Botswana Adventure

Trip Code: UBKF

Why we love it

Spend 2 nights on a houseboat as your base for exploring the Okavango Delta, Drive through the Elephant Highway between Nata & Kasane, Relax on a sunset cruise along the Chobe River spotting bird life and hippos and watch the sunset with a sundowner in hand, Feel the raw power of mighty Victoria Falls followed by a local brew sample, Learn more about the Kalahari from the knowledgeable San people as they sing and dance by the campfire, Head out on a morning game drive in open 4WDs in the Chobe National Park, Explore the Makgadikgadi Pans; scenery, sundowners, Baobabs and Meerkats!

Is this trip right for me?

This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent (unless you’re on an Original or Comfort style trip), occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘big five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/africa/overland

This itinerary includes 2 nights on a house boat at the Okavango Delta. Cabins are very small and basic with shared facilities.

Our overland safaris do not necessitate exceptional fitness levels, but a general level of physical movement is required. For example, you need to judge yourself physically fit enough to handle entering and exiting our vehicles several times a day and must be prepared for some long travel days.

Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip. To see what you're missing out on check out our Amazing Southern Africa trip.

Botswana temperatures rise in the hot dry period of September and October before the rains hit and temperatures can get as high as 34-38°C. Not all accommodation will have air-conditioning. This is quite common across Africa, particularly in remote locations where lodges or camps operate on solar power or generators.

Botswana is a very seasonal destination. What you see and experience can differ quite dramatically depending on the time of year you visit. Please consider this before you choose your departure date. See the 'Climate and seasonal information' section of the Essential Trip Information for more details.

As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

You may also want to check out our Amazing Southern Africa trip if you have longer time to explore in southern Africa.

Important information

1.A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 3 & 4 (Houseboat) and Day 2 (Lodge) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.
3. Please make sure that passengers are aware that overland trucks used on this itinerary are not air-conditioned.
4. The weight of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the packing space and weight restrictions of the truck. The weight limit for luggage on all of our trucks is a maximum of 15-20kgs per person, plus a maximum of 5kgs for your day pack. Backpacks shouldn’t have an external frame unless it can easily be removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people’s luggage. We strongly advise passengers to travel with a backpack or a duffel bag, and it is essential that no hard suitcases be brought on tour. For valuables, like passports, we offer a safe on each vehicle that is shared by all passengers to keep their documentation safe during their journey.

What to bring/pack

We recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.

ESSENTIALS:
- Closed in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.
- Lightweight clothing. You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
- Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses.

RECOMMENDED:
- A good quality, high-beam headlamp or torch for around the lodges and permanent tented camps at night. Some properties have limited outdoor lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time.
- A waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening game activities when it can be cool.
- Warm fleece and beanie for morning and evening game drives.
- Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
- Insect repellent.
- Water bottle. We recommend at least a 1 litre capacity. Our vehicles have large tanks of treated water for refills.
- Camera with good zoom.
- Binoculars.

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate.
- A good book, a journal or smart phone with music (and a power bank).

LUGGAGE LIMIT:
Luggage is stored in a dedicated compartment at the back of our overland vehicles. Please keep your luggage to a minimum. One small soft-sided bag plus a day pack (no more than 15-20kgs in total per person) is essential. Please do not bring hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other passengers' belongings. If your trip is beginning and ending at the same location, excess luggage can usually be stored at your arrival/departure hotel and can be collected after your trip.

VALUABLES:
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. Use your hotel safes and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. airline tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:
We recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera and/or a power bank. Our overland vehicles are equipped with multiple power boards which may be used at the crew’s discretion. Bear in mind that only a minimal number of items can be charged at a time and will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and lodges have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.

CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR WOMEN:
When packing, be aware that there are a wide range of cultural differences for women in Africa. We recommend our travellers dress modestly, with skirts or shorts that reach just above the knee and tops that cover shoulders at a minimum. If visiting coastal areas wear a cover-up when you step off the beaches., PLASTIC BAG BANS ACROSS AFRICA
While Namibia holds people liable to a fine of N$500 or imprisonment for entering Game Parks with a plastic bag, Botswana has announced a countrywide ban on plastic bags to come into effect on 1 November 2018. The ban will make the importing, trading and commercial use of plastic bags a criminal offence. Exceptions will be made for plastics that are essential for health and hygiene. With these announcements, Botswana and Namibia join other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Eritrea that have banned plastic bags. South Africa imposed a levy on plastic bags in 2004 but they have not yet been banned.
Many countries are strictly enforcing this and have been searching luggage at border points. Camping stores are good for obtaining waterproof reusable bags, for dirty laundry etc, prior to departure.

Physical rating

 
2

A basic level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest. The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day.

Joining your group

Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel, 13 Jan Jonker, Windhoek, NAMIBIA, Phone: +264 61 209 0900

Situated in the upmarket suburb of Klein Windhoek, 30 minutes from Hosea Kutako International Airport, Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel is luxury accommodation in the Namibian capital. The intimate boutique hotel has only 41 rooms, ensuring that guests enjoy tailored, attentive and detail focused service at all times.The hotel’s elegant architecture wraps around a heritage building, creating an inviting courtyard. The hotel also features three upmarket lounge spaces, including the Sky Lounge, boasting panoramic views of the surrounding valley. Guests also have access to two upmarket restaurants and a delicatessen within the broader estate precinct.

Joining instructions

"An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall at the Information Desk, holding an Intrepid sign with your name. If you are unable to find your driver please phone +264 612 090 900. The driver will wait for 30 minutes after your scheduled arrival time. If you are delayed beyond one hour after your scheduled arrival time, please make your own way to the hotel.
If you miss your transfer please advise your group leader at your group meeting.

Metered Taxis are available just outside the arrivals area. The Windhoek airport is approximately 48 km from town so you should expect to pay anywhere from 380NAD to 450NAD.

Shuttle buses from the airport are the best option as they are generally safer, know where the hotels are and have fixed prices (as opposed to the taxis)."

Finishing your trip

Sprayview Hotel, Livingstone Way, Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE

Sprayview Hotel is located within walking distance of the town of Victoria Falls, restaurants and curio markets, and a short 15 minute walk to the falls themselves.Hotel facilities include swimming pool, 2 restaurants, 2 bars and WiFi. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, tea and coffee-making facilities, personal safes, hairdryers and universal plugs.

Shared departure transfers are available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Please speak to your booking agent for more information. If you have pre-booked a departure transfer, please ensure you have provided Intrepid with your departure flight details at least 15 days before the departure of your Intrepid trip.

The Sprayview s located 20kms north of the Victoria Falls International Airport - roughly 30 minute drive away. If you wish to take a taxi instead of a shared transfer, they are readily available and will cost upwards of USD$50. Alternatively, it is 20kms south of Livingstone Airport in Zambia but the drive can be much longer through town traffic - up to one hour. Taxis from Livingstone will cost upwards of USD$60.

If you are making your own way to the airport the hotel will be able to help book you a taxi. Please ask at reception.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 6

Dinners included: 7

Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.

For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.

Alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages are not part of included meals.

LODGE-PACKED MEALS:
There are a number of days on this itinerary where your breakfast or lunch will be a ‘packed picnic meal’ provided by our lodge. Packed meals usually consist of a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a juice, and a snack such as potato chips/crisps, nuts, muffin, or a muesli bar. On some days your crew will shop and prepare lunches themselves using the truck picnic gear and utensils. This usually happens when we have early morning game drives and want to get into the park by sunrise, are out in National Parks all day, or in some instances, en-route to our next destination when there is little or no alternatives.

Climate & seasonal information

Yes it is Africa, however the winter months can be very cold. Please bring warm winter clothing such as wool pullover and a jacket. Also consider thermals, gloves and a woolly hat.

WEATHER IN BOTSWANA
The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe are Botswana's most popular parks. The best time to visit them is from May to September, during the dry season and winter, resulting in more moderate temperatures. There is also less vegetation and animals tend to concentrate around waterholes and rivers, making wildlife easier to spot. The Okavango Delta is also in full flood. The skies are clear, rain is rare and there are fewer mosquitoes. It does get cold at night and in the mornings. Packing warm winter clothing during June, July and August for the cold morning game drives is advisable.

In September and October temperatures climb again, drying the landscapes and concentrating the game even more. However, October can feel very hot, with maximum temperatures sometimes approaching 40°C.
November is difficult to predict, as it can sometimes be a continuation of October's heat, whilst sometimes it's cooled by the first rains; it's always an interesting month.

November to April is known the wet Season and Summer. Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you'll still see plenty, including newborn animals and migratory birds. Except for January and February, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.

The water from the Angolan Highlands starts to push into the Delta in the late summer and early autumn months with winter offering the highest levels. The Okavango water levels start receding towards the end of the winter months and into spring, with the summer months offering up the lowest levels. Please be aware that this can affect some water activities such as mokoro or boat trips.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below:

Intrepid's local Operator: +27828229407

Accommodations

Botswana is becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations. Despite the influx of travellers, bed numbers are not being increased to match the demand. This intentional move is aimed at minimising the environmental impact of tourism and keeping the destinations exclusive. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult for us to confirm our allocation with our usual suppliers, particularly in peak season. We may use alternative accommodation which could affect driving times and distances listed in the Essential Trip Information. However we will always use properties of the same standard and ensure that no included activities will be affected.

If you require a Sleep Apnea Machine to sleep please ensure that it is battery operated. Lodges and Permanent Tented Camps are often powered by generators which are turned off during the night.

Transportation

Our trucks are purpose-built, self contained safari vehicles. Our fleet of vehicles varies depending on your group size, trip route and style. In Southern Africa some departures may use vans and luggage trailers subject to group size and vehicle availability. It is also important to note that our overland vehicles are not air-conditioned, but all vehicles have windows that can be opened to allow for fresh air.

There are many early starts with long hours spent driving on rough roads on all African itineraries. While most people love the chance to watch the changing landscape and daily village life, feedback shows that long periods of inactivity does not appeal to all clients. We provide the approximate distance covered each day and how many hours this normally takes to drive so that you can choose the safari experience that is right for you.

African conditions are extremely tough on vehicles. While we fastidiously maintain our vehicles at our workshops, you should not expect Africa to be your traditional touring experience. While it's certainly our aim to avoid them, it's important that you set off on your trip knowing that the occasional breakdown can happen and are best treated as part of the African adventure. Due to wet weather there may be times when we have to take an alternative route which will mean longer travel times.


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