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Category Archives: around the campfire

Friday 8 September 2023

NEW LODGES & CAMPS – YOUR EYES AND EARS…

Our team has been up and down on numerous educationals exploring and welcoming ‘new kids on the block’ and checking out all-time favourites. It’s been a very exciting adventure for us to tour around & see a great range of accommodations from luxury lodges and tented camps to comfortable and great value for money accommodation. Many lodges and camps are situated in private concessions, ensuring exclusive and intimate safari experiences. Our team of experts brought back great feedback which we love sharing with you.

African Bush Camps – Khwai Lediba

Our TT and Ona recently visited Khwai Lediba located on the far western side of the Khwai Community area next to the Moremi Game Reserve. The two came back with some really good feedback. In their words they reported that this camp offers guests a front-row seat to the wildlife action of the oldest protected section of the Okavango Delta. They explored the area on game drive, enjoyed a mokoro excursion and even tracked lions on a walking safari. They actually saw 4 of the big 5 during their first afternoon drive. The game viewing during their stay was phenomenal, the Khwai Community area was basically showing off says TT.

Ker & Downey Botswana – Shinde Footsteps

Carina came back from Ker and Downey’s newly rebuilt Shinde Footsteps Camp (formerly knows as Footsteps Camp), a gem in the private Shinde concession and she says that the camp is just simply gorgeous! Shinde Footsteps is a small and intimate explorers’ style camp offering game drives, guided bush walks, mokoros, motor boating, and night drives. Carina loved every second of her stay there and enjoyed exceptional sightings of a pack of 27 wild dogs with puppies, hyenas bathing in the sun, a herd of sable antelope and a cheetah trying to hunt lechwe.

Kwando Safaris – 4 Rivers

4 Rivers is the new Kwando Safaris camp located in the famous Kwara Private Reserve. In true SD style as your experts on the ground we made sure that we checked it out right after its opening. Our colleagues Sarah and Jane were excited to be the first ones that visited this gorgeous new camp, located in a wild and isolated wilderness area with a stunning biodiversity of flora, fauna and felines. Carina was also lucky enough to spend a short night in August in this new camp and was very impressed by the hardware (the tents are built in a similar style to the Dinare camps, but larger and of course brand-new), the food, the service and the guiding. The camp is located a short 15-minute drive from its own soon to be opened private airstrip. A wide variety of activities including game drives (the two ladies had exceptional sightings of leopard, lions, wild dogs, plains game, and lots of birds were spotted), night drives, walking and seasonal mokoros are on offer.

Great Plains Conservation – Sitatunga Private Island Camp

Andrea and Karen were the lucky fish to go checkout Sitatunga Private Island Camp. Set on the edge of a stunning lagoon in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The Camp in Andrea’s words…is a magical place, with its contemporary feel and all the light, Okavango River inspired colours make the place very unique and beautiful. The ladies embarked on a boat cruise and did a walk and they could not be more impressed with the guiding. They raved about the food and complimented the chef who was the absolute best and most outstanding feature at camp!

The Newly Refurbished Leroo La Tau Camp

A couple of our team members (TT, Carina, Karen & Beate) have been to Leroo La Tau since the refurbishment. Some for sight inspections and some on overnights. They were all very lucky to have different but amazing experiences. TT got the opportunity to embark on the cultural village visit that offers guests the opportunity to learn about our country’s rich culture and gain insights into the daily lives of Batswana. The Khumaga Village visit is a great way to meet the locals and learn about our heritage. This is the perfect addition to Leroo La Tau’s activity offering. Carina and team witnessed the jaw dropping largest Zebra Migration in all of Southern Africa!

Machaba Safaris – Kiri Camp

An opportunity presented itself for Scarlet, Anouk and Carina to visit Kiri Camp. The warm smiles and friendly faces of the team awaiting to serve them a luxurious experience could not be missed. The ladies reported that the food was great with a surprise bush dinner, exceptional wildlife sightings with 12 lions feasting on a fresh zebra kill, a busy waterhole which three hippos share with a lonely crocodile. The waterhole also got visited throughout the day by herds of elephants, zebra, impalas, wildebeest… and just to put a cherry on top beautiful sunsets enjoyed with our favourite Okavango Gin in hand. By the way this delicious Botswana-made gin is now available at Maun, Kasane and Victoria Falls airports’ duty free shops.

Setari Camp – Treehouse

Treehouse is the latest addition to the Setari Camps portfolio and offers guests rustic luxury. Built high in the trees and overlooking the vast floodplains of the Okavango Delta. We are sure that soon our colleagues will visit the camp and we will be more than happy to share first hand experiences on our social media channels.

MORE ‘NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK’ – ZIMBABWE

Malachite Suites & Zambezi Sands River Camp

Well of course in our many educational escapades we did not forget another one of our favourite safari destinations – Zimbabwe

Our Karen visited the newly opened Zambezi Sands River Camp deep in the Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls River Lodge’s new Malachite Suites.

The new Zambezi Sands impressed Karen, she loved the attention to the detail in the design and says it can easily be combined with the luxurious premier camps in Botswana.

Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel

Carina also visited Stanley and Livingstone which was stunning, it was a site inspection but the attentive service, and excellent food made her short visit worth her experience. She also had the opportunity to have a look at the suites which are nicely positioned in lush gardens overlooking the busy waterhole.

And there is plenty of availability in Botswana and Zimbabwe for the last months of 2023! Our team of consultants looks forward to hearing from you.

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Posted by

Caroline Mokaba

Tuesday 1 November 2022

What makes Ghoha Hills in Savuti so special? 

I was very fortunate to spend a night at Ghoha in July 2022 and the experience left an indelible impression on me. 

The lodge lies on the ledges of the Ghoha Hills and the view from the main area out over the vast expanse is incredible. I could have spent hours taking it all in and still not got enough. Fast forward to the evening and the view is swapped for magical night skies with star gazing as one of their activities. 

The team were incredibly hospitable, the tents very comfortable and the food delicious; but this is not what sets Ghoha apart from other lodges.

Driving from the airstrip to camp is about 45 minutes, and the last 10 minutes of the drive takes you up a rocky incline until you reach camp. Emerging from the vehicle, walking into the main area and taking in the 180-degree unparalleled view was my first wow experience. 

I was curious to understand how the longer drive down to the marsh area would impact on my game viewing experience. Allow for a good 45 minute to 1 hour drive but don’t be disillusioned, it was worth it! Once we arrived and started exploring the area, the realisation that Savuti is so popular with multiple vehicles at sightings hit me hard. I don’t know why but I was not prepared for this, and this is not my first visit to Savuti. 

My guide was different and I would best describe him as ‘old school’, nothing short of an exceptional man with a vast knowledge. He took care to avoid the mainstream of vehicles, choosing different routes and focusing on not only the comfort of the guests, but the animals too. The main advantage came in when the majority of the vehicles left the area around 10h00. We were virtually alone, other than the odd self-drive vehicle passing by. Of course, we all have the impression that game viewing is best first thing in the morning and then later on in the afternoon once it starts cooling down. Perhaps it was just my day, but my best experience happened between 10h00 and 13h00!

I was fortunate to ‘tick off’ some exceptional experiences – a Wild Dog den with the cubs emerging after the pack returned from a hunt, Lions lazing in the mid-morning sun, Elephants sand bathing, and to top it off, a Leopard with an impala kill up a tree. And the best part was that we were alone, our own private sightings that I could indulge in for as long as I wanted to. 

After I had my fill of sightings, we settled under the shade of a tree for a bush picnic lunch. I already mentioned that the food was delicious, but the experience of having lunch out in the open was not just different, it was special. One last stop before we headed to the airstrip as I wanted to see the rock paintings and my guide was very obliging. We soon reached the area but since there were lions in the area, we could not leave the vehicle to walk up to the paintings. Still, I managed to witness the marvel of this art although it be from a distance. 

Yes, it does make for a long day, and summer midday heat means an earlier retreat back to camp, but you can’t discount the experience, for me it was worth every minute of the extra drive.

Ghoha has its own private waterhole below camp at the foot of the hills, a popular setting for afternoon tea. The lodge is secluded and set away from other lodges, with its own private road network. The area surrounding the lodge is not as open as the marsh area and the waterhole is very productive in the winter months especially when there is less water around. 

Please contact your dedicated consultant for additional information or contact info@safaridestinations.net.

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Posted by

Claire Robinson

Friday 3 June 2022

Matusadona National Park and Bumi Hills

THE HIDDEN GEMS ON LAKE KARIBA IN NORTHERN ZIMBABWE

I was very fortunate and felt extremely privileged to visit Lake Kariba twice this year and all in a matter of two months. And both visits impressed me hugely and deepened my love for this amazing country in a way I didn’t think would be possible.

Taking a closer look at Matusadona National Park

This remote park gets its name from the Matusadona hills that form part of its water rich landscape. Flanked by Lake Kariba in the north, and two perennial rivers, the Ume and the Sanyati, Matusadona has it all. The lush landscape is formed by flat grasslands, dry river beds, rolling hills. It boasts a huge variety of mammals and keen birders can expect 240 different bird species.

Where to stay?

  • Fothergill Island (luxurious camp, ideal for families and small groups)
  • Changa Safari Camp (classic safari camp)
  • Rhino Camp (authentic experience)

Taking a closer look at Bumi Hills

Bumi Hills is named after a group of hills overlooking the southern shore of Lake Kariba. The view from the top of the hill is magical and famous for its magnificent sunsets with the Zambezi escarpment as a backdrop. The area is also often referred to as the Zimbabwean Riviera, with the colourful reflections on the water and the palmtree dotted shore. The wildlife-rich area offers incredible game viewing which has improved tremendously over the last years also due to the amazing efforts of the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit.

Where to stay?

  • Bumi Hills Safari Lodge (luxurious camp on top of the Bumi Hills)
  • Musango Safari Camp (authentic experience on the shores of the lake)

Why travel to Lake Kariba?

  • All year destination
  • Untouched wilderness
  • Easy access by air from Harare and Victoria Falls – Fothergill and Bumi airstrips
  • Bumi Hills – private concession
  • Matusadona National Park managed by African Parks
  • Land and water experience
  • Variety of experiences: game drives, motorboating, fishing, walking
  • Remote with few visitors, very exclusive experience
  • Visit the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit and learn more about their amazing work

For more information about this magnificent area please contact info@safaridestinations.net.

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Carina

Thursday 14 April 2022

Maybe, be a Bush Pilot: All it takes is a great Botswana travel experience 

A great safari is punctuated by many unique and life-altering experiences. As your experts on the ground, we are uncompromising in providing a unique tailor-made experience that allows for a complete immersion into the bush experience. A remarkable safari experience always includes being surrounded by untouched and pristine wilderness, the most exclusive and beautiful lodges, and being in proximity to abundant wildlife.
At Safari Destinations we have an exceptional travel experiences team that is on hand to meet guests at Maun airport and assist them with arrival or departure processes, gets feedback from guests on their travel experience, help with lost luggage and anything else the guests need assistance with. Meet-and-greets are incredible since they provide us and in turn our agents with a brilliant opportunity to receive honest feedback from our guests, who remain our trusted authorities in what makes an authentic and beautiful safari experience. Here is a small selection of some of our most recent feedback shared with our Travel Experiences Manager Angela Masisi-Makula.

Here we share a small selection of clients’ feedbacks:

A change in perspective:

“After being flown all over the Delta, she thinks it is time to change careers and be a Bush Pilot.” Our Travel Experiences Manager Angela Masisi–Makula recounts one of our guests’ feedback at a meet-and-greet arriving with Moremi Air from Splash Camp to Maun. Splash Camp, nestled in the heart of the Okavango, served as their best lodge experience and they enjoyed abundant game viewing, including lions, a leopard, and cheetah on one of their game drives. 

Already planning a return trip to Botswana: 

Our clients, a family of six, were happy to be met and to share their lion tracking experience. They mentioned that after two days of tracking and looking for lions, this morning, they were impressed to see a pride of five, they spent 45 minutes at this sighting taking incredible photos. The accommodation surpassed their expectations and Machaba Camp was their highlight. They raved about the food, which was in their own words of Michelin standards. They are already planning a return trip to Botswana

Share this experience with my new love:

“Can you believe I have been dating my woman (pointing at his partner) for only two months and I decided to bring her to Botswana?” Our guest described his incredible safari experience to Angela. He revealed that he was in Maun and the Okavango Delta three years ago and had the time of his life and, therefore, wanted to share this experience with his new partner. He truly believes that Botswana is a “Little Heaven on Earth”. 

Difficult to pick a single highlight from the amazing experience: 

When inquiring about their safari experience, our guests concurred that they have had an amazing time and loved every bit of their safari. It was hard for them to pick a highlight, as all the places they visited were unique and offered something special. Kwando Tau Pan, however, seemed to have been a favorite, as on one of their game drives they saw six lion cubs with two lionesses, and this was such a breathtaking sight. The couple loved and appreciated Pom Pom for its remoteness. The service all round was excellent, there was nothing they could fault about this holiday. 

A scene from National Geographic:

It was at Gomoti Plains where they had their most significant sighting, a female cheetah and five of her cubs. The cheetah was teaching its cubs to hunt, and they witnessed a kill (the cheetah on an impala) and it seemed like a scene from National Geographic. Once the impala had succumbed to its fate, they dragged it to the cubs, who did not waste time feasting. They took so many photos of the cubs with their bloody mouths. At Linyanti Bush Camp on their game drive heading towards camp, the guide paused the vehicle and told them he could “smell” a leopard. Amid their amazement and curiosity, five meters away from their game viewer, indeed was a leopard and they could not believe it. 

Amazing Experience for the kids at Young Explorers: 

The children said that they have had an incredible time and saw a lot at the Young Explorers Camp. Their highlight was two African Wild Dogs chasing a leopard that went up a tree. During their sightings, they also saw four cheetahs, elephants, and impalas to name a few. The only big cat they did not see was a lion and they made a comment that they will have to come back on a “lion Safari” next time. 

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Posted by

Caroline Mokaba

Monday 20 December 2021

FROM THRILLING GAME VIEWING IN THE DELTA TO TRANQUILITY IN THE PANHANDLE

Recently, a colleague and I had a truly well-rounded Okavango Delta experience. We enjoyed the thrilling game sightings of Shinde, the water ways and game drives at Splash Camp before ending up at the lushness of Setari Camp in the Panhandle. Technically, the Panhandle is the Okavango Delta, but it offers an entirely different experience.

We were captivated from the word go. Heading off to SHINDE CAMP, we were picked up from the airstrip and told that it’s a 40 minutes game drive to camp. Being 10am, we expected a relaxing drive with little game, perhaps the odd impala, zebra or elephant. To our amazement, we saw a cheetah mother and her two cubs relaxing on an ant hill. Then after speaking on his radio, our guide asked if we wanted to see something awesome which turned out to be a pride of lions with baby cubs. All this within 40 minutes of arriving in the Delta! Complimenting the game experience was Shinde Camp itself. This camp is for everyone: families, groups, honeymooners. Shinde Enclave even has its own chef and private guide. Two nights is just not enough time to enjoy the splendour of this camp. 

Our next stop was SPLASH CAMP. After the amazing sighthings before, we jokingly told our guide that Shinde had set the bar very high and Splash was unlikley to match what we had already seen. And what did the tracker pull out of the hat? A honey badger, quite a rare sighting! We were beyond excited. That was followed up during our stay with a large pride of lions numbering 17 with at least 5 males and numerous lionesses and cubs.   We even got to see a hyena taking a mud bath in the middle of the day to cool off, while checking out a nearby impala. The impala was clearly not getting the memo that it could be lunch! There is boating at this camp and water permitting, mokoro rides are also on offer. Set in a private concession, this is a real escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. 

Both Shinde and Splash camps are in game rich areas and there was constant action during our stay! 

It was then that Keneilwe and I were off to SETARI CAMP located in the Panhandle. This was a different experience all together. Huge Papyrus, big reeds line the water ways and the very tall Palm trees give this area a lush “jungle” feel. With water as far as the eye can see, boating and mokoro rides are available all year round. As you navigate the waterways, your guide will delight you with stories of life in the Panhandle and even show you how to make hats and necklaces from reeds and water lily pads. The bird life is truly spectacular. Walking through the village is a must do with beautiful original Setswana mud huts and dancing children. Take advantage of helicopter flights to see this part of the Delta by air.  But most of all, put your feet up with something to drink in your and enjoy the tranquillity of the Panhandle

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Posted by

Caroline Mokaba

Tuesday 19 October 2021

MEMORIES AND MAGICAL MOMENTS ON SAFARI

Every single day, we at Safari Destinations, have the privilege of interacting with our clients in Maun, hearing about their wonderful safaris. Excited by their experiences in the bush, our guests are more than eager to share their feedback with us. Our clients are so thrilled to be travelling again, agreeing that travel is still much needed and that there is no better time to go on safari than now!

Elicited by our Meet and Greet team, here is some of the feedback received in the last couple of weeks (we struggled with the selection since we had so many wonderful stories to choose from). 

A FAMILY’S DREAM COMES TRUE AT SHINDE CAMP

“Shinde was by far the highlight of their trip. In enquiring why this was so, we were told that they had the best Guide ever in the history of their safari holidays. Our guests commented that they have been to South Africa, Namibia and Botswana with Botswana having been the best just because of their guide, Kenny, at Shinde Camp. The whole family commented that Kenny was an absolute gem. He was very knowledgeable (he even knew the scientific and latin names of plants and animals), was fun (extremely entertaining), and catered for the young ones and keeping them very interested each and every game drive. They mentioned that a Guide can make or break a trip or experience and fortunately for them, Kenny truly enhanced their experience. Their game drives were nothing short of spectacular. They saw everything that they wanted to see and even got to witness a Lion kill, just like you see on National Geographic. This family really were happy and could not stop expressing their satisfaction with their whole entire trip.”

NOGATSAA PANS LODGE: A GEM & THE CHERRY ON TOP!

Although the focus of a safari is the wildlife sightings, the landscapes and  the sheer bliss of being out under the African sky, the staff in camp  contribute hugely to the overall experience. A warm welcome, a beautiful smile and the kindness of the people in camp who are more than ready to make sure that all your needs are met during your stay, adds to the pleasure of your stay. Nogatsaa delivered in this aspect!

“Nogatsaa Pans Camp: Clients raved that the Manageress Ketsile, had phenomenal people skills and was just incredibly friendly. Allan, who was their Guide for their entire stay was also an asset and made their sightings just extra special. He was very knowledgeable and very flexible. They can’t compare the welcome and hospitality that they received anything they had experienced on other trips.

SELF-DRIVING IN BOTSWANA! WHAT COULD BE BETTER?

It is great to go on a self-drive trip. Our guests are enjoying the open and flat landscapes while driving through the Makgadikgadi pans, to road side sightings of elephants aplenty in the famous Chobe area to the rustic and pristine Savute and then Khwai with its exceptional game viewing.  The bonus to self-drives is that you get to spend dedicated time with family or close friends.

“ The clients absolutely loved the Makgadikgadi and her beautiful sunsets and sunrises as well as the vast nothingness of the landscape. Kubu Lodge was also a great place to stay as Chobe was buzzing with hundreds of elephants. They had never seen anything like this before.

Savuti was “ Lion land”. They saw a total of 15 Lions at one sighting, with cubs. This for them was very special. The experience of being in the wilderness (unguided) with mother nature delivering in such a spectacular manner, was simply remarkable. The landscape here was also breath-taking. Khwai also was just awesome. On one drive, clients saw a dead impala up a tree and they both guessed that they were about to see a Leopard. And there it was! They were so excited and told me about the many video clips they took of their “special” sighting and moment. This was their first time visiting Southern Africa and they could not believe their luck.”

These are just some of the feedbacks from the many guests we have hosted over the past months. We love to hear of the magical moments experienced by our guests and to share in the memories they will take back home to tell to their families and friends! This is one of the best parts of our job, being allowed to share such amazing experiences.

As Carina always says: “Every day not spent on safari is lost day”.  I am sure our guests, after a safari of a lifetime, will agree. The African travel bug is the one that bites the hardest.

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Posted by

Caroline Mokaba

Friday 6 August 2021

Culinary Safaris: To Expect The Unexpected

I am sure many of you think that a great safari does not mean great service or amazing food. I would like to strongly disagree.

Amazing food comes in many shapes and tastes. On safari you have the choice between culinary highlights on the level of Michelin-star-cuisines and deliciously authentic food cooked on a campfire. These don’t contradict but compliment each other. Here are some examples of the finest food experiences in Botswana:

Xigera Safari Lodge by Red Carnation

Xigera is an intriguing and magic place. It offers undoubtedly the highest level of culinary experiences in the Okavango Delta. Their wine cellar has the largest selection of wines and champagnes in Botswana.

Bush Ways Mobile Safaris

Guests always rave about the delicious food they enjoyed on their mobile safaris. I can only agree, the tasty meals the camp assistants and guides create are just mouthwatering. In German we have a saying called “love goes through the stomach”, that is exactly what happened to me 20 years ago when I fell in love with the freshly baked bread on my first ever camping safari, the baker who was also my guide has been my husband for 17 years!

Khwai Leadwood by African Bush Camps

Every meal is a surprise. Breakfast is served around the campfire overlooking the Khwai River and Moremi Game Reserve. Lunch is a combination of fresh and healthy choices, always freshly prepared in front of the guests. For dinner the guests enjoy a variety of venues, the Boma, a private table set up at the pool, or a surprise dinner on the deck of your tent. We had the pleasure of experiencing Khwai Leadwood on a recent stay and were very impressed.

Selinda Camp by Great Plains Conservation

For all guests that look for the exclusivity of an excellent private concession topped by excellent service and the food, what can I say? Dinner felt like being in a Michelin-Star-Restaurant. The creativity and perfect presentation of all meals is impressive. Selinda is the perfect lodge for food & wildlife lovers.

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Carina

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Travel during Covid through the eyes of an Expert

I am very grateful for my privileged life, my healthy family, my friends, and that our company has so far weathered the storm called Covid. Covid has restricted us in many ways, but it did not manage to take away my love for my job and especially my love for travel. My number one rule has always been, grab the opportunity when it presents itself and ignore anything that gets in its way 🙂

This is exactly what I did in early May. I missed my team in Maun and realized I needed to experience travel during Covid myself in order to share my knowledge with our agents. I ignored the so called experts and their warnings and went on a one month trip to Botswana and South Africa.

We flew with Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, our flight was on time, smooth and of course half empty. In Johannesburg we connected to Airlink, again the flight was on time and smooth. During the entire trip our printed versions of our PCR tests felt more important than our passports (by the way, we did our PCR tests in Frankfurt Airport at Centogene, results available within 6 hours – efficient and reliable). The tests had to be presented at all check-points. Starting at check-in in Frankfurt, at border controls, at the gate before boarding the flight. Again in Johannesburg in transit, at the gate and of course on arrival in Maun. What did I learn? As long as you have done your homework and have all paperwork at hand (and copies of all the papers) the ride is smooth.

For South Africa we had to fill in an arrival form which was handed out by the flight attendant before arrival in Joburg. This health form just asked if we had any symptoms etc. A similar form had to be filled in for Botswana. The flight attendant on the Airlink flight handed it out and we filled it in during the flight before arriving in Maun. At Maun airport, before entering the (new) airport building our temperature was checked, the form and the PCR tests were collected, a quick rapid test done (free of charge) and off we went into the brand new airport building which even has air condition 😉

I think the anticipation of travelling and not knowing what to expect makes people nervous. I can honestly say that once our journey started I was so excited, I knew nothing could go wrong.

Just some of the amazing wildlife we saw in Shinde and Splash

In Botswana we worked hard and every free minute was spent in the bush. We explored the new Khwai Leadwood by African Bush Camps, Splash & Kwara Camps by Kwando Safaris and Shinde by Ker & Downey. We had amazing safaris, breathtaking experiences and inhaled every bit of excitement.

For our journey to South Africa we needed new PCR tests, which we had booked with Pharma in Maun, their office is only a couple of minutes from the airport. They guarantee results in less than 24 hours and are a very reliable partner. All guests travelling with Safari Destinations enjoy the carefree service of SD. We prebook the PCR tests be it in the bush (a nurse flies into camp) or in Maun / Kasane / Vic Falls… we make sure results are received on time before travellers depart. The service can be added to the invoice, this way clients don’t have to worry about a thing and enjoy their safari.

Carina being tested at Pharma in Maun (in the OAR Complex)

For more information please contact your dedicated consultant or info@safaridestinations.net

#WeLiveit

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Posted by

Carina

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Self-Driving in Botswana

Botswana is known for some of the last unspoilt wildlife areas in the world and as such offers a unique experience to anybody wanting to discover the beauty, remoteness and diversity of Botswana’s landscapes and its animals.

Besides lodge-to-lodge mobile safaris and fly in safaris, Botswana is a great destination for anybody seeking an adventure and wanting to embark on a one of a kind self-drive trip.

Camping in unfenced wildlife areas, waking up early with the sunrise while looking across the moonlike landscape of the salt pans and getting up close with some of the biggest mammals on earth is truly an unforgettable experience. 

Typical encounter on safari in Botswana

There are however a few things, travellers should keep in mind when deciding to explore Botswana on their own terms.

Driving through Botswana is nothing like driving through for example the well known Kruger National Park or Namibia, with tar roads and clearly marked directions. Botswana can present some challenges – difficult road conditions with deep sand, destinations far apart from each other, remote areas without signage and confusing “road” networks. All the more important it is to be thoroughly prepared and use the tools at hand to make sure your journey will be the safari of your dreams.

Typical road in Savuti – Chobe National Park

First of all, it is important to understand the different areas and the different types of self-drives.

Make sure you have done your research regarding which areas you would like to visit and what the road conditions are like. Road conditions can vary from main tar roads, to sharp gravel road, deep sandy roads and water crossings. 

Unless you are only planning to drive on tar roads, driving with a 4×4 vehicle is an absolute must! Ideally, the vehicle should have a long range fuel tank or in case it doesn’t, you need to take extra jerry cans. There are no fuel stations in National Parks and even outside the parks, you sometimes need to drive far distances before reaching the next fuel stations.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the vehicle is properly equipped. Even on tar roads, there is mostly no network between cities. Therefore, it is essential to be travelling with a satellite phone should you have an emergency and need help. 

Typical water crossing in the Moremi Game Reserve

Besides that, the car should also be equipped with tools you need in case you get stuck or have a break down, such as a spade, sand ladders, hi-lift jack, tyre repair kit, compressor etc. and of course spare tyres.

In order to find your way around, you should travel with adequate maps, GPS and best of all, Tracks4Africa. Tracks for Africa is a very user-friendly app that you can download on your phone, and the best about it, it works offline! Even in the remotest areas, the app connects the dots via GPS signal and allows people travelling to easily find their way around the complicated and sometimes a bit chaotic bush network.

We know that some clients struggle with the costs for the app. It currently costs USD 50, but this includes regular updates. The app covers many African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and many more. Users purchase it once and can use it again and again.

The National Parks are completely wild and camping is only allowed in designated campsite areas.

The campsites are not fenced, which means, animals regularly walk through them, adding to the thrill of being up close with wildlife. However, make sure you keep a safe distance from wild animals – for your own safety but also to respect the wildlife. The same applies to when you are driving. Keep a safe distance from animals, do not go off-road and stick to the well-used track to ensure you have a smooth trip!

Typical Signage in the National Parks

You should not be driving at night. Besides it not being allowed in a National Park, it is very dangerous to drive on Botswana’s tar roads at night. Animals can roam freely and there are no fences or street lights along the roads which means farm animals use the warm tar as a sleeping place. Statistically the number one cause of road accidents is hitting an animal while driving at night.

For the less adventurous traveller Botswana can be perfectly combined with Namibia. One of our best selling trips is a self drive trip which starts and ends in Windhoek and which combines the stunning landscapes of Namibia with the vast Wilderness of Botswana. The Delta can be included on a 3 night fly-in, for the rest of the safari traveller stick to the tar roads and link Maun with Kasane via Nata (including a stop along the Boteti or the Salt Pans).

There is so much to explore – come and visit. As you know everyday not spend on safari is a lost day 🙂

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Scarlet Backes

Thursday 26 November 2020

The FREEDOM of TRAVEL

Travelling has always been one of the greatest privileges in my life. I first enjoyed this freedom in school, exchange programs to France and the United States opened my horizon, made me understand other cultures better and caused this urge to travel. I am sure you have heard about the Africa-Virus, funny to call it a virus since the word virus nowadays is directly linked to Covid. Well not long ago having caught the Africa-virus was something positive. Maybe I should call it the need for Africa, the thirst to inhale the smells of the air, the colours of the landscapes, the excitement of watching animals in the wild, I can never get enough of it. The last months have taught me that this FREEDOM to travel and all the positive emotions that come with it, is my key to happiness.

I miss the excitement of planning a trip.

Planning a trip is part of the excitement

I miss the “Vorfreude”, a German word that perfectly describes the feeling of anticipation, you know something amazing is happening soon and the Vorfreude is almost as good as the trip itself.

I miss exploring new places and learning about other cultures.

I miss the preparation before leaving, the planning that goes into a trip – yes it’s my job but in my personal life I also can’t get enough of studying maps, reading about destinations and dreaming about going to new places.

I miss meeting new people.

I miss having the freedom of choice, the world has become a tiny place. It should be the opposite, by travelling to foreign places we learn how tiny we are in this huge and beautiful world of ours.

Safari-ing with my family (Namibia, Chobe, Mashatu)

Our most important promise to our children is that we want to create memories for them and not to collect things.

The lack of freedom to travel is taking a toll on many of us. Lets hope that we appreciate the freedom of travel we had lost more once we have regained it. Lets hope that people will be more appreciative and thankful for the great gift of freedom of travel. Lets hope the way of travelling will change, that mass tourism gets less and that people actually want experiences and not just tick off boxes.

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Carina

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