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Botswana safari in September-thoughts of a first timer

Botswana safari in September-thoughts of a first timer

Old Dec 28th, 2019, 10:30 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
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Botswana safari in September-thoughts of a first timer

We had a wonderful trip to Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town in September. I had never been on a safari before and thought I would share some observations so that others may benefit.

Our trip began near Victoria Falls-the Tree house suites at the Victoria Falls River Lodge. We had travelled for two days to get here. We were on a small island off the main resort. The island only accommodated 12 people. Our suite was modern and at the riverbank of the Zambezi. We could hear hippos and elephants (who were right outside our suite!) throughout the night. This is an expensive and unique property. We spent two nights here and enjoyed a private sunset river cruise, game drive and guided tour of Victoria Falls. All meals were included together with wine and spirits. The food and hospitality were wonderful. For us, the experience was worth every penny!.

We moved on to two separate safari camps in Botswana operated by the Machaba Group. Both were excellent. We were fortunate to see everything but the rhino and the cheetah. The guides in both camps were knowledgeable and we never had more than two other people in our jeep during game drives. Some advice: pack warm clothes! We brought layers. I laughed at my spouse for bringing not only fleece, but a cashmere sweater. He was warm throughout. I had a packable down vest but needed the additional warmth of the fleece and a windbreaker over top and sometimes my spouse's golf top. It gets hot later on so layers are important.

The guide would stop both mid morning and late afternoon for a break. There are no bathrooms. Use the sanitary bags from the tent/suite and "return them" for disposal at the camp.

The makoro (canoe) trip is highly recommended. We had to wait while a family of elephants crossed directly in front of us! It was incredible.

We spent 3 days in each camp. The schedule is regimented: up at 5:45 for light breakfast, game drive from about 7:45-11:30, brunch and siesta, tea at 3 pm and game drive from 4 pm -7:30 pm followed by dinner. There is no sleeping in. It was very hot in the midday so we often just napped. We did not use the pools at either camp. They were often taken over by the animals, particularly at the plains camp.

The food and service at each camp was very good. They take pride in their menus and the food was always fresh and innovative. We had no "tummy trouble" of any kind.

We took local planes between camps. Again, they were modern and efficient. Be prepared for bumpy roads for both the transport and on game drives.

We had a very enjoyable experience in Botswana before moving on to Cape Town. My spouse was born in East Africa so for him, none of this was new. That being said, he enjoyed the experience very much. The only real complaint was the lack of reliable WIFI, an essential for those of us with professional commitments and ageing parents, The camps are working on it, but it is not there yet.

We would not hesitate to recommend this to others on the understanding that this is not a particularly restful holiday but the experience of seeing animals in their natural habitat is unforgettable.
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