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overview

Your 9–day journey promises excitement, adventure and adrenaline in two of Botswana’s most incredible wilderness regions.

Spend three nights at Selinda Explorers Camp, where you venture into the Selinda Reserve on game drives, on foot and by canoe. With one of the highest densities of elephants in Africa, huge herds of buffalo and plenty of predators, this promises a thrilling safari experience. Next, fly south to the Kalahari Desert on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans, where walking with San Bushmen and hanging out with a gang of meerkats are topped off by the surreal endeavour of venturing into the pans to camp at the enigmatic Kubu Island for two nights.

Perfect for the adventurous at heart, this journey contains all of the right ingredients for an ideal African safari with a difference.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Largest dry-season congregation of elephants in Africa 
  • Day & night game drives
  • Canoeing & safari walks
  • Excellent predator viewing
  • Walk with San Bushmen
  • Visit a meerkat colony
  • Camp at Kubu Island in the Makgadikgadi Pans

Day to Day Itinerary

Days 1-3

Dumela Botswana

On arrival at Maun International Airport, you will be met by a representative and shown to your waiting charter plane. After takeoff, the Okavango Delta spreads out below you as you fly north towards the Selinda Spillway, which is the northernmost waterway ‘finger’ of this hand-shaped alluvial fan. You look down at a watery world consisting of sparkling channels, grassy floodplains and forested tree islands. If you look closely enough, you may see hippos in the water and elephants out on the plains.

Touching down at Selinda Airstrip, your guide greets you and takes you for the short game drive to Selinda Explorers Camp. This magical region retains a wildness and spirit of ancient Africa that will fill you with a sense of wonder as you pass dense mopane woodlands, open grassland and forests of huge trees close to the river.

Arriving at Selinda Explorers 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 reminiscent of the days when explorers like Livingstone and Selous tramped through here on their journeys. Four elegantly designed tents and a central dining and lounge area blend perfectly with the natural surroundings, 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 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 but the canoe and walking trails are so much more.

Paddle along the Spillway with your guide as he unlocks 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. Pull up to a riverbank for a delightful picnic lunch in the blissful shade of a spreading tree and then take a walk to stretch your limbs.

You 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 and 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, before taking a game drive back to camp. 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 silently along their paths on the ground.

Day 4

Into the Kalahari

After a final morning’s walk or game drive, you board your flight south to the Kalahari.

Immediately on touching down at the airstrip you sense the difference in the landscape: in contrast to the Selinda Spillway’s abundance of water, here in the Kalahari there is none. Replenished only with the arrival of the summer rains, this is an arid semi-desert that supports an astonishingly wide variety of life. On the game drive to Camp Kalahari you travel through grasslands singed gold by the sun, hardy acacia trees and scrub, and the land undulates gently over fossil riverbeds.

Set in a grove of shady trees, the wood and thatch 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 well 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, adding a sense of adventurous camping to your experience!

Setting off into the golden light of the late afternoon, you drive along sandy tracks in search of the resident wildlife. Oryx stand regally immobile on dunes to catch a cooling breeze, looking like scimitar-horned sentinels gazing over the land. Herds of springbok antelope graze the grasslands, and ostriches shimmer in the hazy distance.

Predators here are elusive and they include cheetah, leopard, jackals, wild dogs and the famously large black-maned Kalahari lions, but the most prized sighting here must be to spot a brown hyena. These shy and enigmatic animals have long shaggy coats and brightly striped legs, making them look as if they have been put together using parts of other animals. Although they hunt and forage alone, they are extremely social and live in clans numbering up to a dozen animals. Mostly active at night, your best chances of seeing one are at dusk as they emerge from their dens to set off on their moonlit wanderings.

Day 5

Kalahari adventures

The morning’s activity is a visit to the meerkat clan. Completely wild but habituated to the presence of humans, you are able to watch them as they go about their lives, completely oblivious to you. Watch as they stand facing the sun to warm their little bodies before scurrying off in pursuit of scorpions, beetles and grubs for breakfast. On some occasions a human becomes a convenient lookout point for the sentinel meerkat on duty as he scans the surroundings for danger! You spend the morning following this little gang as they hunt and forage, and their antics and habits are fascinating as well as intriguing.

After a few hours, you return to the camp for a hearty brunch, and afterwards rest out the heat of the day at the poolside or in the welcoming coolness and shade of the thatched buildings.

In the later afternoon, take a walk with the San Bushmen. Join a group as they lead you into the wilds, demonstrating their deep ancestral knowledge learnt from generation to generation: where to find moisture, how to make fire, how to track an animal on a hunt. They will show you how they manage to survive in this harsh landscape and give you a window into the furthest mists of time, when our species lived in harmony with this environment. You will learn of medicinal plants, which are used to poison arrow tips, which are edible, and which contain life-giving water.

Days 6-7

Into the Makgadikgadi

Today you climb aboard a quad bike (ATV), wrap Lawrence of Arabia headgear around your head, don a pair of sunglasses or goggles, and disappear into the vastness of the Makgadikgadi Pans.

These saline deposits are the remnant of a gigantic shallow lake that once covered most of Botswana. While the lake dried up due to tectonic activity, the waters evaporated and left these huge pans behind. It is the ‘nothingness’ here that is the attraction - the shimmering expanse of whiteness that surrounds you in every direction, under a huge dome of sky. You can speed along for as long as you like, and still arrive nowhere - the sensation is quite unlike any other! The immense silence of this place also has an effect - standing alone, you are able to hear the blood rushing in your ears - there is nothing here.

Kubu Island finally looms into the heat haze. A great jumbled conglomeration of granite boulders, set about by the enormous, twisted forms of ancient baobab trees. This is to be your home for the night, lying under an electric shower of stars, with nothing but a feeling of the vastness of space above, below and around you.

Day 8

Return to Camp Kalahari

You ride your quad bike out of the pans and back to Camp Kalahari. Arriving coated in fine white dust and wearing an enormous grin, the camp seems like an oasis of civilisation after your adventures in the nothingness out there.

You spend your final afternoon and evening in the welcoming embrace of the camp, dipping in the swimming pool and enjoying a delectable dinner under the Kalahari stars.

Day 9

Homeward bound

After your last morning’s activity or enjoying some relaxing time in the camp, the moment comes for you to return to the airstrip for your flight back to Maun. Looking down at the huge, flat landscape below as the pans fade from view, you recollect your adventures of the previous days: the wildlife, the people, the incredible landscapes… 

Inclusions

  • 8 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

"Action-packed with fantastic experiences, this safari will not disappoint. Explore the waters of the Selinda Spillway, sleep under the stars in the Kalahari & quad bike over the Makgadikgadi saltpans are just some of the highlights."

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