Chobe National Park

True Wildlife Paradise

The Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s most popular safari destinations and has a uniqueness to it that only those that have visited can explain. Undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalled anywhere else in the country.

The elephant populations are abundant and the river front is littered with herds of buffalo, sable, lion and the occasional group of elusive roan antelope. The puku, an antelope that crosses the boundary between impala and red lechwe, finds its southernmost distribution here and is the only place to see them in Botswana.

The Chobe National Park is also a wonderful place to explore by boat, and for the keen ornithologist, species that may have not been picked up elsewhere, can be seen here, such as the African skimmer. As the dry season pushes into full flow, animals can be seen by the thousand, lining the banks for a desperate drink of thirst-quenching water, ever wary of the beady and calculating eyes of the huge Nile crocodiles found just out of sight, ready to strike at the first opportunity.

The most accessible and frequently visited of Botswana’s big game country, the Chobe Riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink.

During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. You may be surrounded by elephants, as the main Serondella road becomes impassable and scores of family herds cross the main road to make their way to the river to drink, bathe and play.


Linyanti

A Wetland Wildlife Paradise

The Linyanti lies within the Northwest corner of Chobe National Park, adjacent to the Linyanti River. It is a large reserve of around 308,000 acres.

This is an area of wetland wildlife paradise and with its proximity to the Chobe and the Okavango, boasts game as rich and diverse as both. The Linyanti is a body of water that touched 4 countries and has 5 names. In Angola, where its source lies, it is the Cuando. Through the Caprivi Strip it turns into the Mashi before carrying on into Botswana where it reverts to the Kwando, however after turning east it becomes the Linyanti Marsh, flooding Lake Liambezi, reminiscent of the Okavango, before further downstream being called the Chobe.

Whatever name one attributes to it, it is stunning and packed full of game. The area is limited to a number of four lodges and camps which creates a feeling of exclusivity and remoteness.

With a varied habitat of floodplains, woodlands, grasslands, exotic palm islands and scrub vegetation, comes a variety of wildlife; red lechwe, roan, sable, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, and waterbuck are often sighted along with a prevalent number of predators including lion, hyena, leopard, cheetah and wild dog. There are also thousands of elephants wandering around the Linyanti.

There is a good birdlife all year around including: wattled crane, African skimmer, Bennett’s woodpecker, swallow tailed bee-eater, bradfield’s hornbill, ostrich, and giant eagle owls.


Central Kalahari

Remote Wilderness As Far As The Eye Can See

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest most remotely situated game reserve in Southern Africa and second largest in the world. Totalling 52,800sq KMS it is 1/11th of Botswana’s total land area (size of Massachusetts). CKGR is unique in that it was originally established (in 1961) with the intention of serving as a place of sanctuary for the San, in the heart of the Kalahari (and Botswana), where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world.

The northern deception valley is one of the highlights, principally because of the dense concentrations of herbivores its sweet grasses attract during and after the rainy season (and of course the accompanying predators).

The landscape is dominated by silver Terminalia sand veldt, acacia sp. scrubland, and Kalahari apple leaf, interspersed with grasslands, and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and shallow fossil river valleys. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land.

The CKGR produces excellent predator densities and is one of the best places in Botswana to see cheetah. It is also well known for the magnificent black-maned lions.

Found here as well, is the brown hyena, wild dog, leopard, eland (Africa’s largest antelope), honey badger, wildebeest, jackal and caracal. Herds of gemsbok, springbok and wildebeest gather on the flat grasslands after the summer rain. At other times of the year, when the animals are more sparsely distributed, the experience of travelling through truly untouched wilderness, of seemingly unending dimensions, is the draw.


Makgadikgadi Pans

Desolate, yet Awe-Inspiring

Imagine if you will an area the size of Portugal, largely uninhabited by humans.

Its stark, flat, featureless terrain stretches it would seem to eternity, meeting and fusing with a milky-blue horizon. This is the Makgadikgadi – an area of 12 000 sq km, part of the Kalahari Basin, yet unique to it – one of the largest salt pans in the world.

The Makgadikgadi Pans are a desolate yet awe-inspiring area of nothingness and everything. The harsh environment of the pans changes from wet to dry season, and although only accessible by helicopter during the wet season, the dry season brings the opportunity to explore the pans in their full beauty.

To the north, the pans have a wonderful array of desert life, and their grasslands mark the point where the Kalahari meets their emptiness. Wildlife that can be seen here includes the reclusive brown hyena, the fascinating meerkat and the occasional cheetah.

The Makgadikgadi Pans can be explored by vehicle, on foot, or by quad bike, the latter being one of the best ways to investigate.

Groups go out and stay on one track, to avoid damaging the sensitive, crusty salt layer. There is the opportunity to sleep out in the pans, where one can see one of the only places on earth where the stars meet the horizon. This area is best explored between June and October.


Anthropological Safaris

Experience the Indigenous Culture of the Ju!hoasi Khoi San

Meet Your Indigenous Hosts on an Anthropological Safari

We have a special and longstanding relationship with the Ju!hoasi Khoi San after bonding with them instantly in early 2004. This bond was so strong, that one of the elders, Kgumxo Tiqao, bestowed his own name on Rob, signifying his status as the elder’s “grandson”. This elder also performed the wedding ceremony of Rob and Charlotte in 2016.

As a result of this relationship, the Ju!hoasi Khoi San welcome our Golden Africa guests to their homeland in Xai Xai, Western Kalahari, to experience an authentic, deeply immersive and unique 3-night expedition. This experience is an unmissable chance to be truly immersed in thousands of years of soon-to-disappear history and culture of the oldest living bloodline on earth.

The Ju!hoasi Khoi San of the Western Kalahari are a people with a strong rooted culture and traditions dating back millennia, due to very minimal contact with western civilization. The current grandparent generation is THE VERY LAST of the great line of knowledge gathering and information that was raised the traditional way. For various reasons, a knowledge gap exists between the grandparent and parent generations, and the parent and child generations, that is so wide that the knowledge will almost certainly be lost forever; it is not a science, it is an art.

The immense library of information that the elders of the Ju!hoasi Khoi San carry with them defies belief. Their tracking skills, so honed after decades of experience, are second to none. The hunting skills of the men and the foraging skills of the women in the harsh environment of the Kalahari ensure their survival. We don’t know how long this indigenous knowledge will endure, which is why the opportunity for this anthropological experience with Golden Africa is unmissable.

Just Imagine Having This Experience, as Told by Rob Barber:

“After a day spent sharing in the daily activities of the Ju!hoasi bushmen, you’ve showered, shared a meal with them and rested a bit, a mystical sound begins, just off in the distance, but close enough to invite you to join.

As you walk over to the Ju!hoasi Khoi San camp, the stars are out, the fire glows an eerie orange, the women are clapping and chanting, the men are dancing, the babies are silent, almost asleep, and you’re day’s journey from the nearest signs of formal civilization.

Soon enough, one of the men falls into a trance. The women control his movement through their perfect beat and beautiful voice, and he controls his level of trance through his breathing. Never has something felt so alien, and never have you felt so involved in anything so ancient and sacred.”

You can experience this wonderful group of ancient people in their environment through an immersive and interactive journey with us in the Kalahari. These experiences are curated with the utmost respect for our indigenous hosts, with all activities designed — with their participation– to honour their land and their culture.

A portion of each safari booked with Golden Africa is contributed to the Golden Africa Trust for youth empowerment and education programmes for the Ju!hoasi Khoi San. We established the Golden Africa Trust to address the community’s most significant challenges and to integrate cultural appreciation, conservation, gender equality and to empower the communities that we work with in Botswana to prosper from their cultural and wilderness heritage.

The challenges the community face have become more prevalent since the traditional Khoi San nomadic way of life, along with their skilful hunting practices, have been negatively affected by the onslaught of external cultural influences. If no action to preserve is taken of these cultural practices and skills, then we will lose portions of the world’s oldest heritage, accumulated over thousands of years and multiple generations, and intimate understanding of unmapped land, sustainable resource-use strategies, and human coexistence with a harsh environment.

The key to saving this knowledge is to ensure that the youth learn both the knowledge of their unique heritage and the skills needed to thrive in a modern world, which can function as the tools utilized to create their fusion of cultural identity and socioeconomic success.

In knowing their history and ancestry, we hope the youth will be the future leaders and luminaries of this mission in action.


Nxai Pan

The Africa Always Imagined

Situated to the northern edge of the Makgadikgadi, Nxai Pan National Park is a stunning area with great vistas of vast open plains, islands of acacia, all fringed by Kalahari scrub-land, and overseen by ancient, stately baobabs at the periphery; many describe it as the Africa they always imagined.

One of Botswana’s smallest National Parks, Nxai Pan is an amazing place to view exceptional game, and is the only place in Botswana where one can view impala side by side with springbok. It is a draw to many animals in the rainy season, seeking fresh grazing, and water.

The mighty zebra migration from the Linyanti, Chobe and Okavango pulls through here during the rainy season on its way south to the Makgadikgadi, for the fresh grazing towards the edge of the salt pans. The Best time to visit is February to April.

With such an array of plains game, including wildebeest, gemsbok, giraffe and elephants, there is also the draw of the predators. Nxai Pan stands alongside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve as being one of the best places in Botswana to see cheetah. Drawn by the huge herds of springbok, these athletic predators ensure only the fittest and strongest of the springbok and impala survive in this corner of the Kalahari. But just on their heels are the ever-present lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and jackals.

In recent years, there have been a few sightings of wild dog and rhino in the area, however, one is more likely to have the pleasure of seeing the quirky bat-eared fox, persistent honey badger, inquisitive brown hyena, and perched on many trees in the area, the common pale-chanting goshawk. Nxai Pan National Park is a great birder’s retreat, offering many desert species often seen in very few other places. From seasonally migratory eagles through to several species of resident kestrel, it is a great place to tick off many new birds.


Savuti

A Wilderness Haven

The site of Derek and Beverley Joubert’s amazing films “Ultimate Enemies” and “Eternal Enemies”, Savuti is a location of unfamiliar splendour. The Savuti Channel, which is fed from the Linyanti and has now been flowing on and off for a few years, following a 20 year dry period, boasts excellent wildlife viewing.

The Savuti Marsh sits further to the South-East and is a huge area dotted with old dead leadwood trees, and scattered with pockets of game roaming the endless plains. The marsh is easily accessible during the dry season and can become slightly boggy during the rains, but whenever you choose to go, you will be met with life at some stage, in some form, and undoubtedly fascinating.

Savuti has very strong lion, leopard and spotted hyena populations and the night sounds are always dotted by their quixotic calls. More recently, wild dog and cheetah sightings have been good.

Geographically, Savuti is an area of many curiosities. One of its greatest mysteries is the Savuti channel itself, which has over the past 100 year inexplicably dried up and recommenced its flow several times. This irregular water flow explains the numerous dead trees that line the channel, for they have germinated and grown when the channel was dry and drowned when the channel flowed again.


Habu

Awe Inspiring Beauty

Habu is a community run concession situated in the western Okavango Delta. As an area that is new to tourism, it is not currently visited by many people, making it the perfect destination for those wanting a more intimate and authentic safari experience.

The Habu area has a diverse population with Tswana, Herero, Mbukushu and Khoi San (bushmen) groups being predominant. Due to its diverse population groups, Habu holds a large amount of indigenous knowledge, and cultural heritage which can be experienced by visitors in the form of cultural interactions, traditional dances etc.

There is a variety of wildlife to be found here including elephant, impala, kudu, zebra, tsessebe, leopard, cheetah, aardvark, hyena and a healthy pride of lions which are seen regularly. During the wet season, buffalo and hippo are seen in large numbers. There is also a good variety of birdlife and some impressive ancient trees, including a very old baobab grove.


Khwai

Spectacular Variety of Wildlife

Khwai is an area that always conjures up something magical for everyone who visits. Whether it’s wild dog on the hunt, lions calling near camp, hyaena cubs playing at their den, or the very rare sighting of a cheetah passing through, being in your private camp in Khwai will be an experience you will never forget.

Set in the northeastern part of the Okavango, Khwai is a community-run concession based along the northern shore of the River Khwai, sitting between the Moremi Game Reserve and the Chobe National Park. It was formed by the local Khwai villagers when they moved out of the Moremi region when the Moremi Game Reserve was formed, and is managed by the Khwai Development Trust.

From riverine woodland to open savannah, from mopane scrub to leadwood thickets, there is an immense diversity of flora and fauna to be found in Khwai. With this diversity of habitat, comes a huge variety and abundance of wildlife.

The dry season of July to October brings many elephants down to the river, often numbering in the hundreds, as well as buffalo, which are often being tracked by lions in the area. Due to the large numbers of impala found in Khwai, the leopard and wild dog attracted to the area is excellent, and rarely does a safari in the area not encounter at least one of these. Occasionally we get to see the more timid antelope, roan and sable, come down through the mopane woodland towards the river, for a drink. There is a wide variety of birdlife, with occasional sightings of the Pel’s fishing owl; one of the most desirable birds on a birder’s list! Explore this piece of wilderness on game drives, night drives, mokoro excursions and on foot.

When not out exploring, we’ll relax in the comfort of our private camp watching what wildlife visits the tributary of the Mbudi river for a drink. With the ability to operate our own timetable with our private guide you will experience one of the finest safaris on offer.


Moremi

Raw African Wilderness

This gem of a National Park has garnered a number of important distinctions.

In 2008, it was voted the ‘best game reserve in Africa’ by the prestigious African Travel and Tourism Association.

Moremi Game Reserve is the first reserve in Africa that was established by local residents. Concerned about the rapid depletion of wildlife in their ancestral lands, due to uncontrolled hunting and cattle encroachment, the Batawana people of Ngamiland, under the leadership of the deceased Chief Moremi III’s wife, Mrs. Moremi, took the bold initiative to proclaim Moremi a game reserve in 1963.

It is the only officially protected area of the Okavango Delta, and as such holds tremendous scientific, environmental and conservation importance, and undoubtedly, Moremi ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa, possibly in the world.

Moremi Game Reserve is situated in the central and eastern areas of the Okavango, and includes the Moremi Tongue and chief’s island, boasting one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on the continent.

This makes for spectacular game viewing and bird watching, including all major naturally occurring herbivore and carnivore species in the region, and over 400 species of birds, many migratory and some endangered. Both Black and White Rhino have recently been re-introduced, now making the reserve a ‘Big Five’ destination.

Contained within an area of approximately 3,900 sq. kms, here land and water meet to create an exceedingly picturesque preserve of floodplains ? either seasonally or perennially wet, waterways, lagoons, pools, pans, grasslands and riparian, riverine and mopane forests. This terrain makes driving Moremi’s many loops and trails both delightful and, at times, totally inspiring.