We are off on a 13 Day Botswana Safari from Livingstone, Zambia to Maun, Botswana – bring it on! Ooh and to have the luxury of a friendly local guide and comfortable lodges to ensure our stay is comfortable and relaxing – that sounds an excellent start!
After our introduction to Africa viewing the thundering Victoria Falls from the Zambian side, we transfer across to the Chobe River in Botswana; that’s an experience in itself crossing by vehicle ferry. The next morning, we meet to go on our first game drive and are pleased to have our bush jackets, which are discarded a few hours later.
The Chobe River is teeming with wildlife – Buffalo herds relax under trees in the midday heat, elephant mesmerize us with their interaction as a herd, young playing under their mothers’ belly, males greeting each other and herds come to the water to drink and bathe in the evening. We see a leopard, hear lion in the distance, giraffe browse a few meters from our vehicle and zebra herds graze along the waters’ edge. We come across the remains of a fresh kill and the vultures fly in from all directions, landing in trees above and finally swoop to earth, each after any remaining flesh. A smaller black-backed vulture waits whilst the one huge lappet-faced vulture dominates the scene, extending his large wings like a count with his black cloak. What a supreme day.
We drive to Nata Lodge where we spend a night before continuing our journey to the Makgadadiki Salt Pans. Our accommodation is quaint and we enjoy our experience in the very flat, semi desert area of the Kalahari, viewing some interesting salt pans. An exciting highlight is spending time with the adorable meerkats – I could watch their antics for hours. They are semi-habituated and although live independently in the bush, are accustomed to visitors. Prefect, this allows us to get up close while they run around us, digging for insects and occasionally using us as a convenient viewing post, climbing onto our heads to check around for danger. Just amazing!
During our stay in the Khwai area , Okavango Delta , we skirt around large waterholes spotting hippo, crocodile, lechwe, giraffe, impala, hyena and countless elephant. We are amazed to see a large elephant bull push down a Mopani tree to eat the tasty leaves and we enjoy a refreshing sundowner drink at a busy waterhole.
Our animal sighting are always exciting and we have some very fine eyes on board – a greater eagle owl in a tall tree could be mistaken for a branch; elephant, for their great bulk, can disappear magically behind thick bush; a lion or leopard seem to vanish in the long golden grass and zebra with those stripes are well camouflaged. Each game drive brings new wildlife sightings and the birdlife is prolific. From the large raptors and water birds, to the smaller but no less spectacular varieties, we enjoy watching their movements and commenting on their beautiful markings.