Your guide to SADC specials this summer
Attention SADC residents! Botswana is a dream destination for safari fanatics, from spellbinding deserts to elephant-lined waterways and shimmering salt pans to predator-filled swamps. There has never been a better time to make your Botswana safari fantasy come true: now’s your chance to head out on a summertime adventure to Africa’s luxurious wild heart. Here are the must-visit spots, complete with jaw-dropping special offers and staggeringly low prices for residents of the Southern African Development Community*.
* All prices quoted are available for SADC residents only. Final prices vary, subject to factors such as exchange rates, time of year and availability. Road/air transfers are not included in the indication price. Contact us to fine-tune these prices and tailor-make your dream safari.
Chobe – riverine elephant Eden
Home to the world’s highest density of elephants, Chobe is renowned for its phenomenal pachyderm encounters, but Botswana’s oldest National Park has something to offer everyone. This is a land redolent with an air of safari mystique, where rich riverine habitats give way to vast dry savannahs and the triumphs, tragedies, and marvels of the wild play out on a dramatically beautiful stage. Summer is a time of transformation in Chobe as the seasons shift and thick dark clouds darken the horizon, bringing the promise of rain and new life at the end of a long, challenging, dry season. A must-visit for any Botswana safari!
Where to stay
The iconic Chobe Game Lodge is situated on the banks of the broad and (usually) gentle Chobe River, offering magnificent views of the lush floodplains and the animals drawn to the water’s edge. Cruise along the river and explore its many channels, encountering a plethora of wildlife along the way, from frolicking elephants to delicate, iridescent kingfishers. The Chobe Riverfront is also home to Botswana’s only puku population.
From R4,480pps (55% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 50 days of travel; October 2022–January 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
In the north-western corner of Chobe, the delta-like Linyanti section of the park is bordered by the Linyanti River and linked to the Okavango by the Selinda Spillway. Linyanti Bush Camp’s prime position on the banks of the wetlands allows for exceptional and diverse wildlife encounters year-round, along with magnificent views of the unique Linyanti landscape. Look forward to large herds of elephant and buffalo, exploring fascinating fauna and flora on walking safaris and luxury tented accommodation in one of Chobe’s secluded sections.
From US$380 (40% saving; min 2-night stay; October 2022–March 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Intimate and elegant, the Savute Safari Lodge blends delicately into the vegetation on the banks of the enigmatic Savute channel. With expansive private decks, al fresco dining, and a swimming pool overlooking the waterhole, every lodge feature is designed to make the most of the extraordinary wildlife viewing for which Savute is famous.
From R4,480pps (55% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October 2022–January 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The Zarafa experience is an absolute immersion in the quintessential safari of a bygone era. With just four lavish guest tents (each sporting its own plunge pool), Zarafa Camp overlooks the crystal waters of the Zibadianja Lagoon in the 130,000-ha private Selinda Reserve. Apart from the standard safari assortment of Big 5 and iconic predators, this wilderness wonderland is also a refuge for rarities such as African wild dog (painted wolf), cheetah, and roan and sable antelope.
From R8,750pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Northern floodplains – exclusivity exemplified
Botswana’s northern floodplains – including Selinda Reserve and Kwando Concession – serve as a vital link between the Okavango Delta to the west and the marshes of Linyanti to the east. Despite offering arguably the best predator action in Botswana (if not Africa), lodge density in these private concessions is low, allowing guests a sense of absolute immersion in nature. The Kwando Concession, named after the Kwando River, is one of Botswana’s wildest areas: a vast, remote area teeming with wildlife. A visit to Selinda and Kwando would add a wild dimension to any Botswana safari.
Where to stay
Nestled beneath towering ebony and marula trees on the banks of the Kwando River, Lagoon Camp residents are constantly serenaded by a chorus of resident hippos. Kwando Concession is private, and the Lagoon experience is all about the wildlife viewing, so expect night drives and off-roading, perhaps followed by a sundowner atop the double-decker boat.
From R4,855pps (40% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 30 days of travel; October 2022–January 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The location for Selinda Explorers Camp on the banks of the Selinda Spillway was hand-picked for its extraordinary wildlife potential. The camp’s Bedouin-style main area centres around an enormous old termite mound, and the décor strikes the perfect balance between opulent and authentic. Expect to spend days exploring the area on foot or by canoe, missing nothing and experiencing everything.
From R5,000pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Positioned slightly away from the dense riverine forests of the Kwando River, Lebala overlooks its vast floodplains, where herds of plains wildlife – wildebeest, zebra, impala, and tsessebe – gather in substantial numbers. Naturally, this abundance of prey portends ample predator activity, and sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hyena are all but guaranteed.
From R6,315pps (40% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 30 days of travel; October 2022–March 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The sister camp to Selinda Explorers, Selinda Camp also rests on the banks of the Selinda Spillway. Furnished with every conceivable luxury, Selinda Camp is a place to unwind, savour mouth-watering meals, sample offerings from the wine cellar and even sleep out on the camp’s open “star deck”. And, of course, there are the daily game drives and excursions in search of Botswana’s famed wildlife spectacles.
From R8,750pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; November–19 December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Okavango Delta – a waterway wonderland
Little can be written about Botswana’s Okavango Delta that accurately portrays the grandeur of this emerald gem in Botswana’s crown. In a land ruled by the seasonal pulse of its waterways, where predator and prey are caught in an endless battle for survival, names like Moremi and Khwai are synonymous with luxury safaris and phenomenal wildlife sightings. Summertime water levels may be low, but the arrival of the rains inspires a verdant flush of green and the joyous arrival of the birthing season – adding a magical element to your Botswana safari.
Where to stay
Little Sable’s eight stylish canvas tents are ensconced beneath the tall trees lining the deep Sable Alley water channel and overlooking its floodplains. Khwai Private Reserve is a photographer’s paradise, complete with two sunken hides overlooking waterholes where guests can spend the day up close and personal with the reserve’s elephant population.
From R3,045pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–15 December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The big sister to Little Sable, Sable Alley is a vibrant camp situated on the banks of a lily-strewn lagoon. While the beauty and comfort of the lodge’s facilities mean it is tempting to stay in and watch wildlife from the deck, heading out on a game drive guarantees world-class animal viewing. And exclusivity is the order of the day in Khwai Private Reserve, so sightings are never overcrowded.
From R3,555pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
This eco-friendly camp on Pom Pom Island in the heart of the Okavango Delta is the perfect destination for safari traditionalists. The tents are spread along the banks of a permanent lagoon, each with its own tranquil and private view. The concession teems with predators, and its central position in the Delta means that water activities (like a ride on a mokoro) are available all year round.
From R4,855pps (50% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 30 days of travel; October 2022-March 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Duba Explorers Camp is situated in the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta, and its surroundings are dominated by a permanent floodplain interspersed with patches of woodland and grassy plains. Awaken to a panoramic view of the sunrise shining off the water’s surface and spend the day cutting silently through the water channels on a mokoro. Or perhaps you’d rather spend your time exploring on a vehicle before returning to a light, airy canvas tent and drifting off to sleep to the sound of the Delta’s nocturnal chorus.
From R5,000pps (75% saving: min 2-night stay; October 2023–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Another of Khwai’s resplendent destinations, Tuludi Camp is a sophisticated and truly beautiful camp with dedicated staff attending to every detail. While away the hottest hours of the day in the treehouse library or the privacy of your room’s plunge pool before heading out in search of the concession’s many varied wildlife offerings. And why not opt for a night spent under the stars at Tuludi’s Sky Beds, immersed in the sounds and smells of the Delta?
From R8,625pps (60% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–15 December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Duba Plains Camp is the stuff of safari legend, an essential experience for any wildlife connoisseur. Raised upon its own wooded island and connected to the surroundings by an elaborate series of bridges, the camp is sophisticated and intimate, and every day is a celebration of the untamed wilderness around it. Duba Plains is famous for its heart-stopping clashes between the sizeable buffalo herds and the lions that hunt them, and the rich diversity of life on display imbues this part of the Delta with extraordinary magic.
From R8,750pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The salt pans – mile upon shimmering mile
Once upon a time, the mighty Okavango River poured south from Angola and emptied into a vast paleolake – Lake Makgadikgadi. When seismic activity blocked the river’s flow, Lake Makgadikgadi dried up, leaving behind a series of salt pans that stretch for hundreds of miles in every direction. This geographic marvel is also a wildlife haven protected by Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan National Parks. And the green season is arguably the best time to visit, as overnight, the seemingly barren landscape is coated in soft greens, and zebras arrive in their droves in Africa’s second-largest zebra migration.
Where to stay
Makgadikgadi Pans National Park:
Meno a Kwena is a tented camp perched on a rocky cliff overlooking the Boteti River, its rustic beauty engendering a sense of old-timey charm. Its commanding views make it the perfect spot to conduct an “armchair safari” from the comfort of the camp, while the natural rock plunge pool is a welcome respite from the heat of the Botswana summer.
From R3,045pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Like Meno a Kwena, Leroo La Tau is also positioned high above the Boteti River on the western border of Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, making it the perfect base for exploring the unique landscape surrounding it.
From R4,480pps (55% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–January 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Adorned in swathes of billowing white and shaded by an oasis of palm trees overlooking the vast nothingness of Nwetwe Pan, San Camp is an evocatively romantic camp. Though minimalist at heart, it is defined by an understated approach to absolute luxury, complete with extraordinary meals and rich in the ethereal energy of pans. Meet the cheeky meerkats of the arid landscape, traverse the pans on quad bikes and embrace the humility of total isolation.
From R6,800pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
One of Africa’s most iconic and renowned camps, Jack’s Camp is resplendent in deep red muslin and ornate décor – a nod to the halcyon days of the safaris of old. Their expert guides are some of the best in the country, if not the continent, and they will lead you on vehicles, horseback or foot across the extraordinary landscape in search of the creatures that call it home. Then retreat to the shelter of the tented pool for some well-earned downtime.
From R8,625pps (70% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October–15 December 2022; rates vary on different dates in this period)
Nxai Pan National Park:
Nxai Pan is the only permanent camp in Nxai Pan National Park, and its nine spacious tents overlook the open grasslands of the fossil pan. The fabled Baines’s Baobabs (painted by the explorer Thomas Baines in 1862) are a popular and exceptionally picturesque attraction, their looming forms unchanged and enforcing the impression of a land lost in time.
R4,855pps (50% saving; min 2-night stay; bookable within 60 days of travel; October 2022–January 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
The canvas tents of Migration Expeditions are seasonal, erected for just three months to coincide with the arrival of the zebra migration in December (and the predator extravaganza their presence inspires). This rustic experience – bucket showers and all – entails absolute immersion in one’s surroundings and a chance to revel in having space (and miles thereof) to oneself.
US$345pps (15% saving; min 2-night stay; December 2022–March 2023; rates vary on different dates in this period)
For these special offers and more, visit: Special offer safaris to Botswana – SADC residents only – up to 75% off
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