A Safari Guide to the Beautiful Country of Botswana
Really?! Is this tiny, noisy little plane going to land down there, in that dusty airstrip surrounded by palm trees? Noisy engines and a fast descent let our flying machine’s 2 wheels touch the ground in a jumpy, unsteady way. One minute later the doors are open. I jump outside surprised by the heat and kind humidity that rub my face when my feet touch the sandy ground: my safari has just started and little did I know that I was in for a journey of a lifetime.
Why Go to Botswana
There is no rational argument to go to Africa. It just calls you. If you like it, you will LOVE it. It gets under your skin forever, it becomes a passion. You go because you love nature, you love space, you love silence, you love being in remote places and you might love animals too ;-). Safaris put you in zinc with your essence, with your basic instincts. It is one of those rare journeys where you align yourself completely with the pace of nature.
Where to Go in Botswana
When traveling in southern Africa I only choose Wilderness Safaris. They are the most experienced and knowledgeable company I’ve met and take you on safari journeys that change your life.
There are three places in Botswana you should not miss:
But if you need to make a choice between these on your first trip, the Delta is for sure your starting point for it’s the only place in Africa where you have such variety (and quantity) of wildlife living around the most beautiful wetlands on earth. It’s all about water and life that lives around it.
Wilderness Safaris Lodges combine comfortable, luxury safari life with sustainability. They'll surprise you with the ideas they put in place to avoid damaging or disturbing these magic areas in Africa.
Where to Stay in Botswana
Mombo Camp | The most famous lodge in Africa that completely lives up to the hype. Everything here is special: you have high chances to see most species and the luxurious camp tents are unforgettable.
Vumbura Plains | A luxury lodge that provides a fair chance at seeing the very rare and endangered wild dogs, among many other encounters.
Xigera | Here it’s all about the water. The lodge is on a small island, surrounded by water, nestled in the famous Moremi Game Reserve.
What to Do in Botswana
The safari life is a peculiar combination of daily routine and unexpected surprises. The routine comes with schedules: every day you wake up before sunrise for a morning safari. Morning safaris last about 4 hours with a charming pause for coffee and cookies; then break for brunch and siesta time (or pool time!) in the high heat hours. Late afternoon you'll meet in the main lodge area for fresh tea and then head out for a sunset safari, ending with a beverage in a stunning location overlooking the African landscape. Returning to camp after sundown, you'll freshen up and have dinner under a sky filled with millions of stars. As far as activities go, you can choose according to your interests. Depending on the camp location and amenities proposed, you'll have the option to enjoy a car drive, a boat (or jacana) ride, a mokoro paddle, an elephant ride, a horse ride, in certain countries a balloon ride, or a walking safari. No camp can propose you all of the above: generally they have 2 or 3 options for you to pick from. It’s essential to do different lodges in a place as big and diverse as the Okavango Delta as each lodge is completely unique and set in an area that will offer you different wildlife sights and activities.
Where to Eat and Drink in Botswana
There are no restaurants in the bush (as you can imagine!) so all meals will be organized by the camp staff or offered during your game activities. Wilderness Safaris takes very good care of your dietary needs so you can trust the cuisine will be high level no matter what diet you follow. In some lodges you have “a la carte” menus, in others you have buffet. Also, the lodge staff will surprise you with different locations for meals and I guarantee you will be SO charmed ;-) (I prefer to leave it a secret for now). Some lodges sit in long tables so you get a change to interact with other guests during meals and exchange your safari experiences. Other lounges offer separate dining tables and you can sit with your travel companion(s) only. I personally love to share meals with other guests and have met the most fascinating people through the years. Do try Amarula before dinner and raise your glass to Africa before tasting it.