Day 1: Arrival Johannesburg
After arrival at OR Tambo International Airport you will be met by an ORYX representative who will assist you through passport control, baggage collection and escort you to your transfer vehicle for your 2-night stay at the Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg.
The Saxon is an exclusive private retreat. The entrance exudes an air of quiet majesty with its sweeping feature staircase and spectacular chandelier. Looking towards the Oprah Lounge, Piano Lounge, Cigar Lounge and Saxon Qunu Grill, the neutral shades of the interior reflect the tones and textures of Africa.
The central point of the Saxon is the impressive infinity pool. The pool terrace is the ideal relaxation area for spending leisure time, taking in the superb sunset views and admiring the well-stocked Koi pond. The extraordinary attention to detail and emphasis on seamless planning and implementation makes the Saxon a sought-after venue for business meetings and celebratory occasions. The stunning and well-appointed room means that you are assured of the most luxurious elegance that leaves nothing to be desired.
The Saxon Spa and Studio is a tranquil retreat where you are invited to spoil yourself with a personal rejuvenating experience to soothe your soul, calm your senses and realign your body into perfect harmony with nature. Here the Saxon takes a unique, holistic approach, focusing on you as an individual. There is also the well-equipped 24-hour Fitness Centre and gymnasium with a personal trainer available on request.
The Saxon is dedicated to excellence, and has received a long list of awards over the last few years.
Day 3: PC12 Charter Flight from Johannesburg to the Okavango Delta via Maun
At a time to be advised we will fly from Lanseria Airport, Johannesburg on PC12 Charter to the safari capital of Botswana, Maun. After clearing passport control and customs, we will wing our way to the world famous Okavango Delta.
Your home for the next 3-nights will be the fabulous Duba Plains Camp. The Duba Plains Camp is a private 77,000-acre reserve located in Botswana's famed Okavango Delta just to the north of Moremi Game Reserve. Inaccessible for most of the year by any means other than aircraft, it is this remoteness that solidifies Duba Plains as the soul of ‘wild Africa’! Duba offers an idyllic all-round Okavango experience, with vast, seasonally inundated floodplains that are home to huge herds of Cape Buffalo, which in turn make for one of the undisputed highlights of the area – their interaction with Lion.
Complemented by permanent channels and a number of larger wooded islands, a diverse array of wildlife is guaranteed, affording some spectacular photographic opportunities. This camp prides itself as a ‘home away from home’, with all the touches of personal service and guaranteeing a superb safari experience.
After arriving at Duba’s airstrip, you will be escorted to the camp (usually 7 minutes’ drive away, depending on sightings!), before offloading luggage and freshening up in anticipation of the afternoon game drive.
Day 4 & 5: Okavango Delta
This is “home” for Great Plains Conservation co-founders, and National Geographic Explorers in Residence, Dereck and Beverly Joubert and the remarkable, ever-present lions whose story they have so wonderfully documented over the years. This is where they filmed the remarkable documentary, “Relentless Enemies”, which showcased Duba’s Lions’ pursuit of their Cape Buffalo prey. Whilst the hunting of large prey by lions here is legendary, please note that it is never guaranteed.
The Lions, renowned for their pursuits of the Buffalo herds, are a formidable force. It’s a perfect recipe: the open plains’ nutritious grasses, coupled with the Okavango Delta’s clean, clear waters, combine to create the perfect habitat for Cape Buffalo; and, where such herds abound, the Lions are never far behind. Contrary to typical behaviour, the Duba lions are most often active during the day, with many of their famous buffalo hunts occurring in broad daylight.
Duba Plains is also famous for its large Elephant herds, and in addition, is excellent for a variety of game including the wetland-loving Red Lechwe, Impala, Kudu and the fleet-of-foot Tsessebe.
Leopard are often seen, and bird life is fantastic, with many Okavango specials and migrants present. Some days we will spend hours with a single pride of lions, watching the tiny cubs playing with their mother, aunts and siblings; other days we may roam the plains absorbing the splendour of a large herd of Red Lechwe running through the channels, or perhaps photographing the area's fantastic birdlife, including the rare Slaty Egret and regal Wattled Crane.
Days 6: Helicopter flight Okavango Delta to Selinda Reserve
After a morning game drive and breakfast, and at a time to be advised we will chopper onward to your isolated lodge in the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve (flight time approximately 25 minutes). Zarafa is synonymous with exclusivity and perfection! The spirit behind Zarafa comes from acclaimed wildlife photographers and filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, who together designed Zarafa to incorporate all the components of what they envisioned as the ‘perfect’ safari camp.
Day 7 to 9: Selinda Reserve
Previously known as Zibadianja Camp and later re-named Zarafa, this camps beautiful design, ‘green’ construction and spectacular location made it an immediate recipient of numerous accolades.
Zarafa overlooks the floodplains of southern shores of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which is the source of the Savute Channel. Positioned in the extreme eastern side of the Selinda Reserve, its location is in prime wildlife territory.
It embodies authenticity, luxury and simplicity to create a camp that has been clearly considered, and thoughtfully planned to be as environmentally sensitive as possible. It is the culmination of years of safari experience.
There are few places in northern Botswana as dynamic as the Selinda Reserve, which is cantered on the famous Selinda Spillway, which weaves its way east, linking the far reaches of the Okavango Delta in the south with the Linyanti water systems in the east. The Selinda Reserve is west (upstream) from Savute Channel and Chobe, so it has all the advantages of both of those famous areas but with the tremendous advantage of exclusivity. It is a truly spectacular and unique landscape!
Large numbers of Elephant can be found in the area, and their antics are a joy to watch and photograph, especially when they are frolicking in the Lagoon and Spillway. As is expected in a reserve of this size, wildlife varies from area to area in response to changes in vegetation and hydrology.
Impala graze through camp, and due to its location close to Zibadianja Lagoon, Zarafa has impressive pods of Hippo, while Red Lechwe often litter the floodplain in front of camp with the ever-present saurian the Nile crocodile also commonly seen. Water birds abound with frequent sightings of the amusing Black and Slaty egrets and stately Saddle-billed Stork. Pied Kingfishers dive for small fish while African Fish Eagles call in the distance.
Selinda Reserve is known for a few ‘specials’. African Wild Dogs have denned near camp for the last three seasons. Given this species’ plight, it is a true blessing to have fairly common sightings. The area is also good for Lion, while the open plains dotted throughout the Reserve provide ideal habitat for Cheetah. Denser areas are home to one of Botswana’s most sought-after residents, the Leopard, a few residents of which often come through camp on their nightly prowls.
Other common species include Cape Buffalo often in large herds, Giraffe, Common Reedbuck, Plains Zebra, Wildebeest, Spotted Hyena, and a variety of antelope including Red Lechwe and Roan.
Day 10: Fly Zarafa to Johannesburg via Maun.
After a final morning game drive and another scrumptious breakfast, we will PC 12 charter flight to Johannesburg, where this incredible Botswana journey sadly comes to an end.