Monthly Archives: August 2015

The TOP 10 things to do in Botswana

In case you had any doubts about the areas to visit or at what time of year, we’ve outlined (in our opinion) the TOP 10 things to do in Botswana…

1. Sleep out under the stars on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

bl10

Whether you self drive or join a lodge tour, with nothing but the stars as your ceiling sleeping out on this moonlike environment is an experience like no other.

2. Take a boat cruise on the Chobe River

bl8

Home to the highest concentration of elephants in Africa, the views from the Chobe River are magical.

3. A horse riding safari in the Okavango Delta

bl9

Gallop alongside giraffe, splash through the floodplains of the Delta and graze within feet of wildlife.

4. Enjoy a cultural walk with the local Bushmen in the Kalahari

1

Experience the culture of Botswana by walking with the local Bushmen and learn how they use the natural environment to live their lives.

5. Visit the predator rich region of Savuti

2

A Leopard and Lion hotspot, if you visit in dry season the fight for survival is played out for all to see.

6. A Mokoro Trail in the Okavango Delta

3

Nothing beats the tranquillity of the Delta waterways – the Mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe, ideal for experiencing the closeness and intimacy of the scenery and birdlife.

7. A scenic flight or transfer over the Okavango Delta

4

A birds eye perspective allows for phenomenal photo opportunities… soar above giant herds of buffalo and admire the vast expanse of the Okavango.

8. Camping in Moremi Game Reserve

5

Campsites in Moremi are mostly unfenced, allowing wildlife to roam freely through the site. Wake in the morning to see the tracks of your visitors the night before!

9. The Selinda Canoe Trail

6

Canoe the spectacular waterways of the Selinda Spillway, camping on islands in total wilderness.

10. Witness the Zebra and Wildebeest Migration of the Makgadikgadi

7

Witness the spectacular sight of over 25,000 zebra and wildebeest migrating from the Boteti River to the Makgadikgadi Pans in green season, and returning at the start of the dry season.


Choosing which side! Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe or Zambia?

Victoria Falls is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, and at over 1700 m wide it is the largest cascade of water in the world! Visible from both Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe and from Livingstone, Zambia, choosing which side to visit can be a challenging decision for many visitors to this spectacular place.

Time of Year

One of the first things to consider when choosing which side to visit is the season you are travelling, as this determines the water level of the falls. The Zambezi’s annual flood season is between February and May, with the highest levels of water seen in April. During this time the spray from the falls can be visible from many miles away, and you can expect to get very wet during your walk along the fall side due to the constant mist and shower! Visibility during this time is challenging and you will be unlikely to see the entire cliff-face, but for the full, dramatic experience it is very impressive.

bl4After June, the dry season sets in and slowly the levels of water start to reduce. The lowest water levels will be seen around October and November – while still an impressive sight to see the water levels are only about a tenth of that in April.

The Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls has 75% more viewing points, and gives an overall better perspective of the falls. In all seasons it is a great view, but if you are travelling at the end of Dry season then the Zimbabwean side is the side to pick since Zambia’s views are particularly minimal.

The Zambian side of Victoria Falls has a dramatic knife edge which juts out in to the falls, allowing perspective of about 25% of the falls. While the overall view is much less than on the Zimbabwean side, the spectacular knife edge allows guests to get very close to the cascade of water. Of course the famous Devil’s Pool is also located on the Zambian side. The Zambian side of the falls is not worth viewing in dry season/ low flood season (most particularly in October and November) as you are likely to view very little water and not get the same dramatic experience as on the Zimbabwean side. But at other times of year it is a beautiful sight.

Accommodation

The Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe has fast become a bustling town and tourism hub following years of turmoil. Home to some iconic hotels including The Victoria Falls Hotel, the town offers guests a touristy experience in a busy town featured with curio markets, shopping malls and restaurants. For those looking to extend their bush experience, there are a variety of lodges located just outside of the town including the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and The Elephant Camp.

Livingstone, Zambia on the contrary, hosts a number of beautiful hotels situated along the riverfront of the Zambezi. When choosing which side to visit, this is often a deciding factor for many guests. Top end lodges such as Tongabezi and Islands Of Siankaba offer the falls experience, combined with panoramic views of the river and an overall more varied wildlife experience.

bl6


Solo Travel – Botswana as the ideal destination!

Travelling alone can be a slightly daunting prospect, knowing that you are going all the way to a remote location on your own, with little knowledge of the people or country itself. Before I went on safari alone for the first time, my fear was “but who am I going to share those experiences with? Who will I turn and talk to about what fantastic things we just saw?” This is where Botswana comes in as the IDEAL destination for solo travellers.

Most of the lodges, especially in the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve, Savuti and Kalahari, focus on high value, low impact tourism. This means that the lodges are all small, personal and intimate – offering from as little as only 3 rooms up to around 15 rooms. Meals and afternoon tea are a communal affair, ensuring that you will interact with other guests and never feel left at a table alone. Many lodges in Botswana ensure the guides are a constant feature during your stay, not just on activities. It is a wonderful experience to get to know the guides on a personal level, sitting around the campfire and talking about their home life and the local life in Botswana. Again, this includes you as a single traveller as part of the lodge family.

Unless booked as private, activities are also shared with other guests. This answered my initial fear of who there was to talk to – you will be sharing these experiences with other like-minded people. Most vehicles take a maximum of 6 – 9 guests, a small enough number so that you don’t feel swamped by other people.

bl1

Solo travel has also become much more cost-friendly over recent years, with most lodges only charging a single supplement during peak season (July – October). Many light aircraft transfers have also lifted their single supplement, meaning that the cost is not dramatically higher to travel alone.

My joy at travelling alone in Botswana, is the fact that the people you meet are mostly nature enthusiasts and similar to you in terms of personality. We are all here for the same reason, to experience the absolute wilderness and beauty of Botswana, and that does take an adventurous soul. Often I find myself sat late up in to the night with new friends, discussing the wondrous sights of the day or our home lives which are just a distant memory.

If you were doubting a safari alone, think again! We can assist you with great itinerary ideas especially designed for solo travellers. Take the opportunity and visit Botswana alone, make lifelong friends and experience one of the most wildlife rich countries in the world.

P1050574