Botswana: The River Less Taken

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MARNUS BOTHA curates an itinerary for a wildlife safari on the Okavango Delta, a World Heritage site, in Botswana, southern Africa. He claims more people have summitedMount Everest than navigated the Trans-Okavango.

Title of the itinerary
The river less taken.

Locations to be covered
The trip starts and ends in Johannesburg/Pretoria in South Africa en-route to the Martins Drift border crossing between South Africa and Botswana.

Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Kubu Island on the Makghadikghadi Pans and Maun in the Okavango Delta in Botswana are the main attractions. Arriving in Maun, we will have a rest day to prepare for the Trans-Okavango. The Trans-Okavango stretches from Shakawe in the north to Maun in the south. It covers roughly 400kms of unspoiled wilderness through some of the best wildlife areas in southern Africa.

Duration
The entire duration of the trip is around 12 days, but can be extended to include more destinations to and from the Trans-Okavango. The Trans-Okavango takes six days with the remaining six days spent at other places mentioned along the route.

Best time to go
One in June and July as water levels are too low at other times of the year in the delta.

Transportation
We travel in luxury 4x4s – Nissan Patrol and Toyota Land Cruiser – when on ground and aluminium T-Craft boats during the Trans-Okavango. The guides from AdventureMerc are also the guides and drivers to ensure safety and client satisfaction.

Highlights
You get ample photographic opportunities along the way from rhinos at the sanctuary to red sunsets through baobab trees over endless stretches on the Makghadikghadi Pans – as well as the

unspoiled nature and wildlife of the Trans-Okavango. Resting and relaxing at the pool with a cold beverage is the order of the day at the Island Safari lodge before and after the Trans-Okavango.

Accommodation along the way
We stay in 3-star lodges in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary; the Island Safari Lodge is also 3-star. There is semi-luxurious camping on the Kubu Island. Camping during the Trans-Okavango is wild camping with the emphasis on wild. This is how one gets the best opportunities to capture nature in all its raw beauty.

General tips for travellers
* Visa: Check if you need visas to South Africa and Botswana.
* Currency: Rand in South Africa and Pula in Botswana.
* Safety: This is of topmost importance for AdventureMerc’s. Every safety measure is taken throughout the trip with radios, satellite phones and an expedition medical kit. Personal medical insurance and malaria medicine is recommended.
* General personal safety: This must be taken into consideration when entering a wild big 5 territory. Wear safari clothing suited for the environment and also to blend with the environment. Sunscreen helps as southern Africa can get hot in the day even as temperatures drop at night.
* Packing: Travel light, and carry accessories like flashlights and personal medication. All other expedition gears are provided by AdventureMerc.
* Tipping: You are expected to tip the guides, porters and cooks – recommended is upwards of US$ 10 per day for each depending on service.

Estimated costs
This itinerary with accommodation mentioned works out to be about US$ 1,800 per person for a group of 6-8 people. This includes all transport, meals, border crossings, accommodation, park fees, concession fees, game drives, guide fees and other expedition related costs. Flights to and from South Africa, personal medical insurance, visa fees, alcoholic beverages, souvenirs  and other personal expenses are not covered.

Travel with Marnus Botha
Marnus, the founder of AdventureMerc, is a tour guide, adventurer and expeditionist for hire. Marnus has done it all – climbed Kilimanjaro, navigated the Trans-Okavango, traversed the European Alps in Europe and explored the jungles and oceans of Central America. Join him on his next journey at http://adventuremerc.com.

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