4 DAY / 3 NIGHT DEPARTURE DATES FOR THE ADVENTURE TRAIL
Hidden Item +
Selinda Adventure Trail+The high waters flowing through northern Botswana in 2009, together with subtle tectonic movements, caused the waters of the Okavango River to flow in a way that it has not done for nearly three decades, pushing east along the previously dry Selinda Spillway to meet the waters of the Linyanti. This enabled adventurers the
opportunity to experience a rare first, canoeing along the Selinda Spillway.
As the waters of the Selinda Spillway ebb and flow each year, some years with higher flood levels than others, so the name of the Selinda Canoe Trail was changed to reflect a more inclusive guided walking safari and is thus now known as the Selinda Adventure Trail.
The trail replicates the safari experiences of old as we chart a course along the Selinda Spillway and into the remote woodlands of the vast 320,000 Selinda Reserve over five days. As we are governed by the availbility of sufficient water in the Selinda Spillway, we offer two distinct adventures here for you to enjoy. Depending on water levels at the time of a your arrival, we will offer either a canoeing and walking experience, or a purely guided walking experience.
The canoeing experience entails a traditional canoe and walking safari following the course, and exploring side channels, of the Selinda Spillway. The pure-walking experience is an amazing, exclusively guided walking safari along exciting sections of the Spillway and inland portions of the famous Selinda Reserve.
All adventure trails start at the Selinda Airstrip where you are met and immediately transferred by helicopter to the remote starting point of the relevant adventure.
The distance of the Selinda Adventure Trails differ depending on whether it is a walking or canoeing adventure. Walking distance is just over 20 km altogether and canoeing is approximately 40km. Along either routes we expect to come across many species of wildlife. The Selinda Reserve is well known for some of Botswana’s
largest herds of buffalo and elephant, roan antelope and African wild dog. Other possible sightings include cheetah, lion, leopard and variety of other species. It is also a birder’s paradise with over 300 species possibly seen.
All four nights are spent in fly camps along the Selinda Spillway at pre-arranged sites. The days are spent paddling or walking along the Spillway and into the woodlands of the reserve, depending on which option is available at that time, with regular stops whenever there is something of interest to be seen along the way.
When canoeing, each canoe has two guests as well as their bed rolls and soft bags. Participants paddle their own canoes each day. No previous paddling, canoeing or walking safari experience is needed as tuition and safety briefings are given – but participants must be fit enough to paddle their own canoes and be prepared to walk between camps when water levels are not sufficiently high on the Selinda Spillway.
Guests are not expected to put up their tents or help with the cooking and camp chores as our staff are on hand. Walk-in 3m x 2.4m Flex-Bow tents are provided as they are comfortable and large enough for two people. Screened, bucket showers with hot and cold water are also supplied.
On the pure walking trail each guest will be supplied with a day backpack which will include water. An armed, qualified walking guide as well as an experieced tracker will be with you at all times as you explore the banks of the Spillway water as well as slightly more remote areas of the Selinda Reserve.
The five day / four night Selinda Adventure Trail offers new and exciting elements either a canoeing adventure or a pure, guided walking safari along the Selinda Spillway. Each day begins in the early morning after a hearty breakfast and when the Spillway is at its most peaceful.
Walking is an integral component of both canoeing/walking trail and naturally the pure-walking trail experience, and it is now more extensive to allow for access to new islands and lagoons. Even when you are on a canoe safari, each day can include walking experiences of up to four hours to investigate areas of regular predator activity or wildlife sightings. In addition if there happens to be wildlife activity that warrants investigation whilst canoeing, we stop on the banks and take a short walk into the bush.
Brunch is taken around mid-morning and light snacks are available throughout the day for sustenance until dinner. At night, the deep silence is punctuated by nocturnal sounds, from croaking frogs to roaring lion or the hyeana’s whooping call. The atmosphere is magical and the highlight of any
On the last morning of the Adventure Trail, we finish at our Selinda Explorers Camp before transferring you back to the Selinda Airstrip for your onward departure. Ideally you could and should elect to stay on for an additional night or two at either Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp or Zarafa and Dhow Suites.
The Selinda Adventure Trail’s camps bring you closer to nature. The overnight camp sites create that sense of wilderness with a clear emphasis on essential camp comforts and maximum wilderness experience.
The entire trail is guided and hosted by a professional and passionate walking or canoeing guide with extensive experience in big game areas and excellent interpretive skills to bring the environment alive. He carries a rifle for safety while on the water, walking and in the camp. On the walking safari an additional tracker will join the adventure.
The Selinda Spillway is an ideal setting for this canoeing or walking adventure safari. The route begins downstream from the Selinda airstrip in the north-east of the Okavango Delta and migrates eastwards along the Selinda Spillway through the private 320 000-acre Selinda Reserve, ending at Selinda Explorers Camp.
PURE-Walking ITINERARYDAY 1:
The trail begins at Selinda Airstrip in the midafternoon, followed by a thrilling helicopter transfer from the airstrip to your first night’s camp, which serves as the starting point of the actual walking trail. Once your guide has briefed the group, guests will be taken on a short, late-afternoon walking experience before returning back to the camp. The tented camp will be pre-erected and we enjoy a well-deserved sundowner around the campfire before dinner, followed by a good night’s sleep.
After an early wake-up call, tea or coffee and light breakfast, while the camp is being dismantled, we head off on foot along the Selinda Spillway enjoying the natural splendours of the Selinda Reserve as they appear before us. Regular stops and lunch is served en route. After lunch we head “inland” to our second night’s camp
which will serve as our base for 2 nights.
An early breakfast fuels us for a day of exploration as we head off to areas only possible to explore by foot. Venturing onto the islands and around lagoons formed by the flood waters each season, expect to see antelope a plenty and large herds of elephant and buffalo. A truly humbling experience. The length of day is tailored around the wildlife in the areas, with cold refreshments and lunch stops. Stories around the camp fire are guaranteed to be colourful.
Up again for early breakfast before we continue almost due north toward the Spillway once more and for our last night of this trail. DAY 5: Last stretch along the waters of the Spillway, expecting to arrive at Selinda Explorers Camp around mid-morning to a celebratory drink. At this point we are met by the vehicle and transferred by road to the Selinda Airstrip, where we bid farewell to the safari.
CANOEING & WALKING ITINERARYDAY 1:
The trail begins at Selinda Airstrip in the mid-afternoon, followed by a exhilirating helicopter transfer to a remote point along the Selinda Spillway. Once your guide has given you a safely briefing, the trail starts with a short, late-afternoon canoe along the Spillway before you arrive at the evening’s first camp.
As there is a minimal distance to be covered on the first day and also due to the fact that all the equipment is carried with the group, we paddle until just before sunset at a suitable site on the banks of the Selinda Spillway. The tented camp will be pre-erected and we enjoy a well-deserved sundowner around the campfire
before dinner, followed by a good night’s sleep.
After an early wake-up call, tea or coffee and light breakfast, while the camp is being dismantled, we head out on the canoes for a full day of paddling, with walking opportunities when something of note appears. Lunch is served en route. Tonight we camp in another suitable location as we gradually make our way down the Selinda Spillway.
Today is spent on foot exploring the maze of back channels and smaller island in this area. There are antelope a plenty and large herds of elephant and buffalo, a humbling experience to have on foot. The length of day is tailored to the group, and either way a cold refreshment is waiting, followed by memorable stories around the camp fire later.
Up again for early breakfast before we continue along the water course by canoe for another full-day excursion before arriving in camp for the last night of this trail.
We head out after breakfast, aiming to finish around mid-morning at Selinda Explorers Camp for a celebratory drink. Here we are met by vehicle and transferred by road to the Selinda Airstrip, where we bid farewell to the safari.
PRE-TOUR INFORMATION & REQUIREMENTS SELINDA ADVENTURE TRAILWe look forward to hosting you at the Selinda Adventure Trail in Botswana in the near future. In order to ensure that you have the best experience possible, we ask that you read the following information carefully.
This safari is guaranteed on a set scheduled departure basis with a maximum group size of eight guests and minimum of two guests. Private and flexible tailor-made safaris where a group books out an entire departure are welcomed and encouraged.
On the canoe safari, each canoe will have two guests, their bed rolls and bags. Participants paddle their own canoes or walk to their camp site each day. No previous paddling or canoeing experience is needed as tuition will be given – but participants must be fit enough to paddle their own canoes.
On the walking safari guests will be lead by an armed, experienced walking guide as well as an knowledgeable tracker. All luggage and equipment will be taken by road to the following campsite.
Guests will be given a camelback dayback for hydration purposes.
Each safari will be hosted by between four and six staff members. There are usually one cook, three camp hands and our armed, experienced guide (and tracker if on the walking safari).
When on our canoe safari experience our staff will be in their own canoes with most of the equipment, although we may spread the weight of drinks and food for the day and other gear throughout all the canoes.
We recommend children join us from the age of 14 due to the daily walking distances that we can enjoy. For guests with children from 10 - 13 years, we look forward to consulting with you to create a private tailor-made safari which may be subject to an additional cost.
|4 DAY / 4 NIGHT DEPARTURE ADVENTURE TRAIL
Minimum 2 - Maximum 8 Guests per Departure
|2019 Departure Dates|
|MAY DEPARTURE DATES||JUNE DEPARTURE DATES||$ 2 985
per person sharing
for the 4 day / 4 night trail
|02- 06 May 2019||02- 05 Jun 2019|
|08- 12 May 2019||10 - 14 Jun 2019|
|15- 18 May 2019||17- 20 Jun 2019|
|21- 24 May 2019||22- 25 Jun 2019|
|27- 30 May 2019||29 June - 02 July 2019|
|AUGUST DEPARTURE DATES||SEPTEMBER DEPARTURE DATES|
|05- 08 Aug 2019||04-07 Sep 2019|
|11- 14 Aug 2019||10- 13 Sep 2019|
|17- 20 Aug 2019|
|23- 26 Aug 2019|
|29 Aug - 1 Sep 2019|
|Private Guide Rate|
|US$ - Private Guide/Pilote rate per night||$675|
|US$ - Conservation levy||$ 45 per person sharing for the 3 night trail|
Hidden Item +
Terms & Conditions+
Departures are fully inclusiveof camping accommodation, services of a privatewalking and/ or canoeing guide, services of a tracker when on thewalkingexperience, canoeing activities when water levels allow,meals,scheduled activities, conservancy fees, helicopter airstriptransferfrom Selinda airstrip, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages(excludingimported and premium drinks) – or bring your own,no corkagewill be charged. Children are recommended to join from 14years old due tothe walking distances this experience now covers daily.
The 5-day/4-night Selinda Adventure Trail coversapproximately 45kms andbegins and ends at the Selinda airstrip.
Exclusiveof inter camp and Maun/Kasane air transfers.
As we walk and canoe through areas that are inaccessible to vehicles,there are no back-up vehicles that accompany the canoe or walkingtrails. An open game drive vehicle is used to transport guests backfrom Selinda Explorers where the experience ends to the Selindaairstrip.
This safari is all about taking ourselves away from today’s world. The Selinda Spillway runs through aremote part of the private Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, inareas where you will be completely removed from the modern world. Wewill be carrying all of the equipment on the canoes with us, ortransporting them via vehicle when on the walking safari. Your campsites will be of a rustic but comfortable nature.
Walk in 3m x 2.4m Flex-Bow tents are provided as they are comfortableand large enough for two people. They are furnished with comfortablebedrolls and quality linen. We provide enough camp chairs for dinnersat a well appointed dinner table and for guests to sit around a fire atnight. Our meals will be prepared on the fire by the cook, enhancingthat safari atmosphere of old experience.
Our ablution facilities will be bucket showers with hot and cold waterin the evenings and ‘long drop’ toilets which ourstaff prepare before your arirval at each overnight camp sight.
Our safaris are all conducted in English, and it is therefore requiredthat all participants on the safari have a knowledge of English and beable to communicate in that language. This is primarily due to safetyfactors.
JOINING AND/ORLEAVING THE SCHEDULED SAFARIS
This adventure safari will start and end at the Selinda airstrip. As wehelicopter transfers guests from the Selinda airstrip to the start ofthe Trail, guests are now able to connect directly off their AirBotswana or SA Airlink flights from Johannesburg to their scheduled orprivate air transfer from Maun to the Selinda airstrip.
A few nights at Selinda Explorers Camp, Selinda Camp, Zarafa and theDhow Suites or Duba Expedition Camp is highly recommended beforehandand even more highly recommended after the Adventure Trail.
Please also ensure that you have all the correct information for thissafari. Should you have any doubts concerning the below instructionsplease do not hesitate to contact your booking agent.
Please note that the safari and our guide’s servicesstart on OUR Day 1. The trail begins at the Selinda Airstrip on Day 1and ends at around 10h30 at the Selinda Airstrip airfield on Day 5; itis important that connecting air transfers are arranged for you priorto arrival to and from the Selinda Airstrip should you not be stayingat our camps either before or after the Selinda Adventure Trail.
Please ensure that your departure flight from Maun, Kasane orVictoria Falls is booked for after 14h00 if your regional or privatecharter flight back home is on the last day of this safari.
INCLUSIONS ONTHE SAFARI
• All meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast at the end of thescheduled safari;
• A reasonable amount of soft drinks, wine and beer at mealtimes;
• Selinda Reserve fees.
EXCLUSIONS ONTHE SAFARI
• All internal and regionals flights and air transfers;
• Compulsory medical and travel insurance;
• All relevant entry and departure government taxes;
• Pre and post safari tours, meals or accommodation before orafter the safari.
The route we follow will be flexible, changing with the season tomaximise each guest’s experience.
Please ensure that you have the correct information .
We also reserve the right to change itineraries due to water levels inthe Selinda Spillway, unusual game concentrations or any reason beyondour control. If there is a change to an itinerary, this will be advisedas timeously as is possible.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTSCANCELLATION & CURTAILMENT
All visitors to Botswana must have a passport which is valid for atleast six months beyond their intended departure date from Botswana.
Visitors to Southern Africa must ensure they have enough blank pages intheir passports bearing in mind they may be visiting several differentcountries.
Visitors must also be in possession of outward travel documents andhave sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.
Further visa information is available on the following website:
If for any reason you cancel a trip close to departure date, you could lose the entire cost of your trip.Should you have to leave before your holiday is finished, we cannot refund you the cost of the portion of the package you do not complete.
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Tipping+TIPPING / GRATUITIES
Tipping is not compulsory. If, however, you have received excellent service and would like to leave a token of your thanks, the following are guidelines:
• Guide: per guest per day;
• Camp staff (collectively): per guest per day.
Please ensure you have a sufficient amount of US Dollars/Euro in cash of small denominations to cover for gratuities should you wish to tip the guide and camp staff as there are no credit card facilities availble on this safari.
No formal clothes are needed; however we recommend that you keep your luggage to a minimum. Bright colours and white are NOT advised and army camouflage clothing or army hats are strongly discouraged (this excludes khaki-coloured clothes).
For safety and space reasons, we have a maximum 20 kg limit on luggage. Please ensure this is packed in a soft bag.
Please remember that you will have to paddle your own canoes with your own luggage and bed rolls. On the walking safari your luggage will be taken by road to your next overnight camp. The lighter your canoe is, the easier it is to propel going forward. As the dress code on this safari is very informal, we recommend that you take the minimum possible. It is highly recommened that comfortable and suitable walking shoes/boots, and a pair of strops/rafting shoes or “Crocs” are brought on this safari. Additional luggage can be collected off you at the Selinda Airstrip and stored for you, for your return. Please bring your own high quality binoculars and
camera equipment to enhance the enjoyment. Waterproof camera bags are strongly recommended.
As all camps selected for the adventure trail are unfenced, it is essential that you bring a good torch as you may encounter wild animals in camp at night. A good quality head lamp type of torch / flashlight with you for night time walking to your tents is recommended. In addition we suggest at least a TWO D-cell torch/flashlight. You should also bring a spare globe as well as batteries as they are often unobtainable locally. (A good LED flashlight is NOT a mini-Maglight or a small penlight flashlight).
The choice of the correct camera equipment will determine the quality of your photographs on safari. For photography of birds and animals, a good digital SLR camera and telephoto lens is necessary. High-resolution digital cameras are outstanding and give superb quality images, especially if you are using a digital SLR camera body, with interchangeable lenses. Camera bodies from Canon, Nikon and Sony are excellent.
Spare batteries are essential (we recommend that you bring 3 spare batteries) and an image storage device of some sort is recommended. Make certain you have enough card storage – most people take more photographs than they expect to. There are no charging or downloading of images facilities, so all batteries need to be charged before arriving here.
Charging facilities for cameras and video cameras are unfortunately not available on the trail, so please bring enough batteries to last you the full 5 days of the adventure trail.
Suggested Clothing List+MAXIMUM 20 KGS IN BOTSWANA, PACKED IN A SOFT BAG - (Including camera equipment within reason)
• Good quality sunglasses with good UV protection preferably polarised. Wide brimmed bush hat;
• T-shirts and long-sleeved “Columbia Fishing Style” cotton shirts;
• Shorts/slacks/skirts and swimming costume;
• Long trousers;
• Warm track suit, anorak/parka (polar fleece is good), head “beanie” and gloves (essential for the very cold June/ July/ August early mornings);
• Underwear and socks;
• Comfortable walking shoes/boots with suitable socks to prevent blisters;
• Rafting shoes/Strops/”Crocs”;
• Camera equipment and sufficient spare camera batteries;
• Tissues/”Wet Ones”;
• A good LARGE flashlight which takes at least 2 large batteries. Please bring spare batteries and a spare globe;
• GOOD QUALITY BINOCULARS - ESSENTIAL;
• Moisturising cream and suntan lotion witha strong SPF rating;
• Insect repellent;
• Personal toiletries, in addition to those specified above;
• If you wear contact lenses we recommend that you bring along a pair of glasses in case of eye irritation from the dust;
• A small “day pack” (without frame) for use on days where we walk and in the canoe – preferably waterproof;
• Light rain gear;
• Water proof bag or Pelican case for cameras;
• Soft bag for clothes (preferably waterproof)
Health+There are a few basic health matters that require care and attention.The following points are recommended guidelines only. Please consultyour doctor and also check with your health department prior todeparture for any changes in health regulations.
Even though the canoe trail takes place miles away from any villages,northern Botswana is still regarded as a malarial area.
Malaria prophylactic recommendations for travellers to southern African:
Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malariaprophylaxis. It is important to bear in mind that malaria may becontracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where
chloroquine resistance has been reported. Both chloroquine-resistantand normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa.
Please remember that the best precaution is the preventative kind:
• Avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally. Please bring your own repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings.
Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are mainly active in the early evening and throughout the night.Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced. There is also less prevalence in remote areas where our camps are situated; nonetheless, you need to consider taking preventative measures.
It is very important that you drink plenty of water whilst on the adventure trail. It is generally recommended that guests drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day to limit the effects of dehydration.
This excludes tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages, which act as diuretics and therefore can actually contribute to dehydration.
Generally, water throughout Southern Africa is safe to drink directly from the tap. However, bottled water is readily available on the adventure trail, so please do not allow yourself to become dehydrated.
For those guests with specific dietary requirements please ensure youragent is notified prior to arrival. We can accommodate most reasonablerequests with sufficient prior notice.
You need to notify your agent and ourselves of any medical conditionyou may have prior to your arrival. This includes any allergies e.g.bee stings, nuts, shellfish etc.
It is a condition of booking, that the sole responsibility lies withthe guests to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive traveland medical and emergency evacuation insurance to cover themselves, aswell as any dependants/ travelling companions for the duration of theirtrip to southern Africa. This insurance should include
cover in respect of, but not limited to, the following eventualities:
• Emergency evacuation expenses;
• Medical expenses;
• Repatriation expenses.
• Cancellation or curtailment of trip;
• Damage/theft/loss of personal luggage, money and goods.
Great Plains Conservation, including their representatives, employeesand agents will take no responsibility for any costs, losses incurredor suffered by the guest, or guest’s dependants or travellingcompanions, with regards to, but not limited to, any of the abovementioned eventualities. Guests will be charged directly by therelevant service providers for any emergency services they may require,and may find themselves in a position of being unable to access suchservices should they not be carrying the relevant insurance cover.
Recommended Reading+We recommend the following books specific to the Botswana region;
• Okavango: Wetland Wilderness - Adrian Bailey;
• Okavango: An African Paradise - Daryl Balfour;
• Chobe: Africa’s Untamed Wilderness - Daryl Balfour;
• The Lions and Elephants of the Chobe - Bruce Aitken;
• This is Botswana - Daryl Balfour;
• The Bushmen - A Changing Way of Life - Anthony Bannister;
• Botswana: A Brush with the Wild - Paul Augustinus;
• The Kalahari, Survival in a Thirstland Wilderness - Nigel Dennis, Dr Michael;
• Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa and Common Birds of Botswana - Ken Newman;
• Guide to the Trees & Shrubs of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt;
• Guide to the Wildflowers of the Okavango Delta - Veronica Roodt;
• Botswana Tourist Map & Guide - Veronica Roodt;
• Running Wild: Dispelling the Myths of the African Wild Dog - John McNutt, Lesley Boggs, Dave Hamman & Helene Heldring;
• Wild About the Okavango - Duncan Butchart;
• Botswana - The Bradt Travel Guide - Chris McIntyre;
• Sasol birds of Southern Africa - Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey, W. R Tarboton.
Everyone should bring their own pair of binoculars, camera and reference books in order to get the most out of the safari.
Hidden Item +
General Information+Luggage Restriction
There is a strict luggage restriction for all guests travelling by light aircraft transfers of 20kg (44lbs), 25cm (10 inches) wide x 30cm (12 inches) high and 62cm (24 inches) long per person in soft, manageable bags, which includes hand baggage and camera equipment. No hard suitcases and no bags with wheels or frame. This is for safety and logistical reasons.
The aircraft in use are Grand Caravans, Airvans and a Kodiak which are perfect for the bush landing strips in the Okavango Delta. However, weight is a safety issue and the small luggage storage pod restricts the storage/transfer of any large or solid suitcases. Please do not bring Samsonite or similar hard suitcases.
Guests are welcome to store excess luggage in our Maun office provided that their safari begins and ends in Maun. If this is the case, guests must make sure they pack smaller bags in advance to avoid delays to onward travel at Maun Airport. Should clients arrive with excessive luggage they will be asked to re-pack into smaller bags or to leave their luggage behind UNLESS they have pre-arranged extra space in the plane by means of booking an additional seat (at full seat rate).
Electricity in Camp
Kanana has been converted to a solar system, Shinde and Okuti’s electricity is generator-powered, both systems allow the operation of lighting, fans and other basic camp facilities.
The charging of camera and video batteries is possible, provided guests bring the appropriate adaptors along to suit Botswana’s 220V power source. An international multi-plug point is available in each tent.
The electricity system (Okuti, Shinde and Kanana only) supports the use of hairdryers but only those issued by Ker & Downey Botswana.
Please note that Footsteps Camp does not have electricity generated at the camp, but the charging of cameras is possible from a battery, provided the appropriate adaptor is brought by the guest.
With regards to the sleep apnea machine, camp needs to be aware and a second power supply will be provided to ensure power throughout the night. This is in addition to the above-mentioned facilities.
Special dietary requirements can be accommodated provided they are advised in advance. Please note that all meals are served with a wide variety of food that generally suits most guests.
Medical Equipment and Insurance
Specific medical conditions need to be advised upon booking; this assists the Camp Managers in making suitable prior arrangements and/or raising awareness in the case of a medical emergency. Ker & Downey Botswana camps have 24-hour radio access to MRI (Med- Rescue International) and in the case of emergency a medical evacuation facility is available.
Emergency evacuation insurance is included in our rates, however the MRI professionals define the nature of the ‘emergency’ and the transfer is to the closest medical facility that has the capacity to deal with the specific injury/illness. Treatment once at the medical facility is not covered.
It is strongly recommended that all guests take out private travel/medical insurance which will cover them for the duration of their stay and that the details of this insurance (policy number, insurance company and emergency contact number) is lodged with their agent and our Camp Managers. This assists with efficient processing of the emergency evacuation.
Useful Information for Safari+What is the best time of year to safari in Botswana?
The best time to visit depends on what safari experience you are looking for and your tolerance of the varying weather conditions.
Winter months (June, July and August) are marked by cloudless days and mild temperatures (average is 5-27°C). In the Okavango Delta, the floodwaters from Angola start to fill the countless lagoons and streams and the landscapes outside the Delta begin their drying process, gradually fading from lush green to dry khaki.
Spring months (late August through September) are a wonderful time to visit Botswana. The timing, between the cold of winter and the intense heat before the rains, ensures temperatures of 15-31°C. It heats up toward the end of September and into October where highs can reach above 40°C. Game viewing is excellent due to the lack of thick vegetation and the water holes are drying up.
Summer months (November, December through to March) enjoy temperatures averaging 16-35°C. These months include the rainy season (generally Jan/Feb), when you may encounter brief but heavy rain and thunderstorms. This period can offer excellent game viewing and you may be lucky to witness the miracle that the rains bring, transforming the dry land to a vibrant abundance of lush greenery.
Autumn months (April and May) are marked by moderate temperatures, 15-30°C, which is a lovely time to visit Botswana with the lands lush and green after the summer rains.
How safe is Botswana?
Botswana is considered a safe travel destination and is both financially and politically stable having been spared much of the unrest and turmoil which plagues so many countries in Africa. As is the case elsewhere, the larger cities and population centres generally have the most crime, but once you are on safari, such problems are all but non-existent. It is, however, a good idea to leave your valuables (expensive watches, jewellery, etc.) at home thus eliminating the temptation for possible thievery. Luggage locks are always advisable when flying.
What types of travel documentation do I need?
Citizens of certain countries are required to obtain visas for entry into Botswana. As this list of countries changes from time to time it is important to check with your travel consultant regarding current visa requirements, well in advance of your departure. Other possible document requirements:
New Immigration requirement for travelling to Botswana
Parents travelling to South Africa and Botswana with children under 18 years old are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate (including details of the children’s father as well as mother) for all children travelling in addition to their valid passports. In the event that one parent is not travelling with the child, the other parent’s affidavit consenting to such travel should be availed. However, an affidavit will not be required if the father’s name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate. Adults travelling with children under 18 years old who are not the parents must produce a signed affidavit from both parents stating that the identified adult has been given their authority to travel with their child, said adult will need unabridged birth certificate of all children in their care.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
All travellers from or through the countries which have been declared yellow fever infected areas must provide an international health certificate of vaccination for yellow fever upon arrival into Botswana. A list of the yellow fever declared countries can be obtained from your safari designer.
Who will meet me upon my arrival, and where?
You will be met at the airport in Maun. After passing through customs, you should look for a uniformed Ker & Downey Botswana representative with a sign showing Ker & Downey Botswana on it. The representative will then transfer you either to your flight to camp, your hotel or other appropriate destination.
What type of clothing will I need for safari?
Depending upon the time of year, lightweight clothing of cotton and cotton/blends are most suitable. During the winter months it can be very cold and a warm/windproof jacket will be needed for early morning and evening game viewing activities. During the summer months bring a lightweight water/windproof jacket in case of rain, but otherwise temperatures are very warm. For evenings bring lightweight long sleeved clothing as protection from mosquitoes. Neutral colours such as khaki and drab or olive green are appropriate, and are less conspicuous to the animals. Laundry is done daily in camp, so it is not necessary to over pack.
What type of food will I be eating?
Dining in the bush is a delight in itself. A typical day’s menu might be as follows:
Assorted fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, homemade toast, (muffins or flapjacks) with preserves, and a cooked breakfast to order, tea, coffee & fruit juice.
A delicious hot meat dish such as a local beef bobotie or honey mustard chicken skewers, for those who enjoy a vegetarian option on offer you can enjoy a scrumptious lentil shepherd’s pie or baby marrow and chickpea fritters, there is always a choice of 3 salads, green salad, tomato, red onion and basil salad or avo and paw paw salad, home-made bread, a fruit bowl, a cheese platter, tea, coffee, soft drinks and a home-made fruit smoothie.
Tomato & basil soup, Fillet with green pepper sauce, a vegetarian option of Chickpea, potato and cashew nut curry, creamed potatoes, glazed carrots, beans and Chocolate Cream with black cherries. A cheese platter. We will make every effort to cater to special dietary requirements, with advance notification.
What medical precautions should I take?
When travelling to any foreign destination, we strongly suggest that you check with your local immunisation authority, public health facility or personal physician to find out what immunisations and medications are required/suggested for your travels. Botswana is considered a malarial area, and preventative medications should be taken. You should bring any personal medications or prescription medications.
Malaria including Plasmodium Falciparum exists in certain areas. All clients must consult with their own Medical Doctor, the Center for Disease Control or their National Health Authority regarding the use of anti-malarial tablets prior to departure. There are many brands available and we recommend that clients consult their doctor, health clinic or health department as to which brand they should take.
What if there is a medical emergency?
In the case of a genuine medical emergency, Ker & Downey Botswana can have a Medivac aircraft dispatched to camp. Depending upon the needs of the patient, he/she will be transported either to a hospital in Maun or Johannesburg for treatment. Minor medical needs can be treated in camp.
NOTE: Our Medivac coverage is restricted. It does not extend to those who have pre-existing conditions, are pregnant or are over 81 years of age. It is imperative that you arrange your own comprehensive travel/medical insurance policy prior to travelling.
Is the water safe to drink?
Each of our camps has a reverse osmosis water treatment system that produces drinking water for the whole camp. The system is Botswana Bureau of Standards approved and is laboratory tested quarterly.
As part of our drive to reduce, if not eliminate, plastics in our pristine environment we provide 500ml glass bottles in our camps for guests’ use, which they can refill at any time from the chiller dispensers in the main areas. At Footsteps RO water supplied by Shinde is served in glass bottles kept in a cooler box.
What type of safari vehicles will I be game viewing in?
Ker & Downey Botswana use Toyota Land cruisers which have been specially built for game viewing and photography. All have completely open seating areas and cabs for unhindered photography. Each has ample seating (although we normally keep occupancy to four in each vehicle), with seat pockets, reference books, snacks, bottled water, toilet paper, insect spray and a cool box for refreshments. Window seats are guaranteed on game drives at Shinde, Kanana and Okuti. The vehicles roof can be removed for excellent bird viewing.
Is electricity available in the safari camps?
A solar system at Kanana then generators at Shinde and Okuti provide electricity. Due to their noise, these generators are normally used during the day, when guests are out of camp. In the evenings, the generator is switched off, and lighting is provided by battery. Camera batteries may be recharged in the guest tents during the day.
How long do camp transfers take?
On our standard fly-in safaris, inter-camp transfers are provided by light aircraft Transfer times are minimal, averaging 30 minutes, but can be longer to areas outside the Delta.
What about tipping?
Tipping is not obligatory. It is, however, appropriate if you feel that the measure of service you received warrants a show of your personal appreciation. This is purely discretionary. The average tip amounts are approximately per guest, per day. Customarily, per day will go to your driver/guide directly and per day is placed in the Tip Box provided in the camps. Camp Managers distribute the latter among the camp employees.
Is a safari strenuous?
No. Getting into and out of vehicles and light aircraft as well as some walking is the most strenuous activity you will encounter. Our safaris are considered 'soft adventure'.
How much baggage can I bring on safari?
Since most safari travel is done in small aircraft, each passenger is limited to one soft-sided bag, weighing no more than 20kgs. This includes your hand baggage.
How much money will I need?
Most major currencies are accepted throughout Botswana. You will not need large sums of cash while on safari, as our camps are all inclusive. However, some guests enjoy shopping in Maun. Each camp has a small gift shop stocked with various curios and safari items;
credit card are accepted (Master or Visa cards). Otherwise, you may need money for any accommodations, meals and shopping before or after your scheduled safari as well as for visas (Zimbabwe etc.) and taxes. The amount needed, of course, is your personal decision.
What about insects or snakes?
Surprisingly, there are very few insect or snake problems in Botswana. Insect repellent is provided in all tents and safari vehicles. However, for your personal comfort, we recommend you bring some insect repellent of your own. It is also a good idea to bring some sunscreen.
What contact details should be left at my home/office?
Leave the contact details for the Ker & Downey Botswana Maun office. You can be contacted in the camps by radio from Maun in the case of an emergency. Our booking form asks for an emergency contact for your next of kin, in case we should need to send an urgent message through. All camps have satellite phones providing guests an option to call home if required, this service carries a charge which clients settle direct in camp based on the length of time on the phone call.
What to bring
Passport with appropriate visas
Health Certificates as recommended by your physician for your specific destination(s)
Airline tickets (always reconfirm reservations 72 hours in advance)
Customs registration (sometimes required for cameras, videos, binoculars and expensive watches)
Flashlight – optional (provided in all Ker & Downey Botswana camps, only necessary if you go to other camps)
Pen and paper, or writing journal/diary
Locks for luggage
Pack your equipment in a good, soft-sided case, and carry it on the plane with you. Africa can be dusty and you should protect your equipment well. Plastic ‘Ziploc’ bags or cloth pillowcases are ideal means of covering and storing your photographic equipment during your safari.