What to do on those mid-day breaks?
Favorite thing: Besides napping in your tent/hut/room, there are lovely public areas to while away the hours reading or chatting with other guests. Or just gazing off over the channel (or water holes or other scenic venue for the camp) listening to the birds and animals in a soft breeze.
The picture is the deck adjoining the pool area at Nxebega, but each camp had it's special places. At Sandibe, we had a double decker deck off our rondeval. At Savute, there was a nice big deck at the front of our chalet, and also a pretty viewing deck in front of the pool. I think the breezes and the sounds at Nxabega made it my favorite, though.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Have a drink in the lounge
Favorite thing: These open air lounges are soooooo appealing, expecially at night after dinner when you're involved in a good discussion of world affairs, or listening to past adventures of fellow guests.
All beverages are included in the cost of your safari -- although I assume if you have SPECIFIC requests for a certain brand there might be an extra charge. We were totally satisfied with the "house" choices. Both Sandibe and Nxabega had their own wine cellars.
Fondest memory: I wish I'd been able to take night-time pictures that really captured the ambience -- but you'll have to be satisfied with what I have from daytime :-)Related to:
The question is often asked...
Favorite thing: What are the bathrooms like! Well, in these comfortable camps, they are likely to exceed your expectations. At Nxabega, the "ensuite" baths are enclosed in a small reed structure, under an extended canvas roof, which is entered from the back flaps (floor to ceiling zipper closure) of your tent. The windows are screened. This one was just big enough for the toilet, a sink, and a stall shower (which was actually bigger than many we've had in 2-3 star French or Italian hotels). The toiletries furnished are really high quality, as well as the linens -- usually big fluffy white towels, as well as full length robes for your use while in camp.Related to:
Games to play
Favorite thing: OK -- I took this partly as a joke, but also to show my "kids" that the silly plastic peg game they played at Cracker Barrel restaurants along Rt 95 as kids had its origin going back hundreds of years. Same principle, once played with rocks and a circle drawn in the sand. This was set up on one of the large "cocktail tables" on Nxabega's main deck.Related to:
Within minutes of arriving in Botswana I was confronted with this terrifying huge man-eating monster. Scared me to death! Then a South Africa guy behind me said “Shongololo” and braved death to pick it up and put it outside. Actually this is just a very gentle African giant millipede. Absolutely harmelss and kind of cuddly once you get over their size. Shongololo comes from the Zulu and Xhosa word ‘ukushonga’ which meamns 'to roll up'. Please don’t step on them! Just pick them up genty and place them out of the way.
Just so you can appreciate how big they are. My shoe, which is pictured is a size:
29 JapanRelated to:
- National/State Park
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: The Okavango is Africa's third longest river. It starts in Angola, goes through Namibia and in Botswana it forms a huge lush green delta. The delta is often compared to a living organism because it grows and shrinks and changes its shape. At its best it covers the area of 18 000 square km but it can shrink to less than 9 000 square km in the low period. It's also called the Africa's largest and most beautiful oasis as it lies within the area of the Kalahari desert. The delta is a wetland with hundreds of islands differing in size from mere termite mound islets to huge islands (f.e. the Chief's Island).
Millons of years ago the Okavango River flowed into a large lake called Makgadikgadi but due to tectonic activity the flow of the river was broken and it had to go back forming what is known today as the Okavango Delta.
Fondest memory: It is estimated that about 200 000 big mammals stay in the delta. Some of them live here permanently but most move in and out. Delta is the seasonal habitat to such species as the hippopotamus, African elephant, African buffalo, lechwe, blue wildebeest, giraffe, Nile crocodile, both black and white rhinos and many others. It is also home to many species of birds, including African Fish Eagle.Related to:
- National/State Park
It's all available
Favorite thing: Travel in Botswana is an absolute pleasure, every major town has a shopping center and you can get everything from woman's personals to a new Head Gasket, From raw vegetables to Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The police force are active and relentless in their bit to stamp out crime against tourist, the population respect the income that tourism produces and the people will welcome and assist you openly if you respect them,their land and culture.
Fondest memory: Well you wouldn't really run this to the fondest memory stage, but most certainly a pleasant one. Just outside Frances town on a holiday weekend sunday, one of our parties land rover threw a rear wheel bearing, and caused severe damage to the axle.
we thought of all sorts, cannibalizing Nick's trailer, leaving his car behind and distributing the passengers and his trailer amongst the two remaining vehicles, see, I don't leave anyone behind, we keep going forward.
the women however insisted we phoned a second hand parts yard they found in a phone book, to our surprise although the business was closed the owner of the business drove 2 hours to reach us, and then opened his whole place up to allow Nick and I to Strip what we required from an old landy, all this and he wanted nothing more than 120 U$D for his trouble.
God bless him, he served us well.Related to:
- Road Trip
ALL YOU CAN EAT KUDU
Now this is a Braai! While I was staying at the Thakadu Bush Camp in Ghanzi, Chris the owner shot a Kudu. Then the staff prepared the largest animal I have ever seen on a spit. It took all day and into the evening with a huge open fire, but the result was magnificent. The meal was served with different accompanying dishes, but meat was the centrepiece. Because there was so much meat, it was all you could eat! At one point I found myself with a huge knife cutting off hunks of tender fillet meat from the centre while it was still over the fire. A few mouthfuls of that and an ice cold Castle lager – absolute Heaven!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Food and Dining
The kingdom of wild animals
Favorite thing: In Okavango Delta we saw any kind of wild animals and birds, but we had a special fortune with cats: isn't so usual to se two ceetah very close, a lioness with a tender cub, a group of lions eating a buffalo, another big group (about 15) with some of them eating an elephant; we saw two lionesses hunt against kudu and impala. Let me say: we was really lucky!Related to:
Mata-Mata tourist facility
Favorite thing: The opening of Mata-Mata and the Sendelingsdrift Tourist Access facility are key to the strategy (of) desert tourism which explores the natural linkage between Kgalagadi and Ai/Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier parks, South Africa's Augrabies Falls National Park and the soon-to-be-declared Sperregebiet National Park in Namibia. Movement between the three southern countries has been made easy.Mata-Mata will enable tourists to travel between the three countries via shorter routes and through efficient and convenient border control facilities.
Favorite thing: A baobab tree was called by dr Livingstone a giant upturned carrot. The Bushmen believed that the baobab offended God who in revenge planted the tree upside down.
The trunk of the tree is very thick. Its average diametre is 6-7 metres. But the tree is also amazing because of its nutritious value. The fruit has more vitamine C than oranges. One can eat the dry fruit pulp separated from seeds (I tasted it and it was OK), it is also added to milk and porridge. The seeds rich in protein, calcium and oil can be roasted and grounded like coffe beans and young leaves can be eaten like spinach. Also the bark can be used - indigenous people make tea and beer from it. The treem blossoms in mid-summer - the flowers are white and big like saucers. Unfortunately they are short-lived - open at sunset and drop on the ground a few hours later after the bats and insects feast on their nectar.Related to:
A SIGN THAT SHOULD BE ON EVERY ROAD IN THE WORLD
I found this fantastic sign in Kang at the main fuel point. How many times has someone driven past you in a car with music suicidally loud? The worst part being that it always seems to be really bad music played by complete idiots who just look stupid. Why do they feel the need to PROVE how stupid they are? Well, not here mister! Turn it down and roll up the car windows!Related to:
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Camping through Africa
Favorite thing: I travelled with Drifters Overland Camping Safaris through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. I have always enjoyed camping and especially so in Africa with spectacular sunsets and of course close encounters with wildlife.
Some campsites were fenced in and gated to keep any dangerous animals on the outside, ensuring a peaceful night's rest.Related to:
Border crossings from South Africa
Favorite thing: Independent travel by road from South Africa to Botswana will require a border crossing at one of these border posts, depending on embarkation point:
Bray (RSA) Khakhea (Botswana). Hrs 0700-1600.
Derdepoort (RSA) Sikwane (Botswana). Hrs 0600-1900.
Groblers Bridge (RSA) Martin’s Drift (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1800.
Kopfontein Gate (RSA) Tlokweng Gate (Botswana). Hrs 0600-2200.
McCarthy’s Rest (RSA) Tshabong (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1630.
Molopo (RSA) Phitshane (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1600.
Platjan (RSA) Baine’s Drift (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1600.
Pontdrif (RSA) Tuli (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1600.
Ramatlabama (RSA) Pitsane (Botswana). Hrs 0600-2000.
Skilpads Gate (RSA) Pioneer Gate (Botswana). Hrs 0600-2200.
Stockpoort (RSA) Parr’s Halt (Botswana). Hrs 0800-1800.
Swartkopfontein Gate (RSA) Ramotswa (Botswana). Hrs 0600-2200.
Twee Rivieren. 0730-1600.
Werda (RSA) Khakhea (Botswana).
Zanzibar (RSA) Tsetsebjwe (Botswana).Related to:
- Road Trip
A sausage tree
Favorite thing: A sausage tree is called after its fruit that looks like a sausage and dangles from long rope-like stalks. The fruit may be up to 60 cm long and weigh over 6 kg. Those who hope that the fruit may taste of sausage will be disappointed. It is inedible and even said to be poisonous. In spite of that, it's often used in beer production as it speeds the fermentation process and gives the drink a special flavour. It can also be used for body care - a lot of African women rub it into their skin to get rid of blemishes.Related to:
Plot 21117, Corner Mobuto and Maratadiba, The Village - Private Bag 00324, Gaborone, Botswana
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
P.O. Box 100, Maun, Botswana
Good for: Families
Chobe National Park
Good for: Business
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