Earlier this year, we set out on an incredible and affordable African safari. The adventure took us from the city of Johannesburg to the Kalahari Desert, Okavango Delta and finished in Victoria Falls. There were so many highlights on this Botswana safari. We did it all – Okavango Delta flight, Chobe River safari, safari through Chobe National Park and many Victoria Falls activities. This safari in Botswana was booked through G Adventures Africa. Below, we’ll break down the safari itinerary, show you stunning pictures of the amazing wildlife and give you our G Adventures review.
Itinerary by Day for G Adventures Africa: Botswana & Falls Adventure
Like any RobeTrotting review, you can expect our honest feedback as well as tips for doing this same trek. Below we’ll break down each day of the tour with the highlights and pictures. Lastly, we will review the optional activities that you can add to your trip for a fee. Some were worth it and others simply were not. We’ll conclude with a final overall review of the tour including who it’s right for and who should look at other options.
To see how we chose this tour check out: How to Pick the Right Safari Tour
Day 1: Johannesburg
Day one for any G Adventures tour is generally the same. It’s an arrival day where you have no scheduled activity besides an orientation meeting with your CEO. With that in mind, you should plan your G Adventures tour to arrive a day or two in advance. This enables you to explore your departure city before the tour begins. Mike and I arrived in Johannesburg two days before our tour commenced. This gave us the opportunity to explore Johannesburg, its surroundings and tour The Apartheid Museum.
Otherwise, day one of the tour consisted of meeting our tour group and enjoying our first dinner together. This was at our tour’s first hotel which was 40 minutes from center city Johannesburg. Keep that in mind if you arrive early. We chose to book our own hotel accommodations in central Johannesburg before the tour began. That way we could be closer to attractions and nightlife.
Day 2: Serowe, Botswana and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary
We woke up early on our second day because if was a long drive to our first overnight camping location. After a quick breakfast, we boarded the all-terrain vehicle to drive into Botswana. We spent most of the day on the road. This also included the Botswana border crossing. Finally, we arrived in Khama Rhino Sanctuary and set up camp. The sanctuary is located in the Kalahari Desert. Desert sand made for a comfortable sleeping location to set up our tents. While temperatures dipped at night, we enjoyed some time around the campfire and marveled at the brilliant starry sky.
Day 3: Maun, Botswana and the Okavango Delta Flight
Morning Safari in Khama Rhino Sanctuary
We woke up at 4am the next morning to eat a quick breakfast, tear down our tents and board a jeep for our first safari. The sunrise safari occurs early to catch wildlife seeking waterholes during a more active morning time. This is before the oppressive midday sun. It was frigid when we left camp, but sunrise in the brush was spectacular. Riding out in the cold and catching views of wildlife was also a fantastic bonding experience for our newly-formed group. We saw rhino, giraffe, zebra, elephants and impala before jumping back on the road and heading to Maun.
Okavango Delta Flight
The drive to Maun was 6.5 hours, this included a few bathroom breaks and stops for snacks. Once we reached Maun we took to the air for a birds-eye view of the Okavango Delta. The flight cost $120 per person and was a cool perspective of the delta and the animals that call it home. We saw hippo, giraffes, zebra, elephants and buffalo from the air. The winding water channels of the delta were particularly cool to view from above.
Mike was seated on the “passenger side” of the airplane and I was seated directly behind the pilot. There were more animals visible on Mike’s side of the plane, but we were able to pass the camera back and forth. Unfortunately for some solo travelers on our plane, they missed some photo ops.
Was the Okavango Delta flight worth it?
I personally think the plane ride was cool, but a little overpriced. Since there were two of us taking the flights, $240 seemed like a lot for the 90-minute trip. Mike thought it was worth the cost (but he had a better view of the herds below). Since there are so many safari options, I still think I would pass on this add-on again and put the money towards optional activities in Victoria Falls.
We camped out this evening at a campground with a bar and restaurant. After a full day, most of us had only a beer or two with dinner and went to bed early. There was an optional upgrade to a hotel room for $60 and Mike and I took advantage of that. With such a long day and poor sleep, we were eager for the shower and bed. On a G Adventures Africa trip, especially a shoestring tour, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for a hotel room.
Day 4: Maun, Botswana – into the Okavango Delta
After a good night’s sleep in the hotel bed, Mike and I joined our group to drive an hour into the Okavango Delta. We backed an overnight bag to camp in the bush and threw some beer in the community cooler to enjoy around the campfire that night.
We pulled up to the delta and unloaded our camping gear. It was carried to the banks and placed on mokoro, traditional dugout canoes. Mike and I shared one and were joined by our “poler” who navigated the trek into the delta. She steered the canoe to avoid hippos and pointed out birds along the way.
Once we arrived, we set up camp and enjoyed a chill afternoon in the bush. Mike even tried steering a mokoro near our campsite. We explored the area with a sunset safari/bush walk. We spotted several herds of zebra, groups of elephants and impala. The zebra kicked up massive dust clouds that made for remarkable sunsets. We then sung traditional songs and played games around the campfire.
Day 5: Gweta, Botswana – leaving the Delta
Sunrise Bush Safari in the Okavango Delta
We woke up early for a sunrise safari in the bush around the delta. There we saw buffalo and more elephants before breaking down camp. Finally we boarded our mokoro to enjoy the ride out of the delta. It was just as beautiful as the ride into the delta. Mike and I switched places in the mokoro this time. That way we each experienced the view from the front and rear. We loaded our gear and went back to our all-terrain vehicle to hit the road.
Camping in the Baobab trees
Once we returned to our vehicle, we drove 4 hours to Gweta, Botswana. The area is known for really cool Baobab trees and they were all over our campground for that night. We also arrived early enough to enjoy a swim at the pool. The pool was refreshing, but we ultimately still needed to shower.
We also had time to plan a “punch night.” As a group we chipped in to make some alcoholic punch and we had a bit of a party at our campsite after dinner. Before we got on the road, we stopped at local stores for the ingredients we needed to unwind. This was a fun chore to undertake as a group and helped us bond even more. It was worth the hang over the next morning.
Day 6: Kasane, Botswana – Chobe River Cruise
With hangovers sorted, we did our best to shake off the “punch night” and move on to Kasane. This town along the Chobe River would be the launchpad for our final two safari experiences.
The first of these was our sunset river cruise in the Chobe flood plains. This ecological wonderland straddles the border between Namibia and Botswana and is teeming with wildlife. We brought a cooler of beer on the cruise, which was awesome.
Chobe River Safari and Sunset Cruise
After settling in, we pulled away and it wasn’t long before we pulled the boat up to a group of grazing elephants. As we watched them in fascination, we noticed the storks, egrets and fish eagles gathering nearby. After a few minutes of observation, we pulled away to continue our search. We then found a crocodile and grazing cape buffalo and assumed a spot near them for photographs. Moving on, we found a group of baby elephants and their mothers cooling off in some muddy puddles. We finally found some hippopotamuses chomping at each other and then moved away to enjoy the sunset. This was even better than expected as we were joined by a young elephant cooling off before sunset. The images we captured seemed ripped from a National Geographic special. It was truly unreal to witness in person.
After sunset we docked the boat and boarded our vehicle to head back to camp. We enjoyed a dinner at our campground’s restaurant. Some of us stuck around for a few beers and a soccer (football) match. We had one more early morning to set out on our final safari the next morning. Therefore, this wasn’t a late night.
Day 7: Arrival in Victoria Falls
We woke up early for one last safari in Chobe National Park and packed up our camp site. That way we could take off for Victoria Falls as soon as we returned. We were picked up by two safari jeeps and split into two groups. It was a chilly morning, but we were used to being up early and cold. This also meant that animals were active before the hot sun was at its peak.
Safari in Chobe National Park
We entered Chobe National Park and saw many animals at sunrise. Some were common – impala, warthogs, baboons. The highlight of this safari was the king of the jungle, yes we saw a pair of mating lions. It was the most exhilarating experience! As they walked into the bush, they were only meters away from our jeep. We heard the driver say “no sudden moves, remain still and quiet” as they approached. We had to wait about 20 minutes while they lay still, mated (very quickly), and then slowly got up and walked into the bush. Some jeeps got impatient and left before they approached – including the other half of our tour.
Entering Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls
One more drive ahead of us, we got on the road early. It was only about 90 minutes to reach Victoria Falls, but we had to cross the border into Zimbabwe. When we arrived, women from the local village prepared a traditional lunch. This is part of G Adventures outreach, they are big on sustainable tourism and supporting local communities.
After settling into our lodging, we had a quick meeting about activities available to us over the next few days. Our tour ended the following day. Some members went on in different directions to continue with a second tour. Mike and I were concluding our time with G Adventures Africa on the Botswana & Falls Adventure.
Our last evening together meant walking to Victoria Falls and exploring this natural wonder as a group. We entered the national park and spent hours in awe. As a group, we snapped pictures and explored every angle of the sprawling waterfall until sundown.
After exploring the falls, we all showered and ate dinner together one last time. With some great food and wine at a local restaurant that our CEO (Chief Experience Officer) set up.
Day 8: Victoria Falls
After an amazing trek from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, Mike and I were ready to leave for Cape Town, South Africa. This didn’t go as planned due to a passport issue. The silver lining was we got to spend a few more nights in Victoria Falls. This enabled us to explore the area and have one final night with out tour group. Those who were embarking on another G Adventures Africa tour had one free day before beginning their second tour.
We chose to do a sunset booze cruise with them that night. We also booked a day of adventure the following morning with a white water rafting excursion. After that we took to Victoria Falls Bridge to bungee jump into the gorge. We also did the other two adventure options – zip-lining across the gorge and the bridge swing. It was an adrenaline-packed day, and a great ending to our G Adventures Africa safari tour of Botswana.
Click HERE to see how Mike and I got stuck in Zimbabwe after I failed to meet South African passport requirements. What a travel nightmare!
Is G Adventures Africa right for you?
We loved this tour. The parks that we entered were wonderful and we saw even more wildlife than we imagined. Camping for over a week was a little tough for us. We don’t mind getting dirty or roughing it, but we are pushing 40. I may have opted for more comfortable lodging, and G Adventures Africa has other tours which offer this.
I highly recommend booking a tour through G Adventures Africa. When you do, make sure you are selecting the activity level and lodging that makes sense for you. You can find their full offering HERE.
To see how we selected our tour and our full review, click HERE.
How to book a G Adventures Africa Tour
To start your journey with G Adventures Africa, check out the G Adventures website. There you can search their plethora of tours available. Every corner of the globe is available for you to explore through G Adventures. They offer different levels of service and many types of tours to fit any budget. There are always discounts on G Adventures website, especially if you’re flexible with your travels.
Click HERE to see my visit to Agra and the Taj Mahal while in India with G Adventures. Bucket list item checked off!
Click HERE to see my visit to The Water Palace and Amber Fort in Jaipur, India with G Adventures. Such a wonderful city and the Amber Fort is STUNNING!