Private Island Sundowner
Take a private mokoro canoe across the floodplain to a remote and completely private island for a romantic sundowner like no other. As the delta's islands change every year depending on the flood patterns, there is a high chance that you'll be the only people ever to set foot on the island to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
Botswana was the birthplace of riding safaris, with the perfect combination of terrains to tackle. Do you want to ride through savannah, desert, wetlands or salt pans? The choice is yours.
For those in search of huge herds of game and incredible scenery, the Okavango Delta - 'Jewel of Africa' - is unparalleled. Fed by the third-largest river in Southern Africa, water fans out across 9,400 square miles of the northern Kalahari, creating an astonishing labyrinth of forests, reedbeds, lagoons and flood-plains. At its heart, protecting a quarter of this miraculous oasis, is the Moremi Game Reserve. Needless to say exploring the Reserve on horseback is fantastic, as it puts you on equal terms with the game so you can canter with herds of wildebeest and zebra or watch quietly as your horse grazes near a browsing family of giraffe. When not in the saddle, why not glide silently in a mokoro dugout canoe with a guide who can spot the terrapins basking on floating logs, or a fish eagle overhead.
At the other, parched, extreme lies the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, which make for some seriously fun and fast paced riding during the dry season from May to October. The Pans are also the place to look for shy brown hyenas or meerkat families, to see some of the largest baobab trees in the world, and for the chance to walk with the ancient nomadic Bushmen who have inhabited these extreme conditions since the Stone Age. A truly extraordinary experience.
The best way to enjoy a riding safari is to join a set departure trip, which can last from five to 14 days. There are several available and we can chat you through the various options. For the ultimate Botswana experience, why not combine riding in both the Makgadikgadi Pans and the Delta. Many of our riding safaris also cater to non-riding partners, as they can enjoy game drives and boating safaris during the day.
For those with even the slightest active inclination, walking safaris are one of the best ways to see the great wildlife of Botswana. Get up close and personal with the animals, never missing a sight. Original Travel know the best of the best guides who make your walking safari experience all the more wonderful. Botswana has a truly diverse terrain, making walking through it even more exciting and varied. Whether in the grasslands of the Kalahari, the lunar-like expanse of the Makgadikgadi Pans or the floodplains of the Okavango Delta, walking safaris provide ample opportunities to catch site of the wild and wonderful species of Botswana.
They can be done in various ways, the most popular being walking between permanent camps or joining a mobile safari, where your tents will be packed up and driven to the next camp each day by your team of staff while you walk. The latter is generally slightly longer, lasting between a week and ten days, and departures dates are set with group sizes limited to a maximum of eight people. Whichever option you choose, you'll always be greeted with a refreshing drink and a delicious meal on arrival at the camp. Donate your roll mats to the boy scouts, forget deflating air mattresses and expect a hot shower at the end of the day. When it comes to mobile camping, boy do they know how to do it on a Botswana camping safari.
Kubu Island Quad Biking
Quad biking is just one way to experience a Botswana safari, and by far one of the most exhilarating. Our five-night departure includes two nights under the stars on Kubu Island, and we recommend combining it with three nights at either Jack’s Camp, San Camp or Camp Kalahari to make the most of the quad biking adventure.
Armed with bed rolls and the necessary supplies, set off across the salt pans to Kubu Island, a 2.7-billion-year-old granite fist that rises unexpectedly out of the vast emptiness of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. It is comprised of fossil beaches, baobabs and boulders the size of buses.
Staff rush on ahead so that on arrival at the camp guests are welcomed by a laid table and a tray of drinks. Supper is a three-course affair, with delicious food spread out on white linen tablecloths adorned with bone handled silver.
Quad biking safaris are run by Ralph Bousfield, and his team of fabulous guides, who according to Jeremy Clarkson 'has Tarzan's hair and is officially the best-looking man on earth'. We think it's a pretty good reason alone to spend two days tearing up the Makgadikgadi Pans on a quad bike, whilst also seeing magnificent wildlife and getting an adrenalin fix.
Sleeping Under the Stars
Sleeping under the vast starry skies of the Makgadikgadi Pans is an experience you will never forget.
Many of the camps in the Makgadikgadi Pans offer guests the opportunity to sleep out for a night under the stars. And this isn't any old camping trip, you and your group will be spoilt with dinner as the sun goes down before spending some time relaxing and telling stories around a campfire. Then climb into a comfortable bed (not a sleeping bag or poorly assembled tent in sight) and fall asleep to the sounds of nature beneath the soft glow of the stars and moon. You'll wake up to possibly one of the best sunrises you'll ever witness before heading back to camp for a hot shower and a hearty breakfast. Marvellous.
All Types of Safaris in Botswana
Mountain Bike Safari
Head out on a completely unique safari experience: game viewing by bicycle through the incredibly beautiful, wild and rugged Mashatu Game Reserve. Cycle along ancient elephant migration paths across vast open spaces and mountain trails with a huge diversity of fauna and flora. Whether you're a beginner or a professional mountain biker, this is the ultimate cycling experience for wildlife enthusiasts.
Mobile Safari Camp
Experience a tailor-made mobile camping safari, setting up camp across the best possible locations for the time of travel. Your luxurious campsite will follow large migratory animals such as zebra, elephant and wildebeest with as they move through game-rich wilderness areas.
Kalahari Bushmen Safaris
The bushmen of the Kalahari have existed for 20,000 years, seamlessly navigating the unique ecosystem that exists here, passing along survival techniques and traditions for generations to come.
Any time you spend learning about the bushmen's unique way of life will be some of the most fascinating and rewarding of your trip. We are careful to only work with camps that offer a sensitive, dignified and authentic bushmen safari experience. Safari-goers have the option of spending anything from half a day visiting a bushmen village to four days on a mobile tented safari for a truly detailed insight. From meeting village elders to walking with bushmen trackers and observing children learn vital hunting techniques there's so much to see and do.
We can also arrange guests to accompany Ralph Bousfield (founder of Jack's Camp, San Camp and Camp Kalahari and all round safari expert extraordinaire) on an authentic bushmen hunt where you will be able to observe their rituals and traditions. Hunting is an essential social and spiritual enterprise where the tribe work together to bring down prey and share in the reward equally.
Another fascinating aspect to bushmen culture is the ancient rock paintings that can be found in the Tsodilo Hills. Featuring finger drawings of wild animals and human figures, visitors will learn about their spiritual significance and the mythology that surrounds them while on a guided walk of the hills.
The beauty of a Botswana safari is the variety of ways to view the game. Explore the landscapes of the Kalahari Desert and the shores of the Okavango Delta on these different types of safari to admire the many species of birds and diverse wildlife that reside in this stunning country.
Birding Safaris in Botswana
The verdant waterways of Botswana’s Okavango Delta offer arguably the ultimate bird watching safari in Africa. As the summer rains arrive in November (and carry on through to April) vast swathes of birds migrate across from the rest of Africa and even the Northern Hemisphere to the lush landscapes of the Delta.
With over 500 regularly occurring bird species, Botswana offers some of the most exciting bird watching in Africa (the scenery's pretty easy on the eyes too). Birds from the heron to the lark family are present in healthy numbers, and keen bird watchers will be pleased to hear that the slaty egret, wattled crane and lesser jacana can all be found in the Okavango Delta.
We also recommend going bird watching on the Linyanti River, home to over 450 residents and migratory bird species in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The exclusivity of the reserve allows for an intimate birding experience, with excellent year-round opportunities to see Western Banded Snake Eagles and African Skimmers, as well as migratory Southern Carmine Bee Eaters (November to March).
When it comes to deciding where to stay, location is obviously key and we know the best camps to visit. We can also recommend mobile operators and guides to ensure your bird watching safari is the trip of a lifetime.
Private Safaris in Botswana
Heading out into the African bush with a private guide is the ultimate safari experience. Exploring Botswana's beautiful landscapes and game on a private safari means you can go when you like, where you like and with as many or as few people as you like. We would recommend a party of four as a minimum number for a private safari, with a maximum of 12, to ensure you have the best experience possible.
The real stand out feature of a privately guided safari is, of course, that you will have an exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced guide all to yourself - as any seasoned safari pro will tell you, the most important part of any trip is the guide. Your guide will be able to indulge your particular interests, be that tracking elephant in the Okavango Delta or learning about the fascinating culture of the zu'hoasi bushmen and getting up close to the meerkat colony in the heart of the Makgadikgadi Pans.
While making sure you tick everything off on the usual 'must-see on safari' list has its appeal, a private safari is the best way to really get to the heart of your surroundings and learn about things you may not have thought about; migratory patterns; understanding wildlife behaviour - capturing those life is in the detail moments, which is what we're all about here at Original Travel. Lucky for you, we can recommend the very best guides to make sure your private safari is the adventure of a lifetime.
Botswana Boat and Canoe Safaris
A boat or canoe safari in the Okavango Delta not only provides a welcome change to the game vehicle but allows you to really appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.
After exploring the savannah plains by vehicle, explore the lush papyrus-lined waterways of the Okavango Delta, from deep flowing rivers to ancient hippo paths and large lily-peppered lagoons. All very beautiful and all very relaxing… particularly when you have a sundowner cocktail in hand!
Glide gently down the waterways, away from the rattle of a vehicle engine or the buzz of a motorboat and experience the Okavango Delta's vast ecosystem on a traditional Mokoro dugout canoe safari with a highly knowledgeable guide. The motorless canoe avoids the risk of scaring off animals, allowing you to get up close to a huge array of brightly coloured frogs, bird species and thirsty game as you drift peacefully through the reeds.
Selinda Canoe Safaris
Hop aboard a slightly more modern vessel and head off for five days and four nights on a canoe and walking safari. You will head deep into a 45km stretch of the Selinda Spillway, in the private 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve, complete with islands and lagoons that are completely inaccessible by any other means. While you will be in tented accommodation during the safari, we would recommend a stay at either Selinda Camp or Selinda Explorers afterwards for a little injection of luxury to end on.