Northern Highlights

An authentic mobile safari through Botswana’s most famous parks with a superb safari outfit. Visiting the Okavango (east and west Moremi), Savute and Chobe riverfront this safari follows a classic route, offering fantastic game viewing year round. For those looking for a pure safari experience and raw wilderness, a mobile safari offers the chance to safari in the style of the original pioneering explorers. Guiding is top notch, the camps are comfortable and the groups small. A great option for adventurous travellers. Extensions and variations available too.

Operated by the leaders in scheduled departure mobile safaris, Letaka Safaris, this safari combines comfortable accommodation with the company’s experienced and highly regarded guides. Guiding is key to any safari, but most importantly on a mobile safari. Here you are in excellent hands. Letaka, the operator, also founded the Okavango Guiding School and have trained many of the country’s top guides. Keeping the groups small, with a maximin of 7 people allows the guide to interact with everyone and address all interests. This creates a much more personal safari experience than the larger groups – although this comes at a premium it is worth it.

This safari explores four distinct areas within the region, Xakanaxa in west Moremi, Mababe Private Reserve in east Moremi, Savute and Chobe providing an excellent overview of the region.

The safari begins in the famous Moremi Game Reserve, with 3 nights in the beautiful Xakanaxa region. This is the heart of the Moremi, at the tip of the Mopane tongue, an area marked by mopane woodland, wide open grass floodplains and the lovely Xakanaxa lagoon. Ephemeral water pans dot the lands and make for find sundowner spots. Excellent resident game is a feature of Xakanaxa – large numbers of antelope live here and lion, leopard and hyena are seen regularly.

From here you drive to the east of the Moremi, to the Mababe Private Reserve for 3 nights, another beautiful area and also home to excellent resident game. Woodland and lagoons peppered with lilies are home to a variety of animals. Home to elephant herds and impressive predator numbers – lion, leopard and wild dog are resident here, hyena too. This area also provides diverse activities and is explored on foot, by dug-out mokoro and both day and night game drives.

Moving to central Chobe, to the Savute region for the final three nights. This is a drier, harsher landscape and the game viewing all the more dramatic for it. The predators here are ferocious and have learnt to hunt hippo and even elephant, leopards fish in the waterholes. The famous Savute marsh pride of lion, sometimes up to 17 strong, have a well earned reputation for explosive kills. Leopard and wild dog are also frequently seen. Huge numbers of elephants descend on the waterholes in the dry season.

The itinerary ends in Kasane, the gateway to the Chobe Riverfront. After an afternoon boat cruise on the Chobe River the safari ends in Kasane. An additional night or two is recommended in Chobe or Victoria Falls (1.5 hours away). Please speak to us for more information.

This itinerary is also operated in reserve, moving north to south.

This safari includes:

• Spacious and comfortable tented accommodation, including beds, bed linen and towels, with a private bathroom en-suite.
• The tents are 4 x 3m Sahara style tents with high roof with a 2 x 3m en-suite bathroom and a 2 x 3m covered area in front of the tent. The tents are fitted with solid base camp beds made up with mattresses, sheets, duvets and pillows. The tents have en-suite long drop toilet facilities and a bucket shower at the rear of the tent. Hot water provided.
• Services of a professional guide, safari chef and camp assistants, complete with a supply vehicle.
• Game drives and local transfers in customised safari vehicles.
• Exclusive camping in private campsites within the national parks and reserves.
• All entrance and camping fees within the national parks and reserves.
• All meals and drinks (mineral water, soft drinks, beer, wine and G&T) whilst in Letaka Tented Camps
• All activities as specified in the itinerary.

Please speak to us for extensions and additional activities. Helicopter or fixed wing scenic flights over the Okavango are highly recommended. For those looking to explore deeper into the heart of the Delta for a water safari extensions to lodges can be arranged.

Day 1 - Xakanaxa

You will be met on arrival in Maun International Airport. International flights from Joburg and Cape Town arrive around 1.30pm and your charter flight will be schedule to meet this. A representative from Mack Air will be waiting to assist you onto your charter flight at approximately 14h00 to the Xakanaxa airstrip in Moremi Game Reserve where you will be met by your guide. (If you are staying in Maun prior to the safari, please request an airport transfer, Mack Air will liaise with your accommodation the day before to confirm the flight departure time.)

The first three nights are spent in the Xakanaxa region where you will explore the surrounding wilderness on morning and afternoon game drive excursions.

This is a diverse environment with every type of mopane habitat being well represented in this drive from the towering cathedral woodlands to the drier and harsher habitats, extensive stretches of scrub mopane. The San-ta-Wani region has scattered ephemeral water pans with large floodplains and camel-thorn woodlands. 40 km of the drive is in Moremi Game Reserve with a further 40 km in areas designated for wildlife management where animals roam freely to and from the Game Reserve.

Day 2 and 3 - Xakanaxa

Today and for the rest of the safari your days begin early, at dawn – this is when predators are still active and the best chance of catching those exciting sightings. As the sun rises and the heat increases the animals move to the shade in the middle of the day, so an early start is essential for productive game viewing. After a hot drink around the fire and light breakfast you depart on your morning game drive, tracking the events of the night before.

You will be out for around 4 hours or so- depending on the sightings. Returning to camp as the heat begins to settle in mid-morning, around 11am. You will then have a hearty brunch followed by some time to relax in camp and rest – as the animals do – in the shade!

Later that afternoon you set out again for your afternoon drive, as the animals become active again as the sun begins to set. Stopping in a scenic spot to soak up the sunset views is a tradition on safari, drink in hand you toast the setting sun before returning to camp where a camp fire will welcome you back. Dinner is served under the stars followed by drinks around the camp fire, a chance to discuss the days events and share stories before retiring to bed.

Moremi lies on the eastern extremity of the Okavango Delta. Habitats here range from wide-open floodplains, marshes, lagoons, papyrus fringed channels, vast stands of Miscanthus and Phragmites, woodland and savannah. As a result of the extremely variable habitat the diversity of both wildlife and birdlife is excellent. The Moremi is amongst the best game reserves in Africa for viewing the endangered African wild dog. Xakanaxa is home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least 4 prides of lion which may often be seen flanking the ever moving herd. Breeding herds of elephant move between their browsing areas in the mopane forests and the fresh water of the Okavango. Red lechwe are one of the more unusual antelope species and commonly found here.

Day 4 - Mababe Private Reserve

Following an early morning breakfast you take a slow drive through Moremi Game Reserve north-east towards the Khwai and Mababe areas. This is not a transfer, this is a game drive and an opportunity to explore the wide ranging habitats of the Moremi. The camp staff will drive ahead and set up camp which will be ready on your arrival.

The Manuchira Channel is known as the Khwai River at its eastern most extremity. The day’s journey follows this water course, with the track weaving from the riverside and floodplains into the mopane veld and the woodlands to the Mababe Reserve where we'll camp on the banks of the Khwai River. We pass the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools in the morning stopping to enjoy the scenery and the antics of the resident hippo.

The south-east mopane veld is home to mostly breeding herds of elephant whilst the northern reaches of Mababe is home to some impressive old bulls. The mature bulls revel in the cool waters of the Khwai and are far more approachable while drinking and bathing than the breeding herds.

The river has an unusually high density of hippo as well as some huge crocodile. Leopard, cheetah, serval and lion are common predators along this route and both Xakanaxa as well as Mababe are included in the home ranges of 2 different packs of wild dog. General game includes southern giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, tessebe and red lechwe with roan and sable antelope being less common residents.

This is a beautiful and exciting area to visit. You will arrive in camp after a full day’s game drive to relax in your new home.

Day 5 and 6 - Mababe Private Reserve

The next two days follow the same routine with early morning and later afternoon drives exploring the Mababe region.

The Mababe concession has a strict restriction on numbers of vehicles permitted within it at any given time making for a much quieter and more exclusive safari experience. Explore the river banks, Kalahari shrub to the east, cathedral mopane to the south on game drives both during the day and at night. Exploring after dark with spotlights offers you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day. Exploring after dark with spotlights offers you an opportunity to experience some of the nocturnal animals that are rarely encountered during the day. As well as the usual suspects like the big cats and hyena, we look for the smaller species, genets, caracals, aardvark, ardwolf, bush babies and more.

We will also have the opportunity to explore the surrounding wilderness on foot and enjoy an up close and personal encounter with Botswana’s flora and fauna. It is important to note that night drives and guided walks are not permitted within the national parks and reserves. These activities are conducted outside the boundaries of the Moremi Game Reserve in the Mababe Private Reserve.

We spend our time between the dry-land habitats of the lead-wood and camel-thorn woodlands and savannahs and the riverside and marshy back-waters of the Khwai. Time permitting we may visit the lagoons and waterways of Xakanaxa where the largest heronry in southern Africa exists.

The Mababe region boasts excellent populations of both bull elephant as well as breeding herds. Lion, leopard, serval and African wildcat are common predators of the region with wild dog and cheetah being less common. Buffalo use this area seasonally with large herds moving in during the summer rains. The swampy areas in the west are home to red lechwe. Other ungulates include tsesebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, sable antelope, roan antelope and impala.

Truly one of Botswana birding Mecca’s. The western reaches are prime habitat for the uncommon Rosy- throated Longclaw. The entire length of the river is hunting domain for the Bat-Hawk. Many other raptors and aquatic birds are found here too.

Day 7 - Savuti

Another early start, today we move to Savuti in the central area of Chobe National Park, where we spend the following three nights camping in an exclusive wilderness campsite in the Savuti region, exploring the desert-like landscape on game drives.

A fascinating days drive looking at some of the evidence of the Paleo-Lake Makgadikgadi that dried up some ten thousand years ago. The most challenging part of the trip is crossing the Magwikwe Sand-ridge that formed the shoreline for this massive inland sea. The winding track through this deep sand makes for interesting travel in the early summer! The old lake bed is now the Mababe Depression. The dense clay floor of the depression result in high protein feed for wildlife and the area teams with game after the rains. During the rain season the depression is impassable due to the “cotton soil” and alternative routes must be used.

A day when anything could happen. The range of habitat that is covered encompasses most of the habitat types of northern Botswana. We pass through excellent lion country and some of the best cheetah country that our safari will cover. Elephant occur throughout the drive but are more common at the start and end of the drive where permanent surface water can be found.

The Mababe Depression is a birder’s paradise. The nutritious grasses that grow on the rich soils provide excellent seed for an impressive array of estrillids and viduids. It is not only the small birds that feed on the grass seeds, but rodents too. There are annual outbreaks of huge numbers of rats and mice. As a result huge numbers of Secretary Bird, Tawny Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Steppe Eagle*, Lesser-spotted Eagle*, Wahlberg’s Eagle* and Steppe Buzzard* can be found.

Day 8 and 9 - Savuti

Unlike the vast majority of the country, Savuti is not a totally flat landscape. Large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. These hills provide habitat for a completely different array of small wildlife, birds and plants. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa. The wide open country, good ungulate populations and particularly strong prides of lion and hyaena clans make for dramatic wildlife interaction and excellent viewing opportunities. The now dry Savuti Channel runs through this landscape linking the dry sand-veld, the waterholes, the hills and the grassland that was the Savuti Marsh.

Undoubtedly it is the interaction between lion and elephant that is the most interesting aspect of Savuti. The area is inhabited by a huge pride of lions with numbers fluctuating from 20-30 members. These remarkable lion have learned over the years how to hunt these massive pachyderms that are supposedly above predation. Launching their attack under darkness and using their numbers, they manage to kill adolescent and even young adult elephant. The marsh is prime cheetah country and in the wet season it is not unusual to have the wild dog hunting here in Savuti.

The surface water that is pumped by the Government here provides a major attraction for birdlife.

Day 10 - Chobe River - End of tour

This morning begins with another early start, we will leave Savuti early to travel north towards the Chobe River stopping along the way for lunch before taking an afternoon boat cruise to end the safari. As today is a long day we recommend either spending a night or two in Kasane or Victoria Falls before heading off home.

The habitat on today’s drive takes us through the stunted mopane scrub of the Goha clay basin, across the sand-ridge and through the wonderful Zambezi teak woodlands of the Chobe Forest Reserve and along the Chobe River itself. The Chobe floodplain is tens of kilometers wide and in years of exceptional rains the water stretches as far as the eye can see.

While there are community areas that we pass through that are settled by local tribes, for the vast majority of the day’s drive we pass through wild country where wildlife moves uninhibited by fences or man. Roan and sable antelope thrive in the teak woodlands where the low density of predators and lack of competition for food by other ungulates makes this prime habitat for these large ungulates. Leopard occur in these woodlands in low numbers but they are highly secretive and seldom seen. The Goha region has natural waterholes that hold water well into the dry season and herds of buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, greater kudu and elephant come down to drink.

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Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

Letaka Fully Serviced Tented Safari

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