Kalahari Plains Camp is situated in a remote part of the diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) and offers some of the best summer wildlife viewing opportunities in Africa. Located in the Kalahari Desert biome in the central part of Botswana, this reserve is the largest conservation area in this country and at 5 million hectares (12 million acres), one of the largest in the world. The camp is beautifully situated close to the famous Deception Valley and comprises six Meru-style en-suite tents with a central area with lounge, dining area and central bar. The tents and main area are all raised a metre off the ground to catch the breeze and take in the sweeping spacious view across the Kalahari. Solar power provides electricity and hot water, and the innovative insulated canvas walls and roof keep the temperatures inside comfortable. The camp locale is a three-hour road transfer from the Deception Valley airstrip. Thanks to the diversity of habitats, healthy game populations move through the area and are present to a greater or lesser degree all year long. But it is the summer months (end-November to April) with the advent of their rains that the desert truly comes to life. Short grasses sprout in the pan systems and fossil riverbeds and plains game such as springbok, gemsbok and wildebeest converge in their hundreds and thousands here to feed. This of course attracts predators such as lion and cheetah; in fact the abundance of game at this time of the year also leads to thrilling lion and cheetah hunts to be seen. Guided game drives unlock the fascinating wildlife treasures found in this wonderful area with excellent cheetah viewing a regular feature. San Bushman experiences provide insights into the unique culture of this fascinating people.
Xigera Camp (pronounced Keejera) dwells on an island in the heart of the Delta in Moremi Game Reserve. Xigera is set in what is truly a wetland paradise, surrounded as it is by deep channels and lush riverine vegetation. The camp consists of ten luxuriously furnished tented rooms each with en-suite facilities and an outdoor shower. Raised on wooden platforms and walkways, each tent offers superb views of the seasonal floodplain and lagoon and a feel of living in the midst of a riverine forest. Meals and evening drinks are enjoyed in the lounge, pub and dining area overlooking a permanently flowing channel or under the stars in a traditional African boma. For those hot days there is a small plunge pool in which to cool off. Guests are sometimes treated to close-up views of lion or leopard using the footbridge connecting Xigera's island to the next! The camp "newspaper" (a sand pit built into the bridge to capture paw prints) is "read" each morning and provides information on unseen nightly visitors to camp. Permanent water year-round allows an unparalleled variety of activities such as mokoro trips, game drives and motorboat outings; being the only camp in the area ensures total privacy. A mokoro ride is mandatory at this camp. On this traditional dug-out canoe, the only sounds are the rustling of the wind through the reeds, the lapping of the water against the boat, and the call of the African Fish-Eagle. The blue of the sky is mirrored in the water, broken only by large round water lily leaves and their stunning purple and white flowers. When water levels permit, game drives are an attraction. During drier years, drives are available throughout the year, but if there has been a very high flood, drives take place only from late September to April. Xigera is a delight for birdwatchers, with Pel's Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane and a host of raptors, other waterbirds and colourful kingfishers to be seen. An abundance of wildlife includes red lechwe, lion, spotted hyaena, and leopard and the highest density of the rare sitatunga antelope in the Delta.
Lianshulu Lodge, one of the first private lodges built inside a Namibian National Park, is beautifully placed beneath a canopy of shady jackalberry and mangosteen trees, on the banks of the scenically stunning Kwando River. Here, in the heart of the Mudumu National Park, dry mixed woodlands stand in complete contrast to the beautiful Kwando wetland ecosystem. Lianshulu Lodge accommodates guests in 9 twin rooms and 1 family room, each individually styled and tastefully furnished, with en-suite bathroom and secluded veranda. The airy thatched dining, lounge and bar areas open onto spacious, split-level wooden decks, affording sweeping views over the Lianshulu Lagoon. Two fireplaces, scenic outlooks and a secluded swimming pool create idyllic places in which to relax and take in the tranquillity of the natural surroundings. Activities here include morning or sunset boat cruises, nature drives in the Park and visits to the Lizauli Traditional Village, a model homestead where members of the local community give fascinating insights into their way of life in this remote corner of Namibia.
Many typical savannah species occur in the Mudumu National Park including buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and waterbuck with elephant and hippo being particularly abundant. Predators are sometimes encountered and around 400 bird species have been recorded in the East Caprivi. Hippo, crocodiles and fish such as bream, tigerfish and catfish can be seen from the lodge deck. Lianshulu Lodge has been instrumental in creating new opportunities and actively encourages projects that utilize indigenous products and knowledge on a sustainable basis. The staff and management are concerned about environmental education and promote wildlife conservation in is broadest sense, in order to create direct economic and social benefits to local communities.
Road transfer from Lianshulu Lodge to Toka Leya Camp (approximately 5 hours)
The interesting 5-hour drive to Livingstone, Zambia takes you across the Caprivi Strip and into Zambia via the border town of Katima Mulilo in Namibia. You drive through beautiful teak forests and African villages, stopping to visit the old cathedral of Mwandi. Toka Leya Camp overlooking the mighty Zambezi River and some of its islands is situated in the eastern sector of the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, some 12km up from the Victoria Falls. Toka Leya Camp consists of 12 spacious en-suite safari-style tents. Wooden walkways snake between the units and main area, limiting our footprint on this pristine area. Tent interiors boast cool wooden flooring, tasteful, uncluttered African décor in earthy hues, climate-control for a cool summer sanctuary, expansive wooden deck from which to soak up the views of the Zambezi River, often to the sights and sounds of birds, elephant and grunting pods of hippo.The islands in front of camp are intriguing and form part of the braided channel of the Zambezi River with several rapids, a main channel and dense vegetation. The camp's dining, lounge and bar areas offer ample space for relaxation and are complemented by an infinity pool, with meals served on the sundeck, the pool deck and dining room all overlooking the Zambezi. The novel pizza oven is a great hit with our younger visitors! A curio shop exhibits a fine selection of local crafts. Activities include a tour of the Victoria Falls on the Zambian side, game drives within Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, river cruises, fishing excursions and guided nature walks. Tours of Livingstone town and museum and visits to Mkuni Market and Simonga Village are all outstanding ways of learning about the people and culture of this part of Zambia. Other activities on offer in the area at an additional charge include sunset cruises, helicopter flights, micro-lighting, canoeing, jet boating, and white water rafting. Game drives into the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park offer sightings of general game species such as buffalo, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala. There is rich birdlife here too and good birding can be enjoyed within the confines of the camp itself, on boat cruises and out on game drives.