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overview

This incredible 10-day journey has all the ingredients of an epic adventure in two of Botswana’s iconic wilderness areas.

Spend three nights at Camp Kalahari while you explore this fascinating ecosystem on horseback, riding with the herds across vast plains. Next, ride into the moonscape of the Makgadikgadi Pans for two nights of fly camping in one of Africa’s most starkly beautiful environments. The journey then continues to the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta, where you spend four nights on the Selinda Spillway, walking and paddling through an awe-inspiring wilderness in the footsteps of the early explorers.

Ideal as a safari adventure with a difference, this journey is guaranteed to get your adrenalin flowing and strengthen your connection with wildest Africa.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Horse riding in the Kalahari & Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Paddle the Selinda Spillway
  • Excellent big-game viewing
  • Safari walks & stargazing

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-3

Welcome to Botswana

On arrival at Maun International Airport in Botswana, you will be met by a representative and transferred to the Kalahari by light aircraft.

Your flight follows the meandering course of the Boteti River as it leaves the Okavango Delta and flows into the ‘thirstlands’ of the Kalahari Desert. Before long, you can make out a huge, shimmering expanse of white on the horizon: the Makgadikgadi Pans. These saltpans are the size of Switzerland, the remnants of a vast prehistoric super-lake that once covered almost all of Botswana.

Landing at the airstrip, you meet your guide and set off on a short drive to Camp Kalahari. Set in a grove of shady trees, the wooden, thatched lodge blends perfectly into the environment. A building housing the bar, lounge and dining areas and a separate pool pavilion sit in the centre, and the guest tents are spread out along sandy pathways.

Discovering your tent, which is more like a spacious canvas suite set on an elevated wooden platform, you find it charmingly appointed with campaign-style furniture and a 4-poster bed swathed in mosquito netting. The en suite bathroom is open to the sky, perfect to getting really close to nature!

Expertly trained the horses at Camp Kalahari are sturdy, seasoned and strong. Before long you are in the saddle and setting off on your first outride. The grasslands of the Kalahari stretch out before you, under an enormous arching dome of sky. Springbok, oryx, wildebeest and zebra graze the plains, and they are followed by lions, cheetah and leopards. A rare treat is to encounter the elusive brown hyenas that are fairly common in this region.

The wildlife is unconcerned about the horses’ presence and seems to view you as part of them, which allows you to approach closer than in any other way. This must count as one of the most exhilarating experiences possible: to ride through the plains of the Kalahari, with nothing but the wind in your hair and the thundering of hooves in your ears as you keep pace with a herd of zebra.

In the company of your expert guide you are introduced to the mysteries of this ancient land, the secrets of life here and the many surprises that nature reveals to you. Visiting the meerkat colony, you find these pixie-faced suricates stretching and warming themselves in the morning sun, completely oblivious to your presence. Some may even use a convenient human as a vantage point to keep a lookout while the rest of the family scurries about, busily foraging for beetles, insects and scorpions for breakfast!

Days 4-5

Into the Makgadikgadi

The next two nights see you venture into the moonscape of the Makgadikgadi Pans. With the saline crust crunching below your horse’s hooves, you ride deep into this seeming emptiness until all reference points fade away. The whiteness envelops you, embracing you like a dream: you can gallop in any direction for as long as you like, and still arrive ‘nowhere’.

When you come to a halt, step away until all sounds disappear - this is an extraordinary experience: the silence is so complete that you are literally able to hear your blood rushing in your ears.

Amid this apparent desolation, there are fascinating objects to be found. Along the rim of the pans, where once was the water’s edge, you can find stone tools and implements: artefacts from the long-distant past, crafted by the hunters and gatherers who wandered the shores of the once-mighty Lake Makgadikgadi. Holding a stone spear point in your hand, you can imagine a connection spanning the eons linking you to the hands of the far distant nomad who crafted it.

The nights are spent in a fly camp out on the pans, where beyond the circle of firelight, a canopy of stars so luminous and bright hover above you, and you feel you could almost reach out and grasp them.

Days 6-9

The Selinda Reserve

After a last morning ride and a delicious brunch, you set off for the airstrip for your flight to Selinda.

The flight passes over the vast glittering expanse of the Okavango Delta, an oasis of life surrounded by the Kalahari. The Selinda Spillway is the northernmost waterway of this ecosystem, connecting the Okavango with the Linyanti Marsh. Dry for 30 years until 2009, it began flowing again in a new circle of life that will one day vanish into the sands of the desert again.

Arriving at Selinda Canoe Trail Camp is like stepping into another world, back in time to the bygone age of the original safari. Set in a grove of majestic trees and overlooking the Selinda Spillway, this is a place where Hemingway would feel at home. Comfortable walk-in tents are prepared for you each day along the route, with the river as your swimming pool and the wilderness as your Garden of Eden.

The emphasis here is firmly on a holistic experience of the wilds - exploring the area on foot, by canoe and sometimes by vehicle to allow the essence of Africa to get under your skin. Game drives will reveal a multitude of big game for which the region is famous - from elephants and buffalo to leopard, lion and wild dog - and the canoe and walking trails offer so much more.

You paddle along the spillway with your guides as they unlock the secrets of this fascinating ecosystem, the ebb and flow of water in this parched land, and the animals that depend on it for their survival.

Experience the thrill of walking in this untrammelled wilderness where nature reigns supreme; following paths made by thirsty animals that might have never felt a human tread, breathing in the heady aroma of wild sage. Learn about the smaller facets of nature around you, from the dung beetle’s unerring navigation to the medicinal uses of plants. As darkness falls, your guide uses a spotlight to search for nocturnal animals emerging for the night. Hyenas’ eyes glint in the distance as you hear their distinctive whoops and giggles; genets gaze at you from the trees, while civets wander along their paths on the ground.

Sitting out in the evenings below the stars, you bask in the warmth of the fire while the camp chef prepares astonishingly delicious meals over the coals. After the adventures of the day, you indulge with an appetite you have never felt before. A final fireside nightcap below a shower of stars is a fitting conclusion before you slip between the sheets, listening to the sounds of the African night around you.

Day 10

Homeward bound

On the last morning of a magical stay, bid farewell to Selinda as you board your plane. On the flight to Maun, look down upon the vast untouched wilderness that you have experienced and been a part of - a world apart, where nature has touched you to the very core.

Inclusions

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Inter-camp transfers
  • Activities as specified in itinerary

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Airport taxes
  • All meals and drinks not specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
Carlien Parsons

Carlien Parsons

Product Manager

"A safari designed for the adventure seekers. Experience two unique eco systems in Botswana in a very special way - on horse-back in the Kalahari & paddling down the selinda spillway."

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