Your browser does not support the HTML5 video element.
A safari through Botswana and Zambia, exploring Chobe National Park, visiting the thundering Victoria Falls and sleeping aboard a houseboat in the vast Okavango Delta Panhandle. Spend time searching for wildlife including elephant, hippos and lions within remote wilderness.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights comfortable boat
1 nights premium hotel
3 nights premium lodge
2 nights comfortable lodge
3 nights premium tented camp
Trip maximum 12
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Join trip at Maun Airport and drive to Khwai river (Okavango Delta).
Our trip begins at Maun Airport (MUB) at 3.30pm, the latest your flight can land is 3pm. We will travel together as a group by 4WD safari vehicles to the Khwai River, part of the Delta, our base for the next three nights.
Our lodge will be either Mogotlho Safari Lodge which occupies an outstanding position on the Khwai River or the outstanding Hyena Pan in Khwai Private Reserve, adjacent to Moremi National Park. Both offer spacious luxury safari tents complete with en-suite bathrooms and a separate dining deck and lounge areas for the best possible wildlife viewing.
Mogotlho Safari Lodge (or similar)
Premium Tented Camp
We will enjoy two game drives today. Setting off for our morning game drive at first light (when predator activity is most expected), we get the chance to experience one of Africa's most natural and unspoiled wonderlands in the park with hippo, crocodile and a great variety of birds all seen in the Delta, as well as the elusive sitatunga antelope. This place is also an ornithologist's paradise with fish eagle, kingfisher, heron, stork, egret, weaver and bee-eater all regularly seen.
Returning for brunch as the day starts to heats up, the hottest part of the day is spent at leisure at our camp, a chance of a siesta, a dip in the pool, relax reading a book or birdwatching. Our afternoon activity departs after tea, usually around 4pm, to return in the early evening. Game drives and activities vary depending on sightings and animal activities, generally we drive quite far and slowly to absolutely maximize game-viewing potential, all expertly guided by our highly experienced tour leaders.
During the safaris we will travel in customised, open-sided land-cruisers for game viewings. The Landcruisers are ideal for game viewing opportunities but can be a bit brisk and windy during the longer travel days, so ensure you bring some layers for travel days, and your tour leader will provide blankets to make the journeys as comfortable as possible. The roads through Botswana can vary in quality, so travel days can be slow and bumpy but the scenery more than makes up for this.
The mighty Okavango is the third largest river in Africa and its delta area covers 16,000 square kilometres of crystal clear channels, a myriad of ephemeral lakes and ever changing islands, surviving in the Kalahari desert. The river flows south east from the Angolan highlands over 1,000 km away and takes up to 6 months to reach the delta area that floods on a perennial annual cycle. The Okavango Delta covers an enormous wilderness area composed of permanent swamps, islands, forest and dry land. Exceptional though the geography of the Delta may be, it is the amazing wildlife of the waterways that draws us.
Remaining in the Moremi or Khwai River reserves, we drive further into the Delta area. This exceptional geography and topography attracts amazing wildlife to the waterways. Your guide will generally spend the maximum time on game-drives, depending on what is seen, trying to cover as much area as possible. The result of this is that you'll get the best chances of seeing a variety of wildlife.
Species such as Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest are but a few that occur here, along with an astonishing variety of birds. Hyena Pan is well known for its waterholes, we get the opportunity to view the wildlife from our ground level hide alongside the waterhole. For those departures staying at Mogotlho Safari Lodge there are excellent game view opportunities along the river adjacent to our camp.
This morning we take a slow drive out of the concession and should arrive to Thamo Thelele around lunch time.
The magnificent Thamo Telele is set amongst a lush forest of old growth leadwood and acacia trees, around 25 minutes outside of Maun, each luxury safari-style tent is on raised wooden platforms with hardwood floors and en-suite bathrooms, all with outdoor showers and nature as the back drop. The stylish canvas tents all have twin beds, which can be converted into doubles, and air conditioning above the bed. There is a swimming pool and central main lounge and bar area, where you'll find comfy couches and locally designed wall art. Its a truly exceptional property.
The afternoon is free for you to explore the lodge and its wild surroundings on self-guided walking trails. Alternatively relax by the swimming pool. There is also the option to book a giraffe experience. One of the most fascinating things about the lodge is its resident herd of 20 giraffe, which you can observe while on activities in the reserve and most enthralling get up close and personal to in the evening while they feed at the waterhole. There are naturalists on hand, who will be able to tell you all about these fascinating animals. See the budgeting section for more details.
Thamo Telele (or similar)
After breakfast we drive up the west side of the Okavango Delta Panhandle to Shakawe, where we leave our vehicle behind and board a motor launch to our houseboat. On arrival, meet our friendly crew who will be our hosts for the next three nights. After settling in dinner is served in the dining room, with panoramic windows offering the most amazing backdrop of the sun setting over the Okavango river basin.
The accommodation is comfortable, with eight bedrooms with en-suite facilities. Each room has glass doors sliding open on to the wilderness of the remote panhandle area, while on the deck above are seating areas from which to enjoy the sunsets and listen to the birds. The boat will be for our exclusive use during our stay.
Due to seasonal variations in the level and strength of the river, the houseboat itself might only be able to access limited parts of the river for much of the year, whilst we explore the river on smaller launches. However, the amount of water that falls in the catchment area can be highly variable and occasionally, conditions may allow the houseboat itself to cruise in other areas of the Delta.
The next couple of days are spent enjoying this spectacular setting. During our time on the river, there is a possibility of seeing a variety of game. On our launch, we may cruise past submerging pods of hippos, while crocodiles bask in the shallows and on the riverbanks. While drifting along, it is not hard to imagine yourself as David Livingstone, exploring Africa all those years ago.
Okavango Spirit House Boat (or similar)
Today, we'll visit the intriguing and sacred World Heritage Site of the Tsodilo Hills. The San Bushmen community believe the hills are the site of the first creation and painted an astonishing 4000 rock paintings across 350 sites marking the area's significance. Here, four impressive rocks jut out of the expanse of the surrounding land, and it is believed by the San Bushmen that the largest of the rocks is the 'man', the second largest the 'woman', and the smallest the 'child'. The fourth rock, which stands apart from the others, is said to be the male's first wife. Some of the paintings are thought to be over 24,000 years old, and as well as the chance to see ancient rock paintings, the hills offer vast views across the countryside below.
A expert local guide will accompany us around the site, interpreting the carvings. The walking tour lasts around two hours, walking along a flat well graded path. It's possible to opt out at any stage and return to the shade of the small museum located at the entrance of the site, where we will also have a picnic lunch before returning to the houseboat for a relaxing evening.
This morning will be a early start for the very long journey to Chobe National Park. Today's total journey time is approximately seven hours depending on time spent at the border crossings, and will of course include comfort breaks and a lunch break.
The drive takes us north to Namibia's Caprivi Strip, before heading to the riverside town of Kasane. The Caprivi Region has a colourful and interesting history, playing a central part in the Berlin Conference of 1890. Named after German Chancellor General Count Georg Leo von Caprivi di Caprara di Montecuccoli, the strip was once administered by the British before it was swapped for Zanzibar with the Germans at a time of great European political manoeuvring.
A mid to late afternoon arrival in Kasane provides just enough time for a refreshing sundowner at our hotel accommodation on the banks of the Chobe River.
A variety of habitats of flooded grassland, thicket, salt pan and particularly the banks of the Chobe River, one of the Zambezi's main tributaries, is home to an abundance of wildlife. A major feature of Chobe is its elephant population which is considered to be the largest surviving continuous elephant population and is currently estimated at 120 000 strong! This population covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe and has been built up steadily from a few thousand since the early 1900s when massive poaching at the height of the illegal ivory trade decimated other populations in the 1970s and 1980s. The Chobe elephants in this area have the distinction of being the largest in body size of all living elephants, but the ivory is brittle and there are no more of the huge tuskers from a by gone era.
Chobe Safari Lodge (or similar)
We'll maximise our time today to ensure we make the most of game drive opportunities. We head out in the morning and again in the afternoon, for the chance to spot huge trumpeting herds of elephants in and around the southern bank of the Chobe River, where we can also find Chobe Bushbuck and Puku Antelope.
Other mammals to be seen are buffalo, kudu, eland, waterbuck, sable and roan antelope, zebra, lion, cheetah, leopard, impala and reedbuck. In the river are hippo and crocodile and the waters teem with bream, barbel and tiger fish (freshwater barracuda). Our tour leader will decide on the exact running times of the day, and lunch arrangements, depending on the weather conditions and the season to ensure the best viewing.
For those that wish to there is an optional boat cruise along the Chobe River offered in the afternoon, perhaps the last river where one has a fair chance to see Lion and Elephant, Leopard or Wild Dog from the unique viewpoint of a boat. See the budgeting section for prices.
Today we will continue with our morning and afternoon game drives in Chobe National Park. The northern Chobe area of Serondela is the heart of elephant country. Up to 35,000 elephants live here, the largest number in any African park. On our game drive this morning we take a slow drive along the southern bank of the Chobe River, where we can find Chobe Bushbuck and Puku Antelope. The sheer variety of animals in abundance, make this region a must-see for any wildlife enthusiast. We hope to watch huge herds in and around the great Chobe River, which also teems with hippo and crocodile.
This morning, we leave Botswana and cross the border into Zimbabwe to arrive to the town of Victoria Falls. Often referred to as the adventure capital of Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is a pleasant town with a variety of land, air and water-based activities on offer in the surrounding area. Close to our lodge is one of the natural wonders of the world - Victoria Falls.
This afternoon we'll visit the falls from the Zimbabwean side of the river where the Zambezi River plummets over a sheer cliff wall spanning more than 1676 meters and dropping approximately 100 metres into the abyss below. The natives named the waterfall, Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning 'the smoke that thunders' because of the plumes of water vapour that rise like smoke into the sky above the falls, accompanied by the deafening roar. After our guided tour you can take your time to further explore the network of paths and enclaves around the falls.
For the next two nights we will be staying at either the Batonka Guest Lodge or Pioneer Lodge. The two are sister properties located just over 1km from each other and are almost identical. Both are set in beautiful landscaped gardens, feature a swimming pool, spacious rooms, an expansive terrace where breakfast is taken, a bar and a stylish lounge and dining room which are both extremely comfortable. They are both exclusively reserved for residents which ensures the upmost privacy.
Batonka Guest Lodge (or similar)
Today is free to relax, or you may choose to book a two hour game drive in Zambezi National Park in search of the big five. Alternatively, there is the option to take a scenic flight over the falls or go white water rafting in the Zambezi. All activities can be booked at your guesthouse directly and full prices are available in the budgeting section of the trip notes.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Victoria Falls.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Victoria Falls at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Victoria Falls International Airport (VFA), which is about 20 minutes' drive from the hotel.
Botswana's regional characteristics, from fertile areas in the east to waterless desert in the centre and south, and a vast delta in the north-west, make for extremes of temperatures and highly variable rainfall. Seasonal weather patterns can be unpredictable.
3 Pin Round
Christians. Anglicans, Methodists
With a staggering 300 days of sunshine each year, Namibia is a year-round destination, although some may prefer to avoid the heat of high summer. The cold Benguela current keeps the Atlantic coast of the Namib Desert cool and rain-free for most of the year, with a thick coastal fog that lends a mysterious edge to the area. January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the heart of the Namib can exceed 40°C (104°F), but nights are usually cool. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant.
English, Afrikaans, German
Zimbabwe has a moderate climate, in the summer months (November to April) you can expect highs of 30 C° and lows of 20 C°. The wet season is from November to May when the days are typically dry and sunny with afternoon/evening thunderstorms. The best time for game viewing is September to October when days are dry and the temperatures are still relatively cool.
2 Pin Round
\red31\green73\blue125; Maun Day 4: Thamo Telele - Get up close and personal with the lodge's resident herd of 20 giraffe while they feed at the waterhole. There are naturalists on hand, who will be able to tell you all about these fascinating animals. Learn each giraffes Setswana name, and how to identify them by their unique spots. There are identification books in the main lodge and at the waterhole so that you can work out who's who. Put on your walking shoes or jump on a horse and come and hang with the giraffe. This is a very special experience and one that Thamo Telele are particularly excited about! Pre booked (guaranteed) USD$140 per person Special rate - subject to availability on the day USD$50 per person Horse riding US$44 per person Kasane Day 8: Boat safari on Chobe River US$ 55pp Victoria Falls Day 10 or 11: Shearwater „ River Song„ Sunset Zambezi River cruise US $85 (plus US $10 park fee) per person. Wild Horizons Dinner Cruise US $100 (plus US $10 park fee) per person, sunset cruise US $60 (plus US $10 park fee). Victoria Falls helicopter ride 15mins US $175 per person (plus US $6 aviation fee, $20 park fee) / Victoria Falls helicopter ride 22mins US $260 per person (plus US $6 aviation fee, $20 park fee) Day 11: Whitewater rafting half day low water US$ 126 per person. Strict minimum age of 15 years applies. Transfers to/from your hotel are included. Half day includes lunch and soft drinks. Rafting grade 5. Rafting note: River conditions are determined by seasonally predictable fluctuations in water levels. Low water season generally runs from August to January each year - this is when the Zambezi is at its very wildest. High water is from about February to July and there can be a closed season between March and June depending on the seasons rains. Please note the minimum age for rafting is 15 years old. Upper Zambezi canoeing US$ 150 per person. Minimum age of 12 years old applies Fishing expedition. US$ 130 (3 hours), US$160 (full day) Zambezi National Park Game Drive US$ 71 (plus US $10 park fee) per person. For all activities cash is preferred, but cards are accepted
Clothing should be lightweight. However, a wind/waterproof jacket and warm fleeces or sweaters are essential, as nights and early morning game drives can be very cold. Scarfs are useful too. Brightly coloured and white clothing is not suitable for game viewing. Take a smart/casual outfit for evening meals/drinks in the safari lodges. Don't forget your swimwear.
Lightweight trail boots or robust trainers with good traction soles and sandals.
Limit is one barrel bagoft holdall (suitcases are not permitted due to transport restrictions) per person and a reasonable amount of photographic equipment. A daysac is essential for everyday use.
Bring a water bottle, torch, sunhat, sunglasses, insect repellent and sunscreen. Binoculars are essential for game viewing and a 300mm lens is recommended for photography. Mosquito nets are provided in lodge rooms, so there is no need to take your own.
Please note if for any reason any of the named hotels on this tour are unavailable we will provide another hotel of similar or better quality.
Dietary requirements: Most restaurants and hotels in Botswana do not have a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian choices. There is usually a choice of salads and one main vegetarian and/or vegan main dish on the menus, but choice will be limited especially in more remote locations. If you have specific dietary requirements we do recommend for you to bring some food with you.
It’s very important that you let us know of any dietary requirements at least 60 days prior to the departure of your trip because your Leader will pre-plan menus and shop for the majority of the food prior to departure. In Namibia there is very limited availability for specialist food products along the way and leaders will need to pre-advise accommodations of any specific requirements so they can ensure they have options. Please note, without prior notice or if your requirements change while on the trip Explore cannot guarantee all requirements will be catered for.
If you have a specialist diet, including but not limited to vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant and/or celiac, we strongly recommend you bring some snacks with you as options will be limited, particularly in rural parts of Namibia where specialist food products in supermarkets are very limited and restaurants will often have one or two alternative options on their menus. With prior notice our leaders will always ensure there is a meal for you, however, we must stress we cannot guarantee variety or choice.
Dietary requirements: Most restaurants and hotels in Zimbabwe do not have a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian choices. There is usually a choice of salads and one main vegetarian and/or vegan main dish on the menus, but choice will be limited especially in more remote locations. If you have specific dietary requirements we do recommend for you to bring some food with you.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Travelling with Minors via South Africa (including transits) and entry into Botswana and Namibia Regulations affecting all children aged under 18 years that are travelling to, from or via South Africa have been updated (Nov19). The law states that visa exempt children travelling for tourism purposes with one or both parents and/or an adult who is not a biological parent require to present a valid passport for each child on arrival. We strongly recommend you to refer to the South African House website for full information and to travel with a copy of these requirements. Please refer to the FCO website for information on travelling with minors to Botswana: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/botswana/entry-requirements Please refer to the FCO website for information on travelling with minors to Namibia: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/namibia/entry-requirements Botswana: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. All passports must have at least 6 months validity remaining from date of entry into Botswana. Namibia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. UK passport holders will need a minimum of 1 blank page in your passport for your permission to stay stamp acquired on arrival. Other nationalities should consult their embassy or consular office. Zimbabwe: Visas are required for UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. British citizens can obtain these on arrival (USD55), all other nationalities should consult their consulate. All passports must have at least 6 months validity remaining on entry and also have two consecutive blank pages in their passports which lie side by side when the passport is open (i.e. a left and a right hand page). Please refer to the Zimbabwe Department of Immigration website for visa on arrival fees and E-visa applications: https://www.evisa.gov.zw/home When travelling via South Africa a machine readable passport is required. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. South Africa: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, US and Canadian citizens. New Zealand passport holders do require a visa. If you are transiting you may need a transit visa, Please consult your airline to determine if you will need to pass through South African immigration to transit for your onward flight and your local consulate for full visa information. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office for visa and/or transit visa information. All visitors should ensure their passport is machine readable and has two blank pages when entering and leaving South Africa. The South African Immigration officials will not allow child/ infant pages to be used for this purpose and visitors without the stipulated blank pages will be denied entry. All visa information is subject to change. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
We do recommend protection against malaria, hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Travellers may wish to immunize themselves against meningitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling. Immigration/Borders in Botswana are requesting a Yellow Fever certificate if you have previously travelled within/via an endemic country. Please note that any travellers who have visited Ebola affected countries during the last 30 days will be denied entry into Botswana. These countries are: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Liberia
Nothing compulsory, but we do recommend protection against malaria, hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid and polio. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old that have travelled from or have transitted via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, will need to present a Yellow Fever certificate at immigration/borders in Namibia for inspection. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Travellers may wish to immunise themselves against meningitis. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old that have travelled from or have transited via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission, will need to present a Yellow Fever certificate at immigration/borders in Zimbabwe for inspection. We recommend protection against hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria.
Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.