Botswana on a Budget

Save your pennies

At Natural Selection, we believe that everyone should go on a Botswana safari at least once in their life. And it shouldn’t be any old Botswana safari. We think it should be a truly diverse, all-singing, all-dancing sort of trip; one that showcases Botswana’s truly wild places and natural glory. And it also shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. A tall order? We’ve come up with this fantastic, budget-friendly custom safari to two contrasting regions of the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi that we think fits the bill…

The itinerary begins in Khwai Reserve, a private, community-focused area of the Greater Okavango Delta region. Big cats and even bigger mammals roam across its emerald-green landscapes, and it’s one of the best introductions to Botswana that we could imagine. Once you’ve earnt your safari stripes in Khwai, it’s time for a couple of nights in the Uncharted Expeditions Camp. You’ll follow the road less travelled, and uncover hidden spots in the Delta that you didn’t even know existed. Next up, swap the rich, grassy knolls of the Delta for a shimmering, salt-baked landscape. You’re now in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a place that’s hauntingly beautiful, surprisingly full of life, and endlessly mysterious.

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Price from:

$5,345.00

Duration:

10 days/9 nights

Departure Dates:

Departures on demand

Min / Max Group Size

Enquire with reservations

Trip Begins / Ends

Maun, Botswana / Maun, Botswana

Includes Mobile Camping:

Yes

Details, Details

Highlights

  • Compare three unique destinations in Botswana and discover the different species that call them home, at a very purse-friendly price.
  • Make the most of staying in the private Khwai Reserve and sample game drives, night drives and walking safaris – the best of everything!
  • Enjoy an optional, al-fresco night at the Skybeds, three five-metre high platforms where the wild things roam just below, and the stars twinkle just above.
  • Experience the thrill of a semi-permanent mobile camp, and float into unexplored areas of the Okavango Delta on a mokoro or boat safari.
  • Take a walk with the indigenous Bushmen, and discover the history and culture of the people of the Makgadikgadi.
  • Marvel at the second largest migration of mammals in Africa, and watch as 40,000 zebra and wildebeest converge at the Boteti River (May to November).

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $5,345.00 per person sharing. A single supplement applies to single travellers. The price is dependent on actual travel dates.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: Please enquire with reservations.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is available at Meno a Kwena, but not at Hyena Pan, the Skybeds or the Uncharted Expedition Camp.

Can this itinerary be customised? Yes, this itinerary can be fully customised.

Extension ideas: This itinerary has been designed to keep costs down but if you’re looking for a little something extra, consider a night or two at Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi Pans.

When to Go & What to Pack

The green season is from January until March; the high season runs from July until October, and the shoulder seasons are from April to June, and November through to January.

Whatever time of year you’re travelling, we suggest you pack cotton clothes in neutral colours, as well as trousers and long sleeved tops. A warm sweater, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses are well worth having, and sun block, insect repellent and lip balm are also important. For footwear, bring sturdy, closed walking shoes and socks (but no need to bring heavy hiking boots). Binoculars, cameras and reference books are a must, and of course, bring your swimming kit! During our summer months (November to March) you’ll want a lightweight rain jacket, and if you’re travelling through the winter don’t forget to pack a few bits of warm clothing, leggings to wear beneath trousers, and a good jacket (and maybe even a hat, gloves and a scarf). All your luggage must be packed into a soft bag, so it can be squeezed into tight corners in small aircraft and vehicles.

Our Guides

As guides ourselves, we are only too aware of the importance of great guiding on safari. At Natural Selection, our guides live and breathe the bush. They know its rhythms, its beats and its quirks. They can spot a leopard’s whisker from around a corner, and they have an innate ability to expect the unexpected. Most importantly, they love to share their knowledge and delight for all aspects of Africa’s ecosystems, from the smallest plant to the hairiest mammal, and everything in between. Many of our guides are from the local communities, and they are always happy to discuss their cultures, backgrounds and upbringings. After all, understanding the way of life of the local people can bring a whole new perspective to the land you’re exploring. And did we mention that they are all fantastic company, with some of the biggest personalities in the business? But we can’t vouch for their jokes…

Highlights

  • Compare three unique destinations in Botswana and discover the different species that call them home, at a very purse-friendly price.
  • Make the most of staying in the private Khwai Reserve and sample game drives, night drives and walking safaris – the best of everything!
  • Enjoy an optional, al-fresco night at the Skybeds, three five-metre high platforms where the wild things roam just below, and the stars twinkle just above.
  • Experience the thrill of a semi-permanent mobile camp, and float into unexplored areas of the Okavango Delta on a mokoro or boat safari.
  • Take a walk with the indigenous Bushmen, and discover the history and culture of the people of the Makgadikgadi.
  • Marvel at the second largest migration of mammals in Africa, and watch as 40,000 zebra and wildebeest converge at the Boteti River (May to November).

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $5,345.00 per person sharing. A single supplement applies to single travellers. The price is dependent on actual travel dates.

Included: Travelling costs as per itinerary; activities (most!); entrance and park fees; accommodation as specified on a sharing basis; all meals and local drinks; road transfers; applicable tourism levies, taxes, and all relevant VAT.

Excluded: Expenses of a personal nature, such as telephone expenses & shopping; premium brand drinks; tips and gratuities; additional activities; scheduled flights and related taxes; Visa fees where relevant; cancellation, baggage, medical, and evacuation insurance.

Child Policy: Please enquire with reservations.

Disabled Access: Please enquire with reservations.

Wifi: Wifi is available at Meno a Kwena, but not at Hyena Pan, the Skybeds or the Uncharted Expedition Camp.

Can this itinerary be customised? Yes, this itinerary can be fully customised.

Extension ideas: This itinerary has been designed to keep costs down but if you’re looking for a little something extra, consider a night or two at Camp Kalahari in the Makgadikgadi Pans.

When to Go & What to Pack

The green season is from January until March; the high season runs from July until October, and the shoulder seasons are from April to June, and November through to January.

Whatever time of year you’re travelling, we suggest you pack cotton clothes in neutral colours, as well as trousers and long sleeved tops. A warm sweater, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses are well worth having, and sun block, insect repellent and lip balm are also important. For footwear, bring sturdy, closed walking shoes and socks (but no need to bring heavy hiking boots). Binoculars, cameras and reference books are a must, and of course, bring your swimming kit! During our summer months (November to March) you’ll want a lightweight rain jacket, and if you’re travelling through the winter don’t forget to pack a few bits of warm clothing, leggings to wear beneath trousers, and a good jacket (and maybe even a hat, gloves and a scarf). All your luggage must be packed into a soft bag, so it can be squeezed into tight corners in small aircraft and vehicles.

Our Guides

As guides ourselves, we are only too aware of the importance of great guiding on safari. At Natural Selection, our guides live and breathe the bush. They know its rhythms, its beats and its quirks. They can spot a leopard’s whisker from around a corner, and they have an innate ability to expect the unexpected. Most importantly, they love to share their knowledge and delight for all aspects of Africa’s ecosystems, from the smallest plant to the hairiest mammal, and everything in between. Many of our guides are from the local communities, and they are always happy to discuss their cultures, backgrounds and upbringings. After all, understanding the way of life of the local people can bring a whole new perspective to the land you’re exploring. And did we mention that they are all fantastic company, with some of the biggest personalities in the business? But we can’t vouch for their jokes…

Itinerary & Map

Day 1: Arrive in Maun and fly to Hyena Pan, Khwai Private Reserve

Don’t waste a second of wildlife-watching time and hop straight on a vehicle for an afternoon game drive from Hyena Pan, sundowners and all.

Day 2: Hyena Pan, Khwai Private Reserve

After you’ve had your fill of game drives, change the pace with a walking safari and examine the finer details of Khwai.

Day 3: Skybeds, Khwai Private Reserve

Have you ever slept under the stars, atop a five-metre high, treehouse platform, only metres away from a game-filled waterhole? Give it a go at our thrilling Skybeds (if you wish).

Day 4: Fly to Uncharted Expedition Camp, Okavango Delta region

Buckle up for your Delta adventure!

Days 5 & 6: Uncharted Expedition Camp, Okavango Delta region

Follow the wildlife on an all-day game drive, or park at a waterhole and let the animals meander around you. The next day, float around the watery wonderland on a boat safari watch hippo jousting for territory and crocodile basking in the sun.

Day 7: Fly to Maun and drive to Meno a Kwena, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Arrive at Meno a Kwena, order a chilled drink, and sip it as you watch the animals at the Boteti River from your cliff-top viewpoint.

Days 8 & 9: Meno a Kwena, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Your last two days are for discovering the Makgadikgadi. Here, there are rare, desert-adapted species to meet, Bushmen to walk with and learn from, and vehicles to clamber aboard for spectacular wildlife viewing.

Day 10: Drive back to Maun

The last day of a safari is always bittersweet, but there’s definitely time to squeeze in one last activity before driving back to Maun Airport.

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Accommodations

Hyena Pan is one of the most purse-friendly camps in any Botswana private concession. But that doesn’t mean we’ve compromised on style and comfort. In fact, we haven’t compromised on anything – we’ve simply kept things laid-back and relaxed. The eight tents are cool and comfortable, and all have views of the water-filled Hyena Pan in front of camp. We’ve also managed to squeeze in a mini splash pool, and a rather lovely viewing deck, both of which overlook the waterhole for continued wildlife-watching wherever you happen to be in camp.

A good mobile camp has all the necessary comforts and conveniences, but an excellent one has a few hidden extras – and the Unchartered Expedition Camp has more little extras than most. Think real beds, fluffy pillows and hot showers in the bedrooms, damask linens and delicate china in the mess tent, and home-cooked feasts that taste as good as they look.

In the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, your camp is Meno a Kwena, a quirky, cliff-top tented number, with extraordinary views to the Boteti River below. One of Botswana’s original safari camps, and used by many legendary hunters and safari pioneers over the years, we’ve jazzed up the tents, but kept the old adventurous spirit – and we think you’ll like it.

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Wildlife

The greater Okavango Delta area, including the 495,000 acre Khwai Private Reserve, is buzzing with wildlife. Buffalo, zebra, reedbuck, wildebeest, and sable and roan antelope dot the plains, and there’s an extraordinary number of elephant plodding through the bush. On game drives, you’ll watch lion and cheetah on the prowl, and seek out elusive leopard and wild dog. Then there’s the unique aquatic antelope (sitatunga and lechwe) and the seemingly endless stream of water birds. And that’s just the beginning…

The sparse desert habitat of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is unique to say the least. During the dry season (May to November), the salt twinkles like a mirage, and desert elephant and antelope pick their way across the scorched ground. Then, the rain dutifully turns the pan into a generous lake and giant flocks of flamingo and water birds crowd the space. But the real spectacle of the park is Africa’s second largest migration of mammals. 30,000 zebra and wildebeest rumble across the area, congregating at the Boteti River in April in a dazzle of black and white (and grey and brown). And where there are ungulates, there are predators. You’ll find a full sweep of them in the MPNP, including lion, cheetah, leopard and wild dog.

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