Sometimes the best routes are the ones less traveled. Safari company Natural Selection put this concept to the test recently when they decided to launch a guided cycling safari through Botswana's most coveted wildlife area: the Okavango Delta.
Designed for small groups of trailblazers, adrenaline junkies and wildlife enthusiasts, the six-night cycling safari is the first safari experience of its kind. Travelers get to explore by bike the ancient elephant paths that have shaped this pristine Botswana landscape for centuries, cycling alongside incredible sightings of wildlife, passing acacia woodlands, wandering riverbanks, mopane forests and savannah grasslands.
Professional cycling safari guides will lead travelers through off-road terrain, including single-track game trails and jeep tracks, cycling three to five hours per day and revealing the secrets that pave the animal paths of the Okavango Delta. The Okavango is one of the most exclusive wilderness destinations in the world; the Unesco World Heritage Site encompasses vast wetlands and expansive drylands. Visitors traverse the delta's meandering waterways, passing palm- and papyrus-fringed islands and thick woodlands resplendent with lush vegetation and teeming with rich wildlife.
Cyclists will ride three to five hours per day, traversing the Delta's waterways and grasslands. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Natural Selection
The safari experience starts just south of the Moremi Game Reserve wildlife area, which is the first reserve in Africa to be established by local residents. It is also the only officially protected area of the Okavango Delta. As such, it holds tremendous scientific, environmental and conservation importance. To this day, Moremi ranks as one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa, possibly in the world. The reserve is situated in the central and eastern areas of the Okavango, hosting one of the continent's wealthiest and most diverse ecosystems. This makes for spectacular game viewing and bird watching, including all significant, naturally occurring herbivore and carnivore species in the region and over 400 species of birds, many migratory and some endangered. Both Black and White Rhino have recently been reintroduced, making the reserve a 'Big Five' destination.
Travelers will start riding at sunrise with a guided trail through woodlands and plains, created by elephants who are natural trail builders, weaving through Mopane forests. The rides include numerous stops for wildlife spotting.
Nights are spent in a luxury mobile safari camp, pitched in different locations with a back-up vehicle never far behind while riding. The last two nights are spent at the stylish yet relaxed safari camp, Little Sable, which e is located in Khwai Private Reserve, a 200,000-hectare area of pristine wilderness in the northern reaches of the famous Okavango Delta. Khwai offers one of the most beautifully iconic landscapes in Botswana. The area has an excellent reputation for welcoming the rarer species of the animal kingdom, including wild dogs, serval cats, honey badgers and the elusive pangolin.
The trip concludes with two nights at Little Sable, which is located in Khwai Private Reserve. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Natural Selection
Little Sable is an intimate and private little camp offering eight traditional style tents, on raised wooden platforms, each with a private viewing deck, en-suite bathroom, and outside shower. In camp you will feel a sense of freedom, where the wide-open views offer you the opportunity to connect and immerse yourself with your surroundings on so many levels.
Travelers have the option to swap one night at Little Sable at Skybeds, a 16-foot-high wooden platform with only a mosquito net between them and the night sky. The platform overlooks a waterhole (the only permanent water source for 2000 hectares), frequented by 400 bull elephants, along with lion, leopard, eland, zebra, and more, making for outstanding game viewing. Each platform comes complete with a flush toilet, shower and basin under each sleeping area.