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08 January 2020

Rare Wildlife & Big Game – a client experience of Victoria Falls and Botswana

In September, YZ client Jill W travelled to Victoria Falls and Botswana, where she and her husband spent some time in Chobe, Moremi, and the Okavango Delta, spotting rare wildlife and plenty of big game.

Having managed to get to the grand old age of 57 without ever having been on a safari, I set off on our trip to Botswana with an open mind, but with very little idea of what to expect. Maybe that’s the way to do it, because I was absolutely blown away by the whole experience. It helped that Kirsten at Yellow Zebra had put together such a fantastic itinerary for us, which offered a range of different landscapes, game viewing experiences and accommodation.

Victoria Falls

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View of the falls from the helicopter

We arrived in Botswana via Victoria Falls, where we loved the old world charm of the Vic Falls Hotel, not to mention the views from the terrace, enjoyed with a glass in hand. We explored the falls on foot and also took a helicopter trip for a bird’s eye view. They are spectacular – and they weren’t even in full spate when we saw them.

Chobe Game Reserve

From there, we moved on to Muchenje Safari Lodge in Chobe where, on our very first afternoon game drive, we were treated to the sight of a lioness relaxing with a couple of cubs. Not a bad introduction to the safari experience. Chobe, though, is really all about the elephants, and we certainly saw them in huge numbers, particularly on the river trip we took. We also heard them move through the camp at night – and saw the devastation the next morning where they had trodden down small trees! At the other end of the spectrum from elephants, we were introduced to the variety of birdlife, which our fantastic guide patiently identified for us and I enthusiastically ticked off in the animal and bird checklist provided by the lodge. Our final treat in Chobe was to see a young leopard on our early morning drive the day we left.

Moremi Game Reserve

From Chobe we moved into the Okavango Delta, where we stayed at Khwai Tented Camp. Our game drives here focused on the Moremi Game Reserve, where the more open bush revealed herds of buffalo, antelopes and zebra. Here we spent time observing a family of hyenas, as well as watching the hippos that characterise the delta – mothers, young, and some males noisily sparring.

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Buffalo in the mist

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Zebras in Moremi Game Reserve

There was also much excitement in the truck when we encountered mating lions and, heading out for a night drive, when we spotted a couple of aardvarks (a particular favourite of our guide!). The setting of the camp was wonderful and one evening we dined under the stars with elephants and hippos just yards away, taking their refreshment at the camp’s waterhole. Amazing if slightly unnerving!

Okavango Delta

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Our final stay was at Pelo Camp, which is on an island and accessible only by boat (certainly when we were there, anyway, but it all depends on the season…). What a beautiful and tranquil spot. Our tent and also the bar area looked out over the water where we could watch the birdlife and the lechwe splashing by. We did one walking safari here, but most of our trips were by mokoro on the water, which gave us some pretty spectacular sunsets. It was on one of these mokoro trips where our guides excitedly spotted a sitatunga – apparently quite rare in the area – and it was wonderful to share their real enthusiasm for the wildlife.

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Botswana's amazing birdlife

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Twist, one of our guides at Pelo Camp

The focus of the trip was the wildlife, but there was so much more to enjoy. Botswana, particularly the Okavango Delta, is really beautiful. The people are lovely and we were so well looked after wherever we stayed. The accommodation was great and the food a real treat (even the crispy caterpillars!!). We were fed and watered at every opportunity – breaking off one early morning safari drive to have coffee with crocodiles, and taking sundowners one evening in Pelo on a tiny sandy island. We met lots of interesting fellow travellers and made some really special memories. Why did I ever leave it so long? Bring on the next trip…

If you’d like a trip similar to Jill’s, please take a look at the itineraries and experiences below. Alternatively, do contact our experts today, to start planning a holiday to Victoria Falls and Botswana that’s tailored to you.

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