Beyond the Okavango Delta…

May 20th 2019  |   Botswana, Community Safaris, Wildlife Safaris, Travel, Countries, Experiences, Miscellaneous  |  by   Rosanna Pile
beyond the Okavango Delta - Lebala lion cubs

Botswana is famous as one of Africa’s finest safari destinations.  Prolific wildlife combined with a controlled level of tourism means it is an ideal destination for a luxury safari.

As well as exploring in specially adapted 4×4 safari vehicles, you can experience this extraordinary country from the back of a horse, a traditional dug out mokoro canoe or even by quad bike.  While the Okavango Delta remains Botswana’s most celebrated safari region, there are a number of other wildlife areas that provide wonderful contrasts to your holiday.

Botswana is a big country and getting around is largely via light aircraft, making it easy to combine two or three areas on a safari. Don’t rush the experience though; we would highly recommend taking your time over 10 to 14 days.

Linyanti Reserve

As well as feeding the Okavango Delta, Angola’s rains supply permanent water to the Linyanti River which supports some of the country’s finest wildlife viewing. The Linyanti area, through which the river flows, contains a rich variety of habitat ranging from marshland and lagoons to riverine forest and open grassland.

Sunrise at Lebala Camp, Kwando Safaris, Botswana

Sunrise at Lebala Camp, Kwando Safaris, Botswana

It’s one of the best places in Botswana to see wild dogs, with regular sightings from Lebala Camp. Large herds of elephant are also prevalent, with Savuti Camp in a particular hot spot.  As these camps arenot in a national park, night drives are permitted and offer a good chance to spot leopard as well as a host of nocturnal species.  It’s a rewarding addition to a safari in Botswana.

Wild dog pack at Savuti Camp, Linyanti Reserve, Botswana

Wild dog pack at Savuti Camp  Wilderness Safaris

Khwai Community Concession

Adjacent to the north-eastern border of the Moremi Game Reserve, the Khwai Concession is a community-run reserve spread across 180,000 hectares of land.  The diverse habitats mean it’s a fabulous wildlife area and a cluster of excellent camps offer superb safaris here.  Mobile operators also traverse the concession, offering a great way to explore with a private camp, guide and vehicle.

The Khwai community concession is an excellent wildlife habitat, with a beautiful mix of waterways, open grasslands, savannah woodland and riverine forest. Drumbeat Safaris, an Aardvark Safaris favourite, has some of the best and most experienced guides in Botswana who know exactly where and when to go to enjoy the wildlife in peace and quiet.

Mobile safaris with Drumbeat Safaris

Mobile safaris with Drumbeat Safaris

Makgadikgadi Pans

This extraordinary area changes dramatically with the seasons.  Summer rains (November to April) transform the desert into a lush green expanse, sparking Africa’s second largest migration as herds of zebra, wildebeest and desert-adapted species such as springbok and gemsbok arrive in search of fresh grass and water.  With them come predators and an influx of colourful birdlife.  The landscape changes to the lunar-like during the winter months (May to October) as the pans dry to a white crust. Quad biking is a particularly exhilarating way to explore during the dry season.

Meerkats in the Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack's Camp

Meerkats in the Makgadikgadi Pans, Jack’s Camp

Throughout the year it’s possible to enjoy guided walks with San Bushmen, to ride horses and fat-tyred bikes, and to visit the habituated meerkat colony.  Jack’s Camp or Camp Kalahari are a couple of wonderful accommodation options here.

Mess area at Camp Kalahari

Mess area at Camp Kalahari Uncharted Africa

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

The Central Kalahari is another to transform dramatically according to the season and is particularly spectacular between December and March when springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest come in vast numbers. These in turn attract predators such as the iconic black-maned Kalahari lions, as well as brown hyena, leopard, wild dog and cheetah.

Endless views from Tau Pan

Endless views from Tau Pan, Kwando Safaris

Tau Pan is a lovely base from which to explore this truly wild area, either on game drives or walking with the San Bushmen who offer a fascinating glimpse of the desert with their traditional customs passed down through the centuries.

Tuli Block

White fronted bee eater, Mashatu Main Camp

White fronted bee eater pair, Mashatu Main Camp

Tuli is separated from neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe by the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, and is an area often overlooked when planning a safari in Botswana.  That’s a real shame as it’s a great wilderness area with a handful of camps offering particularly good value.  The once farmed landscape has been returned to its natural habitat and native wildlife carefully re-introduced.  Large elephant herds roam the bush and it’s one of the few places where large predators and the little five can be found in the same spot.

With rocky outcrops, baobabs and dry river beds, the scenery is dramatically different to that of the Okavango Delta or Linyanti regions.  Visitors here can expect traditional day and night wildlife drives and guided walks.  Mashatu Lodge is an Aardvark Safaris’ favourite with several superb specialist photographic hides.  Experienced riders can join horse riding safaris with Limpopo Horse Safaris which are fast paced trips staying in a combination of simple fly camps and permanent lodges.

Riding through the Tuli Block with Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris

Riding through the Tuli Block with Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris

Any questions on beyond the Okavango Delta?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

2 responses to “Beyond the Okavango Delta…”

  1. Christine Evans says:

    Hi, is it possible to combine the Okavango delta with Elephant watch camp in Samburu?

    • Richard Smith says:

      Thanks for the question. It’s possible, and at certain times of year both have good weather and wildlife, but it’s unusual because the flights are quite long and you’d need a night in between the two areas. Our team can certainly do unusual combinations like this and will rise to the challenge if you pop us an email (mail@aardvarksafaris.com) or give us a call (01980 849160)

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