Buffalo Thorn Tour

Classic Botswana safari with diversity in the Okavango and Linyanti

Typical activities on this tour

Game Drives
Night Drives
Trackers
Boating Safaris
Mokoro Safaris
Walking Safaris
Canoeing
Fishing
Bushmen

Highlights

This is what you will see

What do we think?

This 12 night 6 lodge tour is an extension to our popular Fever Berry tour and offers the same great value.

Visiting 6 quality lodges, the tour initially takes you through Chobe National Park, staying on the Chobe floodplains with game drives and sunset boat cruises. Next on to a private concession in Linyanti, and a second private concession in the central areas of the Okavango Delta. These camps provide you with a diversity of vegetation in exceptional game viewing areas where the focus is on wildlife viewing.

Your 4th lodge is amongst the permanent waterways of the south central Okavango Delta regions where the emphasis is on water activities and the tranquillity of the Delta itself.

The extension of this tour takes you to the arid areas of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and then finally on to Nxai Pan National Park. Both regions are completely different to those of the northern areas offering a total contrast in flora and fauna.

This tour will give you the broadest spectrum that Botswana offers, staying in quality camps with all transfers being by light aircraft.

Your Itinerary

Chobe Elephant Camp
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Chobe Elephant Camp
View the Lodge
Chobe Elephant Camp
View the Lodge
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Located high on the edge of a rocky ridge overlooking the famous Chobe River is the newly developed Chobe Elephant Camp. This uniquely designed lodge has been built to take advantage of the incredible views overlooking the sweeping floodplains while offering a comfortable refuge from the harsh African conditions. Built from the same red Kalahari sands that dominate the northern part of Botswana, this eco-friendly lodge is ideally positioned to take advantage of everything this incredible destination has to offer. Be it the spectacular wildlife that the Chobe River is famous for, or the opportunity to interact with the local Sibuya Tribe who live within this wildlife haven, Chobe Elephant Camp offers its guest a true African adventure. The lodge has been entirely constructed from sandbags, the thick sand-filled walls create a natural insulating barrier between the inhabitants and the harsh African climate and enhance the old farm-style feel of the camp. Chobe Elephant Camp has been designed to capture the feel of the traditional Farmstead located in the African wilderness. Polished floors, exposed wooden beams and weathered furniture capture the feel of rustic charm. Mix this with some contemporary style and the lodge has a unique feel of old meets new and offers the guests something different and unique.

Days 1 and 2 – all inclusive
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Lagoon is perched on the banks of the wild Kwando River, overlooking the Mudumu National Park in the Namibian Caprivi Strip. The camp is nestled beneath towering ebony and marula trees and accommodates up to 16 guests in eight traditionally styled ‘tents.’ The heavily forested site is home to a wide variety of birds and mammals, while elephant and hippo are normally visible from the camp. The stunning views and close proximity of wildlife all contribute to the pervading sense of calm at Lagoon. Lagoon underwent a complete rebuild and was re-opened in March 2011. Nestled under ebony and marula trees the spacious, thatched covered rooms are the perfect place to relax during the day and soak up the atmosphere while looking across the lagoon towards Namibia. The thatched main area of the camp is multi-level, the top area being the library which almost always has a breeze sweeping through. The main area was designed to fit perfectly into the natural landscape and allow views of the river and wetlands from all areas. Just past the bar/lounge area is the plunge pool, and it’s a short meander to the deck where a comfortable swing chair awaits.

Days 3 and 4 – all inclusive
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The Camp is located on Pom Pom Island in a private concession situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta and on the head waters of the Xudum river system. The area lies on the western boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve and offers superb Okavango scenery and a true Okavango wilderness experience. The lodge is placed overlooking a scenic lagoon and is nestled under a grove of shady trees. The main living area is a large and open plan structure of gumpole and thatch with wooden decked floors. Plenty of seating is provided consisting of fabric armchairs and settees with wooden chairs and tables spread out. In the central area is a small but well stocked curio shop. To the other side of this large structure is the dining area with a long table which takes advantage of the open front and the views. At the front of the living area and down to the ground is a fire pit and seating which stands close to the waterways, here you will be invited to join other guests for an evening drink around the fire. Around to the side is a plunge pool with decking and sun loungers.

Days 5 and 6 – all inclusive
Gunns Camp
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Gunns Camp
View the Lodge
Gunns Camp
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Overlooking the legendary Chiefs Island and bordering the Moremi Game Reserve, Gunn’s Camp is one of the last few remaining luxury, vintage safari camps. Set under leafy palms and African Ebony to blend naturally with its unique surroundings, Gunn’s Camp achieves a fine balance of comfort without isolating guests from the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Gunn’s Camp is the sister camp of Moremi Crossing Camp and sits closeby. The camp is leading the way in making the Okavango Delta as environmentally friendly as possible. The camp runs off a massive solar-panel, which feeds power to the entire camp. Hot water is supplied through a state-of-the-art solar-heated geyser system, delivering hot water to each room. The accommodation offered at Gunn’s Camp consists of 6 fully furnished, deluxe Kenya-style meru tents with en-suite bathrooms featuring standalone baths and outside private showers. Set on raised platforms overlooking the delta plains Gunn’s Camp is ideal for honeymooners or guests looking for a more intimate and personalized safari experience. All 6 tents are discretely set within the densely treed island ensuring privacy and tranquility. Each has been traditionally furnished with an eclectic mixture of solid wood and African furniture and offers a lounge area as well as private veranda.

Days 7 and 8 – all inclusive
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Tau Pan accommodates up to eighteen guests in specially designed thatched units on raised decks. The camp offers truly incredible views from the ridge of an ancient sand dune, an unusual experience in a land as flat as Botswana, and overlooks the famous Tau Pan – recognised for its stark beauty and remoteness. This, the first safari camp to be built in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, is a model of environmental sensitivity. As with its sister camp, Nxai Pan, Tau Pan has been constructed with the delicate ecologies in mind. Both utilise only solar power for the generation of electricity, heating of water and pumping of water from deep under the Kalahari sands. Waste water is treated in a state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plant and the fully treated water is returned to the sands from whence it came. This camp is similar to design and build as Nxai Pan Lodge, in that it is built with solid walls and thatch but with a very open feel. The main living area is the central point of course, but the accommodation stretches out in an imposing fashion and takes full advantage of the spectacular views of the Kalahari scrub in front of camp. Like Nxai Pan, the lodge is a long narrow curve completely open at the front for the views over the decking. Also similarly, there is a large dining area at one end and a bar at the other although this lodge feels bigger and the furniture is more African in style and less modern in nature.

Days 9 and 10 – all inclusive
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Nxai Pan Camp is located on the western edge of the fossil pan from which the camp takes its name. The camp faces east over the open grasslands of the pans and accommodates a maximum of eighteen guests in thatched units specially designed to provide a constant and comfortable temperature throughout the year, when seasonal temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to well over 45 degrees Celsius. Excellent game viewing is possible from the comfort of your rooms as the water hole in front of the camp draws a multitude of mammal species. Activities offered at Nxai Pan are game drives, day trips to the famous Baines’ Baobabs and Khama Pan, star gazing, as well as nature walks with Bushman trackers. This is a unique lodge and in many ways it is different to its more traditional counterparts in the Delta. Nxai Pan camp was opened in 2009 and is the only permanent camp situated within the Nxai Pan National Park. The long curved thatch structure has a solid wall to the rear but is open to the front and utilises the decking outside perfectly to create a very open air feel. The structure itself curves around a feature sandy fire pit area outside that has chairs for you to relax and enjoy the spectacular evenings in the this unique region. The whole lodge looks out over the short grasslands of the Pans.

Days 11 and 12 – all inclusive
Maun

Today your safari ends and you exit by light aircraft to Maun in time for your international departures or onwards travel.

Day 13

Map

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Vic Falls

Any of our tours can start or end at the amazing Vic Falls.

Here you can book accommodation close to the Falls themselves, or spend time on the mighty Zambezi River with a visit to the Falls included. We will take care of all the transfers to your accommodation.

Check out our Vic Falls options below.

2023 Pricing

This tour is all inclusive of the following

Please do remember to contact us to see if we can reduce this price for you, there may well be some specials on…!

Prices are per person per night… contact us for single traveller prices.

January to March

$7,724

April to June

$9,626

July to October

$11,264

1 Nov to 14 Nov

$9,626

15 Nov to 30 Nov

$8,050

December

$7,924

When are you travelling?

Temperature C° 19 – 32
Rainfall average (mm) 110

Delta & North

Peak breeding time for many of the colourful migrant bird species. Excellent wild flowers, brilliant green foliage, constant sounds day and night, from insects and birds. The bush is alive. January is in the middle of the rainy season with spectacular afternoon thunder storms and warm days (average 30˚C plus) and nights (20˚C plus).

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The short grasses on the fossil river valleys begin to grow rapidly in the middle of the rainy season, attracting the herds of gemsbok, springbok and red hartebeest onto the valley floors. The salt pans are inundated with rain water and at Nxai Pan, thousands of zebra inhabit the pan providing a constant source of protein for the resident lion prides.

Temperature C° 19 – 31
Rainfall average (mm) 80

Delta & North

Ripe figs are eaten by many species including the fruit bats who make interesting night sounds while feeding. Water lilies flowering peak – colourful and noisy reed frogs – the Okavango Delta is brilliant, noisy and alive. With the rainy season all plants are growing actively, butterflies, birds, frogs and all the small creatures are at their most active and at their best. The rains continue in afternoon thunder storms with dramatic skies and sounds. Temperatures range up to 40°C but average above 30°C with warm nights (20°C plus)

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The Bat Eared fox young and other canids begin to forage for the first time and as they accompany their parents, they provide entertaining viewing as they attempt to hunt anything that vaguely resembles prey. The Katydid grasshopper populations are at their peak during their mating season and their distinct three phrase call dominates the hours of night. The predominant desert predators, lion and cheetah, are seen often as they inhabit the pans and river valleys, hunting the grazing herds at their leisure.

Temperature C° 18 – 32
Rainfall average (mm) 70

Delta & North

The mighty Zambezi is in full spate and river rafting is often closed now. The Victoria Falls are as powerful as they can be and very dramatic, truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world. In Botswana, the Marula trees fruit attract their attendant bull elephants, who wonder from tree to tree in search of their favourite mealsThe start of the rutting season leads to the sleek and fat impala males snorting and cavorting to attract females. Temperatures are still warm both day and night but the air is drier and the rains less frequent.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

A late summer afternoon, with the last clouds of the rainy season beginning to dissipate, the male barking geckos emerge to woo the females with a short three to four syllable barking sound. At Nxai Pan, the zebra have begun to move again, drifting in smaller herds towards the permanent water sources and winter grazing along the Boteti River, in the Makgadikgadi.

Temperature C° 14 – 31
Rainfall average (mm) 25

Delta & North

The first signs that the times are changing. Night time temperatures drop to below 20°C on average but day temperatures continue to rise up to 40°C on some days. The cooler mornings, with high relative humidity, lead to wonderful early morning mists over the waters. The impala rut is in full swing and the challenges continue right through the night with dramatic clashes between rival males.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

There is a distinct chill in the night air now, together with the distinct chirp of the rain locust. Any surface water left from the rains has already dried up and while there is still good grazing on the open pans, mammals, birds and reptiles are preparing for the long dry season ahead. At Nxai Pan, the numbers of mammals at the water hole continues to grow as the rain fed water holes are mostly dry.

Temperature C° 9 – 28
Rainfall average (mm) 7

Delta & North

Flood waters from Angola start to reach the top of the Okavango Delta and begin their slow and deliberate progress through this vast wetlands system. With rains past and atmosphere much drier, the nights are cooler with temperatures averaging 15°C, while day temperatures – though still warm – have lost their edge and maximum temperatures seldom exceed 35°C.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The gemsbok females now seperate themselves from the herds as they prepare to give birth to young that look nothing like the adults. During the game drives, the young calves, which more closely resemble a red hartebeest or tsessebe, may be seen for brief periods when they come out of their hiding places to suckle. The atmosphere is increasingly dry, and the nights cooler with temperatures averaging 15°C, while daytime temperatures, though still warm, have lost their edge and maximum temperatures seldom exceed 30°C.

Temperature C° 6 – 25
Rainfall average (mm) 3

Delta & North

June is a time of excitement! The wild dogs begin to search for their annual den and our guides spend time seeking out their sites. Once they have denned, these rare animals will be easy to find for 3-4 months as they hunt from their den. Temperatures have dropped to their coldest by the end of June, with night temperatures reaching as low as 5°C.Some green bushes and trees have scattered their leaves but many are almost bare. Seasonal waterholes are beginning to dry up.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The traditional yellows and greys of the Kalahari landscape dominate as any sign of the rains have passed. The Silky Bushmen grass on the edges of the pans sparkles in the dawn light after the first frost of the year. This is winter in the Kalahari and has to be experienced to be believed. It is a time of harsh and arid beauty when one can truly understand the incredible adaptations made by a multitude of species of plants, birds, mammals and reptiles in order to survive.

Temperature C° 6 – 25
Rainfall average (mm) 0 

Delta & North

The Delta floods arrive. The paradox is obvious: the flood arrives when dust and dryness pervade and the rains have long gone. The leaves continue to fall from the trees and the grasses are getting drier and shorter every day. This means that visibility for game viewing is excellent. The nights are still cold but the days are warm and pleasant. This is the typical Botswana weather, sunny and clear. More and more animals congregate near the water and flood plains for grazing

Salt Pans & Kalahari

No surface water exists in this ‘thirst land.’ The many species that survive here – including human beings – have adapted to utilise varied sources of drinkable liquid including the early morning dew, succulent plants, natural springs and even the blood of their prey. This is the Kalahari of legend.

Temperature C° 9 – 28
Rainfall average (mm) 0

Delta & North

The herds are getting larger and limited access to the water leads to tension between the breeding herds of elephant and the nights are filled with elephant sounds. The bush is bare and the dust pervades but there is abundant action and amazing sightings. The floods have passed through the Delta and now reach Maun. Thousands of herons, storks and other breeding birds start to congregate at the Gadikwe heronry.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

At this time, the larger herds disperse into smaller groups as they spread out into the desert seeking out grazing or browsing. The predators will follow them and ‘survival of the fittest’ best describes the mentality of desert inhabitants during the dry season. Daytime temperatures eventually rise to a pleasant mid 20°C but the temperatures at night can fall to below 0°C! Gloves, thermals and hats are the standard for early morning and evening drives!

Temperature C° 13 – 33
Rainfall average (mm) 0

Delta & North

The climate has changed and winter is all but gone. Night temperatures rise rapidly within the month and by month end, the averages reach 15°C plus at night and day temperatures soar well in the 30’s°C. The sun shines, the skies are clear and it is really dry and hot. Unbelievably, the elephant concentrate in still greater numbers as do the buffalo herds keeping the predators well fed as the season takes its toll on the prey species.The water levels have slowly started to drop as the waters from Angola have completed their trek.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The end of August sees a very rapid change in temperature and in the blink of an eye, the winter is a distant memory. At this time the first of the famous black-maned lions begin to call again with a sense of urgency as they gather the pride females. After the last few months of a mostly solitary life for the pride members, foraging for scarce prey over vast areas, it is time to renew bonds and to reclaim the pride’s territory.

Temperature C° 18 – 35
Rainfall average (mm) 30

Delta & North

It is hot, really hot! But never will you experience game viewing like this. It is well worth the sweat. Day temperatures rise regularly above 40°C and nights are warm with averages in the low 20’s°C. ‘Start early and leave late’ is the answer. This aversion to the midday heat is common to both people and animals alike. Animals are only active at first light and late in the day. Many species even begin to feed at night!

Salt Pans & Kalahari

This is the hottest month in the region and no where is this dry heat as brutal as the Kalahari! Temperatures can soar into the mid to high 40°C and night time temperatures are over 20°C. Even the winds are hot and not a drop of moisture is left in the soil or plants as these desert winds scour the landscape. Mammals are generally active in the early morning and early evening in an effort to conserve as much energy as possible. Strangely, the Kalahari at this time is a patchwork of greens, yellows, whites and greys as the newly flowering acacias and yellow grasses create a vivid contrast to the lighter sands and dry bushes

Temperature C° 19 – 34
Rainfall average (mm) 50

Delta & North

The expectation (or rather the desperation) for rain dominates all discussions. People and animals all await an end to the dryness, dust and oppressive heat. Temperatures remain high both day and night. With the arrival of the rains comes an almost tangible relief. The herds begin to disperse to seek new grazing and will now begin to drink from the seasonal pans. The birthing season begins with the tsessebe , followed by the impala and red lechwe. The predators, such as wild dog and cheetah,  seek out these vulnerable young.

Salt Pans & Kalahari

There is a subtle difference from the last few months. The inhabitants of the desert clearly notice this change too. Springbok will not be feeding but instead will jostle with each other and pronk, seemingly excited and reptiles and insects are seen more regularly as they become increasingly active. There is a tension in the air which increases through the month as the first clouds appear on the horizon. The night skies are lit with brilliant displays of lightening and massive cloud formations.

Temperature C° 19 – 32
Rainfall average (mm) 95

Delta & North

The abundant protein rich grass feeds the mothers of the young antelope, while the lambs and calves grow at an astounding rate. The impala complete their lambing as the wildebeest begin and the rains become more regular with thunder storms every few days. The pans remain full and the bush colours are radiant in brilliant greens. The grasses begin to grow high and while the grazers enjoy the green tender mouthfuls, the stalking predators are becoming increasingly visible in their lighter winter camouflage

Salt Pans & Kalahari

The smell of the first raindrops on dry African soil is one that you will never forget. Almost overnight, the landscape changes: colours are bright and vivid as the dust is washed away, hundreds of wild flowers begin to appear and the bush turns a brilliant green. The pans are once again filled with energetic grazing herds and as always, the predators are nearby and thrive in this time of plenty. Late afternoon thunderstorms and heavy showers are the norm. The rains also result in lower relative temperatures with day times reaching mid 30°C while night temperatures are on average 20°C.

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