Camping in Botswana 2013

Since I am knocking on the 40s, I figured that’s time to take a look at that bucket list. Most of the items on that list have something to do with some sort of animal I want to see. Elephants, Giraffes, Lions and Hippos were pretty high up, so I decided to take a non-diving vacation for a change. After some looking around I honed in on 2 weeks of camping in Botswana. Well, long story short, it was perfect. Lots and lots of animals, beautiful landscape and very friendly people. Now if I could only figure out how to double my vacation time…

The trip was a group thing as individual travel in Botswana is a bit difficult (long sand roads, few facilities etc.). Our group was fairly small (12 people plus 2 guides) so it didn’t feel like being part of a herd. And since this was a camping safari, everybody was down to earth, who needs clean clothes anyway type of folks. In other words, great people to hang out with. Should anybody from the group read this: Thanks for a great vacation!

The trip started and ended with 22h of flight, which really means that I have watched about every movie made in the last 2 years inflight. In Johannesburg I met up with the group and spent the first day on a long trip to Nata, Botswana. From there on the fun started. First off to the Makgadikgadi Pans (don’t ask me how to pronounce this), salt pans in the middle of Botswana. It’s kinda like the Mojave with grass and trees and a stunning night sky. Next up, we took a small plane about 45 mins north from Maun to the beginning of the Okavango delta. It’s fun to go to bed and hear the Hippos grunt a night. Just don’t go for a swim…

Getting back to Maun, we set off to 5 days of 4×4 in the National parks (Moremi, Savuti and Chobe). All nights where wild camping with all sorts of critters roaming around the tents at night. Of those parks, Chobe was by far the best in this time of year. The end of September is the end of the dry season with temps getting into the high 110s in the afternoon. Not much water anywhere. Chobe, however, has a river running through and thus has lots of water. So all the herds are there. Seeing several 100 of animals (zebras, impalas, elephants and others) in one place is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever experienced. And where’s food, there’s a predator. We lucked out with 3 leopards and 2 lions, including their recent kill. And there is nothing like an elephant trumpet on full blast a hundred yards or so from your tent at 4:30 am as a wakeup call…

Rounding the whole tour off, we finished with 2 days in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This being the dry season, the falls were a bit low on water, but an impressive sight nonetheless.

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