I recently completed a life-changing adventure in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and I couldn’t WAIT to share with you my top 10 favorite things about these incredible countries:
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and appears on many travelers’ bucket lists. We experienced some R&R at the Old Drift Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, just a stone’s throw from the famous Victoria Falls, before exploring. We got to experience this little slice of heaven, have lunch at the Lookout Café (where you could also zipline and watch the bungee jumpers on the nearby bridge), and you can also take a sunrise cruise up the Zambezi River to the Falls.
The highlight of this leg of the trip was a private interaction with the magnificent elephants at the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage, where we spoke with guides about their experiences with the elephants and learned about herd structures. We also learned about the elephants’ history, care, and today’s everyday threats to elephants. Then there was the herd that blocked our way out of the lodge on departure day. It was as if they didn’t want us to leave!
As in most parts of Africa, there is no better way to end a long day of safari than enjoying a cold beverage with the best view of the sunset. The important thing is getting together with your guides and the rest of your group (or doing a private one) and watching the sky turn spectacular colors! Sundowners are typically gin & tonics, but they can be whatever beverage you like.
Botswana is known for its outstanding game viewing opportunities. My favorites are Cats (lions and leopards, especially), Elephants, and Hippos. We also saw plenty of giraffes, zebras, crocodiles, Malachite Kingfisher birds, African Fish Eagles, and my new fave, the dung beetle! These pics are the only explanation needed! It was fun seeing these little insects teaming together to make a home out of, well, you know…
Many safari locations are remote, so driving there would take HOURS out of your precious schedule. A bush plane that holds from 2- 12 passengers can get you to remote airstrips in a flash and give you access to areas you would not have otherwise.
In the Delta, the only way to get around is by plane, boat or helicopter, So getting a bird’s eye view was a real treat!
Sometimes, the best way to see flora and fauna is by guided bush walks on the surrounding islands in the Okavango Delta. You miss the little things when you’re in a Jeep. On foot, you have a front-row seat to view the small things like insects, plants, animal tracks, etc.
The Okavango Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a vast inland river delta in the northern part of Botswana, known for its sprawling grassy plains (which flood during the rainy season), and papyrus waterways, becoming a lush animal habitat. Its lush landscape creates the largest oasis in Africa.They use dugout canoes to navigate past hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. The Delta is also home to over 400 bird species!
We had three types of boat rides, which were the best ways to see wildlife from the water: a mokoro (dugout canoe-poled along by a gondolier), a motorized boat, and a pontoon boat. We saw plenty of hippos, elephants, and crocodiles from the water and tiny white frogs that cling to the reeds and birds galore!
Everywhere we went, joyful smiles and singing staff greeted us at each camp, we were greeted by singing staff. At Chobe Game Lodge, they came in costume one day at lunch and even got the guests involved. At Camp Xakanaxa (pronounced ka-ka-na-ka), they sang for us both when we arrived and at dinner. The people here seem so happy (and happy to see tourists)! Local school children serenaded us at LaRoo La Tau, our last stop. They have a class called CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts) and make their costumes. What a sweet, talented bunch of kids! The local children also couldn’t wait to wave at the Americans!
Then there are our knowledgeable (and fun) guides and those who worked at the camps and lodges where we stayed. We learned so much about tracking, animal behavior, symbiotic relationships between the species, and local plants and how they provide food for the animals and medicine for the people. They say you go to Africa for the animals and return for the people. It’s truly the people who make the difference, so no truer statement was ever made!
I think it’s pretty safe to say that I can’t WAIT to return to Africa! If an African adventure is on your bucket list, we have a few spots left in my Bucket List Luxury Southern Africa trip (led by yours truly) in September 2023. You can find the link with more information (including a link to register) HERE. I hope you can join us – it WILL sell out soon!
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