DAY 1 On arrival in the Okavango Delta, we will be met at Maun airport and transferred by air into the Moremi game Reserve. Once in the Moremi, a slow game drive to familiarise ourselves with the area and then into our first camp in good time to shower and unpack before sundowners and dinner.
DAY 2 Breakfast at dawn with the first light of day and then we head out in the safari vehicle for our introduction to some of the animals of the dry floodplain environment, looking for zebra, wildebeest, impala and predators such as wild dog and cheetah. Return to camp for lunch and a siesta. Head out for sundowners after consuming an embarrassingly large spread of tea and cakes. Park at the edge of a lagoon and watch herds of elephant and a myriad of birds coming down to drink whilst the sun sets. Return to camp for a sumptuous dinner.
DAY 3 After breakfast, take a slow drive to the lagoon’s edge and board a boat to explore the waters of the delta. The deep open lagoons provide a wonderful contrast in habitat after the dry forest areas and floodplains of our first camp. Putt along the maze of channels, stopping to admire rare birds and the diversity of aquatic life. Spot small crocodiles basking in the sun on sparkling white sandbanks and hippos jousting for territories with spectacular splashes and clashes of jaws and some serious dental equipment. Learn about the ecology of the waters and look at all the important components of the ecosystem. We stop for a picnic lunch on a sandy bank in the river and cool off at a safe swimming spot. Arrive at oour private, lantern-lit camp on an island, deep in the delta, just after sunset. Shower and relax around the fire before dinner under the stars. Sleep in a mosquito net tent and luxuriate in the freedom of a night in the open, surrounded by nature at her very best. DAY 4 Rise early, with the golden orb of the sun waking us gently from our sleep, and after a short walk around the island, hop back into our boat for a meander through the waterways, absorbing the tranquillity of the lagoons and narrow, papyrus-fringed, hippo trails. This will allow us to immerse completely in the incredible spectacles that the delta has to offer. Search out hippo and bathing elephants to understand the importance of the Okavango to these enormous and amazing creatures. Marvel at the majesty of elephants from only a few yards away as they wash and feed on the roots of aquatic plants. We wander back to the vehicles. Picnic and siesta in the arms of a giant shady baobab, dreaming and watching the clouds above. Spend the afternoon seeking out hyena dens and, as the day cools down, we watch for hunting cats. Head on to camp for a refreshing shower and splendid dinner.
DAY 5 After a hearty breakfast, we head out for the whole day to explore the wider area around our second camp. Search out the creatures and plants typical of the ecosystem and explore the interrelationships of species and the systems in which they live. Seek out the elusive predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard. Picnic and siesta under a shady mangosteen. Spend our afternoon leopard spotting, lion tracking, cheetah chasing and wild dog discovering. If we want to watch lions mating for two hours or prefer to watch bee eaters hawking insects on the wing then so be it. Return to camp for dinner - tired, but happy!
DAY 6 Say our farewells to the camp and transfer out of the Delta... Arrive at Jack’s Camp, pitched on a low grassland knoll amongst an oasis of dignified desert palms and Kalahari acacia. The camp’s hub is a romantic canvas pavilion of low spires and finials with a fluttering valance beneath its eaves and could be the site for a medieval jousting tourney were it not a deciduous green. Three poles support the main chamber where everyone meets for meals at a long communal dining table. Ten green roomy and stylish canvas tents with ensuite bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers (for those who want to feel the Kalahari breeze on their skin) have been fashioned in classical 1940’s style creating an oasis of civilization in what can be the harshest of stark environments… Persian rugs underfoot, cool cotton sheets and mahogany and brass campaign-style kit from the family safari stores form a striking contrast with the rugged wilderness viewed from the comfort of one’s own veranda.
After settling in to our tents we have a spot of Tiffin before driving into the grasslands and the beautiful evening light. We stop to watch the sun set over the glorious desert Makgadikgadi pans, the remnants of the world’s largest ever super lake. Return to camp for a lavish dinner in the elegant mess tent, a designated national museum of Botswana.
DAY 7 Set off in the morning to visit some of the Kalahari’s sexiest meerkats. (‘Timon’ to Lion King fans.) Get up close and personal with these captivating creatures. On chilly mornings, we might well find a meerkat snuggling up to us for warmth. Or, in the absence of a termite mound or tree, using our heads as a sentry lookout post. By spending quality time with these incredibly social, superbly adapted animals, we will be able to see how they interact with each other and their environment. We also get the chance to see the desert through the eyes of a meerkat – which, despite the fact that it’s only a foot off the ground, is a pretty spectacular vantage point, and definitely one of the most special and memorable game experiences you will encounter. After a picnic breakfast, we visit a remote cattle- post to learn about the traditional culture of the Batswana people. Close by is the famous Chapman’s Baobab (Also known as the Seven Sisters) which is acknowledged to be the third largest tree in Africa, and was the campsite of early explorers like Livingstone and Selous when they pioneered the area. This gives us an opportunity to gain a fascinating insight into the history of the early explorers. Return to camp for a rest and refreshing lunch.
After tea, travel down to the pans where we will be given a brief safety talk before mounting our trusty quad bike to head off across the pans. Watch the sun set and the stars rise. This is one of the only places in the world where the silence is so complete you can hear the blood circulating through your ears. There is not one visual landmark to be seen and one swiftly loses one’s sense of perspective, what a pleasure!
DAY 8 Early in the morning, comb the edge of the extinct lake shore to find some of the many stone tools and fossils that litter the pan surface and learn of the origins of early man. Return to camp for a huge brunch. After tea, head off in search of some unique desert species such as aardvark, bat eared foxes, aardwolves, and the elusive brown hyena, which is the third rarest large carnivore in Africa, with only about 8,000 in the wild. Brown Hyenas are the consummate desert specialists, surviving in arid areas where both food and water are scarce. A timid, nocturnal species rarely seen by humans, but in spite of being solitary foragers; they are very social animals, living in clans of up to 10-12 hyenas. Back to Jack’s Camp for dinner.
Day 9 Spend the morning walking with Zu/’hoasi Bushmen Trackers. Uncharted Africa who own and run Jack’s camp have pioneered and passionately supported cultural tourism in Botswana since the company’s inception 13 years ago. It has long been their belief that it is a vitally important tool in terms of preserving this unique, but sadly fast vanishing, culture. They have been working closely with the Zu/’hoasi people of the Western Kalahari for many years and are privileged to have a small group of these extraordinary men at their service to guide us on a morning’s walking safari. Offering a window into the past, they teach us how they have survived in this harshest of environments, using their vast and ancient knowledge of plants, animal behaviour and survival skills. For those of us who would prefer to spend a little less time exploring and little more time lounging – Jack’s Camp is perfectly adapted… Time for one more delectable lunch, before we bid farewell to the camp in preparation for our onward journey…