Travel-report Botswana September 2016

Two years ago, after our Namibia-round trip we already had the idea to travel to Botswana and now it finally happened.

This journey was again prepared for by Ilona Rother, most travellers had been with us in 2014 already. After a rather mediocre night flight with Air Namibia, we first met our guide Joe in Maun, a few hours later than the rest of the group, who had traveled via Johannesburg. Due to a small defect in one of our vehicles we started late, but soon we were right in the middle in one of the richest plant and animal worlds of Africa.

In the early evening we arrived at the Moremi Wildlife Reserve (in Xakanaxa), this reserve occupies approximately one third of the Okavango Delta. The first nights we spent on a private campsite in the wilderness. It was a very unfamiliar world for us: No power, proximity to wild animals, cooking on an open fire, camp beds, "Busch bathroom".... Questions over questions. However: The camp was setup by a crew and taken down again, the food was just great, the whole process very well organized.

However, here is a small hint: one should have neither dust allergy nor a tendency to sea sickness. Finally the sand really sat in all pores, the clothes, the suitcases, of course, also on camera and lenses. And the constant rocking on the deep sandways let us regret the other "self-drivers". We luckily have been on the road with experienced guides and did not have to worry about directions, routes, fuel supplies, fire equipment, food, etc.

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A strange feeling it really was in the first few nights, to first hand experience the animals, to especially hear elephants, baboons, hyenas, lions.... Guests at daytime included additionally to the aforementioned various birds, chickens, Bush Squirrel....

The days passed with various game drives through the animal and bird life, on the 4th day we moved into the Khwai-river area. On a Mokorodrive with a simple dugout-canoe we were punted through the waterways of the Delta. Sighted were here many elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, birds and repeatedly lions and leopards.

We probably will not forget the encounter with

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Botswana is independent for more than 30 years and is considered one of the most stable countries in Africa. The country is bordered to the south and southeast to South Africa, the west and north with Namibia and on the northeast with Zambia and Zimbabwe. The capital is Gaborone with about 235,000 residents. Total Botswana is sparsely populated, the official figures, the population is about 2 million. Much of the landscape is dominated by the Kalahari semi-desert with thorn and grass savannah. The Okavango Delta and the Chobe- and Zambezi-river as well as the Limpopo-river in the southeast transform the Kalahari there into green areas with grassy plains, forests and swamps. 17 percent of the country has been designated as National Parks; another 22 percent are under the protection of the Wildlife Department. Thus Botswana percentagewise has proclaimed one of the largest conservation areas worldwide.

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Our journey continued north to the Chobe National Park, where we spent three days and nights in the wilderness of the Savuti region. Only recently water is flowing again through the Savuti river after decades of drought. Very nice to look at is the desert-like landscape and the hills of volcanic origin. Again, we experienced many drives with elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, jackals, antelopes and many other animals…. Traces of the rare wild dogs we found, unfortunately we have never seen it.

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The last two nights we spent in the vicinity of the Chobe River, which forms a great contrast to the Savuti region. Here you find the largest concentration of elephants worldwide with an estimated 100,000 elephants. In addition to game drives, we had also a boat cruise on the Chobe, where we observed close up elephants, buffaloes and antelopes drinking and swimming as well as many water birds.

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The conclusion of our safari we spent at the Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), only 10 minutes' walk from the famous Victoria Falls. We must admit that we could have done without this part of the trip. While it was nice to once again be in a "real" bed and to wash the clothes. But the fun was a bit clouded during the day by the constant helicopter noise. The village itself is actually mainly of souvenir shops, safari operators, car rental companies and hotels. Adventurous and sporting activities are no limits: bungee jumping, white water rafting, helicopter tours and strange excursions like elephant riding, walk with lions, visit crocodile farms etc. Priced all be quite rude, like for visiting the waterfalls 30 USD charged per person.

Finally, once again our thanks go to Ilona for the organization of the trip, to Joe for his "Angels-patience" and the many photography tips, Manu and her kitchen crew for the great food and last but not least to Martin for Antje's first aid. The good mood in our vehicle with Ilona, Frank, Yvonne, Martin, Joe and "Seppel" has helped that it ultimately still became a real dream holiday.

Since we had extended our vacation by one week in Namibia, there is a separate part 2 to come soon....