- Explore the unique and magical Okavango Delta, one of the last great wildernesses
- Stay at luxurious safari camps located in private reserves teeming with wildlife
- Soak in the beauty and wonder of Botswana aboard mokoros and on game drives
- Search for lion, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, and other animal and bird species
- All safaris are accompanied by an expert African guide
Each year, surging floodwaters reach northern Botswana to create a magnificent water-world filled with ethereal beauty. This is the Okavango Delta, one of earth's most pristine inland deltas and home to over 150 mammal and 400 bird species. A must- visit for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, and adventurers alike, a safari in the Okavango is certain to instill a new appreciation for the natural world.
Our adventure begins in Livingstone, Zambia with a visit to spectacular Victoria Falls. We cross into Botswana where we explore diverse regions including the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Moremi Game Reserve, and Chobe River. Here, game concentrations are high and wildlife viewing is prevalent. We have opportunities to see apex predators and a multitude of bird species.
A highly-trained guide, familiar with Botswana's fauna, flora, and regional geology, escorts us on our journey. Our evenings are spent in deluxe safari camps with individual rooms, en-suite bathrooms with hot showers, and wonderful views of the surrounding wilderness. Our luxurious accommodations allow us to soak in the magical sights and sounds of the African bush.
Looking for more safari options in Botswana's magical Okavango Delta? Check out our Okavango Delta & Kalahari Desert or our Botswana Adventure Safari. Make the more of your stay in Africa on our 5-day Cape Town extension.
- Day 1 - Welcome to Africa! Tour Victoria Falls and cruise the Zambezi at sunset.
- Day 2 - Watch for elephant, hippo, and crocodile in Chobe National Park.
- Days 3-4 - Search for lion, wild dog, and elephant in Linyanti Reserve.
- Days 5-6 - Discover the beauty of the Okavango Delta through mokoro excursions.
- Days 7-9 - Explore forests, savannahs, and marshes around Chitabe camp.
- Day 10 - Say farewell to your traveling companions in Maun, Botswana.
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 cruise the Zambezi at sunset.
Your trip begins today in Livingstone, Zambia. We kick off our adventure immediately as we're met this midday at the Livingstone airport by our safari guide and set out for a walking tour of breathtaking Victoria Falls. Considered to be the largest waterfall in the world, 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 River approximately 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 Zambezi, getting an initial glimpse of local bird and animal life before marveling at the radiant beauty of our first African sunset. We'll gather for a welcome gathering and orientation briefing at Toka Leya tonight after which dinner will be served. Afternoon snacks and dinner included.
Day 2 - Watch for elephant, hippo, and crocodile in Chobe National Park.
We'll board our vehicle this morning and drive towards the international border, 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 Savuti, our remote bush camp in the Linyanti region of northern Botswana. After our aircraft touches down, we'll jump aboard our waiting Land Rover for the short transfer to camp itself, arriving in time to relax and savor a tasty snack before our first exciting afternoon game drive. Returning from the game drive after dark, we'll freshen up before dinner and enjoy our meal in Savuti's open-air dining area, recounting the highlights of our first investigation into the Linyanti wilderness. After a full day of excitement and novel adventures, drift off to sleep in your private tented room accompanied by the night sounds of the bush. Overnight in Savuti for the next three nights. All meals included.
Days 3-4 - Search for lion, wild dog, and elephant in Linyanti Reserve.
Built on the banks of the famous Savute Channel, Savuti Camp is located in an isolated section of the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve (on the western border of Chobe National Park), in an enormous private concession that stretches over 308,000 acres and contains only three other small safari camps. The combination of space, remoteness, wildlife density, and private access ensures unparalleled game-viewing experiences and intimate animal encounters available in few other destinations on earth. The camp itself consists of seven large walk-in tented rooms raised off the ground on wooden decks and containing en-suite bathrooms (as do all camps on this itinerary). From the camp's thatched open-air dining area, a plunge pool and large viewing area with fire pit provide terrific views of the Savute Channel and passing wildlife. As our game drives all take place within the borders of a private reserve, our guides have the liberty of driving off-road allowing us to get closer to the animals we find (always, of course, making sure to maintain enough distance to avoid interfering with the animal's natural movement and behavior). Our open vehicles offer unobstructed views of the animals and the landscape ensuring we don't miss any exciting moments and allowing group members interested in photography to capture the best images possible.
Our days at Savuti will begin before dawn as we want to be out and about at first light when wildlife activity is at its most intense. Each morning, after a piping hot cup of coffee or tea and a light breakfast, we'll climb aboard our open vehicles and head into the reserve in search of the many animal and bird species present in the concession. The winter months offer premier game viewing in the Linyanti and many large predators can be found here including lion, leopard, spotted hyena and the beautifully-patterned and critically endangered African wild dog. The area also plays host to large herds of roaming elephant, zebra, Cape buffalo, baboon, red lechwe, impala, warthog, hippo and giraffe. Birding is outstanding offering opportunities to spot many "Okavango specials" such as the Slaty Egret, African Skimmer and Wattled Crane as well as drier mopane woodland species like the Racket-tailed Roller, White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike and brightly-colored Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. The Savute Channel is internationally recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is famous for its high concentration of eagles and raptors. It's almost impossible to leave Botswana without a newfound interest and appreciation for the incredible diversity and variation among the avian species found here!
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 game drive shortly thereafter. The length of the afternoon drive will be dependent on what we encounter and, as we're not restricted to return before dusk, we may choose to continue our exploration after darkness falls in the hope of seeing some of the unique nocturnal animals that live here including the lesser bushbaby, spring hare, serval, large spotted genet, aardwolf and extremely elusive (and a sure highlight for those fortunate enough to see one) pangolin. You'll be amazed at our guide's ability to find animals even at night using a small spotlight and the tracking skills acquired during years in the bush. As all good things must come to an end, we eventually make our way back to camp and celebrate the day's sightings over a delicious three-course dinner. All meals included.
Days 5-6 - Discover the beauty of the Okavango Delta through mokoro excursions.
After our three days and nights at Savuti, we'll return to the nearby airstrip on Day 5 for our next aerial hop to lovely Little Vumbura Camp. We climb up above the floodplains, grasslands and woodlands of the Linyanti and fly southwest towards the sparkling waterways of the Okavango Delta. A bird's-eye view of the Delta helps us fully appreciate the scale of this remarkable ecosystem as well as the geological and climatological forces that give it form. As Little Vumbura is located on a permanent island in the Okavango, our transfer from the airstrip is amphibious beginning with a short drive along a dirt track followed by a motorboat ride through a fantastic network of papyrus-lined channels leading directly to the camp's dock. The camp itself consists of six large tented rooms under the shade of ancient Okavango forest. Once again, an outdoor dining area, plunge pool and large "star deck" are at our disposal throughout our stay.
Because of Little Vumbura's unique location and accessibility to water, the majority of our morning and afternoon excursions here will involve water activities. 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. Silently gliding past small islands covered with jackalberry, mangosteen and sausage trees, and along reed-filled waterways dotted with floating lilies, we're quickly filled with the tranquility that emanates from this magical place. In addition to mokoro explorations, we'll cover greater distances as we discover this region of the Delta by motorboat. Game drives are also an option and game is certainly plentiful here as the habitat supports lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog as well as elephants, giraffes and antelope species including sable, kudu, tsessebe, wildebeest and red lechwe. Birding is once again excellent offering the chance to see Little Bee-eater, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Chirping Cisticola and Pel's Fishing Owl. We spend two days and nights enjoying all that Little Vumbura Camp has to offer. All meals included.
Days 7-9 - Explore forests, savannahs, and marshes around Chitabe camp.
The final stop on our unforgettable African journey is Chitabe Camp, located in the southeastern reaches of the Okavango Delta and bordered on three sides by the Moremi Game Reserve. Chitabe has gained a reputation for exceptional game viewing in part due to the diversity of habitat in the concession and we'll have the better part of three days here to continue marking species off our checklist. At approximately midday on Day 7, we'll depart Little Vumbura and take to the air once again for Chitabe. Chitabe's eight spacious Meru-style tents are built on elevated decks and offer both indoor and outdoor showers. The dining and lounge areas offer expansive views of the Okavango floodplain.
Our morning and afternoon drives at Chitabe lead us through a breathtaking combination of riverine forest, marshland, open savannah and acacia woodland. In addition to a high density of cats including lion, leopard and cheetah, sightings of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, reedbuck, zebra, black-backed jackal and honey badgers are common. Bird species found in Chitabe include raptors such as the African Hawk Eagle, Hooded Vulture and distinctive Secretarybird as well as families of Ground Hornbill, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and Gabar Goshawk. Our guide, as always, is close at hand to help track and identify any wildlife hunting, foraging or resting in the general vicinity.
On the evening of Day 9, as our time in Chitabe draws to an end, we'll gather for a celebration dinner with our guide and travelling companions, recapping the many memorable moments of our adventure and likely already planning our return to this incredible corner of the world. All meals included.
Day 10 - Say farewell to your traveling companions in Maun, Botswana.
After a final early morning game drive, we enjoy lunch at camp before transferring to the Chitabe 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.
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.
All accomodations at deluxe safari camps 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);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.
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.
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.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Our Okavango Delta Classic 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 wildlife 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 July/August) and nighttime temperatures often dropping into the 40s. Although midday temperatures are always warm, early morning and nighttime game drives can be quite cool and participants should plan on following the recommendations on our Gear List and bringing some warm clothing.
This safari trip is rated Relaxed . This is a safari itinerary with game-viewing being the primary focus. Most days will include multiple game drives 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.
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 Classic 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.
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- International health card with immunizations (recommended, not required)
- 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
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable casual items for travel and city/lodge wear
- Waterproof, breathable jacket
- Sweater/jacket – synthetic fleece or wool (for cool mornings & evenings)
- Walking shoes (closed-toed)
- Sport sandals
- 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)
- Underwear, quick-drying
- Swimsuit (for swimming pools at camps)
- Lightweight gloves (for early morning/evening game drives)
- Lightweight wool hat (for early morning/evening game drives)
- Sun hat with brim
- 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
- Camera, memory cards, spare batteries and lens cleaner
- Electrical converter and adapter
- Binoculars (highly recommended)
- Southern Africa wildlife/birding books
- 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.