Kalahari & Khwai Special

A rich and diverse Mobile Tented Safari, also with two Lodges

Duration – 9 nights  |  Price  $4,720 to $5,745
When – Feb – June

Highlights

  • 2 nights Kalahari Plains Lodge
  • 3 nights Pipers Pan
  • 1 nights Tau Pan Lodge
  • 3 nights Khwai Concession

This is a seasonal Mobile Tented Safari taking you to a lesser travelled area of the Central Kalahari, with Pipers Pan.

Firstly you will be flown to the very excellent and upmarket Wilderness Safaris Lodge of Kalahari Plains. Here you take full advantage of accommodation at the 4 star lodge, only one of two in the whole of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

After, you are driven to the Pipers Pan area of the Kalahari to start the mobile aspect of your trip… experiencing what the region has to offer.

Onwards to one night at the second lodge in the area, Tau Pan Lodge, you will then be flown to the Khwai area of the Okavango Delta, where you will end your safari with 3 nights traversing this game rich area for the second part of the mobile safari.

We think this is a superb safari, covering diverse and widespread regions in relative comfort.

Whats Included

  • Large walk-in Meru tents for the mobile
  • Kalahari Lodge accommodation
  • Dedicated safari team
  • All meals and drinks
  • Kalahari charter flights
  • Activities as specified

Whats Not Included

  • International Flights
  • Visas
  • Laundry
  • Personal expenses
  • Gratuities
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance
  • Mobile Style: Classic
  • Participation: Fully Serviced
  • Route: Maun - Maun - Central Kalahari - Khwai - Maun
  • Max Group Size: 7
  • Nights: 9
  • Activities: Day and night Game Drives, Bushman, Mokoro

The Itinerary

Letaka Kalahari1

Day 1: Maun to Kalahari Plains / Charter flight (1 hour)

You will arrive from Johannesburg by 13h30 into Maun Airport where you will be met by a Wilderness Air representative who will assist you with your luggage before transferring you to the charter plane for your flight over the Central Kalahari to Kalahari Plains Lodge where your guide will be waiting to meet you.

Upon arrival at Kalahari Plains, once you have been shown to your accommodation, you will then a chance to relax in the comfort of your tent and the rest of the lodge or use the telescope in the lounge area for a closer look at the water hole before taking a short sundowner and orientation drive.

Your biggest decision will be to decide if you want to sleep in your tent or on you sky bed above it!

Accommodation: Lodge Accommodation
Activities: Game Drives

Letaka Kalahari3

Day 2: Full Day Exploration

A chance to stretch your legs after breakfast this morning with a bushman family walk within close proximity to the camp. The experience enables and understanding of how the San Bushmen lived and survived in the harsh Kalahari Thirstland as well as gaining an insight in to the ancient San culture and their humble and gentle approach amongst the family units and with the environment.

An afternoon game drive will depend upon the game but we will hope to head out towards Khudu and Mmaphwe Pans. After dinner, head up to the platform for an astronomy talk. As one of the remotest places on earth the absence of light pollution makes stargazing here in the Kalahari quite spectacular.

Accommodation: Lodge Accommodation
Activities: Game Drives

Letaka Kalahari4

Day 3: Kalahari Plains to Pipers Pans / Travel Day / Travel time approximately 5 hours

After an early breakfast, you will depart the lodge with your guide for the drive the Piper Pan region where you will be spending the next 3 nights in a private site miles from anyone or anything else other than the local wildlife. The total length of the drive will depend on how much you see along the way

Accommodation: Tented Camp
Activities: Game Drives

Letaka Kalahari

Day 4 & 5: Piper Pan Exploration Days

Habitat: Pipers Pan consists of 3 main pans. Impressive in size, these are some of the largest pans in the Kalahari. Unlike the pans of Khutse and the southern Kalahari the pans here are vegetated. A sparse covering of herbaceous

and woody plants cover the ground here. The south-western edges of the pans are bordered by large, vegetated sand dunes. The lower slopes have a clay soil and are dominated by dense growths of rattle trees Catophractes alexandrii further up the slopes are groves of false umbrella thorn Acacia luderitzii and worm-cure albizia Albizia anthelmintica. The islands of trees in the pans themselves are dominated by the bizarre wild sesame tree Sesamothamnus spp.

Wildlife: Home to a good population of cheetah, a resident pride of lion and several leopard whose territories include parts of the pan, this is an excellent place for Kalahari predators. The break of dawn is an excellent time to be out looking for the crepuscular brown hyaena that patrol the pans, scrounging for a meal. Good sized herds of blue wildebeest, oryx and springbok graze on the pans. Giraffe and greater kudu browse on the verges and the islands of the pan.

Accommodation: Tented Camp
Activities: Game Drives

Letaka Kalahari2

Day 6: Piper Pan to Tau Pan / Travel Day / 80km (Arrive at Tau around lunchtime)

Today we depart from Piper’s Pan and head toward the wilderness area on the north-western side of Central Kalahari. Our journey takes us over endless vegetated dune-fields and the extensive Pokoje and San Pans before arriving at the magnificent and wildlife rich Tau Pan.

The lodge is situated on the crest of an ancient dune and has a commanding view of the surrounding wilderness. Your guide will drop you off to enjoy a relaxed lunch and you will conduct the afternoon activity with the Tau Pan Lodge guide

Accommodation: Tented Camp
Activities: Game Drives

LetakaMobileVehicle9

Day 7: Tau Pan to Khwai / charter flight / 1 hour 30 minutes

A final morning activity in the incredible Kalahari before boarding your flight to Maun and onwards to Khwai where your Letaka guide will once again be waiting for you.

The differences in the habitat and wildlife will be instantly noticeable and three nights in this area will offer a contrasting experience and the opportunity to see different wildlife.

Accommodation: Tented Camp
Activities: Game Drives

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Days 8 & 9: Khwai Exploration Days

Habitat: We spend our time between the dry-land habitats of the lead-wood and camel-thorn woodlands and savannahs and the riverside and marshy back-waters of the Khwai.

Wildlife: The Khwai region boasts excellent populations of both bull elephant as well as breeding herds. Lion, leopard, serval and African wildcat are common predators of the region with wild dog and cheetah being less common. Buffalo use this area seasonally with large herds moving in during the summer rains. The swampy areas in the west are home to red lechwe. Other ungulates include tsesebe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, kudu, sable antelope, roan antelope and impala.

Accommodation: Letaka Tented Camp
Activities: Game Drive, Walking Safaris (conditions permitting) and Night Drives and mokoro excursion

Days 10: Safari ends in Maun

After saying farewell to your safari crew, your guide will take a slow drive back towards Maun on a final drive before arriving at approximately 12h00, in time for the international check ins.

NOTE:

Although we make every effort to adhere to schedules and itineraries, these are subject to change subject to weather (specifically with current flood conditions, the driving times may differ between the areas quite considerably depending upon the time of year), roads, and animal movements and availability. You will be notified of any changes.

Scheduled Safari Departure Dates

2020

Prices can change, so please contact us for up to date information

February $4720

9th

March $4720

14th

April $5745

14

May $5745

2nd

June $5745

6th

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.

Tour Map

Kalahari Khwai Special 01 01

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