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Essential Botswana

7 days Safaris

Virgin Holidays' view

A great overall trip around the key safari destinations within this vast and beautiful country. The Essential Botswana tour has been designed to combine the wilds of the Chobe National Park, with huge herds and abundant big cats with the peaceful relaxation of the Okavango Delta. On this shorter flying safari we stay at Xugana Island Lodge, a spectacular island site which allows guests to not only do land based 4x4 safaris but also boat and mokoro trips to get the most out of the Okavango Delta.

Itinerary

Day 1: Chobe National Park

Arrive at Kasane airport for your road transfer to Chobe Game Lodge for 2 nights, the only lodge within the National Park, a stay here ensures guests enjoy the best location is Chobe. The riverfront is quite simply one of the most impressive safari experiences in Africa and the long riverside deck with an outside terrace overlooking the magnificent Chobe River is the place to be! Choose your activities from game-drives or river cruises. (B/L/D)

Day 2: Chobe National Park

Early morning and late afternoon game-drives are conducted by one of the expert female guides (the Chobe Angels) in open-sided 4x4 vehicles to ensure maximum visibility of Chobe National Park’s spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife. Meanwhile, riverside game viewing may be done from small and highly manoeuvrable boats, perfect for morning or sunset cruises. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Savute area within Chobe National Park

Drive to Kasane for your light aircraft transfer to Savute Safari Lodge for 2 nights. Located on the banks of the dry Savute channel, the lodge is small and intimate, accommodating guests in spacious thatched suites, each with private deck facing the channel. The area is renowned for its large population of elephants and is one of the only places in the world where lions often hunt these large animals. The lodge boasts an elevated viewing deck where al fresco meals are taken while watching game at the waterhole. Open 4x4 game-drives are conducted in the Savute area, including the famous Savute Marsh, and the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills, add magic to a delightful locaton. (B/L/D)

Day 4: Savute area within Chobe National Park

Enjoy morning and afternoon game-drives in 4x4 safari vehicles. Your chance to see the historic presence of the Savute Channel against a backdrop of teeming wildlife in the Savute Marsh. (B/L/D)

Day 5: Okavango Delta

This morning, take a light aircraft transfer to Xugana Island Lodge for 2 nights. The lodge boasts an enviable location on a private concession within the Okavango and is renowned as being one of the finest permanent water-sites in the area. The lodge allows not only land-based 4x4 game activities but late afternoon mokoro rides (traditional dug-out canoe) through the crystal clear waters of the Delta, an absolute must for any visitor to Botswana. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Okavango Delta

Take in morning and afternoon game activities through the stunning flood plains of the Okavango Delta; it is renowned for having one of the highest concentrations of big game in the whole of Africa. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Okavango  Maun

Take a scheduled charter flight to Maun Airport for your onward arrangements. (B)

Meals: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Please note: this safari is also available in the opposite direction, starting in Maun and ending in Kasane.

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes.

Pre/Post Tour Options

The safari starts in Kasane and ends in Maun but can also be taken in the opposite direction. We recommend adding a few nights at Victoria Falls onto your Botswana safari as Livingstone is a 90-minute road transfer from Chobe. The safari is also simple to add on to your holiday in South Africa.

Time difference

GMT +2 hours

Tour inclusions

  • Accommodation and meals as listed
  • All soft drinks and locally branded alcoholic beverages
  • Complimentary mini-bar at Chobe Game Lodge
  • Shared transfers by light aircraft within Botswana
  • National Park Fees and departure taxes
  • Game activities as detailed in the itinerary.

Tour Exclusions

  • International flights, upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry or tips & gratuities
  • Anything not detailed on the itinerary.

Accommodation

Occasionally due to availability or time of year we may need to substitute one or more of the lodges with that of a similar standard. 

Luggage 

We recommend taking soft sided holdalls as this can be transported more easily in the aircraft hold. Luggage allowance on internal flights is 20kgs per person. Excess luggage cannot be carried. 

Group size

This is an independent safari and as such there is no minimum/maximum number.

Visa/Passport requirements 

A visa is not required for Botswana however if you are travelling to/from Botswana through Zambia or Zimbabwe then a visa is required. This can be obtained either prior to departure or on arrival at Livingstone or Victoria Falls. If travelling via South Africa your passport must have at least 2 full blank pages for the South African entry stamp and be valid for 6 months from the date of departure.

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Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice


Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Let’s talk


If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

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To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

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You can contact our team by emailing feedback.backhome@virginholidays.com to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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