• One of the main reasons for the expense of a safari is the remote locations of the camps, making daily logistics a challenge. Just imagine the organisation and planning of meals in order to have fresh food on the table 3 times a day in a very remote location. This is done, professionally, but at a cost so that you and I can enjoy great safaris and have fresh and healthy meals in the remote corners of Africa
• Small camp sizes and remote safari locations ensure authentic, private safari experiences with fewer guests e.g. Botswana has a high income, low volume policy Guiding and service levels are of a very high standard
• Most camps offer luxurious and very comfortable accommodation, even the mobile safari camps are very comfortable and well laid out
• The constant threat to wildlife populations also effects the price of a safari, and with no end in sight there’s no time like the present to go on safari
• One option is to travel outside of peak safari season dates which is generally between June and October
• Last minute bookings are also great money savers and possible in all seasons, but not with all travel partners in Africa. There is a risk that availability could be a challenge, especially in peak safari season, and is therefore only advisable if you have flexible travel dates
• Visiting fewer locations also curbs the safari cost as flying from camp to camp, in remote regions in Africa, is not cheap. Staying in fewer locations that are in close proximity to each other, can make a big difference in the cost of a safari. For some people however, this is not a compromise they are willing to make as they want to see diverse landscapes and cultures on their African adventure
• Mobile camps are a bit more basic and can be an option, if you don’t mind roughing it
• We have excellent special offers from our professional travel partners whereby you can save money as follows: stay for 5 nights, but pay for 4, stay for 7, but pay for 6, stay for 10, but pay for 8 etc.
• Another option, one that we do not recommend however, is to join the bigger, tour groups. These experiences are less flexible and less private, but do come cheaper, and may be an option for younger safari enthusiasts
What makes the Duba Plains Reserve unlike any region in Africa (and completely unique in fact) is the topography influenced by localised fault lines. It is raised relative to surrounding areas, which provides for areas of open plains. This area is also surrounded by water, almost ring-fencing the entire 77 000 hectare reserve! As the waters of the Okavango Delta flow from the north, the Duba Plains Reserve is the first landmass they meet. As the waters slow rich the sediments are deposited which allow for rich, succulent and nutritious grasses to grow. This is therefore the perfect environment for wildlife with a rich abundant food source and plenty of water everywhere. Where much of northern Botswana sees a spread of animals during the rainy season as the surrounding waterholes fill, we see little or no dispersion here. In recent years, Botswana has experienced a “wet cycle” from the water sources of Angola and we have witnessed considerable levels of flooding from 2009 onwards. This has had a considerable and spectacular influence on the wildlife.
Red lechwe antelope are now by far the most dominant large mammal with estimates of 20,000 placing the numbers as the highest in southern Africa. Their grazing potential has been such that they have out-competed local buffalo populations! Giraffe are less common here but can be seen on the island around Duba Plains Camp itself.
Our predator populations remain very healthy. The larger lion populations have since split into smaller but more numerous prides with the region dominated by two males. There are five leopards regularly seen. This marshy eco-system means it is not the ideal habitat for cheetah – more regularly seen at our Selinda Reserve. Birdlife is exceptional due to the abundance of water and ideal habitats. Specials seen are rosy breasted longclaw, wattled crane, slaty egret with rarer sightings of pels fishing owl. Sightings of more than 100 bird species are usually achievable with a minimum three-night stay. The Duba Plains Reserve is one of the better places to see kudu in Botswana as they are so calm and approachable. Bushbuck numbers are also plentiful and sightings of reedbuck are very good. Aardwolf and even pangolin sightings are occasional but possible. Boating provides exceptional hippos sightings as well as the occasional crocodile when floodwaters allow.
Camps in Duba Plains:
* Source: Great Plains Conservation
The Selinda Spillway dominates the Selinda
Reserve’s ecosystem. This is a waterway derived primarily from the Okavango Delta in the west that floods annually. From the east, floodwaters from the Selinda Spillway and Linyanti feed the lagoon. The region has a diversity of habits and wildlife and boasts some of the best wild dog sightings in Botswana, with local packs denning on the reserve for the past few years. Research monitoring estimates that the area has the highest population of elephant bulls in the world, with large herds seen throughout the year - peaking throughout July to November.
Large buffalo herds of up to 1000 animals also move to the region once the floodwaters of the Spillway subside in August to graze on the rich grasses of the exposed flood plains.
Dominant male lions look after resident lion prides and the leopards are healthy and seen regularly throughout the reserve. Impala are the dominant antelope alongside healthy populations of kudu, waterbuck, steenbok and lechwe. Occasional sightings of eland and sable are also possible. Roan antelope features as the most significant antelope regularly seen in Selinda but is quite rare in other parts of Botswana and Southern Africa. Warthog numbers have increased and it has become the favoured prey of our lion. Birdlife peaks in October and November with the slaty egret featuring as the signature bird.
The Selinda Reserve sees a seasonal migration of wildlife once the rains arrive in November. As the numerous waterholes fill, they provide elephants in particular with a larger habitat to roam. Once the waterholes dry, beginning in May, the herds will begin to congregate into bigger herds with peak numbers in October. Giraffes are readily seen all year round with a perfect habitat of acacias in the centre of the reserve near the airstrip. Hippos are widespread throughout and a guaranteed sighting during a visit.
Camps in Selinda Reserve:
* Source: Great Plains Conservation
Meandering through the spectacular Caprivi Strip in northwest Namibia, the Kwando River rises from the central Angolan highlands forming the boundary between Namibia, Zambia and Angola. The area surrounding the Kwando River is known for its protected game reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. It offers excellent game viewing with the perennial waters of the river attracting plentiful wildlife including large herds of elephant, hippos, crocodiles, red lechwe, turtles, zebra, impala, spotted-necked otters and over 400 species of bird. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing stay at one of the many lodges set on the banks of the river and soak up the spectacular views of wild Africa. Popular activities include: game viewing, bird watching, fishing, and camping.
Situated in the east of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa. It covers more than 4871 square kilometres of pristine wilderness, and the varied terrain includes savannah, winding waterways, and dense forest. This diverse ecosystem supports an incredibly wide spectrum of wildlife, ranging from large herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, to the rare sitatunga and lechwe antelope, lion, cheetah and packs of wild dog in the open grasslands. The birdlife is prolific and includes most of the 550 bird species recorded on Botswana’s national bird list. A range of luxury lodges in the reserve offers visitors the perfect base to experience this corner of paradise.
The Khwai area of the Okavango lies along the northern boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve. This is an unfenced boundary allowing wildlife to move freely between the woodlands in the wet season when water is plentiful and back to permanent rivers and lagoons in the dry season. The Khwai area offers the same wildlife experience as the reserve with the added advantage of being a private concession which means the ability to do walking safaris and night drives.
Welcome to Khwai Private Reserve, 440 000 acres bordering onto both the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park in northern Botswana. It is an innovative community based joint venture partnership that adjoins onto the world famous Okavango Delta eco-system. The Reserve was established to create a meaningful bridge between the tourism industry and local villagers, ensuring significant economic income for local communities, first world environmentally sensitive practices and a superb safari experience. The massive Khwai Private Reserve comprises of some of the most fantastically diverse habitats in northern Botswana, including riverine woodlands, floodplains, open savannah, mopane woodland, rivers and lagoons. This range of habitats results in a range of wildlife, including elephant, lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah and of course the eponymous sable antelope.
Situated in the northwestern corner of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a World Heritage Site as it is the largest inland delta in the world. The magnificent Okavango River sprawls out over the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert forming this flourishing waterlogged oasis featuring countless meandering waterways and crystal clear lagoons studded with water lilies, as well as fertile floodplains and reeded islands inhabited with abundant wildlife. The Okavango Delta stretches over 15000 square kilometres. Visitors can enjoy a number of wonderful activities such as game viewing, fishing, bird watching or taking an authentic guided Mokoro excursion through this wetland paradise in a traditional dugout canoe. Commonly spotted animals include: lion, rhino, leopard, giraffe, hippos, elephants, crocodiles and countless species of bird.
The Kwando-Linyanti river system is home to a series of private game reserves, known for their exotic animal species and luxury safari options. An abundance of wildlife roams freely between the woodland habitats, ancient floodplains and forests that make up these lush, unfenced reserves. The big game in this area increases dramatically during the dry season when the area hosts large herds of impala, blue wildebeest, giraffe and buffalo as well as the world’s highest density of elephant. Several packs of wild dog are found in the area and lion, leopard and cheetah are frequently sighted. Night drives allow for the discovery of nocturnal creatures such as civets, genets, honey badgers and spring hares. This vast, untamed wilderness is the perfect location for those seeking a unique African adventure in an exclusive and remote big game habitat.
Renowned for its impressive, shifting migratory population of more than 50 000 elephants, Chobe National Park is situated in the far northeast of Botswana, bordered to the north by the mighty Chobe River. It is the second largest national park in Botswana featuring four distinct ecosystems: the Savuti Channel in the west; the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest; the arid hinterland in between and Serondela in the extreme northeast with fertile plains and thick forests. This diversity of habitats provides a sanctuary to an astonishing array of African wildlife. In addition to spotting Chobe's great pachyderm herds, you are likely to spot lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog, impala, waterbuck, kudu, zebra, wildebeest giraffe, and warthog. The park is also famous for its wonderful riverboat safaris, making Chobe an essential destination for any avid safari enthusiast.
Located in northern Zimbabwe, the life-giving power of the Zambezi River makes Mana Pools National Park one of Zimbabwe’s most lush and flourishing regions. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for its natural beauty and as one of the continent’s premier game-viewing areas. Visitors can look forward to an array of activities such as canoe trips which are offered year round and provide a unique and memorable way for visitors to experience the area’s striking scenic beauty and diverse fauna, while guided walks are a great way to take its pristine riverside forests. Other popular activities include: game drives, river cruises, nature walks, bird watching, catch-and-release fishing, and searching for dinosaur tracks.
The planet’s most voluminous man-made lake, Kariba is a popular tourist destination that was created in the 1950s when the mighty Zambezi was dammed. It stretches for more than 200 kilometres along the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, forming a natural boundary between the two countries. The lake’s waters are home to abundant wildlife including: crocodiles, hippos, fish and aquatic birds, while its shoreline and islands are rich with terrestrial game such as elephant and buffalo. It has become one of Zimbabwe’s main tourist attractions offering houseboat holidays, fishing safaris and wonderful game viewing experiences.
Situated in western Zimbabwe, the Hwange National Park is the country's biggest reserve, home to a profusion of wildlife, including giraffe, lion, zebra and approximately 40 000 elephants. It provides a sanctuary for all the country’s endangered species, including a population of wild dogs thought to be among the most sizeable surviving groups on the continent. The park’s magnificent terrain ranges from desert dunes, savannah lands and mopane woodlands to rocky outcrops and sparse forests. Visitors can look forward to game drives, guided walks or horse riding safaris. Other highlights include: the Bumbusi National Monument and the Nyamandhlovu Pan.
Located a few kilometres from the Zambezi River in southwestern Zambia, the bustling town of Livingstone is famous as the home of the magnificent Victoria Falls. One of the original natural wonders of the world, the World Heritage Site is known locally as ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. This spectacle is accessible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe and is an ideal place to combine game viewing and water sports. There is excellent fishing, a terrifying bungee jump and arguably the best commercial whitewater rafting in the world. Visitors can hike around the falls or try ziplining or the bridge swing. Those seeking more leisurely activities can take sunset cruises along the river, with champagne and snacks included, meander through the vibrant local Livingstone Market, or discover the region’s history and archeology at the Livingstone Museum.
Bordering the Luangwa River, the northern and southern Luangwa National Parks contain some of the most breathtaking and untouched wilderness in Africa. As a result of this and the parks’ successful anti-poaching campaigns, the area has developed into a world-renowned wildlife haven. The South Luangwa National Park is renowned for its walking safari, which allows visitors to view elephant, hippo and even lion close-up under the supervision of professional and knowledgeable armed guides.
Set in the heart of western Zambia, Kafue National Park is the country's biggest and oldest National Park. Three rivers form the lifeblood of the reserve namely the Lufupa, Lunga and Kafue rivers with the annual summer flood of the Lufupa creating an impressive floodplain delta. The floodplains, rivers, and woodlands support an impressive array of animal and birdlife and a number of private lodges make this remarkable reserve easier to visit. Visitors can look forward to catching a glimpse of the hippos swimming in the waters of Lake Itezhi-Tezhi, viewing abundant birdlife and a variety of game on the northern Busanga Plains such as zebras and lions; and in the more remote southern Nanzhila Plains antelopes and elephants can be spotted.
Located in the southern reaches of Kenya, the Amboseli National Park is renowned for its excellent variety of wildlife such as Masaai giraffe, elephant, lion and cheetah and not surprisingly it is one of Kenya's most popular parks. The landscape of Amboseli is dominated by the majestic snow cap of Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as open plains, acacia woodland, swamps and the massif of Ol Doinyo Orok. The birding is excellent, especially closer to the lakes and swamps. The park is famous for being the best place in Africa to get close to large herds of elephants among other wildlife species. Other attractions of the park include opportunities to meet the Maasai people and soak up spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Situated in southwest Kenya, the Mara North Conservancy is a beautiful private wilderness area spanning more than 30 000 hectares. It is home to a spectacular array of plants, reptiles, birds and mammals; including elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah and large concentrations of wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and other migratory wildlife. Leopard Gorge, in the heart of the conservancy, is famous as the setting of countless BBC Big Cat Diaries and National Geographic documentaries. Neighbouring the well-known Maasai Mara National Reserve, this conservancy is vital for sustaining the famous Serengeti wildebeest migrations as well as the highly threatened African wild dog and black rhino.
Sandwiched between the Tsavo West National Park and Amboseli National Park, the Chyulu Hills National Park protects an important water catchment area. This unique habitat features vast grass plains, forested rolling hills and rugged volcanic cones and craters set against the beautiful backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Visitors can look for to a wide selection of exciting activities including camping, mountain climbing, horse riding, and excellent bird watching. Commonly spotted wildlife include: elephant, bushbuck, eland, leopard, bush pig, reedbuck, buffalo and giraffe. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the longest lava tube in the world.
The Olare Motorogi Conservancy is an 85 square kilometre expanse of prime private wilderness in southwest Kenya which forms part of the Maasai Mara-Serengeti ecosystem and wildlife dispersal zone. The conservancy lies immediately to the northwest of the main Maasai Mara Reserve. Tourism is limited to a maximum of 94 beds which maximizes the client wilderness experience and minimizes the environmental impact of tourism. Open hills provide a habitat for a diverse range of grazers, including giraffes, zebras, hartebeests, and warthogs. These herds attract large numbers of predators, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and jackals. In between the hills run a number of small seasonal streams, fringed by stretches of forest which are home to a broader range of species including baboons, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, and leopards.
Bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo in Rwanda, the Volcanoes National Park is best known as a sanctuary for the region’s rare mountain gorillas. Visitors flock here to experience a face to face encounter with these intriguing creatures. The park is set high on the jungle-covered slopes of the volcanic Virunga Mountains. Highly regulated treks through the reserve allow visitors to spend an hour at a time with these incredible primates in their natural habitat. While the gorilla’s are without a doubt the main drawcard, visitors can also look forward to exploring a network of scenic hiking trails, visiting the tomb of the world-famous Dian Fossey and the Karisoke Research Centre, and enjoying a beautiful day hike to the crater lake on Mount Bisoke.
Bordering Tanzania in eastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is central Africa's largest protected wetland and the last refuge for savannah-adapted species in the country. Stretching across a vast expanse of low-lying mountains and savannah plains, the park takes in the rolling highlands woodlands, swamp-fringed lakes, and wetlands of the Kagera River along the way. Crocodiles and hippos wallow in the park's watery basins, predators prowl through its acacia groves, and elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and other animals roam across its grassy plains. Bursting with a rich biodiversity, the park features a variety of rare species, as well as a plentitude of mammals and hundreds of bird species.
Stretching over more than two million hectares, the Kruger National Park is one of the world’s largest game reserves and a truly remarkable destination. Owing to its exceptional size, visitors are able to experience fantastic diversity – from changing scenery and ecosystems to an impressive array of animals, plant life and birdlife. The park is home to over 130 mammals and over 500 bird species. Visitors can look forward to learning about the area’s prehistoric past, enjoying a host of accommodation options, and viewing abundant wildlife including the famed Big Five. The diversity sheer density of wildlife makes Kruger National Park an unforgettable and potentially life-changing experience.
Adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is a private premier game viewing destination. It was the first ever private nature reserve established in South Africa. The landscape features 65 000 hectares of savannah-covered land interspersed with watering holes, dry river beds, lowveld woodlands, and the perennial Sabi and Sand rivers. This spectacular reserve offers exceptional game viewing opportunities with frequent sightings of the renowned Big Five as well as cheetah, zebra, giraffe, and a variety of antelope.Visitors can enjoy excellent wildlife viewing, dining under the stars, guided bush walks and enjoying a stay in some of South Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges.