At a Glance
Dates: May 8th - May 22nd, 2023
Extension: We do not currently offer any extensions to this itinerary.
Prices: £7,995 pp sharing (with no single supplement), excluding international flights.
In a sentence: A luxury safari taking in the very best game-viewing areas in Africa - one of our most popular safaris.
The Okavango Delta is synonymous with the most luxurious, exclusive and jaw-dropping safaris in Africa. This sensational wilderness area is home to all of the Big Five and so much more, with packs of wild dog, coalitions of cheetah and a laundry list of rare and unusual species all regularly seen. This exclusive safari takes in some of the very finest lodges in the Okavango, as well as Moremi, Savute, Chobe and Makgadikgadi, offering a safari experience like no other. Guests should expect a richly varied holiday, with the chance to view elephant, lion, leopard and much more from boats, mokoros, on foot and on game drives. Truly, this is one of the most complete safari packages on the continent today.
On your arrival into Maun, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris tour leader and transferred to a light aircraft for your flight eastwards to the Makgadikgadi Pan. The exact flight time will vary, depending on any stops we need to make en route, but we aim to be at our excellent lodge in time for a late lunch. After settling in to the lodge, we will head out this afternoon to explore the stunning scenery of the vast Makgadikgadi Pan. We are based on the banks of Boteti River, and at this time of year a wide array of grazing animals begin to move between the river and the salt pan itself. Our first evening drive will allow us to view a catalogue of generic game, including giraffe and zebra, as well as dry-country species such as springbok and gemsbok. Keep a keen eye out for predators too, as this area has become increasingly productive for sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah and even African wild dog in recent years. A special effort should be made also to spot rarities including aardwolf that are known to skulk around the edge of the pan each evening.
We have a full day to explore Boteti on morning and evening game drives, seeking out predators and an array of diverse grazing species. Our longer morning drive will also allow us to spend time marvelling at the vast expanse of the Makgadikgadi salt pans. These beautiful and seemingly inhospitable pans are at the centre of some of the most unexpectedly rewarding game-viewing in all of Botswana and, whilst game densities are not as high here as elsewhere in the country, the pans are stunning and truly well worth a visit.
This morning guests take to the air once more, transferring to the heart of one of the most famous game-viewing areas in Africa - the Okavango Delta. On arrival into the airstrip, it is a 20-minute boat trip to our superb accommodation on the banks of the Xugana Lagoon, one of the most productive and stunning permanent water sources in the entire Delta. After a chance to settle in to our impressive lodge, this afternoon we head out for game-viewing by mokoro. These traditional dug-out canoes offer the chance to silently glide through the waterways of the delta, marvelling at the stunning wildlife that this area offers. Elephant are real stars here, and we will enjoy the opportunity to view these gentle giants as they drink. Hippo, buffalo, red lechwe and even the shy sitatunga can all be seen here, making for a complete and relaxed game-viewing experience.
After returning to the lodge for dinner, there is the chance to head out on a night drive, an extremely rare treat in Botswana only available to us on this private concession within the delta. The game-viewing at night here can be truly sensational, with leopard, lion, spotted hyena and many more nocturnal species often spotted. With luck, we may glimpse these predators as they hunt the plentiful impala and lechwe in the area.
Days Four to Five
The next two full days are dedicated to exploring the delta by motorised boat, mokoros, walking safaris and game drives. The delta protects one of the richest ecosystems on earth, with all of the Big Five possible, in addition to rarities including cheetah, wild dog and several unusual antelope species, including roan, sable, sitatunga and tsessebe. When not enjoying the superb game-viewing, the supremely well-appointed camp is a great spot in which to relax and enjoy the ambience of this special location.
This morning we transfer to arguably the most productive areas for game-viewing in all of Africa - Xakanaxa. After lunch at our beautiful lodge, a game drive this afternoon is a great way to explore the surprisingly expansive plains of Xakanaxa. This is one of the best places anywhere in Botswana to view cheetah, and we will make a special effort to find these threatened cats this afternoon. Besides cheetah, large packs of African wild dog traverse this area regularly, and leopard and lion sightings are regularly recorded. All of Big Five, in fact, are regularly recorded here, making every game drive truly exciting.
Days Seven to Eight
Two full days in Moremi are a real privilege, and we aim to take advantage of every moment. Morning and afternoon game drives offer the chance to view some of Africa's most iconic fauna, and boat trips on the Khwai River offer a quieter and more intimate game-viewing experience. Our exact focus each day is flexible to the interests of the group, but we expect rewarding sightings of big cats, wild dogs and even large clans of spotted hyena to take centre stage,
After another morning transfer, we arrive in one of Botswana's most iconic wilderness areas, Savute. Our lodge is perched about the Savute Channel, a water source that only fills periodically, but when it does it floods the area with life. Over the last decade or so, the channel has run dry, driving the wildlife here towards the few remaining water sources. This hardship has delivered incredible wildlife sightings, with perhaps the most famous example being the large pride of lion here that hunt elephant - a remarkable sight!
After lunch, an afternoon game drive to the world-famous Savute Marsh is in order. This once grassy marsh has become arid in recent years, although it still attracts a rich variety of game. Lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, elephant and the odd-looking bat-eared fox are all commonly seen here, making every game drive an adventure. After our drive, dinner can be enjoyed whilst overlooking a waterhole in front of camp, and don't be surprised if large herds of elephant can be seen from your chalet!
Days Ten to Eleven
Savute can be a tough but hugely rewarding safari destination, and we expect lengthy morning and evening game drives to be amongst the most productive of the trip. The dry channels are favourite haunts of large prides of lion, with leopard seen frequently on the large koppie that tower above the savanna. The marsh is arguably the best place to see cheetah in this part of Botswana, and ostrich and bat-eared fox are easily seen here.
Our final morning transfer takes us to the famed Chobe waterfront. We initially fly into Kasane, before completing immigration formalities to enter Namibia, as our lodge is on the far quieter northern banks of the Chobe river. Our secluded accommodation can only be reached by boat, lending itself to a real sense of luxury and exclusivity. Overlooking the 'Puku Flats', where the elusive puku is often seen, game drives are not on offer here. Instead, game-viewing is conducted on boats that take guests along the Chobe river. This area is best known for its astounding elephant population, and this afternoon we may be lucky enough to spy a herd crossing the river itself, with the trunks held up as periscopes. Buffalo, giraffe, sable and roan can all be seen on the banks and, with lucky, we may glimpse lion, leopard or even wild dog as they hunt in the woodland that lines the river.
Days Thirteen to Fourteen
Our final two full days allow for a relaxed exploration of the Chobe Waterfront by boat. When not seeking out elephant and other big game from the water, the viewing deck offers panoramic vistas across the floodplains, and puku, hippo and elephant are easily seen from the lodge itself. Big game sightings are less likely here than in our other destinations, but this does nothing to detract from the excellent lodge accommodation and special, relaxed atmosphere in the lodge.
Guests are today transferred to Kasane Airport for their homeward flights.
Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may
occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.
Dates and Prices
This tour will run in May 2023, aiming to take advantage of the 'shoulder season', when game-viewing can be hugely rewarding, but accommodation is more affordable than during the peak season. The tour will run from May 8th to May 22nd 2022.
The cost of this trip is £7,995 per person excl. international flights, with a £700 single supplement. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. Premium drinks are not included. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £2,500 must be paid.
Flights and Visas
Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Maun or Kasane at the beginning or end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost.
British nationals do not require a visa to enter Botswana or Namibia for spells of up to ninety days. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa.
Weather and What to Bring
The weather in Botswana in May is warm and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 29 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 11 degrees Celsius.
A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.
Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.
Safety and Security
There are no security concerns in any of the areas visited by this tour.