overview

This 10-day safari delivers exceptional experiences in two of Botswana’s wildest settings. Journey into the unforgettable Makgadikgadi Pans with legendary guide, Ralph Bousfield. From your base at Jack’s Camp, the epitome of old-school safari style, explore the grasslands on game walks and drives, add a cultural encounter with the extraordinary San people and a big serving of comedy when you meet the colony of habituated meerkats.

Then head out into the endless pans on quad bikes with Ralph Bousfield, botanist, archaeologist and fifth-generation guide. He grew up in the Makgadikgadi and founded Jack’s Camp in honour of his father. He will share the secrets of the Kalahari with you, supported by a team of staff that ensure your expedition is utterly comfortable and completely unforgettable.

A charter flight then whisks you to the lush setting of the Selinda Reserve, where you explore this remote wilderness on foot, by boat and on private game drives. It is famous for its lions, cheetah, leopard and wild dog – this is one of the best places to see apex predators, and is also home to an elephant population to rival the Chobe. For big game viewing as you have never seen it before, and the impeccable service and comfort of Zarafa Dhow Suites, your private and luxurious home-away-from-home in this remarkable reserve

Itinerary Highlights

  • Legendary guide Ralph Bousfield
  • Quad bike expedition in the Makgadikgadi Pans
  • Serviced overnight camping in the Kalahari Desert
  • Up-close encounter with habituated meerkats
  • Nature walks, game drives & night drives
  • Apex predators & elephants in Selinda Reserve
  • Game viewing by boat, vehicle & on foot
  • Intimate luxury at private Zarafa Dhow Suites
  • Private plunge pool, massage & yoga
  • Swarovski telescope & binoculars
  • Use of Canon camera & lenses
  • Children's programme 

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1

Jack’s Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans

Botwana’s northern international air hub is Maun, where your flight from Johannesburg lands. A charter flight whisks you south to Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi Pans. The flight gives you an aerial view of this remarkable part of the Kalahari - the desert with the greatest species diversity on the planet.

Jack’s Camp is a 19thC-style tented camp set under desert palms on the edge of the pans. Your host and guide, Ralph Bousfield, grew up on the pans and is a fifth-generation African explorer. Naturalist, botanist, ethnographer and archaologist, Ralph is widely considered Africa's top guide. Exploring the desert with him is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  He named Jack's Camp after his father and it is naturally steeped in a rich tradition, featuring Jack’s old gear and treasures in its décor. The focus is on service, outstanding food and providing you with every comfort you expect and some that will surprise and delight you.

You should enjoy your first taste of the desert the afternoon you arrive. Head out on a game drive to explore the grasslands and find out how this ancient landscape formed. Sunset is incredible on the pans and you keep an eye out for the many rare nocturnal species when you return to camp.

Day 2

Meeting the Meerkats

Outgoing, friendly and happy to cuddle up with you on a chilly morning or use you as a lookout post, the meerkats of this habituated colony are a joy to encounter. You leave the meerkats to see Chapman’s Baobab, the third-largest tree in Africa and original campsite of Livingstone and Selous when they explored the area. The afternoon is dedicated to a desert game drive and the chance to see springbok, oryx, red hartebeest and, after sunset, the possibility of seeing some rarely spotted creatures - brown hyena, aardvark, aardwolf and black-maned Kalahari lions.

Day 3

Expedition to Island of Lost Baobabs

You set out early on quad bikes, riding in convoy across the lunar expanse of the pans. You cross Ntwetwe Pan heading for the Island of Lost Baobabs, where you spend the next two nights. It is more than a journey; it is an odyssey where midday mirages turn ostrichs into topiary treets and elephant tracks mysteriously disappear. The wide open space is breathtaking, mesmerising, enigmatic. Swallows lie presserved by the salt where they fell from the sky in exhaustion. Zebra skulls testify to the wet season migration. You arrive at the island at sunset, to a camp prepared for you. The drinks tray awaits after you wash the day’s dust away in a hot bucket shower and tuck into a sumptuous dinner beneath a gazillion stars. Tonight you fall asleep beneath the Milky Way in a traditional bedroll complete with duvet and hot water bottle. 

Day 4-5

The Mysteries of Kubu Island

After breakfast you set off for Kubu Island, a granite island studded with fat, red baobab trees that are more than 2 000 years old. It is a holy place for the San people and rich with archaeological treasures – the remains of fortifications, as well as evidence of the salt trade and barter beads.  You soak up the views over Sowa Pan over a grand picnic lunch. You explore the extinct mouth of the Zambezi River, its beautiful pebbles strewn with precious stones. Nearby is the wet season breeding site of about 30 000 flamingos. There are acres of the mud mounds the birds build as nests, made eerie by the silence and captivating by the odd unhatched egg or salt-preserved hatchling born too late to survive the long march across the pans that all young flamingos must make to reach water when the dry season comes. Tonight is your last night falling asleep beneath the starry skies of the Kalahari. The next morning you return across the pans to Jack’s Camp for a night of reflection and comfort before you bid Ralph farewell and continue your safari further north.

Day 6

Zarafa Dhow Suites, Selinda Reserve

You board a charter flight back to Maun and catch another charter to the Selinda. Your home for the next four nights is Zarafa Camp’s private Dhow Suites. Built in a traditional East African coastal style, the suites are grand in scale, intimate in nature and fully serviced. Zarafa overlooks a tranquil lagoon and offers boating, nature walks and game drives by day and night to explore the rich wildlife and diverse habitats of the Selinda Channel.

Day 7-9

Exploring Predator Central

The reserve’s range of habitats supports a wide variety of game. The lagoon is full of hippo and crocodiles, with large herds of elephant, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and buffalo – not to mention antelope like red lechwe and sable. Among the predator you might see are rare and critically endangered African wild dogs, Selinda’s ‘surfing lions’, nicknamed for their habit of hunting hippo, plus cheetah, leopard and nocturnal species like civets and genet cats. This is one of Botswana’s best year-round game viewing areas and you have all the flexibility and advantages of a private guide and vehicle at your disposal.

Day 10

Homeward Bound

A charter flight carries you over the lush waterways and rolling grasslands of the Selinda back to Maun and your international flight home. In the company of legendary guides you have explored two of Africa’s secret treasures and witness the best of them: the thrill of quad biking across the pans and the predator action on the Selinda plains; the captivating starry skies of the Island of Lost Baobabs and the serenity of your private residence at Zarafa Camp. This is a journey you will be talking about years from now.

Inclusions

  • 2 Nights at Kubu Island on fully inclusive basis
  • Inter-camp shared light aircraft flights including selected taxes
  • Return flights from Johannesburg to Maun
  • Ralph Bousfield as private guide in the Kalahari
  • 2 Nights at Jack's Camp on fully inclusive basis
  • 3 Nights at Zarafa Dhow Suite on fully inclusive basis

Exclusions

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

Additional Tour Notes

Please note that this tour only operates from 1 June - 30 September.

Tour Rates

  • dates rates from
  • 01 Jun 2017 - 30 Sep 2017 $25360

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Rate Note:

This tour rate is based on 4 travellers travelling together.

Tracy Payne

Tracy Payne

Africa Safari Expert

"This trip combines the traditional safari experience with a quad biking experience, as well as game viewing by boat in the Selinda. The perfect adventure for an avid safari goer looking for luxury in 2 of Botswana's most remote locations."

From

$25360

Per person sharing

View all rates
Add to wishlist
Remove from wishlist

Ratedby Travellers