What is a Mobile Safari?
A mobile safari is essentially a privately guided safari where you will travel as one unit with your Professional Guide and camp assistant in a private safari vehicle with a fully equipped trailer. This allows you to experience the adventure of bygone days, traveling through diverse areas, witnessing the transformation as the landscapes change and different habitats meet. Your itinerary is pre‐planned in accordance with your time frame and interests ‐ see suggested itineraries for further information.
We have opted to remain affordable, offering comfortable safaris that allow those who are genuinely interested in wildlife and preserving the ecology of this unique part of the world. Our safaris are low impact on the environment, no heavy trucks and no generators. You travel with a guide and camp assistant who take care of all camp chores, guests get to focus on game viewing and being immersed in nature far from life's normal hectic pace.
We are happy to take children on safari that are older than 8 years. We will consider children that are younger.
Where do we Operate Mobile Safaris?
Safari Life Africa is able to offer a more diverse product due to the hands-on approach and experience of the Directors. Most safaris focus on the Kalahari and Moremi & Okavango areas in Botswana and Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, these areas are very special and we wish to protect them through controlled and responsible tourism.
However, we also operate throughout the entire northern region of Botswana including Chobe National Park, the Okavango Pan Handle, Magkadikgadi and Nxai Pan areas. Further afield we also venture into the Caprivi area of Namibia, Hwange area and beyond in Zimbabwe and expeditions in Zambia.
Generally these safaris start in Maun, Kasane or the Victoria Falls area and you will meet your private guide at a predetermined place (airport or hotel) and travel together by road to each area.
The Camp and Accommodation
We provide spacious dome tents with bedding (camp beds, bedroll – mattress, pillow and sheets, duvet, blankets and towels) and set up bush showers and toilets.
We offer two diferent tent options detailed below.
3m x 3m dome tents
Small front awning
Back door access to 3m bathroom
Bathroom has covered floor, bush toilet (longdrop), bucket shower and small table, mirror, handwash basin and jug
2.5m x 2.5m dome tents
Small front awning
Ablutions are seperate and shared (maximum 6 guests sharing)
Includes / Excludes
Mobile Safaris Include:
All camping equipment (Standard or en-suite bow tents with bedrolls – bedding & towels included)
Private HATAB campsites where available with bush showers/toilets shared as per regulations (max 6 pax per toilet), if not available at time of booking, an alternative will be offered (DWNP or other)
All activities as stated (unless specifically marked optional)
All camping and park entrance fees as per the itinerary
Services of a Private Guide and Camp Assistant
Transport in an open Land Cruiser game drive vehicle for optimal game viewing
All meals are prepared for you over an open fire and wine is included with your evening meal (other drinks may be included depending you the quotation made for your safari, please enquire).
Selected drinks (local wine, been, water, soft drinks)
Road transfers between all campsites as per the itinerary (unless other modes of transport such as light aircraft transfers are specified).
Mobile Safaris Exclude:
Other beverages unless otherwise arranged
Any optional activities (unless otherwise arranged to be included)
Any Visa fees
Items of a personal nature (see suggested packing list), personal spending and tips
A Typical Day on Safari
As it is a private safari, you can enjoy the peaceful ambience of a private campsite with your travel companions and really enjoy the sights and sounds of the wilderness. Your days will be spent exploring the national parks and reserves on game drives in an open safari vehicle, designed for optimal game viewing and photography in safety. In addition your itinerary may include boating, mokoro excursions and guided walks depending on which areas you select to visit and your preferences.
A mobile safari is an all encompassing experience. From the moment you enter the National Parks in Botswana you are surrounded by an incredibly unspoilt wilderness area, so even the transfers to the campsites are part of your safari adventure! Activities vary in different areas but your day predominantly follows the same routine, with the exception of transfer days where you move campsites. Although it is a mobile safari where you travel with all your equipment, the camp set up may or may not move site depending on your itinerary booked.
On a full day in camp you generally wake at sunrise and join your group around the campfire for that first 'essential' cup of tea or coffee. As everyone rises and prepares for the morning game drive a light breakfast is served of cereal, toast, fruit and rusks. We head out as early as is permitted in the National Parks in order to be the first on the roads to track fresh spoor left from the animal's overnight activities – we may spot fresh lion tracks walking straight past the camp or evidence of a passing herd of buffalo not far away. Your guide assesses where would be the best area to head on your game drive depending on what calls were heard during the night as well as the tracks found on the road and off you go to investigate further. Part of the unique appeal of Botswana is that the wildlife moves naturally and you are actually 'searching' for them, which can lead to the most amazing sightings and a great appreciation and respect for the bush.
Generally on the morning game drive we stop for morning tea and generally head back to camp by late morning. In camp we enjoy a lunch or brunch, depending on the time, and then there is plenty of time for showers and that great safari tradition 'siesta time'. Many people read or write in a journal and others just catch up on sleep after their early awakening! We meet together for afternoon tea and then head out on the afternoon activity, perhaps seeking a new area or returning to a great morning sighting.
Whilst camping in the National Parks we need to return to camp by sunset to conform to the park regulations, however if camping on a private area we are permitted to return after dark. In some areas such as Xakanaxa in Moremi or the Chobe River area we may include a boat cruise, check your itinerary for details, and some private areas we may be permitted to go for guided walks, again check your itinerary for details. It is also a possibility that we may do a full day trip to a different area of the park with a picnic lunch.
On the days we move camp, the day follows a different pattern. The time we depart camp depends on the weather and the full itinerary – i.e. how much time is allocated for each campsite and for the transfer, your guide will brief you the evening prior. Your guide combines his knowledge of the wildlife, safety and road and weather conditions when planning your activities and transfers.
Campsites Used on Safari
There are several different types of campsites we use in Botswana, depending on the area, availability and your personal needs.
Private Mobile Operator (HATAB / MOS) sites
These sites are situated within the National Parks and Game Reserves in Botswana and are for exclusive use of licensed professional Botswana operators. The sites are pure wilderness sites, generally in idyllic locations. There are no facilities and camp is totally self‐sufficient – we bring our own camping equipment, water, shower and toilet tents (dugout/bush toilets). There is a Code of Conduct for all operators using these sites and they are self maintained, no rubbish, coals, holes etc can be left behind.
Please note that these areas are unfenced and have no electricity. They offer a wilderness experience uninterrupted and pure and this is the beauty of what Botswana can offer – no people, no industrial noise and open skies where the stars shine brightly, undimmed by city lights.
Private Community sites
These sites are situated in Community areas adjacent to National Parks that are classified as photographic wildlife areas. They are similar to the HATAB sites but the rules of the community areas are more flexible than those in the parks – driving is permitted after dark which allows night drives and walking is also permitted within safety parameters. Some of these sites offer complete privacy in remote locations and other sites are in close range to other campsites.
These sites are situated within the National Parks and Game Reserves in Botswana and are for exclusive use of operators owned (or partially owned) Botswana Citizens. However they also allow 'late bookings' by non citizen operators where the campsites are not fully booked so may be used by non BOGA members as well.
Public DWNP operated Campsites
These campsites are within the National Parks and Game Reserves in Botswana and are run and managed by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. They allow public campers as well as licensed operators and the campsites within an area are close together within walking distance of running water and basic ablution facilities (not always functioning optimally). We use these sites when the private sites are not available, (often in the Savute area as the public sites here provide a little more shade than the private sites). The drawback of these areas is that you may be in proximity to other campers (depending on the time of the year), however the benefit is the access to running water.
Public Privately operated Campsites
Some of the original DWNP campsites are now operated by private companies – this includes Savute, Linyanti, Khwai, Third Bridge, Nxai Pan and some Kalahari sites. The private operators have increased the camping fees dramatically in many sites and we have to pass on these costs and will advise if it affects your itinerary. Some of the private companies have plans to erect permanent tents at various campsites (example – Savute) which offers a different style of accommodation in the parks that may be an option on your safari, please enquire for details.
Town based Campsites
These campsites are situated in towns such as Maun, Kasane, Ghanzi, Gweta and Victoria Falls and are generally adjacent to a lodge offering swimming pools, restaurants, clean ablution facilities, bars, telephones etc. It may be possible to upgrade to a chalet or room in these places, which you can decide as you plan your itinerary. These are generally not in wildlife areas with the exception of Kasane which is right at the entrance of the Chobe National Park and some Gweta area campsites which offer access to the Magkadikgadi Pans area.
Generally you travel in safari game drive vehicles (Toyota Land cruisers with individual seating) between camping areas as well as on the game drives. Most of the driving is on bush roads in wildlife areas so is taken at a leisurely pace (approx 30‐40km per hour) with game viewing and refreshment stops en‐route. The exception is when you are driving from a town, such as our Maun base, to your first campsite where you will travel a certain distance on tar road at greater speeds in order to get to the wildlife areas. This is part of the adventure, offering an exciting start to your journey ‐ scarves are recommended for the ladies. In winter bring something warm. It may also be possible to fly in light aircraft to your first campsite, please enquire upon planning your itinerary if you are interested. Although it is a mobile safari where you travel with all your equipment, the camp set up may or may not move site depending on your itinerary booked.
Examples of distances
Maun to Moremi Game Reserve
you travel for 3‐4 hours (from 100 – 150 km) depending on the location of your campsite in the reserve. The first 40km on tar road, followed by a short section on gravel/calcrete and the rest of your journey once you enter the wildlife area on dirt roads. This particular leg of your journey is possible to substitute with a light aircraft flight if you prefer, you may fly from Maun to Xakanaxa or Khwai bush airstrips where you will be met by your guide/safari vehicle. This is at additional cost, however can be a highlight of your trip as a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta can be incorporated into the flight.
Maun to Central Kalahari Game Reserve
you travel for approximately 5 hours (approximately 200km), two thirds and the greater distance on tar road before you travel on dirt roads.
Moremi Game Reserve to Savute (in Chobe National Park)
you travel 4‐5 hours (from 110 – 150 km) depending on the location of your campsite in Moremi (it is further from Xakanaxa area than from Khwai). This drive is wonderfully scenic as the landscape changes and all on dirt roads; you pass some villages but are generally in wildlife areas.
Savute area to Chobe River/Kasane in Chobe National Park
you travel approximately 4‐5 hours (from 110 – 170km) depending on your campsite location in the Chobe River area, predominantly in wildlife areas and you pass through some villages.
Your itinerary may visit different areas, please request traveling times and distances accordingly.
Meals on Mobile Safari
All meals are prepared for you over an open fire, whetting your appetite with tantalizing aromas as we cook and offering hearty and healthy bush cuisine. Meals can either be taken at a set dining table or enjoyed in a relaxed manner around the campfire. Evenings are spent relaxing and star gazing, as the guide/camp assistant takes care of cleaning up after dinner.
Food is always plentiful on safari and we provide a hearty, international style of bush cuisine – all prepared over an open fire. A typical day's food offers:
generally a light breakfast is served of cereals, toast, fruit and rusks with tea/coffee
tea/coffee and cake or biscuits
generally salads, cold meats, cheese and bread with fruit.; however on some mornings we may do a cooked brunch
tea/coffee and cake or biscuits
generally a hearty meal is served combining meat and vegetables. Examples of meals include: braai (barbeque), fillet with vegetables, chicken and vegetable stir fry, spaghetti bolognaise, beef and vegetable casserole.
Tea and coffee is served with 'something sweet'.
Fruit and light snacks are always available. Tea, coffee and 'tap' water is always available. Other beverages included depend on your specific itinerary inclusions, discuss upon booking what your preferences are (to bring your own or pay additional to have drinks included).
Should you have any special meal requirements (vegetarian, lactose intolerant etc) we do need to know in advance so that the supplies can be provided accordingly. Please note that there are no shops in the bush, so we need to bring everything with us ‐ so it is very difficult to accommodate special meal requirements without advance notice.
The very nature of a camping safari affects they type of provisions that we can bring along and supplies can be seasonal, however we do guarantee that there will be a variety of healthy and flavoursome food provided throughout.
Medical, Insurance & Visas
Guests are to check with their GP before undertaking a long journey and consult a travel medical specialist about six weeks prior to their trip to find out what immunizations and prophylaxis are recommended. Botswana is considered a malaria area at different times of the year and we recommend that they take preventative medications and dress appropriately in the evenings by wearing light weight, long sleeved tops/long pants and using insect repellant. We provide the locally available 'Peaceful Sleep' or 'Tabard', however you are invited to bring your preferred brand from home.
It is essential that you get medical cover for your trip, good travel insurance should cover medical evacuations and movements back to your country of origin.
You are asked to bring along an adequate supply of your prescription medication. It is imperative that you inform us in advance of any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies that may affect your travel, given that they are you remote areas. In the case of accident or injury our guides travel with a First Aid kit that can handle basic ailments and first stage treatment of injury and are in satellite phone contact with our Maun base should emergency medical assistance be required (in the form of a medical evacuation).
Please be sure to check with your local consulate or request advice from us on visas required for your safari. Many nationalities do not require visas for tourism purposes in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana for up to 3 months and can obtain Zambian and Zimbabwe visas on arrival, however there are many exceptions and you must disclose your citizenship to us when planning your trip BEFORE you pay for flights and pay a deposit on the safari to avoid complications or disappointment if you are required to obtain visas prior to travel.
Please note that it is important to keep your luggage to a manageable size when traveling on safari due to logistical space constraints, generally we recommend you travel with a soft 'duffel' or back pack style bag with a weight restriction of 12‐15 kg. Please DO NOT bring hard edged 'samsonite' suitcases as they will not fit in the vehicle/trailer. This is of more importance if you are flying in light aircraft for any stage of your journey ‐ they are very strict for safety and logistical reasons and you are not permitted over 15 kg or hard/large suitcases. Should you wish to bring excess luggage please contact us to discuss options.
Passport with appropriate Visas (be sure to check visa requirements for your nationality when planning your trip and note that for most African countries you require at least 2 blank pages and more than 6 months validity on your passport).
Airline tickets/e-ticket references (please reconfirm your tickets 72 hours prior to departure).
Traveller's cheques (with a separate list of the numbers) , USD or EUR Cash AND/OR Visa or Mastercard (American Express is not often accepted in Africa). Please contact us for recommended form of money as it varies with your itinerary.
A photocopy of your passport and other important documents (kept separate from the original).
Camera (the quality of camera and appropriate lens depend on your photographic interests – contact us if you need recommendations).
Spare batteries / memory cards for the camera.
Camera cleaning equipment and a dustproof soft sided bag for the camera.
Battery charger for cigarette lighter (recharging in the vehicle).
Pen and paper, playing cards (optional).
Locks for your luggage on commercial flights.
1 pair light weight slacks/pants.
2 pairs shorts.
1 windproof/warm jacket (in rainy season ensure it is waterproof).
6 shirts (4 short sleeved and 2 long sleeved).
1 pair comfortable walking shoes.
1 pair flip flops/strops.
Underclothing and socks.
Pyjamas or tracksuit for sleeping.
Sun protection (hat/sunglasses/sunscreen/lip balm).
For winter months – beanie/scarf/gloves.
Personal toiletries (deodorant/shampoo/brush /moisturizer/tooth brush and paste).
Band aids/asprin/anti diarrhoea medicine/dehydration salts/antiseptic cream (the guide will carry a full medical kit – please just bring your personal preferences).
Any prescription medicine and prophylaxis (be sure to include a letter from your physician for prescribed medicines).