Ultimate Botswana Family Safari
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11 Days of Big Game, Winding Waterways & Savanna Sunsets

Botswana has always topped the list of ultra-deluxe safari destinations but thanks to specific, family-friendly camps in the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park and Central Kalahari, Botswana is also fast becoming a top destination of choice for families who want their children to experience an unforgettable African adventure. The 11-Day Ultimate Botswana Family Safari showcases five of the key ecosystems and environments within Botswana on a fun-filled adventure of discovery, tailored carefully to the specific needs of younger safari-goers. Your days will be spent on safari exploring the wild, pristine wilderness of Botswana and engaging with local communities and their children. At night you will stay in intimate and exclusive lodges, known for their personalized service and superb attention to detail.

Start your trip on the Boteti River, where more than 25,000 zebras flock in the dry season for relief from the stark salt pans of the adjacent Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Then traverse the marshy waterways snaking through the heart of the Okavango Delta and explore where the delta floodplains meet the Kalhari Desert, attracting a host of big game and endangered species. Next head northeast to Chobe National Park and the elusive Savute Channel. After a dry spell of nearly 30 years, the channel began flowing again in 2010, bringing renewed lushness and life to its banks. End your amazing family safari with a stay on the Chobe River which serves as the border between Namibia and Botswana.

If you choose to book private activities for your Botswana family safari, the activities will be planned directly around the specific needs of your family. These could include full day safaris with a picnic or shortened adventures to allow the children to swim and enjoy the lodge facilities. For those who do not book the private activities, there are plenty of scheduled activities for you and your family to join. Young children will also receive a safari backpack, which contains games, a wildlife checklist, and other activities to keep them engaged.

January – March, 2016 (and Dec 2016)

Adult – $5599 per person sharing
Child 12-15 years old – $4999 per person
Child 6-11 years old – $4399 per person

April – June, 2016 (and Nov 2016)

Adult – $6,699 per person sharing
Child 12-15 years old – $5799 per person
Child 6-11 years old – $4999 per person

July – October, 2016

Adult – $7,999 per person
Child 12-15 years old – $7,599 per person
Child 6-11 years old – $6,699 per person

*$4,150 private activity supplement per family. Private activity surcharge is mandatory for families with children younger than 12. The minimum age of the Botswana family safari is 6 years old.

 

 

Meet your host

Adventure Highlights

  • Wind through the waterways of the Okavango Delta in a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe
  • Track lions, cheetahs, rhinoceroses, leopards, and more where the delta meets the desert
  • Take a guided nature walk to learn about bird, plant, and reptile species
  • Watch elephants play in the Savute Marsh
  • See ancient San rock paintings at the Gubatsa Hills
  • Visit the local Khumaga Village to hear about life and traditions in Botswana
  • Witness the second largest zebra migration in the world along the Boteti River (seasonal)

Days 1 – 2 – Leroo La Tau, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

Arrive in Maun and transfer to Leroo La Tau. The lodge, which translates to “lion’s paw” in Setswana, is in a magnificent location on the banks of the Boteti River. It lies opposite Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, one of Botswana’s most diverse national parks. In the dry season, as water dries up in the salt pans, the river acts as a sanctuary to the second largest zebra migration in the world.

The arid surroundings of the Boteti are home to abundant lions, zebras, and wildebeests and also boast Chobe Bushbuck, Leopard, Cheetah, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Impala, Kudu, Jackal, Porcupine, Genet and Caracal. Search for the myriad wildlife on two guided activities a day by Land Cruiser, foot or (water-level permitting) boat. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the local Khumaga Village.

Overnight: 2 nights in Leroo La Tau

 

Days 3-4 – Camp Okavango or Xugana Island Lodge, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Depart to Camp Okavango or Xugana Island Lodge, both of which are located in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The region is a maze of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels attracting wildlife reliant on its permanent, life-giving waters.

Activities in the area are centered around cruising the placid waterways in a motorboat or mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. Hippos can be found peering over the waterline and the trees are teeming with birdlife. You can also take a guided nature walk to learn about the bird, plant, and reptile species in the area or fish for bream and tiger fish (seasonal).

Overnight: 2 nights in Camp Okavango or Xugana Island Lodge

 

Day 5 – 6 – Camp Moremi or Camp Xakanaxa, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Continue your journey through the Okavango Delta to the point where its waters meet the vast plains of the Kalahari Desert. The intersection of these two natural wonders creates a diverse landscape of Mopane forests, open grasslands, seasonal floodplains and riverine habitats. The result is one of the most welcoming and spectacular animal environments in all of Africa.

Spend your mornings and afternoons tracking big game in an open 4×4 safari vehicle. Search for some of the world’s most endangered large mammal species; lions, cheetahs, white rhinoceroses, black rhinoceroses, and African wild dogs can all be found roaming the grassy plains.

The Xakanaxa Lagoon and its connected channels also offer a setting for aquatic exploration by boat. In spring and summer the wetlands are bursting with birdlife, including the majestic Fish Eagle, vivid Malachite Kingfisher, and even the rare Pel’s Fishing Owl.

Overnight: 2 nights in Camp Moremi or Camp Xakanaxa

 

Days 7 – 8 – Savute Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana

Depart the Delta and head to Botswana’s fabled “Stolen River”, the Savute Channel in Chobe National Park. Stretching from the waterways of the Linyanti all the way to the Savute Marsh, the winding waterways of the Savute Channel have pumped life into the western section of the Chobe National Park for many thousands of generations. This fickle and unpredictable channel has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up independently of the rain and flood levels found elsewhere in the area – a mystery that has intrigued geologists and researchers for many years.

One of the highlights of the area is its large population of bull elephants which congregate, bathe, and play in the marsh. Watch the massive mammals, along with lions, zebras, cheetahs, and leopards, on game drives of the area. Also visit the Gubatsa Hills, an elevated outcrop in an otherwise flat landscape, to see ancient San rock paintings.

Overnight: 2 nights in Savute Safari Lodge

 

Days 9-10 – Chobe Savanna Lodge, Caprivi Strip, Namibia

For the final days of your safari, cross into the Eastern Caprivi of Namibia to stay at the Chobe Savanna Lodge. The lodge lies on the northern bank of the Chobe River, which separates Botswana from Namibia. Overlooking the vast floodplains of Chobe National Park’s Puku Flats, the lodge is a great base for seeing nearby herds of elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and rare Puku antelopes.

Zip around on motorized boats to marvel in the spectacular wildlife and endless savannas a few more times before leaving Africa. You can also join a relaxing fishing excursion or visit a local village to learn about Namibian traditions.

Overnight: 2 nights in Chobe Savanna Lodge

 

Day 11 – Depart Botswana

Depart from Kasane for the end of your Ultimate Botswana Family Safari or extend your trip to see the thundering Victoria Falls (additional)!

Leroo La Tau

All 12 of Leroo La Tau’s luxurious thatched and glass fronted suites are raised on wooden platforms on the high banks of the Boteti River with panoramic views of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The dining area, lounge, cocktail bar and first floor wildlife reference library, are all tucked under the eaves of the thatch and timber main building. There is an evening campfire boma, as well as a covered viewing hide, both overlooking the banks of the Boteti River.

 

Camp Okavango

Camp Okavango is situated on the remote Nxaraga Island, hidden amongst beautiful ancient Mangosteen trees, in the heart of the Okavango Delta. The lodge has 12 luxury East-African style safari tents with sliding glass doors on raised platforms, accommodating just 24 people.

 

Xugana Island Lodge

Xugana Island Lodge is on the enchanting Xugana Lagoon, the most spectacular permanent water site in the entire Okavango Delta. Xugana Island Lodge is on a private concession and takes full advantage of this magnificent site. This intimate lodge accommodates 16 people in 8 luxurious thatch lagoon-facing chalets with sliding doors and private viewing decks on the shaded fringe of the island.

 

Camp Moremi

Resting under giant ebony trees, Camp Moremi sits on the edge of the Xakanaxa lagoon in Botswana’s world-renowned Moremi Game Reserve. Guests will enjoy the luxurious seclusion of East African-style safari tents, set on raised teak decks and featuring en-suite bathrooms. Dinner is served under an ebony canopy in the dining room and nightcaps are enjoyed beside the warmth of the glowing fire pit. Guests can also relax by the swimming pool, marvel at spectacular sunsets from the 
lagoon-side viewing deck, or enjoy the wildlife reference library, lounge and cocktail bar in the elevated thatch and timber main building.

 

Camp Xakanaxa

Camp Xakanaxa (pronounced Ka-ka-na-ka) is perched on the banks of the Khwai River on the Xakanaxa Lagoon, in the heart of the Moremi Game Reserve. The camp accommodates twenty-four guests in twelve spacious all-canvas, classic Meru-style luxury safari tents. Each tent has a private viewing deck facing the lagoon. The elegant lounge and dining rooms, built of local timber, reed and thatch, feature a small library, expansive sundeck, plunge pool and sala with day bed. The fire-deck extends over the Khwai River and creates an enchanting environment in which to relax after dinner. There is also a larger pool with elevated sun deck in the expansive grounds.

 

Savute Safari Lodge

The twelve chalets of Savute Safari Lodge have been elegantly furnished in calm neutral tones to blend with the natural environment, feature expansive private decks, a combined bedroom and lounge area and en-suite facilities. Sink into one of the numerous comfortable leather, wood or wicker sofas in the lounge – and library – or sip a cocktail in the stylish bar. All the facilities are situated in a beautiful two-story thatch-and-timber main building. In addition, the Savute Safari Lodge offers a shaded viewing deck, al fresco dining area and swimming pool with spectacular pool loungers – ideal for watching the varied wildlife – including the resident Elephants – as they make their way to the Channel to drink, bathe and play.

 

Chobe Savanna Lodge

Chobe Savanna Lodge is set in a classic African Savanna environment of sweeping vistas. The focal point of the lodge is a thatched, open-sided main building that features a stunning view over the Chobe River and beyond to Chobe National Park. Attractive gardens featuring a secluded swimming pool further enhance the lodge’s enviable location. In addition to the scheduled game-viewing activities, Chobe Savanna Lodge is also a perfect venue for guests to simply take time out to watch the natural world go by in one of the most spectacular settings imaginable.

All guides are local Batswana, recruited from nearby villages. Many of them have grown up in wilderness areas, and all have an intimate knowledge of the wildlife and ecology of Botswana.

Ultimate Botswana Family Safari - Guides

Inclusions

  • 10 nights’ accommodation (2 nights Leroo La Tau, 2 nights Camp Okavango or Xugana Island Lodge, 2 nights Camp Moremi or Camp Xakanaxa, 2 nights Savute Safari Lodge and 2 nights Chobe Savanna Lodge)
  • All meals, soft drinks and local brand beverages
  • Scheduled activities National Park entrance fees
  • Charter flights & domestic airport departure taxes
  • Safari Pack for each child
  • Laundry services
  • Medical and Emergency evacuation insurance

Exclusions

  • Private activity surcharge (Mandatory for families with children under 12 years old)
  • Meals other than specified
  • Premium brand drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Sightseeing and activities other than specified (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)
  • International flights & airport taxes (can be arranged by Evergreen Escapes)

Notes for this Safari

  • We accept families with children 6 years and older. The rooms within our camps are configured differently so that we can accommodate various family sizes – these will be dealt with and advised at the time of safari inquiry dependent on the family size and will be based on our physical operational capacity at each property. To ensure that we maximize the experience for each family, we will only accommodate one family per camp per day.
  • For a safari of this nature, where flexibility is key to the family’s needs, private guide, vehicle and activities are essential. Families with children younger than 12 years old, private activity surcharge, based on a per family per departure, is mandatory. Families with children older than 12 years can however opt to partake in the scheduled lodge activities at no surcharge, but will have to share activities with other guests
  • We have planned the activities and the safari experience to ensure that it is fun and educational for every family member. All children are given a Safari Bag, which has activity books, check lists and various surprises to keep them busy during certain times of the day. Other adapted activities, which range from donkey cart village tours to mokoro races (water levels dependent), fishing excursions, local school visits (depending on dates) and the normal safari activities are all planned and adapted around the family’s needs.
  • Rates include all accommodation on a fully inclusive basis; all inter camp charter flights, taxes and park fees and are calculated by seasonality. Rates are based on per person sharing for adults, for children 6 – 11 years and children 12 to 16 years. Private activity surcharge is mandatory for families with children younger than 12 years old based on a per family per departure.
  • The Ultimate Botswana Family Safari is a fixed 10 night safari – deviations will attract standard rates and terms.
  • We will address each individual family’s requirements at the time of inquiry as the need to match not only the family’s specific requirements, but also our physical operational capacity within each property is essential to the success of each safari.
  • Children younger than 16 will need to share with an adult if and where triple accommodation is not available.
  • Single Traveler cost is exempt in the Green and Shoulder season, based on maximum of two singles per booking.
  • Standard Booking Terms and Conditions apply to all Ultimate Family Safari bookings.

Lodges & Accommodation

Despite the remote locations of the lodges and camps, all the creature comforts that you would expect from a modern hotel are present. En-suite bathrooms, walk in showers, flush toilets, air conditioning and, where air conditioning is not available, ceiling or stand-up fans. Tea/coffee making facilities are touches in the rooms to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Most of the lodges rely on generator power and 12-volt batteries for lighting at night, except for Chobe Game Lodge which has 24 hour power via the national grid.

Travel Between Lodges

Flying is an integral part of your Botswana safari and is a unique way to experience the area you are visiting from the air. Part of the experience of the family safari, is the journey between camps.

We offer a fully integrated private air charter service, operated by Safari Air. Safari Air operates single engine Airvan’s, Cessna 206s, Kodiak Quest 100 and Cessna Caravans. The company’s pilots originate from all over the world including countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and Botswana. All the pilots hold Botswana Commercial Pilots Licenses together with Commercial Pilots Licenses for their country of origin.

Unless you have booked a private air charter, your flight transfers will be booked as a “seat on plane” basis. Flight times are arranged according to each day’s requirements and to fit in with activities, thus the plane may pick up and drop off other guest’s en-route to your destination. Times therefore vary from day to day and will be communicated to you the afternoon before departure. Flights to Kasane for the Chobe lodges and for Victoria Falls/Livingstone depart early to meet the scheduled road transfers. Therefore early morning activities for guests departing on these flights are curtailed.

Private charters can be arranged, in which case you will be the only guests in the plane and you may specify your departure times. We are happy to quote separately for this.

At the lodges the vehicles are either open Toyota Land Cruisers carrying a maximum of 7 people or Land Rovers carrying a maximum of 9 people. All Land Cruisers have individual buckets seats while the Land Rovers have bench seats. Smoking is not permitted in any of our safari vehicles, but is allowed in sections of the lodges.

Safari Activities

For the most part, especially if you have booked private activities for your family safari, the activities will be planned around the needs of your family. These could include full day safari with picnic or shortened adventures to allow the children to swim and enjoy the lodge facilities. Each day will be planned with you and your family’s needs in consideration. For those who do not book the private activities, each property offers scheduled activities for all guests and your family will be considered and added to the scheduled activities.

Young children will be given a safari backpack, which will contain games, activity book and various things to keep them busy. This will ensure that they are occupied during siesta periods or when there are quiet times between safari activities.

Guides and Staff

All guides are local Batswana, recruited from nearby villages. Many of them have grown up in wilderness areas and all have an intimate knowledge of the wildlife and ecology of Botswana.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted in the camps. American Express and Diners cards are however not accepted.

Responsible Travel

Every aspect of the safari’s operations are monitored in terms of environmental impact. All non-perishable waste is packaged and transported from the remote camps to the closest town. Gas is used for heating and cooking.

Fibre-glass mokoros (dug out canoe) are used for activities – this is done to protect the trees of the Okavango Delta. A fully qualified environmentalist  is employed to ensure that the safari lodges are as eco-friendly as possible.

 

Your Safety

Guest safety is of paramount importance. Fully trained guides monitor animal activity within the lodge areas and always escort guests to/from their rooms/tents (especially between dusk and dawn).

While on game activities it is essential to listen to the guides who will not only advise you of the wonders of the bush, but of the dangers too.

Baggage Restrictions – VERY IMPORTANT

For inter-camp air transfers, space and safety concerns do not allow for excess baggage, so the following should be taken into account:

There is a very strict weight restriction on all light aircraft. The limit is 20kgs (44 lbs) per person that MUST be packed into small soft bags (duffel bags). The soft duffel bags make it easy for the luggage to be stowed in the aircraft. Luggage with hard-wheel frames or a rigid base are NOT considered soft sided duffel bags and are not flexible enough to fit into the luggage belly pods of our aircraft. Camera and video equipment are included in the 20 kg limit. For safety reasons any excess luggage will be left behind with a representative and forwarded to your point of departure at your expense if necessary, or returned to you if you depart through the same point. You can minimize your clothing needs by finding multiple uses for each item. Keep in mind that there are laundry services at all of the camps and lodges where you will stay.

Health Precautions

Immunization requirements vary from country to country and up-to-date information should be obtained from your local health department. It is the guest’s sole responsibility to ensure that they have had all necessary inoculations, immunizations and medications prior to departure.

Malaria: Prophylaxis with Lariam, Malarone, or doxycycline is recommended for travel in Botswana. All guests must consult with their own medical doctor or the Centre for Disease Control regarding the use of anti-malarial tablets prior to departure. It is the guest’s obligation to ensure that he/she is medically fit to participate in travel i.e. for walking activities at Xugana Island, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Communications

The safari lodges do not have telephones as they are situated in very remote areas. However, lodge managers are in daily radio contact with the operations offices in Maun through whom messages can be passed. Satellite phones are in camp for emergency use at an extra charge.