To visit Khwai Concession, you must travel to Botswana’s Okavango Delta and to the outskirts of the world-famous Moremi Game Reserve. It’s an enchanting area, most well known for the winding Khwai River. Offering a wildlife-rich patchwork of lagoons, shallow flooded pans, woodlands, and grasslands, Khwai Concession has a little bit of everything.
Without a doubt, it’s one of the most scenic areas of Botswana. And it’s a must-visit location for your safari in the Okavango Delta. There’s a reason why all of our safari packages take you to visit Khwai Concession.
1. Abundant Wildlife
Khwai is a predator-rich area known for having high concentrations of all types of wildlife. It’s an excellent location for viewing lions (in March 2020 on one of our safaris, guests saw more than twenty lions throughout their trip, including three kills), leopards, wild dogs, cheetah, and more. There’s even a hyena den, which makes it possible to see pups here.
Beyond predators, Khwai is one of the best places in the Okavango Delta for elephants. The beautiful Khwai River draws in healthy populations of elephants, buffalo, giraffe, red lechwe, impala, hippo, zebra, kudu, and more.
It’s difficult to go any stretch of time without running into some type of wildlife when you visit Khwai Concession. In particular, this is one of the go-to locations in all of Botswana to see wild dogs!
2. Impressive Birding
The Khwai Concession is known as the raptor capital of Botswana. You can find more than twelve species of eagles hanging out near the water, including the African fish eagle, bateleur, tawny eagle, martial eagle, and brown snake eagle.
And that’s just the start of the birding in Khwai Concession. Malachite kingfishers love the river, as do southern yellow-billed hornbills, cuckoo hawks, slaty egrets, rosy-throated longclaws, bee-eaters, and lilac-breasted rollers. It’s a birding wonderland with hundreds of species just waiting to be discovered.
3. Incredible Landscapes
Khwai is an incredibly beautiful area with many diverse landscapes. In a single game drive, you can enjoy marshes, lagoons, forests, grasslands, and more. These ever-changing landscapes are essential for the wide variety of wildlife you get to enjoy.
And the beautiful Khwai River rules over it all. It flows through this vast 1,800 km of land, creating an exceptional water source for migrating animals and powerful predators. There is always a high concentration of game along the river.
4. The Flood
If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary about Botswana, you know the flooding of the Okavango Delta is one of nature’s most incredible spectacles. When you visit Khwai Concession, you get a front-row seat to the annual flood cycle and how it affects everything.
Every year, the Angolan rain floods down through permanent swamps and rivers upstream to transform Khwai. Between June and August, Khwai River is filled with nutrient-rich floodwaters, which brings incredible game viewing.
5. Khwai Village
Khwai Village is one of the highlights of the Concession and one of the things that makes this area so unique. The local villagers actively manage and run the Khwai Concession through the Khwai Development Trust. They transformed their old hunting grounds into one of the best-managed conservation areas for eco-tourism. They actively protect the environment and manage the Concession.
There are also potential tours of Khwai Village that can be arranged with us before your safari. If you’d like to see first-hand how communities live in the area, speak to villagers, and learn about their traditional way of life, a visit to the village is a must.
All proceeds from tourism in the Khwai Concession go directly to helping the local people and local projects!
6. Private Game Reserve
When you visit Khwai Concession, you’re visiting a private game reserve. Why does this matter? Not only does it provide a more intimate wildlife experience, but there are also specific opportunities and activities exclusively available outside the main parks (Moremi Game Reserve).
For example, Khwai Concession does not have hard open and closing times (sunrise and sunset). Instead, you can stay out on game drives as late as you want or get started as early as you want. This gives you more flexibility.
We’ll talk more about the benefits of a private game reserve in reasons seven, eight, nine, and ten.
7. Nature Walks (Walking Safaris)
In Khwai Concession, you can go on nature walks with your safari guide. These unique walking safaris allow you to see the African bush in a whole new way. Your guide will carry a gun just to be safe (our guides have never had to fire their guns in more than 20 years in the bush) and take you on a walk to get up close and personal with some of your favorite animals on foot.
These walking safaris are only possible because the Khwai Concession is on private land that allows you to be more adventurous. Just make sure you go on a safari with Level 3 guides, like our Brave Africa guides, or you won’t have the necessary qualifications to be able to do this.
8. Mokoro (Boating Safaris)
The Khwai River also makes this area a great location for mokoro safaris. This tranquil and idyllic safari activity places you in a two-person, dugout canoe to get a look at the Okavango Delta in an entirely new way.
Your mokoro guide will propel you through the calm waters of the Khwai Concession (staying in shallow waters) to get you up close and personal with incredible wildlife and the natural beauty of your surroundings. It’s a great safari activity for relaxing and focusing on the lush scenery that Botswana has to offer.
9. Night Drives
After the sun sets, Africa’s wildlife does not go to sleep. In fact, many things start to wake up and explore. When you visit Khwai Concession, you have the opportunity to see life after dark on a night game drive.
Since there are no closing times in Khwai, you can stay out with your Brave Africa safari guide long after the sun sets to keep exploring the wilderness via spotlight. This unique safari activity offers an entirely different experience that can be rather eerie and awe-inspiring.
It’s a thrilling experience that gives you the opportunity to see animals and sightings that are rare during the day. Discover porcupines, civets, bats, bush babies, owls, and more. It’s terrifying, fascinating, and exciting all at once.
There’s even an opportunity to stop in the bush under the stars for a quick lesson on the sky in the southern hemisphere.
Khwai Concession also provides you more freedom on your game drives. In public parks, such as the Moremi Game Reserve, off-roading is not allowed. The parks require all guides and guests to drive only along pre-set paths, which can get you almost anywhere but can limit you when animals are just out of reach.
In Khwai Concession, you don’t have to worry about that. If the path turns right but the lions when left into the middle of a field, your Brave Africa guide can take your vehicle off-roading to get you as close as possible to the action.
Don’t worry, we still care for the environment and are very careful not to cause harm, but the ability to leave designated tracks and explore deep into the wilds gives you more possibilities than ever to find the wildlife wherever they may be.
11. Great Camp Sites
The Khwai Concession also offers some great campsites. We have a few of our favorite spots, which are completely private, and offer incredible views. You’ll go to bed, wakeup, and eat meals right on the Khwai River where animals regularly come to drink and relax.
At our Khwai campsites, we often have a resident hippo who provides a backdrop to camp. And at any given time, you could have breakfast or dinner with a herd of elephants, impala, zebra, wildebeest, red lechwe, buffalo, and more. Not to mention the soothing tranquility of running water.
12. Visit Anytime
As we’ve talked about before, there’s never a bad time to visit Botswana. It all depends on what you want. And that’s especially true when it comes to visiting Khwai Concession.
Thanks to the Khwai River, there’s always water here, but never so much that you can’t drive around and explore. It’s a great location to visit in wet and dry season and every time in between.
The region is especially well known for huge herds of migrating elephants all year long.