Tour At A Glance

Cost:

4250.00

Deposit:

1000.00

Single Room Supplement:

600.00

Tour Code:

Relaxed. Most excursions avoid heat of the day so early starts and later finishes

Group Size:

Eight plus Leaders

African Dog Black Lechwe at dawn Caracal Giraffes Little Bee-eaters Green-winged Pytillia Painted Snipe Lions

Northern Botswana - The Okavango Delta

Date: 12th - 23rd November 2016 [SPACES]
Leaders: Brent Reed & Oriole Birding Leader

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE
Fly London/Johannesburg on the overnight flight.
 
DAY TWO 
Maun to Xakanaxa. Travel Day. Thirty minute charter flight 
Fly Johannesburg/Maun. After arrival at Maun International Airport you will be met by Mack Air for the charter flight to the Xakanaxa airstrip in Moremi Game Reserve where you will be met by your guide. Our first three nights are spent in the Xakanaxa region where we explore the surrounding wilderness on morning and afternoon game drive excursions. 
Wildlife: From the air only the larger animals are easily seen. These include large breeding herds of African Elephant that live in the mopane scrub. On the open plains large herds of Buffalo and Lechwe can be seen and in the waterways, pods of Hippopotamus are a common sight. Once we land in Xakanaxa and board your land cruiser, the smaller game animals can be found. 
Birding: A good day for raptors with African Hawk-Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Shikra, Little Sparrowhawk, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Tawny Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle* and Steppe Eagle* all inhabiting the mopane and adjacent woodlands. Other birds common along this route include most of Botswana’s hornbills including Red-billed, Southern Yellow-billed, African Grey, Bradfield’s and the Southern Ground Hornbills. A large number of brood-parasites may also be seen. Diederick Cuckoo*, Levaillant’s Cuckoo*, Jacobin Cuckoo*, Great-spotted Cuckoo*, African Cuckoo*, Common Cuckoo*, Shaft-tailed Whydah, Pin-tailed Whydah, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Greater Honeyguide, and Lesser Honeyguide. 
Accommodation: Tented in Moremi Game Reserve. 
 
DAYS THREE & FOUR
Xakanaxa Exploration Days - Moremi Game Reserve 
Habitat: Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta. Habitats here range from wide-open floodplains, marshes, lagoons, papyrus fringed channels, vast stands of Miscanthus and Phragmites, woodland and savannah. As a result of the extremely variable habitat the diversity of both wildlife and birdlife is excellent. 
Wildlife: Moremi is amongst the best game reserves in Africa for viewing the endangered African Wild Dog. Xakanaxa is home to a resident herd of several hundred Buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least four prides of Lion which may often be seen flanking the ever moving herd. Breeding herds of African Elephant move between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango. Red Lechwe is one of the more unusual antelope species and commonly found here. 
Birding: The swampy areas of Xakanaxa are home to African Rail, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Black Coucal*, Red-chested Flufftail, African Crake*, Black Crake, Chirping Cisticola, Luapula Cisticola, Purple Swamp hen, Allen’s Gallinule to name but a few. The open waters attract African Skimmer, Saddle-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, Intermediate Egret, Goliath Heron, African Fish Eagle as well as the globally threatened Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane. 
Accommodation: Tented in Moremi Game Reserve
 
DAY FIVE 
Xakanaxa to Khwai. Travel Day. Sixty Kilometres – three or four hours 
Following and early morning breakfast we take a slow drive through Moremi Game Reserve north-east towards the Khwai Community Area. 
Habitat: The Manuchira Channel is known as the Khwai River at its eastern most extremity. The day’s journey follows this water course, with the track weaving from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the woodlands that make Khwai one of the most scenic areas of the Okavango. We pass the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools in the morning stopping to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippo. 
Wildlife: The western mopane veld is home to mostly breeding herds of African Elephant whilst the eastern reaches of Khwai are home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai and are far more approachable while drinking and bathing than the breeding herds. The river has an unusually high density of Hippopotamus as well as some huge Crocodiles. Leopard, Cheetah, Cerval and Lion are common predators along this route and both Xakanaxa as well as Khwai are included in the home ranges of two different packs of African Wild Dog. General game includes Southern Giraffe, Burchell’s Zebra, Tessebe and Red Lechwe with Roan and Sable Antelope being less common residents. 
Birding: In the mopane woodlands African Hawk-Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Gabar Goshawk, Little Sparrowhawk, African Harrier Hawk and Shikra are common raptors. Mixed bird parties move through the canopy and include Red-headed Weaver, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Neddicky, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Chin-spot Batis, Diederik Cuckoo* to name but a few. The verges of the swamp form breeding grounds for the Rosy-Longclaw, Black Coucal*, Long-legged Bustard and the African Crake* 
Accommodation: Tented Camp 
Activities: Game drive and night drive 
 
DAYS SIX & SEVEN
Khwai Exploration Days. 
The Khwai River forms a boundary between the reserve and the community area. We spend the following two nights camping at an exclusive campsite in the community area, exploring the Khwai floodplains on game drives both during the day and at night. Exploring after dark with spotlights offers you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day. We will also have the opportunity to explore the surrounding wilderness on foot and mokoro and enjoy an up close and personal encounter with Botswana’s flora and fauna.
 It is important to note that night drives and guided walks are not permitted within the national parks and reserves. These activities are conducted outside the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Khwai community area. 
Habitat: We spend our time between the dry-land habitats of the lead-wood and camel-thorn woodlands and savannahs and the riverside and marshy back-waters of the Khwai. Time permitting we may visit the lagoons and waterways of Xakanaxa where the largest heronry in southern Africa exists. 
Wildlife: The Khwai region boasts excellent populations of both bull elephant as well as breeding herds. Lion, Leopard, Cerval and African Wildcat are common predators of the region with African Wild Dog and Cheetah being less common. Buffalo use this area seasonally with large herds moving in during the summer rains. The swampy areas in the west are home to Red Lechwe. Other ungulates include Tsesebe, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Kudu, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope and Impala. 
Birding: Truly one of Botswana birding Mecca’s. The western reaches are prime habitat for the uncommon Rosy-throated Longclaw. The entire length of the river is hunting domain for the Bat-Hawk. Other interesting raptors here are the rare Cuckoo Hawk, Long-crested Eagle and Black Sparrowhawk. More commonly Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle*, Lesser-spotted Eagle*, Martial Eagle, Bataleur and African Hawk-Eagle. The waterways host Africa Rail, African Crake*, Greater Painted Snipe, Allen’s Gallinule*, Lesser Jacana and Lesser Moorhen*. 
Accommodation: Tented Camp. 
Activities: Game Drive, Walking Safaris [conditions permitting] Night Drives and mokoro excursion
 
DAY EIGHT 
Khwai to Savuti. Travel Day. One hundred kilometres – four or five hours 
We head further north en-route to Chobe National Park, were we spend the following three nights camping in an exclusive wilderness campsite in the Savuti region, exploring the dessert-like landscape of game drives. 
Habitat: A fascinating days drive looking at some of the evidence of the Paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi that dried up some ten thousand years ago. The most challenging part of the trip is crossing the Magwikwe Sand-ridge that formed the shoreline for this massive inland sea. The winding track through this deep sand makes for interesting travel in the early summer! The old lake bed is now the Mababe Depression. The dense clay floor of the depression result in high protein feed for wildlife and the area teams with game after the rains. During the rainy season the depression is impassable due to the “cotton soil” and alternative routes must be used. 
Wildlife: A day when anything could happen. The range of habitat that is covered encompasses most of the habitat types of Northern Botswana. We pass through excellent Lion country and some of the best Cheetah country that our safari will cover. African Elephant occur throughout the drive but are more common at the start and end of the drive where permanent surface water can be found. 
Birding: The Mababe Depression is a birder’s paradise. The nutritious grasses that grow on the rich soils provide excellent seed for an impressive array of estrillids and viduids. Among these are the magnificently coloured Violet-eared Waxbill, Black-cheeked Waxbill, Village Indigobird, Shaft-tailed Whydah and Paradise Whydah. These in turn provide a good food source for small raptors such as the Little Sparrowhawk, Shikra, Gabar Goshawk, Red-necked Falcon and Lanner Falcon. It is not only the small birds that feed on the grass seeds, but rodents too. There are annual outbreaks of huge numbers of rats and mice. As a result huge numbers of Secretary Bird, Tawny Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Steppe Eagle*, Lesser-spotted Eagle*, Wahlberg’s Eagle* and Steppe Buzzard* can be found. 
Accommodation: Tented Camp 
Activities: Morning and Afternoon Game Drives.
 
DAYS NINE & TEN
Savuti [Chobe National Park.]. Exploration Days. 
Habitat: Unlike the vast majority of the country, Savuti is not a totally flat landscape. Large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. These hills provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife, birds and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. The wide open country, good ungulate populations and particularly strong prides of Lion and Hyena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. 
The now dry Savuti Channel runs through this landscape linking the dry sand-veld, the waterholes, the hills and the grassland that was the Savuti Marsh. 
Wildlife: Undoubtedly it is the interaction between Lion and African Elephant that is the most interesting aspect of Savuti. The area is inhabited by a huge pride of lions with numbers fluctuating from twenty to thirty members. These remarkable Lions have learned over the years how to hunt these massive pachyderms that are supposedly above predation. Launching their attack under darkness and using their numbers, they manage to kill adolescent and even young adult elephants. The marsh is prime Cheetah country and in the wet season it is not unusual to have African Wild Dogs hunting here. 
Birding: The surface water that is pumped by the Government here provides a major attraction for birdlife. In the dry season thousands of dove and sandgrouse come down to drink in the mornings and are under constant surveillance by Yellow-billed Kite*, Tawny Eagle and African Hawk-Eagle. Red-crested Korhaan are common in the Kalahari Apple-leaf veld. The marsh is the summer home for good numbers of Caspian Plover* and Montague’s Harrier* as well as Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark, Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Northern Black Korhaan, Rufous-naped Lark, African Pipit and Desert Cisticola. Dickenson’s Kestrel, Amur Falcon* and Red-necked Falcon are found along the perimeter of the marsh.
Accommodation: Tented Camp 
Activities: Game Drives and Bushman Painting Walks
 
DAY ELEVEN
Savuti to Kasane. One hundred and seventy kilometers - five hours
On our final day on safari we will leave Savuti early to travel along the Chobe River arriving in Kasane where we will stop for a picnic lunch.  For those guests departing today, there is a flight from Kasane to Johannesburg direct departing in the afternoon and your guide will drop you at Kasane Airport in time for check in. We will depart Johannesburg later in the evening for the overnight flight to London.
 
DAY TWELVE
We arrive back in London mid morning, where the tour will conclude.
 
 

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Return flights London/Johannesburg/Maun/Kasane /Johannesburg/London, charter flight in Botswana, nine nights accommodation in en suite, spacious tents with shower and toilet, meals including in flight meals on first and last day, drinks in camps, transport, service of tour leaders and reserve entrance fees.
 
NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/from London airport and any overnight stays that might be involved, travel insurance, gratuities [allow approximately £250.00 per person] laundry and any items of a purely personal nature.
 
PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH
Visas are not required by UK nationals. Passports must have 6 months validity beyond the return travel date. Standard health and innoculation requirements apply for UK nationals, visit www.masta-travel-health.com to check these and if necessary, download a free health brief to take to a travel appointment at your local medical practice. 

 

Tour Reports

 

2011

 

Testimonials

 

" Shivering!!! We left Maun in about 40 deg! Thanks for organising a fantastic trip which can't be faulted in any way. I'll be writing up a report in due course but you'll need to be patient. As I write the PC is downloading over 900 pix from 1 4GB card and I've some more on another! Taita Falcon treated us to a bottle of bubbly which we saved and shared with the Letaka group, and at Elephant Valley they appeared one evening with cake with candles and the waitress sang a traditional song. Taita Falcon & Elephant Valley superb. The Letaka guide, Nkosi was exceptional - ID'd spoor as we drove along, worked out where animals would be, resulting in some amazing images of Lion & Leopard [3 in all]. Although not intensively birding oriented we got 248 spp with 120 + new. Nkosi knew his bird calls too although obviously we couldn't stop for everything as we were trying to find animals too. The camps themselves were pretty productive tho'. Food at camp was incredible, cooked over a wood fire each evening by the young African cook - what he produced was fabulous - 3 courses every night . Fab fab fab - thanks butty "J & A W Penarth

 

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