We flew into the Pom Pom Lodge from Kasani and landed on the small, dirt airfield. We were welcomed by several of the staff in the safari trucks and were quickly transported to the Lodge. There are only nine tent cabins, each one off on its own and very private. The tent cabins had an outdoor shower (awesome), a large sleeping area, a separate room and a large balcony. You are out in the middle of the jungle, so once in your room, you stay there for the night. The staff and facilities were excellent. I would stay again in a heart beat.
The food served was excellent, the open bar had most everything (I had a Pernod on the rocks one afternoon), the swimming pool was nice..... aaaahhhhhh! There is no internet...which was very nice.
I was fortunate to be guided along by Friends, and have stayed in Lodges, but in my own readings, what Safarimappers have consolidated onto their satellite maps of National Parks, Game Reserves, Private reserves and concessions, is very useful for further rearch.
Their Interactive Botswana Map gets 10 from me
i have borrowed map from different sites, to show the variations and to gain insight to why rainfall in Angola impacts on the water levels of the Delta much further down south in Botswana.
It also is an indication that Borders drawn by bureaucrats in the capitals of Europe in the 19th Century, may have understood the politics of the time, but unlike Spaceman Chris Hadfield in the 21st Century has his insights with technology and a deeper understanding of Earth's fragile interconnectedness, as mentioned by Fritjof Capra in this The Webb of Life p.7 ".... Deep ecology recognises the intrinsic value of all living beings and views humans as just one strand of the web of life"
Dependant on which part of the Swamps you may wish to visit, one two or more, whilst others wish to experience the different Camps' atmospheres, if you have company, gamp and enjoy the camps by visitng their pubs or eating and so widen your Safari Social network
With my constant fascination of the area, Canadian Chris Hadfield in his Blog from the ISS has one of his Art photos of the Okavango Medusa
My Own photos have dsiappeared so please go to BING or %L[ ]Googlehttp://www.google.co.za/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1002&bih=474&q=botswana&oq=botswana&gs_l=img.1.0.0l10.1730.3887.0.95188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3220.127.116.11...0.0...1ac.1.KBiEf2jK2Jg
I ended up here by accident late at night. In fact I ended up here after a car accident. And after having to pay a bribe to drunken Policemen. So needless to say I was having a very bad day and I asked for some sort of cheap room or reduced rate as I was late, had been in a car accident and the chalets were above my budget. I didn’t receive any sympathy or help. In fact I had 2 ladies making faces at me like I was wasting their time. I was told they only had a chalet left and the options were yes or no. When I asked about food – I had another look like ‘how dare you speak to us’. Trying my chances I asked if they had a bar. “Yes – it closes very soon”. OK.
Wow. I am having a bad day and the reception staff were absolutely charmless.
I pulled my car around to my chalet and I have to say it looked ok. There was an outside screen door to keep the zillions of bugs out. Well most of them. The chalet was open plan except for the bathroom. It looked great. It has an outside porch, large sliding glass doors, a large bed in the middle, 2 mosquito nets and a large ceiling fan. The bed was very plush and I expected at least a good night’s sleep. That’s when I started to notice something not quite right. The bedding was full of insect parts and bits of other debris. To be fair the sheets were laundered, but full of dead bugs and parts of dead bugs. The laundry people were great, but the housekeepers have a lot to answer for.
I then went to have a look at my bathroom. Not bad. All modern and a few rough edges. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except more dead bug parts. And a few live bugs. And the massive spider web covering a third of the wall where the sink and mirror were. Oddly the sink and tubs were clean. Bizarre. I know there are a zillion bugs just outside, but there is no reason for them to be inside. Luckily I had my own can of bug killer – so I did Housekeeping’s job for them.
Because I had arrived late and needed to leave early – I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every last possible facility I could at the hotel.
So I ran to the bar.
Yep, they said they would close soon, but a small tip and a few nice words and I was told they could give me a few extra minutes. I would have just ordered a bunch of drinks anyway. I was told the pool was now closed. Given that this was a poolside bar and the pool looked very physically open to me….I planned to go and change the second I finished my last drink.
I did jump into the dark pool later after a very long, hot sweaty, horrible day. It was freezing and the chlorine content was shocking. But at least it kills the bugs. I can respect that. So all in all I went to bed with a slight buzz from a few drinks and a cold dip in the pool.
And I slept well.
The next morning I made sure I promptly dived back into the super-chlorinated pool and then went for my breakfast. That done I looked through the small (slightly expensive) gift shop and then packed my car. So off I drove as I needed to be elsewhere and was now a day late.
I hope you have a better experience than I did. The place looked ok, but was expensive by local standards for what you get. I did see a few birds outside my back door, but that’s it for wildlife here. The rest you have to drive to see. The reception staff should have all been made to report to the drunken Police I had to deal with in Nata. Their attitude sucked.
The same company offers 5 different accommodations in different locations.
Nata Lodge offers:
• 22 chalets on stilts with an en-suite bathroom, fans and air-conditioning
• 10 Meru tents with wooden decks, en-suite bathroom and outdoor showers
• A camp site with semi-open ablution facilities (M,F, hot water) showers
• A swimming pool with kids slide
• Open air, covered bar next to the pool
• Gift shop
A Marina Hotel in Botswana? Well it sits on the Zambezi River front. In fact only a very small section of the Zambezi flows through Kasane and the Chobe Marina Hotel is in prime position and even offers a restaurant over the river. You get what you pay for and the prices of the rooms are even more mouth-watering than the food in the restaurant. This is a luxury hotel with shocking prices for Africa. All rooms have all the amenities like Air-con and mini bars. It is a beautiful hotel, but it is very expensive. If you have the money – have a blast.
Well appointed rooms, pool, riverfront location, 2 restaurants (1 is over the river) and 2 bars (1 river, 1 poolside). Minutes from Chobe National Park.
Planet Baobab is a very nice campsite with hot showers, a swimming pool, a restaurant and a great bar. While sitting in a bar and sipping gin and tonic we met a friendly old lady who told us of her life in Botswana and her fascination with its game and birdlife. Although she frequently visits Europe, she cannot imagine living anywhere else but in Botswana.
We stop in Planet Baobab on our way from Delta Okavango to Chobe. The campground is famous and named after a group of baobab trees which look really spectacular. Some of them are said to be more than 2000 years old. The camp is worth staying in not only for these incredible trees, but it's also a starting point for the Salt Pan of the Makgadikgadi - one of the largest salt flats in the world. Actually, it is not a single pan but many ones with sand in between. The largest individual pan is about 5 000 square km. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to go and see the Makgadikgadi, but having seen Etosha Pan, I can imagine what impression it must make.
Only about 12-14 private luxury tents, with elephants coming up to your balcony. This place is so special I can't even describe.
This is a very nice hotel right next to the magical Chobe river. We had a great room with river views, and with great African decorations. The restaurant, lobby and the pool side were all nicely planned and decorated with a great ambiance. The staff were attentive, and quite professional according to our limited African experience. The extras were reasonably priced. There was an activity centre which offered wide variety of activities (including game drives, river cruises etc). I should note that, I would not recommend the romantic dinner cruise, firstly it is nothing but romantic, secondly you see nothing at night in river, and fighting constantly with insects in candle light, and trying to eat is not fun. Lastly, you may share your romantism with loud teenagers, or elderly couples with not much humour. I would however recommend private boat hires, which is much better than the organised river cruise. The food is not bad, and the contents of the open buffet changes daily. Pool is nice and cleaned regularly. The only problem was the poor sound isolation in the room which may become a problem if you have a family with small children staying right above your room. Chobe is an amazing park, with wide variety of animals (above all a huge elephant herds). We even managed to see a lazy lion in daylight. You are very likely to see hippos, crocs, giraffes, buffalos, a lot of impala, kudu, eagles, vultures etc. However there is no cheetahs, or rhinos in this park. I would certainly recommend the whole experience.
If you're travelling independently to Botswana and have hired a 4WD, make sure it has a rooftop tent. This is an amazingly convenient and cost effective way to camp in the game reserves.
We were a travelling group of two families, five people in total, and used a rooftop tent with an annex, which secured onto the ground.
Throughout the trip we alternated as to who were sleeping where - either in the rooftop tent or in the annex. The annex had more head space, but the rooftop was uniformly flat and provided a better view at night.
We had some awesome adventures: waking up at night with hyenas sniffling at the side of the tent, or watching from the rooftop as they approach the barbeque after we've vacated the area. Then there was the elephant that walked straight through our camp!
We did not feel threatened at any time, as big game view the car and tent as one big animal (or obstacle) and avoid it completely. From other campers we heard of elephants actually lifting their huge feet over tentlines so as to avoid them!
Camping rooftop is a wonderful way of experiencing the bush!
Our last night in Botswana was spent here at the Lodge, after the previous 2 nights were in the Grounds of this particular place at Nokalodi Tented Camp. A gentle extraction from the bush one might say.
Huge rooms, ensuites and even a hairdryer! Super surroundings, pool, bar, wild animals roaming the grounds, superb service and friendly staff.
A hide to sit in enjoying sunset, a walk to the hilltop reveals wonderful views or sit by the edge of the Limpopo river taking in the beautiful surroundings.
We loved it here, a bush world in one place.
A lovely Lodge, set on the banks of the Chobe River. The confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi is just 2km away and at Kazungula, the nearby village, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia meet.
A trip to Vic Falls is possible from here or as we experienced a sunset cruise on the Chobe River.
Clean, welcome place to stay after camping, ensuite facilities and swimming pool, albeit a rather cold one in September.
Picturesque and relaxing.
Take breakfast on the restaurant verander over looking the Chobe River.
Woodlands was a stopover for us en route to Tuli, equally it is used for various other destinations, such as the Vic Falls and the Kalahari. It is situated on the banks of the Tati river, self catering bungalows with braai facilities in the garden. It also has electricity, so we felt quite spoilt but at the same time transported back to the western world, not something all of us embraced whilst enjoying bush life. It was also the only place we had to set alarms and a guard was on duty, this due to the fact it was based just outside of Francistown, as in most country's the cities are where the trouble begins. Having said that, our stay was great.
There was divided opinion about the accommodation between us but the worst comment was that it was too much like being back in suburbia and the best one was exactly the same, 'it's great because it's like being back in suburbia'...such was the mix of our group.
It was a lovely property, well equiped, well decorated and I in particular LOVED the verander, it's just the sort I see myself on in a rocking chair in old age, or indeed with grandchildren running around on, fabulous.
Woodlands also has camping sites and well maintained ablution block.
There is a pool and entertainment deck.
Breath taking, absolutely breath taking, I almost don't want to reveal too much about this place, to keep it as a surprise for unsuspecting guests, or indeed just keep it a secret so it does not get too popular, I however, believe the owner would not allow it to become an overpopulated hotspot, down to his keen conservational views.
The wonderful character that is David (Dugmore) founded this camp and keeps it run in traditional ways: bucket showers, bush basins, bed pans for emergencies in the night, tents that are set in kraal style fencing. It's a hidden camp that merges into the bush itself, staff are, as expected in Botswana, friendly, casual and knowledgeable.
The view over the dry Boteti river is awesome, it just has to be seen to be described.
Tents are well thought out, very comfortable and overlook lovely views of the Boteti River, they each have a seperate shower area with view and a separate flush loo set within stunning designs. We spent far too short a period here and should we return we would indeed have 2 or maybe 3 nights here to take advantage of quad biking in the Makgadikgadi National Park or Nxai Pan National Park and time to relax in the surroundings of Meno a Kweno itself.
The camp I believe came to be, due to Davids passion to the bush and it's creatures. The Boteti river has not flowed since 1993, (it is expected to flood once more this year), David through much debate, stamina and determination developed several watering holes for animals inside of the dry river. He had watched so many animals perish he resolved to prevent further deaths due to thirst and the end result has been a camp overlooking the watering holes on the Boteti river edge, all having begun from family and friends going to visit to see what David had achieved. All down to his sheer hard work and passion, without government assistance, he has put back into Botswana what so easily could have dwindled away. Meno a Kwena is set on the edge of the Kalahari Game Reserve, who also gave no assistance in this work. David took to building up the Water for Life project, his first priority, his second the camp but that said, the campsite facilities are superb.
The reserve is on tribal land and leased from the community, it is a project working with the locals, employing and educating them and bringing to them a means of income from tourism
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THROUGH THE WEBSITE. IF VISITING MAYBE AS REQUESTED A DONATION OF DVD'S TO AID THEIR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME OR STATIONERY FOR THE SCHOOL.
Our first taste of rooftop camping and what a start it was. Basically you pull up under a designated Manketti tree, pop up your tent, collect wood, light a fire and settle in for the evening. Ablution block was basic to say the least but there was hot water, basins and a loo that flushed, can't be bad then but yes it was.
Sleeping under canvas with the air filtering through mosquito nets is an experience hard to beat (unless you are called Michael, although we all agree, the city slicker came good and ended up enjoying the whole even though a bed within sturdy walls was a heaven sent gift to him when he came by it now and then).
To live out in the open air 24/7 was, I believe, of fantastic benefit to ones health both physically and mentally. Natural heat and even the chill of evening and early morning was invigorating as opposed to turning one into a hibernating tortoise.
Viewing of Rhinos was brilliant, along with waterbuck and birds and various other species, such as bush pigs and impala, water buck, giraffe and many more.
Not only is this a wonderful destination, you are playing a part in keeping this species alive in the area, so doing something for conservation whilst enjoying it along the way.
The sanctuary has only been around since 1993, when the Ngwato Land Board gave the area around Serwe Pan to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust.
Like a lot of areas in Botswana and a so far successful solution to retaining both traditional communities and wildlife, educating people to live alongside nature, The Sanctuary is a community trust, governed by a Board of Trustees who are elected from the local communities of Serowe, Paje and Mabeleapodi. The Vice President of Botswana, Lt .Gen.S.K.I. Khama, Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato, is Patron of the Trust.
Khama is just 25Km outside of Serowe. It is one of the largest traditional villages in Africa. It is also the birthplace of Botswana's first President, Sir Seretse Khama. (If you are unaware of this President, he is well worth googling, he had and interesting struggle in life, all the more so for the times he lived in however along with his wife, they overcame so many obstacles)
To read further about the Sanctuary, click on the website hyperlink below, you will find out more about the Rhino's in the park and how they came to be.
Thakadu Camp is a fantastic place to stay if you want all the fun of camping without any of the hassles. The very friendly Chris and Jeanette Woolcott run this absolute oasis of relaxation right in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Their waterfall-fed swimming pool overlooks a watering hole where local wildlife comes daily. They have an open-air bar and restaurant serving absolutely fantastic food. Some evenings there is even roasted game like Kudu that is roasted all day to make an absolutely wonderful evening meal. Major sporting events and other special evenings bring large groups of locals into the restaurant so you can find out more about the local culture.
They offer budget dome tents with bedding and sheets. These mini campsites have electricity, potable water and a place to braai. More elaborate accommodation is available in nicely appointed Meru tenets. These tents have indoor toilets and hot showers. For the budget travellers like me the domed tent dwellers have access to the ablutions blocks. Clean toilets and (very) hot showers are at the ready. Camping is available with full services if you do want to use your own tents.
The site is accessible easily by 2wd cars. The entrance is right on the Trans Kalahari Highway.
It just does not get any better than Thakadu. I intended to stay one night and found myself staying there for 2.
• Game drives
• 1,2,& 3 day safaris (Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Tsodilo Hills)
• Horse trails
• Bushman dances
This is a self-catering paradise. How would you like a thatched cottage lighted only by paraffin lanterns on the side of a mountain overseeing nothing but nature? Quiet serenity. Your cottage comes with an outdoor covered cooking area. It is supplied with gas burners, sink, cutting/draining board, table and chairs. Your cottage has comfortable beds, hot water and full bathroom, but no electricity. You do have plenty of paraffin lanterns. You also have your own site and the only sounds you hear are the crickets. Bring your own wood and food, but you can pick that up in the village. This is a great place to take a relaxing break (not far) away from Gaborone. Unfortunately the owner dies 3 weeks before I was here, but the staff still carry on. You can also go horse riding over a vast area by day. At night the 2 dogs will come and keep guard. They only charged me a little bit of steak!
Please note: some guidebooks name this idyllic place ‘Country Horse Safaris’. The sign (pictured) actually says ‘Arne’s Horse Safari'.
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