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Botswana/Zimbabwe Sept. 2012 WOW!


Pamshelton3932

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Pamshelton3932

My trip to Botswana and Zimbabwe in September of 2012 was a fantastic experience. I am already “hooked” on Africa but am still relatively new and inexperienced to international travel. The following is just my own personal experience and opinions.

 

This trip was a total of 13 nights in Africa, the first night in Johannesburg, the next 8 nights on a mobile luxury camping safari at 4 different camps in Botswana, one night in Victoria Falls, and the final three nights in Zimbabwe at Davison’s Camp. All but the last 3 nights were on a group safari with And Beyond called Botswana Explorer Safaris. Botswana Explorer was a reasonably priced alternative to the other safaris I had researched and although it was a group safari, it guaranteed a maximum of 6 guests. We only had 4, which was an added bonus. The considerable savings when compared to other group safaris enabled us to add the 3 nights at Davison’s.

 

First, I agonized for months about what to pack. I really tried to adhere to the expert’s advice to pack lightly and I was able to use only carry on luggage for the entire trip. I used everything I took except some emergency medications (thankfully) and I never wanted anything I didn’t bring. It did take some thought and planning, but it was well worth the effort. This trip involved many different flights and not having to worry about lost bags and not spending time at baggage claim was really a relief.

 

We chose a nonstop flight from JFK to Johannesburg to lessen the chances of having a flight delay or cancellation. It was a good idea, BUT, it made for an extremely long flight in excess of 15 hours. We arrived in the morning and were taken to the Peermont Metcourt Suites for the night. We had no problem checking in several hours early, and the hotel itself was nice with a large selection of restaurants. It was also convenient to the airport. We had an early night in anticipation of our flight to Maun in the morning where we were to be met by our guide for the next 8 days.

 

I am going to try to post my report in installments, and maybe somewhere along the way I will figure out how to post a few pictures. Let me apologize in advance-I am a numbers person, so writing is not my forte.

 

 

Okavango.

 

After an uneventful flight into Maun, we cleared immigration relatively quickly and entered the small, hot, and chaotic airport area where we were met by our guide Mompati. He was to be our guide for the next 8 days. He greeted us warmly with cold water and guided us to the domestic departure area where we were ordered to dispose of our water (!?!) and go through security. We then entered a small boarding area where we were given more water and waited for a few minutes before we were taken to our plane for the 25 minute flight to Nxabega in the Okavango Delta. The plane was a Cessna 207 and it was the first time I had flown in a plane so tiny, so it was exciting. Once in the air, we began spotting wildlife, mainly elephants. We landed at Pom Pom airstrip as the airstrip closest to Nxabega had flooded and still needed repairs. This meant a longish drive to our camp, but we didn’t mind as we did a game drive along the way and had our first glimpses of various wildlife.

 

Nxabega Camp is a semi permanent camp in a concession, so we were allowed to go off road and drive at night. During our time at this camp, we saw very few other vehicles. It felt very remote and the camp itself was in an ideal location close to the water. The sounds of the marsh, including hippos and frogs, lulled us to sleep each night. All 4 of the camps were similar in layout, but all had their own ambience. This camp was the only one to have women on the staff, as the others were mobile camps that had to be moved every 6 days. The woman’s touch was evident here, especially in the tents when they came for the evening bed turn down.

 

The tents were 4 meter x 4 meter with a shower area behind and then an attached smaller tent with a flush toilet. The bucket shower which was open to the sky was a special treat. The dining table was in a clearing near the water where they carried the food down from a “kitchen” area that was up a short trail. The ladies sometimes would carry the food on their heads. The food was excellent and since there are 6 opportunities to eat each day, no one went hungry. While there was nothing fancy about these camps, we wanted for nothing. They had thought of every detail, including bug spray and body lotion. The one slight negative for me was that in some areas of the tent you had to stoop over and it seemed like we were constantly bending over to zip and unzip the various tent openings. I know I am being very picky, but it did take a toll on my back after a few days and people with back problems should be warned, although it was totally worth it! While others would disagree, I really preferred being in smaller tents away from the bigger lodges.

 

This area is mostly about the water activities, which we really enjoyed. We explored the delta twice via water, once by motor skiff and another time we enjoyed being poled in a mokoru. Wildlife was not the focus; we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of the delta. The mokoru ride was especially enjoyable in the late afternoon to early evening. This was in addition to game drives where Mompati tracked a leopard one morning and we were thrilled to see “new” animals we had not seen before like the red lechwe and wild African cat. Our safari vehicle was an open sided 9 seater with 3 rows of 3. Plenty of room for the 4 of us! The off road driving was a thrill for me as it felt like we were truly in search of wild animals deep in the bush. It was like an adventure ride where we held on tight and watched for flying branches. I can’t adequately describe the feeling, but it was exhilarating and a trip highlight for me.

 

As our 2 days here was coming to an end, we sadly bid farewell to the friendly staff and headed back to Pom Pom airstrip for our flight to Moremi.

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stokeygirl

Hello there- this sounds familiar. Do I know you from somewhere else? :D

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Pamshelton3932

Haha-yes you do. I have been a TA stalker for a few years and recently found safari talk. When I introduced myself here, I was asked for a trip report-sorry it was pretty much a rerun for you!

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Game Warden

@@Pamshelton3932 Thanks for the start of the report Pam. Now, where are those photos? BTW, what's TA? ;)

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Geoff

Wow, Mompati Aaron!! You were very lucky. A real gentleman and a brilliant guide with astonishing eyesight.

 

Mompati was a lowly waiter at Zibalianja camp in 1998 and by 2002 was a top class guide. His guiding skills have provided me with some of my very best wildlife encounters.

 

@Pamshelton3932 Do you have any contact details for him??

Edited by Geoff
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Pamshelton3932

Geoff-Mompati was really special. I know everyone raves about their guides, but he was amazing, especially when it came to tracking cats. I have no info on him other than he was working for &Beyond and had been doing their mobile safaris for several years because he was on for 8 days and then off for 8 as well as getting to see more areas like when he was in Linyanti. Maybe you could connect with him through &Beyond somehow?

 

Finally a little more trip report to follow-I am still trying to figure out photos. I love mine, but their quality can't compare to a lot of what I've seen on this forum.

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Pamshelton3932

Moremi.

 

I think jet lag must have caught up with me the morning we headed to Moremi because I was generally grouchy. The drive to Pom Pom was uneventful and I felt like we were being rushed to the airstrip, only to arrive over an hour early where we just stood around. I had wanted to stay and watch elephants along the way. In hindsight, I think the plan was to arrive early to allow for unexpected delays. Although I didn’t know it at the time, we were going to see huge herds of ellies later in the trip and I should have trusted the guide and the trip organizers.

 

This camp and all future camps were to be in the National Parks, so night drives and off roading were not allowed. It did not seem to hinder our wildlife sightings at all, and I liked camping inside the parks because there was no time wasted driving to the gate each morning. Our vehicle from this point on was a Land Cruiser with 3 rows of 2 plus the driver and front passenger. The windows were without glass and there was a pop-up roof. I preferred this vehicle to our first one as it seemed slightly more stable on the bumpy and sandy roads.

 

Mompati is an experienced guide and prides himself in his tracking abilities. On the afternoon of our arrival in Moremi, we spotted a leopard. The highlight of our drive the next morning was an hour spent tracking the prints of a lion pride before he found them. We were alone with the pride of 2 adult females and 7 or 8 cubs. We watched for an hour as they chewed on the scant remains of a kudu, with one cub aggressively protecting its portion from his hungry siblings.

 

Arriving back at camp in a sweaty, grubby state, we were greeted with footbaths! It was to be one of our favorite treats of our camping experience. After brunch, in the comfort of our camp chairs, we would soak our feet in large tins filled with cold water while going through our pictures from the morning drive. It was a simple but thoughtful idea.

 

The afternoon game drive was even better! Mompati saw wild dog prints and he went from road to road trying to determine where they were headed and we could sense his excitement as he came closer to finding them. Although I have only experienced 5 other guides before, and they were all good, Mompati was superior. As we closed in on locating the dogs, he was telling us based on their typical behavior where they were likely to go and what they would be doing. Sure enough, we located the dogs while they were on a hunt. There were 3 adult dogs and 7 adolescent dogs. The young were left behind while the adults hunted. We were fortunate enough to see both groups but due to road constraints, we stayed with the younger dogs until we were forced to leave due to the lateness of the hour. We were delighted to sit and watch as the young ones jumped, ran, and played while they waited for the return of the adults. The feeling of excitement we experienced cannot be over emphasized.

 

Moremi was a raging success from a wildlife standpoint. One evening we even saw a civet cat on our drive back to camp. The park was less visited than the next two and that also added to our enjoyment. The camp itself was my least favorite, although certainly acceptable. The tents were fairly close together and they were not in perfect repair. The zippers would stick, or the Velcro would come undone, the shower base was unsteady, etc. It was certainly nothing awful, but we were used to perfection. The staff was wonderful and very accommodating, as they were in every camp.

 

 

The next day we were off on a 5 or 6 hour drive to the Savute area of Chobe National Park.

 

We woke, as usual, at 6:00 and left by 7:00 for the long drive to Savute. Leaving Moremi, before arriving at the gate, Mompati spied a leopard in a tree, so of course we stopped for a while to admire him in the morning sun. The drive was long and interesting except for about a 2 hour stretch in the middle where it was dull and barren. We stopped for tea to break up the drive, which helped considerably. Upon our arrival at the Mababe Gate the 3 ladies went to visit the facilities. We had learned to never miss an opportunity to use them when they were available. This particular one had a sign posted on the door that read “Keep this door closed. Please check for snakes!” I was elected to do the checking and thankfully it was all clear.

 

Once inside the park, the drive to our new camp was interesting as the landscape began to change. We began to see hills and rock outcroppings along the way. We stopped for lunch along the Savute River and enjoyed our feast as we watched elephants bathing in the river. Continuing our drive, we saw more elephants, this time giving themselves mud baths. Before arriving in camp we saw male and female lions and numerous birds. There were so many beautiful birds everywhere. I have begun to try and identify some of the most outstanding and found it to be quite fun.

 

Our arrival at camp was as usual. We were greeted with warm smiles by all the staff and given a wet washcloth to mop off some of the accumulated dust and grime. This day was rather hot, so we enjoyed the cold shower that had been prepared and I also washed out a quick-dry shirt and put it on to let it dry. That was a wonderful idea, as it kept me very cool and comfortable and was completely dry by the afternoon game drive. This camp was my favorite as there were elephants passing through during the day and night, sometimes coming within a few feet of our tents. They were so quiet, it was sometimes startling to look up and there they were! During the night they would crash through the underbrush and we would know they were nearby. We also heard lions calling each other from a distance. There was a resident Scopes Owl in a tree right behind my tent. The staff here was also special. Staff member, Rudolph, was full of enthusiasm and fun. He kept things lively with his jokes and stories around the campfire at night. To me, the camp in Savute was the epitome of a camp in the bush.

 

It seemed like the first mornings game drive was uneventful, but we still saw new animals including ostrich and klipspringer. We also took a “field trip” and climbed a rock outcropping to see rock paintings that had been done by bush men 1000 years ago. From that vantage point we sat and looked out over a wide area and reveled in the landscape and river below.

 

What fun we had on our evening game drive! Mompati had heard there were wild dogs in the area so we headed that way and found them resting under a group of trees. While several other vehicles came and went, we sat and watched and waited. After about an hour, when we were the only people there, they began waking up and running to each other licking each other, jumping and playing, trying to get each other awake and moving. After several false starts, they were off for a hunt. Mompati correctly figured they would first head to the river for a drink, so we took various roads to the river and parked and waited. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes we saw them coming and they passed right in front of our jeep on their way to the water. Not only did we see a gorgeous sunset on the river, we saw it in the company of a pack of wild dogs! It was a the perfect ending to our time in Savute.

 

 

 

 

Our last stop in Botswana-Chobe-Serondela area.

 

Our final camp in Botswana required a few hours drive on some really rough roads. Once again, a strategically placed stop for tea saved the day. It was here that I managed to lose my lens cap while making a bush pit stop. I used a garbage bag and rubber band as a makeshift cover for the rest of the trip. We had the luxury of traveling about 95K on smooth tarmac roads, but the tradeoff was that it was rather dull. We were in the park and stopped for a delicious lunch overlooking the river and vast herds of elephants, zebras, and other wildlife by shortly after noon. The scenery and quantities of wildlife were unlike anything I had ever seen. It was simply overwhelming. We stayed out on the game drive all afternoon, so we didn’t reach camp until 5:30.

 

My overall impression of this area of Chobe is a mixed bag. It is such a wonderful area for wildlife and it is truly not to be missed. But, this area is not as remote as the other camps; you may see camp staff on their cell phones and cell phone towers in the background of your photos if you are not careful. Also, the natural beauty is marred by the number of other vehicles in the same area. For instance, one time we sat watching a leopard for an hour as he eyed impala grazing around him. Other vehicles came and went, while we waited. Then, a vehicle from Chobe Expeditions arrived and made a huge commotion and while pretending to leave, they pulled in front of the other vehicles and made so much noise and disturbed the leopard so that it abandoned its perch and left the area. Meanwhile, they were the only ones in a position to take any pictures. We were livid; Mompati commented that there were some who simply had no respect for the animals. I mention the name of the company because this was not the only occasion where their safari etiquette was lacking and I hope anyone who reads this will avoid using them.

 

 

We tried to avoid being around other vehicles during our future outings, yet we still managed to see plenty. Our first morning drive was “slow” but we did see black backed jackal for the first time and many birds, along with the usual giraffe, ellies, hippos, etc. That afternoon we were treated to a cruise on the Chobe River. It was another trip highlight. We had a large private boat with plenty of seating and room to roam upstairs and down. We had snacks and drinks, including champagne. The captain of the boat, Captain Six, was full of information and had a great sense of humor. What sights we saw and from a totally new perspective. There were huge crocodiles and hippos. We saw herds of buffalo, red lechwe, and elephants. One herd of ellies decided to cross the river and we had an excellent view from our vantage point. We had a really great couple of hours aboard the boat. Mompati noted that we were going out a little earlier in the day to avoid the large number of boats who go out for the sunset. We were pleased to have pictures without other boats in the background. The breeze and shade cover kept us quite comfortable. All too soon we were headed back to the landing and into the jeep for our final game drive in Chobe.

 

Our afternoon game drive was fruitful as we saw a male lion that was obviously lusting for the female he was following. We watched them interact for about 20 minutes in peace before we were discovered by other vehicles. We decided to leave and quickly spotted 7 more lions from the same pride. The other vehicles had driven right by them and not noticed!

 

We stayed in the general area and when everyone else left, we drove back and watched all 9 gather together down by the river. The younger ones played while the adults rested and kept a watchful eye out for prey. We had to leave before any hunting ensued, but heard the next morning that they had killed a baby elephant that night. I was relieved to have missed that. On the drive back to camp we saw a leopard up a tree.

 

Since we had 2 very busy days leading up to our departure from Chobe, we were looking forward to a little relaxation and pampering when we arrived at Elephant Camp in Zimbabwe the next day……..

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Atravelynn

Thanks for the Bots report. Chobe River, always a hit and a highlight. Nice to know someone else who totes garbage bags and rubber bands in their luggage. The combo may have saved your lens. Speaking of, any photos? Once you get the hang of it, illustrating reports is not hard.

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Pamshelton3932

Finally the last of my trip report. I am still working on pictures, but am having difficulty as I am almost completely computer illiterate.

 

 

The next morning was spent crossing the border from Botswana. This is the one portion of the trip with AndBeyond where I was not totally satisfied. First, there was a miscommunication with the office and Mompati drove us to the airport in Kasane where we waited for the vehicle that was to complete our transfer to the border. They arrived late and introduced themselves, only to return to their car and depart, leaving Mompati to take us to the border. I felt sorry for Mompati, as he was supposed to be heading back to Maun and his family. I was slightly annoyed because this little detour had cost us valuable time.

 

The actual border crossing was painless and we said our sad farewells to Mompati and were picked up by a gentleman with Wild Horizons and taken to Victoria Falls. Again, there was some confusion. The other two people in our group had opted to stay at a different lodge, so we dropped them first and made our way to Elephant Camp. This was more wasted time as the detour cost us another 30 minutes. Once we arrived at Elephant Camp, we had 45 minutes to check-in, eat lunch, and meet the Wild Horizons driver for our drive back to the other hotel to pick up the others and begin our tour of Victoria Falls. No shower for us! As Elephant Camp was the actual inclusion in the itinerary, I was a bit put out to have been the party to do all the extra backtracking.

 

That said, Jonathan greeted us very warmly and said it would be no problem to “throw some food at us” and get us off in time for our tour. He was wonderful, as was all of Elephant Camp. The lunch was a plate full of various choices of salads, pasta, and meats, which were served very promptly and were delicious. Then Jonathan showed us to our “tent” and showed us around and explained everything in detail. We were simply amazed by the amenities; the view, the expansive deck with plunge pool and outdoor shower, the huge tub and indoor shower, the sitting area and luxurious beds with mosquito netting and air conditioning, and the fully stocked mini fridge were all so welcome after our 8 nights in the bush. Jonathan mentioned laundry service and I left 3 items in the hamper that were cleaned and back in the tent by the time we returned from our outings that evening. Sadly, there was zero time to enjoy these amenities as our car was waiting to take us for our tour of Victoria Falls.

 

There was another bit of confusion at the gate of Victoria Falls. We never understood the problem, but after 20+ minutes of discussion and phone calls, we were allowed through the gate and began our walking tour. The guide was just OK; he seemed distracted and disinterested and was checking his cell phone constantly throughout. He was polite and took our pictures at the falls, but he certainly wasn’t the same caliber as the rest of the guides we met. The falls were wonderful! They can’t be adequately described and we took many pictures that don’t do it justice. There were rainbows and double rainbows and the walk itself was quite enjoyable, if a bit warm and humid. Since it was September, the falls were at about 60% volume, but still they were amazing. Although I really prefer avoiding large towns and cities, this site is simply not something that should be missed.

 

After the falls tour, we were taken to a sunset cruise on the Zambezi where we said goodbye to our guide. While Victoria Falls is not to be missed, this cruise was the lowlight of our entire trip. AndBeyond would do well to eliminate it completely. There are several reasons for my opinion. First, we had been on a truly wonderful, private river cruise on the Chobe where we saw so much more in a much better environment. The Zambezi cruise was a boat packed with 70 or 80 people and a captain who couldn’t be heard over the noise of the passengers. They served mediocre appetizers and ran out of Zambezi beer before we left the dock. The only wildlife sightings were of crocodiles and of course birds. The sunset view was marred by many other boats in the immediate vicinity. In general, it was the “booze cruise” I had read about on this forum. My final reason for feeling this should not be a part of the Botswana Explorer Safari is because we had been rushed through the entire day and had not spent one spare minute enjoying the luxuries that Elephant Camp had to offer. In fact, we didn’t get back to camp in time to shower before dinner. I would only recommend it, and then very marginally, if there was no other opportunity to view the sights from the vantage point of a boat.

 

After a fine dinner back at Elephant Camp, we found Jonathan in his office trying frantically to determine our flight departure time the next day. We were confirmed on Wilderness Air for our flight to Davison’s Camp, but the schedules are only determined the day prior to travel and Jonathan had been unable to get a definitive departure time. He thought it would be at 8:30 the next morning, which would mean missing the elephant encounter I had been so excited about doing, not to mention we still had not had any time to enjoy our fancy lodging. Jonathan quickly called and literally begged the people at the elephant sanctuary to let me come early the next morning while the elephants were being readied for their walking safari and let me see visit with them “up close and personal”. He got them to agree and I was to be at the lobby at 6:30 and wait for them to call. Jonathan was there the next morning and was so gracious. He provided coffee and sat with me and we talked like old friends as we waited for the call. At one point he called them to be sure the plan was still in place. Finally, at about 7:30, they called and he had a car take me to the sanctuary where I had a wonderful time with the elephants until they needed to leave on safari. The scheduled encounter was supposed to have taken place at 9:30 after the safari, so everyone involved really went above and beyond in making sure I had this experience. Ironically, when I got back from the sanctuary, Jonathan had been in contact with Wilderness Air and our flight was not until 12:30! Yippee! Now we could finally enjoy our accommodation and the camp itself. I was in awe at how expertly Jonathan handled everything and was always present and engaged with his guests. I am not sure when he slept.

 

After a leisurely breakfast, a relaxing morning on our deck, and fond farewells to our new friend Jonathan, we were off to the airport for our flight to Davison’s Camp.

 

 

 

 

Last stop-Davison’s Camp

 

Our flight had 4 passengers and upon arrival we were met by two Land Rovers and each headed to our own camps. We were thrilled to have the vehicle to ourselves. It was an open vehicle with shade top. This one had 3 rows of 3 seats. Robert was our guide and he was quite friendly and told us his plan. There had been reports of lions in the area, so we were taking a detour en route to camp. Of course we were thrilled. The lions had moved back from the road by the time we found them perched on a mound under a tree. One of the first things we noticed was the abundance of elephants. They were everywhere! Since they are my favorite, I was in heaven. So far, Hwange was looking good.

 

Our arrival at Davison’s was fantastic. We were met by several staff members waving and smiling and asking about our drive. They offered the usual wet clothes, but here they were warm when it was cool and ice cold during the day. That was an extra nice touch. We were shown to the lounge area and offered food and drinks while checking in. We were too busy watching the elephants at the water hole directly in front to pay much attention to the food. Our tents were wonderful. There was lighting and running water and a fan and it was screened on 3 sides for excellent animal viewing. Honestly, I could have never left the camp and been perfectly happy. The staff was the nicest, friendliest, and most engaging people we met on our trip, with the possible exception of Jonathan at Elephant Camp. The entire staff was this way. I realize they are in the hospitality industry and their jobs depend on customer service, but they were genuine and sincere. They were always professional and were quite willing to share their cultures and customs and dreams for their future. They made us feel like we were visiting with old friends. As we talked and laughed with them, it became more and more obvious that they really love their jobs, their surroundings, and of course the animals.

 

Our stay in Hwange was quite different from Botswana, although I wouldn’t say it was better or worse. I think that Zimbabwe in general is a great value, although the concentration of animals, except for elephants, is less in Zimbabwe. At least this was true in the Wilderness Safaris concession where we stayed. However, we still saw plenty, including our only cheetah sighting of the trip and a lioness with 5 very small cubs. Also, I absolutely loved the location of the camp and the view of the watering hole.

 

The game drives were sometimes more informational than visual. Our guide, Robert, was a wealth of knowledge and he freely passed on any and all information he thought might be of interest. This included the trees, shrubs, and even grasses. This sort of information was not as forthcoming from our guide in Botswana, but this may just be a difference in guiding methods. Robert was not as experienced at guiding yet, but he was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable, that it is only a matter of time until he is one of the best. He was constantly trying to learn himself as well as teach us, so we felt like we were part of a team. He seemed to actually enjoy stopping for sundowners and presenting whatever treats the kitchen had prepared. We enjoyed laughing and talking almost as much as we did the game drives. The 3 days we were there, Robert was our only guide, and we were his only guests! The number of guests in the camp varied, but we always had him to ourselves, which was an unexpected bonus.

 

The camp staff was very friendly. The policy is for some staff members to join the guests at meals which I found really enjoyable. They always offered drinks as we gathered around the fire before dinner, and they generally took the time to sit and speak with us as if we were more like friends than paying guests. One young lady we called NoNo stands out in my mind as one of the finest people I met. Even the curio shop was a delight. It was there and visible, but there was certainly no pressure to buy anything. All the items were made by the staff members or their families and I did my best to spread my purchases around. It was mentioned by others that the prices there were higher than in Victoria Falls but I would have gladly paid double for the opportunity to help these people with whom I had made such a wonderful connection.

 

Davison’s Camp made a lasting impression on me. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful safari and I would highly recommend this camp. My thoughts are already looking forward to a return visit one day to include Davison’s.

 

Things I discovered along the way:

  1. Do your homework so you know what you want and expect from your trip.
  2. Pay attention to the advice you get on these forums!
  3. Practice patience and you will be rewarded with wildlife experiences. This happened time and time again. We would sit and wait, sometimes for an hour or more, but it almost always resulted in success. Mompati practiced patience when tracking the wild dogs-he tried numerous different roads while in search of them in Moremi.
  4. Do not go with preconceived ideas about what you want to see, but let the wildlife come to you and enjoy each animal or bird for its own beauty.
  5. Don’t forget to look up at the stars.
  6. Don’t get so hung up taking pictures that you forget to put the camera down and enjoy the moment.
  7. Keep a journal.
  8. Even though I knew Botswana was sandy, I was surprised by HOW sandy it was.
  9. Packing a second pair of shoes was wasted space
  10. Speak with the staff at the camps to learn more about their lives and culture.
  11. Start planning your next trip on the long flight home. (Uganda/Rwanda is next for me!)
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Atravelynn

I like your list! Depending on how many gorilla visits you will do in Uganda/Rwanda you may wish to reconsider #9 since footware is crucial to your enjoyment in seeing gorillas.

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Pamshelton3932

You are right Atravelynn. I meant extra shoes for a vehicle safari are not necessary. I am definitely taking my hiking boots next trip. We will be doing 2 gorilla visits, one in each country. It has crossed my mind that I may even have to check a bag for this trip.

 

Photos are proving difficult for me. I will keep trying as time permits.

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Atravelynn

I always have to check a bag for trekking type trips. One thing that helps is to tie your spare shoes/boots to the outside of your carryon.

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pault

Thanks for your report - nothing wrong with recycling! Hope you can figure out the photos.

 

The booze cruise with no beer? I can't work out if that makes it better or worse, but thanks for pointing that out - I hadn't realised there was such a difference between the Chobe and Zambezi cruises.

 

It's really interesting to read about an "organised" trip of this kind and your expectations and the perspective it gives you to look at something being organised. It's less common in Africa than elsewhere I think

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