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Okavango Delta Trip Report

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Three families took a popular overlanding trip to the Okavango Delta from South Africa. This is a long distance trip to one of the last wild places of Africa, a trip you will never forget.

Back Row: Piers, Carolyn, Sarah, Kyle, Mark, Kate, Adam, Liam, Ryan
Front Row: Emma, Erin, Gill, Keira

Our staff has made this trip a few times, and it is easy and safe to do for overseas visitors.

This day-by-day report will help you plan yours ...

Pre packing 18 April 2013

The families taking the trip were the Beetons in a Land Cruiser Prado 150 V with a with Conquest trailer, the La Trobes & Sanfords in Land Cruiser Prado 120 VX with Conquest Trailer and the Sanfords in a Pajero Double Cab pickup.

Our Conquest Trailers were rented from Jannie at Kubu 4 x 4. Not enough can be said about Jannie’s gracious demeanor and big friendly smile. He was brilliant and extremely accommodating. We collected our trailers and had a thorough briefing from Jannie, and Jannie got down and dirty under the vehicles cable tying the trailer power leads to our car batteries for charging while on the road. With trailers in tow, we arrived home and packed with gusto until midnight.

Day One

A cold front greeted us all on Friday morning. The Sandfords arrived at our home to pack their double cab and much reshuffling was done in our trailer – with the last 20 minutes in torrential rain. A change of clothes and we were on our way. What a way to start! At 10h30 we rolled out of Johannesburg and our first stop was at the Wimpy in Mokopane.

The going was easy and we eventually cleared the weather at Baltimore, 30 minutes before the border crossing. We breezed through the border at Martins Drift and pitched the tents for our children to sleep in – as the lodge only had 3 available safari tents for the adults when we booked (Though upon arrival it seems most were empty). The tents were pretty average as far as accommodation goes.

A great first braai with good meat, cold beer & camaraderie saw the night through. We did comment that we would need to be a whole lot more organized when we were around wild animals as it was chaos. We hit the sack at 10 30 PM and I remarked that there was not a cloud in the sky. Famous last words.

While sleeping in the safari tent the heavens opened up at about 2 am with a spectacular downpour, thunder and lightning. The children were drenched and came to our tent with the giggles At least they saw it in a good light!

Sunrise brought the extent of the downpour home. The bottom of the tent had a small pond in it, and the campgrounds were water logged. One of the girls remarked, "No need to drive to the Okavango Delta – it came to us "

Day Two: Kwanokeng to Nata Lodge

We left the lodge with the aim of getting to Phalapye to collect meat and have breakfast – yip, Wimpy again.

20 minutes down the road we came across an accident scene – never nice to witness. A car veered of the road and the driver was trapped behind the wheel. We could not drive on and stopped to assist. It was amazing to see how many people began stopping – from all walks of life. A gathering of souls with a common goal of helping those in need. All worked in cohesion and in minutes he man was freed. A bakkie had been on standby as the transport vehicle. Legs were ripped off 2 office chairs to make a makeshift bed, we donated a pillow and a blanket, and the husband and wife were whisked off towards Phalapye – 10 minutes down the road the ambulance and fire truck from Phalapye were assisting the injured – so all in all a good result, and one that we felt good about stopping to assist.

Mike from Sandys Butcher was an absolute gem What a gentleman and true to his word, our meat was frozen, vacuum packed and ready on arrival. His credit card machine was on the blink and despite only just meeting us, insisted we pay him on the way back. We did scrounge together some Pula between us and this was not necessary.

The rooms at Nata Lodge were awesome, as was the meal. Sadly the Bush Babies were lost in the recent fire and are not around the dining area anymore. A hearty meal and a few beers and we hit the sack to awake early the next morning to visit the Pans and see the few flamingos that were present. The water was too high to have good flamingo viewing, though it was still great to see a few and be out on the pans. Avocets, White Pelican, Spoonbills, Herons and Flamingos were in view while we had coffee on the pans.

Breakfast at the lodge was exceptional and we then drove the 3 hours to Maun and arrived at The Island Safari Lodge. The road is good, with some animal activity on it - Donkeys, Cows and goats. This is Africa after all!

After checking into the rooms, we gathered at the bar for lunch and sent final emails and had an internet fix before setting off to the wilderness. Some of the youngsters rented canoes and went for a nervous paddle upstream – I find it incredible how the staff told them not to worry about crocs or hippos as there are none in the area? Don’t think they told this to the crocs, as two weeks prior to our arrival a young lady was taken by a large croc a few hundred meters away.

I am not sure if this is the norm here, but the bar area had several local "ladies of the night" looming around. They inevitably landed up with a few foreigners and set off on a sundowner cruise armed with tequila. They left in high spirits, returned high on spirits and then a fight broke out between two foreigners with swearing, punching and furniture being thrown at each other.

After some blood flowed, the security guards arrived in uniform and hand cuffed the perpetrators escorting them kicking and screaming out of the pub, with the ladies in tow. Sad to witness, and hopefully the owners of this lodge rid the general area of this scum as it does not bode well for visiting families and if this is the case in future, will definitely give this place a wide berth.

Day Four

The morning was spent running around paying park fees, filling up with Diesel and water at Rileys Garage (well stocked auto store here), getting blocks of ice and doing the final odd things before setting off for Moremi. We bought Firewood along the way – many opportunities along the way, even up to Shorobe.

The road to South Gate was very easy going. We signed in and were assured by the Ranger that the road was easy and "No need to deflate your tires". The La Trobes got stuck in thick sand – which was easily recovered with a snatch cable. After deflating the tires on all vehicles to 1.2 Bar no one got stuck in Moremi again.

Mark’s rented Conquest suffered the first mechanical failure of the trip with the bolt holding the right shock absorber to the chassis shearing off.

Days 4-6: Third Bridge

We set up camp, which took us a leisurely hour (first time) and spent the afternoon in the camp. We had booked campsite 1 & 2, but opted to stay at 2 for the better shade and the closer walk to the ablutions.

The ablutions were in great condition with piping hot water and were kept clean throughout the day. For some reason, there was no lights in this one, but not a train smash. The teenagers were on withdrawal systems without TV, Internet or BBM – but they would shortly get over this much to our joy

We set out every morning and every afternoon on game drives and had average viewing for this part of the world. The maps we had were pretty average – the Veronica Roodt maps. They did not cover most of the roads and should be used as a guide only. There are several new loops and one or two dry roads that are not detailed on this map. When planning to do a loop for a game drive, it is often to find out exactly where you are. We did get lost a few times and had to back track – but the area is so beautiful that it was not worrying in the least.

On the Mboma loop we were treated to a tranquil elephant sighting with these animals walking into the water for a morning drink. Spending close to half an hour with them in close proximity to the car and having them relaxed in the water was very special to witness. Having the sighting all to yourself is what makes Botswana worth the effort. Far from the maddening crowds, time almost stands still if you allow yourself to just be in the moment, and let all your concerns slip away for a few days.

We explored the pools around 2nd and 1st bridge and left no stone unturned in our search for predators.

What a beautiful area. We had no luck at all on our game drives around 3rd Bridge with cats – we did see good birds and beautiful wide open solitude. Crowned Cranes, Saddle Billed Storks, White Pelicans, Herons, Spoonbills, Teals, Black Winged Stilts all present in most of the pools. We had a special sighting of 12 Black Egrets that were marching forward with the sun behind them hunting for fish under the cover of their wings. No one in our party had heard or seen of these birds, so for them to witness this spectacle for a good 20 minutes was special.

One particular night, nature called and I chose not to drive to the ablutions but to use the nearest tree – while doing my scan with the torch I saw two sets of lioness eyes lying in front of the nearby ablutions. When I returned with the binos to get a better look, only one set of eyes were there, so I chose to retreat very hastily to the tent.

In the morning we saw tracks of two lioness and 2 males that were all around the campsite. We followed them out of the camp and did every conceivable loop to locate them, but they disappeared into the tall grass – and this was at 6 15 am. The males teased us with their roars every night, but we could not locate these beasts

After 3 days of game drives we were despondent that we had no cat sightings as yet We did chat to Operators in the area and they were also battling. Wild Dogs were seen – on the Bodamatau Loop which we tried to see without success.

Despite warnings from the forum and other experienced campers, the Hyaenas at 3rd Bridge were not a problem at all. We saw them every night when we drove to the ablutions and saw their tracks around the campsite in the mornings – however they did not pester us at all and we had no issues with them.

As for the baboons – we did not see any in camp and the Xomae staff were active in searching the campsites for them. They assured us that they chase them away and keep them out of camp to the best of their abilities. The staff were great, friendly and assisted us with locating a spare bolt for the suspension on the conquest trailer for the shock absorber. Their briefing upon arrival was professional and they explained the dangers of walking around after dark and the do’s and don’ts of bush camping.

Days 7-9: Xaxanaka

We booked campsite 4 & 5. Good campsites, but quite small. It was not conducive to use both so we squeezed onto number 5 – with the wheels of the trailers on the road (though this road is not used by the rest of the campers as it traverses between camp sites and not off the main road in the camp site that branches off to each site.

After setting up (30 mins this time) in full view of one of the camp staff, we were approached by this lady who insisted that we move as we were on the road. I don’t have the patience to tolerate these kind of conversations that inevitably lead to the back handed shuffle – Piers Sanford took the task and after 20 minutes and a few cokes the layout of the site was deemed to be fine and we carried on.

Campsites 7, 8, 9 and 10 looked good. Hippos did make use of the main road to traverse the camping grounds in search of fodder.

We chose to stay in camp and make a poitjie. There is something about sitting around burning coals, having a few beers staring at the poijtjie pot that is incredibly peaceful and fulfilling. The kids were in their element – playing cards and 30 Seconds and having conversation. Amazing what happens when technology is removed – and so great to see.

We were assured by the ranger at reception that it would be impossible to leave Xaxanaka without seeing a leopard. So with this info we were excited to see our spotted cat. The area around Xaxanaka is scenically impressive – tall Mopane Forests, pools and open spaces. My daughter told me in earnest that fairies definitely live here. The area certainly It looked suitable for a leopard.

Elephants were feeding on the Mopane and the family herds were relaxed. We enjoyed many sightings of elephant in this area, with some particular gentle giants being fully habituated to vehicles – as relaxed as the animals at Mana Pools. We had a wonderful moment with one bull who chose to feed off the mopane almost overhead our vehicle – our girls were peering into his open mouth as he fed a meter away from our car.

On our 2nd day at Xaxanaka we chose to go for a sunset cruise. I could not resist popping out to see an ele or 2 so went for a short game drive at 3pm down to Jessie’s Pools. We had made the safari operators our friends and one stopped to tell me that we should visit Old No 9 as there were 2 male lions seen there this morning. It was 7 km’s away, so I thought we would push to go see them. We found the males were lying on the side of the road and I marked the GPS to return the next morning, as I was sure they would be here with the full bellies they had.

It was interesting to see that these lions had almost cropped/shaven manes – I had seen a lion like this 10 years ago on the Mboma Loop. It must be a localized adaptation – possibly for the wetter season when a long mane may be cumbersome in water and/or rain?

With lions now seen and our duck broken, I shot back to camp just in time to make the scheduled 17:00 departure. The boat trip was everything we heard it to be. We booked Lilly – a 16 seater and a real bargain at Pula 666.00 per hour. We did advise them to make it Pula 667.00 for Karma…….

Seeing the Delta from the boat was incredible – it gave a different perspective to the sandy domain that we had been camping on for 5 nights. Tall grass, islands, lagoons, channels, game spread out, shallow and deep channels – the variety in a short space was surreal. The late afternoon sky became a canvas with different tones being painted across its vast expanse.

Gin and Tonics flowed, kids laughed and had fun being out of the car. It is a great break from the norm and I can highly recommend doing this. The sunset was spectacular and there is a pink glow that envelopes the horizon after the sun sets that is particular endemic to the Okavango Delta that needs to be experienced.

With the GPS marked, and the assurance that they would be there, I got the team up early to leave at 06h00 excited to see their first lions of the trip.

Along the way we stopped at Jessie’s Pools to watch a giant elephant have his morning drink. Even with the promise of lions, we chose to share 30 minutes with him – with hippos grunting in the background and the sun coming up there was no place in the world where I would rather have been.

We set off to find our cats and 3 km’s before the mark, we found them lying in the golden sunlight of morning right next to the road. They gave us a good show by walking up the road and eventually settling around Jessie’s Pool for the day.

After spending a good hour with the king of beasts we chose to drive to Fourth Bridge on a loop. A good decision it turned out to be as the 14 Wild Dogs were lying in some bushes just off the road on the road back to 3rd Bridge and close to 4th Bridge.

The heat of the day was starting to come through by 10h30 so we chose to leave the sleeping dogs and return later. The Sandfords had never seen Wild Dogs before and spent some extra time with them - they were rewarded with better sightings of them and 4 ventured up to their car out of curiosity.

My experience with dogs is that you need to be around when they decide to get up & go, as when it happens, it happens quickly. I did not want to miss them getting active so set out at 3pm to catch them.

They had moved from their previous position and we soon relocated them. They were fast asleep – I assured our team to remain patient, but by 5-00 pm the La Trobes set off back home. We waited until 5-30pm and they got active as we were about to leave.

The pups begged the Alpha Male and Female for food, there were skirmishes and excited chatter amongst them and then they took off on the brisk trot that they maintain. We excitedly followed them and managed to loop in front ofthem several times to get the proverbial walk/run past with all 14 dogs trotting right past the car in single file.

Piers & Adam chose to remain in our vehicle and they were treated to one of the greatest wild dog sightings I have ever seen. The dogs were relaxed and very inquisitive - walking right up to the car and gazing curiously into our eyes. The dogs ran more than 5km and all the way to 3’d bridge. We were forced to leave them as we were pushed for time to make Xaxanaka - they were about to cross into the camp (which we heard they did do from campers the following morning]. It was interesting to see how they all bunched up against each other staring at the water that they had to cross to get onto the bridge.

There was no doubt that I would not make it back to camp in time - Piers wisely was the calming voice who persuaded me to take it easy, slowly and on the main track back to camp, and what will be will be.

We saw many elephants in the road; all relaxed with our slow approach and dimmed lights. We got back to camp 25 minutes late (not recommended] but safe and without incident. We reported to the ranger’s residence near the airstrip to alert them, but they were nonplussed and thanked us for letting them know. What a welcomed relief of attitude.

After an action packed day of game driving with great sightings, we had a few celebratory lagers around the camp fire and were visited by a hippo who came pretty close to our perimeter tent - much to the shock ofour girls!l!

Days 10-11: Savuti

With a long day ahead of us, we left early for Savuti via Khwai. After 11km’s from the Xaxanaka airfield, we bade farewell to the Sandfords who had commitments to get back to in Johannesburg. It was a special time spent with special friends and we missed them for the rest of our trip.

The drive to Khwai was non eventful with little game being seen. Chatting to local safari guides in the area at Khwai, it is evident that this area is a great game viewing area with Wild Dog, Leopard and Lion being sighted regularly throughout April. This morning lions had killed a Red Lechwe outside the local village. Seasonally I guess that Khwai would be better than Xaxanaka and 3rd Bridge during April & May.

We were worried about the water crossing here that we had to drive through to go to Savuti- we drove up to it and it looked deep and was about 30 metres long. Then we noticed that no tracks had gone through it - and we followed tracks that went East of the crossing - to a newly formed road with a shallow crossing that was a breeze. The road to Mbabe Gate was easy - hard roads with little thick sand.

Once in the park, we were advised to do the Sand Ridge road as the Marsh road was dry, but very bumpy with deep ruts from previous vehicles and elephant footprints. The Sandridge road is aptly named – thick long stretches of deep sand. The Prados performed nicely without ever needing low range - despite the weight of the heavy trailers.

150 Km’s through game reserves and sand is a long way and we arrived at 15:30, checked in - where we were told 2 male lions were chasing elephants through the camp for the previous two nights - and set up camp at paradise. Paradise was by far the nicest campsite we had camped at so far. All sites at Savuti have thick dark sand. I wonder why these companies who manage the sites don’t lay a 4m x 4m concrete slab to keep one of out the thick sand - it would be a welcome reprieve to get out of the sand after a hot shower. No matter how many times you shower, its only minutes and you are sandy again.

We were getting better at this and set up camp within 20 minutes. We chose to chill in camp and enjoy the view of the river and the large bull elephant drinking in front of our site. As we sat down with a beer and looked out across the channel, 2 wild dogs came trotting through the bush. They locked eyes onto a female Kudu drinking opposite cV4 and chased her across the channel, through cv4, cv3 past the ablutions, past the entrance to the camp, across the staff soccer field and into the bush! What excitement for the first few minutes in a new camp!

10 people excitedly crushed each other getting into one of the cars. We drove out after the dogs but they were too fast; and the staff playing soccer pointed into the bush were the dogs and the kudu disappeared.

We defrosted our last meat portion from Sandys Butchery - the National Lu na had kept this frozen for 7 full days!!! What an amazing deep freeze/fridge. We had a good dinner while scanning the surrounding bush for animals. We had regular Elephant visitors stopping by to drink from the channel. There was a bold hyena in the camp that did venture between the trailers when the lights went out.

In the morning we set off for a game drive and went past Pump Pan - the pan was filled with wildebeest and impala. We circled to Harveys Pans where the sun rose and silhouetted some giraffe. We then set off for Bushman Paintings on Kudu Hills to seek out a Leopard that was there the previous day with an Impala Kill in a Combretum - we found a lioness on the impala kill she had stolen from the leopard -getting closer.

It was interesting to see how many elephant carcasses scattered the pans. The lions had clearly become masters at killing elephant in this area - as per the National Geographic Documentary shot at Khwai and Savuti some years ago.

We had heard about a male lion at hippo pools and another one at Marabou Pan. We chose to drive down to Marabou Pan and found his tracks leading North and East. As we were close, we stopped at the pan for coffee. They have great "stretching points" at the pans, where one can alight from your vehicle within a confined open area. More elephant bones scattered the pan and a jackal surveyed the area. A big herd of wildebeest made their way to drink at the pan. A good coffee stop.

We followed the male lion tracks back to the intersection and easily where we found him under a camel thorn tree surrounded by safari vehicles and his brother in the shade of some nearby combretum This boy was clearly well fed as he struggled to walk when he sauntered off to join his brother.

We heard from the And Beyond safari driver about a leopard that was in the campsite 2l- earlier this morning and made our way to this site across the channel, which was easily crossed. At Kishana Crossing we found pools that were drying up that had baby catfish trapped in them. Yellow Billed Storks, White Pelicans, Spoonbills, Sacred Ibis and Juvenile Fish Eagles were gorging themselves on these morsels.

We followed the Channel back to Camp, spending time with an old bull elephant that was ending his realm on the planet. His ears were drooping and he was blind in his left eye. He had a calm demeanor as he drank from the channel and then quietly left to feed.

We did not find a leopard and went to relax at camp for the day, only to come out at 15h30 for a brief game drive around the hills to retry for leopard - with no luck. We did see a herd of 500+ Buffalo scattered across the grassland north of the marsh, which was good to see provisions running low so we baked bread and had jaffles for dinner - much to the delight of the kids!

The crew decided to sleep in for the last morning and forgo the game drive with departure set for 09h00. I don’t miss game drives easily - so packed as much away as I could to ensure Gill and the kids only had to pack the RTT away. Kyle was desperate to see a leopard and opted to join me for a 06h00 departure for a last sortie.

Setting of with good intentions always sets the tone for a good drive - 10 seconds into our drive we came across a young leopard walking along the campsite road to the ablutions. We watched him walk towards the ablutions, and then he froze as he saw campers walking out of their cars at the ablutions, and slunk off through CV3, over CV4 and into the darkness beyond the channel!

This was Kyle’s first sighting of a leopard in the wild - albeit a brief one, he saw it well.

With leopard viewing in mind, we scanned the hills thoroughly and made our way around these and followed the channel all the way to Rhino Vlei. We stretched our legs here and started making our way back - when we spotted another leopard in the distance. This one walked ever closer and was completely habituated to vehicles. A mature female - she was a small leopard and a confident one. She graced us with an hour of her time as she criss-crossed the road seeking out prey. She had no fear of the vehicle and was as comfortable as the Sabi Sand cats are around us. We had this lady completely to ourselves for more than an hour.

When the first safari vehicle arrived, we decided to give them the pleasure of being alone with her and sought out the large herd of buffalo, which we soon found.

Spending time with the female leopard on the last game drive was the cherry on top! We fought hard to find a leopard and we were rewarded with a sighting that only the privileged few will ever get to see -particularly in a National Park Apart from witnessing a leopard kill on a few occasions, this would rate as one of the best sightings of a leopard I have had the privilege of witnessing.

The road from Savuti to Kasane is tough going up to Ghoha Gate - long stretches of thick sand. Its 77 km of sand to Katchikau and then one meets the tar - a welcome sigh of relief was breathed throughout the car when we crested a ridge and saw the tar ahead. We pumped up lyres and had a stretch and cold drink in the shade of a Jackalberry 4 hours later we were at Chobe Safari Lodge. What a great hotel. We hung out on comfortable couches, caught up on email and had the best hamburgers in Botswana for a mere Pula 48. G&T sundowners followed and we had the buffet dinner - costly but a good spread. We all enjoyed sleeping in big beds and air-conditioned rooms and met at 10 for brekkie.

A river cruise is a must and we spend the day at leisure around the pool and set off at l-5:30 for a sundowner and game-viewing cruise along the Chobe River and into the Park. Elephants are usually down drinking in the afternoon and they did not disappoint. Watching giraffe nervously drink required patience as they came down, got in position and ran off. The highlight was coming across 2 bull elephants swimming across the river to an island of grass to feed for the evening. We drifted right up to them as they swam with great effort to make the long swim across- Within moments of arriving they began feeding. It was a very special moment to watch them.

We chose to go out for dinner in the town and came across Curry and Coffee. They do pizzas as well. The pizzas were average (as judged by the teenagers), and the curry was world class! Owned by Indians and frequented by the locals, this is definitely a spot worth eating at. 10 Meals with drinks for a mere 800 Pula was very reasonable.

We had another late start to the morning and chilled at the lodge until 13:30 before setting off for Elephant Sands at Nata some 250 km’s away. Our host was Ruan who was accommodating and friendly. We had two double chalets and one family one - which we crammed the children into. The water in the taps is very salty, and at this time of the year it was beginning to get cold once the sun set.

We sat at the water hole watching the coming and goings of the resident Red Billed Buffalo Weaver and White-browed Sparrow Weavers as they built their nest overhead. A Shaft Tailed Wydah had a gaggles of ladies in tow with him as he flittered around the water hole, Red Billed Teals arrived for a drink and a Kalahari Scrub Robin took offence to a Turtle Dove and chased it around for a while (not sure what he would have done had he caught it?)

The first elephants arrived after sunset and predictably chose the fresher trough of water right next to the boma over the stagnant water hole in the background. The elephants were slightly cautious as they approached to within 3 meters of the onlookers to quench their thirst.

It was too early in the migratory season to see the massive numbers, but Ruan explained that between May - September hundreds of migrating elephants from Hwange arrive en mass for a drink and the lodge then escort guests back to the chalets as there are too many around to walk safely.

There are 3 packs of Wild Dog on the L6 000 Reserve who are seen approximately 4 times a week. There are nomadic lions that pass through and a large territorial male leopard that is regularly seen. I hoped to stay up |ate and see what would come down. I had the entire boma and dining area to myself as I sat up till 23h00 waiting to see what was in the shadows.

A large bull elephant approached the trough cautiously and as I settled to get a good photo flying on my stomach near the edge of the wall, the generator timer kicked in sending the place into pitch darkness. After my eyes adjusted to the darkness I watched the bull make off towards my chalet and gave him 5 minutes before I set off on the 200 m walk to my chalet, Fortunately I did not bump into him or any other pachyderms, nor the toothed and clawed nomads. Walking in the dark in the bushveld does heighten ones sense somewhat!

Elephant Sands is a great stop over. The chalets are not the same standard as Nata Lodge, but the staff really try to make you feel at home and go out of their way to serve you (As they do at Nata too). The attraction here is that it is a bit more rustic, the water hole attracts a whole lot of Pachyderms and you get really close to them while sitting around a fire catting to fellow tourists. The vibe is homely and relaxed.

We set the alarm clock for 05h30 for an early start - but it was way too cold to get up and pack in the dark, so we lay in till 06h15. The elephants dislodged the water pipe to our chalet so no outside showers for the morning - though one would have had to be very brave to have a luke-warm shower in 2 degrees outside. The drive home was long - taking 12 hours with the border crossing (although this was swift!)

Arriving back in Jhb at 17:OO in peak hour traffic quickly brought us back to reality!

Reflecting back on Botswana it is a holiday of a lifetime that should be enjoyed with friends and family annually. After all, why do anything great only once?

It needs to be experienced to be comprehended. This is only my 4th visit in 20 years, so I am indeed a novice. I think you would need time to get to know the areas in order to get the most value out of your time spent in these vast wilderness areas, as well as pick the right time when animal densities are increased due to seasonal migrations, and the grass is shorter. I don’t believe that the National Parks have the density of the Kruger, and although I came here expecting as good game viewing as the Kruger, one needs to come with less expectation of seeing game and more for the wilderness experience - anything else is a bonus!

Ryan Beeton is 39 years old and married with 3 children. He has a passion for wildlife an d travel which is shared by his wife, Gillian. He drove a 1978 Land Ro ver Series 3 through Africa over 14 months commencing 1994 through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and then Zaire. The family sailed a 47 foot Catamaran around the Indian Ocean from 2004 - 2006. His business web site is at

Botswana is for the purist. Yes you will get thick sand, you may have a cold shower, you may get stuck, you will get lost - but you will find your way again.

You will experience absolute solitude, witness breathtaking beauty, have the excitement of unfenced camping in a wild area and see animal tracks around your fire when you wake up in the morning. Its a destination not to be missed - and one to share with your friends and loved ones. Go explore, you’ll be back planning the next visit shortly afterwards.

Best of all - there are no plug points, no cell phone reception and very few people! You owe it to yourself to visit this beautiful country.


• A River Sings •
• Central Kalahari •
• Southern Mozambique •
• Dignity in Flight •
• From Desert to Delta •
• Sudan white water •
• Ghosts of Marromeu •
• Gonarezhou •
• Mana Pools •
• Walkabout in Hwange •
• Okavango Delta Trip Report •
• Overland to Central Kafue Part 1 •
• Overland to Central Kafue Part 2 •
• Overland to Central Kafue Part 3 •

•  •

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