Ever wondered what it's like going on a luxury Botswana safari? One of our devoted customers, Ian Scott-Gall, has been kind enough to share his beautiful photos from his tailor made safari holdiay, giving us a taster of what he got up to...
Shinde Camp in the Okavango Delta
A small group of just four of us flew out of London in mid-September, transferring in Johannesburg to our second (and final) flight to Maun in Botswana. As experienced travellers, it was great to be back with all the sights and smells of Africa. Our first camp on this trip was Shinde Camp, in the main part of the Okavango Delta. The camp staff were really friendly and helpful - they greet you with a wonderful singsong and then warn you of Edgar the resident elephant, who has the run of the front of the camp!
Shinde sits on a lush palm island, which abounds with all the animals you expect to see in the Delta. One of its attractions is that it is next to the Shinde Lagoon, famous for its heronry. We always like to spend three nights in any camp so that one enjoys all the variety of game and safari activities. We were also treated to a special dinner organised by Original Travel, as the excuse for our safari was to celebrate a serious wedding anniversary. The camp's tree house dining room is a fun feature of Shinde. The accommodation was in classic safari tents with full facility en-suite bathrooms and electricity. Thanks to the land/water location, we were able to go on out in mokoros (dug out canoes), in boats, explore on foot and of course the normal game drives.
Kanana Camp on the Xudum River
Moving on from Shinde, we took a small plane to Kanana Camp, in the southwest of the Delta, by the Xudum River. This part of the trip was aimed at a night in the main camp followed by two nights out on a small remote island, in small tents with bucket showers. The idea was to use the mokoros to find rare Pel's fishing owl and the mysterious shy Sitatunga antelope. Somehow our luck was not in and we failed to track down either the owl or the antelope. The waterways were almost covered by lilies, and was there lots of fish eagles, tiny painted reed frogs, golden orb spiders and malachite kingfishers, to name but a few.
However, one fun thing was being able to swim in the river in the afternoon and enjoy dinners under the starlight with no electric lights anywhere. Camping out with just the four of us and our guide gave us a real sense of adventure. Kanana also has one of the biggest heronries, which allowed for some great bird photo opportunities. The luxury camp accommodation is in safari 'units', set on raised teak decks, offering good views across the waters, and distant islands.
Savuti Camp in the Linyanti
After another flight in a small plane, we arrived at the Savuti Camp on the banks of the Savuti channel, in the Linyanti part of the Chobe Park, where we were to spend our final four nights. We have been to this area several times before, during the time when the channel had been a dry "Sand River" for some 28 years - we once even landed in a helicopter in the channel by a nearby camp.
The water has now been flowing for some three or so years and has transformed the area around the channel into a paradise for animals and birds. This is now one of the most incredible areas for wildlife: we saw everything from wading elephants, hippos of course, a healthy dazzle of zebra, giraffes, lions, some lovely leopard sightings, two packs of wild dogs, honey badgers and spotted hyenas' interaction. Add to this the luxury of the Savuti Camp in a remote part of northern Botswana and you have a fantastic safari experience and a real exclusive escape. Each room is basically a small house with its en-suite accommodation in large walk-in tents, which are raised off the ground, with a full balcony overlooking the channel. The camp's public areas are really comfortable, and enjoy a good bar as well as a large viewing area with a fire pit on elevated wooden decks.
We were privileged to spend our last night on Botswana's independence day, and so the braai and the singing and traditional dancing display by the camp staff were wonderful, and completed a memorable stay for all of us. It is always sad to have to say goodbye, but then one simply has to come back again. We had a spectacular time and I couldn't recommend an Original Travel holiday enough!