Botswana Adventure Safari – Okavango Delta

From: $8,099

per person dbl occ

Dates: May-Sep - see all dates

Total Days: 10

Activity Level: 1

Reserve This Trip

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7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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Price:

2014

REI Member: $8,099

Non-member: $8,900

2015

REI Member: $8,899

Non-member: $9,800

Additional Fees

Single supplement: $999 Limited availability

Special payment and cancellation policy applies; see Trip Details for more information.

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 7–16 Sold out
  • Aug 4–13 Sold out
  • Sep 6–15

2015

  • May 20–29
  • Jun 18–27
  • Jul 23 – Aug 1
  • Aug 4–13
  • Sep 2–11

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 2-8

Activity Level: 1

Activities:

  • Wildlife Safari

Accommodations:

Safari camps, 6 nights; deluxe tent camping, 3 nights.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Okavango Delta in search of rare and incredible wildlife
  • Search for lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hippo, giraffe, buffalo, and kudu
  • Spend all nights at small safari camps and tent camps in private game reserves
  • Travel via Land Rover, dugout canoes, light aircraft, and on foot
  • Learn from experienced African guides, passionate about Botswana's wild places

Pristine, remote, and teeming with wildlife, Botswana's magnificent Okavango Delta is considered to be the crown jewel of southern Africa's great wildernesses. Boasting myriad creatures, the region is one of the best places on Earth to glimpse rare and incredible wildlife, from apex predators like lion and leopard to herbivores such as elephant and giraffe.

Our adventure begins upon arrival in Livingstone with a walking tour of thundering Victoria Falls. Our route crosses into Botswana and to the Okavango itself. Along the way, we explore the country through a series of game drives, mokoro (dugout canoe) trips, and bush walks where we can track wildlife on foot.

Our Okavango Delta safaris are led by highly-skilled guides, each with an incredible passion for the wild places and creatures of Botswana. We spend three nights camping in roomy tents with full bedding and relish delicious meals around the campfire. We also stay in deluxe safari camps with individual tented rooms and en-suite baths. Short flights between camps offer a bird's-eye view of the region's unique geography.

Looking for more safari options in Botswana's magical Okavango Delta? Check out our Okavango Delta & Kalahari Desert or our Botswana Classic Safari. Or, extend your wilderness safari with our 5-day Cape Town extension.

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Welcome to Africa! Tour Victoria Falls and enjoy a sunset river cruise.
  • Day 2 - Watch for elephant and hippo on a river cruise in Chobe National Park.
  • Days 3-4 - Search for lion and wild dog in the 300,000-acre Linyanti Reserve.
  • Days 5-7 - Visit the Moremi Game Reserve, prime habitat for leopard and antelope.
  • Days 8-9 - Spend 2 days at a safari camp enjoying mokoro and boat excursions.
  • Day 10 - Say farewell to your guide and traveling companions in Maun, Botswana.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Welcome to Africa! Tour Victoria Falls and enjoy a sunset river cruise.

    Your trip begins today in Livingstone, Zambia. We're welcomed by our safari guide at the Livingstone airport and begin the short drive to breathtaking Victoria Falls. Located at the midway point along the Zambezi River's journey from source to sea, the Falls create the largest curtain of falling water in the world, plunging over 300 feet into the smoking chasm below. We'll view the thundering cascade from the Zambian side before transferring to our lodging at lovely Toka Leya Camp, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, six miles upstream from the Falls. After checking in and enjoying some afternoon tea and snacks, we'll embark on a late-afternoon boat cruise along the river, getting an initial glimpse of local bird and animal. We enjoy a sundowner as twilight colors fill the African sky. We'll gather for an orientation briefing at Toka Leya tonight after which dinner will be served. Afternoon snacks and dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Watch for elephant and hippo on a river cruise in Chobe National Park.

    After a full breakfast, we'll board our vehicle this morning and drive towards the international border at Kazungula, crossing into Botswana and making our way directly to the Chobe Riverfront on the northern boundary of Chobe National Park. A 3-hour boat cruise on the Chobe offers the perfect introduction to the wonders that await us as many animal species rely on these waters and surrounding vegetation for cooling and for nourishment. Elephant, hippo, crocodile, buffalo, giraffe and antelope are commonly seen bathing and grazing along the river and the deck of our small boat offers the perfect vantage point from which to observe and photograph all of the activity. After brunch on board, we'll return to shore and transfer to nearby Kasane Airport for the scenic 50-minute flight to the dirt airstrip nearest to our remote tented camp in the 300,000-acre Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. After our aircraft touches down, we'll jump aboard our waiting Land Rover for the drive to camp itself, keeping our eyes peeled as the entire two-hour drive takes place within the reserve and animals can be spotted at any point along the way! We'll arrive camp in late afternoon, greeted warmly by the camp staff who will show us the way to our individual tents. Our roomy 9'x9' walk-in tents include separate twin mattresses on cots with full cotton bedding and attached open-roofed bathrooms with hot bucket showers and eco-toilets. After a refreshing shower and some time to relax, we'll gather at our dinner table – illuminated by the soft glow of hurricane lanterns – and savor a delicious meal prepared by the camp chef.

    After dinner, when darkness has completely fallen, our guide will help us identify the various stars and constellations visible in the night sky. As we become more familiar with the inhabitants of the surrounding wilderness, we learn to recognize the sounds of hippos calling from their nearby waterholes, elephants feasting on the leaves of acacia trees, and hyenas whooping to announce their presence to other members of a clan. There is simply nothing that can compare to camping in the African bush and we have the next three nights to enjoy the experience to the fullest. All meals included.

  • Days 3-4 - Search for lion and wild dog in the 300,000-acre Linyanti Reserve.

    Located on the western boundary of Chobe National Park, the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is made up of diverse habitat that includes open floodplains, dry savannah, riverbank and scrubland, creating a paradise for a large number of mammal and bird species. Access to the reserve is private and, with only a small number of camps located in the vicinity and our ability to drive off-road, our wildlife encounters are intimate and often very close-up.

    Our daily activities in the Linyanti will include both day and night game drives as well as short walks led by our guides allowing us to learn more about animal tracking and view the landscape from a new and unique perspective. We get an early start each day to ensure we're out and about just after sunrise when wildlife activity is at its peak. We take our time, our guide using his tracking skills to help us spot as many different species as possible and taking "requests from the audience" if there's a desire to search for any species in particular. We return to camp for lunch and an early afternoon siesta before gathering again in mid-afternoon for another wilderness exploration. Throughout our time in the reserve, we'll be on the lookout for lion, leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog, a beautifully-patterned canine that is highly endangered with only 3,000-5,500 dogs left on the continent. Witnessing these social animals hunt for prey as a pack is an experience never forgotten. While the population of predators is high, the Linyanti is also known for its elephant herds as well as zebra, Cape buffalo, baboon, red lechwe, impala, warthog, hippo and giraffe. The region plays host to a large variety of bird species as well including the Bradfield's Hornbill, Racket-tailed Roller, Bennett's Woodpecker, Southern Carmine Bee-eater and Arnott's Chat. Raptors found here include a number of eagle species as well as Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, African Scops Owl and Dickenson's Kestrel. All meals included.

  • Days 5-7 - Visit the Moremi Game Reserve, prime habitat for leopard and antelope.

    We'll bid farewell to the Linyanti and our camp staff on the morning of Day 5 and, after a final game drive back to the airstrip, board our waiting Cessna and climb into the bright blue Botswana sky. As we fly southwest towards Khwai and our next camp, we'll survey the landscape below for wandering herds of elephant or grazing giraffe. The Khwai Concession (in the Moremi Game Reserve) is one of the most diverse areas in northern Botswana and seldom disappoints when it comes to producing extraordinary wildlife experiences. The life source for this area is the Khwai River – the northernmost finger of the Okavango Delta alluvial fan – which provides vital sustenance to a host of animals.

    Our private Khwai camp consists of five spacious 20' x 11' walk-in canvas tents that can accommodate two guests very comfortably. The tents are airy and designed to recreate the accommodation style of the early explorers with proper beds with cotton linens, richly-colored teak chairs, bedside tables with 12-volt reading lamps, canvas and wood wardrobes, and en-suite bathrooms with separate toilet and shower areas.

    Over time, the Khwai area has metamorphosed into a wide range of exciting wildlife habitats – some of the most varied to be found in the entire Okavango Delta comprised of a blend of forests, floodplain, wetland and grasslands. The narrow Khwai Channel is home to large mammals such as hippo and crocodile with buffalo and red lechwe often seen grazing along the fringe. The beautiful riverine woodland found along the river provides further sanctuary to birds, primates and leopard. Elusive roan antelope often come to the river to drink. Away from the river there is a wonderful mix of acacia and Leadwood trees of varying sizes as well as mopane woodland. The latter, together with the permanent presence of water, attracts large numbers of elephant to the area. Larger predators include lion, wild dog and spotted hyena, while birdlife found here is just as varied thanks to the broad mix of habitats.

    Our three days in the Khwai area will be filled with an adventurous mix of early morning and late afternoon/nighttime game drives, longer (2-3 hours) bush walks and mokoro excursions when water levels permit. One day will include an epic all-day exploration of the protected Moremi Game Reserve, allowing us to take full advantage of the fantastic game-viewing this gem of a national park has to offer. All meals included.

  • Days 8-9 - Spend 2 days at a safari camp enjoying mokoro and boat excursions.

    On Day 8, our flight path takes us from Khwai directly over the shimmering waterways of the Okavango to Seba Camp, located on the west side of the Delta. We'll spend the last two nights of our safari in style as Seba offers secluded, luxurious accommodations overlooking a lagoon and seasonal floodplain teeming with animal and bird life. The camp has eight well-appointed and elevated tent rooms which have been designed specifically to blend in with the Okavango landscape. Each has its own en-suite bathroom and a private deck on which to relax and observe the passing wildlife in and around the perennial lagoon. Well-marked paths lead to the communal dining area and a lounge-library replete with reference and pictorial books. There is also a secluded swimming pool enabling guests to refresh themselves and relax during the warmest part of the day.

    As Seba has year-round water sources nearby, marine activities are always a focus here. No visit to the Okavango would be complete without an opportunity to ride in a mokoro, the traditional canoes still used by local inhabitants to navigate around the Delta. As we sit in the front of our mokoros, experienced polers (guides standing at the rear of the vessel using a long wooden pole to move the boat forward and change direction) propel the canoe through the Delta's crystal-clear channels. We'll gliding silently through the papyrus-lined waterways, past scores of floating purple and white lilies and islands dotted with palm trees. In addition to allowing us to experience the Delta from a water-level perspective, mokoros provide excellent platforms for birdwatching as well as occasionally spotting larger animals swimming or along the shore. Motorboat excursions and game drives are also planned during our stay allowing us to range even farther from camp.

    Each morning, after a piping hot cup of coffee or tea and a light breakfast, we'll begin our morning adventure and head out in search of the many animal and bird species present in the vicinity. The winter months offer premier game viewing in the Okavango and apart from the large elephant population, there is a seasonal abundance of game in the area including giraffe, zebra, baboon, impala, wildebeest, tsessebe and lechwe. Large herds of buffalo are occasional visitors, too. For bird enthusiasts, some 380 different species are found in the region including the spectacular Malachite Kingfisher, White-browed Coucal, Red-billed Teal, Rufous-bellied Heron, Great Egret, African Fish-Eagle and African Barred Owlet. After our morning exploration, we return to camp for lunch and have the middle of the day to ourselves to read, swim, watch for passing wildlife from the camp's viewing deck or just relax out of the midday sun. Each afternoon, we gather again for tea at approximately 3 p.m. and begin our late-day activity shortly thereafter. In the evenings, following cocktails around a traditional camp fire, superb al fresco dinners are served in the dining area. A pride of lion frequents the greater area around Seba and their thrilling calls can sometimes be heard filling the surrounding jungle at night; a sound that will forever live on in your memory when thinking of the wild Okavango. All meals included.

  • Day 10 - Say farewell to your guide and traveling companions in Maun, Botswana.

    After a final early morning game drive, we enjoy lunch at camp before transferring to the Seba airstrip for our final bush flight back to Maun. We arrive in Maun by early afternoon allowing time to catch connecting flights back to Johannesburg or a number of other destinations in southern Africa. Breakfast included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Price Includes

All accomodations as specified on the itinerary; all light aircraft transfers as noted on itinerary; all meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10; professional guide accompaniment throughout; all daily actvities (game drives, mokoro/boat excursions, bush walks);guided tour of Victoria Falls; Chobe River boat cruise; transfer from Livingstone airport to Toka Leya on Day 1; all soft drinks, beer, fruit juice, mineral water and house wine.

Not Included

Round-trip international airfare to Livingstone/from Maun; international entry/departure taxes; travel insurance; excess baggage charges; alcoholic beverages other than those specified under "Included"; pre and post-trip tours; items of a personal nature; gratuities.

Payment and Cancellation Policy

Special payment and cancellation policies apply to this trip. The $400 per person deposit is non-refundable at time of sign up. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. At 60-31 days prior to departure, 50% of the land cost is non-refundable. At 30 days or less prior to departure all costs are non-refundable.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Weather

Our Okavango Delta Adventure Safari departure dates coincide with the Botswana winter and spring months, an ideal time to be in the Delta. Rainfall is uncommon in the Okavango during these months and vegetation will dry up as the season progresses making game viewing easier. The temperature variances between day and night are more pronounced with average daytime temperatures generally falling between the high 70s and low 90s (warmer in October than in June-September) and nighttime temperatures often dropping into the 40s. Although midday temperatures are always warm, early morning and nighttime on game drives and at camp can be quite cool and participants should plan on following the recommendations on our Gear List and bringing some warm clothing.

Qualifications

This safari trip is rated Relaxed [1]. This is a safari itinerary with game-viewing being the primary focus. Most days will include multiple game drives, bush walks, and/or mokoro/boat excursions. Safaris are not physically demanding but they are in remote locations and can include some travel over rough terrain. This trip is perfectly suited for active people in good health with a spirit of adventure and an interest in learning more about the natural world.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Botswana Adventure Safari – Okavango Delta Gear List

The key to staying comfortable on safari is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation. This gear list is provided to help you in choosing your equipment and clothing for this trip. Try to bring only what is necessary.

Gear Checklist

Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
  • International health card with immunizations (recommended, not required)
Luggage
  • Large duffel bag (must be soft-sided with no wheels or rigid frames in order to fit into light aircraft cargo holds)
  • Daypack, large enough to hold camera, binoculars, water, sunscreen, etc.
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks
  • Passport pouch or money belt
City Clothing
  • Bring a few lightweight, easily washable casual items for travel and city/lodge wear
Outerwear
  • Waterproof, breathable jacket
  • Sweater/jacket – synthetic fleece or wool (for cool mornings & evenings)
Footwear
  • Walking shoes (closed-toed)
  • Sport sandals
Clothing
  • T-shirts, mix of synthetic and cotton
  • Synthetic, long-sleeve shirts
  • Synthetic, quick-drying shorts (mid-thigh or longer)
  • Lightweight, breathable, quick-drying pants (zip-off legs are recommended)
  • Socks
  • Underwear, quick-drying
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit (for swimming pools at camps)
Clothing Accessories
  • Lightweight gloves (for early morning/evening game drives)
  • Lightweight wool hat (for early morning/evening game drives)
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Bandana(s)
Travel Accessories
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap (good quality, UV protected)
  • Insect repellent (DEET recommended)
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Sun block and lip balm w/high SPF
  • Toiletry kit with bio-degradable soap/shampoo, hand lotion, toothpaste/brush
  • Headlamp or flashlight and extra batteries
Optional Field Gear
  • Camera, memory cards, spare batteries and lens cleaner
  • Electrical converter and adapter
  • Binoculars (highly recommended)
  • Southern Africa wildlife/birding books
  • Earplugs
  • Travel pillow
  • Alarm clock or watch
  • Spare contact lenses or prescription glasses
  • Motion sickness remedies
  • Zip-lock or specialized camera bags, to protect camera, binoculars from dust
  • Travel-size laundry detergent packets for hand-washing clothing

Things to Consider

  • Always pack essential items such as your passport, REI Adventures trip final bulletin, money, eyewear, medications, camera and a change of clothes in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage is delayed.
  • The checked luggage allowance on all light aircraft flights within Botswana is 44 pounds per person. Please pack accordingly. Overweight luggage may incur a substantial additional fee.
  • Casual attire is completely acceptable for our camps and Africa in general. Neutral, light-colored clothing is best for the safari, to blend into the landscape and not stand out to wildlife. Khaki is always a good color while on safari. Camouflage and bright colors are not recommended.
  • Laundry services are available in camps but it’s good to come prepared to occasionally hand wash your clothes (quick drying materials are best). Travel packets of detergent and a travel laundry line come in handy for this purpose.
  • Stuff sacks are great for sorting your gear. Plastic bags are also helpful to separate wet clothing from dry.
  • If you normally wear contacts, bring a pair of glasses in case of irritation from dust in your eyes.
  • Many of the roads in Africa are deeply rutted and dusty. It is a good idea to pack camera equipment and binoculars in plastic bags to protect them from the dust. This is in addition to their normal cases. Also bring lens cleaning materials.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresBotswana Adventure Safari – Okavango Delta
 
5.0

(based on 2 reviews)

Reviewed by 2 customers

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Unbelievable!

By KodiakK

from Kodiak, AK

About Me Avid Adventurer

Site Member

Pros

  • Accommodations
  • Exceeded Expectations
  • Food
  • Group Camaraderie
  • Guides
  • Once in a Lifetime Experience
  • Quality Equipment Provided
  • Well Organized Itinerary

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about REI Adventures Botswana Adventure Safari – Okavango Delta:

      I had high expectations for this trip and they were exceeded! I cannot say enough great things about the trip. Our guide Brooks was superb as were the staff at all of the camps. Brooks's tracking skills and knowledge are amazing. The wildlife encounters were phenomenal. As Brooks kept saying, you never know what is around the next corner and it is true! I was surprised by how close to the animals we got and how many walk through camp-some you see, others you hear, and others you only know they were there by their tracks. Sustainability and conservation are very important to me and I am very impressed with the practices of Wilderness Safaris, the organization REI teamed up with for this trip.

      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
      • Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
      • Why did you choose this trip?:
      • This trip had the perfect itinerary for where I wanted to visit in Botswana.
      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
      • The phenomenal animal experiences and learning so much about Botswana culture, traditions, and history from our guide Brooks and the staff at all the camps.
      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
      • The trip only has you in Livingstone for one day. I suggest starting your trip a few days earlier to experience more of the Victoria Falls area including Devil's Pool, seeing the falls from the Zimbabwe side, white rhino walk, bungee jumping, rafting, and helicopter rides.

      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Trip of a lifetime

      By GigiE

      from San Diego, CA

      About Me Avid Adventurer

      See all my reviews

      Pros

      • Accommodations
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Food
      • Guides
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Botswana Adventure Safari – Okavango Delta:

          I was very surprised at the vegetarian food served-it was exceptional! The staff at each of the camps is highly trained and professional. English is the national language so that was a plus being able to communicate with the staff and locals. The guide for Victoria Falls was great. Our trip guide, Russell, was extremely knowledgeable about anything and everything Botswana, its wildlife, geography, birds, fauna, etc. and had an uncanny ability to spot the wildlife--exceptional guide who made this trip the great adventure that it was!

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I wanted to see Botswana before it became too popular.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Seeing the wildlife up close and personal. Our guide was exceptional and made this trip extra special.
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • Bring more money than recommended. No credit cards accepted anywhere (and no ATM if you run out) and you have the ability at the camps to purchase locally made baskets etc.

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