Best of Botswana & Victoria Falls Wildlife Safari 2019
June 2019 (12 days)
Dates18 Jun 2019 - 29 Jun 2019
Tour LeaderTo be announced
Tour Size8 Participants & 1 Rockjumper Wildlife guide
Flight Cost (Approximate)TBA
Spaces AvailableSpaces Available
End LocationVictoria Falls
Type of TourWildlife
The “big five”, Cheetah, African Wild dog, Hippopotamus, Serval, Bat-eared Fox, Tsessebe, Spotted Hyena, Sitatunga, Red Lechwe, with chances for Roan and Sable Antelope, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Wattled Crane, Southern Ground Hornbill, Slaty Egret, Bat Hawk, Lesser Jacana, Rufous-bellied Heron, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Swamp Boubou, Brown Firefinch, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, African art, river cruises
Day 1: Maun to Moremi Game Reserve
Following your arrival in Maun, Botswana’s safari capital, you will be met by your Rockjumper tour leader before embarking on a very scenic flight into the heart of the Okavango Delta. As we wing our way over the southern delta towards Moremi, the vastness and diversity of the delta will unfold beneath us.
At the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta, Moremi is home to a variety of habitats ranging from wide-open floodplains to marshland, lagoons, fringed channels, vast reed-beds, woodland and savanna. This diverse habitat is matched by a phenomenally rich fauna making this one of the most rewarding game viewing areas on the African continent! After touching down, we make our way to our ready-made and exclusive tented camp in the Xakanaxa region in time for sundowners serenaded by the sounds of the African savanna.
Days 2 & 3: Moremi Game Reserve
We have two full days of our Botswana wildlife tour to explore the savannas and waterways of Moremi Game Reserve from our open safari vehicle. The lush grasses and reed beds of the area are home to a cohort of interesting species including Hippopotamus, Southern Lechwe and even the rarely seen Sitatunga; a specialized swamp dwelling antelope with an extremely long specialised hoof structure. Thriving on the islands and in the surrounding woodlands are Giraffe, African Elephant, and an impressive suite of Africa’s big predators including Lion, Leopard, and Spotted Hyena. Chacma Baboon, Vervet, Banded Mongoose and the tiny Smith’s Bush Squirrel are refreshingly common sightings here too.
The Okavango, with its vast areas of unspoilt habitat, is a stronghold for a number of species that are now becoming rare elsewhere. Notable is the African Wild Dog and Moremi is indeed one of the best reserves in Africa for viewing this increasingly rare and interesting species.
Wild Dogs are remarkably social animals relying heavily on cooperation between members of the pack. Physical conflict is thus avoided with elderly and sick dogs minded and fed by pack members. Watching a pack hunting at dusk or dawn is one of Africa’s greatest spectacles and, with one of the highest success rates of any predator, we stand a chance of seeing this species in action! This area is also home to a resident herd of several hundred African Buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least four prides of Lion. African Buffalo are a much favoured prey species for these big cats and it is not uncommon for us to find them flanking the ever-moving herd.
Birdlife is also a feature here. Okavango specials that we will keep a lookout for include Slaty Egret, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Long-toed Lapwing and both Luapula and Chirping Cisticolas. Other highlights should include Southern Ground Hornbill, Hamerkop, both Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers, Martial Eagle, Goliath Heron, African Jacana, African Darter, the colourful Lilac-breasted Roller, Red-billed Spurfowl, Little and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Bennett’s Woodpecker, and Arnott’s Chat.
Day 4: Moremi Game Reserve to Khwai
Today on our Botswana wildlife tour, we make our way overland from Moremi to the Khwai River or the Manuchira Channel. For much of today we will follow this watercourse, with the track weaving from the riverside and floodplains through the mopane woodlands. This is no ordinary travel day and there will of course be plenty to see as we make our way north.
We will enjoy lunch en route and in the mid to late afternoon arrive in the community area of Khwai where our camp crew will have erected our camp. There will be time for a hot shower before afternoon tea and our initial exploration of the nearby floodplains. Khwai is situated just outside of the national park so we are free to enjoy spotlighting for mammals at night. Before settling down for the night we will head out in search of game that are rarely encountered by day including the endearing Bat-eared Fox, Spotted Hyena, Leopard, Southern Lesser Galago and the odd-looking Springhare.
Days 5 & 6: Khwai
The floodplains and woodlands of the Khwai area are rich in wildlife and we expect two full days of rewarding game viewing here. The floodplains are home to several impressive old elephant bulls that can often be seen revelling in the cool waters of the Khwai River.
Like Moremi this area is also brimming with game and predators; Leopard, Serval, Wild Cat, and Lion are common predators and though less common, Cheetah and African Wild Dog can also be found. General game species include Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Impala, Topi, Waterbuck, Common Warthog, Greater Kudu and Southern Lechwe. The magnificent Roan and Sable Antelope are also possible here.
Although mammals are the focus of our Botswana wildlife tour , we will certainly not ignore the menagerie of magnificent birds found in the area. The endangered Wattled Crane, Rufous-bellied Heron, African Pygmy Goose, Long-toed Lapwing, Southern Pied Babbler, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Bat Hawk, the iconic Bateleur, African Hawk-Eagle and Little Sparrowhawk are all possible.
Whilst here, we will also enjoy a Mokoro trip down a tributary of the Khwai River. A Mokoro is a traditional dug-out canoe that locals still use to traverse these shallow waterways. With some skilful balancing by our Mokoro guides, we will have a chance to view Hippopotamuses up close and personal. The peace and tranquillity experienced on these waterways whilst being on a Mokoro is a unique experience to say the least.
Day 7: Khwai to Chobe National Park
On today’s travel day we continue our journey north to the Savuti area in southwestern Chobe National Park. In sharp contrast to the rivers, channels and wetlands of the Okavango are the dry and seemingly desolate landscapes of the Savuti. The Savuti, while dry for decades at a time, occasionally floods with waters from the unpredictable Savuti channel. Why this channel, mostly dormant and dry, suddenly begins to flow remains a mystery. The occurrence of rain or flooding elsewhere in the region seems to have no bearing on the activity of the channel and, despite the best efforts of scientists and geologists, the movement of water into the region remains an enigma. The presence of towering dead Camelthorn trees, standing sentinel over this remarkable landscape, serves as a constant reminder of the erratic flow of the Savuti channel. We have two full days to explore this amazing area for game.
Days 8 & 9: Chobe National Park
The concentration of predators in Savuti has been a draw card for naturalists and filmmakers alike with innumerable wildlife documentaries, including National Geographic’s dramatic “Eternal Enemies”, having been filmed here. The Savuti is also famed for its pride of unique Elephant killing Lions celebrated in BBC’s Planet Earth documentary.
This pride, approximately 30 strong, hunts by night using their large numbers to wear their atypically large prey down. Although we would be very lucky to witness such an encounter we are likely to have splendid views of these photogenic members of the “Big Five”. In addition to the impressive suite of antelope and smaller mammals we will be lucky to encounter Sable and Roan Antelope in this area, perhaps the most impressive antelope species of the region. The Savuti Channel is also celebrated for its high concentration of raptors and is recognized by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area.
Day 10: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls
Today we leave the parched Savuti and journey northwards to the northern boundary of Chobe National Park and our final destination for the day. Much of the day will be spent travelling to the town of Kasane where we will enjoy a relaxing boat cruise along the Chobe River around midday.
This tour to Botswana is carefully timed to take place during the dry season when game concentrates along the riverfront. The park is home to the largest single concentration of elephant on earth and we can expect many sightings as they quench their thirst in the cool waters of the picturesque Chobe River; the density of these colossal beasts here is nothing short of astounding! On the floodplains, we expect to see great herds of African Buffalo, elegant Southern Lechwe, Waterbuck and Giraffe. This area will provide our best opportunity for the rare Puku and the shy Chobe sub-species of Bushbuck, both localized to the Chobe riverfront. African Skimmers make their way here in the winter months to breed along these exposed sandbanks and seeing these elegant fliers will be a treat.
Mid-afternoon will see us crossing the border into Zimbabwe and settle into our comfortable accommodations at Victoria Falls with a view of the spray!
Day 11: Victoria Falls
Today we have a full day to enjoy the Zambezi River and the mighty Victoria Falls. Our comfortable lodge is within walking distance of the falls and we will spend the morning enjoying the sights and sounds of this, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The swirling waters of the Zambezi roar with deafening intensity as they hurl the 103 meters to the bottom of the falls. The many viewpoints along the edge of the falls offer amazing vantage points from which to photograph and experience this natural wonder.
In the afternoon a range of optional extra activities exist from the interesting curio market to canoeing, helicopter rides over the falls, boat trips and even bungee jumping!
Day 12: Victoria Falls and depart
This morning we will enjoy a lovely farewell breakfast. Afterwards we will be transferred to the Victoria Falls Airport for your international flight home and bid our farewells at the close of this unforgettable African adventure.