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The Great African River Safari

10 days with Natural Habitat Adventures  Rating: Deluxe

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Maun, Botswana / Hunda Island
Our grand African adventure begins in Maun, where your Expedition Leader meets you at the airport. From here, we transfer by light aircraft flight to Tubu Tree Camp, located in the private Jao Concession the edge of Botswana’s famed Moremi Game Reserve. The camp sits on Hunda Island, the largest area of permanently dry land in this part of the Okavango Delta, surrounded by grasslands that attract many species of plains animals. Its location amid varied habitats, including a network of water channels and marshes, makes it optimal for both land- and water-based activities. We'll begin exploring the area before officially kicking off our safari with a welcome dinner this evening.
 
Days 2 & 3: Moremi Game Reserve—Hunda Island
The range of diverse habitats surrounding our camp, from dry Kalahari sandveld to mopane and riverine forest on the edge of the permanent waterways, supports tremendous game populations and ensures spectacular wildlife viewing. Our activities focus on drives in open 4x4 vehicles across the sprawling floodplains in search of elephant, lion, Burchell's zebra, red lechwe, southern giraffe, tsessebe, blue wildebeest and more. In forested areas, we are on the lookout for kudu, impala, and bushbuck. And, of course, we’ll hope to see the predators that track them, including lion and especially leopard, which live here in substantial numbers. Night drives reveal nocturnal species such as civet cat and caracal, and large predators that hunt at night. 
 
Days 4–6: Selinda Private Reserve
We fly to Selinda Explorers Camp, located on a remote stretch of the Selinda Spillway in the heart of the private 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve. Because our camp accommodates just eight guests in four tents, we feel secluded and alone in this vast wilderness—except for the constant company of wildlife. This is vast big-game country, once traversed by legendary explorers like Livingstone and Selous. The landscape is largely unchanged today, and wild animals still roam freely in spectacular numbers. The region is home to huge herds of elephant and buffalo, as well as lion, wild dog, sable and roan antelope that are spotted on a regular basis along with plenty of other wildlife. We explore via open 4x4 vehicles and canoe, as well as on foot. Because the focus at this camp is on walking, we will also observe a multitude of small, very interesting things often missed on game drives. In the evenings, the camp takes on a romantic ambience with the flicker of kerosene lanterns and the glimmer of a crackling campfire under the stars.
 
Day 7: Chobe National Park, Botswana aboard the Chobe Princess 
This morning we fly via light aircraft from Selinda to Kasane, then continue by launch on a 10-minute journey across the Chobe River to Impalila Island in Namibia. Here, we'll clear border formalities on the island before transferring by tender boat a further 20 minutes to reach the actual boarding point where our African river cruise adventure begins. The Chobe Princess, our privately chartered luxury houseboat, is our home for the next three days, and we begin with lunch aboard. Soon we are meandering through the vast river system that sprawls along the nexus of four national borders, including Zimbabwe. While we’ll see plentiful wildlife from our riverboat, we also take more intimate excursions via tender boats along narrow channels and inlets for a closer vantage point. 
 
Our first outing happens this evening, after we dock for the night. Our Expedition Leader packs a cooler with chilled drinks as we head off in skiffs to explore the various waterways around us, bird book and binoculars in hand. As the orange ball of sun dips behind the river, we return to the Chobe Princess to savor dinner aboard. There’s plenty of time to get further acquainted with the friendly onboard staff, learning more about the region, its wildlife, history and local people. 
 
Days 8 & 9: Exploring the Chobe River System
While each day’s discoveries are different, we’ll experience a range of wildlife encounters and cultural activities during our riverboat safari. Chobe National Park is known for its tremendous elephant herds, a population that exceeds 70,000. We often see several hundred elephants in a single day! Large herds of buffalo and antelope are also present, and can get exhilaratingly close on skiff excursions into their midst. We’re also likely to see lots of hippos and crocodiles, and birds abound, too (more than 400 species)—look for water birds such as storks, herons and egrets as we cruise leisurely along the riverways. Other activity options include a guided walk on Impalila Island to meet local villagers and a chance to climb an ancient baobab tree, rewarding adventurers with spectacular views of the Chobe and Zambezi confluence and four bordering countries from the top. And for those who want to try their hand at landing one of the Zambezi’s famed tiger fish, both fly fishing and rod-and-reel options are available. Each evening we return to our comfortable houseboat for dinner and a soothing night’s rest, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the African wild. 
 
Day 10: Kasane / Depart
After breakfast, transfer by tender boat from the Chobe Princess to the customs office on Impalila Island to exit from Namibia. Crossing the Chobe River once more, we retrace our steps to re-enter Botswana, where our safari comes to an end in Kasane and we connect with onward flights.
River Cruise Highlights
  • Spend three nights cruising in comfort aboard our privately chartered riverboat as we explore the wildlife mecca near the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers 
  • Observe prolific game, predators and birdlife on 4x4 drives, by canoe and on foot in the prime wilderness reserves of Selinda and Hunda Island
  • Enjoy the personalized service of our top Expedition Leader throughout, as well as exclusive luxury accommodations, including intimate safari camps in secluded locales
All This Included
Though more than 60 years have passed since Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn plied a remote river aboard the African Queen, the mystique of their exploits lives on. And while our deluxe riverboat is a far cry from their primitive vessel, we recapture a bit of that fabled era as we plumb the broad channels and backwaters of the Chobe River. In the heart of the southern African wilds, animals abound and the sense of adventure is palpable—yet you’ll experience it all in sublime comfort aboard our privately chartered riverboat. What’s more, this epic safari also includes an inland sojourn at intimate camps deep within the heart of Botswana’s premier private game reserves. If you're looking for an African safari to match your romantic imagination, you've found it! 
  • Internal scheduled light aircraft flights
  • Accommodations
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Non-alcoholic drinks aboard the riverboat, in camps and in vehicles
  • House alcoholic beverages aboard the riverboat and in camps
  • Laundry in camps
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leader, local guides and lodge staff
  • Some gratuities
  • All permits, entrance fees and taxes
Accommodations on this Tour
Okavango Delta: Tubu Tree Camp
Selinda Reserve: Selinda Explorers Camp
Okavango Delta: Duba Expedition Camp
Cruising: Cabin onboard Chobe Princess
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra Day in Livingstone
Enjoy an extra day in Livingstone to take full advantage of the many exciting activities in the Victoria Falls area, including a traditional village visit or optional helicopter flight over the falls!
1 Day / May-Oct, From $625
 
Cape Town Extension
Discover the natural and multicultural highlights of one of the world's most captivating cities. Drive the Cape Peninsula, visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and tour the Winelands.
4 Days / Year-Round, Custom Pricing
 
Kalahari Plains Extension
Experience the legendary Kalahari, with its high concentrations of desert-adapted wildlife, vast salt pans and endless open vistas. There's no place like it on the planet!
3 Days / Custom Dates, From $1895
 
Custom Southern Africa Safari Camp Extension
 A fly-in extension to the most out-of-the-way safari camps in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, or Zimbabwe. See options at iSafari.com...
Year-Round, From $2875
Notes
  • Group Size Limit: Approximately 7 Travelers.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end point of trip, premium alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance, and required medical evacuation insurance
  • Physical Requirements: Easy. There is no strenuous activity involved during this safari, though a safari vehicle frequently offers a bumpy ride. Wildlife drives often involve long hours of sitting and sometimes bouncing around. While we don't consider this strenuous, it can be uncomfortable and pose a particular type of physical demand on the body. All travelers must be able to climb into and out of the raised 4x4 safari trucks we use, as well as board the small motorized skiffs used for excursions from our privately chartered riverboat. Guests must also be able to walk to and from our boat and camp accommodations, which sometimes involves walking over uneven ground, up stairs or on boardwalks. 
  • Since the areas we travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for our guests' safety. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat, we request that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We will add the cost of a medical evacuation policy to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, contact number and your individual policy number.
  • For 2017 safaris, you must arrive Maun, Botswana by 1:30 pm on Day 1 and you may depart Kasane, Botswana anytime after 1:30 pm on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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