Monthly Archives: September 2015

What to expect on a Mobile Safari in Botswana

Fun, thrill and adventure are what lies in store for anybody heading out on a mobile safari in Botswana. Experience the intimacy of nature by staying in unfenced campsites in some of the last remaining unspoilt wilderness areas in the world.  From your tent listen to the heart stopping roar of lions in the distance, the splashing and trudging of a hippo on the waters edge or the humorous whooping of hyenas late in to the night, and you will feel a closeness to nature like never before.

Mobile safaris allow you to travel in a safari vehicle through the highlights of Botswna with a guide, camping in designated campsites en route. Escape the rush of everyday life and take some time to experience absolute wilderness, where emails and cell phones are just a distant memory. One of the biggest advantages of a mobile safari is that you will have the same professional guide throughout your trip, unlike when you fly from lodge to lodge and change guide each time. This allows him/her to learn your interests and what excites you, ensuring you get the absolute best out of a safari.

Fully Serviced or Participation?

Camping and ‘roughing it’ is certainly not for everyone, and if this is also you then a “Semi Luxury” mobile safari might be the best choice. Semi Luxury or Fully Serviced mobile safaris provide you with more spacious tents (usually 3m x 3m) each with a private en suite bush bathroom and comofrtable beds with full linen. mobile2A back up team will travel ahead and ensure everything is prepared for you, so when you arrive at camp after a thrilling day of game viewing, all that awaits you is a comfy chair around the campfire and a cold drink.

If you are an adventure enthusiast, and happy to experience more basic accommodation and service, then a “Participation” mobile safari is ideal. Participation safaris are exactly that – you will be asked to assist with basic camp duties such as helping to put up and take down your tent, collect firewood or help to tidy up after dinner. The tents are generally dome tents, and bush bathroom facilities are shared amongst the group.  This is the more affordable option, and also allows you a much more ‘hands on’ way of experiencing Botswana’s wildlife.

Scheduled Group safari or Private Tailor Made?

For solo travellers or couples, a scheduled group safari is a great way to meet new people and keep costs reasonable. Since like minded adventurers are usually on mobile safaris, you can often find yourself sat up long in to the night around the campfire sharing stories with newfound friends. The most enjoyable part about a group safari, in my opinion, is sharing memorable experiences with others! To witness a dramatic predator kill from your group safari vehicle bonds you all in a unique way like no other.

mobile1If you are travelling with family or a small group of friends, or perhaps you just prefer to avoid travelling with strangers, then a private safari is a great choice. Private tailor made safaris allow you to choose the trip you want, how many nights in each region, and the level of luxury preferred. The trip can be MUCH more flexible (ideal for those travelling with children) as everything is catered to your needs. If you want to do a longer game drive one day, or perhaps return early for a lazy afternoon, there is no compromise required like on a group safari.

What to pack?

Layers layers layers! On a mobile safari you are often out very early in the morning, returning late in the evening, and being exposed to the elements means that you need a variety of different clothings. All year round we advise packing shorts, t-shirts, long trousers, suncream, sunhat, good walking closed toe shoes, a torch and a warm fleeced sweater. In Winter it is very cold at night-time and in the early mornings, so good fleeces are required. In Summer, a good raincoat and some sealable plastic bags for keeping items dry is worth remembering.

mobile3Our suggestions:

6 nights Fully Serviced Safari –

2 nights Moremi Game Reserve, 2 night Savuti, 2 nights Chobe National Park. Includes a Chobe River boat cruise and a Mokoro Trail in Moremi

From USD 2 320.00 per person sharing

 

10 nights Fish Eagle Participation Safari –

2 nights Okavango Delta, 1 night Maun, 3 nights Moremi Game Reserve, 3 nights Savuti, 1 night Livingstone Zambia. Includes a boat cruise in the Okavango Delta & Mokoro Trail.

From USD 1 810.00 per person sharing

 

9 nights Northern Highlights Safari (Fully Serviced) –

3 nights Moremi Game Reserve, 3 nights Khwai Concession, 3 nights Savuti

Includes a scenic light aircraft transfer, Chobe River boat cruise and Mokoro Trail.

From USD 4 760.00 per person sharing

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Cheetah at Chitabe!

Chitabe Camp is situated in a private concession in the Okavango Delta, and a short 15 minutes light aircraft transfer from Maun. In May, we had the pleasure of staying at this beautiful camp and experience all that it has to offer.

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Upon arrival at the camp we were greeted by singing and dancing, a very friendly welcome which immediately put us at ease. The manager, Thompson, greeted us and showed us through to the beautiful communal bar/lounge area which overlooked the vast expanse of the floodplains. Chitabe is built on raised wooden walkways creating the feeling of being up in the trees and really at one with nature!

P1050589After lunch, we retired to our rooms for a siesta. The rooms are simply beautiful, there are 8 in total which are all positioned apart ensuring total privacy. While the walls are certainly canvas, the rooms themselves are a million miles away from camping… Offering spacious en suite bathrooms with both an indoor and outdoor shower (I promise – this is a must to experience!), and a huge double bed positioned to capture the view of the Delta.

In the afternoon we headed out on a game drive to see what the area had to offer. Within the first hour we headed to an overgrown area where the guides had previously spotted leopard. We waited eagerly, looking this way and that way,straining our eyes to make out any signs of a predator… Finally, we found what we were looking for, a leopard cub positioned beautifully on a tree with the evening light reflecting to create the most breath-taking photographs.  We returned to camp feeling exhilarated.

P1050612Dinner was communal, a great way to interact with other guests and make new friends. The meal was 3 courses and absolutely delicious.

Retiring to our rooms we settled down to a night sleep, with the whooping of hyenas the chorus to our dreams.

We were woken at 5:30 am while it was still dark and very cold (bearing in mind this is mid winter). For a moment we questioned our sanity… why are we heading out on a game drive in this freezing cold weather?! As it turned out, we will never ever regret that decision! Within the first hour we came across a pride of 3 lion taking shelter under a tree. One lion was blind in one eye, a very unique thing to see. But the best part came after that, as we headed back to camp we were informed via radio that a cheetah had been spotted on a kill. When we found the cheetah, it was panting heavily with the Impala kill lying next to it. Cheetah sightings are rare and it was fantastic to see it with a kill.

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Returning to camp we packed our bags, and with heavy hearts we bid farewell to the fantastic staff and guiding team of Chitabe. A well run, beautifully located camp in a wildlife haven – we don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone!


Everything you need to know about self-driving in Botswana

Home to some of the last remaining unspoilt wilderness areas in the world, Botswana is a self-drivers haven. Whether you choose to camp in the unfenced, wildlife rich reserves, or drive from lodge to lodge, the experience of getting so close to nature at your own pace and leisure is like no other.

Self-driving in Botswana is, however, not for the faint hearted. To make sure you’re fully prepared, we’ve outlined everything YOU need to know to be prepared for the trip of a lifetime!

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  • You will need a 4×4 with good clearance if you plan to drive through the National Parks. We do recommend that guests are confident with 4×4 driving, as you will be driving through thick sand which many guests may not be used to.
  • Breakdown equipment such as spare tyres, a tow-rope, hi-lift jack, and a basic mechanical knowledge of your vehicle are essential. You will be driving in extremely remote areas.
  • A long range fuel tank is ideal, but if you do not have one of these then be sure to bring sufficient jerry cans of fuel with you. There are no fuel stations within the National Parks. Be sure to take game driving in to consideration when you plan your fuel consumption and remember – better to be safe than sorry!
  • All campsite fees and National Park permits must be booked and paid for in advance. You will not be allowed to enter the parks without your original campsite voucher and permit from DWNP. DWNP offices are located in Maun, Kasane and Gaborone.P1030095
  • Ensure to take sufficient food supplies for the duration of your stay in the National Parks. Please note that Botswana has a number of veterinary fences which restrict the movement of meat – please double check the location of these fences to avoid problems.
  • The majority of campsites in the National Parks are unfenced, allowing wildlife to roam freely and adding to the thrill of camping. Be sure to sleep only in designated campsites inside your closed tent, remain vigilant around the campsite and always keep children under supervision.
  • We recommend a satellite phone for emergencies as there is limited/no cell phone reception in the reserves.
  • Plan your route carefully… The time of year, weather conditions and wildlife sightings are all big influences on driving distances. Do not underestimate the time it can take to drive through the parks, and keep in mind that driving after dark is prohibited.
  • If you are driving outside the reserves on tar roads, be sure to take extra special care when driving at night due to the large number of cattle, donkeys and horses that can be on the road. We only recommend driving at night outside the reserves if it is absolutely essential.P1020622
  • Respect the wildlife and the wildlife will respect you! Always adhere to speed limits, do not drive off-road, and be sure to keep a safe distance from wildlife.
  • If you will cross a border with your vehicle, be sure to have all the relevant paperwork including the vehicle registration details and insurance details, as well as a sticker indicating the country of origin. Zimbabwe has particularly strict regulations in place for vehicle users, be sure to check the requirements in advance.

If you follow the guidelines in place and ensure you are prepared, then a self-driving safari will leave you with memories to last a lifetime!

Highlight destinations on a self-drive safari:

  • Savuti – the predator rich region of Chobe National Park. The Savuti Channel, which remained dry for over 30 years, is now flowing again and attracting an abundance of wildlife.
  • Chobe River – the concentration of elephants in and around the river during dry season is like no other sight to see.
  • Moremi Game Reserve – arguably one of the most beautiful reserves in Africa, lying on the Eastern tongue of the Okavango Delta. The highlights for self-drivers are the 3rd Bridge and Xakanaxa regions, located in one of the richest ecosystems in the country.
  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve – best enjoyed just after the rainy season when the migrant animals have come in search of the fresh grazing and the temperature has reduced.

Botswana Holidays assist with all National Park bookings, can advise on up to date road conditions and recommended routes. We gather all your park permits and can either courier them to you or allow you to collect them if you pass through Maun. Please contact us for further information on planning your self-drive safari! office@botswanaholidays.com