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mortimer Maun - A travel report by Martin
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Maun,  Botswana - flag Botswana
3720 readers

mortimer's travel reports

Camping safari in Botswana

  25 votes
This report is about our two weeks of safari in Botswana in July 2004. We were looking for a calm, relaxing holiday and got everything we dreamt of. Botswana is one of the nicest places we have been to, please come along on our journey....


Our car near to a Beobab tree in the Chobe national Park, Savuti region
Our car near to a Beobab tree in the Chobe national Park, Savuti region
Botswana has come to independence in 1966 and been a stable democracy since. After the discovery of diamonds Botswana turned out to be quite rich. The economy is based on diamonds, cattle farming and tourism.

Botswana is one of the best places to go to for a safari. The government decided some years ago, not to go after mass tourism, but try to reduce the number of people by courting high-cost, low-impact tourism. The effect for travellers is that the country got very expensive and not well adjusted for individual travellers.

After our experience we would not recommend you to do self drive safaris, the roads are poor in the interesting areas. Most of them are deep sand; you need a good 4x4 car and experience to drive there. Some places are very remote and the road signs aren’t that legible if existing. You better have gps navigation to find your way.

We have been in July which is winter in Botswana. Winter means dry season, average rain days in July: one. Nights are cold, under 10°C (pack your gloves and bandana) Days are agreeable 20-25°C. Sun rises at 6.30 am and goes down at 6 pm, by 7.30 its dark.
For us the time of year was great, as we are not into that much heat. In terms of wildlife watching, you got high chances to see a lot of animals because water is sparse and the animals tend to stick around places where they can drink. The grass is dry and eaten, so you see the animals as they can’t hide very much this time of year. Animals in the parks are used to cars and are not afraid any more, so be prepared for some close encounters.

Next to the national parks and game reserves there are also private concessions, which are plots of land that are rented for 15 years by safari companies to build lodges and do safaris. We stayed in two private concessions. The deception valley lodge was over 100 square km big.... A big advantage of these concessions is the possibility of going off road and doing night drives which is not allowed in the park.

Favourite spots:
Our camp as we came home after an eventful gamedrive on chobe river
Our camp as we came home after an eventful gamedrive on chobe river
I don't know where to begin... for we have been to a lot of wonderful places.

- Okavango delta is fantastic for a big wildlife variety and mokoro trips
- The Elephants herds up on Chobe River are impressive
- Lions are all over the savuti region of chobe national park
- The Kwhai area in Moremi is great for antelopes
- Sunsets in central Kalahari are colourful.... and the night sky is terrific

The favourite thing on our journey was the camping. We were in a group of seven guests and three guides. Our group had an exclusive campground in all national parks. The name campground is just a little bit too much, because it didn’t have any infrastructure; it basically was a designated place where you could put up your tent.
There was no need to help with the work and we could just enjoy the holidays. We slept in igloo tents. They were big enough for you to stand but not any bigger. There were folding beds and mattress with blankets, everything was perfect. We even had a water closet with us!

What's really great:
Sundowner drink in moremi game reserve near the khwai river
Sundowner drink in moremi game reserve near the khwai river
The days were spent with game drives and relaxing.
Generally the daily schedule was like that:
0600 Wake up
0630 Breakfast with fresh toast from the fire, coffee and cereals
0700 Start of the game drive
0900 Coffee brake somewhere in the savannah
1030 Back in camp for lunch and siesta
1500 High Tea with cake and biscuits
1530 Game drive
1800 Sundowners drink at a vantage point to enjoy the sunset
1900 Back in camp where the chairs were put in half circle around the bush TV (Campfire) getting some drinks and dinner was ready.
Enjoying the fabulous food prepared by our excellent cook Alois. We had Pizza, fresh Bread, Potato gratin, T-bone steak, Lasagne, and Beef Fillet all prepared on the open wood fire!!!!

After dinner back to the campfire and telling adventurous stories. Looking at the stars and finding the signs. 2130 People start going to bed...

The days were spent leisurely and in calm. On an average day in the national park we would encounter no more than 10 other cars!

Sights:
Lioness trying to get some consolation from a male after having been hurt in the hunt
Lioness trying to get some consolation from a male after having been hurt in the hunt
If you go on safari you sure want to see a lot of wildlife. So did we.
On a guided safari you see a lot more than if you were on your own. The guide is well trained and knows everything about flora, fauna and stars. Furthermore if you are in a group of seven people and a guide there are 16 eyes scanning the landscape for interesting sights, and you always have your guide explaining you, making sure you get the big picture.
You are not going to see a lot of small brown birds or a lot of antelopes you might not only know the names of all the wildlife but also the surnames.
We had a little booklet with explanations of the regions and parks we were and there also was a list of possible animal sightings that you could tick. We ended up with 50 land animals and over 120 birds’ species!!!
Thanks to the excellent tracking abilities of our fantastic guide Sam, we managed to see 63 individual Lions! We saw them eating a giraffe, drinking, roaring, fighting for food, feeding the cubs; it was just great!

Accommodations:
Elefant crossing near by our tent in Moremi game reserve
Elefant crossing near by our tent in Moremi game reserve
In Maun we stayed at Riley’s Hotel which is situated in town centre and quite comfortable.

In terms of safari lodges we stayed at the deception valley lodge and the Nxabega lodge in the Okavango delta. Both are very good and absolutely recommendable... but quite expensive.

The rest of the time we were camping which was, as stated earlier, really one of the best things you can do in Botswana, go on a guided mobile camping safari. The nights out in the wild are fantastic, the days to.

We had elephants nearly walking straight through our campground. You hear lion, hippos, elephants and loads of birds all through the night. It's very peaceful, so all you nature lovers go out camping in the wild wild Botswana.

You even my encounter lions next to your tent... as long as you stay in your tent they are no harm! Just make sure your tent is closed all the time don’t let any insects or snakes sneak into your bed.

But if you come in winter snakes are not that active they hibernate!

Nightlife:
Mother baboon with her youngster
Mother baboon with her youngster
No clubs whatsoever that we been to or heard about. But if you go to Botswana you dont go for night life unless it's wildlife!

Hangouts:
Where do I want to go to for a drink tonight?
Where do I want to go to for a drink tonight?
There are some pubs in maun and the other towns. You might get a travel guide such as lonely planet to help you find your way around.

Restaurants:
Sam our guide posing next to the oven where they baked fresh bread  and rolls this day for lunch
Sam our guide posing next to the oven where they baked fresh bread and rolls this day for lunch
Here I'd like to talk about the food and service we had.

In the lodges you get delicious food. We had venison (kudu and Oryx), a nice bar-b-queue, and fantastic dishes for dinner, Buffet lunches, and big varieties for high tea all with homemade fresh food. You really get good quality food in those places that holds up to international standards!

Service is great and personal. Whenever you encounter staff the all greet you very friendly and are all very concerned about your well being! The staffs that has direct contact to you during your stay always knows your name and is welcoming you home after the game drives....

There really is great and real hospitality all over the place!!! You may never have seen so many big smiles as in Botswana (or is it just that the white teeth stand out that much on local people...?) The heartiness is real as far as I could tell. Nowhere and at no time I was thinking of being a customer or client always was I treated as a friend!

Other recommendations:
These Elefants we saw during our boat ride on chobe river they were part of a herd of over 100 anima
These Elefants we saw during our boat ride on chobe river they were part of a herd of over 100 anima
Sam was very good in getting you in the right angle for your pictures.

One morning we did a whole circle round a single male lion that was resting at a termite mound. After we were round he was calling the others, man that was impressive. We had another great experience with calling lions one night in Nxabega where we were tracking lions. We were somewhere off road in complete darkness, motor shut down all lights out. One lion was to the left of us the other to the right and they were calling each other... absolutely fantastic. Did you know, a lion call can be heard even miles away, just imagine you standing next to it!!!

If you go there just make sure you get enough film with you: one roll of 36 per day is the absolute minimum. I took 640 pictures in 13 days. There sure are a lot of pictures that didn’t turn out, but I still got over 300 that were ok. Use high speed film as you see most animals at dawn or dusk. You will end up with a lot of shaky pictures as the light is poor and lens is long.

If you are interested in more Pictures about our fantastic journey, please look at my Camping Safari, Elephant of Chobe and Birds of Botswana Slide shows! And of course my picture gallery…

Published on Tuesday August 3th, 2004


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Thu, Aug 25 2011 - 03:36 PM rating by shervin19

Amazing Report with Useful Informations, Very good1
Thanks

Fri, Feb 16 2007 - 08:45 PM rating by travler

I've never been here and I want to go on my next trip to Africa. The baboon and her baby was my favorite picture.

Sun, Sep 10 2006 - 08:05 AM rating by mrscanada

Jumbo...excellent review. I too would never recomment anyone driving on a Safari.

Sun, Feb 19 2006 - 03:07 PM rating by mistybleu

Interesting with some useful informations.

Wonderful
Amanda

Fri, Nov 04 2005 - 01:59 PM rating by delfster

hi martin... i love your reports. so much things you share, and great info. i love your pictures also ******* there is.

Sat, Jan 29 2005 - 04:17 PM rating by alenek99

My husband and I spent 9 days in Botswana at private camps in the Okavango Delta. Wonderful experience!! Your trip makes camping while traveling sound like something we would to try. Liked your report.

Tue, Oct 19 2004 - 12:58 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii martin ,
i read your report and its nicely written,you know i felt so excited just by reading it ,and i can understand how much excited you will be after seeing the jungle life.
its really worth travelling to such places.
great report indeed.
ravi

Wed, Sep 29 2004 - 06:45 PM rating by picasso

Dear Martin-wonderful and I repeat the most wonderful and informative report I had been reading so far. Exelent prepared images, was very interesting to read.

Keep it up ***** for your other informative work

Regards,best wishes
Boris

Mon, Sep 13 2004 - 10:03 AM rating by rangutan

Great report, wish I could write as well as you do. Having done a similar trip I can vote ***** and confirm the report as very informative and accurate - pictures are fantastic, upload more for us please.

Sun, Sep 12 2004 - 01:06 PM rating by marianne


Sun, Aug 08 2004 - 02:29 PM rating by traveling_gal

Great report ! I am curious to know about how much it costed to take your trip. Also, I love the animal pics included in your report!















Sun, Aug 08 2004 - 07:47 AM rating by bineba

Great article. Now I can't wait to get to South Africa in September!

Sat, Aug 07 2004 - 11:35 AM rating by russelldf

Fine article. We were there at about the same time as you and had a wonderful time.

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