river in the afternoons. Predators are shyer here because of their vicinity to cattle farming activity across the river.
Our Safaris to Makgadikgadi
We don’t run any scheduled trips to Makgadikgadi, but include the area in tailor made safaris only.
Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve covers the eastern one-third of the Okavango Delta, in Northern Botswana. It was officially declared on the 15 March 1963. Unlike most of Africa’s large Parks and Game reserves, Moremi Game Reserve is unique in that it was formed by indigenous people of Ngamiland, and managed through the Fauna Conservation Society of Ngamiland, until 1979 when it was handed over to Botswana Government. It was because of a concern by both Tribesmen and resident Europeans that the indiscriminate hunting of wildlife by the great white hunters would bring a complete annihilation of wildlife species, that Moremi was formed.
Indeed, the name of the Reserve and the subsequent expansions in the 70s and 80s to include the Chiefs Island and Nqoga and Jao Rivers, was a further stamp to commitment, not only of the Ngamiland Royalty but that of a tribe with a vision and commitment to conservation. To date, Moremi Game Reserve covers a total area of 4,871 KM2.
Buffered by wildlife management areas, Moremi Game Reserve consists of a permanent swamp, seasonal swamp areas, and dry land. It is undoubtedly one of the most pristine wildlife destinations in Africa. The landscape also consists of Mopane forest and floodplains. In parts the Mopane trees grow to gigantic proportions, forming a cathedral of forest that dwarfs everything beneath it.
There are four areas of interest inside Moremi Game Reserve that our safaris go to. These are:
Black pools and Xini Area
These areas are in the southwestern part of Moremi. Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Botswana has just recently added more road infrastructure to make the Black pools area more accessible than ever before. With seasonal and permanent swamp landscape, these two regions are home to a bounty of Buffalo herds, Elephant and good lion prides. We have frequently seen Cheetah and African Wild dog hunting in these areas.
There are only two exclusive camping areas allowed for use only by registered tour operators in Botswana. This makes the Xini and Black pools area quite attractive compared to most areas, because of lesser tourist activities. We have enjoyed predator sightings here for hours before a passing vehicle bound for either Xakanaxa or South gate found us.
Xakanaxa and Third Bridge
Tucked in the Western part of Moremi, Xakanaxa and Third bridge area offer more interesting habits for wildlife: Gigantic Mopane forest opening up to wide open spaces of floodplains, seasonal and permanent swamp. The wildlife of this area is thus spoilt for habitat: From Island to woodland, floodplain to a permanent swamp. With such diversity of habitat, time spent in this area is quite rewarding.
This area in the eastern part has more open spaces of floodplains that attract big herds of animals during the dry season. The Maunachira river narrows to a trickle as it flows through the Khwai area (where it is called the Khwai River). This narrowing of the river brings out the animals further out into the floodplains as they drive to reach the water. Good place for African Wild dog, Leopard, and Lion. Mixtures of Giraffe, Zebra, Red Lechwe, Waterbuck, and Warthog, are a common sight in the Khwai floodplains.
Khwai Concession Area (Just outside Moremi Game Reserve)
This area is just across the river from the Reserve. The wildlife is not any more different to the other side of the river. The advantage of the concession area is that we are allowed to do night drives bush walks and mokoros. It is the only place yet in our safari circuit where the three activities are permitted.
Best time to visit
March to November: Wildlife viewing is generally better in the dry months (April to November) when there are concentrations of wildlife along the permanent rivers. The vegetation is thinner, and temperatures being higher later in that period, drives the wildlife to a permanent residence along the rivers.
Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Wild dog, Black-backed Jackal, Side-striped Jackal, African Wildcat, Impala, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Elephant, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Red Lechwe, Tsessebe, Bushbuck, Steenbok, Nile Crocodile, Water monitor Lizard, Plains Zebra, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Sitatunga, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Caracal. Dwarf Mongoose, Banded Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, Yellow Mongoose, Porcupine, Pangolin.
Our Safaris in Moremi
- Pioneer stays in Khwai Concession are for two nights
- Explorer stays in the Khwai Concession area for 3 nights.
- The last frontier stays in Xakanaxa for three nights and Khwai concession area for three nights.
Nxai Pan was proclaimed as a conservation area in the 1970s. It comprised only of 1 676km2. In 1992 it was declared a national park and enlarged to include Baine’s Baobabs. Today it comprises an area of 2 578km2.
Nxai Pan National Park consists mainly of a series of fossil pans, all of which are covered in short, nutritious grasses. On the pans are islands of Acacia trees that form shady spots in which the animals rest during the day. This makes for beautiful scenery and is unique to Nxai Pan.
The famous Baobabs are situated 31 km from the old official entry gate and 15 km from the new gate. They were painted by early explorer missionary Thomas Baines in the late 1800s. They are really a group of gigantic trees that stand on the edge of a huge salt pan, in the same shape and form of the original painting from Thomas Baines.
Best Time to Visit
December to April: In contrast to its neighbours in the north, Nxai Pan is a destination for migrating Zebras from both the northern parks and Makgadikgadi National Park to the south. Theses migrations are in peak here during the rainy months of December to March. At peak, there are estimated tens of thousands of Zebras in Nxai Pan during this time.
Outside seasonal rains, the only source of water is a one man made waterhole with water pumped from underground. Springbok and Impala congregate around this waterhole and occasionally attract Lion, Cheetah and sometimes even Leopard. Bull Elephants and Giraffe track between Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi and they too are common residents at the waterhole.
Ostrich, Kori bustard and Secretary birds are quite common here too. It is a common site to sit at the water hole in the evening and enjoy the flapping of Sandgrouse drinking and taking water home to their babies.
Our Safaris in Nxai Pan
We currently don’t have any scheduled departures to Nxai Pan. It is a place we suggest and include into the program for tailor made trips only. It also works well as an extension to the scheduled safaris. For Guests coming to Botswana in the wetter months of December to March, it is one of the best places to visit.
The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an inland Oasis set in the middle of the largest continuous stretch of sand, Kalahari basin. The catchment of the Okavango River is in Angola. The River then flows through the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. In Botswana, the River flows into a tectonic trough where it transforms into the Okavango Delta.
Every year, 11 cubic kilometers of water flow into the Okavango Delta, over an area of 6 000-16 000 Km2. Most of the waters will transpire through plants, some through evaporation. Some of the waters will reach Lake Ngami, while some will flow east into Moremi Game Reserve.
For millions of years, the Okavango Delta has stayed intact and relatively underdeveloped. The human activity was kept away by an infestation of Tsetse fly and Malaria. It is thus that the Okavango Delta is perhaps the most pristine inland wetland in Africa, today. It is thus that the Okavango Delta is this unique ecosystem that is home to an abundance of wildlife.
Best Time to Visit
March to November: The best time to come to the Okavango Delta is in the drier months of the year when there are concentrations of wildlife along the permanent rivers and swamp.
The wildlife in the Okavango Delta is spectacular-among the best in the world. Huge herds of Elephants and Buffalo can be seen here, all the main cats, hyenas, Wild Dogs and many antelope, including the rare and shy Sitatunga. The Sitatunga has elongated hooves which enable it to walk on floating vegetation. One of the most common antelope in the Okavango is the Red Lechwe. Hippos are numerous. The animals roam freely in a huge wildlife area which covers almost all of the Okavango Delta.
Our Safaris in the Okavango Delta
- Pioneer stays 2 nights in Khwai (Optional Mokoros)
- Explorer stays 3 nights in Khwai (Optional Mokoros)
- Last Frontier stays 3 nights in Xakanaxa (Boat Cruise), 3 nights in Khwai (Optional Mokoros)
Mosi o a Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders)
Victoria Falls is a world wonder. It was coined after Queen Victoria by the early missionary/explorer Dr. David Livingstone. He penned in his Diary “Scenes so beautiful they must be gazed upon by angels in their flight”. This was in the mid 1800’s.
“The smoke that thunders” is the name that the native tribes used for millenniums to describe the mighty falls. Today Victoria Falls is gazed upon by tourists from across the planet, in awe just like the early explorers that passed here more than a century ago.
Best Time to Visit
Vic falls is good to visit anytime of the year. The water is at its peak high in March-April. The spray is fairly heavy about this time but the water covers the bigger length of the falls.
Our Safaris in the Victoria Falls
- Pioneer stays 2 nights in Victoria Falls
- Explorer stays 2 nights in Victoria Falls
- Last Frontier stays 1 night in Victoria Falls
Accommodation in Vic Falls
Guests stay at Amadeus Garden Lodge while in Vic Falls. It is a small and cozy lodge closer to the Boma (dining place) where Guests have their last dinner before connecting to go back home.
Activities in Victoria Falls
- Visit to see the Water falls
- Bungee Jumping (one of the highest in the world)
- The Zambezi Swing
- Whitewater rafting
- Flight over the falls with fixed wing Aircraft/Helicopter/Micro light
- Game drives
- Boat Cruise
NB: All activities in Victoria Falls are optional for our Guests.