It is said that one of the best places in the world for the safari in Botswana, I am happy every time I am in the savannah, but in fact, this country is very special.
Things to know before going to Botswana
First of all, not everyone knows that Botswana is one of the most modern, efficient and safe countries in Africa. Their inhabitants are super proud of their origins and so in love with their land that has turned it into an example for everyone as regards the conservation and protection of the territory. In fact, it is one of the few places in the world where there is no poaching, that is an oasis for animals. Keep reading: Recommendations for Safe Travel
Like the neighboring Zimbabwe it is not easy to get cash, but in this country it is possible to pay anything with a credit card, even the tips in the lodges.
There are two main parks, Chobe, which is located on the border with Zimbabwe and in fact is often visited in one day by those visiting the Victoria Falls and the iconic Okavango Delta. Obviously, there are many private reserves and the endless expanse of the Kalahari Desert, but it is so large that it is also shared with other states.
The Okavango Delta is UNESCO heritage and is the only delta in the world not to flow into the sea, practically floods an immense area of Savannah and ends.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the rainy season is in January – February, so if you go to Etosha or the Kruger for example on those dates, sometimes everything is wet and lots of water, here it is the opposite.
Okavango Delta – Botswana
Nature is a really fun thing, practically the water that arrives in Botswana is the one that descends from the great rivers of Namibia and Angola, where it obviously rains in the rainy season, and it takes several months until it reaches the south. Therefore the “flooded” season of the Delta is from May until September / October and is actually very high season because here the water is so much that pushes the animals away making them group in the few dry areas. That is Botswana is the only country in Africa, where the fact that there is so much water is good for spotting animals because here there is too much! In fact, most of the game drives are done by boat, or rather on very small long spears called mokoro
One thing is certain the Botswana rangers are the best drivers you will find around because it is so easy to get bogged down and they are really good at getting the car out of the mud.
One evening it happened to us, it was almost sunset, we were following in the footsteps of a group of 5 lions, and we did not see that the mud was too much so the car got bogged down, the ranger and the tracker did not break up in any way, they got out, got drinks, snacks for the aperitif and found a way to free the car. Yes, the contraindication is that even the rescue and the other car got bogged down, but in 3 hours we were at the lodge with a beautiful story to tell and partly drunk ah ah.
So the best time to visit the Okavango Delta is from May to September / October, but only because it is more characteristic as it is completely flooded, if you are wondering when you can see the animals, I assure you that it is very easy to spot them all the year.
Visas and Vaccinations for Botswana
Fortunately, Botswana does not have a paid visa, a customs stamp is enough whether you arrive from the ground or by plane.
As for the vaccines, I always advise you to go to the infectious disease center of your city and get the vaccinations you miss. As for malaria, Botswana is considered a malarial area, as I said several times I am against prophylaxis because there are more contraindications than benefits, but everyone is free to behave as he sees fit. In any case, repellent mosquito repellent. For example, I use the Jungle which has a very high diet and always long sleeves and long trousers.
Getting Around in Botswana
Botswana has a very poor transport network, there are very few roads and above all do not reach the delta, so the Chobe can be reached easily in 4 × 4 but for the Delta it is necessary to take a flight, one of those panoramic flights that are used for the scenic flights, let’s say that you do two things in one, you arrive at your destination and in the meantime you take a flight that you will hardly forget.
The flights are private and are organized directly by the lodges that you book depending on the connections with the main flights.
Where to sleep in the Okavango Delta in Botswana
If you have time available, I advise you to change two lodges, but above all to change the concession area where these lodges can play the game drive. As I told you, Botswana is a country that is truly attentive to conservation and there are many rules to be respected. The lodges scattered in the delta, are many, but not many, so we can say that it is a type of trip quite exclusive, but certainly one of those to be included in the “to do” once in a lifetime.
For the whole of my trip to Botswana, I have entrusted myself to AndBeyond, which has really a lot of lodges scattered throughout the country, even in some private reserves. And beyond, in addition to ensuring the highest quality standards and customer care is very attentive to the conservation of the environment and carries on many local projects. All the staff at his lodges are from Botswana, they guarantee very high working standards, they work a lot on recycling, the reduction of plastic and they have long been a project that I really love: Rhino without Borders.
Many African countries, especially South Africa, have a huge problem of poaching rhinos, it is practically a violent and silent war, millions of dollars are involved. Every year many rhinos are killed in order to use the power of their horn for Chinese medicine, they think it is a panacea for impotence, so they are willing to invest really much, instill is always the sex that moves everything. In just one year, around 70 rhinos are killed in Kruger National Park, and in fact, the black rhino is almost extinguished. And beyond, which is a South African company, has launched the Rhino without Border project with the aim of moving 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana in order to save them from poaching. Just as I was there, one was transported by helicopter. It has been seen that in a very short time the animals settle and they are guaranteed a life without human predators.
As I said there are many AndBeyond lodges in Botswana and even just the Delta, many are in distant places and therefore different from each other, others in the same concession areas, I recommend you choose two in different areas. They also offer a traveling trip in a tent, in which you cross the Delta, creating tented camps on the way, I think it’s more expensive, but it must be unforgettable.
The Xaranna Lodge in ancient pink and green sand tones is certainly one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed, not only because the field is beautiful, but because being surrounded by Amarula plants is super frequented by elephants, I spent many hours watching the elephants they came to eat just two meters from me. It has a pond right in front of the living area, during the whole day there are animals to drink, kudu families that hopping and, the thing that I have most loved, dozens of hippos. Each room is a very large tented structure with a private deck and a private pool on the savannah, one day after the long journey, I asked if I could have a massage in the room, among other things the girl was with fairy hands, I lying poolside, under the awning, in the shade, with the scent of wild sage and while I was lying I hear a noise, I get up half sleepy and was a huge hippopotamus, who walked blissfully beside me! I wanted to have a camera, but those magical moments that I will always remember and that will remain private.
The common areas of Xaranna are really beautiful, very well kept with lots of hippo statuettes that I love. As in all And beyond lodges, the culinary level is very high, there are rich buffets for breakfast and every coffee break, at breakfast you can request hot dishes on the spot, lunch is always full of vegetables and very varied and dinner includes the choice between two dishes. Usually, on Saturdays, there is the boma or the grill in typical African style around the fire with lots of vegetables and a quantity of meat that you will hardly see again.
Always a tented camp but with a very different style, the Kudum is all created on the basis of recycling each piece of furniture is actually something that is experiencing a second life, is rather “manly”, tires, jars, so much iron, really Interesting. Another peculiarity is that all the rooms are on two levels. The large common area includes a terrace with sofas where every night a guest’s dinner is held in the rotation and even the rooms, although they are curtains, have a wooden structure with a terrace that houses a huge round sofa and a relaxation area.
A recommendation that you might not think about is that there are so many apes and it is essential to always lock the doors and windows, otherwise, it could happen as happened to me who entered the room and opened every bag and stole several things, even if of little value.
Another of the peculiarities of this lodge is that it is right in front of the river, in fact in the flooded season you can get there by boat and most of the safaris are canoeing.
Almost every night, in the dark with the tent we found dozens of hippos that walked near the staff area of the lodge, once I even saw two baby hippos, very tender, unfortunately, the hippos hate the light and I could not photograph them.
The activities of the lodges
Each lodge provides two game drives per day, the first starts with an alarm at 5.30, breakfast at 6 and ready to leave at 6.30. The duration of the game drive depends on what you find during the walk, sometimes to follow in the footsteps of a feline it takes hours, basically, for about 11.30 / 12 you will be back, but if you need to go back just ask.
After lunch and leisure time you can spend sleeping at 4.30 there is a beautiful and delicious coffee break and then ready to leave until sunset. A dinner will be waiting for you after 7 am. You may also like: http://ledsafari.org/10-tips-for-your-trip-to-the-jungle-safari/