Chris and I were booked for a nine day Northern Botswana safari. As this was our first time going on holiday with his new 4x4, we thought we should take it easy so that he could get a feel for the car, but still have some of that 4x4 ruggedness.
The trip into Botswana went more smoothly than we expected. We didn't have any problems at the border post, something you really don't want to have any difficulties with when traveling across Africa. For our first two-night stay we booked into the Deception Valley Lodge.
Deception Valley lies south of the infamous Okavango Delta, in the central Kalahari. What is so awesome about this area is that it offers you the chance to learn more about the Bushmen. For some this might be boring, but I absolutely loved it. We did one of the cultural walks where we were taught their hunting skills, way of life and their survival strategies. This is where I got to taste some Hoodia Gordonii. This little plant was eaten by the Bushmen when they went on their lengthy hunting trips because it not only suppresses your appetite, but also your thirst. Great thing to know, but not so great when you are on holiday and allow yourself for this time period to indulge in some of life's nicer delicacies.
Follow the footprints
We continued on our trip towards the heart of the Okavango to the Xigera Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve. The contrast of nature between Xigera Camp and Deception Valley is extreme. The tents Chris and I were staying in were raised off the ground and built within the surroundings of a shady forest. The only way you or any predators can get into the camp is via a footbridge, but before the animals can get onto the footbridge, they have to cross a pit filled with soft sand. The first thing Chris did every morning was to go check out the paw prints and take pictures of them. Good thing too, because by the time I woke up every morning, the prints were gone already.
On our second day at Xigera we went on a makoro ride through the calm waterways. A makoro is a local type of canoe. It feels like you are sitting quite deep in the water as your guide steers you through the reserve. We saw quite a bit of animals, but unfortunately we weren't so fortunate to get a glimpse of the Sitatunga antelope.
At half past six the following morning we left for the Vumbura Camp. The ride there was not too drastic, except when I was behind the wheel. Chris was really patient with me, teaching me the finer details of 4x4ing. But by the time we arrived at the camp I just wanted to have a quiet lunch and not drive for the rest of the week.
After a healthy and hearty lunch we opted to relax for the rest of the day at the camp. I was getting lost in my book while Chris cleaned his camera equipment, all the while enjoying a tranquil atmosphere. With a light breeze picking up, the hot summer's day was soon to be at an end. It was time to start the camp fire, open a bottle of Merlot and enjoy what this beautiful part of Botswana had to offer. I have a fear of braaing (the South African form of barbecue) because I worry that the smell might attract some unwelcome predators, but as usual the evening proved that I was worrying too much.
Our last camp
After spending another day at Vumbura, we departed towards Savuti Camp located in the Linyanti Reserve. This was our last stop before a very long drive back to our home in South Africa. Chris and I went on our first game drive and did a bit of birding while in Savuti. I think Savuti was the perfect place to enjoy our last night on our Botswana safari. It has a tranquil atmosphere, and with the waterhole so close to the camp, it gives you the opportunity to see a lot of Botswana's wildlife. Our last night was spent around the campfire, getting to know some of the other tourists, and learning a few things from the guide who joined us, and overall I would have to say that this was another very successful trip. I got to 4x4 a bit, Chris was extremely happy with the abilities of his new vehicle and Botswana was, as expected, the perfect host to our expectations.
Wydah Tours has a variety of Botswana safaris , just perfect for a week or two's getaway in one of Africa's most beautiful destinations.