Botswana’s Timeless Wilderness
Big Game, Splendid Isolation
A 12 Day Adventure
If we had to pick the most miraculous African place of all, it might well be the Okavango Delta, where the 1,000-milelong Okavango River gives up on its search for an outlet to the sea and seeps lifegivingly into the sands of one of the world’s most uncompromising deserts, creating a vast and mesmerizing oasis. As Frans Lanting wrote in his elegiac book Okavango: Africa’s Last Eden, “The [Delta’s] very existence in the middle of the Kalahari Desert is nothing short of miraculous . . . like a dream.”
Botswana’s wilderness is expansive and—to our scurrying senses—timeless, and the Okavango isn’t its only dreamy place. Our under-two-week safari takes us to three others, right up near the top of African marvels: Chobe National Park and, up near the Zambian border, the exemplary Moremi Wildlife Reserve, quite close to another phenomenon of miraculous rarity, Victoria Falls.
Day 1 En route.
We begin our adventure as we wing to South Africa.
Day 2 Johannesburg
After arriving at O. R. Tambo International, we’ll be escorted to the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa in Johannesburg’s tree-lined suburb of Sandhurst. This luxury hotel has much to be proud of but says, touchingly, that its greatest “boast” is that the late Nelson Mandela chose the Saxon as his sanctuary at which to complete his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Tonight, we’ll also enjoy dinner at the home of Micato family friends.
Days 3 & 4 The Okavango Delta
Our base in the Delta is Xugana Island Camp, exactly the camp of an Okavango dream: brainily constructed, logically luxurious, set on a lush, wild ebony tree–shaded island overlooking a lagoon much frequented by animals and birds, permeated by peace and quiet, a lagoon considered by many the lagoon of all Okavango lagoons. We’ll explore the Delta’s complex waterways by mekoro, or canoe, and on foot, accompanied by well-versed guides.
At some point we may experience “one of the Okavango’s delights,” as Lanting wrote, “the sheer surprise of seeing an elephant emerge from underwater”; we’ll certainly see many elephants, lots of bobbing hippos, sun-bathing crocodiles, lounging (and hard at work) lions, and scores more creatures large and small.
VIEW MORE DAYS
Days 5 & 6 Chobe National Park
A quick flight takes us to Chobe’s semi-arid Savute region, famous for its aforementioned exceptionally large and numerous elephants, for its lofty baobabs, and for its Kalahari mystique (operative day and night; Laurens van der Post wrote in The Lost World of the Kalahari about the “night silence in Africa [that] always holds the far sea-sound of urgent stars”).
Savute Safari Lodge, set beside the once-dry, now wonderfully watery Stolen River—frequented by thirsty beasts of all varieties, chummily visible from our verandas—is a fine base for exploring Chobe, for immersing ourselves in a still fiercely wild—but not in the least bit unfriendly—place, one of the great earthly deserts, unique, abiding.
Days 7 & 8 Moremi Wildlife Reserve
Another short flight takes us north to the Khwai River and Machaba Camp, designed in classic 1950s safari style, so well suited to its surroundings that animals wander down to the river insouciantly, delighting us as we watch, sundowner in hand, from our tents. And, not to be outdone by Chobe, Moremi gives us the chance to see the huge African night sky that ever captivated Elspeth Huxley, a sky “bristling with innumerable stars, as close-packed as the quills on a porcupine.”
Days 9 & 10 Victoria Falls
The Royal Livingstone Hotel and Victoria Falls draw nearly universal praise, so here we’ll repeat something a good friend of ours once said: “Victoria Falls is billed as one of the world’s greatest waterfalls, but, as a matter of fact, it’s one of the world’s greatest anythings.”
Days 11 & 12 Johannesburg & onward
We fly from the Falls to Johannesburg and connect with our international flight home, arriving on Day 12.
“The word wonderful does not fit into science, for from one point of view every natural occurrence is as wonderful as another. But we are justified in using the term when we meet a phenomenon which is such an exception to the ordinary rules of nature that it appears to be a miracle.”
Eugene N. Marias
The Soul of the Ape
Camps & Lodges
Moremi Reserve, Botswana
Visitors to Machaba Camp are charmed by its extraordinarily airy and fresh tents, by its eventful and rewarding game drives in the Moremi Reserve, by the reserve’s profound quietude and riverine beauty, but they invariably praise the blissful, only-in-Africa experience of sitting at ease on the veranda of their tent, watching elephants, hippos, lions, giraffes, and a host of less-celebrated but equally fascinating animals as they pay a visit to the Khwai River in the warm evening.
An old-fashioned, colonial-style redoubt, fully up-to-the-second, one of T+L’s Best Hotels in the World, the Royal Livingstone would be a sought-after destination even if it weren’t within strolling distance of ceaselessly stunning Livingstone.
Savute Safari Lodge
Situated on the banks of Botswana’s fabled Stolen River, Savute Safari Lodge is a traditional thatched safari lodge in a setting of singular beauty. (The Stolen has been stolen and given back by the vagaries of the Savute Channel; it now flows merrily only a few hundred feet from the lodge. This is a centuries-long geo-story, but the upshot is a landscape of rich marshes and teeming wildlife, all visible from Savute Safari Lodge’s signature glass doors and viewing decks.)
The Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa
The Saxon embodies the best of South Africa’s charm, and is deserving of its status as one of the leading boutique hotels in the world. Priding itself on fantastic service, stunning African decor and indulgent accommodations, no detail is left unconsidered at this exclusive six-acre escape in Johannesburg’s most exclusive suburb. Three pools, a luscious spa and fabulous grounds add to this world-class experience. It’s no wonder Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography there.
Xugana Island Camp
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Marvelously emplaced in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Xugana Island Lodge is an eight-room luxury lodge nestled under a canopy of wild ebony and garcina trees facing the calm blue waters of Xugana Lagoon, a paragon of the Delta’s allure. Xugana’s secluded location in a private concession gives us a chance to explore via guided canoe excursions and walking safaris; birding here is spectacular and the fishing sublime.
Dates & RatesDeparts Saturday, returns Wednesday
Land Arrangements, per person (2017)
To and from Home | Every date is a guaranteed departure
Jan. 21 – Feb. 01
Feb. 11 – Feb. 22
Feb. 25 – Mar. 08
Mar. 18 – Mar. 29
Apr. 01 – Apr. 12
Apr. 15 – Apr. 26
May 13 – May 24
May 27 – Jun. 07
Jun. 10 – Jun. 21
Jun. 24 – Jul. 05
Jul. 08 – Jul. 19
Jul. 22 – Aug. 02
Aug. 19 – Aug. 30
Aug. 26 – Sep. 06
Sep. 02 – Sep. 13
Sep. 16 – Sep. 27
Sep. 30 – Oct. 11
Oct. 14 – Oct. 25
Nov. 11 – Nov. 22
Nov. 25 – Dec. 06
Dec. 23 – Jan. 03
Dec. 30 – Jan. 10
To and from Home | New rates and dates may apply
Jan. 20 – Jan. 31
Feb. 10 – Feb. 21
Feb. 24 – Mar. 07
Mar. 17 – Mar. 28
Mar. 31 – Apr. 11
Apr. 14 – Apr. 25
May 12 – May 23
May 26 – Jun. 06
Jun. 09 – Jun. 20
Jun. 23 – Jul. 04
Jul. 07 – Jul. 18
Jul. 21 – Aug. 01
Aug. 18 – Aug. 29
Aug. 25 – Sep. 05
Sep. 01 – Sep. 12
Sep. 15 – Sep. 26
Sep. 29 – Oct. 10
Oct. 13 – Oct. 24
Nov. 10 – Nov. 21
Nov. 24 – Dec. 05
Dec. 22 – Jan. 02
Dec. 29 – Jan. 09
Make it Private
Botswana’s Timeless Wilderness can be transformed into a fully private trip for a family or a group of friends. You’ll have your own Tour Director and your pick of departure dates. Contact our experts or your travel advisor to find out how to make this tour a private journey.
Options & Extensions
While you’re in the area, you might be interested in this fine extension. Our travel specialists can work them into your itinerary.
An angel's eye view of a heavenly landscape
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An Opportunity to Change a Life
Every Micato traveller is given the opportunity to change the course of a life. We invite guests to spend an extra day in Nairobi and visit one of our AmericaShare projects in the slums, learn of the challenges, meet the orphaned and vulnerable children and be inspirited to help.
A Rare and Breathtaking Experience
The soft mists prevail here as they did when Dian Fossey wrote her legendary book Gorillas in the Mist. And the creatures that drew Dr. Fossey are the same ones which beckon to us: rare and endangered Mountain Gorillas.
Cosmopolitan and captivating
A beautiful mix of natural and man-made pleasures, Cape Town is Africa’s treasure for good reason. This perfect post-safari sojourn yields a winning blend of top city sights, sophisticated dining, luscious winelands, and more.
Exploring the Isles of Spices
Zanzibar. It’s perfumed air caresses travellers with scents of the spices that have grown in abundance throughout the island since time began. Exotic and enchanting, this Indian Ocean isle allures travellers with a personality and pace all its own—just a short hop from mainland Tanzania, but a world away. The name alone conjures a romantic daydream. Meandering streets are lined with whitewashed houses and reminders of Swahili influence; the air is redolent of the spices grown here for centuries. From the lush Jozani Forest to bustling Stone Town, Zanzibar is an island paradise ripe for exploration.