When I arrived at the small airport of Livingstone I could immediately feel the change of climate. The air was hot and humid and I felt like I had stepped into another world! From the airport, I was transferred to the Zambezi Waterfront Lodge, which is only a few km’s away. The very next morning we departed from the Zambezi Waterfront at 9am on the dot – we quickly left Livingstone behind us and were off to Botswana Wildlife Breakaway Adventure!
After crossing the Zambezi River via ferry, we were in Botswana and after only a short drive, we arrived at Toro Lodge where we went on a Sunset Cruise on the Chobe River in the National Park – we were stunned by our first sightings of birds, antelopes, huge crocodiles, buffalos, hippos and elephant families, which was absolutely breathtaking!
The next morning we had to get up early, as it was our longest driving day to the Makgadikgadi Pans and Planet Baobab. On our way, we passed through local villages which consisted of thatched mud huts and much to our surprise some even had a satellite dish on the roof! That afternoon, we went on a bush walk with a local guide and on our way back to the camp, we stopped at the nearby waterhole, where a table with sundowners was waiting for us… so we sat by the waterhole as the sun went down, listening to the sounds of the bush and sipping Amarula!
On day three, we went to Maun, where we had time to do some shopping, before heading out into the bush – to Mankwe, which lies on a private concession between Moremi and Chobe. After we had set up our camp and after our supper, we were picked up by one of Mankwe’s guides for an open game drive in the night! Even though we didn’t see a lot of animals, that night drive was one of the highlights for me. Just driving through the bush in the absolute darkness, with the cool night breeze blowing around our heads and only a spotlight from the roof leading our way – so exciting! Every now and then, the spotlight, which was moved around by another guy sitting on the roof, suddenly pointed at a hare, wild cat or an owl. When we came to the River our guide stopped and switched off all headlights and spotlights -It was pitch black and the sounds of the wilderness were almost deafening. Suddenly, a hippo came out of the river and walked off into the bush as if we weren’t even there…
On day 4 we headed to the famous Moremi Game Reserve, again with one of Mankwe’s experienced guides in an open game drive vehicle. As we entered the Reserve we were greeted by a warthog family. After driving around the reserve only for a short time, we finally saw what everyone had been waiting for – a family of lions lying in the sun, almost right next to our vehicle! We couldn’t believe our luck when we discovered that on the other side of our vehicle there were 3 or 4 cute little lion cubs lying in the shade! On our way back to the camp, we saw huge elephant herds drinking in the waterholes of the Khwai area and another lion family, with the little cubs playing and running around. The sun was already getting down and the picture of the male lions sitting proudly in front of the sunset was just beautiful!
The next day we took our 4×4 and drove through the wilderness area of the Khwai region spotting a variety of game that frequent this region. As it was November and the rainy season had already begun, some of the ‘roads’ were already full of mud and huge puddles. So it wasn’t much of a surprise, that one of our tyres got stuck in the mud! But that wasn’t a problem for Hennie at all – we all had to get out of the vehicle and the men of the group started collecting pieces of wood and branches to put behind the tyre. Soon all the children from the nearby local village had surrounded us curiously. After enough wood had been put behind the tyre, Hennie started the engine – and out and off we went! That was really an adventure in itself!
After all our wildlife adventures we headed back to Maun, where some of us went on a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta and others just relaxed at the pool or at the bar at Crocodile Camp. The next day we spent an entire day floating in Mokoros through the thick vegetation of the Delta discovering a variety of birds and wildlife living in this water filled paradise. We stopped at a secluded island to take a 30min guided walk, where we followed the tracks of an elephant. This Mokoro trip was a truly peaceful experience and we felt as if we couldn’t get any closer to nature than this!
We left the wetlands of the Delta and headed north to Tsodilo Hills, where we went on a hike through the rocky cliffs to see ancient bushmen paintings. We set up our tents and spent one night in the bizarre surroundings of Tsodilo Hills.
The next day we left Botswana and entered Namibia. We visited Mahango National Park which lies on the western banks of the Okavango River and is one of Namibia’s most captivating and species-rich conservation areas. We spent the afternoon on a game drive through this National Park, where we saw enormous baobab trees, flood plains with large herds of elephant, buffalo and red lechwe. We ended the day sitting on the wooden deck right on the river, listening to the hippos and looking for fireflies flying around in the air just above us.
The next two days we spent on game drives in Susuwe and Mudumu National Parks along the Caprivi Strip, where we spotted elephants, buffalos, giraffe, rare sitatunga and red lechwe, crocodiles and hippos.
On day 13 we left Namibia behind us and came to the place where we started our trip – Livingstone. As we left early in the morning, we had the option of visiting the Victoria Falls, which the whole group wanted to do, as you simply cannot miss this opportunity when you are in Livingstone! We ended the day with an optional sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. We were sipping the local Mosi Beer, which is named after the Mosi-o-Tunya National Park, and watched elephants swimming through the river right in front of our boat. Traditional dancing and singing and a perfect African sunset were the worthy ending to our unforgettable Botswana Wildlife Breakaway!
To find out more or to read the tour package click here…