Botswana, truly magnificent!
WOW…having just returned from a Botswana trip, I cannot begin to explain how diverse this part of Africa is. From my arrival in Maun, everything simply seemed to fall magically into place.
My first destination was the Jao Concession, where I visited both Tubu Tree Camp, a fantastic hidden gem, and Kewtsani, where water activities are the major focus. Tubu Tree, is located on Hunda Island, is really fantastic and great for leopard viewings. Kwetsani offers the most amazing experiences where you can see some of the biggest heards of elephants from eye level on the water.
After my time on the Jao concession, I headed off to Xigera which is literally in the heart of the Okovango Delta, situated in the Moremi Game Reserve. My mission here was to find the ever-elusive Pels Fishing Owl. And to my surprise, only after a short Makoro trip to a nearby island we found this amazing bird! Other highlights were the vast number of bird, frog and small wildlife species on offer in the close proximity to the camp. On a single boat trip we managed to tick off over 50 species of birds in just a few hours, covering less than 5km on the channles. This is a birders paradise for sure.
The next part of my journey took me to Vumbura Plains, Kings Pool and the very special Zarafa Camp. Vumbura Plains oozes opulence and luxury, and is in one of the most diverse areas in the Delta. With both land and water activities offered year round, the game viewing was superb, with tons of general game around as well as some super sights of the Golden Pack of wild dogs and one of the resident female leopards. The culinary experience was to blame for my few extra kilos that I left with, few top restaurants could rival what they offer. There are so many wonderful things that I could tell you about Vumbura Plains. Things that you could only imagine. You really should go and see it.
A short flight to the Chobe airstip and we arrived at Kings Pool Camp. Nine well appointed rooms set on a magical location greeted me on my arrival, superb food, amazing elephant interactions. However slightly thin on the lion and leopard front, non-the-less a superb experience. The highlight of my trip was definitely opening my room door and coming face to face with an elephants behind. You can imagine my sheer surprise and delight. With a little head shake from the ellie to warn me that he didn’t appreciate a door in his rear, I respected his privacy and space closed my door (with myself on the inside) and we went our separate ways.
Zarafa Camp is set on the Zibadianja Lagoon, in the Selinda Reserve was my last stop. Four ‘marquis style’ luxury tents are complemented with the best interiors and a true colonial feeling, each filled to brim with every item your heart could wish for on your stay here. This is only one of the many amazing things I have to say about this camp. David and Alice, the camp managers certainly go out of their way to make the guest experience second to none from “Zarafachinos” to breakfast-on-the-go, nothing was too much to ask. Afternoons are filled by lazing about on the Pontoon/Luxury boat. It is a definite must and if flexibility, luxury and superb culinary delights are up your street, then in my opinion, there simply is not a better camp out there.
The only thing I can say about Botswana is if you have not been there yet best you get there soon. And make sure to leave your heart at home because otherwise you will be a little like me writing this blog entry with my heart left in a very special place called Botswana.
Yours in the love of Bush,
Text courtesy Brad Thomet, Images courtesy of Brad Thomet and Wilderness Safaris