Observe Africa’s amazing wildlife by day and the magnificence of the southern sky by night on our third safari-and-stargazing expedition to Botswana.

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Join leading amateur observer and astronomy author Stephen James O’Meara for an unforgettable experience in the heart of southern Africa in late June, early July 2022. Undertake classic daytime safaris to seek out Botswana’s charismatic wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, hippos, and lions. And at night view through a telescope the grand Eta Carinae Nebula and other incomparable wonders of the deep southern skies that one rarely or never sees from the Northern Hemisphere.

Main area of Mma Dinare, one of three luxurious field camps our stargazing safari will enjoy.

Our travel partner on this exciting tour — now in its third year — is Yoga Safari, based in Maun, Botswana. Together we’ll explore the Khwai Private Reserve’s Little Sable, Mma Dinare in the Okavango Delta (a National Heritage Site), and Savute in Chobe National Park, plus take an optional 2-night, post-safari trip to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Has a classic African safari always been on your bucket list? Here’s your chance to check it off — with a twist!

Click below to get the full details:
• Itinerary for our 7-day/6-night Stargazing Safari in Botswana
• Itinerary for our 3-day/2-night extension to Victoria Falls
• Pricing and Terms
• REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. CLICK HERE.

The magic of the Botswana deep southern sky from Alpha and Beta Centauri (left), to the dark Coalsack Nebula (center), and on to the Eta Carinae Nebula (upper right). This region is rich in local lore, which Steve O'Meara, author of Night Skies of Botswana, will share with guests. Stephen James O'Meara

As your Sky & Telescope tour leader and astronomer, Steve is really excited about this year’s safari as there are a whole host of nightly wonders to delight every level of amateur astronomer. In addition to abundant wildlife sightings, the late June night sky has many advantages to stargazers. Here’s a start to whet your appetite:

After sunset, celestial magic occurs with many marvels being at their highest in the south: Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Southern Cross, Coalsack, Jewel Box, Eta Carinae Nebula, Southern Pleiades, the immense Omega Centauri star cluster, and Centaurus A, to name but a few. This presents fabulous opportunities during the evenings for dynamic viewing with no Moon. And that’s not all! The False Cross and Southern Beehive are also nearly mid-way up the sky, having moved slightly west of the meridian.

Safari drive vehicle and giraffe at Savute

By midnight, the Sagittarius Milky Way is directly overhead, with Saturn mid-way up the eastern sky. And by dawn a remarkable alignment of the four brightest naked-eye planets — Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn — stretch across the sky, with Venus being near the Pleiades low in the east. Running through them will be the amazing zodiacal light shooting straight up from the horizon toward the zenith.

This region of the Milky Way is one of the most eye-catching in the entire heavens, and is abundant with additional naked-eye and binocular wonders. This includes the Southern Beehive, Little Jewel Box, and Pincushion star clusters, as well as myriad bright and dark nebulae and a rich assortment of globular star clusters not visible from mid-northern latitudes. The center of the galaxy in Sagittarius is 30˚ high at nightfall and will be overhead by 11 p.m. The Small Magellanic Cloud and globular cluster 47 Tucanae will also be at their highest in the south before dawn, with the LMC 25˚ high in the east-southeast.

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds — satellite galaxies of our own Milky Way — together with 47 Tucanae (bright spot next to the SMC).
Photo taken during the 2018 S&T Botswana Stargazing Safari.

The June Boötid meteor shower peaks on June 27th, and the radiant is near its highest just after sunset. At this time, Botswana is faced nearly optimally toward the direction of the incoming meteors, so many of its meteors will rain nearly vertically downwards, producing short trails close to the radiant point. Although the shower is usually weak, outbursts occasionally occur — the last being in 1998 when the zenithal hourly rate reached up to 100. As the shower is unpredictable, we should be on the alert. Anything is possible!

ITINERARY FOR 6-NIGHT STARGAZING SAFARI IN BOTSWANA

DateItinerary at a GlanceAccommodationMeals
Sunday, June 26Maun to Khwai Private ReserveLittle SableT, D
Monday, June 27Khwai Private ReserveLittle SableB, L, T, D
Tuesday, June 28Khwai Private Reserve to Okavango DeltaMma DinareB, L, T, D
Wednesday, June 29Okavango DeltaMma DinareB, L, T, D
Thursday, June 30Okavango Delta to Chobe National ParkSavute Elephant LodgeB, L, T, D
Friday, July 1Chobe National ParkSavute Elephant LodgeB, L, T, D
Saturday, July 2Chobe National Park to MaunDepartB
A wildlife sampler showing animals that have been spotted on safari drives from our camps. Stephen James O’Meara

June 26 & 27, 2022 — Maun to the Khwai Private Reserve

Our Botswana Stargazing Safari starts at Maun Airport, where we board a light aircraft and fly to our first camp: Little Sable, situated in Khwai Private Reserve. At Little Sable you’ll meet up with Stephen O’Meara and the rest of the group.

We have chosen Little Sable because it is far away from towns and light pollution and the main area is perfectly placed to view the Southern skies. Our group will be an intimate party of just 16 people. We have a whole host of nightly wonders to enjoy during our time in Botswana. Steve has been to the area and says it’s perfect for viewing the magnificent southern stars and deep-sky objects through binoculars and his telescope (an 8-inch Orion Dobsonian).

Little Sable

Little Sable is an intimate, tented retreat located amid the shimmering grasslands of the Khwai Private Reserve, one of the best-managed private concessions in the greater Okavango Delta. There’s something to see around every corner and a different activity to enjoy every day, from classic safari drives to mokoro trips and boat cruises (water levels permitting). Wildlife that can be seen in this area include elephant, giraffe, hippo, zebra, waterbuck, tsessebe, wild dogs, and lion. And of course there’s optional nightly stargazing with Steve.

Accommodation is in eight deluxe safari tents. Each has an inside and outside shower and en-suite toilet. The tents are all raised up on decks with great views. Little Sable offers free internet in the main area and there are charging points for your batteries in each tent.

Wild dog at Khwai Private Reserve
Wild dog at Khwai Private Reserve

A typical day on safari at Little Sable includes an early morning wake-up call followed by a light breakfast. Then it’s off on your chosen activity. When you return to Little Sable there’s a delicious brunch waiting and afterwards you are free to catch up on your sleep, edit your photos, or relax by the pool. Then it’s back to the main area for afternoon tea and out on your afternoon activity.

A sumptuous dinner is served in the evening accompanied by a selection of drinks and then it’s out under the stars for an optional evening of stargazing. While at Little Sable you have the opportunity to take amazing images of the Milky Way directly overhead. After stargazing, we are escorted back to our tents by our guides, falling asleep to the night sounds of the Botswana wildlife.

Little Sable tent interior

At Little Sable, you have the opportunity to spend hours under the night skies with Steve. How late you want to stay up is optional, especially as safari activities occur early in the mornings and sleep might not be that plentiful! However, after lunch each day you have some down time, which is a perfect time to take a siesta to help top you up — until late-afternoon activities and evening stargazing come around again. Of course, both evening stargazing and the safari activities are optional, so you can plan accordingly. After all, it’s your vacation, and you are free to choose what
activities you partake in and which ones you choose to miss.

Elephant strolls near guest tents at Little Sable

All accommodation, meals, selected drinks, laundry, and activities are included during your stay.

June 28 & 29, 2022 — Khwai Private Reserve to Okavango Delta

Our third day on safari sees us heading back to the airstrip for our light aircraft flight to Mma Dinare on the Gomoti River. Mma Dinare is named after the female buffalo that is often seen in the area. The camp has 10 deluxe tents, all with en-suite bathroom facilities, situated on raised decking and fronting onto a floodplain.

Mma Dinare main area, swimming pool, and deck fireplace

The dining and sitting area has a magnificent view out over the floodplain, where elephants can be seen enjoying a refreshing bath. There is a circular fireplace also on raised decking, where we will spend each evening enjoying the night skies with Steve and his telescope. There is also a swimming pool to relax beside in the warmth of the afternoon sun. Delicious food is served in camp and individual dietary needs are catered for, too, and South African wines and spirits can be enjoyed with dinner. Water, soft drinks, tea and coffee are available throughout the day.

Mma Dinare offers the opportunity to take safari drives into the wilderness to see the animals of the area. And, because it is not in a national park, the vehicles are allowed to go off the tracks, towards the animals, in order to get a closer view. The area is home to a variety of animals, including elephants, antelopes, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, hyena, wild dogs, lions, and leopard. The region also has an incredible array of colorful, as well as some endangered, bird life.

Mma Dinare tent interior

Mma Dinare is an eco-friendly camp and is completely off the grid. This means there’s no internet or Wifi so you are free to immerse yourself totally in the safari experience and take a breather from the constant demands of the modern world we live in. (We recognize this can present challenges for some so please note that it is only for these 2 nights; there is Wifi at both of the other camps on the itinerary.)

On the deck at Mma Dinare after sunset

Each night Steve will show everyone the nightly wonders from the fireplace deck. After a wonderful night of stargazing your guide will walk you back to your tent. As you fall asleep, listen to the night sounds of the frogs chirruping and perhaps lions roaring in the distance.

All accommodation, meals, selected drinks, laundry, and activities are included during your stay.

June 30 – July 2, 2022 — Okavango Delta to Savute Region in Chobe National Park

Next we’ll venture north to the Savute region of Chobe National Park, and to Savute Elephant Lodge, which sits high up on the banks of the Savute Channel at the end of the Great African Rift Valley. Stretching from the waterways of the Linyanti all the way to the Savute Marsh, the meanderings of the Savute Channel have brought water and new life into the western section of Chobe National Park on and off for many thousands of generations.

While the Savute Channel is currently dry, Savute Elephant Lodge pumps water into a waterhole directly in front of camp. It is one of very few water sources in the area and attracts a lot of wildlife, including but not limited to elephants, hyenas, zebra, kudu, leopards, and lions. Our 2021 S&T participants saw an amazing assortment of such animals during their stay at Savute.

Savute Elephant Lodge as view from the waterhole
Savute Elephant Lodge as viewed from the waterhole

Savute Elephant Lodge consists of 12 luxury tents, each with en-suite bathroom facilities. The tents are built on raised wooden platforms and have great views out over the Savute Channel below. The camp offers safari drives in the surrounding area, which is abundant in wildlife. The Savute area also has wonderful birdlife, including, among others, the Kori Bustard — Botswana’s national bird, the heaviest flying bird in the world.

Savute Elephant Lodge tent
Savute Elephant Lodge tent

There are also some ancient volcanic hills (yes, Botswana does have some!) near the Savute Marsh, where the Great African Rift Valley terminates. We have the option to visit one that has some interesting Bushmen rock art paintings.

Leopard at Savute
Leopard behind game drive vehicle at Savute

Savute Elephant Lodge is where we will spend most of our time viewing the wildlife; we will still be viewing the stars nightly but from the safety of the camp and our tents. We will do our best to minimize the light pollution in the camp to get the best possible view of the night sky.

The Milky Way over Savute watering hole
Elephants in Savute waterhole at night, the Milky Way high overhead
Stephen James O'Meara

All accommodation, meals, drinks, park fees, laundry, and activities are included during your stay.

July 2, 2022 — Depart

After breakfast and one last safari drive (time permitting), we say goodbye to the camp staff and head to the airstrip for our flight back to Maun, arriving there in time to connect with your onward flight.

7-Day/6-Night African Stargazing Safari Tour Includes:

  • All light aircraft flights from Maun between camps and back to Maun
  • All transfers to and from the airstrips to the camps
  • Departure tax from Maun
  • National Park fees
  • All safari activities as offered in the itinerary
  • All accommodations in double or single deluxe tents
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary at a glance at the top of the page (B = breakfast, L = lunch, T = tea, D = dinner)
  • All drinks (including South African wines and spirits), teas, coffees, and water
  • Laundry
  • Government Value Added Tax (currently 12%)

7-Day/6-Night African Stargazing Safari Tour Does Not Include:

  • International flights or regional scheduled flights
  • Passports or visas and cost of same
  • Items of a personal nature such as cost of phone calls
  • Travel and medical insurance which is compulsory (the camps and lodges we visit will not permit guests to enter their lodges without adequate medical and travel insurance)
  • Curio shop purchases
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Anything not mentioned in "Includes" above

OPTIONAL 2-NIGHT POST-SAFARI EXTENSION TO VICTORIA FALLS

Victoria Falls sunset cruise
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (left) and sunset cruise near Victoria Falls (right). Click image for larger view.

This adventure starts on July 2, 2022, just after the Stargazing Safari. Please contact Yoga Safari (info@yogasafari.com) before making any flight arrangements, as space is limited on this extension.

Guests wishing to partake in the extension to Victoria Falls following the Stargazing Safari will need to arrange their flights so that they depart from Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe, on July 4, 2022.

July 2, 2022 — Kasane Airport to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

On arrival at Kasane Airport following the Stargazing Safari in Botswana, you will be met and transferred across the border into Zimbabwe and to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for your two-night stay. You are booked on a bed-and-breakfast basis for two nights at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, and dinner is also included each night.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is set on a high plateau that forms the boundary of the unfenced Zambezi National Park. It is a deluxe African lodge, designed with thatch roofs, hardwoods, and vibrant colors that offer guests excellent, uninterrupted views of the National Park and easy access to the Falls. The lodge’s main building faces a waterhole that offers guests numerous wildlife sightings as the animals pass through the area into the wild bushveld. All the rooms have en-suite bathrooms and are equipped with safes, air conditioning, hair dryers, fans, mosquito nets, and complimentary tea- and coffee-making facilities.

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge room

After checking in and settling into your room, you are free to enjoy the lodge and its surroundings until dinner time. Perhaps choose an optional activity like a "Flight of Angels" over the Falls in a helicopter or light aircraft. Ask at reception if you wish to do an optional activity. Dinner has been booked for you in the lodge’s Makuwa Kuwa Restaurant tonight.

July 3, 2022 — Victoria Falls

After breakfast this morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a guided tour of the roaring Victoria Falls. The rest of the day is free for you to explore the area. Then at a pre-arranged time, your guide will meet you and take you to the mighty Zambezi River, where you are booked onto a two-hour sunset cruise with complimentary drinks and snacks. Listen to the amazing bass sound of hippos grunting as you watch the spray of the distant Falls in the low-angled light of the setting sun. After the cruise your guide will return you to your hotel for the night. Dinner tonight will be in Makuwa Kuwa Restaurant.

July 4, 2022 — Victoria Falls / Kasane Airport

After breakfast today your guide meets you and transfers you to Victoria Falls Airport in time for your outgoing flight.

2-Night Extension Includes:

  • Light aircraft flight from Savute to Kasane Airport in Botswana
  • Meet and Greet at Kasane Airport
  • Return airport transfers (from Kasane Airport and to Victoria Falls Airport)
  • Two nights’ accommodation in Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
  • Breakfasts
  • Dinners in the hotel restaurant
  • Sunset cruise with complimentary drinks, snacks, and return hotel transfers
  • Guided tour of the Falls with return hotel transfers (excludes entrance fee to the Falls)

2-Night Extension Does Not Include:

  • Any meals not mentioned above
  • Entrance fee to Victoria Falls ($30 as of October 2021)
  • Visa for Zimbabwe ($30 as of October 2021)
  • Drinks (except on sunset cruise)
  • Tips to porters, waiters, hotel staff, and guides
  • Anything not mentioned in “2-Night Extension Includes” above

PRICING FOR BOTSWANA STARGAZING SAFARI & VICTORIA FALLS EXTENSION

Pricing (per person)DoubleSingle
Botswana Stargazing Safari$8,995$10,695
Victoria Falls 2-Night Post-tour Extension$1,850$2,000

Note: All tour prices are based on costs and U.S. dollar exchange rates in effect at the time of posting, including Botswana national park fees and VAT (value-added tax). As such, prices listed here are subject to change. Sky & Telescope/Yoga Safari will inform clients of any changes prior to departure.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. CLICK HERE.

QUESTIONS? Please email Deborah Carter at info@yogasafari.com. (Please note time difference: Deborah, who has over two decades of experience running African safaris, is based in Maun, Botswana, whose time is UT+2, so there might be a possible brief delay in her response.)

Also see Yoga Safari’s FAQ page for answers to common questions.