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NWV >8 DAY DELTA & CHOBE TRAIL

Okavango vacation packages Botswaba>package holidays Chobe Botswana>safari holiday Botswana>schedule safaris Chobe & Okavango delta Botswana>private safari holiday Botswana

Day 1 Botswana - Ghanzi
An early start, we leave Namibia and after crossing the Botswana border we continue to Ghanzi. After setting up camp we meet with a local Bushman (San) community and experience some traditional tribal dancing.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Ghanzi Trail Blazers (no website available)
Facilities: Hot showers, shared ablutions.
Included Activities: Bushmen Tribal Dance in evening
Route: Windhoek to Ghanzi. ±570km
Travel time: ±8-9 hrs, plus a border crossing on this day.

Border posts: Namibia:

Bushman (San) people
As we cross the border we’ll start to see villagers, cattle, donkeys, and sheep along the side of the highway. Sometimes the donkeys and cows sit in the middle of the road and any amount of horn blowing won't get them out of the road. Independent since 1966, Botswana (formally a British protectorate) has three of the world’s richest diamond mines, and this has made Botswana quite a wealthy nation. Now 40 years old, it is known as the African success story. Politically stable and with the foresight to invest in education, healthcare, high economic standards and without the racial issues that have plagued other countries, Botswana has the best economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The government has employed a strategy of high income - low impact tourism. This is where they reduce the number of tourists entering any area of the country by charging a lot more than neighbouring countries, thereby making it more restrictive for the budget traveller.
The San people, formally know as Bushmen, are indigenous to Southern Africa and have lived here for over 30 000 years. It is truly an incredible experience to get an understanding of what Africa was like in the past and how these people survived in the desert conditions, living in harmony with nature. It is said that the word ‘San’ meant ‘wild people who can’t farm’, however historically they didn’t have a collective word for themselves. They now call themselves Ncoakhoe meaning ‘red people’, but the term ‘San’ is still predominant. They were nomadic people – primarily hunter gatherers, moving to where the food and water could be found. It is estimated that there are only 55 000 San people left, with 60% of them living in Botswana, and the rest in Namibia and northern South Africa. Many examples of their expressive and remarkable cave paintings can be found dotted around Southern Africa, tracking their historical movements. Sadly nowadays their traditional lifestyle has been eroded by colonial influence, and they can be found in 'squalid alcohol plagued settlements' or on farms and cattle posts.

Day 2/3/4 Maun – Okavango Delta
Our journey takes us from Ghanzi towards Maun. We spend the night here and prepare for our 2-night bush-camping experience. From here we will enter the Delta using local transport. If the water level allows we will take a mokoro ride (traditional canoe) as well as nature walks with the local people. Optional Activity: Scenic flight over the Delta (time allowing)

Day 2
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Sitatunga www.deltarain.com
Facilities: Hot showers, shared ablutions, bar, swimming pool.
Route: Ghanzi to Maun. ±300 km
Travel time: ±4-5 hrs


Day 3 (Day 1 in Delta),
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bush Camp www.deltarain.com
Facilities: No facilities – bush camping
Included Activities: 4 x 4 vehicle transfers into Okavango Delta, Mokoro ride and guided nature walk
Route: Maun to Bush Camp

Day 4 (Day 2 in Delta)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Bush Camp www.deltarain.com
Facilities: No facilities – bush camping
Included Activities: Guided Nature walk and mokoro rides

Maun
Maun, the fifth largest town in Botswana, is known as the tourism capital and the gateway to the Okavango Delta. It is an eclectic contrast of modern buildings and traditional huts. Now home to over 30 000 people, the town was founded in 1915 as the tribal capital of the Batawana people. It originally serviced the local cattle ranching and hunting operations of the area, and had a reputation as a hard-living 'Wild West' town. With the growth of the tourism industry and the completion of the tar road from Nata in the early 1990s, Maun developed swiftly, losing much of its old town character. However, it is still infamous for its infestation of donkeys and to lesser extent, goats. These animals can be seen wandering around freely as the local farmers arrive in the innumerable taxis to sell their wares on the kerbside.
With the influx of tourism dollars, the typical traditional rondavels (round huts) of the past have been replaced by square but modestly sized cinderblock homes roofed with tin, or sometimes tiles. It is not unusual to see mud rondavels with satellite dishes, attesting to the increasing affluence of Botswana, and the increasingly reliability of power and communications in the town. This striking contrast of the traditional and the modern is also evident in the multi-level air-conditioned shopping centres incongruously surrounded by potholes, dusty parking lots and lively market places.

Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is the world’s largest inland delta, a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering 17 000 square km. It originates in Angola - numerous tributaries join to form the Cubango River, which then flows through Namibia, becoming the Kavango River and finally enters Botswana, where it is becomes the Okavango. Millions of years ago the Okavango River used to flow into a large inland lake called Lake Makgadikgadi (now Makgadikgadi Pans). Tectonic activity and faulting interrupted the flow of the river causing it to back up and form what is now the Okavango Delta. This has created a unique system of waterways that supports a vast array of animal and plant life that would have otherwise been a dry Kalahari savannah.
There are an estimated 200 000 large mammals in and around the Okavango Delta. On the mainland and among the islands in the delta, lions, elephants, hyenas, wild dog, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles congregate with a teeming variety of antelope and other smaller animals - warthog, mongoose, spotted genets, monkeys, bush babies and tree squirrels. Notably the endangered African Wild Dog is present within the Okavango Delta, exhibiting one of the richest pack densities in Africa. The delta also includes over 400 species of birds, including the African Fish Eagle.
Many of these animals live in the Delta but the majority pass through, migrating with the summer rains to find renewed fields for grazing. With the onset of winter the countryside dries up they make their way back to the floodplains. This leads to some of the most incredible sightings as large numbers of prey and predators are pushed together. Certain areas of the Delta provide some of the best predator action seen anywhere in the world.

Day 5 Gweta
We leave the Delta behind us and travel east to Planet Baobab. You can explore the bush around our campsite and view some of the oldest Baobab trees.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Planet Baobab Campsite www.unchartedafrica.co.za/page.php?p_id=59
Facilities: Hot showers, shared ablutions, bar, swimming pool.
Route: Maun to Gweta. ±201 km
Travel time: ±2-3 hrs (4x4 & mokoro transfer), ±3 hrs driving in truck.

Planet Baobab
Planet Baobab provides an oasis in the middle of the endless lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi salt pans. It’s reputably the baobab capital of the world and home of the Kalahari Surf Club! Planet Baobab is perhaps the funkiest camp in the Kalahari, where you can sleep in authentically styled, luxurious Bakalanga huts, or simply pitch a tent nearby.
The pans are the remnants of the once great Lake Makgadikgadi, which covered some 80 000 square km. Up to 30 metres deep, thousands of years ago, this was the largest inland sea in Africa. The pans now support strange ‘upside down trees’ – the massive Baobab – some of which are 2 400 years or older. Elephants are the other giants in the area, they splash about in a nearby watering hole to cool off, seemingly unaware of the guests’ presence.

Day 6 Botswana - Chobe National Park
We travel to Chobe and this afternoon we take an included sunset river cruise, as the animals are best spotted from the Chobe River.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Thebe River Safaris: www.theberiversafaris.com
Facilities: Hot showers, good ablutions, bar, swimming pool.
Included Activities: Sunset Boat Cruise in the Chobe NP
Route: Gweta to Kasane. ±400 km
Travel time: ±6-7 hrs

Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park, the second largest park in Botswana, covers 10 566 square km of northern Botswana. The Park forms part of the mosaic of lakes, islands and floodplains formed from the Kwando, Linyanti and Chobe River systems. The area is renowned for its vast herds of elephant and buffalo. The elephant population is currently about 120 000. The Chobe elephants are migratory, moving up to 200 km from the Chobe and Linyanti rivers, where they concentrate in the dry season, to the pans in the southeast of the park in the rainy season. They are Kalahari elephants, characterized by rather brittle ivory and short tusks, perhaps because of calcium deficiency in the soil. Due to their high concentration, there is a lot of damage to the vegetation in some areas. Culls have been considered, but are too controversial and have thus far been rejected.

The original inhabitants of the area were the San people, otherwise known in Botswana as the Basarwa. They were hunter-gatherers who lived by moving from one area to another in search of water, wild fruits and hunting grounds. The San were pushed out by groups of the Basubiya people and, around 1911, a group of Batawana moved to the area. In 1931 it was decided that a national park would protect the wildlife from extinction, and attract tourists. In 1932, an area of some 24 000 square km in the Chobe district was declared a non-hunting area. Over the years the park’s boundaries have been altered, and the people settled in the area have been relocated graduallly, and Chobe National Park was finally empty of human occupation in 1975. In 1980 and again in 1987, the boundaries were altered, increasing the park to its present size.

Day 7 Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls
On arrival in Victoria Falls we have time to plan the next day’s adventure activities before we visit the spectacular Victoria Falls and experience the thundering of the mighty Zambezi. Officially your tour finishes the next day after breakfast but most people will spend the day enjoying one of the many activities on offer. Optional Activities: Early Morning Chobe Game Drive, Sunset Cruise, Dinner Out, White Water Rafting, Bungee Jump, Elephant Excursion, Walking with Lions, Horse Riding and much more...


Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hostel: Vic Falls Adventure Lodge http://www.adventurezonevicfalls.com
Facilities: En-suite rooms, Hot showers, bar, laundry & internet café
Included Activities: Entrance to Victoria Falls National Park
Route: Kasane to Vic Falls. ±100 km
Travel time: ±2 hrs plus border crossing

Border posts: Botswana: Kazangula Road, +267 6250320, Open: 06h00-20h00
Zimbabwe: Kazangula Road, Open: 06h00-18h00

Victoria Falls
Once we have crossed the border into Zimbabwe it is a short drive to the town of Victoria Falls where we will be briefed about all the different activities available. Choose carefully as almost all of them are really worth doing. Your guides can advise you on the best way to spend your time here. Please be aware that you cannot use credit/debit cards in Zimbabwe, so cash (USD) is best. The prices of the activities are listed at the beginning of this dossier so you can make sure to bring what you need.

Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is 1 700 m wide and 108 m high – said to be the largest falls in the world. David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view the Victoria Falls, and wrote: "It has never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so wonderful must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight". The older, indigenous name of Mosi-oa-Tunya (‘the Smoke that Thunders’) is the name in official use in Zambia. Due to its immense power and size, the waterfall is surrounded by a rich mythology. The local Tonga people of the Zambezi believe that a river god, Nyaminyami, resides in the water in the form of an immense snake. When the Kariba Dam was built in the 1950s, the Zambezi River flooded three times, causing many deaths and much destruction. The local people believe Nyaminyami caused the terrible floods in anger at the construction.

The unusual form of Victoria Falls enables virtually the whole width of the falls to be viewed face-on, at the same level as the top, from as close as 60 metres, because the whole Zambezi River drops into a deep, narrow slot-like chasm, connected to a long series of gorges. Few other waterfalls allow such a close approach on foot.
The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a chasm 60–120 m wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 m at its western end to 108 m in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110 m-wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end, through which the whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges.
There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle. At less than full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Leaping Water (called Devil's Cataract by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest) and the Eastern Cataract.

Day 8 Victoria Falls
Officially your tour finishes after breakfast but most people will spend the day White Water Rafting, a not-to-be-missed experience of a lifetime! Vic Falls offers many exciting alternatives such as a walk with lions or a bungee jump from the bridge that joins Zimbabwe with Zambia. Optional Activities: White Water Rafting, Bungee Jump, Elephant Excursion, Walking with Lions, Horse Riding, Dinner Out.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Own Arrangements / Post tour accommodation can be booked through Nomad.

Tour Ends
The tour ends at Vic Falls Adventure Lodge
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