It is 8 years since I last winged my way to Botswana (also with Wilderness Safaris) and it still remains my most favourite African destination. The daily direct flight from Cape Town to Maun is a breeze allowing you to go from the early morning darkness of the Mother City to the wild Okavango Delta in a mere 2.5 hours! A brief plane change in bustling Maun and we were on our way via Wilderness Air into the Delta.
Sunlight caught the shadow of our tiny plane and glinted off the endless landscape below, a reminder that in fact snaking waterways run in every direction below the seemingly dry surface. This is after all the largest inland delta system on earth! Bumping along sandy runways, we were always greeted by rangers with wide smiles, firm handshakes and cool drinks.
Our week took us from the private Khwai Concession, adjoining the Moremi Game Reserve, via the 60 000 hectare Jao Concession in the heart of the Delta, to the Savute Channel in the Chobe/Linyanti region. Every lodge was a delight, some water and others land based camps.
Banoka Bush Camp is 100% solar powered and eco/green camp, the back of house tour a must. I now know what a “sunny boy” generator is as well as how hard the laundry ladies work, washing everything by hand!
Who could forget our mekoro sunset boat trip at Jao Camp, a bright pink sky, the water rippling past bright pink lilies, the peace broken only by the croak of frogs and cry of a fish eagle. Polers are masters at the art of balance their only presence felt by the dull thud of their poles behind you on the sandy Delta river bottom. The birders on our trip were in heaven, a quick bridge crossing extended for 45 minutes as we spotted varied bird species in every direction, I think about 10 Malachite Kingfishers alone!
Sundowner stops were always a treat with cool G&T’s and delicious snacks – not that we ever needed these with the many, many delicious firelight dinners and sumptuous brunches at each camp, it is indeed an eating safari too.
The chill of the early morning was relieved by finding a “bushbaby” or hot water bottle on your seat. Game viewing is remarkable, black backed jackals & hyenas on an elephant kill, a honey badger, lions and cubs on a buffalo kill, elephants at the entrance to Duma Tau Camp, wild dogs hunting impala and a lone female leopard near Savuti Camp to mention but a few. Our ranger took to just pointing his arms in both directions at once as there was just so much to see.
This really is a true wilderness experience and Wilderness’ tagline “our journeys change lives” and the 4 C’s (conservation, community, culture, commerce) could not be more true. I will treasure these memories forever.
To follow in Charlotte's footsteps contact the Southern Africa Travel Team today!