Building on the Cousteau-family tradition of exploration and experiential storytelling, Blue Legacy is offering a limited travel series to a few select locations around the world. These exclusive destinations will provide guests with an exciting itinerary that delivers the thrill and adventure of being on expedition while experiencing places where water is the centerpiece for understanding the landscape.
With the guidance of Blue Legacy experts, guests have the opportunity to write themselves into the great stories of our water planet as we explore the world’s water treasures and see firsthand why it is so important to think about our watersheds as systems. We invite you to join us and experience our water planet for yourself.
OKAVANGO: Botswana's Hidden Oasis
On the edge of the Kalahari Desert there is a vibrant oasis filled with exotic animals and wild landscapes. One of the most pristine places on the planet, the pure waters of the Okavango Delta set the standard for healthy delta ecosystems around the world.
Blue Legacy invites you on the trip of a lifetime as world-class explorer Alexandra Cousteau brings you deep into the heart of Africa to explore Botswana’s hidden oasis. Whether plying the shallow waters of the Delta in a makaro, or watching the silhouettes of wildlife drinking from the river at dawn, we will show you the landscapes you’ve only seen in documentaries—and bring you up-close to the elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, and crocodiles that make this place so wild and unforgettable.
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• Spend two days in a private fly-in camp set deep within the wetlands of Okavango Delta in the Moremi Game Reserve. Explore the water wilderness by the local transport mokoros--traditional dugout canoes--for a chance to see the wildlife at eye level.
• Settle into a stunning private bungalow on the river’s edge in a private game reserve and discover Botswana’s incredible wildlife on safari in open vehicles and on foot.
• Discover the water secrets of the Delta through the knowledge of famed guide Map Ives, who will be our special guest expert and take us on a historical water trip through this unique landscape.
• Immerse yourself in the Linyanti Reserve area and its many varied habitats of dry woodlands and grasslands, marshes, riverine forests and waterways. This area, filled with prolific wildlife and spectacular scenery, forms a wonderful contrast to the Delta.
• Be one of the first people to witness the Savuti Channel (famous as a sporadic and unusual watercourse) flowing for the first time in 30 years!
Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Departure City/Maun, Botswana -- Depending on your departure city, leave on an overnight flight to Botswana, and arrive in Maun the following afternoon. Our drivers will meet you and transfer you to the Royal Tree Lodge, a private game reserve only 20 minutes from Maun. Meet the group for dinner set overlooking the banks of Thamalakane River and the resident hippos, zebra, and gemsbok. Finish-off the day with a warm drink around the campfire as your hosts share water & safari stories from their own adventures in Botswana.
Day 3 — Xigera Camp, Okavango Delta -- You wake early to leave to the National Airport where you will take a short flight over the Delta to the quintessential Okavango water camp, Xigera. This area truly embodies what the water wilderness is all about. In this wetland paradise within the Moremi Game Reserve, you will stay in Xigera's luxury tents, which offer splendid views of the surrounding rivers, floodplains, and lagoons. Its location within this riverine forest gives the camp a magical feel. The afternoon is filled with water fowl and other fauna which we will see on foot from the walkways and platforms that surround the camp. Meander through the papyrus reeds, taking time to use all your senses to capture the essence of the Delta. Your hosts share the secrets of the waterways and the creatures that inhabit this sacred place. After a candlelit dinner, your native guest, Ximiea, tells us his own water story of this incredible Delta and its importance not only to the wildlife, but also the humans that depend on its existence.
Day 4 — Xigera Camp, Okavango Delta -- The next day, you wake to the smell of fresh brewed local coffee and a traditional Afrikaans breakfast served on the wooden deck. Afterwards, you head out on a mokoro ride—a trip through the channels in a traditional dug-out canoe. This “canoe safari” is at once peaceful and exciting—the water gently lapping against the sides of the boat as you survey the native wildlife. These wetlands are a haven for birdwatchers, with regular sightings of Pel's Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, African Fisheagle and a host of raptors, other waterbirds, and colorful kingfishers. The wildlife also includes red lechwe, lion, and spotted hyena. Share your own stories of the day’s safari around the campfire and under the starry Delta sky.
Day 5 — Vumbura Plains Camp -- Today we take another small flight over the waters to the Vumbura Plains Camp, which lies in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta, on the edge of a large floodplain where lechwe splash their way charmingly through the water. Vumbura encompasses such a wide variety of habitats and species, that you can see just about every animal that occurs in the Okavango Delta biome. Upon arrival, you check into your luxurious “camp” which is raised off the ground on wooden decks. Each room also has a plunge pool and sala--a comfortable area to lie and relax, watching the waving grasses of the floodplain. After a lunch break on the deck, we meet our special guest guide, Map Ives, who is a legend in Botswana with his 30 years of Delta experience and extensive knowledge of its history. With Map, we head out in open 4x4 vehicles to explore the spectacular ecology of the area, where we have the opportunity to see lions, leopards, elephants, cheetahs, and buffalo along with all the plains game. We head back in the dark, listening to the roars of the lion pride as they head out to hunt. Dinner is waiting for us. Afterwards, we head to the star-gazing deck, set with comfortable cushions that protrude into the floodplain, where we gaze upwards, and enjoy a bit of astronomy from the southern hemisphere.
Day 6 — Vumbura Plains Camp -- After an early breakfast, we take to the water in the boats. Birding here is incredible--both the variety and prolific numbers. We navigate the waterways, learning about the significance of the northern delta for the feathered inhabitants. With the sun shining overhead, we boat back to the lodge for a hearty lunch and siesta at the camp. Later in the afternoon, as the sun is setting; we load the 4x4’s and go in search of the local fauna by land. The Vumbura area is possibly the only area in the Okavango Delta where one can see red lechwe (an animal that inhabits the fringes of the waterways) and Sable antelope (an animal that prefers the dry countryside) on the same game drive. As evening sets in, the Delta becomes alive with new sounds. Map teaches us to recognize the different animal and bird calls that can only be heard after the setting sun. Dinner is served around the campfire and alongside the magical stories of Map’s Botswana adventures.
Day 7 — Kings Pool Camp -- Following breakfast, we leave for a flight to Kings Pool Camp. The Camp is located in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, a vast private concession in the northern part of Botswana, on the western boundary of Chobe National Park. The accommodations here are luxurious, the wildlife spectacular, but, it is most noted for its very large elephant population, which can reach enormous densities. Lunch is served on the raised deck overlooking the elephants as they come to drink and swim at the waters edge. The afternoon is spent out in the open-roofed landrovers exploring the Linyanti Reserve area and its many varied habitats of dry woodlands and grasslands, marshes, riverine forests and waterways. This area forms a wonderful contrast to the Delta. Here we see home to aquatic species such as sitatunga and red lechwe, and handsome roan and sable antelope. The wildlife is abundant and the scenery is spectacular. Night settles in and we are back at camp to recap our journey over a drink and campfire.
Day 8 — Kings Pool Camp -- Our game drive starts at dawn today, so we can spend the whole day viewing the animals that call this area home, such as impala, lechwe, kudu, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and bushbuck, and their predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyaena. Rarer species such as sable and roan antelope also emerge from the woodlands here. The bird life is extraordinary as well, and we can see the different species that frequent the papyrus swamps versus the dry landscapes. Lunch is served picnic style, surrounded by herds of gemsbok. A full day out on safari calls for a divine dinner at the camp. Our special guest of the evening will chat about the incredible hydrological changes the area has seen over the last year including a discussion on how the Savuti Channel is flowing again for the first time in 30 years.
Day 9 — Kings Pool Camp -- Another early morning safari to catch the good light and the animals as they enjoy the cooler temperatures of the day. Our safari takes us to the lagoon's edge, a great birding destination, with species ranging from the Okavango specials, such as Hartlaub's babbler, wattled crane, slaty egret, African skimmer, Allen's gallinule, to the drier mopane woodland species like racket-tailed roller, Bradfield's hornbill, white-breasted cuckoo-shrike, Bennett's woodpecker, swallow-tailed bee-eater, and Arnott's chat. We head back to camp for lunch and a siesta. This camp is famed not just for the sights, but also the sounds of wildlife all around. For this reason, the camp has two "hides"--places where you can see wildlife up-close. One is located at the western end of the camp where you can spend your entire siesta-time watching game come down to drink. The other is an original underground hide, with the water at eye-level. Witnessing massive elephant feet and trunks almost within touching distance while safely inside a protective structure is an extraordinary experience! A night safari takes us into the darkness with spotlights to find lions and hyenas feeding, and elephants swimming by starlight. Our last dinner, served under the open night sky, is accompanied by a surprise special guest, one who is famous for his work in water, wildlife, and conservation in Botswana.
Days 10 & 11 — Maun/U.S. Time permitting -- Enjoy a final morning game drive at the camp before flying back to Maun International Airport.