No doubt as so many travelers returning from the Botswana bush say, “when can I go back” Well the ‘bush bug’ has bitten me for sure. What an experience.
It all started some 30 years ago when I was still; residing in France. There a TV documentary by Nicolas Hulot (French explorer and conservationist). He gave us an insight of the Delta swamps that prompted me to put Botswana on my bucket list to do before going to “lay down with the elephants.”
In August 2018, my daughter with her husband and I drew up plans to do this trip with my 9 year old grandson the following year. The departure date set for the 21st of April 2019. (AfricaCoeurSafaris)
For our three week trip, we lived in tents and felt so close to mother earth as never before. To hear a lion roar in the dead of night is at first quite scary as its difficult to gauge the distance from our thin canvas house. Then a Hyena cries and you know you are not in the city.
We had 05:30hr walk-up calls every morning. Light breakfasts prepared by Simba our chef (3 etoile assisted by Jeff his assistant.)
Bob our guide, driver and friend would be sitting in the Toyota Land Cruiser of ClassifiedSafaris, Ready to go on a morning drive till about 11:00am. We were fortunate enough to always witness something interesting. Bob is a very experienced guide and comes highly recommended. He showed us a lion kill, Lions mating, Leopard prowling or again with a kill in a tree. Birds that I have never seen before. We saw so many fish eagles that by the end of the first week, they no longer made us turn around.
Elephants, Hippos, Zebras and Giraffe was evident on every safari drive. At the end of the first week going from Maune, though the Moremi Game Reserve, the Savuti Game Reserve and into the Chobe Reserve we reached the Chobe river. This is the northern boarder of Botswana.
We then had the luxury of two nights in the 4star Chobe lodge. A change from the rustic bucket showers.
My grandson Florent had an encounter with a white scorpion at breakfast time so to be on the safe side, Bob drove us to the Kasane hospital where the nurse promptly stabbed him twice in his little bum and gave him tabs to take. This put him out of action for the rest of the day.
So, while Severine stayed at the lodge with Florent, Bertrand and I took off on a 3-hour boat trip on the Chobe river. This was for sure also high up on our best memory list so booked another trip on the water for the following day, this time with Severine and Florent.
Another bucket list was ticked when we went to see the Victoria Falls. Quite spectacular. Even though the rains had not fallen in Angola, the catchment region than then flows into the Botswana delta and over the Vic falls. There is a permanent rain like effect when walking the banks of the falls on the Zim side. The water mist rises and falls back down in big droplets. A raincoat is highly recommended as well as an umbrella should you be taking photos. I had water drops on my lenses so some photos were trash can candidates.
The second half of our trip to Botswana was a “Self-Drive” leading us into the very dry Central Kalahari Game Reserve. We had a Toyota 4×4 with 2 tents on the top of the vehicle.
Was it the drought or the lack of Bob’s knowledge (whom we left in Kasane), but we encountered far less predators of large animals as we did the previous week. Let’s say it was “different”.
Getting back to Maune, we had a last night in Lodge. But to make use of the last few hours in the bush, we booked a trip of the Mokoro canoes that are so visible in the swamps. These swaps have Hippos, Elephants and crocodiles to name just a few creatures.
I am looking forward to writing a new blog soon which will be entitled Botswana Safari No 2)