Trans-Okavango Boating Safari

An expedition for intrepid travellers, this trans -Okavango boating safari explores the Okavango from north to south. Camping on remote islands, days are spent exploring the waterways and lagoons by boat and the islands on foot. Your camp moves with you, this is a simple authentic camping experience, in the style of the original safaris. A unique safari experience, best suited to well seasoned safari goers or adventurous travellers. These private expeditions only run when water levels permit, usually May-August. Can be tailored on request for shorter trips.

This itinerary has been designed as a more leisurely safari trip , with two nights in most camps to allow for a full day to explore each island camp and the surrounding water ways. This is not a race from top to bottom but rather a chance to savor the magic of the Okavango, the varied landscapes and wildlife of this pristine environment. The itinerary described runs from north to south but can be done in reverse. Note that rates vary depending on the number of travellers in the group.

There are plenty of wonderful game viewing opportunities along the way – elephant, hippo, buffalo and aquatic antelope such as red lechwe, reedbuck and waterbuck are common sightings. Plains game are often seen along the water’s edge and on the larger islands predators can be found too. While there is plenty of game viewing this style of safari is not for those looking for plenty of predator action and large herds, which are generally not supported in the aquatic environments, especially in the north. For this reason, this itinerary is best for experienced safari goers or those interested in the ecosystems and natural wonders of the Okavango beyond the big five. This itinerary can be combined with a classic safari package at a lodge for a comprehensive Okavango experience. Shorter 3 night boating safaris in the southern sections of the Okavango are also available.

This is a private safari, offering you the chance to enjoy this wilderness at your own pace and with focus on your own personal interests. Your experienced guide opens up the wonders of the Okavango for you and the team of staff are on hand to take care of camp duties as you move with your camp through the Okavango. The camp is simple but very comfortable. The standard safari features spacious walk in meru-style tents with en-suite bathrooms containing bucket showers (hot water provided) and bush loos. A more economical option is available with dome tents and separate shared ablutions.

This expedition depends entirely on the flood waters from Angola, which usually arrive around March, peaking in July. Every year is different as the arrival time of the rains differs annually as does the amount of rain received in Angola. During drought years, as in 2019, this expedition is not possible, though typically this safari runs from April-May to August/September. Early predictions are difficult. Where waters are too low to allow for the full expedition we relocate the safari though the days on the water will be reduced and more land activities included.

It is important to note this itinerary is intended as a rough guide and may change according to water levels, campsite availability and other reasons beyond our control.

Day 1 - Little Duba

Your safari begins in Maun – where you are met at the airport and assisted onto your charter flight to the northern tip of the Okavango, to Seronga, a remote village at the base of the panhandle. A beautiful flight of about 40 minutes invited you to soak up the spectacular scenery - a perfect introduction to the wilderness areas that you will be exploring this week.

On arrival at the airstrip you are met by your guide who will transfer you to camp- your safari has begun! Then we’re off, cruising down the Okavango River through the permanent swamp and papyrus beds, we will break for lunch on a sandy island before continuing to camp, arriving in the late afternoon. Settle into camp, perhaps enjoy a hot shower and freshen up before we head out onto the water again to enjoy sundowner drinks from the boat – the sunset from the water is spectacular. Return to camp where the camp fire is roaring and dinner awaits.

Day 2 - Little Duba

After the long travelling yesterday your first morning in the Okavango begins at a leisurely pace with coffee around the fire and a breakfast of cereals, toast fruit and yogurt. Depending on which island we spend our first night, there might be an opportunity to do a short walk in order to better understand the formations of the delta and the islands that make up this vast 12 000 square kilometre area.

Having stretched our legs we then return to camp where we hop into the boats to explore the many beautiful and lively lagoons and water ways of this region. This is a very pretty corner of the Okavango and the birdlife is particularly wonderful – the air is full of birdsong and flashes of colour. As this is more of an aquatic area there are less of the traditional land animals and predators- instead the focus is on the aquatic animals and beautiful surrounds.

Stopping for a picnic lunch along the way on an island we will then slowly make our way back to camp for the late afternoon. Hot water will be steaming and ready for your showers. Then we gather around the camp fire for dinner and share stories before retiring to our tents to sleep against the sounds of the African bush going about its business at night. Perhaps a hippo will graze through the camp tonight? A lovely sound to enjoy safely tucked up in your tent.

Day 3 - Xigera Concession

This morning we wake early with the dawn chorus as is traditional on safari before the heat of the day kicks in. After breakfast we break camp and head downstream further into the Okavango Delta. As we travel you will begin to see the distinctive changes to our surroundings as we move beyond the papyrus lined channels and islands into the open flood plains and lagoons. On our exploratory boat we will transports our luggage as well as our packed lunch while the rest of the camp staff will leap zoom ahead of us with all the camping equipment to set up camp for our arrival.

Along the way we look out for elephant, hippos, crocs, specially adapted aquatic antelope such as sitatunga, red lechwe, reed back and waterbuck. Buffallo often congregate along the water’s edge too. And of course the birding is wonderful from the water.

We will stop on one of the many islands along the way for lunch and to stretch our legs or perhaps rest under the shade of an obliging palm. Early afternoon spent exploring the new area, with memorable sundowners before an early evening arrival in our new camp where once again you will be able to get settled in before hot showers and dinner.

Day 4 - Xigera Concession

This morning we wake a little later, as we are not moving today. After breakfast we set off on a walk to explore more of the island and look for some of the local wildlife. This is a beautiful area with stunning scenery and rich in wildlife. The Xigera concession is well known for its varied game, it borders the Moremi Game reserve and the larger islands are home to a broad range of animals. Walking allows us to track animals quietly and to read and understand the bush at a deeper and more considered pace than by 4x4. Your guide will read and interpret the signs of the bushveld to you – walks are always enlightening and have you shaking your head at the wonders of nature.

We will return to camp for lunch and a relaxing afternoon spent reading, relaxing or siesta. With so many days spent on the move this is a chance to simple settle back and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this beautiful corner of the world.

Later that afternoon we set off again in the boats in search for some more of the local wildlife that inhibit this area as they gather on the river to drink before sunset.

We toast the setting sun with drinks on the river then return for dinner in camp, the camp fire and lanterns twinkling on our arrival. Then we retire to bed to the sound of the twinkling frogs and honking hippos, the soundtrack to the Okavango nights.

Day 5 - Chao Island

This morning we rise early with the sunrise as we move to our next camp. Early mornings in the bush are wonderful with the chorus of birdsong celebrating a new day and the animals beginning to stir. We have breakfast and discuss any sounds we may have heard in the night and then we head off on a walk – perhaps following up on tracks near camp or sounds heard earlier. Meanwhile the team will breakdown the camp. We return to camp and set off for our final stop. As always this is a scenic journey and we will stop along the way to enjoy the wildlife and a picnic lunch.

Arriving into camp in the late afternoon we settle into our final home, enjoy a hot shower and then settle down for sunset in camp and dinner. Chao island is a lively spot, and the nights are often filled with hyena calls and lion roars.

Day 6 - Chao Island

A full day of exploring Chao Island and the surrounding waterways. This is a great area and always interesting. We have the option to set off with packed lunches or return to camp – depending on your preference. So after a hearty breakfast we set off to explore the island on foot, were there any sounds during the night we wish to investigate?

From the boat and on foot we will look out for plains game like giraffe, zebra, impala and predators including lion and leopard. Elephant are plentiful too.

The evening is spent around the fire reminiscing the adventures so far before retiring to bed ready for the final day tomorrow.

Day 7 - Noraga Lagoon

We wake early to make the most of this final full day in the Okavango. After an early breakfast we set off, exploring the area along the edge of Chief’s island while stopping on some of the many islands along the way to do a short walks and enjoy lunch under a shady tree. As the islands become larger there are more land animals so the game viewing along the river and on the islands is very productive.

After a full day of gentle exploring on land and water we arrive into our final in time to enjoy sunset around the camp fire. As the safari begins to draw to a close we savior all the unique sounds, smells and sights of the Okavango at sunset.

Day 8 - End of Safari

Our last day in the Okavango. A leisurely start though you may wish to wake for sunrise to make the most of your last moments in the Delta. After breakfast we stretch our legs and enjoy a short walk on the island before returning to the boat and cruising downstream to Maun, stopping along the way for coffee and snacks. We arrival into Maun around lunchtime.

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Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

Pride of Africa – Mobile Safaris

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