Meerkats in the Kalahari
Botswana and Zambia Extension
August 1 - 6, 2019
Extend your stay in Botswana to visit the famed Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari Desert and visit a meerkat colony. The landscape in this part of Botswana contrasts with what you will see on the main safari. Here, you can stand next to 4,000-year-old baobab trees and ride through the bright white salt pans on quad bikes. These pans stretch as far as you can see and are an amazing camping location for stargazing. Then at dawn, visit the nearby habituated meerkat colony where a brave meerkat sentinel may sit on your shoulder as it watches for danger. In the afternoon, visit a nearby village and their cattle post to learn about life among the local tribes.
This is an optional pre-trip extension to our Botswana and Zambia safari on August 4 to 23, 2019 .
• Be surrounded by habituated meerkats.
• Camp under the stars on one of the world’s largest salt flats.
• Immerse yourself in local culture by visiting a nearby village and eating with the community.
Itinerary updated: October 2018
|Aug 1 - 2||Travel to Johannesburg, South Africa.|
|Aug 3||Morning flight from Johannesburg to Maun, Botswana, then board a charter flight to Gweta and arrive at the Makgadikgadi Pans.||Planet Baobab, Gweta||D|
|Aug 4||Morning free to relax. Afternoon quad bike ride on the saltpans.||Camping, Ntwetwe Salt Pan||B, L, D|
|Aug 5||Dawn encounter with meerkats and then ride back to the lodge. Afternoon visiting local village.||Planet Baobab, Gweta||B, L, D|
|Aug 6||Flight from Gweta to Maun. Meet the safari group for the charter flight from Maun to Moremi to begin your Botswana and Zambia safari.||B|
A glimpse into our journey
Travel to the Kalahari Desert
You’ll fly from Johannesburg to Maun to catch your charter flight to the Makgadikgadi Pans. Transfer from Gweta Airport to Planet Baobab where you will enjoy a guided walk in the bush and “sundowners.” This area is home to a baobab forest containing 4,000-year-old “trees”, which are actually giant succulents
Ride through the famed Makgadikgadi Pans
Spend the morning resting at the lodge before you venture out to the salt pans in the afternoon. You’ll be driving your own single-person quad bike as you travel into the bush to view wildlife and the immense baobab landscape. Your guides will point out wildlife as well as geologic and anthropologic points of interests. Make your way to the vast Ntwetwe Salt Pan where you’ll camp under the stars and with the moon in its third quarter, you should see shimmering stars all around.
Meerkats and locals
This morning, you’ll wake early, grab a cup of coffee and snack, and then ride your quads back into the bush in search of bat-eared foxes, antelope, and kori bustards on your way to the habituated meerkat colony. If it’s a cold morning at the colony, you may find meerkats snuggling up to you for warmth, or perhaps one will use your shoulder as a lookout station. You’ll spend a couple of hours here before heading back to the lodge for a full breakfast and a shower.
You’ll then spend the rest of the day at the local village of Gweta to experience and learn more about Botswana village culture. Visit a Sekolo (primary school), a Kgotla (traditional governing court), and then a cattle post where you’ll spend the afternoon learning about local life and be treated with a traditional lunch.
Fly back to Maun to join the main safari
Fly back to Maun this morning, joining the other safari participants, then take the charter flight to Moremi Game Reserve and begin the main safari!
Extend your stay in Botswana to visit the famed Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari Desert and visit a meerkat colony.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Extension cost, double occupancy||$1,850|
|Single supplement||Call for pricing|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except roundtrip flights between Maun and Gweta on August 3 and 6), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
This cost will be added to your main safari balance. The payment schedule and cancellation policy are the same as for the main safari. See main safari itinerary for complete terms and conditions.
The payment schedule and cancellation policy are the same as for the main safari. See main safari itinerary for complete terms and conditions.
- Roundtrip flights between Maun and Gweta on August 3 and 6.
- Lodge accommodations and camping for the nights of August 3 through August 5.
- Meals from dinner on August 3 through breakfast on August 6.
- Camping gear.
- Airport transfers on August 3 and 6.
- All airfare (except flights listed as included),airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees.
- Passport and visa fees.
- Lunch on August 6.
- Gratuities – tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting about $45 to $60 total per participant to be distributed amongst guides and lodge staff.
Airfare, except flights listed as included, is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive at Maun Airport, Botswana (MUB) from Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB)around midday on August 3 via South African Airways. Depart from the Lusaka Airport, Zambia (LUN) on August 22.
Flights we book for you: Roundtrip flights from Maun to Gweta on August 3 and 6. The cost of this roundtrip booking is included in the extension cost. Please refer to the main safari itinerary for other included flight information.
You will stay at a lodge for two nights, with one night of under-the-stars camping (no tent) in between the lodge nights. The camping site will have an enclosed pit-toilet and will not have electricity.
This extension includes a day driving your own single-person quad bike into the salt pans. Quad bikes are the ecologically favorable way to experience the saltpans since they leave a shallow track that washes away during the rains. You will get dusty, so wear protection for your face and have a cover for your camera equipment.