ALLANA BOTHA - APRIL 2011

SOUTH AFRICA, ZIMBABWE AND BOTSWANA

I recently returned from a fantastic adventure to southern Africa which included my first safari to Botswana!
My trip started with a wonderful weekend in Durban, South Africa where I caught up with family and visited the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks. Recently refurbished, this hotel is beautifully situated on the beach offering luxury accommodations and excellent food.
After spending a night in Johannesburg at the Southern Sun T ambo International Airport Hotel, I departed for Victoria Falls.
My reception on arrival at the Victoria Falls Hotel was welcoming with a warm face cloth and drink. The bellboy took me through the main entrance and my breath was taken away with the bea uty of the bridge and the Fall's mist bellowing high in the air. - just lovely! After a light lunch on the hotel patio, I enjoyed a guided trip of the Victoria Falls by Esther (Africa Adventure 's exclusive local guide). The water levels were very high and mist came from everywhere leaving us soaked.
In the evening I enjoyed a s unset cruise on the Zambezi followed by a relaxing dinner under the stars at the hotel's Jungle Junction

The next day created fabulous memories at the Elephant Interaction camp and in the evening lots of fun and good food was to be had at the Boma (which is located next to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, about a 10 minute drive from the Victoria Falls Hotel) .
With excitement I left Victoria Falls and transferred by road t o Kasane on the Botswana border. I was promptly met by lodge's vehicle and driven to Muchenje Safari Lodge on the border of Chobe National Park . The view is the first thing th at hits you on arrival at Muchenje - the Chobe River flows directly in front an d is stunning! You feel like you have arrived home . Great people, home cooking and lovely accommodations. My first game drive was exciting as we viewed giraffe, buffalo, various antelope, baboons and lots of elephants (they were at the camp's front door ).


Our 12-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari visits Victoria Falls and Chobe.

After breakfast we drove back to Kasane and departed by a scheduled chart er flight for Savuti Camp, located in the Linyanti Reserve (which is an extension of the world famous Okavango Delta). The game viewing was especially good and our guide and during our day and night game drives we saw elephant, giraffe, zebra, antelope, h yena and even wild dog! I thought the staff and hospitality at Savuti were outstanding. One morning I visited Kings Pool, a premier level camp in the Linyanti Reserve which offers incredible luxury.

A scheduled charter flight took me to the heart of the Okavango Delta and m y next stop was Jao Camp. This premier camp is stunning! Between game activities I enjoyed incredible luxury, water views and outstanding service (and for those who really want to indulge can arrange for a massage on their priva te deck).
I was fortunate to explore two other camps in the region which included Kwetsani, where I enjoyed my first mokoro ride (a dugout canoe that glides through the Delta waterways) and Jacana Camp.


Our 11-Day Botswana Wilderness Wing Safari visits 3 camps&regions in Botswana

Ready to experience a different region, I flew to the edge of the Moremi Reserve and Chitabe Camp. Technically within th e Okavango Delta, this camp offers big game viewing and Chitabe didn't disappoint as it was here that I got to see m y first lions! Between game drives I thoroughly e njoyed a siesta at the camp's pool and a traditional boma dinner. All guests enjoyed the singing and dancing by the staff - a memorable evening for all.

My last stop was Banoka Bush Camp located in the Khwai game concession . I could hear the welcoming song of the staff before we saw the camp. After warm introductions I checked out my tent and loved the endless view of water and grasslands.
Part of the adventure of visiting Botswana during this time is the annual rising water
levels and I got to witness the beauty first hand. On a practical level, it is impressive how prepared the Wilderness Safari camps are for the rising water. Supplies and food are
well-stocked and ready at a moment's notice with a replacement vehicle if a Land Rover gets stuck during a game drive.
Dinner was served under the stars with magical lanterns sc attered around. It was just magical and what a lovely camp to end my African adventure!


Our 07-Day Awesome Value Safari to Botswana visits Banoka Camp


The next day I flew to Maun for my connecting flight to Johannesburg and home.