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Okavango Khwai River

Peak 9.0 Rating
Price 774 586 566 566 654 654 604 774 774 774 774 604 592 USD
Jan 7.0
Feb 7.0
Mar 7.5
Apr 7.5
May 8.0
Jun 9.0
Jul 9.0
Aug 9.0
Sep 9.0
Oct 8.5
Nov 8.0
Dec 7.0
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Okavango Khwai River
is located to the north-west of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana.

The Khwai River is a modest but very important watercourse which flows out from the northeast corner of the Okavango Delta into the surrounding dry mopane forests to terminate in a modest area of marches a little further to the east. During the Jun/Oct dry season the river acts as a magnet for wildlife, providing excellent opportunities for safari, with an especially good reputation for for lions, leopards and elephants.

Unusually for Botswana there is actually a human settlement in this safari area, as well as the main sandy transit road between Maun and Kasane. Surrounding this core lie some pristine private concession areas. The prices here are considerably lower than the prime private concessions in the Okavango Delta, so the area really is worth considering if you are looking to keep a lid on costs and especially if you are travelling with younger children, who are unusually welcome here.

However the choice of camp is critical to the quality of the experience ...

The prime area is the private 2100 square kilometres Khwai Concession, which encompasses most of the land between the northwest corner of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park and the Linyanti Waterfront. It is largely comprised of dry mopane woodland, but has substantial frontage onto the Khwai River only on its southern boundary. The area contains three camp options, all of which are incredibly good value for money ...

Sable Alley ... is a high quality and very comfortable camp in a very attractive setting close to the river and offering the full range of Okavango Delta experiences.

Hyena Pan ... is a simpler camp set way out in the dry mopane forest to the north and offering an intimate and atmospheric waterhole experience, particularly strong for elephants.

Khwai Skybeds ... is a rare and unusual experience, similarly located around a remote waterhole in the mopane woodland, a single night sleepout experience with beds raised up high on platforms under the stars.

To the east of the village and airstrip there are several camps situated in smaller private concessions along the north bank of the Khwai River, where the landscape is a lovely blend of riverine forest and open grasslands, backing onto the mopane forest. The area is usually very strong for wildlife, notably in the Jun/Oct dry season, but the compromise is the slightly greater exposure to safari traffic, especially if you venture out onto the main transit road or the adjacent Moremi National Park ...

Machaba Camp ... is a really nice little place, very well presented and serviced. Although relatively pricey for this area, it does represent a considerable saving from most of the camps out in the prime private delta concessions.

Little Machaba Camp ... is a smaller annex of the above camp and slightly higher in price.

Khwai Tented Camp ... is very pleasant option, also renowned for the quality of its safari guiding, but a rather simpler in build and closer to the village and airstrip.

Sango Safari Camp ... is a much simpler and lower cost option set very close to the village and run by the local community.

Khwai River Lodge ... is a much larger and rather old-fashioned lodge which somehow manages to command premium prices despite the clear disadvantages of its position.

Okavango Khwai River is most commonly combined with other Okavango Delta areas, as well as camps in the Linyanti Waterfront, Makgadikgadi and Central Kalahari. It can also be combined with locations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Connections to other countries are possible but can be relatively arduous.

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Jay Hanson
Jay Hanson, Senior Safari Consultant
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