Botswana Highlights

Trip Code: UBSZ

Why we love it

Enjoy a unique stay at Elephant Sands Lodge, where you can witness a herd of these magnificent creatures bath and drink in the natural waterhole only metres from your porch., Glide through the wildlife-filled waterways of the Okavango by mokoro, this traditional dug-out canoe is the best way to experience the delta up-close., Seek out pods of hippos wallowing in the waters and surround yourself with an abundance of birdlife on a 4WD game drive through Chobe National Park., Be welcomed into the villages of the Hambukushu and Xwe people in Namibia, and get the opportunity to observe their unique customs and way of life., Experience the rugged beauty of Botswana in comfort as you stay in meru-style permanent tents, lodges and hotels on this Original style trip.

Is this trip right for me?

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, which 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' section in ‘Essential 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.

Important information

1.This trip starts in Victoria Falls with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1 and ends mid-afternoon on Day 9. We recommend you do not book departing flights until post 7pm, allowing for any delays.
2.A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3.The minimum age for this trip is 15 at the time of travel. Any travelers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian, or in lieu of a legal guardian, by an escort over the age of 18, appointed by their legal guardian. The legal guardian or their designee will be responsible for the traveller under the age of 18 day to day’s care. If a legal guardian elects to designate an escort in their lieu, they will be required to complete and sign a relevant document, to delegate their authority.
4.Our operator has advised that customers with the J&J vaccine and no booster may have difficulty crossing the border into Botswana (and potentially Zimbabwe) without a negative test result. This information conflicts with various government travel advice websites. We recommend you check with your local consulate before travel to ensure you have the most up to date information.
5.Border crossing delays in the region have been sporadic and difficult to predict as travel rebounds. What takes an hour one day may take four hours the next. This may affect the order of activities in the itinerary. We understand this uncertainty can be frustrating, and we strongly recommend packing a bit of patience and flexibility.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, 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. As most of our trips include some bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. 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 sites at night. Some of these properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time.
- Waterproof/windproof jacket is a good idea for wet days, and early morning or evening activities when it can be cool.
- Warm fleece and beanie for morning and evening activities including game drives where applicable.
- Personal medical kit. Large kits will be on hand at the lodges and from your leader (on trips that have a dedicated trip leader) but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes and bandaids.
- Insect repellent.
- Water bottle. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Camera with spare battery or power bank.
- Binoculars

OPTIONAL:
- Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate.
- A good book, a journal or smart phone with music player.

LUGGAGE LIMIT:
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.We recommend against bringing hard/externally framed suitcases as they are difficult to store and can damage equipment and other travellers' 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, and use your hotel safe. 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. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

BATTERIES/POWER:
Our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery or powerbank just in case.

CONSERVATIVE DRESS FOR WOMEN:
In many parts of Africa women travelers should dress modestly as there is a wide range of cultural differences. Wear 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

3

A basic level of fitness is required to be able to enjoy this trip to the fullest.

Joining your group

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.

Joining instructions

A shared arrival transfer is available for pre-booking through Intrepid. Please speak to your booking agent for more information. If you have pre-booked an arrival transfer, please ensure you have provided Intrepid with your arrival flight details at least 15 days before the departure of your trip. On arrival, please look out for our representative holding a board with your name at the arrival terminal.

If you have any problems locating your driver, please contact our local Southern Africa office - PEAK Southern Africa - in Johannesburg on: +27 828229407

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.

Finishing your trip

Sprayview Hotel, Livingstone Way, Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE

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: 8

Lunches included: 2

Dinners included: 2

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, however your diet may be limited more than you are used to. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.

Meals will often be limited to what is on offer at the lodge we stay at due to the remoteness of the area.

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

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

This trip is operated in a 16 seater van.


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