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Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the ideal wildlife sanctuary: a far-reaching network of flood plains and shimmering lagoons nearly devoid of human presence. Discover the region on open-vehicle game drives and canoe safaris, seeking out rare and endangered species, including African wild dogs and blue wildebeests. Cap off your visit exploring thunderous Victoria Falls with a private guide.
Venture out on safari in two conservancies featured in wildlife films produced by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert.
Encounter the fascinating lion prides of Duba Plains, unique for their swimming abilities and daytime hunting practices.
Witness some of Africa’s largest elephant and buffalo herds, drawn to the area’s prolific aquatic habitats.
Take a private tour of Victoria Falls, and watch the sun set over the Zambezi on a river cruise.
Itinerary - 10 Days
Day 1 — Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa
Arrive in Johannesburg and transfer to your hotel, located directly across the street from the airport and easily accessed on foot. This evening, taste South African specialties at dinner in the hotel’s fine restaurant. InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport
Day 2 — Okavango Delta, Botswana
Fly to the city of Maun and transfer to a small aircraft for your flight to the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta system and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your destination is Duba Expedition Camp, a safari lodge situated on an island in the heart of the delta. Originally a research station, the camp was established to study the area’s abundant wildlife. It has also served as the backdrop for wildlife documentary films by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Settle into your screened-in tent and watch for animals roaming the surrounding marshlands. Duba Expedition Camp (B, L, D)
Day 3 — Okavango Delta
Set out on your first game drive, venturing into the bush in search of elephant herds, buffalo, and multiple antelope species, including the tsessebe and red lechwe. Keep an eye out for lions belonging to the area’s resident prides, remarkable for their unique daytime hunting tendencies and their ability to swim in the delta waterways.
Duba Expedition Camp (B, L, D)
Day 4 — Okavango Delta
Venture out on another land safari today or choose to explore the area by water. Sail across lagoons in a speedboat as you look for hippos wading in the surrounding waters and all manner of birdlife flying through the skies overhead. After the sun goes down, head back into the wilderness on a nighttime safari to discover the nocturnal creatures of the floodplains. Duba Expedition Camp (B, L, D)
Day 5 — Selinda Reserve
Start your day with an exhilarating helicopter ride over the delta, taking in stunning aerial views of its intricate and far-reaching maze of waterways. Touch down at the nearby Selinda Game Reserve, a 320,000-acre private wildlife refuge on the northern edge of the Okavango Delta shared by just three sister safari camps. One of these properties, the intimate nine-tent Selinda Camp, will be your home for the next three nights. Settle in, and then enjoy an exclusive safari-style dinner, followed by a bush viewing of a wildlife conservation film created by the Jouberts, the lodge founders. Selinda Camp (B, L, D)
Alternative lodging option: You may upgrade to Zarafa Camp at an additional cost. A member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection, Zarafa is an elegant five-tent camp located along the shores of the stunning Zibadianja Lagoon.
Day 6 — Selinda Reserve
Delve into the secluded marshlands of the Selinda Reserve on a game drive, on the lookout for endangered African wild dogs, as well as large herds of elephant and buffalo, which can often be spotted drinking or bathing in the surrounding waterways. Continue your wildlife viewing back at the lodge this evening: Selinda Camp sits on the banks of the Selinda Spillway where plenty of creatures come to drink. Selinda Camp (B, L, D)
Day 7 — Selinda Reserve
Explore the Selinda Reserve further today, choosing from a range of activities, including day and nighttime game drives; a guided walk across the floodplain to learn about the complex nature of hydrology in northern Botswana; or an exploration of the Selinda Spillway by boat (June to September). This evening, enjoy a gourmet meal overlooking the spillway while dining at a candlelit table.
Selinda Camp (B, L, D)
Day 8 — Livingstone, Zambia
Fly to the city of Kasane in Botswana and travel by land and river to Livingstone, a former British colonial hub on the shores of the Zambezi River. Take a boat to the opposite shore to reach your hotel, located just steps from the mighty Victoria Falls. Get a first look at this spectacular natural wonder and designated World Heritage site—a thundering cascade that spans a mile across highveld escarpment and plummets into the deep and narrow Batoka Gorge. This evening, see one of Africa’s famous sunsets while cruising the Zambezi, looking for resident hippos and crocodiles as you drift across the river in the comfort of the African Queen riverboat. Royal Livingstone Hotel (B)
Day 9 — Livingstone
Approach the “smoke that thunders,” as the site is called locally, on a walking tour of Victoria Falls, and then enjoy an afternoon exploring them on your own. You may wish to cross the Knife’s Edge footbridge for views of the Eastern Cataract. Or choose to hike through the surrounding mist-fed rain forest to Danger Point. Royal Livingstone Hotel (B)
Day 10 — Livingstone/Depart
Transfer to the airport in Livingstone for your flight home. (B)
About Private Expeditions
National Geographic Private Expeditions are specially crafted itineraries designed for independent travelers that combine guided excursions, fascinating insights into culture and wildlife, and top accommodations. Simply select a trip and decide whom you'd like to travel with and when you want to travel. We'll take care of the rest.
Prices are per person, double occupancy and are subject to availability. Single traveler prices are available upon request. For 2018 price inquires please call our reservations specialists.
Internal flights between Johannesburg, Duba, Selinda, and Kasane are an additional $300 - $850 depending on the season (subject to change). International airfare to Johannesburg and return from Livingstone is not included in the expedition cost.
A holiday surcharge of $1,500 per person will apply to travel between Dec. 20, 2017 and Jan. 10, 2018.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
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Other Important Details
This trip is available to children age 8 and older; please contact our reservations specialists for details.