You’re familiar with the famed Okavango Delta, right? Well, let us introduce you to another facet of its splendour – a Khwai safari. One of Botswana’s most picturesque and predator-rich areas, Khwai unfolds in the northeastern fringes of the Delta, nestled between the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park. And, with no fences separating Moremi and Chobe from the Khwai River, a myriad of species naturally saturate this safari hotspot.
A True Showcase of Botswana’s Scenic Grandeur
Split into the Khwai Private Reserve and the Khwai Community Concession, this expansive area covers nearly 400,000 hectares. And, as massive as that may seem, we’ve explored every glorious inch of it!
As you venture into this wild land, you’ll uncover a captivating array of environments. From lagoons and flooded pans to grasslands, bushveld and woodland forests – there’s ample room for nature to flourish.
Not surprisingly, given the vastness of Khwai, we’re often asked: “Where’s the best place to stay to make the most of my Khwai safari?” To address this, let’s begin by highlighting the distinctions between Khwai’s Private Reserve and Community Concession…
Khwai Private Reserve
The Khwai Private Reserve covers 200,000 hectares and benefits from abundant wildlife flowing in from Chobe and Moremi. It features diverse landscapes of open grasslands, waterways, mopane hinterland, and the Khwai riverfront. Exclusivity is its standout feature here, as you can only access the reserve when staying at one of its luxury lodges.
These secluded lodges lie in the northern expanse of the region, where magnificent mopane trees thrive – the perfect setting to truly immerse yourself in nature. Further south, you’ll find the Khwai River, the primary hub for your safari adventures. It’s in this region that the terrain is most favourable for remarkable animal sightings.
While game drives are undoubtedly a Khwai safari essential, what truly distinguishes the lodges in the Khwai Private Reserve is their commitment to enhancing your experience with bespoke activities. Anticipate immersive walking safaris, mokoro (dugout canoe) journeys (when water levels permit), inconspicuous viewing hides, and more.
Our Top Accommodation Picks – Khwai Private Reserve
Khwai Community Concession
Encompassing 180,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, the Khwai Community Concession stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of local Khwai villagers, expertly overseen by the Khwai Development Trust.
While it may draw a slightly higher number of tourists, owing to its accessibility to the public, this extraordinary sanctuary remains a popular choice for those seeking a fulfilling Khwai safari.
But don’t be misled by its “public” status; our admiration for Khwai Community Concession remains steadfast! It’s a place where wildlife movements are aplenty, unencumbered by imposing barriers. So, just like its private counterpart, the community concession basks in the bountiful game that flows from the Moremi and the Chobe National Park.
Within this splendid region, a plethora of lodges and campsites await, catering to a diverse range of preferences, from budget-conscious travellers to connoisseurs of luxury. Moreover, our recommended lodges offer not only exceptional comfort but also unparalleled proximity to the Khwai River.
Although the focus of safari activities in this public concession leans toward land-based activities like game drives and nature walks, some lodges extend the excitement to visits to local communities as well as mokoro safaris if the water levels permit.
Our Top Accommodation Picks – Khwai Community Concession
Wildlife of Khwai
The Private and Community sections of Khwai are widely considered the best game reserve in Botswana. This is thanks, in part, to the density and diversity of its wild inhabitants. Here, you’ll find a wealth of wildlife and, in particular, hordes of elephant herds meandering through Khwai to get to and from Moremi and Chobe.
Moreover, majestic big cats like lions and leopards share their territory with a wide array of antelope species, including sable, roan, kudu and many more. Additionally, the elusive African wild dog makes momentary appearances while on the move, and the waterways are the haunt of hippos and crocodiles.
Birdlife of Khwai
On a Khwai safari, you’ll find that the birdlife is prolific to boot – offering a spectacular display of species. Raptors reign supreme in the treetops, while saddle-billed and marabou storks elegantly wade through the shallows.
During the wet season, the concession’s limited permanent water source along the Khwai River attracts an even greater variety of aquatic birds. Keep an eye out for a flourish of fish eagles, kingfishers, and the radiant lilac-breasted roller, alongside a multitude of other feathered creatures.
Craft Your Ultimate Khwai Safari
Equipped with our first-hand knowledge, you’re now poised to embark on a Khwai safari that transcends the ordinary. Our recommendations are not mere suggestions but insights drawn from our own experience.
Contact our Travel Experts and explore Botswana’s wilderness like never before – a world of raw beauty and thriving wildlife.
Feature Image: African Bush Camps