Two Sides of Botswana

Experience the highlights

Dip your toes into two of Botswana’s most contrasting and mind-bogglingly brilliant landscapes – the Khwai Private Reserve and the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park – on this seven-day custom itinerary, Two Sides of Botswana.

Your journey kicks off in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. A lunar-like, otherworldly place, where space and time seem endless, it’s a complete contrast to the green and grassy scenes of the infamous Okavango Delta. You’ll spend time getting to know the extraordinary landscape, the wildlife and its people, on game drives, walks and visits to historical sites, with a local Bushman guide leading the way.

Next up is Khwai Private Reserve, a footprint-sensitive and community-based joint venture partnership, which is focused on making sure that the local villagers are well looked after. You’ll follow the Khwai River as it cuts through open floodplains of wetlands and scattered islands, and don’t forget your binos – there’s plenty of game along the way. In Khwai, you’ll also have the opportunity to mix up your game viewing on walking safaris and traditional mokoro canoe rides on the river itself.

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Price from:

$3,529.00

Duration:

7 days/6 nights

Departure Dates:

Departures on demand

Min / Max Group Size

Enquire with reservations

Trip Begins / Ends

Maun, Botswana / Maun, Botswana

Includes Mobile Camping:

No

Details, Details

Highlights

  • Embark on a walking safari (in both Khwai and the Makgadikgadi), and uncover the smaller details of life in the bush that can be easily overlooked from the height and speed of a vehicle.
  • Game drive or quad bike across the moonscapes 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.
  • Explore the Khwai Private Reserve on game drives, and search for big cats, watch large herds of elephant, hippo, buffalo and more…
  • 450 different species of bird in Khwai will have even the most reluctant of twitches reaching for their binoculars!
  • Float through the shallow waters of Khwai’s floodplains on a traditional mokoro safari. These graceful, poled vessels have been used since people first arrived in Botswana.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $3,529.00 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 is not available at Sable Alley or Hyena Pan.

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

Extension ideas: Why not experience the thrill of the Skybeds and add a night in our five-metre high sleeping platforms in the heart of the Khwai Private Reserve?

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

  • Embark on a walking safari (in both Khwai and the Makgadikgadi), and uncover the smaller details of life in the bush that can be easily overlooked from the height and speed of a vehicle.
  • Game drive or quad bike across the moonscapes 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.
  • Explore the Khwai Private Reserve on game drives, and search for big cats, watch large herds of elephant, hippo, buffalo and more…
  • 450 different species of bird in Khwai will have even the most reluctant of twitches reaching for their binoculars!
  • Float through the shallow waters of Khwai’s floodplains on a traditional mokoro safari. These graceful, poled vessels have been used since people first arrived in Botswana.

The Essentials

Pricing Information: From $3,529.00 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 is not available at Sable Alley or Hyena Pan.

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

Extension ideas: Why not experience the thrill of the Skybeds and add a night in our five-metre high sleeping platforms in the heart of the Khwai Private Reserve?

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 transfer to Meno a Kwena, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Your first destination, Meno a Kwena, has something rather special in store. Located above the Boteti River, the quirky tents are the best seats in the house for the watery drama that unfolds below…

Day 2: Meno a Kwena, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Game drive through the desert-scapes, bird watch from the comfort of your bedroom, walk with Bushmen trackers, or visit the nearby Gweta village. The choice is yours! 

Days 3 & 4: Transfer to Maun and fly to Hyena Pan, Khwai Private Reserve

After a short flight from Maun, you’ll touchdown in the green and grassy Khwai Private Reserve for two days of game drives, elephant spotting and al-fresco dinners at Hyena Pan.

Days 5 & 6: Sable Alley, Khwai Private Reserve

Transfer across the reserve to Sable Alley. If the mood takes, you hop in a traditional mokoro or discover the bush on foot to see the wildlife from a different perspective.

Day 7: Fly back to Maun Airport and depart

Your last day, and a chance to squeeze in the activities you didn’t have time for yesterday before transferring back to Maun for your onward flight.

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Accommodations

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.

Our two camps in Khwai Private Reserve are Sable Alley and Hyena Pan. We chose the different locations based on their proximity to wildlife, and both camps are next to waterholes that draw a kaleidoscope of animals from far and wide. In fact, all you need to do is unzip your tent flaps in the morning, and you’re on safari quicker than you can say ‘Where’s the coffee?’ Hyena Pan’s eight tents are cool and quirky, and there’s a mini splash pool and large viewing deck at the main area. Sable Alley is her stylish older sister, with twelve tents, a larger swimming pool and plenty of private places from which to enjoy the view.

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Wildlife

The sparse desert habitat of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is pretty unique. 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.

The 495,000 acre Khwai Private Reserve is positively bursting with game, and it’s just as varied as the habitats you’re driving through. Wildlife moves freely from the neighbouring Moremi Game Reserve, and you’ll see buffalo, zebra, reedbuck, red lechwe, sable and roan antelope, and waterbuck dotted over the landscape. This is a reserve for spotting predators, and lion and leopard hide in the mopane bush, whilst cheetah and wild dog frequently cross the open plains. And don’t forget the elephant. There’s an extraordinary number of the grey pachyderms in the park, crossing from Chobe to Moremi, and the sightings are top-notch.

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