Trip Report: Best of Botswana 2018
Anybody that has been on safari in Botswana would agree that it is possibly one of the most diverse wildlife destinations in the world!
Irrespective of the time of year visited, Botswana will offer any wildlife enthusiast an authentic, immersive and memorable experience – it truly is beautiful!
This years’ Best of Botswana safari was certainly no exception! The lengthy 15 day itinerary was well planned out to ensure that we visited the areas in Botswana most famous for its unique wildlife encounters, and each of these areas lived up to the name of the safari – we literally saw the best that Botswana has to offer!
Moremi Game Reserve – Xakanaxa Area
Our safari began with a drive from Maun to Moremi Game Reserve where we entered through to the southern gate and made our way over all the bridges, eventually settling at our first camp site, a mere 5 minutes drive from Moremi 4th Bridge.
Moremi is situated in the north-eastern corner of the Okavango Delta, and is still very much a part of the greater delta system and its associated Flora and Fauna. The area is a wonderful mixture of floodplains, marshland, open grassland, riverines and woodland. It possesses the kind of diversity both from a wildlife and landscape perspective that you would only be able to achieve by visiting multiple other destinations.
More so than its landscape diversity, Moremi is well known for its sightings of leopards, lions and wild dogs in particular, and there is no doubt that the dogs were a large focus of our stay in Moremi. Thankfully we were lucky enough to have an incredible sighting of a large pack of 29 dogs, inclusive of 9 pups. We watched them on the move one afternoon, playing with the young pups along the way, and eventually organizing for a successful hunt right as the evening light began to fade.
In addition to the fantastic wild dog sighting, we enjoyed a few brief, but exciting leopard encounters along with many elephant encounters and sightings of general game.
Moving further north and east, we arrived and setup camp on the banks of the khwai river. The constant source of water during Botswana’s hottest and driest month meant that animals were concentrated along the rivers edge, and along seasonal floodplains and marshlands which still held some water.
This is where we enjoyed fantastic lion sightings, some rare sightings of roan and sable antelope along with regular hippo and elephant sightings in and along the river.
The yellow-brown grasslands, watery floodplains and large mopane thickets provided a stunning backdrop for photography and so we made full use of the early morning and late afternoon light to ensure that we had subjects to photograph against natures stunning canvas.
Khwai Community Concession
Just on the other side of the Khwai river with Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park as unfenced neighbours, is the 180,000-hectare Khwai Community Concession which is considered to be one of the prime safari destinations on the north-eastern fringes of the Okavango Delta. A community-run eco-tourism initiative, Khwai is a superb example of conservation tourism at its best, with all proceeds going back into the Khwai Village for community upliftment and community projects.
We enjoyed fantastic elephant sightings along the river, along with lion sightings, regular hippos, great birdlife and the best of all, leopards, leopards and more leopards!
The area is well known for its density of leopards and this trip saw them all. We identified 5 different individual leopards, and had multiple sightings thereof over the three day period and the guests just couldn’t get enough of it!
Chobe National Park – Savute Area
Continuing along our north-eastern trajectory through Botswana, we arrived at our next destination within the Chobe National Park – Savute.
Savute is in a remote and rather wild corner of Chobe National Park, stretching from the park’s northern boundaries all the way to the Linyanti River. Apart from a brief flooding of the Savute river channel in mid 2010, the area has been completely dry and arid for close on 30 years. Animals in the area are sustained by man-made waterholes which at this time of year guarantees a continuous flow of wildlife surrounding these waterholes both in the early mornings and late afternoons, which is ideal light for photography.
One particular watering hole named Marabou Pan provided a sensational sighting on one particular morning with wild dogs, a pride of lions, jackals and elephants all approaching the water to drink in short succession of one another.
The rest of our time in Savute was spent searching the areas in the immediate vicinity of these water holes, and each and every game drive produced something new and exciting.
Chobe River Front
Our final destination was the Chobe River, where upon arrival we boarded a luxurious and completely exclusive houseboat which would be our home for the last 3 nights of the trip.
Given the 11 nights of intense heat and canvas tent camping conditions beforehand, the air-conditioned suites with comfortable double beds and running showers, along with ice cold gin and tonics made it the perfect way to end off an authentically African experience.
The Chobe river front is all about the elephants, who approach the waters edge in herds of a few hundred at a time, many of which actually swim across the river to access the green grass and lush vegetation on the Namibian side of the channel, and often making this trip numerous times in a day much to the delight of our guests who enjoyed viewing these crossings from the comforts of the houseboat deck.
Our guests were also uniquely positioned in a dedicated photographic boat on the morning and evening excursions to get as close to the animals both on the banks and indeed in the river without disturbing their behavior in any way. This provided for unique low angle and close up photographic action for our guests.
A magical two week safari ensuring one of the most authentic African experiences on offer to date!
Until next time,