Monday, June 24, 2013

WE HAVE JUST BEEN TO BOTSWANA, part 1, Camping tour

Botswana. The real thing. Here we travel with Birgit Borgström, one of our most experienced travel consultants, on a camping tour through the raw magnificence of Botswana to luxury lodges near the Victoria Falls.  Her account is straightforward, Finnish plain speaking. When Birgit praises something you know it is really good…

Her pictures exude the deep call of the wild and some camping secrets...

On this tour with Africa’s prizewinning luxury safari operator AndBeyond there are unforgettable moments, the best of which was floating on a mokoro (dugout canoe) on the waterways of the Okavango...



Birgit spent 8 nights in the bush in tents at 4 different places Nxabega, Moremi, Savute and Chobe. They flew to Nxabega airstrip in the Okavango Delta and then a short flight to Moremi but most of the tour was overland. From Khwai there was a whole day game drive to Savute, Chobe National Park, and a few more long, sometimes bumpy but very interesting drives.

Accommodation

“Like camping in my youth, but better,” says Birgit.  The tents had showers under open sky surrounded by canvas and closed in private toilet areas and sleeping areas, some with places to store clothes.

Just canvas between you and the wilderness
Your hand basin and fresh clean towels

Warm showers in private quarters under open sky
“The beds were extremely good, better than at home!” comments Birgit.

"Camping in my youth did not have an en-suite WC..."
The menu included some delightful soups and lovely muffins. The personnel in all camps were nice, some especially nice, comments Birgit. “They all tried their best for us to be satisfied.”


She found the ranger Sam Kudomo was the most enthusiastic man regarding  knowledge of nature and the animals and their behaviour. “He was a lovely person with great sense of humour. He made our trip, and five stars to him,” says Birgit.


San Kudomo

Animal sightings and game drives

Some highlights:
Wild dogs - lovely reunion.




Long game drive to Savute, Chobe National Park with good animal sightings, lot of zebras, elephants, few wildebeest and birds.
Hornbill surveying the savanna
From Savute again a longer game drive to Serondela, northern Chobe nature park. On this trip they saw elephants playing in the water, buffalos lying in the water, lions in the bushes and so on, lots of birds.
“Here our **joy** was that there were hundreds of grasshoppers on our terrace area trying to come and have fun with us during the night…”, says Birgit with some dry Finnish humour, pointing out again that this is a trip for people who accept nature.
“And next morning there were millions of ants everywhere, which had woken  up because of the night’s rain.”


The bigger animals were more her style...


Elephants loving the water...
From here they drove to Kasane and did a pleasant boat trip on Chobe river, at the border of Botswana and Namibia, drinking pink champagne. Because of high water levels at Sedudu Island, where normally there are a lot of animals, they saw only crocodiles and hippos on the shore.
From Kasane they drove to the Zimbabwe border and from there to Elephant Camp (about one hour drive). Back to civilization, and the Victoria Falls…

Who to go

Nature lovers will find this the ultimate in luxury. But you need to love the wilderness with passion...and accept bumpy roads and occasional flying things. The beds are fabulous, the tents are comfortable, the food pleasant, the staff warm and nice, but needless to say your canvas "hotels" are not all the way up the luxury scale to Singita, Four Seasons, Aman or other more stationary Select products...

Next blog – Elephant Camp

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