In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 51: 12 Day Northern South Africa – Central Botswana Wildlife 4×4 Camping Tour


12 Days
11 Nights

DAY 01 Johannesburg – Pilanesberg Game Reserve (South Africa)
DAY 02 Pilanesberg Game Reserve
DAY 03 Khama Rhino Sanctuary
DAY 04 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
DAY 05 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
DAY 06 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 07 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 08 Nxai Pan National Park
DAY 09 Nxai Pan National Park
DAY 10 Francistown
DAY 11 Marakele National Park (Botswana)
DAY 12 Johannesburg – Depart


This circular tour covers a variety of parks and landscapes in Northern South Africa and Central Botswana and include very special wilderness areas where the wildlife are roaming free. This tour is a combination of protected, enclosed campsites with good facilities and wilderness campsites with basic or no facilities, where temporary facilities are provided by guide/crew. Most campsites are not fenced and animals may move through these camping areas. The necessary precaution is taken to ensure clients are safe when camping in these areas, as well as not to disturb animals. We are only guests in their territories and have to behave accordingly.

Optional upgrading to chalet/lodge accommodation is available on some nights at additional cost.

DAY 01 Johannesburg – Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Time of departure will depend on clients’ travel schedule to OR Tambo International. Flight schedule to be finalised. (Flight not included)

Depart from Johannesburg to Pretoria. Stop at Zambezi Shopping Mall in Montana, Pretoria for last minute emergency shopping of forgotten necessities and after hour drinks. A pharmacy, supermarket, liquor store and ATM are on the premises.

Continue to Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Pilanesberg Game Reserve is 03 hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

The crater of a long extinct volcano is the setting of Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Its rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature.

The vegetation ranges from open grasslands to densely wooded valleys. This “Big Five” park is home to more than 35 large mammal species, including elephant, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, zebra and 19 antelope species. It is sanctuary to the world’s third largest white rhino population. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, brown-hyena and smaller species such as large-and small spotted-genets, bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal and caracal. More than 350 bird species have been recorded.

Check in at accommodation after lunch. Time at leisure in chalet.

Meet at 03:00 p.m. in parking area at chalets. Depart on a 03-hour afternoon game drive in the park. All scheduled game drives in Pilanesberg are in the tour vehicle. The route goes to Mankwe Dam where there are always wildlife as well as a variety of birds, with good quality sightings. Exit the wildlife area at 06:00 p.m.

Optional 02-hour sunset/night drive on an open game drive vehicle at own cost, departs at 06:00 p.m. from the parking area at reception. Bookings have to be made in advance at Mankwe Safaris reservation office at reception.
Overnight: Camping at Manyane (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D (Full board on all days)

DAY 02 Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Morning and afternoon game drive on various routes in the park. Most of the game drive routes will be covered on these drives.
Overnight: Camping at Manyane
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 03 Pilanesberg – Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Travel via Thabazimbi and Lephalale to Grobler’s Bridge Border Post. Enter Botswana.

Continue via Palapye to Serowe. Serowe is the largest village in Botswana and culturally very important because it is the birthplace, home and resting place of Botswana’s first president, Sir Seretse Khama.

Enter Khama Rhino Sanctuary. The sanctuary is situated near Serowe. During the 1980’s, due to indiscriminate poaching, rhinos were made almost extinct in Botswana. In 1992 a community trust wildlife was established to create a park to safeguard the few remaining rhino and to re-establish both black and white rhino populations in the area. This project has been highly successful and the reserve is now flourishing under the protection of the Botswana Defense Force and a dedicated team of conservationists. The reserve is situated on 4,300 hectares of Kalahari sandveld. Rhino share the reserve with giraffe, red hartebeest, ostrich, brown hyena, leopard, jackal, antelope and smaller mammals such as the bat-eared fox, lynx and wild cat. There is also abundant birdlife in the sanctuary with a large variety of raptors.

Short afternoon game drive.
Overnight Camping at Khama Rhino Sanctuary (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 04 Khama Rhino Sanctuary – Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Depart via Letlhakane and Mopipi to Rakops. Continue to Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which covers 51 800 square km.

The Central Kalahari is a place where you find your soul, where the modern world recedes and you get in touch with the earth, the sky and the space. Animals to be seen are Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Springbok, Tsessebe and Steenbok.

Elephants have lately been crossing from the north into Central Kalahari during the rainy season due to high densities of elephant in the north.

The most common predators are Lion, Brown Hyena, Cheetah, Leopard and African Wild Cat. Many bird species can be seen, including bird of prey.

Enter at Matswere Gate. Game drive on excess trail to Deception Valley.

Afternoon game drive along Deception Valley if time allows
Overnight: Camping at Kori Campsite. (No protective fencing, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 05 Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Depart south on game drive along Deception Valley and Deception Pan to Letiahau Waterhole. This is the only waterhole in a huge area and predator sightings are common. Return game drive to camp

Time at leisure. Afternoon game drive
Overnight: Camping at Kori Campsite. (No protective fencing, pit toilet & open air shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 06 Central Kalahari – Makgadigadi Pans National Park
Early morning game drive.

Backtrack via Matswere Gate to Rakops. Continue to Khumaga Camp Ground on the banks of the Boteti River in Makgadigadi Pans National Park. The Boteti River is flowing the last few years after good summer rains in the catchment areas of the Okavango River which feeds the Okavango Delta which feeds the Boteti River.

The park is home to elephants, white rhinos and hippos. Giraffe, impala and kudu are common along the river bank. Huge numbers of zebra migrate from the Makgadigadi Pans to the Boteti River during the dry season This is the second largest game migration on the African Continent. The dry Boteti River is known for lion and spotted hyena activities during the night.
Overnight: Camping at Khumaga Campground (Good facilities) (Chalets available at nearby Tiaan’s Camp additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 07 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives along the banks of the Boteti River and adjacent areas
Overnight: Camping at Khumaga Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 08 Makgadigadi Pans National Park – Nxai Pan National Park
Morning game drive along the banks of the Boteti River

Game drive north on excess trail to Phuduhudu Gate. Exit the park and continue to nearby Nxai Pan National Park. Nxai Pan consists of a combination of dry pans, grassland, thick bush and clumps of mopane, acacia and baobab trees. Elephant, giraffe, kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, impala, gemsbok and zebra are common to see. Spotting lions is general and cheetahs are seen very often too.

Enter at Nxai Pan Gate and continue north on a very sandy road. Make a detour to Kudiakam Pan, home to an isolated group of Baobabs known as Baine’s Baobabs, named after the famous painter and explorer Thomas Baines, who painted these baobabs in 1862.

Continue to Nxai Pan Campground. Afternoon game drive. Visit the waterhole, which is the only waterhole in the dry season, in a huge area. The waterhole is known for spectacular sunset photography with elephant and other species silhouetted against the setting sun.
Overnight: Camping at Nxai Pan Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 09 Nxai Pan National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives
Overnight: Camping at Nxai Pan Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 10 Nxai Pan – Francistown
Backtrack on the sandy 4×4 road to the main road. Continue to Nata.

Visit Nata Sanctuary. The Nata Sanctuary at Sowa Pan, which is part of the Makgadikgadi Pans, is a community project and one of Botswana’s premier birding destinations. Nata Sanctuary is home to 165 bird species including flamingos and pelicans. After good rains, hundreds of thousands of globally threatened Lesser Flamingos, along with Greater Flamingos, Chestnut-banded Plovers, Great White and Pink-backed Pelicans, and a host of other waterbirds converge on the nutrient-rich waters of the pans.
After good summer rains with the right level of water on the pan, the Sanctuary hosts the largest congregation of Lesser Flamingos in Southern Africa.

Continue to Francistown.
Overnight: Camping at Woodlands Stopover / Dumela Camp (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 11 Francistown – Marekele National Park
Proceed to Lephalale. Replenish supplies for catering at Marekele.

Continue to Marekele National Park. The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize the park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five meter high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here.

All the large game species from elephant and rhino to lion, leopard, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe as well as an amazing variety of birds including what’s probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here. The western section of the park is one of the best places in South Africa to see white rhino.

Enter the park and continue to Camp Ground in the Western Section.

Do an afternoon game drive through the Western Section. The Camping area is frequently visited by rhinos at night
Overnight: Marekele (Safari Tent available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 12 Marekele – Johannesburg
Depart on a morning scenic game drive up the Waterberg Mountain. If the wind direction is favorable, one gets excellent photo opportunities from the view point at the top of the mountain of Cape vultures gliding low overhead. Game drive to the gate.

Continue on a game drive to the exit gate. Depart to Johannesburg. Drop off at OR Tambo International Airport or at accommodation. (Accommodation not included)

Flight schedule to be finalised. (Flight not included)
Meals: B
It is expected from clients on camping tours to assist with pitching and packing up camp and with general camping duties on request

Accommodation can vary from the itinerary depending on availability.

Rates on request:
E-mail: or click on CONTACT US.

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