A typical day on safari in the Okavango Delta

While every day on safari brings new and different experiences, safaris follow a general daily rhythm designed to maximise your game viewing opportunities.

The Okavango Delta offers a wide range of activities which will vary from camp to camp and season to season. Many camps are defined by the activities they offer, such as water camps, land camps or combination camps. Often these activities will be seasonal and only run when the water levels are high enough while other camps offer year-round activities. We will always make this clear.

Activities on offer include game drives, mokoro rides, boating, fishing, walking and cultural activities. Other specialist activities such as helicopter or balloon safaris can also be built in. The actual activities you do each day will be planned together with your guide once in camp, making the most of the conditions on the ground, but the structure of the day is more or less the same.

Typically, a safari day includes two main activities– an activity in the early in the morning for around 4 hours and another activity in the mid-late afternoon and continuing until dark.  If you are staying in a private concession or community area the afternoon activity may extend into a night drive up until two hours after sunset. If you are staying in a national park you will have to return to camp by dark in line with park rules.

The hours between these activities are yours to rest and enjoy the camp and surroundings. Animals will retreat to the shade during these hours and so will you. Early morning and late afternoon drives offer the best chances of seeing predators which are only active during the cooler hours.

The exact timing of the safari day will vary from camp to camp. In addition, the summer and winter schedules will differ by around an hour. In summer activities start earlier in the morning and depart later in the afternoon to avoid the worst heat of the day. In winter, as it is also darker, mornings start later and afternoon activities depart earlier.

A Typical day on safari in winter (peak season) is as follows:

  • 05:30am – Wake up call
  • 06:00am – light breakfast is served
  • 06:30am – depart for morning activity (coffee break and snacks around 9am)
  • 10:30am-11am – return to camp for brunch
  • Siesta
  • 3pm – High tea is served (a selection of sweet and savoury snacks)
  • 3:30pm- Depart for afternoon activity
  • 6pm – Sundowners are served in a scenic spot
  • 6:30pm – Return to camp (sometimes a night drive will be offered, returning later around 7-7.30pm)
  • 8pm – Dinner is served

Day of arrival – On the first day of your safari you will typically arrive in camp around 3.30pm, depending on your flights, just in time to freshen up and set off on your first activity. On your first day your safari guide will welcome you on arrival at the airstrip, your drive to camp is a game drive. You will then briefly discuss the activities that are on offer at the lodge and how best to ensure you enjoy a genuine all- round safari experience during your stay.

Later that afternoon you will set off on your first afternoon activity, such as a game drive or boat ride, complete with traditional sundowners celebrating the end of another day in paradise. Predators and other animals prefer to hunt in the early evening hours or at night making this the perfect time to start exploring. That elusive pre-dusk natural lighting that keen photographers are always chasing is most promising at this time of day so it’s the perfect opportunity for great game viewing and capturing that perfect image.

The next day – Just before the early morning sun rises and flings its rays across the African skies, the bushveld is already teeming with animal activity -howling jackal, the sounds of distant roaring lion and bickering of territorial birds claiming their space for the day. Safari lovers know that an early rise means more action. A distinctive early morning knock on your door is followed closely by steaming cups of tea or coffee and light snacks to keep you going for the next few hours…

Early morning game drives and tranquil mokoro excursions through water lily- covered water channels just before the dark fringes of the sky lift make it possible to glimpse a movement here or a splash of water there. Most animals are active during the cooler hours and your chances are greater now of seeing a wide variety of game.

Bush breakfasts can be especially organised in the most pristine wilderness spots imaginable, overlooking waterholes or under majestic bushveld trees making for special memories. Guided bush walks, if offered, are usually done mid-morning or afternoon depending on your guide’s suggestion.

Alternatively, brunch is served on return to the lodge. During the hot midday hours, game viewing is more difficult as animals seek out shelter in bushes and under the shade of trees. Use this time to indulge yourself with a pampering spa session, relax with a good book or indulge in a few hours around the poolside on shaded loungers.

Several lodges serve lunch however it is more often a traditional high tea served mid -afternoon just before afternoon activities- a mokoro trip or an afternoon game drive or boating excursion complete with sundowners.

On your return in the early evening, take time to freshen up before gathering at the ever-popular fire pit for pre-dinner drinks and sharing of the day’s adventures before being seated for dinner. Served in a variety of locations, dinner may be a traditional Boma buffet under the stars or perhaps a sumptuous magical lantern lit bushveld dinner out in the wilderness.

Night drives are hosted at most lodges located on private concessions allowing guests to witness various nocturnal animals at play; hyaenas, leopards, owls, honey badgers, porcupines, bush babies and a whole host of other interesting creatures.

It is time then to enjoy some well -deserved rest in the comfort of your guest tent or suite before embarking on another bush adventure early the following day.

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