Offering both land and water activities, a stay at Chobe Game Lodge is a unique wilderness experience. © Desert & Delta Safaris

Botswana | River, Channel, Lagoon & Delta | 8 Nights Chobe National Park, Savute Channel & Okavango Delta

Botswana is a land of contrasts, often heightened by the presence or absence of water. This luxury Botswana safari includes time at Chobe Game Lodge, Savute Safari Lodge, Xugana Island Lodge and Camp Xaxanaka – luxury Botswana safari lodges carefully chosen to reveal the myriad landscapes of this country, and the wildlife that inhabits them.

  • Floodplains, channels, streams and lagoons all feature on this luxury safari through northern Botswana, from the vastness of Chobe to the drylands of Savute, and then south and west to the land-and-water mosaic of the Okavango Delta.
  • Opportunities for close encounters with wildlife by game drive vehicle, boat and mokoro, and to witness both ancient cultures and the way that seismic activity shapes the landscape.
  • Four luxury lodges, all alike in overlooking water, but differing in look and feel: from cool, terraced lodgings in Chobe and timber-and-thatch chalets in Savute, to reed-built lagoon-side chalets and classic Meru-style tents in the Okavango. For more information, see Chobe Game Lodge, Savute Safari Lodge, Xugana Island Lodge and Camp Xaxanaka respectively.

Two nights at Chobe Game Lodge

Looking out from our room at Chobe Game Lodge, gazing out over the Chobe River, we were almost tempted to spend the rest of our day right there. As a small herd of elephant came down to the river to the drink, the realisation that our luxury Botswana safari had begun slowly dawned on us. With that, we were persuaded to head out on an afternoon game drive to explore the Chobe floodplains. Seeing animals en masse seemed entirely fitting in such an immense landscape. As well as some of the better-known animals, we also saw one or two we’d not heard of, including puku and an oribi. Having the Chobe River flowing right past the lodge definitely exerted a pull on us, and heading out on a boat excursion the next day was irresistible. Our boat captain had mastered the knack of approaching animals on the bank without disturbing them – which meant that we were able to get some incredible wildlife photographs from unusual perspectives. Towards the end of the trip, floating on the river with sundowners in hand as the water glowed with a succession of reflected, fiery colours, we felt we couldn’t be happier … until we returned to our room to find a private dinner set up on our terrace.

Looking out from our room at Chobe Game Lodge, gazing out over the Chobe River, we were almost tempted to spend the rest of our day right there. As a small herd of elephant came down to the river to the drink, the realisation that our luxury Botswana safari had begun slowly dawned on us. With that, we were persuaded to head out on an afternoon game drive to explore the Chobe floodplains. Seeing animals en masse seemed entirely fitting in such an immense landscape. As well as some of the better-known animals, we also saw one or two we’d not heard of, including puku and an oribi.

Having the Chobe River flowing right past the lodge definitely exerted a pull on us, and heading out on a boat excursion the next day was irresistible. Our boat captain had mastered the knack of approaching animals on the bank without disturbing them – which meant that we were able to get some incredible wildlife photographs from unusual perspectives. Towards the end of the trip, floating on the river with sundowners in hand as the water glowed with a succession of reflected, fiery colours, we felt we couldn’t be happier … until we returned to our room to find a private dinner set up on our terrace.

Two nights at Savute Safari Lodge

The commentary from our pilot gave us greater insights into the forces that had shaped the country passing by beneath us on our short flight to the Savute area of Chobe National Park.We felt doubly privileged to be at Savute Safari Lodge once we’d learned the mysterious history of the channel flowing past us. Had we been here a few years ago, our view would have been of a ribbon of savannah – instead, jacana trotted delicately across lily pads. We knew that we’d arrived somewhere even wilder than we initially thought when, just moments into our first game drive, a kudu dashed past us with a pack of wild dog hot on its heels. The predators ran their quarry to ground behind one of the guest chalets, meaning that our most exciting game drive was perhaps 500m long. From painted wolf to cave paintings might seem a segue too far, but not in Savute. Over dinner the night before, we’d learned from our guide about the Gubatsa Hills, a rocky outcrop that could be reached on a longer game drive and which was a site of some significance to the San, who had left their distinctive paintings on several of the cave walls. Clambering over the smooth boulders on our second day in Savute, we were also rewarded with exceptional views, and we were reminded once again of the timelessness of this area, where centuries-old artwork appeared fresh and vivid enough to merit a wet paint sign.

The commentary from our pilot gave us greater insights into the forces that had shaped the country passing by beneath us on our short flight to the Savute area of Chobe National Park.

We felt doubly privileged to be at Savute Safari Lodge once we’d learned the mysterious history of the channel flowing past us. Had we been here a few years ago, our view would have been of a ribbon of savannah – instead, jacana trotted delicately across lily pads. We knew that we’d arrived somewhere even wilder than we initially thought when, just moments into our first game drive, a kudu dashed past us with a pack of wild dog hot on its heels. The predators ran their quarry to ground behind one of the guest chalets, meaning that our most exciting game drive was perhaps 500m long.

From painted wolf to cave paintings might seem a segue too far, but not in Savute. Over dinner the night before, we’d learned from our guide about the Gubatsa Hills, a rocky outcrop that could be reached on a longer game drive and which was a site of some significance to the San, who had left their distinctive paintings on several of the cave walls. Clambering over the smooth boulders on our second day in Savute, we were also rewarded with exceptional views, and we were reminded once again of the timelessness of this area, where centuries-old artwork appeared fresh and vivid enough to merit a wet paint sign.

Two nights at Xugana Island Lodge

As we flew towards the famed Okavango Delta, we noticed the gleam of sunlight on bodies of water below us, and coming in to land, we saw our light aircraft reflected in a large body of water. Every lodge we stayed at our luxury Botswana safari overlooked water – in the case of Xugana Island Lodge, it was the still waters of the eponymous lagoon, but they were deeply moving nonetheless. The cry of a fish eagle heralded our arrival into our reed-and-thatch chalet – a room that appeared to be an organic extension of the riot of water’s edge vegetation around us. After a buffet lunch on the deck, watching small birds flit between reeds, we enjoyed our first quintessential Okavango experience – a mokoro excursion along a channel punctuated with daylilies and the bejewelled darting of kingfishers. The Okavango Delta is a wonderful jumble of land and water, which meant that the game drives were every bit as absorbing as the water activities. We chose to do both the morning and afternoon drives on our second day here, which meant that we could explore more of the area, and it increased our chances of seeing our first leopard. As it was, it turned out that a family of warthog stole the show – not least when they chased off several spotted predators of a different stripe during an encounter with hyena. That sighting gave us a great campfire-side story to share with our fellow guests that evening.

As we flew towards the famed Okavango Delta, we noticed the gleam of sunlight on bodies of water below us, and coming in to land, we saw our light aircraft reflected in a large body of water.

Every lodge we stayed at our luxury Botswana safari overlooked water – in the case of Xugana Island Lodge, it was the still waters of the eponymous lagoon, but they were deeply moving nonetheless. The cry of a fish eagle heralded our arrival into our reed-and-thatch chalet – a room that appeared to be an organic extension of the riot of water’s edge vegetation around us. After a buffet lunch on the deck, watching small birds flit between reeds, we enjoyed our first quintessential Okavango experience – a mokoro excursion along a channel punctuated with daylilies and the bejewelled darting of kingfishers.

The Okavango Delta is a wonderful jumble of land and water, which meant that the game drives were every bit as absorbing as the water activities. We chose to do both the morning and afternoon drives on our second day here, which meant that we could explore more of the area, and it increased our chances of seeing our first leopard. As it was, it turned out that a family of warthog stole the show – not least when they chased off several spotted predators of a different stripe during an encounter with hyena. That sighting gave us a great campfire-side story to share with our fellow guests that evening.

Two nights at Camp Xaxanaka

The timing of our next flight meant that we could enjoy our morning coffee not on our deck, but on a termite mound island during a short mokoro jaunt – the perfect farewell to Xugana. Camp Xaxanaka, apart from being a superlative Scrabble word, was also the lodge that most closely matched our pre-safari mental image of where we would stay. Its Meru-style tents could have come from a different era, but the luxury within them was a match for their classic elegance. Here again we faced that most terrible of dilemmas: choosing between water and land activities. Naturally, we did both! We also spent time on the main deck, which, as it was built out over the Khwai River, gave us the impression of being truly at one with our surroundings. The reputation of Moremi Game Reserve as an incredible wildlife destination proved not to have been overstated – if anything, it had been undersold. On our afternoon game drive the next day, we saw not one but three leopard: we watched spellbound as a mother transferred her two squirming cubs to a new den site beneath a fallen tree. Our guide explained that the previous den had been discovered by baboon. Before dinner, the head guide gave an informative talk on the leopard of the area, including how to use their whisker spots to tell them apart. We agreed that we needed to return to practice this!

The timing of our next flight meant that we could enjoy our morning coffee not on our deck, but on a termite mound island during a short mokoro jaunt – the perfect farewell to Xugana.

Camp Xaxanaka, apart from being a superlative Scrabble word, was also the lodge that most closely matched our pre-safari mental image of where we would stay. Its Meru-style tents could have come from a different era, but the luxury within them was a match for their classic elegance. Here again we faced that most terrible of dilemmas: choosing between water and land activities. Naturally, we did both! We also spent time on the main deck, which, as it was built out over the Khwai River, gave us the impression of being truly at one with our surroundings.

The reputation of Moremi Game Reserve as an incredible wildlife destination proved not to have been overstated – if anything, it had been undersold. On our afternoon game drive the next day, we saw not one but three leopard: we watched spellbound as a mother transferred her two squirming cubs to a new den site beneath a fallen tree. Our guide explained that the previous den had been discovered by baboon. Before dinner, the head guide gave an informative talk on the leopard of the area, including how to use their whisker spots to tell them apart. We agreed that we needed to return to practice this!

What sets it apart

Our luxury Botswana safari stood out in our minds from any other holiday we’d ever been on for several reasons, but the most significant was the fact that we were left feeling that we’d visited several different worlds, yet we’d only shown our passports once. That’s because of the incredible variety of scenery we traversed, and the number of different ways we were able to explore them. Although we should admit that we did all of this without really having to lift a finger, as we were so well looked after, and were expertly steered, driven and poled into the most wonderful places. It would be hard to choose a favourite experience, as all were different, but all were equally wonderful. Suffice to say that each new lodge instantly became our favourite place on Earth – or at least it was, until we arrived at the next one. We couldn’t imagine more compelling vistas than the game-studded floodplains of Chobe National Park – but then we learned the story of the ‘stolen river’ (the Savute Channel), and watched geological time unfolding before our very eyes. Our time in the Okavango Delta was peerless in terms of the many different species we saw there – it was fascinating to reflect that while the animals we saw in the Chobe and in the delta might only be distant cousins, they were all pieces in the same giant, and remarkably complete, jigsaw puzzle. Unseen hands had even completed the cloudless blue skies that stretched in every direction.

Our luxury Botswana safari stood out in our minds from any other holiday we’d ever been on for several reasons, but the most significant was the fact that we were left feeling that we’d visited several different worlds, yet we’d only shown our passports once.

That’s because of the incredible variety of scenery we traversed, and the number of different ways we were able to explore them. Although we should admit that we did all of this without really having to lift a finger, as we were so well looked after, and were expertly steered, driven and poled into the most wonderful places.

It would be hard to choose a favourite experience, as all were different, but all were equally wonderful. Suffice to say that each new lodge instantly became our favourite place on Earth – or at least it was, until we arrived at the next one.

We couldn’t imagine more compelling vistas than the game-studded floodplains of Chobe National Park – but then we learned the story of the ‘stolen river’ (the Savute Channel), and watched geological time unfolding before our very eyes.

Our time in the Okavango Delta was peerless in terms of the many different species we saw there – it was fascinating to reflect that while the animals we saw in the Chobe and in the delta might only be distant cousins, they were all pieces in the same giant, and remarkably complete, jigsaw puzzle. Unseen hands had even completed the cloudless blue skies that stretched in every direction.

DAY 1–2

Chobe is chock-full of elephant. © Desert & Delta Safaris

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at Kasane International Airport in Kasane, and assisted through customs and immigration. A transfer will take you to Chobe National Park, where you’ll spend two nights at Chobe Game Lodge.

DAY 3–4

Savute Safari Lodge’s waterhole attracts lots of wildlife, like elephant. © Desert & Delta Safaris

After a transfer from Chobe Game Lodge to Kasane, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Savute. A transfer will take you to Savute Safari Lodge, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 5–6

Xugana Island Lodge is located on Xugana Island. © Desert & Delta Safaris

After a transfer from Savute Safari Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to the Okavango Delta. A transfer will take you to Xugana Island Lodge, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 7–8

Camp Xaxanaka is located in the beautiful Moremi Game Reserve. © Desert & Delta Safaris

After a transfer from Xugana Island Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Moremi Game Reserve. A transfer will take you to Camp Xakanaxa, where you’ll spend two nights.

DAY 9

A stay at Camp Xaxanaka lets you explore Moremi. © Desert & Delta Safaris

After a transfer from Camp Xakanaxa to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Maun Airport, to connect with your international flight.

  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, taking into account when you’d like to travel, how long you’d like to be away for, who you’d be travelling with, what safari lodge style you’d prefer, and more.
  • This luxury safari trip idea is simply to show you what’s possible. To see what this type of safari costs, and what’s generally included, click hereFor a general overview of African safari prices, you can click through to our blog.
  • We also offer a curated selection of Botswana safari packages, wrapped and priced for your convenience, click here to explore them.

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