"BOTSWANA" Top 5 Page for this destination Botswana by Acirfa

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Going Bush in Botswana

AFRICA

Feel the pulse of Africa beat beneath your feet
Watch the herds of elephant drink where rivers meet
Listen to the lion roar echo through the night
The majestic martial eagle spread his wings in flight
Take time to watch the sunset and its peaceful afterglow
Climb the highest mountain and feel the crosswinds blow
Our world has so much to offer if we just take time to see
To watch a flower bloom or birds nesting in a tree
These are things of Africa that I love more each day
I hope these things will touch you too
In their own special way.
by
LISA REED

At last, the day had finally arrived, 4th September 2008 - we had been counting down the months, then the weeks, followed by the days.
Bundled into a taxi, we headed for Gatwick filled with a sense of excitement, John and I were headed to our beloved Continent but willingly and just as excitedly with us, came Michael and Colleen - both preferring the city and bright lights, this was going to be an interesting change for them. There would be some withdrawal symptons for these two due, we felt sure, with no shops and drinking to a limit. However, we need not have concerned ourselves, as another addictive drug took hold, that which is Africa.

Just landing in SA, makes my senses come alive, albeit that we were very tired and slept deeply the night of our arrival.

The next morning, all set, the vehicles collected from Jo'burg we headed off to the Border.
Diesel tanks full, food in our fridges, well beer anyway, we hit the freeway out of Jozi and up towards Botswana, via Waterberg

The next two weeks were filled to the brim with travelling, wild life, education, nature and it all had an effect of heightening ones senses and rejuvenating ones inner body.

Far away from western luxuries and manic lifestyles, one quickly learns to adopt African time. Slowing down by 50%, taking the time to appreciate all nature has to offer and enjoying the things we really need to keep us happy in life: Food, water, fire, sleep and good company.


Collecting wood, lessons in fire lighting (thanks to John, our resident Bush Baby, who's knowledge and abilities were a blessing and made the whole camping event more fun).
I drew the long straw as it were, from my point of view, as I became more of a hindrance than help when it came to putting up the tent, a little more height or a step ladder may have helped and my skills as head chef did not get too appreciated either, that job soon slipped back to John again, but I can at least claim I did not cook the spuds that even the hyena turned it's nose up at, now that is saying something!

I tried my hand at 4 x 4 driving but after getting the vehicle bogged down in sand, in Savuti, I quickly had my position usurped and from then on remained in the passenger seat as navigator, that worked though. Colleen and I were thrown out of the cars at 'bog down' stage, into the wilderness (and into the elephants vision, the lions fortunately had eaten or merely did not consider us too apertising) in order for John and Mike to pull the vehicle out of its snug position in the sand. So all in all, it worked out that I had a pretty easy time in the end. Navigating is fun after all, although can become a little uncomfortable if you get it wrong, it makes the drivers a little tetchy you see. My 'house' was erected each evening for me and I only had to assist with the veg and salad at meal times, such a great Braai man is John and Mike made a fine wood collector, I think I did contribute a little in this area as did Col.

The ablution blocks were so basic/rustic I never thought I would want to put foot inside them but in fact I was pleased to wash the dust off of myself even though mostly I insisted I was accompanied, so one could chase the frogs and spiders away whilst the other danced under the often cold but welcome water, and who cared whether it was the male or female block one used, which ever looked the best and had the least gawgaws and reptiles in it, was the one that we opted for.

I perhaps should point out at this stage that the shower was merely for effect, as the reality is that you never see what colour your skin is again until the day you return to surburbia. It was after shower one that we discovered, before we even got back as far as camp, that we were covered again, so we gave up and accepted that dust was 'the look'. It simply comes as part of the package, a coating in the car, on the car, in your clothes, over the food and over you. The shower is a five minute wonder (in which you can't see anyway, only by use of your huricane lamp) to keep you from honking but not to keep you from wearing the local 'sunblock dirt' or your clothes for several days.
Embrace it I say, it's quite liberating in fact to have it accepted that you simply will be 'dirty' for the duration.

I would not have changed any of this for the world, it was all part of the adventure, getting back to basics has character building influences and has added to our brilliant memory box.

Mokoro rides, leopard spotting, cheetah attempting a kill, nelly's galore, hyena, jackel, variety of birds and bucks, bush pigs and a business of mongoose, dazzles of zebra, towers of giraffe, sunset cruises, crocs and hippos, baboons, monkeys and wild cats. Walks, night drives, camp fires, sundowners, sunsets and delightful people, even a night spent in a hide....much to Michaels dismay/distress, but a little head holding soon cured that, some micky taking and a fresh night in the almost open air that followed that evening. A night we will all recall for one reason or another.

All these events are what make a holiday in Africa so special.

Looking back, I think it's a good thing I made the most of this trip, from now on I am under no illusions, that camping in Africa again means I will be the one lighting the fires, cooking the meat and driving the car as I am not sure I will have any companions left to join me after my easy ride this time round but I am sure I can always make a plan.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wildlife, relaxing, natural, simple back to basics, lovely people.
  • Cons:Sadly, crime creeping into city areas.
  • In a nutshell:More than wild life, more than sun, a cleansing of the soul.
  • Last visit to Botswana: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated Oct 8, 2008
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Reviews (24)

Comments (13)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    great tips!

  • SanguiniA's Profile Photo
    May 6, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    Great information, the camping safety notice doesn't really help to make you feel safe it seems? :)

  • magor65's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    I've found here loads of useful tips for my July visit to Botswana. Thanks

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    Hello, Donna! Thanks for your informative and emotional tips. Good for you!

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    Donna, I absolutely agree with your recommendation on visiting a school. We did that in Namibia and will always remember the experience. Very nice page.

  • nigelw6443's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    Nice one Donna and good luck with your trip in May. Happy New Year to you and yours! No exciting trips this year for me, have to wait for Henry to grow and business to run smoothly and maybe will finish the book? Take care. Nigel

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Dec 7, 2008 at 11:23 AM

    Great tips of Botswna. Now I know how to greet a local Botwanian :) Cheers, SL

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2008 at 12:00 PM

    Terribly sad news to read Nata Lodge has burnt down! We spent our wedding night there back in 1987 and we had many other happy weekends camping there. Hope no one hurt? Enjoyed reading your tips - very nostalgic. Mike

  • claude-andre's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2008 at 12:53 AM

    I leave Switzerland tomorow for SA, Namibia and Botswana. Your pages are of great interest.

  • Suzze's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2008 at 12:52 PM

    I would have loved the school visit, great page hun, well done x

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