In assocciation with Kalahari Wildlife Tours

Tour 52: 17 Day Northern South Africa – Botswana Wildlife 4×4 Camping Tour


18 Days
17 Nights

DAY 01 Johannesburg – Pilanesberg Game Reserve (South Africa)
DAY 02 Khama Rhino Sanctuary
DAY 03 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 04 Makgadigadi Pans National Park
DAY 05 Nxai Pan National Park
DAY 06 Nxai Pan National Park
DAY 07 Maun
DAY 08 Khwai Community Trust & Wildlife Management Area / Okavango Delta
DAY 09 Khwai Community Trust & Wildlife Management Area / Okavango Delta
DAY 10 Chobe National Park / Savuti
DAY 11 Chobe National Park /Senyati Safari Camp
DAY 12 Chobe National Park /Senyati Safari Camp
DAY 13 Vic Falls (Zimbabwe) /Senyati Safari Camp
DAY 14 Francistown
DAY 15 Mapungubwe National Park (South Africa)
DAY 16 Mapungubwe National Park
DAY 17 Marakele National Park
DAY 18 Johannesburg – Depart


This circular tour covers a variety of parks and landscapes 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 – 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
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 03 Khama Rhino – Makgadigadi Pans National Park
Early morning game drive.

Depart 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 04 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 05 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 06 Nxai Pan National Park
Morning and afternoon game drives
Overnight: Camping at Nxai Pan Campground (Good facilities)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 07 Nxai Pan – Maun
Proceed to Maun. Replenish supplies. Afternoon at leisure
Overnight: Camping at Hotel Sedia (Rooms available additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 08 Maun – Khwai Community Trust & Wildlife Management Area
Depart via Mababe to the Khwai Community Trust & Wildlife Management Area on the northern side of the Khwai River, which is the border of Moremi Game Reserve. This pristine area is rich in wildlife and teems with bird life and is one of the best areas in Southern Africa to see wild dogs. This is one of the last real wilderness areas in Southern Africa. The campsites are near the Khwai River.

Afternoon game drives in Khwai area
Overnight: Camping at Magotho Community Campsite (No facilities, crew pitch toilet & shower)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 09 Khwai Community Trust & Wildlife Management Area
Morning and afternoon game drives in Khwai Area
Overnight: Camping at Magotho Community Campsite
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 10 Khwai – Chobe National Park
Depart to Savuti in Chobe National Park. The Savuti Channel has started flowing again a few years after being dry for about 30 years. This has changed the Savuti eco-system totally. Wildlife is spread out all along the river and the Savuti Marsh is a wildlife and birding paradise. Lately it flows sporadically, depending on summer rains in the catchment area.

Elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, giraffe & impala roam the area and lion, spotted hyena and leopard are seen often. Cheetah and wild dog are sporadic sightings. Elephants are regular visitors to the campsite.

Afternoon game drive
Overnight: Camping at Savuti
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 11 Chobe National Park
Depart to the Chobe River front via the Chobe Forest Reserve. Proceed to Kasane. Replenish supplies for catering at Senyati.

Continue to Senyati Safari Camp 10 km south of Kazangula. Senyati is situated on the border of the Kasane Forest Reserve. The chalets and bar-deck overlook a flood-lit waterhole where herds of elephant, numbering in total up to hundreds a day, come to drink from mid-afternoon until late at night. Spotted hyena, sable antelope, buffalo, kudu, giraffe and impala are regular visitors too. Leopard, lion and wild dog are sporadic visitors.

Relax in the afternoon at accommodation or on the bar deck overlooking the floodlit waterhole. Overnight: Camping at Senyati Safari Camp (Chalets available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 12 Senyati Safari Camp / Chobe National Park
Depart early morning to Chobe National Park. This is elephant country. Chobe National Park is very famous for its abundance of elephant. This Park has the highest concentration of elephant anywhere in Africa, an estimated 70 000!! Chobe is also famous for its huge herds of buffalo and predators including lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Sable – and roan antelope, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, impala, red lechwe, the endemic puku, Chobe bushbuck, herds of zebra, warthogs, pods of hippo and crocodiles are some of the species to be seen

The Chobe Riverfront is one of the best birding areas in Southern Africa and various species of raptors, including great sightings of fish-eagles, flocks of vultures, various aquatic species, colourful bee-eaters and rollers can be encountered on a game drive.

Game drive until noon. Return to Kasane.

Depart at 15:00/03:00 p.m. on a 03-hour afternoon boat trip on the Chobe River. Good wildlife sightings are common on the boat trips. Pick-up clients after the boat trip at 06:00 p.m. Transfer to Senyati.

Relax at Senyati, overlooking the flood-lit waterhole.
Overnight: Camping at Senyati Safari Camp
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 13 Senyati Safari Camp / Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)
Depart early morning on a day-tour to Vic Falls in Zimbabwe, with a Botswana Tour Operator. Kalahari Tours and Travel guide stays in Botswana.

Visas if, applicable, to be obtained in country of residence or at border post at own cost. Google Zimbabwe Visa Requirements.

The tour goes through the Zambezi National Park to Vic Falls. The Victoria Falls & Zambezi National Parks is a world Heritage Site and the falls is one of the ‘Seven wonders of the world’ and one of the largest and most spectacular water falls on earth. The falls are 1,7 km wide and nearly 550 million litres of water cascade 70 to 108 meters into the chasm below – every minute – during the Zambezi River’s peak flow. Victoria Falls is made of five different “falls”. Four of these are in Zimbabwe: The Devil’s Cataract, Main Falls, Rainbow Falls and Horseshoe Falls – and one, The Eastern Cataract, is in the bordering country of Zambia.

Zambezi National Park together with Victoria Falls National Park covers an area of 56,000 hectares. The northern border of the Park is formed by the great Zambezi River which also forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia for much of its length. A wide variety of larger mammals may be found within the Zambezi National Park including The Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and white rhinoceros. In addition, sable antelope, eland, zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck and impala as well as many of the smaller species of game are in the park too.

Visit Vic Falls. Entrance Fees at own cost @ USD30 pp (USD25 pp for SADEC Citizens)

Optional activities at Vic Falls at own cost include bungee jumping and a helicopter flight over the falls. The helicopter flight is highly recommended.

Departure time back to Botswana will depend on the duration of the optional activities. Return to Botswana in the afternoon. Continue to Senyati.

Relax at Senyati, overlooking the flood-lit waterhole.
Overnight: Camping at Senyati Safari Camp
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 14 Kasane – Francistown.
Proceed to Nata via the Kasane -, Kazuma -, and Sibuyu Forest Reserves.

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. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Camping at Woodlands Stopover or Dumela Camp (Chalet available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 15 Francistown – Mapungubwe National Park (South Africa)
Travel via Selibe-Pikwe to Platjan Border Post. The route goes through the Tuli Conservation Area, situated in the easternmost corner of Botswana, where the country meets its neighbours Zimbabwe and South Africa and at the confluence of two great rivers, the Limpopo and the Shashe. It forms a key part of the proposed Greater Mapungubwe Trans Frontier Conservation Area.

The Reserve is shared between private landowners and local communities. The area is home to a diverse range of wildlife, renowned for its Tuli elephants, the largest elephant population on private land in Africa and is recognised as an Important Bird Area with over 350 species recorded.
Wildlife may be encountered along the main road in this area.

Enter South Africa and continue to Alldays. Continue to Mapungubwe National Park, passing the Venetia Diamond Mine, located within the 360 square kilometre Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve, bordering on Mapungubwe National Park. Mapungubwe Park is situated in the most northern corner of South Africa and borders on the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers and is neighboring Botswana and Zimbabwe. Agreements have been signed between South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe for forming the Greater Mapungubwe Trans Frontier Conservation Area.

Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe.

At Mapungubwe Hill, a far developed African civilization prospered between 1200 and 1270 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.

Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species, lion, leopard & hyena roam free between the three countries and the park is home to 400 bird species. The Limpopo Tree-top Boardwalk and hide is a magnificent facility allowing the visitor into the trees alongside the birds.

Depart to the western section of the Park. Check in at campsite nestled in Limpopo Riparian Forest. Bushbuck are common residents in the camp and the surrounding area is known for leopard sightings.

Depart on a short afternoon game drive along the Limpopo River and adjacent area.

Optional guided night drive in open vehicle with Sanparks guide.
Overnight: Camping at Mazhou Camp Ground (Safari tents available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 16 Mapungubwe National Park
Depart on a scenic game drive in the eastern section of the Park. This is one of the most scenic drives in any park in Southern Africa. Some landscapes are breathtakingly scenic and promote the ambience and mystique of this park. Very large baobab trees are along this way, which contribute to the beauty of this area.

Visit the Treetop Boardwalk in the riparian fringe of the Limpopo, which is of prime importance from the point of view of conservation. It is a dense vegetation community with a closed canopy which occurs in the rich alluvial deposits along the river. The most striking trees in this community are fever trees, ana trees, leadwoods, fig trees and acacias. The Limpopo floodplain has allowed some trees to grow to massive sizes. Nyala berries and Ana trees can get particularly big.

Continue to the View Point at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers.

Proceed on scenic game drive to the Interpretive Centre. With the Park’s UNESCO World Heritage Status, an amazing building (that won World Building of the Year in 2009’s World Architectural Awards) has been constructed that houses a museum section with many of the artefacts uncovered in the park, including the Golden Rhino, are on display

Return to the western Section.

Afternoon game drive. Spend some time at the Maloutswa Bird Hide overlooking a waterhole. It offers a lovely location from which to view birds and mammals of all kinds.

Optional guided tour to Mapungubwe Hill.
Overnight: Camping at Mazhou Camp Ground
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 17 Mapangubwe – Marakele National Park
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: Camping at Bontle Camp Ground (Safari Tent available at additional cost)
Meals: B, L & D

DAY 18 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:
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