Safari Through Botswana

14 posts in this topic

HI All


New member today and am currently in the process of planning second Safari for my family of four. I am 47 my wife 48 and my two boys will be 12 and 14.

Our first Safari was a mobile safari and headed out to the Magkadigkadi Pans to view the Meerkats and sleep on the pans via Planet Baobab. From there we spent a night at Kumaga, before moving to Xakanaxa in Moremi followed by Khwai for a few nights, flying out to Kasane for a couple of nights before finishing at the Victoria Falls. We then went on to spend 2 weeks from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth self organised and driven.


We loved the whole experience and what we really loved was the mobile safari aspect and sleeping in the environment. We also loved the freedom in the Khwai region to be able to night drive. What we didn't like was the crowds of people and lack of flexibility out of the lodge/hotel in Kasane. We loved the cape region but will not be returning this time.


I am currently in conversation with the lady who organised and accompanied us on the Zimbabwe/Botswana leg of this trip and will be booking with her again because we love her and she did a great job

showing us different aspects of safari to help frame this trip.


I would like some input from other safari lovers with more experience than myself on the probability of achieving what I want from this trip. I want to maximise time in the natural environment with lower numbers of people, and luxury is very low on the priority list.


Currently we are planning on spending a month in Botswana in September 2018, we are locked into Australian school holidays as my wife is a school teacher and financially we will not have the resources by June/July 2018. I am aware this is prime time and will be expensive but don't really see any other window.


My thoughts at present are quite clear in and around the Delta region as I have visited previously, however I am unclear how to proceed on the second half of this journey.


First part of Journey mobile camping


2 Nights in Maun to refresh and time switch

3-4 nights Xakanaxa in Moremi

2 nights at possibly another site in Moremi

5-7 nights in Khwai taking advantage of night drives (possible walking Safari)


Any thoughts on the Nxai Pan Park at this time of year?


Second Part (Please help) approx 2 weeks


I think i would like to proceed by road up to Savuti/Chobe. We are from Australia and love to camp and have camped for extended periods and travel on bush roads is not an issue particularly if there is possibility of game viewing.

I am wondering if it is possible to continue mobile camping into this region and particularly whether there are parts of Chobe that offer this camping style safari avoiding the crowds I experienced in Kasane?


Other areas that obviously appeal to me in the north of Botswana are Linyanti, Kwando and Selinda (would love to view Cheetah) these areas seem to be very exclusive and quiet (positive) but very luxurious (unnecessary) and outside of my budget for the amount of time I would like to spend. I would not be opposed to a couple of nights as a break between camping if budget permitted. Are there any more economical ways to gain access to these areas? Camping would be preferred.


Our Budget is in the region of $40000 USD. Does this sound plausible or am I on another planet?


Kind Regards

Alistair Cooper







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@@Ratdcoops Selinda & Kwando are private concessions. There are no public camping facilities. Although it has been awhile since I was in the Chobe N.P. I do believe there are public campsites in the Serondella area, though they could be busy. I think your trip is doable on your stated budget.

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Thanks for your reply Geoff,


This gave me confidence that I am not trying to achieve the impossible.


Does this mean that Linyanti has the possibility of mobile safari into some areas?


Of the three areas what are peoples views on what are the attributes that could assist me in prioritising one ahead of the other?


With regards to Kwando and Selinda which would offer the best value for say a 3 night stay for a family of 4?


I was sort of thinking we could use one of the camps in the private reserves as reprieve to freshen up away form the national parks, before embarking on more camping. In looking online I like the looks of Lebala for its focus on Carnivores, Explorer seems a little less opulent possibly more to my taste, and Duba Plains for the possibility of lion and buffalo interactions. Any thoughts on these and other camps in this area?


My initial interest in these regions was for the increased possibility of Cheetah sightings, we never saw Cheetah last time and my youngest loves them. I am also interested with a view to the future. This will in all probability be the last safari I will be taking my children on, my wife and I will likely return in future years which eases the financial strain a lot. I am not adverse to the national parks and loved them last time, but some time to enjoy a sighting all to yourself does sound inviting?


I have looked at the rack rates for explorer camp during this time of year, are there operators who can do better than this or specials for extra nights or for a second child etc?




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Hi Alistair


Their are a few places to think about for a 30 days trip.


- a flight over the delta easy to organize from Maun on your first day

- Cental Kalahari for maybe 5 or 6 nights on public campsites

- 2 or 3 nights camping on an island of the western site of the delta

- Tsodilo Hills for 2 or 3 nights camping

- going around the delta through the Namibian Caprivi and spend time in this parks

- Chobe river front HATAP or BOGA Campsite depends on the Touroperators membership, for Selfdrives is Ihaha as public campsite on the bank of Chobe river

- Linyanti has a public campsite

- Savuti and Moremi woud be the same as Chobe riverfront


If it should be a mobile camping safari with Guide and campassistand I would ask for example "Bushways" in Maun. They are well equiped and I would say it should be possible as private trip for 4 people. They have 3 lodges too. Two of them are in the Kwai erea. But you will find more companies they could do it. For a selfdrive trip be aware that you have to book the public campsites very well in advance.


Happy planing.


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Just a few thoughts.


From what I know, I don't think that there are possibilities of mobile safaris in Linyanti.


With regards to Kwando and Selinda, don't forget that it will cost you for three or four days 20 to 25 % of your budget + cost of the flights between Maun or Kasane to/from those camps. At Duba, nowadays, lion and buffalo interactions are far from what they were some years ago.


In Botswana, you could start your mobile in Maun and complete it in Kasane, passing by Moremi, Kwai and Savute, and then go to Zimbabwe where you could make mobiles in Mana Pools and/or Gonarezhou and perhaps also spend a few days in Hwange, at Camp Hwange for example. In September, wildelife activity in Mana Pools and Hwange is in full swing. You can find on this forum a lot of reports about it. And normally, Zim should be cheaper than Bots.


As for cheetahs, I had no sightings at all last year during the 9 days I spent at Selinda. I also spent 16 days in Hwange and had 3 sightings (4 cheetahs).


Have fun!

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Thanks Botswanadreams and Bush dog you have given me much food for thought.


Botswanadreams I have taken on board your comments about Savuti, Moremi and Chobe riverfront being very similar and may choose to exclude Chobe but Savuti still has me a little intrigued. I have looked up Bush ways and they seem like the type of scenario that would suit us. I definitely like the idea of a private safari.


Bush dog you are right about Selinda and Kwando taking up huge part of this budget and was already considering what compromise would have to be reached to accommodate this, I would still only get the tiniest glimpse of the area. I have checked out Zimbabwe, I particularly like the idea of Mana Pools and Hwange, Camp Hwange looks sensational. Looks like I can get a lot better value and also a different experience.


I have questions about the safety of Zimbabwe and travelling with my two boys. Can anybody comment on this and what the reality is as opposed to my perception of this risk, also different ways to do this travel with lower risk.

What feed back can people give me regarding how to travel between Botswana and Zimbabwe. When we were last there, we were in Kasane and shuttle bused over the border to Vic Falls. What would be the possibility of driving from Savuti region straight into Vic Falls. I would prefer this to Kasane, it would be great to view the Falls again. Bear in mind our next holiday is to Exmouth in our North West and we will drive approx 14hrs to get there so the travel time overland is not an issue for us.


Thanks once again to everybody who has given advice, I really appreciate it.




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Chobe, Savuti, Moremi is the same situation for camping options with and without a tour operator, It was what I liked to say with my uncomfortable English. I never meant that the the areas are to compare. They are very different and we loved them all. Chobe River Front for a example I had tears in my eyes at we were at the gate after one night on our first visit. We went back two times and I could go back tomorrow like Mana Pools or Ruaha.

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Thanks BD I will continue to look into it, I am currently leaning towards flying into Harare, Mana Pools, Hwange, overnight in Vic Falls, Savuti, Khwai and Xakanaxa then departing from Maun.


Chobe may make the trip from Vic Falls shorter or may open up option of going straight through from Hwange and I could avoid overnighting at the Falls.

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I am meeting with the agent that will be helping for this next trip and have decided to take bush dogs advice and include Zimbabwe.

I would like some feedback on what i am likely to expect in Mana Pools on a mobile safari. This is what we did in Moremi and Kwai. We did see other safari goers but did not find this over the top. What is the density of people relative to these public areas in Botswana?

I am then going to try and incorporate a period of time in Hwange at somewhere like Camp Hwange to experience the more private exclusive style of Safari?

Very grateful for the feedback offered already, as prior to this would never have considered Zimbabwe. Particularly like the different activities available especially night drives and walking safaris.

I would appreciate advice that anybody can offer about these areas.

Once again thanks to everybody that has helped me to this point

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Hi all


Itinerary is coming together. I have decided to take the family to Botswana followed by one of Zimbabwe or Zambia.


I am happy with the Zim part of the holiday, below is the itinerary


2 Nights in Maun to refresh and get over Jet Lag

3 Nights in Moremi (Xakanaxa)

3 Nights in Savuti

3 Nights in Chobe (camping not in the lodges)

1 Night Vic Falls


The lady I am using to organise the trip for me is an ex-pat Zimbabwean and has expressed some concern around the state of Zimbabwe as a travel destination apparently 2018 is an election year. I have searched online to find incidents involving tourists in Zimbabwe and so far I found nothing of consequence, besides a few deaths with wildlife interactions. If anybody has any thoughts on this please provide feedback please consider I will be travelling with my 12 & 14 year old Sons.

The attraction to both destinations is the walking Safaris.

In Zimbabwe we will be a mobile Safari using Kangela Safaris guided by Mike Ross. Could anybody please provide feedback if they have any experience.


Zimbabwe Itinerary

Depart Vic Falls

4 Nights Hwange

1 Night Mlibizi

1 Night Kariba Ferry

4 Nights Mana Pools


Zambia has a few options but I am working with my agent around some details and I have some concerns whether it can deliver the truly wild experience I want on my budget. I really want to remain in the parks and also do walking safaris. If I was to do Zambia I had my heart set on South Luangwa and The Lower Zambezi.

Does anybody have any opinion on Kafue and how this measures up? The reason, I ask is my favourite itinerary has come back with 10 nights camping in this park. Will not include walking safaris but I think night drives will be allowable.

I have a couple of other itineraries which include South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi. We would camp at Marula Lodge in South Luangwa, and camp at Kiambi and Mvuu Lodge in the Lower Zambezi.

Does anybody have any experience on these locations? How far are they from the parks? Are they like the lodges in Kasane?

I know I have included a lot in this post, if you can provide info on any part please feel free to offer your thoughts.


Many Thanks


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Final itinerary is in and looks like this:

2 Nights in Maun at our request to ensure that we are as fresh as possible for upcoming adventure

3 Nights Moremi Game Reserve Xakanaxa 

3 Nights Khwai River (Night Drives)

3 Nights Savuti

2 Nights Chobe River 

Transfer via Vic Falls to Zimbabwe (if possible stop to view the Falls again)

3 Nights Hwange Kapula North Camp

1 Night Mlibizi

1 Night onboard Kariba Ferry

7 Nights Mana Pools.

The entire Safari has been coordinated by Shareen from Shareen Nash Photography & Safaris. Shareen has been absolutely incredible in catering this Safari to our personal needs. We are particularly excited by the fact that we will be fully guided throughout and will have the Safari to ourselves, although we have given Shareen the freedom to add another vehicle to the Botswana leg if she finds people she believes will be compatible with our family.

Thanks very much Bush Dog for your input that initiated my enquiries about Zimbabwe I can't wait to be to get out on foot in what sounds and looks like a magnificent destination.


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@RatdcoopsDid you learn anything more about considerations for travel during the potential elections in Zim?  From your itinerary, I infer that you are not overly worried. My mom and I plan to travel there this summer and had the same question as you.  I did not see any warnings regarding the election on a recent check of the USA Dept. of State website.  

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Posted (edited)

@Ratdcoops Looks like a great trip. At some point I hope to manage a safari trip for longer than a few days but it will have to wait until I finish work.  

@Evolving Most of the time you would be well away from people on safari. Sensible caution will be needed in towns and in general simple steps such as avoiding gatherings of people and being sensitive to the mood of those around you will be all you need. The main potential issues come when you need to use airports etc and have no choice but to go into cities. However that can be an issue anywhere in the world now and I'm sure that with a guide with good local knowledge the risks are minimal.

Edited by pomkiwi

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I haven't been able to find out much about the elections, but spoken more to Shareen (my agent)about this, she is originally from Zimbabwe. I also have a couple of friends from Zim that have reassured me.

With this as one of my concerns we chose to travel via the ferry on Kariba dam, therefore missing Matopos and the long road transfer. I would have loved to visit and view the Rhino as we are highly unlikely to see anywhere else. 

We have also decided to take a chatered flight out of Mana at the end of the trip, once again avoiding the road transfer.

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