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Trip Report Namibia & Botswana trip report

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Sept 8 - Oct 1 tour of Namibia's scenic outposts and 3 lodges in Botswana. Many thanks to all who posted over the past year. Your responses were very helpful.
Our journey started with two days in London at Claridges where we were upgraded to a suite and where we had the best meal of our lives at The Ledbury.
We used Wilderness Safaris for all our Namibia/Botswana arrangements.
First stop Windhoek to Sossusvlei where we stayed at Kalala Desert Lodge. It was hotter than a pistol in Sossusvlei - The first morning we went hot air ballooning & loved every minute - so serene. We climbed Big Daddy, walked in the Sesreim Canyon and drank in the sunsets over the dunes. From Sossusvlei we took the scenic flight over the dunes to the coast flying over abandoned diamond mines set in improbable locales and refueled in Swakopmund. We flew inland to drop passengers at Damaraland, then on to our next stop - Serra Cafema. The Hartman Valley is gorgeous! Serra Cafema was delightful - brown hyena, desert fox, Hartman Zebra, Baboons, Nile Crocodile, Oryx and several encampments of Himba tribespeople. We hiked, drove, boated and used the quad bikes to see the area. As posted by others, the quads stick to a designated trail, follow one after the other, and make every effor to minimize their environmental impact.
Our next stop was Skeleton Coast Camp - conditions were harsh. We went to this area because it is so remote, desolate, and purportedly beautiful. It was all of those things, in addition to being cold. The wind was unrelenting. It is impossible to describe driving for hours over one steep dune after another. Its otherwordly. We visited the seal colonies where we saw hyena and black back jackals and shipwreck sites. We surf fished and walked the beach. We drove inland through a canyon to see desert elephants and lions. It was a remarkable part of our trip, but may not be everyone's cup of tea.
From Skeleton coast we flew back to Windhoek and on to Joberg for a night. I must say it was nice to have hot water and to be able to eat in the bar.
The next morning we flew to Maun and on to Little Vambura. What a gorgeous friendly camp. We had such a great time there. The first morning our guide located a pack of wild dogs - 8 adults and 8 pups. They'd just finished hunting - bellies extended and sound asleep. We also saw lions, sable, leopard and the ever present elephants, mongoose, giraffe, a herd of 1000 buffalo, striped hyena, crocks, and many other animals. I'd recommend this camp to everyone. We went out in the boats the first night we arrived, but opted out of a mokoro ride because we preferred land based drives.
From Little Vambura we went to Savuti Camp. For those who have not been, Savuti Camp is a more wooded terrain than the area of the Delta we visited. Our "tent" was situated looking out on the water filled channel. The rooms are beautiful as is the entire camp. We had a remarkable game experience at Savuti as we lucked into a vehicle by ourselves w/Kanie who is a spectacular tracker. We spent 1 1/2 days w/the Savuti lions picking them up when their kill was stolen by a pack of hyena, seeing a face down w/the hyena, and then tracking them while they stalked buffalo. We left the lions, a mom and 2 "teenage" boys the next day at noon still having been unsuccessful in obtaining food. We experienced one negative at this camp - its infested w/ants - walking across the floor of the bath area was like walking on coffee grounds, and I was not thrilled to have my face covered with ants after using my towel. Apparently the camp is built on a giant anthill.
From Savuti Camp we drove to Zarafa - what a beautiful place! Its only 4 tents and quite luxurious. The managers - Tessa and Stuart are delightful and make this a place you never want to leave. The Selinda Reserve is huge! We saw wild dogs, lions, leopards, hippos, a black mamba, and of course ellies, giraffe, & buffalo. We were spellbound watching a pride of lions numbering 9 as they spied a herd of elephants headed their way. The ellies included a small guy who was cavorting about learning to manuever his trunk, flap his ears and trumpet loudly. He was likely a month or two old. The elephants saw the lions when the groups were about 25 yards apart, and adeptly signaled the baby to retreat behind them. Realizing they would not be able to penetrate the herd, the lions backed off. We spent our last evening enjoying sundowners on the camp boat out on a large lagoon listening to the resident hippos.

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