As taking a safari in Botswana is so into the bush I have decided that 'off the beaten track tips' are the appropriate spot to place them in.
XAKANAXA (and Khwai Campsites)
These camps are clearings in the trees, next to the edge of the delta. Watch for the hippos then!
Xakanaxa was our first stop in Moremi. You will need to sign in when you enter, (they like to know when you leave, just to make sure you have not been eaten). The camps wardens wooden office is right next to the airstrip, on the left if arriving from South Gate. (There is a disused airstrip too, so try not to confuse the two).
Also directions are not always great, so keep your eye out, it's possible to make the odd mistake... or two...or three. All adds to the adventure though.
The ablution block was, well, um, yes well, it was okayyy, it did the job for us, usable, yep no problem, reaallly. After a while you get used to these amenities and then feel totally and utterly spoilt when you are faced with a lodge or meru tent for a night or two. Then you even miss these basic blocks that make you feel you have achieved a huge feat once you have used them.
They kinda help you to appreciate home comforts, again it's all part of the fun and adventure, if you think positive.
Now this was our final campsite and probably the most spectacular. Situated over the river, looking down, it makes for brilliant game viewing. Evening brings the animals to the waters edge and baboons to camp if you are not careful so make sure you have everything secured, with no scrummy appertisers left around for them to steal.
Ihaha is the new and only camping site for private visitors within northern Chobe.
The ablution block is good! Set a little away from our camp, so take care after dark.
Two sites share one tap, situated between the them, again after dark probably best used in pairs.
A lovely, lovely campsite.
After driving around Botswana from camp to camp we were parking ourselves here at Tuli for our final 4 days and what a great four days it was, two of which were spent in the meru tents.
Tents... well, rather luxurious if they are to be called tents, although we did on one occasion have a monkey decide to use our en suite bathroom. Lovely cosy tents, as with all the holiday apart from when staying in the Lodges, there was no electricity and hurricane lamps sufficed. In Africa, you retire not long after sundown and rise with the birds, so rest was clean, deep and rejuvenating.
We had our own chef, guides and tracker. We also had use of the Lodge facilities if required and hence we found this spot a tough one to leave behind.
Savuti Campsite is situated on the Savuti Channel and has an elephant proof ablution block and elephant proof stand pipes. It also has hot water and lights in the ablution block, trala, a real treat. The elephant proof wall around the ablution block is cleverly made to allow wild cats etc to be able to escape out but elephant and the like not to be able to get in.
We had two days here at Savuti campsite. At this time of year (September) probably we would all say the same and that is, that only one night at Savuti would surfice.
It seems a lot of the animals had migrated.
The, I think 8 camping pitches are separated and marked but you do have to search for the marks. Many sit under old camelthorn trees, with site number one being particularly good (take note when booking, it seems a ploy of people is to 'nik' the best plot and then claim there has been a mix up and that they were put there and they tend to send you off to find a vacant plot, normally it's the one they did not want) The size of the site, and the distance between the pitches, is such that some campers even drive to the ablution block after dark.
Savuti particularly attracks the elephant and hyenas. Hyena's being mostly scavanging opportunists, also have that trait of cowardice, despite their strong ability to drag off just about any sized object, they are dangerous, they will take risks and children are more so a target, but make enough noise and they most likely will run. However, this is not the case with elephants visiting the campsite, they dislike like being shone at them and indeed do not like noise so if you want to invite trouble into your area, try both of these!!
Surrounding our campsite were the Kalahari Appleleaf bushes, like a miniature version of the Jacaranda, very pretty amongst the dusty scenes.
The Moremi Game Reserve, designated as such in 1963, stretches almost 5000 square kilometres and totals 20% of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana.
It is home to nearly 500 species of bird (from water to forest dwellers), and a vast array of wildlife, including lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, leopard, cheetah, hyena, jackal, impala and lechwe. The reserve also boasts upwards of thirty percent of the surviving wild dog population.
Game viewing is via 4WD, on foot or by mokoro, a dug-out canoe poled by a private guide.
Game viewing is best from July to October when seasonal pans dry up and animals congregate around the permanent basins. The weather warms up considerably from October and the rainy season starts at the end of November or beginning December.
Camp sites are at South Gate, Third Bridge, Xakanaxa, and Khwai.
Linyanti lies on the southern banks of the Linyanti River and Chobe's western border. The 111 000 hectare private reserve features three main habitats: marshland subsiding into lagoons and rivers with riverine forests of jackalberry and sauage trees; open grasslands of the Savuti Channel; and dry inland wooded areas.
Rain falls from November to March. The best viewing period is during the dry season, from May to October. As the surface water evaporates, wildlife congregate in huge numbers along the river. This is when game is at its most dense and easily visible.
Elephants, buffalo and zebra gather in huge numbers at the rivers and waterholes, particularly in the late afternoon or early morning. Zebra spend the winter in the reserve before migrating to Savuti in November. Giraffe, impala and roan antelope is most often seen in the forests. The reserve also boasts red lechwe and the aquatic sitatunga. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog and even the serval.
Linyanti has four small camps: Duma Tau, King's Pool, Linyanti Tented Camp and Savuti Camp.
Savuti is most famous for its predators: lion, spotted hyena, jackal, wild dog and cheetah. Derek and Beverly Joubert’s classic ‘The Eternal Enemies’ immortalised the often brutal struggle between Savuti’s lions and hyenas. Research has shown that lions may lose up to 20% of their kill to hyenas!
Another great – if more rare - sight is the endangered wild dog.
While winter (May to October) provides the best viewing, November and December bears witness to the great migration of Zebra from Linyanti to Savuti where they graze and give birth in the grasslands of the Mobabe Depression.
Viewing at waterholes is exceptional. Look out for elephant herds and predators!
Other species of the Savuti include giraffe, bat-eared fox, impala, tsessebe, roan, sable, wildebeest, kudu, buffalo, waterbuck, warthog and eland. Birdlife is plentiful with large secretary birds and kori bustards often seen around the Savuti Marsh. Summer migrants and water birds include Abdim’s Storks, Carmine bee-eaters, fish eagles and quelea finches.
Savuti Camp Site is situated about 172 km south west of the Sedudu Gate and overlooks the Savuti River Channel.
Chobe is Botswana's second largest game reserve and has one of the highest concentrations of game found anywhere in Africa.
The park has four distinct habits - plains, dense forests, marsh and swamps - which allows for a wide variety of wildlife.
Chobe is famous for its elephant population, of which there are about 120 000 in Botswana. These elephants are huge and it is an awesome spectacle to see them rush towards a water hole late in the afternoon (presumably to intimidate and frighten away potential predators).
Chobe is home to buffalo, Burchell's zebra, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, cheetah, antelope (including sable, impala, puku, tsessebe, eland, kudu, red lechwe, waterbuck and the rare Chobe Bushbuck), giraffe, warthog and wildebeest.
KHWAI CAMPSITE (and Xakanaxa)
Khwai Campsite, very similar to Xakanaxa but on the north east of the reserve. The drive from Mboma island to Khwai is a long one, (its where we left from after a mokoro trip) maybe 5 hours or so if you enjoy the view along the way. Taking the river road along the Khwai is probably the best advice with plenty of animal spotting to do.
The monkeys at Khwai can be a pest so be aware.
If you have time there are hippo pools to take a look at.
Again the ablution block was okayyy, nah, I am fibbing, it was for the advanced adventurer and cold water only, nicely invigorating.
We have been through Botswana 3 times. Each time hiring a fully equiped 4WD and drivng through the national parks and camping in the bush campsites. Nxai Pan we found to be fantastic. Kalahari National Park, Moremi and, if you want to see elephants and plenty of them, Chobe National Park is amazing.
The Kalahari Desert, has been described as Africa’s last great wilderness - the ultimate safari destination. Its immensity and isolation have traditionally kept it beyond the reach of all but a few rough-and-ready explorers who were willing to suffer discomfort and hardship to cross what the Boer Voortrekkers once called moedverloor se vlakte - the plain where courage fails.
Now it is within the means of the average tourist to join a once-in-a-lifetime expedition into the heart of the ‘Lost World of the Kalahari’.
You will be passing through some of the remotest safari country in the world and your constant companions in the journey will be the African wildlife. You will breakfast amid herds of a thousand springbok and gemsbok. You will fall asleep listening to the roar of hunting lions, under a canopy of stars that are untainted by any man-made light in a hundred square miles.
An experienced naturalist/guide, in his own vehicle, leads the convoy of fully-equipped, self-driven Land Rover Defenders. The vehicles are in constant contact by two-way radio so that you can ask questions about the wildlife sightings along the trail. You sleep in complete security and comfort in roof-tents on top of your vehicle and eat well from a generous store of provisions carried in the onboard refrigerators. The vehicles are fitted with long-range fuel-tanks, water-tanks, pump showers, tables and chairs and gas-cookers (although a campfire is invariably used for cooking and romantic atmosphere).
A carefully out-fitted, independently driven expedition vehicle offers the perfect way to explore the wildest regions of southern Africa: be they Botswana’s Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta or Namibia’s Etosha National Park and Kaokoveld (the wild north-western province).
Our research had recommended we visit two look-out hides in the park. One is allegedly adjoining the South Camp. The other is up on the sand ridge south of the South Camp where a panoramic view of the Park can be obtained. I’d read somewhere about a family who raved about the lookout and what an amazing time they’d had there. Our previous experience of a hide had been at the Dombo Hippo Pool in Moremi which was a fantastic place in great condition, so we had no reason to think this would be any less fantastic. However our first clue should have been when we asked the scouts at the gate they didn’t seem to know about the existence of even one of these. They recommended we just go to the main watering hole. This is where Mad Dogs and Englishmen say ‘pah’ in the face of good advice, egged on by the fact that a hide was marked on the map they had given us, which was a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of a map which had clearly existed a long time ago. The fact it was so greyed-out you wouldn’t spot it unless you were looking for it didn’t deter us. An hour later we had encountered some of the most challenging and stressful drives of our entire trip. The road is THICK black sand going uphill which for the only time on our whole trip did manage to lock our landy in its jaws and was starting to pull us in and down. Ed, through a marvel of driving, patience, and bull-dog bloody-mindedness, got us out. I on the other hand did the chocolate teapot thing. Where it isn’t thick sand the track is so seldom trafficked that it has become very indistinct in places. High grasses conceal hidden obstacles, and the grass seeds we’d been told that can clog a vehicle's radiator fins were in thick abundance. When we had been driving this deeply sandy, overgrown track for about half an hour Ed started to doubt my navigation...For more info, see our full story at http://wilddogsandenglishmen.wordpress.com
Most people are so excited by the huge numbers of larger animals, that they miss the birds. They're great viewing too! Birdwatching is best during the migratory season from November through to March. Pels fishing owl, slaty egret and wattled crane are favourites amongst birders, as well as the greater and lesser Jacanas. A recent bird count in the Maun area alone notched up over 120 species!
Many lodges and safari operators cater expecially the the avid bird viewer. Check websites or ask your preferred hotel and you will no doubt be able to arrange special walking safaris aimed at birders.
E21'44'833 about 52 kms sw of Shakwe, where Drosty's have a fantastic Hotel and campsites west of the Okavango River, before ot becomes the delta further south.
The three hills male, female and child is accessible from the main tar road, but 38 kms of sand with 4x4 bumping ans waying gets you there, what an experience
I know now know how Louwrens van der Post felt, and also know why he wrote the Lost world of the Kalahari.
about 3500 rock paintings, executed between 800-1300AD but some must be about 100 years.
being part of Gondwanaland and the centre of the break up, some 135 million years back,
but you'll have to wait for more,
but at least you can see Ken with his favourite Giraffe on the Van der Post Panel, that's on the southern face of the Divuyu Hill of the Female HILL
Using the right vehicle and driver can get you to some remote area of the delta. Some times you really 'cruising' in the water chanells but you manage to cross Hippos area and elephants tracks. A scout is sitting infront for spotting tracks of animals.
Plot 21117, Corner Mobuto and Maratadiba, The Village - Private Bag 00324, Gaborone, Botswana
Good for: Families
P.O. Box 100, Maun, Botswana
Good for: Families
Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
More Regions in Botswana