Summer: (Sept-April) Frequent rain and thunderstorms; days and nights are very hot, but cooling off after rain spells.
Winter: (May-July) Dry and cold days and nights especially in the early hours of the morning.
Botswana is Greenwich Mean Time GMT +2 hours.
Upon arrival, proceed through immigration and baggage claims and customs. You can also exchange money at this time at the bank windows located in the airport. Big Five personnel will assist you with your baggage and escort you to your hotel & assist with check-in formalities.
Pula (P) = 100 thebe. Notes are in denominations of P100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of P5, 2 and 1, and 50, 25, 10 and 5 thebe.
Day 1: Arrive Johannesburg, South Africa
Welcome to Johannesburg! You will be met at the door of your aircraft with your name on a paging board and assisted through immigration, baggage collection and customs. You will then be shown to your awaiting transfer vehicle. Should your arrival aircraft be directed to the apron and not the terminal, you will be transported to the terminal by bus, where you are welcomed by your Big Five representative and transferred to your hotel. The balance of the afternoon is at your leisure. A stylish five-star hotel, the Melrose Arch is located within the exclusive urban Melrose Arch precinct in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. A unique “city within a city” the Melrose Arch is surrounded by a variety of trendy retail and leisure amenities for the discerning traveler. From its prime location the Melrose Arch Hotel has access to numerous fine restaurants and boutique shops, Sandton City and the popular Zoo Lake. Through innovative architecture and outstanding design, the African Pride Melrose Arch Hotel has become an international destination in its own right, attracting those discerning guests who take pleasure in modern elegance and sophistication. The Melrose Arch Hotel combines superb facilities and service excellence to ensure a truly unique experience. African Pride Melrose Arch – Standard Room (B)
Day 2: Johannesburg
Today, on a full day excursion, you explore the creative side of Johannesburg on a graffiti tour and explore the unique history of the city at the Apartheid Museum. The Johannesburg Inner City is fast becoming a Graffiti and Street Art destination featuring top artists in the field. International travelers visit to experience the eccentric graffiti culture. This morning’s walking tour focuses on the history of the movement internationally as well as looking closely at the graffiti culture in Johannesburg and the major players and artists. You will have the chance to view some of their amazing art on this city’s walls. In addition to your experienced walking guide who has a passion for graffiti, you’ll be joined by a local artist who will share more about their art and their life as a graffiti writer.
You will then head to nearby Maboneng for lunch. Maboneng is a vibrant neighborhood downtown that has recently undergone a massive transformation with an injection of creativity. This multi-faceted neighborhood is home to a variety of entertainment venues, retail stores, office and industrial space, residential and restaurant businesses along with the well-known Arts on Main. After lunch, you head to the Apartheid Museum, the first of its kind, for a look at the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa. A multi-disciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, musicologists and designers was assembled to develop the exhibition narrative, which sets out by means of photographs, artifacts, newspaper clippings, and some extraordinary film footage, to graphically animate the apartheid story. Your experienced guide will accompany you on your walk through the various exhibits, or you are welcome to experience the museum on your own. Afterwards, you will be taken to your hotel for overnight. African Pride Melrose Arch – Standard Room (B)
Day 3: Johannesburg / Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana
This morning you will be picked up from the hotel and transferred to ORT Johannesburg Airport in time for your flight to Maun. Board your scheduled flight to Maun. On arrival you clear immigration and customs formalities, then you are met by our representative for your road transfer to camp.
Meno a Kwena means ‘teeth of the crocodile.’ A common sight, the large reptiles lounge on the river’s banks, often near the camp situated on the western boundary of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. This traditional old-style safari camp on the banks of the Boteti River offers breathtaking views over the park and down to the river where wildlife regularly comes to drink. A tented safari camp 16 guests are accommodated in six twin and two double tents. Hidden amongst the natural vegetation for privacy but still in full view of the Boteti River, tents include private semi en-suite facilities with flush WC and authentic bucket showers. The communal camp area includes a mess tent with a bar and there is a natural rock plunge pool with river views and shaded by tents.
From this gorgeous camp, you can head off to the Kalahari – plus the stunning open plains and desert wildlife of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. At both reserves, desert-adapted meerkats and antelopes are regularly seen while lions and cheetahs can sometimes be spotted in the Kalahari. The zebra migration is a spectacular sight and is unique to this corner of Botswana. This migration is Africa’s second largest after the Serengeti migration, yet it remains unknown to many travelers. The sight of herds of zebras on the move across the Kalahari Desert into the remote, briefly verdant, salt pans of the delta is breathtaking. Recent research, including by the World Wildlife Fund, has discovered that, in fact, this is Africa’s longest land mammal migration. The migration of Plains (or Burchell's) Zebra stretches from Namibia to Botswana—a distance of more than 300 miles roundtrip. The migration involves several thousand zebra traveling in a north-south direction. The zebra complete the first half of the trip over two to three weeks in November and December, probably in search of fresh grazing in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park. The rainy season’s ample rainfall allows the zebra to thrive away from permanent water sources for an average of 10 weeks before they return to the Chobe River along the Namibia/Botswana border for the dry season. Meno A Kwena – Tent (B,L,D)
Days 4 & 5: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Continue your exploration of this superb location with its year-round access to great wildlife viewing, a floating wildlife viewing hide, and boat activities on the Boteti River. Here, too, your family can also gain an anthropological glimpse at an ancient but still vibrant culture of the Bushmen of the Kalahari, who provide amazing insights and stories about their culture, the area’s native plants and spectacular wildlife. They help you maximize your understanding of the ancient relationship between man and nature. Meno A Kwena – Tent (B,L,D)
Day 6: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park / Okavango Delta
After a final morning game drive you will be transferred back to the airport in Maun where you board a light charter flight (seat in plane) to your camp in the Okavango Delta. (Luggage allowance is strictly 44lbs per person in soft bags). Located in the heart of Moremi Game Reserve within the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, Camp Xakamaxa is one of the original authentic bush camps. Its idyllic location on the banks of the Khwai River overlooking the Xakanaxa Lagoon ensures it is one of the few camps to provide guests with a year-round land and water game viewing.
The camp's 12 all canvas, Meru-style classic safari tents are raised on decks and blend in harmoniously with nature. The tents are spacious and tastefully furnished with twin or double beds and en-suite showers, hand basin and toilet facilities and offer fans, toiletries, plug points, hairdryers and ponchos. Situated on the fringes of the lagoon, each tent has a private viewing deck with comfortable loungers. Set on raised wooden platforms under the shade of towering trees, Camp Xakanaxa's thatched dining room, lounge and bar area, curio shop, fire deck and plunge pool provide a restful sanctuary with magnificent lagoon views.
Activities offered at Camp Xakanaxa include game drives in open 4x4 vehicles and exploring nearby lagoons and waterways by powerboat. NOTE: Moremi Game Reserve is a national park, hence no off road driving, walking, fishing or night drives are permitted. Camp Xakanaxa – Superior Tent (B,L,D)
Day 7: Okavango Delta
The ancient riverine forests, open savanna, serpentine channels and seasonal floodplains make for a varied habitat of exceptional fauna and flora. The diverse habitat ensures prolific sightings of elephant, buffalo, hyena, giraffe, hippo, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, lion and leopard, among many others. Birding is spectacular, especially in the spring and summer months when the migrants are breeding. Safari activities are conducted by licensed guides eager to share their in-depth knowledge and impart the treasured secrets of this great wilderness. Camp Xakanaxa – Superior Tent (B,L,D)
Day 8: Okavango Delta / Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
After a final morning activity and breakfast, you will be transferred to the local airstrip for your charter flight (seat in plane) to Kasane. On arrival, you obtain your visa for Zimbabwe, clear customs, collect your luggage and then you are met by a representative of The Elephant Camp and transferred to the lodge. The Elephant Camp lies in its own private concession alongside the Zambezi Gorge, near to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side of the fall’s. This camp is situated on a hill adjacent to the Zambezi National Park and has sweeping views over the grasslands, the dramatic gorges and the misty spray of Victoria Falls. The main lodge is stylish and flows out onto a wraparound deck, which overlooks a waterhole where the elephants often come to drink. There's a swimming pool with sun loungers on a lower deck close to the waterhole.
Elephant Camp offers an intimate safari experience with only 15 luxury air-conditioned tented suites. Those on the west side enjoy panoramic views towards the Victoria Falls while those on the east side overlook the yawning Batoka Gorge. All are beautifully appointed with a private viewing deck, plunge pool and outside shower, sitting area, air-conditioning, fans, tea/coffee facilities and a full bathroom with shower and huge bath.
While at camp, you have opportunities to explore a myriad of activities. You can discover the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT), a non-proﬁt organization to advance environmental conservation. Their programs include hands-on wildlife research, the management of a veterinary laboratory and rehabilitation facility, and the education of local communities in the sustainable usage of natural resources. The VFWT's rescue and rehabilitation of facility has taken in elephant orphans, and developed a release program that was needed for the long-term sustainability of the project. However, releasing elephant individually had not worked previously. Wild elephants develop a social structure with a matriarchal heirarchy. Young animals are looked after by the females. The trust found a way to duplicate that structure within the orphan herd. The opportunity came when a rescued adult female elephant was found that came about when one of the captive adult females in the area was predisposed to taking in young orphaned animals. She became the matriarch of the small release herd. The trust has rescued other species including cheetah, warthog and an aardwolf. It also has research projects focused on lions, rhinos, vultures and human-predator conflict. Camp staff help plan activities during your stay that suite your family's specific interests. The Elephant Camp – Tented Suite (B,L,D)
Day 9: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
You have the day to explore Victoria Falls, and the area. The clouds of spray generated by this thunderous descent have resulted in a lush rain forest full of stunning wild flowers. A host of activities are centered on three areas: the falls, the magnificent Zambezi River and the surrounding Zambezi National Park. To gain an overall impression of the falls, you cam opt for a helicopter ride or a thrilling microlight ride. The Zambezi River has two characters - the wide gentle river above the falls is the perfect place for languorous sunset boat cruises or gentle canoeing, while below the falls, the more adventurous can enjoy serious white-water rafting or jet-boating. Game drives and horseback riding are offered in the Zambezi National Park to view elephant and buffalo. Visitors can also take part in grooming and feeding the elephants at the camp. The Elephant Camp – Tented Suite (B,L,D)
Day 10: Victoria Falls / Johannesburg / Depart
After a final morning activity, you will be picked up and transferred to Victoria Falls airport for your scheduled flight to Johannesburg from where you connect with your onward flight later this evening. You check in for your flight and then proceed through the security gates and onto the Premier Lounge. You have vouchers for the Premier Lounge. This is a comfortable lounge where you relax and enjoy drinks and snacks before your flight. You are also able to shower or refresh yourself if you so wish. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$800 per person per day. Internal air (Johannesburg – Maun & Victoria Falls – Johannesburg) additional.