October 2024: Botswana: Water & Wilderness

Our Botswana birding safari offers an exciting and rewarding birding and wildlife experience. While this area is not very rich in endemics, the sheer number and diversity of species to be seen is amazing. Indeed, the region covered on this trip offers some of Southern African’s most spectacular birding. From the houseboat experience on the Okavango River to birding boat cruises on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, this tour gets one into the heart of this prime region.

Areas covered:

Our Botswana birding safari starts in Maun, gateway to the Okavango. From there we make our way up the western side of the delta to Shakawe. Here we have time on a houseboat on the river. After that, we enter Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, meandering eastwards. We have a couple of stops before we reach Chobe in Botswana. And from there we visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe where the tour comes to an end.


The accommodation is of a medium-plus to high standard. It includes a house boat, safari lodges and a hotel. Importantly, all accommodations have en-suite facilities, and are clean and comfortable.

The birding:

The birding is simply spectacular on this Botswana safari. Variety and numbers are incredible. And birding / photography from a boat offers a whole new perspective. Indeed, from start to finish you’ll be kept busy by almost not-stop birding action! Some of the highlight species to see include: Pel’s Fishing Owl, African Skimmer, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Dickinson’s Kestrel, Slaty Egret, Schalow’s Turaco, Chirping Cisticola, Luapula Cisticola, Rock Pratincole, African Finfoot, White-backed Night Heron, Southern Carmine Bee-eater, African Pygmy Goose, Wattled Crane, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Secretarybird, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Long-toed Lapwing, Brown Firefinch, Lesser Jacana, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Brown-necked Parrot and many others.

The mammals:

This is primarily a birding safari, and it doesn’t visit the prime game viewing areas. However there are some great mammals to be seen. These include Elephant, Hippopotamus, Roan, Sable, Southern Lechwe, Puku, Spotted Hyena, Lion, Cape Clawless and Spotted-necked Otters, to mention a few.

In conclusion, this Botswana birding safari offers an awesome overall experience. It takes place in one of the sub-region’s richest birding areas. And not only is it rich in birding terms, but it’s an incredibly beautiful and wild part of the world. From the houseboat on the Okavango River to boat cruises on the Zambezi and seeing Victoria Falls, this safari is bound to be the trip of a lifetime.



Botswana: Water & Wilderness Route Map

Botswana: Water & Wilderness route map. Click to enlarge.

Tour in brief

Group Size: maximum of 6 participants.

Areas visited: Maun, Shakawe, Mahango Game Reserve, Eastern Caprivi, Chobe River, Victoria Falls.

Expected weather conditions: warm to hot for the most part, though mornings and evenings can be cool. Low probability of rain.

Birding in brief: excellent all round. Good savanna birding, waterbirds and Kalahari species.

Top birds: Pel’s Fishing Owl, Slaty Egret, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-backed Night Heron, Hartlaub’s Babbler, Western Banded Snake Eagle, Lesser Jacana, Rock Pratincole, Chirping Cisticola, African Skimmer, African Pygmy Goose, Arnot’s Chat, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, African Finfoot, Rosy-throated Longclaw.

Mammal viewing: good game viewing in most areas with chances for big game such as Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, and maybe some big cats. Some specials such as Sitatunga and Red Lechwe.



4 participants:            US$ 7 050 per person sharing
3 participants:            US$ 7 830 per person sharing
2 participants:            US$ 9 550 per person sharing
Single supplement:   US$ 516

Price may be subject to change based on factors beyond our control. A small-group supplement may apply to this tour, due to the cost of the house boat, if there are fewer than 4 participants.


  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Ground transport
  • Bottled water in vehicle whilst travelling
  • Entrance fees
  • Personalised checklists
  • Specialist guide fees


  • All airfares
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All drinks
  • Optional excursions where applicable
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


  • This itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions at the time and other factors beyond our control.
  • Birds and mammals mentioned on this itinerary do not represent all that can be seen. A full list of possibles appears on your checklist.

The first night is spent in Maun so participants can arrive that day. Tour ends in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, on the last day (in time for same day return flights to Johannesburg or other destination). Please check with us before booking any flights.