We were recently invited by Desert & Delta to join a small group of Africa travel agents on a ‘Fam Trip’ to Botswana. Here are our impressions.

Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe National Park

Chobe Game Lodge was our first camp. We were surprised and delighted to be met by a female guide driving an open 4×4 safari vehicle. How refreshing…and appropriate seeing as August is Women’s Month! The camp is an easy half an hour transfer from Kasane Airport. Plus we saw animals on the way – this is the beauty of landing at a small airport in the middle of Botswana. You are warmly greeted by the people AND the animals on arrival!   We had lunch with the management team where the activity options were explained. It was a great questions and answers session as we learnt more about the USPs (Unique Selling Points) of the lodge and the region and how best to describe to our clients and include in their itineraries.

Chobe Game Lodge has an impressive team of female guides, and they drive electric safari vehicles!

We love the fact that this lodge offers land-based as well as water-based safaris. Seeing the wildlife from an open 4×4 as well as by boat gives you two totally different perspectives. We were also able to see Chobe Savanna Lodge on the opposite bank of the Chobe River (the Namibian side) during our boat cruise. Chobe Savanna Lodge is a good option of families on a budget.We love the fact that this lodge offers land-based as well as water-based safaris. Seeing the wildlife from an open 4×4 as well as by boat gives you two totally different perspectives. We were also able to see Chobe Savanna Lodge on the opposite bank of the Chobe River (the Namibian side) during our boat cruise. Chobe Savanna Lodge is a good option of families on a budget.

All of the forty four rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathrooms and a terrace facing the Chobe River. There are four suites, each with its own private terrace and infinity plunge pool. The emphasis is very much on sustainability – from electric 4×4 vehicles and boats to the lodge’s clever waste management solutions.

After enjoying the excellent game viewing that this region of the Chobe offer, we were treated to a delicious dinner on one of the many decks overlooking the Chobe River and the warm, welcoming staff proceeded to effortlessly create a ‘part of the family’ feeling even though we were on a site inspection trip and only there for one night

Savuti Safari Lodge, Chobe National Park

After a short, very scenic flight with Safari Air we landed at the Savuti airstrip where we were cheerfully met by the most wonderful guide, Baba. Again the transfer in an open 4×4 was actually a exciting game drive. This region is so rich in animal and bird life! We were met by the team that runs the lodge with a refreshing, deliciously scented towel and a welcome drink. One of the USPs of Savute Safari Lodge is the waterhole directly in front of the lodge’s viewing deck. It attracts a variety of wildlife everyday, especially in the dry season, and guests often see their best sighting while relaxing on the deck with a pair of binoculars and a gin & tonic! Our guide Baba is an avid birder and knew the name, call and page number of every bird we saw! A highlight was seeing a Leopard and her cub with a kill. As was the hyena den full of cute, playful pups. Savute Safari Lodge can accommodate twenty four guests in eleven thatched chalets and one family room which consists of two double rooms.

A USP at Savute Safari Lodge is the waterhole directly in front of the lodge
Hyena pups cavorting at the entrance to their den near Salute Safari Lodge. Photo by Stuart Parker, Desert&Delta

Camp Xananaka, Moremi Game Reserve

The Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta is well known for it’s superb game viewing. The abundance of wildlife was evident and it is here that we definitely saw the biggest variety of animals and birds in a short period of time. Both game drives were super exciting. That evening, while we were following a pack of wild dog on a hunt we inadvertently got in the way of a bull elephant in must. And on the morning game drive we came across a leopard and a lion having a stand off over a kill. And as for the close encounters close encounters with hippos! And we saw so many birds! A USP at Camp Xananaka (pronounced Ka-ka-na-ka) is that both land and water based activities are do-able all year round.

Year round land and water based safari activities at Camp Xananaka produce the most exciting sitings!

Camp Xananaka is stunning and we loved the fact that each of the twelve Meru-style luxury safari tents is inspired by a different animal. It is one of the oldest camps in the reserve and therefore has one of the best locations. We loved sitting around fire pit set into an elevated deck and overlooking the lagoon. Sharing safari stories, listening to the sounds of the night and looking up at the southern hemisphere stars – ah we love our job!

The game viewing was so exciting with pack of Wild Dog to the left and a big bull elephant to the right! Photo by Stuart Parker, Desert&Delta

The next morning it was back to work! We were given a tour of the newly renovated Camp Moremi. It is luxurious and the rooms are set quite far apart from each other to enhance the feeling of being alone in the African bush. Raised boardwalks link the rooms to the common areas under an ebony tree and where the bar is set at the base of a termite mound. At present the vegetation immediately surrounding the lodge is recovering from the renovation, thereafter Camp Moremi is going to be a beautiful lodge that we’ll certainly continue to put into our itineraries.

Camp Okavango, Okavango Delta

This stunning camp is situated on the Nxaragha island and it feels like you are in the heart of Botswana due to its remoteness. The feeling you get walking along the elevated wooden walkways through the trees to your room is really unique. There are eleven suites and one family suite, accommodating twenty four guests. The rooms are spacious with large glass sliding doors so that you can see into the surrounding bush from all aspects of the suite. The emphasis is on water-based safari activities and guided walks – an amazing way to get up close to nature. The highlight for us at Camp Okavango was definitely going on the ‘mokoro’ excursion – a gently gliding ride in a traditional dug out canoe along the waterways of the Delta. A bucket list item for all travellers to the Okavango Delta which quite frankly could also be called The Garden of Eden!

Gliding along the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Phot by Start Parker, Desert&Delta

 

Walking along the elevated wooden walkways through the trees to your room is really unique at Camp Okavango

Pinching ourselves for forgetting that this was a work trip, we got back to work and did a site inspection of Xugana Island Lodge. This lovely lodge accommodated only sixteen guests. Being on a private concession, night drives are offered. Our favourite rooms were the ones that overlooked the wetland – just perfect for honeymooners.

Leroo La Tau,  Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Another light aircraft and open 4×4 transfer had us arriving at Leroo La Tau in the late afternoon where we were once again warmly welcomed by more of the amazing Desert & Delta team. This lodge is laid out along the western bank of the Boteti River which is a major water source for the region for both wildlife and humans. Aunique aspect of this camp is seeing how human settlements can live side by side in am important wildlife biome as the Makgadikgadi Pans has the second largest Zebra migration in Africa. A visit to the Khumanga Village was hugely informative and encouraging.

The Makgadikgadi Pans has the second largest Zebra migration in Africa. Photo by Start Parker, Desert&Delta

In terms of wildlife, guests can go on game drives or visit a hide that is built onto the banks of the river, and possibly see lion, wildebeest and of course zebra! It was an awesome sight watching huge herds of zebra coming down to drink. Later that evening we gathered around a big boma fire to listen to local folk stories under a star-filled sky.

An essential aspect of any safari is to sit around the camp fire and then dine by lamplight under the starry African sky. Photo : Leroo La Tau

Leroo La Tau has twelve luxurious thatched and glass-fronted suites with en-suite bathrooms, each unit raised on a wooden platform. The sunrise from our room was spectacular…

We had the opportunity visit Khumaga Village and see how these amazing souls make do with very little, it make you have a sense of gratitude for the life we have everyday.

We are grateful to Desert & Delta, one of our preferred partners, for the opportunity to get to know Botswana better so that we can continue to offer advice to our guests. As always we arrived home with our love for Africa warming our hearts and wanting to share our experiences with others.

Agents on safari! Thank you to Desert & Delta for the opportunity to see your beautiful camps and lodges first-hand. And to Stuart Parker for the stunning photos.

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