I have recently returned from a whirlwind fam trip through the vast, wild and captivating country of Botswana. Exceeding all my expectations, Botswana is a safari destination that comes with plenty of adventure and some truly unique wildlife encounters. Continue reading for top tips and to join my journey from the mighty Victoria Falls to the tranquillity of the Okavango Delta.
Day 1 – Victoria Falls
My journey began in Zimbabwe. After a late afternoon tour of Victoria Falls wearing practical ponchos (you will get wet!) we checked into the Stables at Victoria Falls Hotel.
Private check-in, bubbly, canapés, complimentary spa treatments, high tea on the lawn and whiskey tasting is all included with a stay at the Stable Wing with rooms taking you back to the bygone era of the 1920s.
Top tip – If your clients would like to experience some wildlife whilst being close to the Falls, I recommend staying at the Elephant Camp. Here, you can walk with Sylvester the cheetah and enjoy an elephant-back safari trip. There is also a watering hole in view of the main area – a perfect place to sit and watch the wildlife.
Day 2 – Chobe River
After an easy border crossing we were in Botswana, and with Botswana comes plenty of water-based activities. The first was a short boat trip to a raft in the middle of the Chobe River, passing large herds of elephants and vast open spaces with Namibia on one side and Botswana on the other. With an incredibly welcoming staff, food was served directly from the raft’s BBQ and washed down with beer and a view of the Chobe River.
We stayed in the newly built Bakwena Lodge, nestled on the edge of the Chobe River and just outside the Chobe National Park. The lodge offers an intimate stay with candlelit dinners on the deck, traditional dancing and rooms lovingly decorated using upcycled materials. The owner is very passionate about making this a perfect spot to stay and is constantly improving the camp – a luxury honeymoon suite with private plunge pool is coming soon!
Day 3 – Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s greatest game parks and home to large herds of elephants, buffalo and plenty of big cats. Today we entered the wildlife haven and it didn’t disappoint. Staying in Chobe Game Lodge we were welcomed with a private meal on the ‘deck of fame’, followed by bubbly and a view of the elephants.
The highlight for me though was the boat safari, taking in the views of bathing elephants, playing monkeys, crocodiles, hippos and more, all whilst sipping a G&T as the sun set.
Day 4 – Okavango Delta
Today was the start of things getting really wild; with roads and jeeps no longer the transport of choice and replaced with light aircraft and mekoro – welcome to the Okavango Delta.
We flew from Kasane to Pom Pom and stayed at Pom Pom camp, enjoying an afternoon game drive with plenty of wildlife. The highlight, however, was being taken to a treehouse looking out over the lagoon to watch the sunset. A ‘pop up bar’ had been set up by the staff and I found myself completely transfixed by the sun slowly slipping away behind the palm trees as the sound of the frogs became more tuneful. This was the best sundowner of the trip and I would make a beeline for Pom Pom just to experience this again – magical.
Top tip – Advise clients to take ear plugs on their 1½ hour flight and some travel tablets if they get motion sickness – the views of the Delta are not be missed!
Day 5 – Okavango Delta
Another day in the Delta and another light aircraft flight! This time it was just a ten minute flight to Oddballs and then onto our first mokoro ride.
We were heading for Delta Camp which can only be accessed my mokoro. Just getting there and dodging the hippos is an adventure in itself, but the camp has plenty more to offer to those in search of a true delta experience. All of its chalets are built around trees and individually designed with open walls, so you feel like you’re going back to nature. I had a mosquito net that was very well tucked in, allowing not a single critter in! The larger animals on the other hand did make an appearance and we were greeted by the resident elephant outside our camp in the morning!
Day 6 – Okavango Delta
After the elephant greeting and breakfast, it was onwards to a local village. This was our mokoro guides’ home and he was happy to show us around to meet with the lovely residents. All the houses were made from recycled cans and the market consisted of beautifully hand-crafted items on blankets on the floor. If you like something (I liked everything!) you just put your hand up and the lady would come and meet you to discuss the price – a great way to avoid feeling pressured into a purchase.
Next stop was the Khwai community via our final light aircraft flight. This was our final day of the trip and I believe we saved the best game viewing until last
We spotted huge herds of elephants, hippos, hyenas and even wild dogs on our afternoon game drive, all of which was topped off by a sundowner in the bush and a surprise candlelit dinner set up by the staff at Machaba - the perfect way to end our Botswana adventure in style.
Lucy’s top Botswana Itinerary
Three Rivers Safari from £2790 for six nights including international flights
Highlights: Two nights Victoria Falls. Two nights Chobe National Park. Two nights Okavango Delta. Traditional mokoro trip through the Delta. Boat safari on Chobe River.