Show Trip | WZT

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana

A Safari through Botswana's best wildlife reserves and Victoria Falls.

Trip CodeWZT
Duration14 Days
ActivityWildlife Holidays
Group Size4-12
Minimum Age16
Leisurely / Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate
Prices (excl. flights & transfers) from

R51,882

To book   call us on 074 340 4587 or email info@earthwanderer.co.za

A Safari through Botswana's best wildlife reserves and Victoria Falls.

Take a journey into the wilds of Botswana. Glide along the Okavango Delta in traditional makoros and admire a billion stars from the otherworldly and eerily silent Makgadikgadi Pans. Search for Africa’s emblematic wildlife on the Savuti Marsh and the Moremi reserve and take to the Chobe River, known for having the highest concentration of elephants anywhere. Finally discover why David Livingstone, upon seeing Victoria Falls, declared ‘scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.’
Temporary changes in Botswana due to COVID-security measures (information on Zimbabwe to follow)*
Last updated: 29th December 2020
At Exodus we acknowledge our responsibility to have the most up to date information on anything that will affect our customers on holiday, and to communicate this to our customers as effectively as possible. Our general global COVID security measures are described in our Travel">https://www.exodus.co.uk/travel-safety-charter">Travel Safety Charter, and changes will be made to these measures as required by the global pandemic situation. However, we also expect there to be
specific
requirements, measures and sometimes itinerary changes that apply to certain trips only, and may well be temporary measures. We have highlighted all known changes in the section below. 
Entry requirements.
For all trips, having the correct documentation and visa, if required, remains the customer’s responsibility based on their own nationality. We therefore encourage all travellers to check entry requirements using the travel advice of their home nation for the relevant destination. For UK passport holders that is https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice In">https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice">https://www.gov.uk/foreign-tra... order to meet the new immigration requirements for Botswana you should note the following: • On arriving in Botswana, you must present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival. After arrival, you will have to remain in contact with the local health authority for a period of 14 days for self-monitoring. • If you’re a returning citizen or resident and do not meet these requirements you will need to undergo 14 days mandatory quarantine and testing at your own expense. If you’re not a returning citizen or resident and do not meet these requirements, you will be denied entry. • All travellers, including children, will also be required to undergo an additional cost-free COVID-19 test at Botswana border points to gain entry to Botswana. • If the test is positive or you show COVID-19 symptoms, you may need to undergo 14 days isolation or quarantine at your own expense. COVID-19 entry and exit requirements may be announced and altered at little notice. You should monitor the government of Botswana’s Facebook page for the latest developments or contact the government of Botswana’s 24 hour COVID-19 helpline on 16649 / 0800 600 111.
Local COVID restrictions
Local regulations or guidelines in Botswana require visitors to: • Wear non-medical face coverings at all times in shops, public areas and on transport when social distancing is not possible. • Maintain social distancing where possible, at a standard distance of 2 metres • Adhere to nationwide curfew during the hours of 7pm – 4am and stay indoors. Your leader will reconfirm the latest local government advice and requirements on arrival.
Itinerary changes
There are no planned itinerary changes. However, customers should be prepared for occasional short notice changes as required by local authorities or recommended by the Exodus Leader to maintain COVID-security for the group.

Highlights

  • Gliding along the Okavango Delta waterways in Mokoro canoes and wild camping in the wetlands
  • The other-worldly silent beauty of the Makgadikgadi Pan
  • Good chances of seeing both Africa’s emblematic wildlife as well as some of its lesser species
  • Game viewing by foot, by safari vehicle and by boat
  • The mighty Victoria Falls

Key Information

  • 11 nights full-service camping (in two-person tents with camp beds and mattresses provided) 2 nights in hotel, lodge or chalet.
  • Travel by Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Some long and bumpy roads
  • Staying in some remote locations

What's Included

  • All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Day 1

Start Maun.

Those on the group flight arrive in Maun and transfer (30 mins) to our campsite located on the banks of the Thamalakane River. The campsite has hot showers, bar, swimming pool, and the restaurant is known for its good food and ambience. Those not on the group flight can arrive any time.
  • Audi Camp or similar

Day 2

To Okavango Delta.

We pack minimal gear for 2 nights into a smaller bag (bag provided), before a 4x4 transfer into the Okavango Delta. At the 'polers' station' we meet a new team of local staff from a nearby village who will look after us during our stay in the delta. With them we travel in mokoros deep into the Okavango Delta. We have lunch at our campsite on the banks of the river, and in the late afternoon we head out on our first game walk. We return to camp before sunset and enjoy our first meal in the African bush.
  • Okavango Delta Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 3

Morning game walk; sunset dug-out canoe trip on the Okavango Delta.

We get up early this morning for a game walk with a guide from the poling team. There are never any guarantees whith wildlife, but there is the chance of seeing elephant, buffalo, and other smaller game. We return to camp for a well deserved brunch and some time to relax. In the afternoon we take a short mokoro trip on the river to view the sunset before returning to camp.
  • Okavango Delta Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 4

Return to Maun; free afternoon.

This morning we board our mokoros for the trip back to the polers' station. We meet our vehicle and transfer back into Maun for the night where we will purchase supplies for the days ahead. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool or take an optional scenic flight over the Delta.
  • Audi Camp or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 5

Visit Makgadikgadi Salt Pan.

After a relaxed breakfast we head east to the vast Makgadikgadi Salt Pan. Depending on the season or if the pans are wet, we will camp wild on the pan or one of the campsites nearby. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pan covers an area over 16,000 square kilometres and forms the bed of an ancient lake - now dried up. The sunsets on the pan are truly spectacular.
  • Makgadikgadi Pan wild camp or similar

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 6

To Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls.

A long drive north before crossing into Zimbabwe to the town of Victoria Falls situated minutes from the waterfalls of the same name. At the Kasangula border we complete the border formalities and continue to our accommodation for the next two nights. The falls themselves are over 1,700m wide and 100m tall making them the largest waterfalls in the world and are one of Africa’s most famous highlights. We will have the opportunity to find out more about the various activities on offer available for tomorrow.
  • Premier Lodge or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 7

Free day for optional activities at Victoria Falls.

Today is a free day to partake in one of the many optional activities on offer ranging from white water rafting to flights over the falls and various others.
  • Premier Lodge or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 8

Free morning to visit Victoria Falls; afternoon to Chobe; optional boat trip.

This morning there is an opportunity to view Victoria Falls themselves from the Zimbabwean side. From here we drive back to Botswana. A short drive from the border to the town of Kasane where we camp on the banks of the Thebe River, a tributary of the mighty Zambezi. The afternoon is free, with an option to view game on the famous Chobe Waterfront by taking an exciting river cruise on the Chobe River. This is widely regarded as one of the best game cruises in Africa with a very good chance of seeing the elephant herds coming down to the river to drink before the sun sets.
  • Thebe River Camp or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 9

Discover Chobe N.P; visit Savuti.

We take an early morning game drive back to the Chobe Waterfront area. Chobe is famous for its large population of elephants, but is also home to plenty of other exciting game including lion and wild dog. After exploring the Northern end of this huge park, we head south into remote and rugged terrain, passing in and out of the national park, before finally reaching the Savuti area at the southern edge of Chobe National Park. The Savuti Marsh, often dry, is fed by the Savuti river channel which alternately flows and then dries up for years at a time. Recent flooding has given this area new life. This area is also home to plenty of game, but is especially well known for its lions, and the large numbers of elephant that walk enormous distances to find fodder.
  • Zwei-Zwei or Savuti Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 10

Full day game drive on the Savuti Marsh.

We take morning and afternoon game drives on the Savuti Marsh. There is a good chance to see lion, cheetah and hyena that follow the seasonal zebra migration through this area. Large secretary birds and kori bustards are often seen strutting around the Savuti marsh and small red-billed francolins provide a noisy morning wake up call.
  • Zwei-Zwei or Savuti Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 11

Game drive on the way to Moremi.

After breaking camp we drive all the way to Moremi Game Reserve. We pass through a variety of habitats including the Mbabe depression, Mopani forest and past great Acacia trees before arriving at Khwai village and the North Gate entrance of Moremi Game Reserve. Moremi National Park is the jewel in Botswana's wildlife crown. Protecting much of the northern part of the Okavango Delta, it is made up of waterways, marshes, islands and open grasslands.
  • Moremi Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 12

Full day safari in Moremi Game Reserve.

We'll go on morning and afternoon game drives through this beautiful protected area, trying to find the large variety of animals that live here. Despite its wet reputation, there is plenty of dry land in Moremi, which allows our game drives to cover significant distances while spotting game in the sometimes dense vegetation. As well as elephant and lion, Moremi is a good place to spot leopard and cheetah, and the red lechwe, a water dwelling antelope, often seen grazing amongst the lilies.
  • Moremi Wild Camp

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 13

Morning game drive in Moremi; to Maun.

We go on a final game drive through the park this morning before travelling back to Maun, and back to our riverside campsite. We can enjoy the swimming pool before our last dinner at the campsite restaurant.
  • Audi Camp or similar

Meals included: breakfast

Day 14

End Maun.

Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport in time for their flight home. The trip officially ends after breakfast for those not on the group flights.

Meals included: breakfast

Trip for You

Expect some long and hot drives as we travel between game parks in this large country. On some days we travel on tarmac roads, but a lot of distance is covered on dirt and sand roads. Depending on water levels, driving in the delta can also be challenging. As a full-service camping safari, we have a separate supply vehicle with a camp crew who set up camp for us. The camp crew will also cook the food, wash the dishes and attend to all camp chores so that you can sit back and enjoy the wilderness experience. We normally use Botswana Tourism (HATAB) sites, which are only available for private groups. There are no facilities so we use bush toilets and a bush shower. These sites are not fenced and have no running water. We carry a water supply on our vehicles and fill up daily from public sites. There is plenty of water to wash with but we must be sparing; this all adds to the remote wilderness experience! Other nights will be spent in developed camp grounds with facilities usually including toilet blocks, a bar and, sometimes, a swimming pool. October and November are the hottest months, but are also good for game viewing, please see the weather section for more information. Legal Note: all group members joining this tour will be asked to sign an indemnity form at the start of the holiday. This indemnity form is a requirement of the South African Tourism Service Association which our local supplier is a member of. As a client of Exodus Travels Ltd, your rights under the Package Travel Regulations (1992) are unaffected, and Exodus remains liable for the actions of our sub-contractors.

Group Description

There will be one tour leader who normally also arranges the meals and cooking. The tour leader is assisted by a driver / guide, and for larger groups there will be a support vehicle with two staff.

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners included. Breakfast - cereals, coffee and toast and the occasional fried breakfast / brunch. Lunch - cheese, cold meats, salads, bread or rolls. Dinner - potjies (stew), braais (barbecue), stir-fries, etc. Please be aware that we need at least two weeks notice to deal with special dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian or allergies.) For this reason if you did not indicate these on your booking form please advise the Exodus office as soon as possible. The trip leaders do all the shopping and meal planning for each group. He/she will always try to obtain fresh produce wherever possible. Each tour has 1 cool box for the meats and the fresh produce only and 1 cool box for cold drinks. We will supply the following drinks: squash, tea or coffee served with meals. All other beverages will be at your own expense. We supply drinking water which is perfectly safe to drink. This is not bottled water, however, and whilst we encourage you to drink this water rather than buy plastic bottles, some people do not like the taste of the local water. If you decide that you would rather buy bottles of water rather than drink the water provided, we encourage you to buy large 5L bottles and refill your drinking bottle. Please note that on some days where early morning game drives are included lunch may be substituted for a large brunch on return from the game drive - this is customary. We will always ensure that the number of meals detailed in the trip notes are provided. The water provided on this trip is safe and clean drinking water, normally coming from bore-holes. It is not bottled water, however. If you would rather have bottled water then this will be at your expense, though we would encourage you to make use of the safe drinking water provided as this helps diminish plastic consumption.

Transportation

Travel is by a long-wheelbase 4WD vehicle, seating 12 in 4 rows of 3. The vehicle has a solid roof to protect the group from the sun and canvas sides that are mostly kept up for great game viewing. We use this vehicle as it is perfect for wildlife viewing which is the main focus of our trip. It does mean, however, that it can get windy when on road transfers between safari parks. When we have small group sizes we will use a trailer for our equipment, for large groups, there will always be a support vehicle. The vehicle has evenly spaced foot holes for access to the back (rather than doors) and is manageable for any reasonably fit person.   Drive times: Maun to the Okavango Delta and back about 2hrs each way Maun to Makgadikgadi – about 4hrs Makgadikgadi to Victoria Falls  – about 7hrs including border crossing  Victoria Falls to Kasane – about 2hrs Kasane – Savuti – about 8hrs, mostly game drives, some transfer Savuti safari – about 6-8hrs all game drives Savuti to Moremi – about 8hrs mostly game drive, some transfer Moremi safari – 2 game drives about 3hrs each Moremi to Maun – about 3hr game drive + about 2hrs transfer to Maun

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 16 Days
The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of South African Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.
Travelling land only: 14 days starting and ending in Maun
Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Maun in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Transfer Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense. If you would like us to organise a private transfer, the cost is £30/$50 per person or £35/$60 per couple and is payable before departure. Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure. The cost of a taxi is likely to be about 30 should you decide to make your way independently.

When to Go

There is no best time to go in terms of game viewing or conditions in the Delta, as the Delta flows all year round, despite its flood periods. The wettest season is January and February when travel on dirt roads becomes difficult. March to September, although dry and bright, can be cold at night (in June and July it really can be chilly on occasions so bring appropriate gear). Water levels in the Delta will be at their highest in July. From December to June water levels in the Zambezi are at their highest, and the spray can be seen several miles away as it soars sometimes as much as 500 feet in the air. October and November are the hottest months, and midday temperatures can be very uncomfortable. The rains normally start slowly in late November. December can be wet, but it does not rain for long periods and should definitely not put anyone off travelling, as there is always plenty of sunshine.

Essential Equipment

In addition to your 'normal' daily clothes ‐ Neutral coloured clothes (for the game walks) Long sleeved clothing and long trousers to wear when the sun goes down to protect skin from mosquito bites Some warmer clothes, windproof jacket and warm fleece for the winter months (June‐August temperatures at night can drop to freezing) Lightweight walking boots or trainers Sunhat Sun cream Sunglasses Insect repellent 2/3 season sleeping bag (lighter weight sleeping bag for October/November) Camping pillow, or similar Daypack Emergency toilet paper Wet wipes or hand sanitizer gel Towel Head torch (with spare batteries) Water bottle Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn't yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re‐fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens (at least 300mm) if you want good animal shots. It is possible to get laundry done in Maun and Victoria Falls.

Spending Money

Meals not included: allow approx £10/US$15 per person for an evening meal. Incidentals: we suggest you allow about £5 ‐ £7/US$7‐$10 per day.
Optional Excursions (approximate costs, depending on group sizes) Boat Cruise on Chobe River BWP340 and BWP70 for the park entry fee 0kavango Delta Flights US$120 per person (for 5 people) Victoria Falls activities: Entrance fee into Victoria Falls US$30 Helicopter flight over falls (12‐13 mins) US$150 +park fees US$15, or (25 mins Game/Scenic Flight) US$284 + park fees US$15 White water rafting US$130 for half day and US$235 for the full day Sunset Zambezi cruise US$50 + park fees US$10 Sunset Zambezi cruise and dinner US$85+ park fees US$10

Tipping

If you feel that your leader and support team have performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide we suggest generally around US$5 per person per day for the whole staff, smaller groups may wish to give more.

(Please note, visa information cannot be guaranteed and should be checked with the relevant country's embassy prior to departure.)

Botswana

Contact Details

Telephone No

Zimbabwe

Office Hours

08h30 to 12h30

Contact Details

Telephone No

Camping

You will spend 11 nights full-service camping and 2 nights normally in chalets or lodges at the Victoria Falls. This is a full service camping safari. This means that your tents will be erected for you. Most of the nights will be spent wild camping and a few nights will be spent in public campsites. We supply all the camping equipment with the exception of your sleeping bag and pillow. The tents are spacious and comfortable (2.4 x 2.4 x 1.8 meter). We supply camp beds with mattresses, which are about 5cm thick, warm and comfortable. The camp chairs have a backrest and we use standard plates, cups and cutlery. Most of the public campsites have swimming pools. Please note that the HATAB campsites in Chobe Game Reserve are located throughout the Savuti area and may include the Zwei Zwei pan. As this trip mostly involves wild camping, wifi is rarely available. Single supplement available. Please note that on the nights in the Victoria Falls you might share a chalet/cabin with another member of the group. However, you will still have a single room to yourself.  


Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana Trip

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana trip is great. No matter where you go, Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana trip is the coolest, most happening thing around!"
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Safari

Where the wild Things are.

I have just returned from this trip which was very good indeed. We were a very diverse group and I don't think we were very easy for our leader Anthony but he coped very well with a difficult person and a demanding situation. H was helped by the crew Melo an excellent cook and Ronald and KT who worked so hard and were always kind and helpful. We were all struggling with the tremendous heat and I would not recommend october as the best month. it was exceptionally hot, drinking hpt water was something we had to get used to, to keep from dehydration, very diddifcult indeed, We had elephants in camp which was a treat and at night could hear the lions and hyeanas outside the tents. We saw numerous birds and wonderful lions also saw a cervil a real treat. Dont expect it all to be easy but it is worth it.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The mokoros, the elephants and the surroundings.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Anthony was very capable in sometimes difficult circunstances.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Please take wet wipes because you cant always get the chance to wash, sunhats and scarves which can be soaked and wound round the neck in extreme heat. rehydration powders were very useful too. You dont need many clothes but as it is hot and sandy everything gets covered a few pairs of socks are good as they get very dirty. Just read the trip notes on clothing and that should be enough.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
You must go with the right attitude you will be part of a team so looking out for others safety is important, I broke all my nails trying to do the tent zips up they are very difficult, just a warning!

AMAZING

Wow what a way to see botswana on Brians fun bus,from start to finish our every need was met by Brian and his crew,having never camped before we were worried about bush toilets and open fire cooking and wild animals wondering about in the camp,but all of these things are part of what makes this adventure special the bush toilet was fine and discreet the open fire cooking was unbelievable best lasagne fish and chips and beef fillet potatoes and green beens i have ever tasted thanks to Abis the cook ,there are long dusty journeys but is a good time to get to know the other travellers in your group and nature seems to provide all the way to your next destination,the camp beds were comfortable and the kettle always boiling,sitting around the camp fire at night listening to all the sounds and looking up at the night sky really is awe inspiring,the game drives were amazing and Brians knowledge of every animal bird tree plant insect and animal poo was incredible there was nothing we asked that he didnt give a full explanation about, And we saw every animal except cheetahs and Rhinos ,
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
To many,wild camping mokoro rides herds of Elephants on walking safari,bull Elephant not wanting to let us pass in mokoro,wild dogs with pups ,leopard, hyenna family playing with pups ,lions vic falls white water rafting inthe Zambizi,night sky at salt pan Abis cooking and Brians infectious laugh always happy
  What did you think of your group leader?
Brian makes this adventure special,always happy helpfull and cant believe his knowledge and love of his country,Top class guide
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Just do it,you wont regret it ,amazing experience

Trip of a lifetime

I always wanted to go on safari, but had never been camping before, so I was a little apprehensive about that. But camping was all part of the adventure and it was lovely gathering around the campfire in the evenings. It also makes you feel very immersed in the wildlife, e.g. hearing lions roar as you're going to sleep and wondering how far away they are! So if you're worried about camping, just do it, you won't regret it.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were countless amazing moments on the trip! Being right next to a leopard that used our vehicle to hide behind to stalk an impala. Finding two cheetahs. Seeing two female lions sneak up on a giraffe while it was drinking water! Hippos crashing out of the bushes and through a herd of elephants, to get to the water to mate. A hippo blocking the path of our mokoro in the delta (scary, but exciting!). Numerous sightings of lions, including lion cubs playing and suckling from their mother. Being so close to a male lion he was sniffing the air around our vehicle! And absolutely countless sightings of elephants, hippos and 148 different species of bird.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Brian was amazing. He is very experienced and so knowledgeable about how to find the animals and about the animals themselves. All of the other guides know him too, which obviously helps to exchange information about recent animal sightings. He went above and beyond to give us great experiences and we got so close to a lot of animals!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Ladies, bring a buff/headscarf to control your hair while in the vehicle. A fleece is a must, as it gets very windy in the vehicle. I had a shewee and an empty plastic bottle for emergencies and I did use them one night when there were too many eyes staring back at me to use the bush toilet! Babywipes are useful to wipe away the sand before bed. Toilet paper is provided, but make sure to bring plenty of kleenex for the stops by the side of the road (I also used lots of tissue blowing the sand out of my nose!). I brought a diary, which was a nice way to document the trip and keep myself busy during downtime. Bring flipflops and a travel towel for the shower. It's possible to get laundry done in Victoria Falls (In-Da-Belly, down the road from the lodge, only charges 5dollars/bag), but it's not feasible in Maun due to time constraints, so just plan ahead for that. Make sure you have US dollars for Zimbabwe (visa and spending money). Oh and maybe don't opt for the scenic flight if you're in any way prone to motion sickness... I vomited and most of the others felt unwell too (although maybe it was a particularly windy/turbulent day when we did it).
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If anyone is curious about the facilities (because I was), the "bush toilet" is a hole dug in the ground, with a metal frame and toilet seat over it. This is surrounded by a large metal frame with canvas material attached for privacy. There is also a shovel and a pile of sand to cover your business after each use. The "bush shower" is a canvas bag of hot water suspended from a tree and a mechanism so you can control the flow of water. This is surrounded by a metal frame with canvas material attached (similar to the toilet). They get the job done anyway and it's all worth it for the wildlife experiences!

Safari of a lifetime

An amazing trip that got better and better each day. The wildlife exceeded all of our wildest dreams made possible by our guide, Brian and 'Top Gun' our specialist local guide in the okavango delta. The food cooked by our chef on a log fire was incredible.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Almost missing a leopard as it was so close to the track. Having an angry hippo charging through the water towards us whilst in a makoros canoe. Getting up in the night for the bush toilet and looking for red and/or green eyes!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Brian was an excellent. extremely knowledgeable guide. His team of a chef and two others were great too. Brian always went that extra mile to find the wildlife. Lions eating a kill, lion cubs suckling, hippos mating in the water, cheetahs hunting impala, a herd of cape buffalo being hunted by lions and so much more. My husband ticked off 148 different birds! Brian could identify the birds from a brief description or a wing pattern.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for very early starts. Packing up camp in the cold and dark with no washing facilities on some days when wild camping was hard but made up by the incredible wildlife. When we were in the vehicle it was as if we were wearing invisibility cloaks! Definitely pack warm windproof clothes for the early mornings and take a head scarf/buff for when travelling in the open sided truck. be prepared to get very dusty/sandy!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
It was my most grueling Exodus trip to date but also one of the most incredible. i couldn't believe how close we were to the animals when in the vehicle, in the boats and on foot.

Beyond wonderful

I had visited eleven game parks on two continents, and spent twenty-six years trying to see a leopard. We saw four different individuals, close enough to get some excellent photographs. We also saw countless lions, two cheetahs and a serval, as well as lots of other game. The food that was cooked on an open fire was terrific, and it was a lovely group of like-minded people.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were so many it's hard to choose one. Seeing two cheetahs giving each other a very affectionate wash and brush up. The stand-off at the OK Waterhole - when five lions approached the two elephants occupying it, the elephants weren't having it. The lions called for reinforcements, and another five turned up. So the elephants also called for reinforcements, and a third elephant arrived. We then watched them squirting the lions with water, and chasing them off now and again. The lions had to make do with a puddle at the far end of the waterhole. Seeing an adult male lion sniff out a tiny three week old cub. We watched with our hearts in our mouths, but he was a new dad and had been left to babysit. The cub wanted to cross the road, and dad tried to stop it without much success. He was very gentle, and it was a delight to watch. Seeing a serval, which our guide said was most unusual. And last but by no means least - a mother leopard taking a surprising lunch back to her half-grown cub - an African wildcat.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Anton was very knowledgable, and extremely clever at driving round the back of the other vehicles to get a better view from the other side. He also knew when to wait - if nothing exciting seemed to be happening and he was in no hurry to move on, there was always a reason.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a small camping light for the tent, and lots of wet wipes. Also take a power bank if you have one, and as many spare batteries as you can afford. I have a camera trap, and I set that up on several nights so that I could see what was sniffing round the tents - turned out to be a honey badger and a hyena. If you need to go to loo several times in the night remember that it's not a good idea to leave the tent. I took a litre-sized plastic jar with a lid, and was very glad I did.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
This was the fourth safari I have done in Africa, and the best by far. Magic.

An amazing adventure in Botswana

Our adventure in Botswana was the most incredible experience we have ever encountered. The guides were amazing. Their knowledge of all things growing or living in this beautiful country was boundless. They were all extremely helpful and nothing was too much trouble, always going the extra mile to ensure that we got the most out of our trip. Our cook produced the most delicious recipes and all on an open fire with a few pots and pans. Wild camping definitely gave us a flavour of actually being amongst the wildlife. We saw all the species of animals and birdlife that anyone could wish for. A trip across the border to Zimbabwe took us to the breath-taking Victoria Falls. So majestic yet so powerful. It would be remiss of me not to mention our two main guides, Ngande and Mello. They were incredibly caring and thoughtful towards our needs, always ensuring that our safari experience was the best that it could possibly be. Finally, we are so grateful to Exodus for arranging what proved to be the adventure of a lifetime and one which we will never forget.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The entire experience was inspirational but the most emotional moment for me happened on a morning game drive, when we came across a beautiful male leopard sitting majestically on top of a grassy mound. Needless to say that my camera was red hot that day. The previous morning drive was a lovely misty morning when we encountered a small pride of lions. One of the shots I took was perfect. I called it "Lions in the Mist"
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader was an amazing man called Ngande Mosepele. His knowledge of wildlife and birdlife was boundless. He was so caring and kind to everyone, always making sure that each of our group, regardless of our individual interests, got the most out of our trip. He also had a great sense of humour. We all agreed that we couldn't have had a better leader.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If anyone is undecided over whether or not this type trip is for you. Don't think twice. Just do it. I promise you won't be disappointed. If like us, you have never been on safari before, choose "Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana" It will be an adventure you will never forget!!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I don't think there is anything I can add that I haven't already said. This fulfilled our every wish and much much more. I have purposely not used the word holiday in any part of this review. This was not a holiday, it was an incredible adventure, and one which my wife and I will never forget.

Incredible adventure

Absolutely fantastic trip, amazing chances to see wildlife close up and lie awake at night trying to identify the animal noises and how close by they could be!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It was all incredible. The Mokoro rides were so serene and otherworldly. Watching hippo from them was something I will never forget. The safari walks were expertly guided by a man with just a stick and it was an absolute privilege to be able to walk and see zebra, buffalo, giraffes, elephants and so much more in their natural environment. In the 4x4s we were able to get up close to animals and spent 2 hours watching 2 cheetah brothers chilling out under a tree. We were also blessed to see a young leopard and spend time watching her eat and sleep. Parking close to lions eating a wildebeest was incredible, though those of us on the nearer side of the truck had years scared off our lives when another closer male lion went a bit vocal with his lioness which none of us were expecting! Seeing baby elephants, elephants playing in the water and spraying dust everywhere was just incredible. Giraffes fighting, hippos "smiling" and laughing, ostriches running, jackals stretching, zebras dazzling and eagles soaring were just some highlights. But, really, every day was a highlight bringing new fabulous sights and experiences and the whole trip was truly inspirational
  What did you think of your group leader?
Kenny - chilled and laid back. A good sense of humour and fantastic knowledge of birds and animals. He has a real passion for his job and the wildlife he sees
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bring sandals for mokoro (in case you have to get out) and 4x4 (cooler) wear neutral coloured long sleeves and trousers for walks to protect from thorns Up before the sun and in bed by sunset. Only the very bravest will want to visit the bushy bushy at night (women bring she-wee and bottle if you need to) Once you are in your tent at night you are advised not to use your head torch so be tidy and prepare things when it's light to avoid scrambling in the dark Bring cards and gamble freely with seed pods and sticks! Dobble also good fun Bring imperial mints, werthers originals and foxes mints to share in truck. Jelly babies will not survive the heat, neither will minstrels sadly!! Write down what you see every day as the days are so packed that it's hard to remember everything by the end of the trip Buy a good camera with a good zoom (it's so worth it!!). Then make friends with person on trip who can show you how to use it! There are no doors on the truck, you will have to be able to climb up the sides and swing your legs over to get in and out - be prepared to scramble This is a camping trip - it is basic and you have to make the best of what there is on site. Do not expect to be able to walk outside the camp when wild camping. Opportunities to stretch your legs are limited to getting on and off the truck. Listen to your guides. This is a wildlife trip and there will be wild animals poking about the camp site at night (honey badgers, hyena, elephants) and possibly during the day (elephants!!). Be sensible and try to appreciate the experience once the abject terror of having been woken by a noise settles down!!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep an open mind. Be prepared for anything and enjoy!

Fantastic experience

This trip exceeded my expectations. It was exceptional in pretty much every aspect. The variety and quantity of animals we saw were exceptional - thanks to our brilliant guide, the locations we camped in and the high quality of local guides and trackers. The back up team made wild camping an amazingly comfortable experience - putting up and dismantling our tents, transporting all our luggage and producing the most delicious and satisfying meals from an open fire and the ' magic' kitchen in the back up vehicle. The long distance travel in the open sided safari truck was a bit of a trial at times but all part of the the Botswana experience and outweighed by the arrival at a beautiful location to camp.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were so many, but the Okavango Delta and Moremi stand out in terms of places and animals but the simplicity of the whole wild camping experience, with no wi-fi, no 'modern' amenities and rising at sunrise and going to bed after sunset was the most wonderful antidote to the mania of our lives. Truly magical.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Ngande's experience, knowledge and organisation were exceptional - and he is a really nice guy too! He was good humoured, sensitive to individuals needs and made us feel very safe - especially when up close to the animals!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you want an adventure that removes you totally from the stresses of modern life this is an ideal trip.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The only criticism I have is that I really didn't like the hard sales talk we had on activities available on arrival at Victoria Falls. After a very long day's travelling it was the last thing we wanted! !

Wildlife & wilderness of Botswana

It was such a memorable adventure - seeing cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs, not forgetting elephants who seemed to like wandering around our camp at night ! The wild camping made it possible to be part of their world which was a real privilege. The camp staff were excellent and I just loved Botswana. All together one of the best holidays I have been on .
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing cheetahs ,leopards, wild dogs, and all the other animals- Having elephants wandering around our camp... The okovango- Beating a hasty retreat from a rather cross elephant - Discovering I like birds - Space light & warmth of Botswana
  What did you think of your group leader?
Excellent!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a scarf - the long drives got a bit windy - def take binoculars- It says there are ATM s at Victoria Falls which is correct but not one had any money in them so take small dollar notes (Not a big deal but don't rely on them) Otherwise the trip notes are comprehensive ..
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just a minor thing about being met on the group flight. We were not clear whether we were being met at JBURG as well as Maun- just needs making it a bit clearer that you won't be met at the transit but at Maun.

what an adventure

I am absolutely not a camping person so this holiday was a challenge for me but the lack of luxury was well worth the up close and personal experience with the wild life. Our leader, Anton, and his amazingly efficient and friendly crew worked miracles under difficult conditions to make our lives as comfortable as possible. The food was varied and plentiful - quite remarkable given that most of it was cooked on an open fire. If you want to really see Africa, forego the comfort of the lodges and do it this way!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The moment when a pride of lions appeared from the bush and marched single file past our vehicle. The whole delta experience in the first few days.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Very professional and knowledgeable. He had excellent leadership skills which meant that the whole team worked efficiently and were at all times upbeat and happy.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
This is wild Africa - do not expect comfort so every little thing - a bush shower, a cold drink - will be a bonus. There is necessarily quite a lot of free time in the baking middle of the day so take a pack of cards or a travel game......and LOTS of wet wipes The vehicle is perfect for watching wild life but, if you are in any way incapacitated, it is not easy to get into it. Also be prepared for a long and very windy drive one day for which the vehicle is not best suited so take a scarf or buff to cover your mouth.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
This holiday is a real adventure. It is not easy to sleep at night as the bush is noisy and very hot but all this is worth it for the amazing wild life on your doorstep -and sometimes in your camp!

Wonderful trip but not for the faint-hearted

My wife and I did the trip in the latter part of September 2018, and Anthony was our guide. We had a great group of 12 - we all gelled well and sort of 'looked out' for one another. Which is important when you are spending all day every day with each other. Our crew (Anthony + 3 companions) were very engaging, kind, helpful (re 'what was that bird' and more) and generally kept the show on the road. We saw amazing wildlife pretty much everywhere we went. The food was really excellent - and surprisingly varied. Having said that - the 'warning' - you spend 13 days on the road. Many of them are true wild camping. No running water, hole-in-the-ground toilets. It's hot and dusty. Sometimes at night animals wander thru the camp. You think twice before going to the loo (but you do, eventually and inevitably, go)... And it's enormous fun - great experiences, great company, great photo opportunities, and nature in the raw. But you will come back tired. It's part of the deal...
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Several highlights - the mokoro trip into the Okavango delta, swimming in the river, the game walks on foot there, the flight (optional) we took over the delta. And then, beyond that, the opportunities to see Leopard, Wild Dogs (several times) and the Chobe wetlands by (optional) boat tour.
  What did you think of your group leader?
He (Anthony) was great. Patient, effective, great at spotting animals, looked after everyone, kept the crew moving and generally nothing he could not fix. Excellent group leader.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Just bring the stuff you are told to - like a head torch (essential), power banks, spare camera batteries, old clothes, shampoo, etc - you will be roughing it, so anything that makes your life a bit easier is worth having. Flip flops are good too. There are just a few days with very long drives, so you just grit your teeth and bear it. Other days are not too challenging. Bring some added salts like Dioralyte - you will sweat a lot so you need to keep replenishing fluid levels.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
One thing that we found a bit difficult was getting in and out of the 12 man open sided truck that was our home for 13 days. There are footholds for getting in and out, but it can be tricky. And if you have long legs, the front row is a bit problematic because you cant slide your legs under the seat in front. But it is a great platform for viewing game and everyone manages to get a photo in the end :-)

Beautiful Botswana

I have just come back from trip and must say it was one of most enjoyable experiences of my life. On the way back home, I reflected that there were 9 absolutely awe inspiring moments on the trip: - watching two cheetahs hunt and kill an impala - our guide Kenny finding leopards on 3 different occasions and watching these beautiful creatures wandering about - elephants everywhere - watching a pride of lions on several occasions which included cubs - the fantastic night sky especially on the salt plains - rafting the Victoria falls - being punted along on the oakavango delta - the boat trip in the chobe National Park - the guides and people who supported us in the delta Our guide Kenny was absolutely first rate and guided us both to animals but also around the towns and villages of Botswana. He showed great patience with a group of novice safari holiday makers and displayed incredible knowledge on the flora and fauna of the area. Melo our cook was equally as good. How he managed to cook lasagne, fish and chips and bread on an open fire is beyond me. We had a great group and the camaraderie around the open fire and in the truck will remain with me for a long time. Derek and Deniro supported our group brilliantly and made sure our campsite was set up before our arrival every day. If you are thinking of going on this trip, I would advise: - read itinerary in detail as it will help outline your expectations re food, distance to travel and accommodation - prepare for some tough travel and properly wild camping. When wild camping, we had animals around and through the camp every night after we had gone to bed. We had 4 nights in a row with no running water, wi fi or electricity. Toilets when wild camping are long drop bush toilets. You will need to take power packs and battery back ups. - the roads in the national parks and remote areas are not surfaced and progress is slow and can be uncomfortable - only two nights are spent in lodges and this was a lower quality lodge in Zimbabwe. This is a camping trip. Having said that if you love animals and the outdoor life, this is a holiday I would recommend highly.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Spending 2 hours watching 2 cheetahs stalk and successfully hunt an impala. Watching them both take off at full speed was breath taking.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Kenny is an excellent tour leader. He looked after our daily holiday needs (food, accommodation etc) with maximum efficiency and minimum fuss. His guiding was first rate and he found the animals we wanted to see and others we had not heard of.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you like going to remote beautiful places to see wildlife and can put up or enjoy wild camping, this is a holiday for you. Please remember that you will not be near a shop for most of trip and conditions in bush are harsh. Therefore make sure you have right kit for trip ( robust head torch, spare batteries, first aid kit, decent walking shoes etc)
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is an excellent trip however please book on lodge trip if you require luxury or pampering. Only hostel we stayed in was very very basic. It would have been nice to stay in a 3/4 star lodge one or two nights in trip. Also, you will be in close quarters with group for 15 days, so dynamic of group could impact enjoyment of trip

Wonderful wild camping

Fantastic holiday
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Okavango Delta
  What did you think of your group leader?
Anthony was an excellent group leader. John, Chief & Mello were also first class supporters.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bring Bananagram !

Wildlife galore.

This was our 4th trip to Southern Africa (all camping) and our second wild camping trip. The wild camping was great fun, you get to stay in some remote spots with no barriers between you and the wildlife. The guide (Moses) and his team were excellent. Botswana is a thinly populated country and very calm, people are very friendly - a real joy to visit.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The wildlife, as we got to see Lions, a Leopard (out in the open too, not hiding in a tree or undergrowth), Cheetahs, an African Wild Dog pack and even a glimpse of the elusive Serval. Elephants, hippos crocs, etc etc.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our leader Moses was first class, knowledgeable, humourous and friendly.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Yes, the transport (and I must admit this seems to be the norm for Botswana) was an open Toyota Landcruiser with 12 seats for viewing game. It's fine for viewing game etc. but quite hard travelling at speed on tar roads when you get blasted by the wind. The flexible sides of the truck can be lowered to ease the blast but then it is too hot! Please be aware of this.

Best Ever Wildlife Safari!

Ivan Pinto has given an excellent account of our trip so I have little to add.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Our elephant encounters were thrilling but I was so pleased that Moses allowed us to spend quite a lot of time just sitting and watching a family of lions interacting with one another - magical.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Excellent - as acknowledged and described by Ivan.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Ladies, in particular, if you're worried about needing to go for a wee during the night (when trips to the bushy-bushy are not recommended for obvious reasons!) take an old ice cream container with you. Mine had a lid so doubled up as a useful bedside table!

Nature Unspoilt!

Botswana is the size of France but with just 2million people and an enlightened approach to conservation resulting in an unspoilt environment which benefits both local people and wildlife. Driver/guide Moses ably supported by chef Johnny and staff Ronny and Derek looked after all the needs of our group of seven with patience and good humour. Johnny provided fantastic food including freshly baked bread, cottage pie and fish & chips! The Okavango delta camp provided our first brush with elephants at close quarters as two bull elephants approached to within a few feet when we were on a walking safari with Moses and the local guides. Moses was the epitome of calmness as he gently shoed them away. We were still buzzing when a couple of hours later sitting back at the camp by a small pond another two elephants decided to have a ruckus and one chased the other straight through the pond to within a feet of us again. It was only the start of the trip and it was going to be hard for Moses to maintain that kind of experience for the rest of the holiday. But he excelled himself delivering honey badgers on two separate occasions, leopard, lions galore including one at an elephant kill not to mention the usual suspects- giraffes, zebra, buffalo, wildebeest together with various deer and antelopes. Botswana is a birders paradise even in its winter (we were there in June/July) and we saw a wide variety of eagles and smaller birds. Wild camping was a great experience with people comparing what animals they heard the previous night both in the surrounding area and in camp. We had leopard and hyena visit overnight! The only negatives related to our second night at the Audi camp, Maun when both electricity (needed to recharge camera batteries) and water were out when we arrived early evening. While the electric was eventually restored the water was not until we were leaving the following morning and the toilets were in a truly disgusting state. Also we arrived at Victoria Fall Rest Chalets to find our cabins had been given to others and we had to camp, again the toilet block was poor. One bright spot was the Nata camp site which was excellent.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Our first full day at the Okavango Delta camp with the two close encounters with elephants (described above) was hard to beat. However, spotting a leopard as we rounded a corner on the road and hearing a male lion roar next to its elephant kill ran it close as did another elephant experience on the Chobe river cruise when an elephant in the water approached us while pulling up weeds, washing and chewing on them all within touching distance. Then there were the honey badgers including one in broad daylight and then ……... you get the idea!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Moses was a superb guide, a safe driver and never seemed to stop working, whether it was helping put up/take down tents or digging the bushy-bushy. He was very patient with the various demands made of him- a little forward or a little back (sometimes at the same time!) as people vied to get the best angles for photographs!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
It's been said before, in winter (June/July) it gets very cold especially in the open vehicle when travelling in the mornings or evenings. Take wind-proof jackets, warm clothes and even gloves. Opportunities to recharge camera batteries are limited especially in the second week so make sure you take spares to last at least four days and top-up the charge whenever possible. We were a group of seven so space on the vehicle was not an issue, however with a full or near full compliment of 12 space would be very limited especially if some people carry a large amount of camera equipment.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just do it! It's a real adventure, you just don't know what nature will throw at you next. The wild camping was comfortable and the food excellent and plentiful. We did the flights over the Okavango and Victoria Falls as well as the Chobe River cruise and I would recommend them. We didn't go on the Zambezi River cruise but the group members that did had negative comments regarding it mainly because it was more of a booze cruise with some raucous clientele which spoilt the game viewing.

What to do soon

This was a trip of a life time in so many ways. It was a retirement present and a chance to prove we could still do it. It was a chance to see so many animals and different environments and to see a wonderful country determined to benefit from It's wildlife while protecting this precious resource. We were guided on the adventure by N'gand who was so knowledgeable and happy to share his love of the wild and his country. Melo, the cook, fed us amazing meals, whether in a layby on route or on an open fire in the bush, we were stuffed with fresh bread and tasty food. Timon and Derek just quietly work on our creature comforts putting up and striking tents, digging the "bushy bushy" and making sure that we were safe and left nothing behind except warm memories. We did games walks and drives and mokoro rides. We saw all the animals on our lists and more besides. Even the " its just a bird" traveller began to appreciate the diversity out there. There were changes of plan, 2 punctures, one dead rear axle and so much late rain that the salt pans were lakes but all was dealt with so we hardly noticed with Nata being a good substitute, even if meeting other not so well behaved groups reminded us that bird watching needs quiet. It is a trip in the wild with dangers that we are not used to and we had total trust in our team that they would make it the best they could but keep us safe. The Falls are impressive and Zimbabwe provides time to recharge batteries (ours and cameras) as well as washing clothes.The group pulled together well, loading this arthritic pensioner in and out of the bus. We will keep in touch to share amazing photos and memories of this wonderful trip.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Too difficult to say. Drifting on the mokoro trip through the reeds, The polers singing round the campfire. The welcome of the people. Going to sleep in a tent with lion roaring in the distance.. Walking thro the bush. All of it.
  What did you think of your group leader?
N'Gandi was a brilliant leader who was always polite and firm while encouraging us in the right way. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all the animals and birds, an interest in people and respect for the countryside. He explained local customs and sensitivities as well as making sure all park rules were obeyed and that we took away only good memories. He was quietly always checking for our safety.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Pack less, bags get heavy and getting sleeping bags back into full cases each night is impossible. One wind proof top was all I needed, fleece was unused. Also only used trainers, boots were surplus luggage. Charging packs for cameras essential if like me you take thousands of photos. Our scarves were borrowed by those on windy hot seats!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Do It!

A great safari, definitely to be recommended.

Botswana is a country the size of France or Texas, but with a population of just over 2 million and some of the most stunning scenery and wildlife. We arrived at the beginning of May, just after the rainy season, so much of the country was still green. It was also the rutting season for some animals. Our safari was in the northern half of the country, starting in Maun and then taking a mokoro (canoe) journey through the waterways of the Okavango Delta to the wild campsite (ie a clearing in the trees with no other people or facilities around). Our arrival was livened by the hippos in the pool by the campsite. Hippos came be my favourite animal, for my wife it was the many colourful birds. Hippos spend the day in water if they can, coming out after dusk. Whilst in the water, they come up for air, grunt, yawn, play and make the occasional belly flops when not sleeping: they just like to enjoy themselves. After our time in the Delta, we took an optional 40 minute plane ride over the Okavango Delta and realised the vastness of it, particularly as we only saw part of it in that time. There were great stretches of waterways, grasslands and scrub with herds of animals scattered across it. No wonder it takes time to find the animals, they are all there but just scattered over this vast area. During our journey in Botswana, first east to the salt flats near Nata, then up to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, before returning via the Chobe, Savuti and Moremi national parks in Botswana, we saw herds of zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, buffalo, baboons and assorted types of deer, as well as ostrich, tortoise, puff adder, elephants, lions and a leopard up a tree with a lioness underneath waiting for her dinner to come down. We saw two Impala challenging each other and two giraffe fighting, using the horns on their heads to hit their opponent's side, as well as the amorous attentions of male impala and kudu for their females, and a lion kissing a lioness behind her head. We had elephants walk past our campsites and saw a den of hyena with the pups playing outside. On another occasion we saw an elephant thoroughly enjoying her bath, rolling in the water and throwing water over herself. At Victoria Falls, we organised our own walk to the bridge, which straddles the gorge between Zimbabwe and Zambia. At the Zimbabwe customs we got a bridge pass which allowed us to visit this 100 year old bridge and see the gorge, as well as bargain with the many pedlars of wood carvings and copper bracelets. Then it was on to visit the falls, with its 17 viewing points. Start at the first viewing point, which looks over the Zambesi river, before it plunges over the falls. From there on the viewing points get progressively wetter and the views more spectacular - so go expecting to get very wet. After that we dried out at a cafe, with magnificent views of the bridge and Zambia across the gorge. Our return was diverted by elephants on the footpath and rewarded by seeing a warthog on route as well as monkeys and a family of mongoose. That evening we joined the dinner cruise on the Zambesi, for some more hippos, a four course meal with plenty of wine and another great sunset. Our team of four led by Ngande and Melo (our cook), set up our tents and kept us well fed and looked after, even providing "pottys" for some of the wild camps where a night time walk might not be advisable. We all got used to the bush toilets, even the occasional collapse when the sand gave way! Bush showers were also provided, with a water bag slung over a branch and suitable enclosure. Mello's ability to provide three great meals a day in the bush was outstanding. He even provided "home" cooked bread with "Welcome to ... " moulded into the bread, something most of us would struggle to do with a fully equipped kitchen, let alone on a camp fire. This is a great safari, with superb staff, scenery and wild life. And one that all ages can enjoy, our oldest member was 80.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Each day provided new inspirations, from punting in and flying over the Delta, to each game walk and game drive, the road side wildlife, the sand and dirt roads through the game reserves, the trees ripped up by the elephant, the many colourful birds, and not least the Victoria Falls and bride. Not forgetting the team that looked after us.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Ngande was a superb group leader, very knowledgeable of the wildlife, the people and areas through which we travelled. He made sure that each campsite was left spotless when we left, with fire embers buried and all rubbish remove. Even apple cores were collected up to ensure that the local flora was not challenged by a foreign plant.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Check the likely weather for the season you are travelling. We were there in May, the days were hot, but the nights were sometimes cold. You needed a sleeping bag and warm top. The vehicle is open sided, with four rows of three seats. On the long journeys, you need a warm top at the start and end of the day, as well as long sleeves and and a scarf or hat to protect you from the wind and sun. Think about tips. You have two people looking after you for the full two weeks and another two for the last 10 days. You also have a group of locals looking after you in the Okavango Delta. Also recommended are the optional flight over the Okavango Delta, the dinner cruise on the Zambezi (for the occasion) and the afternoon cruise on the Chobe river (for the animals).
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
We spent five days in Cape Town on our way back to London and can thoroughly recommend this if you have opportunity. At the moment you have organise the Cape Town end yourselves, but we were able to extend our group flights to do this. Hopefully, Exodus will provide this as an option in the future.

Best ever❣️

So many wonderful moments. First the people of Botswana are the nicest I’ve ever met. And I’ve traveled a lot. The guide, Ngande, was so knowledge about plants, animals, birds, reptiles and his country. He was professional, friendly and handle even breakdowns (there was one) with efficiency. The cook, Mello, ensure 3 delicious meals a day cooked on an open fire. And the assistants put up tents and made sure details were taken care of. Now for the wildlife - lions, leopards, warthogs, hyenas, zebras, elephants, hippos, incredible bird life and so much more. My friend and I agree it was truly the best ever trip and worth our 39 hours of flying❣️❣️❣️
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Not just one moment. We had an amazing group of 12 and we all continually had a fantastic time. From baby hyenas to elephants 20 feet away. Incredible.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Ngande was the best. Shared so much, kept us safe and answered a zillion questions. He kept his staff moving and took care of them too. Perfect leader.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take less then you thought you needed (it gets heavy), winter is chilly, dryer wipes keep the mosquitoes and bugs away, buy a small, powerful camera, Amazon sells a very lightweight sleeping bag, a cotton scarf 🧣 for the dusty car rides, plenty of suntan lotion, and enjoy every moment.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just do it. So worth it.

Camping in the game parks and see a variety of wildlife

This was an excellent opportunity to see African wildlife and experience camping in the National Parks. We had six nights 'wild' camping in the parks and game drives early morning and evening. The other nights were on camp sites with showers, restaurant and a bar (open to 2am so noisy), and 2 nights at Victoria Falls in a comfortable but basic lodge. The wildlife is varied and plentiful and met most of my expectations.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Travelling in Mokoros in the Delta was magical although the wildlife was sparse. The activities there were nature walks rather than game drives. The evening cruise down the Chobe River gave us our first real encounter with hippos and other game. Seeing the leopard and lions in Chobe/Moremi close up.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Kenny was great at spotting and tracking animals and birds. His knowledge of natural history was extensive. He was a safe driver which is essential given the terrain and the state of some of the tarred roads. He sometimes had difficulty in herding 11 of us to what he wanted and I had to buy a map (Shell tourist map of Botswana is excellent) before he described where we were going. Botswanas are friendly people and the crew were keen to please.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for some long, uncomfortable journeys in an open vehicle not designed for long distance travel. Seating 12 it will not provide good seats for all if there is a full uptake of places. Wild camping is without any permanent facilities and animals close by so head torch (with back-up), wet wipes and insect repellant are essential! Take a South African plug adaptor for the camp sites and Victoria Falls as they cater for SA visitors. Quite a few extras for the 'optional' activities eg anything at Victoria Falls, Chobe River cruise and flights over the game reserves as well as camp site meals and the usual tips.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Take a good camera and long lens and trust the guide to get you into the best positions.

4 of the big 5 in Botswana

Of all the safaris I've done this is the most wildlife I've seen in a small period! 4 of the big 5 in one day. Then at night enjoy the sounds of the animals beneath more stars than you've ever seen. It is tent based but very comfy, food is amazing - fish & chips + baked fresh bread one night! They even do a bush shower so it isn't roughing it. The guides are excellent, wildlife and scenery even more so - this isn't a holiday it is an adventure.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Finding a leopard on the final day in Savuti, perched high above us and so well concealed. Our guide Moses found lots for us to see. Also heading out on the walks and being taught to pole a Mokorro canoe by Hendricks in the Delta - they were great guys and loved showing us their culture and wildlife
  What did you think of your group leader?
Moses was fantastic, he dealt with problems calmly, adjusted plans to fit in with client requests and found us lots to see. Throughout we were sharing jokes as well as details of each area we visited.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The prices listed in the trip notes for optional activities can be quite far out. The Chobe River cruise is 410 pula for instance. If your main focus is Vic Falls then go in wetter months but other areas may be harder to get to, if you want lots of wildlife the drier months bring them to waterholes and the grass isn't so tall.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be aware wild camps mean exactly that, animals will be close to camp and despite being briefed some people felt they could wander about, then seemed shocked when a guide came running after them to make sure they were ok. Facilities in Nata and Audi camp are much like a holiday camp in the uk, with showers and facilities to use, and good restaurants.

Botswana Wildlife and Wilderness

My partner and I had the most fantastic time on this tour. Of course there were a couple of long drives but then Africa is blinking huge so we expected that. Yes, it was dusty - it was the dry season. The range of environments was great, the pacing excellent and the encounters with nature and people were well managed and yet up close and personal at the same time. So much was done for us that we sometimes felt pampered but it is a tiring tour and we were grateful that the team, led by Sam, did so much for us with such good grace. A great bunch of people.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The most inspirational? Big ask! Alice our poler in the Delta was brilliant, open and it turned out an amazingly talented singer. The vastly knowledgeable Jeremy who led our bush walks in the Delta and never tired of trying to find out what bug was what and was a talented comic turn and singer to boot. Moses our guide who became my nephew or was it my uncle (don't ask) was a genial, funny, kind, caring guy who never failed to spot a track or a bird or an animal at amazing distances at speed on bumpy 'roads'. Sam our tour leader was just great, there for us all in every way, good natured, quietly authoratative, knowledgeable and caring. He judges your wellbeing by the size and honesty of your smile. Meeting all these people and more besides were among the most inspirational moments.
  What did you think of your group leader?
As I said but I'll add here, Sam's a man who can cook up a feast with seemingly little effort. He martialled his team quietly and was a calm, fun and efficient leader.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a thin scarf or a Buff for your nose and mouth on the dry and dusty drives. Trust your team - they know why you're there and they'll do a better job if you don't try to advise them about things, like where they should park up to get the best photos.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
With 12 of us in the 4 rows of 3 seats there were issues about the daily seating plans! I think that only 9 should be in those vehicles. The front 3 seats have such little leg room and because the sides join the floor at an angle the two outside seats in front don't even have a flat floor to put both your feet down. I'm only 5' 7" and I was uncomfortable quite quickly. We've travelled in similar vehicles that have been configured for 12 but much more comfortably, perhaps they were longer wheel-bases?

Best wildlife experience, ever!

A fantastic way of seeing a brilliant country. You get close to nature and there are plenty of opportunities to take some great photos. Excellent support from the staff.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The last 48 hours of wildlife viewing was the best I have ever experienced. It was almost like a wildlife documentary (sadly David Attenborough was unavailable) as we met a cheetah and her cub at dusk, again in the early morning and then witnessed the cheetah make a kill. Later that afternoon (via wild dogs) we met the cheetah again but tragically there was no sign of the cub. Her calls would make even the strongest man blub, but then 2 lionesses stalked and chased the cheetah and we believe she escaped. Surely that was the big finale to the trip? Errr no.... 2 male lions vs a herd of buffalo the following morning.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was excellent. He knew his country, the wildlife and how to run a brilliant trip allowing the customers to enjoy themselves. He coped with unexpected luggage issues and our constant demand for bigger and better sightings. Vasco the Botswana guide was brilliant getting us closer to the wildlife than we would have hoped for, without worrying the wildlife. He knew where to position the van to get excellent shots. Timon and Dodga (the assistants) were both hard-working, friendly and helpful.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
As with all Exodus trips study and follow the trip notes carefully. It was cold on some nights (I took a down sleeping bag) and very cold for quite a few hours on the truck, so you do need lots of warm clothing until it heats up. The dinner cruise at Victoria Falls was a highlight for many of us as the service, food, drinks and views were all excellent - a touch of luxury. Take advantage of some of the extra activities. The advice on tipping in the trip notes was contradicted by Sam and this needs clarification, but allow more than is suggested for local staff as well as the crew.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I wish I had remembered that the instant coffee in that part of the world is pretty rubbish and had known that you cant buy gin at Johannesburg airport to take into Botswana, but that's just me. This may help someone though!

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana (WZT)

This trip delivered everything it promised,helped by unbroken clear skys. As with all Exodus trips the notes were accurate and should not be left unread, a wildcamping safari is just what it says! So lucky to join a group of mature travelers to whom laughing was second nature, it really does help!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Too many to list, unique animal behavior, glorious bread made fresh in an iron pot over embers, the night sky, the optional activities.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam and Vasco were absolutely on top of their job nothing was too much trouble or left to chance. Vasco's skill produced some outstanding wildlife encounters.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Do take note of the trip notes, if it says cool nights thats what it means. A real treasure of a trip if you love African wilderness. Do save some extra cash for the optional extras which were so worth doing.

Beautiful Botswana!

This is an excellent trip that I'd highly recommend. The pristine wilderness of Botswana, the plentiful wildlife and the variety of activities on this trip made it a holiday to remember forever.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Pretty much everything we did was amazing on this trip. We were very lucky to see two male leopards in the Khwai reserve next to Moremi, endangered African wild dogs (one pair with 10 pups and a the next day a group of 5 dogs hunting), male lions (three times in Moremi) and a pride of lions in Savuti including about 6 cubs and 3 lionesses feasting on a wildebeest. Of course, there were many elephants too who will visit your camps in Savuti and Moremi and also zebra, impala, kudo, buffalo, wildebeest and beautiful birdlife too. The Okavango delta is really beautiful and I really enjoyed the Mokoro rides and the game walks. Also, it is really worth doing some of the optional extras at Victoria Falls - I did the white water rafting, 15 minute helicopter flight and the sunset dinner cruise. I would recommend all of these without hesitation.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was great and very friendly. Kenny was a man on a mission when it came to tracking down the animals and as I mentioned we were lucky to find leopards and wild dogs and this was definitely down to his efforts. The guys who cooked for us at camp were also amazing and I don't know how they consistently served up such great food on the camp fire (including freshly baked bread!).
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I went in June which is a really great time to visit. It's their winter but this means it's clear blue sunny skies and about 28 degrees every day which was perfect. The sun goes down at 6pm and then it turns cold which makes it more comfortable for sleeping but ensure you have some warmer clothes for the evenings. For the long drives the truck is open sided so take a lightweight scarf to protect your face from sand and wind and a warm jacket like a fleece and maybe some gloves and warm hat. There are some mosquitoes in Victoria Falls so take a mosi net for your tent as these are not provided. I used Incognito products instead of Deet and got no bites all trip. The optional Chobe sunset cruise is a must and as I said before it's definitely worth paying for the optional activities in Victoria Falls. Be aware that there are 4 staff that you will need to tip at the end rather than the normal one leader you have on most trips so factor this into your budget. The tips came to about $160 in the end although it's up to you what you give. Be aware that if there are more than 8 of you booked on a tour then the vehicle will be cramped. We had 7 which was just right as no one had to sit wedged in a middle seat with a worse view.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I've never been on Safari to the more well known destinations such as Tanzania or Kenya but I would definitely recommend Botswana instead particularly as you'll be supporting a country that has banned hunting and is successfully limiting poaching to a minimum. This is a once in a lifetime special trip to a friendly and beautiful country so go now!

Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

Day 1 Landed at one of the smallest airports I have ever seen in Maun on a a two propped plane. Temperature 31 degrees, holiday has begun. I meet the group there are 5 of us. Our guide Sam (Samason Chihohwa) explains we need to change 100 dollars to local currency for tips and meals this side of the border. So with 4 different currencies in my wallet...... To Audi camp via the Choppie Store to purchase water and snacks. Warm showers great us and the first sight of our tented homes. Day 2 - Okavango Delta Today we headed into the delta as we drove we saw zebra, an elephant and even a giraffe. What a start to the day. At the poling station we were met by 5 members of a local tribe who took us by canoe to set up camp in the wilderness. Toilet built and camp shower all set up in minutes. We had a rest whilst the hottest part of the day passed. Baboons in the tree tops. At 4.30pm we took our first walking safari, very strange experience no safety of a jeep and no rifles to be seen. Just us, our guides and their experience. Concerned that the safety briefing (orientation) may be remembered wrongly. Run from a buffalo not a lion. Yep that's right. We were met by a loan Impala, a wart hog family and hippos, what a noise they make letting us know we were in their space. They blow water from their snouts so far it's like a fountain. Baboons again greeted us as we arrived back at our camp just before dark. Camp fire dinner of rice and spiced stew. The stars are amazing and the forest noises sometimes worrying. Tomorrow we get up at 6am and walk again I wonder what we will see. Day 3 Coffee and rusks at 6am and off for our second walking safari. Today the first thing moving other than the various birds flying was birds of a very different kind ostriches running away from us. There were 5 in all the female is a slightly different colour to aid incubation apparently. The male is black as takes his turn on the nest at night and the female lighter brown. Lots of animal prints. Ostrich, aardvark, elephant, hippo. Interestingly hippo and rhino prints are similar except that hippo has 4 toes and rhino effectively the middle two are joined making one larger pad. As we walked we saw buffalo and used a termite mound to approach closer without disturbing them. Yes because it's run from a buffalo. Impala were seen near a water hole, we sat a while watching them before zebra joined us to. Before walking back towards camp. On route and as if to add icing to the cake a loan elephant walked past. I wonder if that elephant thinks we are the mad ones walking in the sun. In the heat of the day brunch and bush shower before our canoe cruise at 5pm. Just before our sunset canoe ride sitting in the shade I hear an excuse me from one of the tribe. Elephant he says. Not just one several make the crossing right in front of our camp. Biggest leading, smallest at the rear. Then minutes later another herd. 5pm sunset ride a giraffe is spotted in the distance we quickly reverse and land the canoe. We are facing the sun so we try to creep around on land to get the sun behind us. Back in the canoe we continue to a spot to watch the sunset. Whilst waiting the hippos grunt and let us know they are there, there is also a fish eagle in the distance perched on a tree. Tonight's dinner chicken stew with mashed potatoes. Tomorrow we leave this part of the delta. Day 4 This morning our last game walk. We came across house sparrow weaver birds protecting their nests from a little owl of all things in broad daylight. The owl attacked at least one nest while we were there and looked like it would be hanging around a while yet. We stopped at the hippo pool they were shier today. A bird was having its own safari on the back of one, the hippo didn't manage to dislodge it even though he went under water. On the way back we saw the giraffe we had seen against the sun the night before a large male. Before we reloaded the canoes and headed back towards Maun for supplies and a shower before our afternoon flight. 4pm Delta flight (Optional) You get some kind of scale from above. The delta is a huge area. Lots of elephant herds below and hippos from above look even more comical. We had we are told a rare sighting of 5 rhinos. Not something the pilots see every day. Ours was keen to make sure he looked out for them on his next fight. Our main guide Sam explains that some areas that are badly poached for rhino are sending rhinos to Botswana for their protection as poaching is not a problem here. For the 2 million population of the whole country there is plenty of work. Day 5 - Makgadikgadi Long drive to the salt pan. All our shoes have to be brought out at the veterinary station to treat to prevent foot and mouth. We stop for a picnic on route and to purchase firewood for cooking tonight. A walk on the pan before watching sunset by the fire. We are told it will be cold tonight and in the morning may be 5 or 7 degrees so got the coat out handy. We saw 2 southern ground hornbills, some zebra and a stein bok on route. Day 6 5.30am wake up to be packed and driving by 7.30am. Very cold, but the quietest night we have had no wild noises out here. The drive is long passing through national reserves. Elephant, giraffe and other smaller animals occasionally line the route. Border controls and visa obtained and onwards to Victoria Falls. Tonight's dinner at a traditional African restaurant. Chicken Piri Piri I had with popcorn and small peanuts as a snack with drinks. Very nice. Day 7 - Zimbabwe Victoria Falls National Park. Prepared to get wet with camera in a dry bag we headed into the park. 16 view points the first 3 not too wet however we were then in for a soaking. Lots of rainbows absolutely drenched and dressed as if walking in the Cotswolds. Actually it's quite nice being wet in the heat of the day. Having dried off a little we headed to The Victoria Falls hotel as recommended by a family member before travelling. However the path we had taken earlier now has 5 elephants on it having a late breakfast so we thought better of it and took the road. At the hotel we headed straight out onto the veranda and ordered coffee and cheese cake. The nicest cheese cake I have had for sometime. There were wart hogs patrolling the immaculate lawns. It's a great view. One of the guards asked if we had been bungee jumping. I think I'll pass. Dinner Cruise tonight (Optional) On the dinner cruise we saw more hippos these ones were in much deeper water than we had seen before. We also witnessed the engagement of a German Couple. Most people were dressed for dinner and then there was our table. The safari campers. We watched sunset before dinner of butternut squash soup, bream and more cheese cake I can definitely recommend this cruise. Choice of food and drink. Day 8 - Chobe We leave Victoria Falls and head to Thebe River Camp. This afternoon we take a cruise on the Chobe. This was a fantastic trip and if you are a photographer keen amateur or otherwise you may use a whole card just on this, you get very close to a nest colony of bee eaters. We were very lucky and saw a pride of lions hunting a water buffalo although the buffalo was giving as good as it got. Bee Eaters were brilliantly colourful and elephants in the water. It was a brilliant cruise lots of photos taken to remember it by. Day 9 - Savuti Early start getting up at 5.30am before packing up camp and taking a morning game drive along by the river we cruised in last night. Lots of buffalo and giraffe. The beautifully coloured lilac breasted rollers and lots of hornbills and fish eagles line the route. On leaving the park we hit the main road momentarily before back on the massaging sandy and bumpy surface on the way to the marsh where there are lots of elephants. A lot of them are missing parts of their tails because in this part of Botswana the lions have learnt to hunt elephants. In the middle of nowhere is our camp site and you won't believe what we have for dinner. Fish and chips, honestly who'd have thought that possible! It was really nice. We are really wild camping. I am desperately hoping I don't have to get up in the night. Day 10 6am our breakfast is coffee and rusks so we can head out straight away for our first game drive of the day. We are looking for lions and we are not disappointed our wildlife guide (Kenny) tells us to get out video ready because we are going to see some loving. A large male and a female lie in the grass and we now realise Kenny isn't joking. Twice we see the male mount the female and strut his stuff. Kenny explains this goes on all day for a week and neither eat anything in that time 'whatever happened to wine and dine'. We had an incredible view, but all decided a female lions life isn't one we fancy. In 3 months she should have some cubs. There is a lot of wildlife out this morning and the tinniest elephant crosses our path before another trumpets at us. Brunch and a bush shower meet us when we return to camp. 4.30pm afternoon game drive to the water holes to see the elephant herds come together for bath time at sunset. Day 11 - Moremi We get up early to break camp and head out of this reserve onto the next and last wild camping experience of this trip. Although we were told by having bush showers yesterday we would wash away our luck. Within 5 minutes of driving we have 5 wild dogs running in front of us. This is a special and rare sighting and we are told to take as many pictures as possible. Leaning out of the vehicle and on a bumpy road not quite as easy as it sounds. The lions are still within 100 metres of where we saw them yesterday and yes they are still mating! A black backed jackal and bat eared foxes are also about today. Giraffe seem to be everywhere they have no where to hide. Arrived at our second wild camp site. This one initially felt less in the wilderness than the first it was nearer the park gate. However I was wrong..... Lions had walked past us very close by when we set up camp. The paw prints in the sand gave them away. Kenny follows them on our afternoon game drive and we came across two females and a male. The females were looking to hunt as the light faded. The male it seems again had other things on its mind. What is it with these lions! We watched them setting up for a hunt until the light began to go and we headed back to camp. T Bone steak for dinner. Day 12 Our last full day of game drives and wild camping before returning to Maun tomorrow. We have been lucky with what we have seen so far. Again 6am wake up and Coffee and rusks before we first headed in search of a leopard. Our guides had heard one in the night. We headed past the hippos the river appearing to steam in the cold of the morning. Most were already under water keeping warm. Our guides were convinced we were on the trail of a leopard and after some severe off road driving we spotted it tiny and camouflaged in the grass. She was hunting. We followed her for a while before leaving her in peace to look for lunch. So of the big 5 we have all of them under our belts and wild dogs as a bonus. If the holiday finished now it wouldn't be disappointing. As we have been very lucky and it was a fantastic morning. One last bush shower this afternoon and an evening game drive before our last night in the wild. On our afternoon game drive we watch the hippos at sunset and on the way back to camp I spotted a short eared eagle owl. Day 13 One last 5.30am start we pack up camp and head for one last game drive. Everything is quiet a hippo moving slowly to bathe for the day. Then we hit the bumpy road over 100km, our last Botswana massage on route to Maun for our last night here.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
All the wildlife and the fact that this is one of the friendliest countries I have ever visited, the guides the locals, even all the other tourists it must be the atmosphere. Being in the wild compared to being permanently on front of technology is clearly good for the sole.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam is really good as a leader pretty laid back, clearly enjoys life and nothing was too much. All of the staff be it the camp assistant and chef were amazing and the food they came up with on an open fire was incredible fresh bread, fish and chips etc.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
It's colder than you might think so take lots of warmer clothes for the evenings but especially the mornings, the vehicle used is open sided and you don't want to miss the wildlife by having the canvas flaps down. They are early starts, but remember most evenings its bedtime at 9pm.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can't guarantee the wildlife on these trips, but it is a great place to travel, a few bumpy long rides on and off road, but well worth it. If you are going in our spring / summer remember its Autumn / Winter there and you will definitely need a dry bag at Victoria Falls you and your camera will get wet.

Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

A wonderful journey through Botswana and a chance to experience a safari in an area where tourism is much less developed than in many parts of Africa.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were many: Mokoro rides and wild camping in the Okavango Delta; the awesome Victoria Falls; seeing a herd of well over 100 elephants wandering across the plain; at least 12 lions at close quarters sheltering under a tree; numerous other wildlife encounters; the eerie silence and remoteness of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader Sam, the driver and wildlife expert Kenny and assistant Johnny were all exceptional and could not do enough for us. The same is true of the "polers" in the Okavango Delta. The overall organisation, the camping and catering were superb. We found the vehicle comfortable and adequately spacious.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
There are some long drives on bumpy roads. The wild camping means that wildlife can wander through the camp at any time, especially at night. We had a close encounter with an elephant one night, which some of the party found unnerving, but in fact it left us alone. At the Victoria Falls, unless you are planning activities such as white water rafting, we recommend visiting the falls on the free day rather than waiting until the final morning as the itinerary suggests, to allow time to do it justice. We particularly recommend the Sunset Cruise and Chobe River Cruise.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
There were so many positives I am reluctant to mention any disappointments, but I will do so anyway to give a complete picture. The areas we were travelling through are generally quite flat, which meant that the breathtaking scenery to be had in other areas was lacking (except for the Victoria Falls). Also, the population outside the main towns is quite sparse, and the towns themselves relatively Westernised, so there were limited opportunities to experience local African culture. Overall this was a wonderful, varied and well organised trip, with some truly magical moments.

wildlife and wilderness Botswana

We were very lucky and wildlife sightings and close encounters exceeded expectations. Seven of thirteen nights are spent camping wild, a wonderful experience.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Game drives in Chobe and Moremi.
  What did you think of your group leader?
On the whole very good.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I went for the wildlife and wondered in advance if the detour to Victoria Falls was would be worth it : it was. However, I'd rather have camped there than slept in a stuffy chalet.

Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana

This is an excellent holiday for people who want to get really close to the wildlife of Botswana. Seven of the 13 nights are spent wild camping right in the heart of national parks and wilderness areas. You will not only see, but hear and smell the life around you. It is a very immersive experience.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It's the sights and sounds of this trip that will stay in the memory. Africa has amazing sunsets and, on this trip, a night sky totally unpolluted by man made light. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans have to be experienced for their total absence of sound. The animal life was amazing and you saw them within their environment. The sounds of hippos, hyenas, elephants and lions just the other side of a piece of canvas are rather exciting! The people you meet are wonderful.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader was very, very good. His job was to give us a great holiday, pure and simple. His assistants, and the other guides, were first class. The majority of them were born, and has spent their entire lives, in the very areas we were visiting. They had an absorbed knowledge of the region that could not learned from books.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Read the trip notes carefully. When it says there are "some long and bumpy roads" and "staying in some remote locations" that is exactly what you will get. The mornings can be cold, followed by slamming heat a few hours later, so take clothing that can come off in layers. The roads, particularly in the dry season, are very dusty. Glasses or goggles, and a snood to cover your mouth and nose, are essential.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Although described as leisurely, this is not a holiday for those who enjoy their creature comforts. The bush toilet is a hole in the ground and the shower is under a tree so there is something to hang the bucket from. You will get many hours of "African Massage" in the landcruiser but the rewards are unbelievable. You will totally immersed in the environment. Be flexible, be willing to muck-in and participate, and you will have a wonderful time. I would recommend this holiday without hesitation.

Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

We went on the same trip as Jenny (see her review) and endorse all that she said. This trip delivered everything that we had hoped for. The animal sightings exceeded expectations; the camping was really wild; and the itinerary was well designed. Every day had a WOW in it.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
On the Chobe river cruise, the entire boat watched as a baby elephant was cajoled by its herd to cross a stream that its parents could stride across, but was too wide for the baby's short legs; the sheer isolation of the wild camping in the salt pans; the big cat sightings that Jenny mentioned; the three families of elephants at the watering hole just yards from our camp in Zwei Zwei Pan; and I especially enjoyed visiting the Bushman paintings from 1500 BC that Stan took us to, to make up for the lost time when the truck broke down.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam attitude was excellent. Everything revolved around ensuring that we enjoyed our time on the trip and got as much out of it as possible. His cooking on a campfire was unbelievable - fish and chips, fresh bread, cabbage quiche - his recommendations on the extra trips were spot on, and his permanent good humour made for a relaxed and enjoyable journey. Even when the truck broke down - the immobilizer incapacitated the truck for a few hours - he kept his cool, updated us on progress, and managed to organize the alternative arrangements without getting flustered. Our guide, Stan's knowledge and enthusiasm were terrific. His book of pictures was excellent for explaining why the landscape is like it is, his tracking meant that there were more animal sightings than we could have hoped for.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
For a couple of over fifties who had not camped in decades, the prospect was daunting. However, the camp-beds are comfortable, the food was delicious and plentiful, and while the tents are small, the guarantee that there will be no rain (in July) and so no wet clothing or leakages if you touch the tent, meant that this was all surprisingly civilized. However, even if it won't rain, do take waterproofs to combat just how windy an open sided truck can be. Good washing facilities in Victoria Falls means that we could have reduced our clothing amounts even further - only the Sunset Cruise in Victoria Falls needed anything even remotely smart. As others have mentioned, head torches and lip balm are good to have. Also, take wet wipes for the four consecutive night wild camping away from "proper" showers, although the bush shower was very effective and surprisingly good.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
An excellent trip through a fantastic country.

Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

This trip absolutely delivers - incredible wildlife and an opportunity to appreciate the wilderness of Botswana. The opportunity to get away completely from modern life and appreciate the beauty and scale of Southern Africa is brilliant. The unpredictable nature of the trip adds to the uniqueness and the surprises. We saw many many unexpected sights - a leopard fast asleep on a tree, its kill hanging beside it with the leopard's cub snuggled up asleep on a lower branch; a lion feasting on a rhino kill; elephants walking into camp… Every day was special. In addition to the wildlife, the landscape was incredible with beautiful sunsets and starry evenings.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
For me, the experience of being able to do so much wild camping enhanced the experience. Lying in the tent on the first night in the Okavango Delta, listening to the hippos bellow and the lions roar gave me an appreciation of the natural world you could not get anywhere else. The contrast of the beauty of the Okavango Delta with the barren bleakness of the Salt Pans was also awesome - both so different but so memorable. The scale of Victoria Falls was breathtaking, and the sheer amount of wildlife we saw, especially in the second week, was amazing. Stan kept stating 'High hopes but no guarantees', but in fact every day was unique and special.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was great. Calm, patient and clear, with a great sense of humour. Tents went up and dinner was cooked every night as if by magic. It was very impressive what he could produce on an open fire night after night. Stan's knowledge and passion for the wildlife and geography of Botswana was unsurpassed. Despite the fact that both of them must have done this trip many times, they were both excited and enthusiastic every day and that was infectious. The support team of Timon and John also worked incredibly hard to help the smooth running of the trip.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I think this is an incredible trip, and if you are not phased by camping you will love it. The wild camping gives you an opportunity to experience Botswana which you would not get any other way. The camping was, by my standards, pretty deluxe - camp beds, toilet cubicles (often with impressive views) and great food. It also got you very close to the animals! I was lucky and got a tent to myself, it is snug with two… You also have to be very organised with your packing as you have early starts and you are on the move most days. Be aware, it gets very cold at this time of year. I wasn't prepared for this - it was 2 degrees on the first night in Maun! For several nights I was wearing 4 layers and a fleece hat - even in my sleeping bag. It was also very cold in the truck in the morning. If you go at this time of year, I would advise some warm layers for the nights. It is warm during the day. Also you will need a SA charger for Botswana (Zimbabwe uses UK plugs) - you can get them at J-burg airport. I would also recommend a spare camera battery as you will be away from electricity for quite a while.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Do it!

Wonderful Wildlife of Botswana

This trip certainly delivered with regard to the quantity and quality of wildlife viewing with the help of the knowledgeable guides.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Being almost in touching distance of lions and leopards with their kills while they pretty much ignored us. And this in an open sided vehicle !
  What did you think of your group leader?
The leader was an excellent cook with good organisation. He also turned his hand to bush mechanic when the support truck needed repair.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
There are long drives in open vehicles so be prepared for wind. Also there are times it is dangerous to leave the tent at night so be prepared for that too. Travel light - you can get laundry done at Victoria Falls.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
We may have been lucky with the amount of wildlife we saw but it made the trip well worth while. The camp beds are pretty comfortable.

Brilliant Botswana

We had an amazing trip, Botswana is stunning with friendly people amazing wildlife. wild camping in the Okavango Delta and walking in the bush amongst the wildlife are experiences that I will never forget. I would have rated the trip as excellent if it were not for the itinerary change mentioned below and the very cramped vehicle.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing two packs of wild dogs was amazing and spotting lions lazing at the side of a main road was very special. Listening to the sounds of the night and trying to pick out the different animal calls was spectacular.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam our group leader was very god well organised and was always there when you need him, Mello,s cooking was outstanding . Sten our Botswana guide tried his best but the lectures on geology and were not the best, it was difficult for him has Moremi was completely devoid of any wild life so he was trying to keep us interested.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The drives are long and uncomfortable, pack light for the truck and take lip balm and a scarf. We went in October it was very hot you wil not need a sleeping bag just a liner wil do. Go with an open mind and you will love it the people are friendly and the scenery is stunning only surpassed by the amazing wild life in Chobi and savuti. The Victoria falls were fantastic you will be ther for two night so take the opportunity to explore and try local fare, I recommend Mopani worms at the Boma, check it out it's amazing .
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The last minute change to our itinerary was very disappointing. We di not camp in the salt pans, we were told on arrival that there was a problem with the road and we would be camping in a public campsite instead. the campsite was in Nata wich meant a longer than expected drive in a very cramped and uncomfortable truck. once in the camp we were taken on a short drive to a lake to watch the sunset , very nice but not what we were expecting . We were expecting a night wild camping in the salt pans not watching a sunset with about 15 other trucks nowhere near the salt pans. Why could we not camp on the salt pans and why were we not told of the change before we departed on the trip?

Botswana and Victoria Falls

I travelled on the same trip as Rich. We did all get on and had an excellent crew. We quickly discovered that if w helped dismantle the tents, etc we'd depart earlier! I do agree about the vehicle on the 3 days we had lengthy drives - at least we had one seat free for the cool box for drinks - but it could have been more comfortable with more space. If it hadn't been for the vehicle, I would have rated the trip as excellent.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing the wild dogs (we saw two packs) in Savuti and a leopard in the Khwai concession. Also the birds - a good pair of binoculars is an absolute must.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was excellent - very well organised and a good companion in the evenings round the camp fire. Stan (driver and wildlife guide) could read the behaviour of the animals well and, most of the time, moved the vehicle around so we all got a good view. Unfortunately, we saw very little wildlife in Moremi which was a great shame as it was the last two days - we stayed in the North East of the park and didn't drive to the west at all. Mello (awesome cook) and Paul made up the crew - they'd nearly always erected the tents by the time we arrived in camp.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Inexpensive Laundry opportunities at the Maun campsite and in Victoria Falls if you don't fancy doing your own. Take lots of wet wipes for the nights spent bush camping particularly when the bush shower isn't available (normally the first of the two nights in each bush camp). A silk or cotton liner for your sleeping bag is sensible - it started off very warm most nights but did cool down. Spare batteries for the torch, even a second torch. I got bad heat rash - antisan is a must. Swimming costume for the decent pool at the Maun campsite. Chobe river cruise is a must. Make the most of the visits to the supermarkets and liquor store - the Savanna cider is very drinkable.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Adventure tours in Victoria Falls do NOT accept MasterCard. Visa cards are subject to a 3% surcharge so worth finding out in advance from your bank if it would be cheaper to get the money from an ATM to pay for any optional activities or take enough dollars.

Botswana Wildlife and Wilderness

This was a fantastic holiday that exceeded my expectations! The trip started off gently with the delta wild camping and visiting the salt pans, but it seemed that every single day something happened that was a WOW ... and things just got better and better! There were so many inspirational moments when I just had to pinch myself to check it was true and then think 'boy am I lucky.'
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I have managed to limit it to three lifetime memories :- 1) The flight over the delta, in particular watching the elephants swimming/wadding in the water between islands. 2) Watching a pride of lions (thirteen including five cubs) that we had met the previous day, kill a warthog then walk towards us and drink next to our vehicle, before crossing the water and lying down to rest while the cubs played. 3)Seeing a pack of three Wild Dogs that we spent hours watching without any other cars as we found them ourselves.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam looked after the group throughout our trip and took good care of us, especially dealing with health and currency problems that a couple of people in our group had. However, I was particularly impressed with our Botswana driver/guide in the parks, Kenny, who had a fantastic level of knowledge about the wildlife that he happily shared with us. He also had an almost a sixth sense and knew exactly how the wildlife was going to behave and therefore the best place to position our vehicle. At one point there was a tiny dot of a leopard on top of a hill. He told us that, as it was getting warmer, the leopard would come down and cross the road to the brush opposite. Almost to order it did walking a couple of feet from the truck! He also had the patience of a saint and somehow managed to please everybody making sure that all group members had at the opportunity to get a good view of the wildlife. I also feel that I need to sing the praise of Mello and Paul who fed us and made sure that our every need was catered for. I felt very spoilt getting up one morning and realising that they had even refilled the hand washing water so that it was clean and warm before the group was up and heading to the toilets... luxury. Somehow Mello also managed to produce great grub using little more than a pot and campfire. In particular one of our group had a birthday and he produced a fabulous cake for her.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
A few items that I am glad that I took include:- 1) not only a head torch but also small torch that I hung from the centre of the tent roof and lit up the whole space. 2) antiseptic hand wash and biodegradable toilet roll (for those times you have to nip behind a tree) 3) small first aid kit - plasters, antihistamine tablets, Paracetomal/Asprin, antiseptic cream and insect repellent 4) 4)South Africain phone charger for cameras, phones 5) Walk boots and flipflops 6) I took a really cheap pillow and it was heaven! 7) A sarong was really useful when traveling to prevent sun burn and also to wrap around your head to protect from dust. 8) I took some thermal pjs to sleep in as it did get really cold on some nights Things that I forgot and wished I had taken were .. a biro (several in fact to fill in all the different forms required for Visa entries etc; a washing line and pegs so that I was able to wash and more importantly dry my clothes on a regular basis. Also it is difficult to imagine how cold it was for the first hour on a morning drive before the sun comes up - I would of sold my soul for a light fleecy pair of gloves, hat, scarf and top! I had no pride and wore socks on my hands at this point. They do give you a blanket but that really wasn't enough for me! I decided that having travelled to Africa I was gong to embrace every opportunity and when an additional activity was offered do it. The small plane delta flight from Maun was fantastic DO IT! The helicopter flight over the Victoria Falls was exciting but I personally felt the short trip was enough as the longer one did not get you any closer. Some of the group had wanted to go on the 'Walking with Lions' excursion and it was fully booked - so if you want to do this I suggest you prebook to avoid disappointment. I enjoyed the short walk across the Victoria Falls Bridge to Zimbabwe to see the falls from the other side, you can get a bridge pass to do this. I also enjoyed the dinner cruise in the evening on river however as our transport was very late there was limit to the amount of wildlife we spotted before it was dark! The cruise dinner was also quite short and just as we were all relaxed and the wine was flowing it was over. When we returned to Botswana the Chobe River Cruise was fabulous value for money- again DO NOT MISS IT! I was astounded at the amount of wild life that we saw over a quite small distance. The highlight here for me were the herds of elephants mud bathing and crossing to the other islands.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you are debating whether to book the trip .. just do it! The more you put into the experience the more you will get out. Although the brochure does state 'full service' camping meaning that tents are erected, beds put up etc and nothing is expected of you. It is quite fun and a lot quicker to all muck in.

Wonderful! Amazing!! Magical!!!

This was a fabulous holiday! I have travelled quite a lot with Exodus and always had great trips - this was one of the best.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The programme was very well structured with plenty of variety and highlights throughout the tour: mokoro rides and game walks in the Okavango Delta, surreal salt pans, exciting Victoria Falls with so many activities to choose, fantastic game in Chobe (the sunset river cruise is an absolute must) and yet more game in Savuti and Moremi with contrasting landscapes. I loved the wild camping: sitting round a campfire, eating and chatting with new friends and watching wildlife stroll by - pure magic!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our crew was fantastic: Sam, our leader, is a lovely man and kept us organised and informed; Stanley, our guide and driver though the national reserves, shared his amazing knowledge; Mello and Paul ran clean and happy camps wherever we stayed and cooked delicious suppers; Mello's campfire-baked bread was simply delicious!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Botswana is a desert - be prepared for a lot of dust. Pack baby wipes, moisturing cream and lipsalve. My most treasured possession was a long chiffon scarf that I could wrap round my head and face. Be prepared to get very grubby. You need to wear safari-coloured clothes but everything ends up dust coloured. Pack a travel plug for washing laundry at the public campsites. Pack spare batteries and cards for your camera, then pack some more! There are few opportunities to recharge, the inverter in the truck was very slow and a long queue wanting to use it. My camera charges with a USB cable and I was able to use an adaptor in the cigarette lighter. Some of the drives are very long on poor roads. It's not for everyone, but I found there was always something to look at and I loved it.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I read Gordon's review about camping in Savuti and I would like to add my own comment. I understand the campsites are allocated by HATAB and are moved around periodically to allow the terrain to regenerate. Our camp was out on the ZweiZwei pans, quite a long distance from the Savuti Marsh, however we saw as much game on the drives to and from the campsite as we saw on the marsh itself. We camped in a beautiful spot close to a pan (waterhole) and were visited each evening by herds of elephant, hippo and a noisy hyena; one elephant practically walked through the camp! Because of the distance, morning and evening game drives were impractical so Sam arranged one much longer drive, spending much of the day on the marsh. Don't worry about timing - we spotted our first lions in the midday heat. If you want to be central, book into a game lodge or public campsite; if you want to experience the magic of wild camping, this holiday is for you!

Wildlife and Wilderness in Botswana

This trip exceeded our expectations - go if you can! We loved Botswana - its friendly people and its amazing wildlife. We saw elephants, hippo, many different antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, hyena, jackal, lions and even a leopard in a tree with its kill. We got closer to the wild animals than we had anticipated, which felt a real privilege. The birdlife was wonderful too. Do take the optional flight over the Okavango Delta - well worth it. We were lucky enough to see 4 rhinos from the air. Also, don't miss the Chobe River cruise.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
We have some wonderful memories, not only of the wild animals, but also the stars at night, the sunsets, and good fun around the camp fires. I really enjoyed the wild camping, despite not being an enthusiastic camper - the tents and equipment made it all very comfortable. Mellow's cooking was excellent - including for those on special diets. The Victoria Falls are stunning. Note that white water rafting on the Zambezi is not for the faint-hearted!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader, Wynand, was knowledgeable, helpful and organised everything very well. Our local guide, Stanley, was excellent - passionate and knowledgeable about his country, its geology, vegetation and wildlife. He went the extra mile to give us a great experience.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
My advice to other travellers would be: go, you won't regret it! We went in July/August, the dry season, so lots of sand. Wet wipes useful, as is hand gel. Cold at night and early morning - do take warm clothes, hat, gloves, for those early morning game drives on open-sided truck (great for viewing). I found a pair of waterproof sandals useful for swims in the delta, and for bush shower. Pair of binoculars each essential. You can buy snacks for journeys when you get there, don't bother packing any. And you can get Botswana currency when you arrive at Maun.

Wildlife and wilderness in botswana

We recently went on the above trip and had a fantastic anD interesting trip, which exceeded our expectations. The holiday was well-structured, with a two day break in Victoria falls right in the middle of the two weeks. Bear in mind, though, that you are visiting a country the size of France and doing a considerable amount of traveling, staying in six different locations, to appreciate the diversity of the landscape and the animal,plant and bird life.Wynand, our South African guide, had a staggering amount of knowledge and enthusiasm and added greatly to the holiday. We would nominate him as the best tour guide we have had on these type of holidays and whatever you are paying him, it is not enough ! all the staff were excellent and developed a rapport with the guests. we had twelve in our group, with a varied age mix, which worked very well and it did not feel like a coach tour. we had a strong tip to try the 16 day Costa Rica trip, so are looking at that at present.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Hearing the family group in the delta sing us a traditional welcome song around. The camp fire it was unforgettable
  What did you think of your group leader?
He was amazing completely unflappable always chirpy and was very amusing and he was very happy to spend time with us as individuals
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a warmer sleeping bag than I did- I did not take the advice seriously and was very grateful of the blanket provided by exodus
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Keep a diary and always be respectful and ask permission to photograph people and their homes

September 2013 Botswana

A terrific trip to explore the wonders of Botswana. Fantastic wildlife sightings with wild dogs, 6 leopards and honey badgers topping the list but also saw: elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, impala, buffalo, kudu, sable, warthog, hippo, wildebeast, monkey, baboon, steenbok, lechwe, crocodile, water monitor, puku, hyena and so many birds I lost count. We had an elephant pass just behind our tents and hyena coming to check out the steak scraps in our fire. I would highly recommend for the diversity of animals and environments alone.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Highlights for me included: the mokoro ride (total zen experience); the surreal moonscape of the pan; Chobe river cruise (highest concentration of game I've ever seen); wild dogs in Moremi (including several pups); sitting on the edge of Victoria Falls in the Devil's Pool (an extra only available at the end of dry season but if you like thrills it was incredible).
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam is a terrific leader - very organized and calm with a great sense of humour. Mello is a tireless camp assistant and between them the food was great!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
In September is it very hot and very dry and sand is EVERYWHERE. Big package of wet wipes saved my sanity as I could at least clean my feet before bed. I tossed the cot and used two mattresses and was very comfortable sleeping the entire trip. An open mind is the best accessory you can have on any group adventure.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Lowlight for me was: the campsite in Savuti at the end of dry season was too far from anything alive

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

The trip was wonderful - I did not stop smiling from start to finish! It lived up to it's title as it was a real wilderness experience and the wildlife was incredible.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Riding in the mokoros through the Okavango Delta, watching a lion cub playing with the pride oblivious to us watching him, wild camping - lying in my tent hearing lions and elephants near by and racing through the park in our 4x4 trying to find out what the lions were up to to name but a few.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was a wonderful tour leader, he was well organised at all times and made the trip a truly memorable experience. He was kind and friendly and very knowledgeable. He was happy to answer my numerous questions at any time.Joseph our Botswana guide knew the country and it's wildlife inside out, he and Sam had eagle eyes for spotting the wildlife and Joseph was also an excellent driver on challenging roads. He was patient and kind and happy to share his stories and knowledge.Meelo was the camp assistant - he was a wonderful cook and worked hard setting up and taking down camp.Waco also deserves a mention - he was the lead guide of the "polers" when we went into the Delta. He was a brilliant ambassador for the tribe and the project to give them ownership of their conservancy. He was passionate about the wildlife and local environment and shared his knowledge with us. His team were very welcoming and made the Delta visit a real highlight.As a team they all worked together well and made the trip a great success.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Go - this is a fantastic trip to get off the beaten track and camp in the wilderness.Be prepared for long drives on dusty, rutted roads but keep your eyes open as you never know when you might spot an elephant or a leopard!November can be the start of the rainy season so an umbrella is useful for the heavy downpours. If you want to avoid the rain go a bit earlier in the year. We had a few big storms but were lucky with the timings.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
It was an unforgettable holiday and I will definitely go back to Botswana one day.

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

Excellent wildlife.  The best we have seen without the crowds of vehicles.  A trip worth making.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Watching a pride of lions with the cub playing, seeing a herd of elephants bathing in the Khwai River, watching the hippos grunting in the pools, coming across leopards at close quarters, seeing the legant giraffes wandering across the bush. Victoria Falls was fantastic. Lots of inspirational moments.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was an excellent group leader who co-ordinated the trip very well.  The Botwana guide, Joseph, was also an exexcellent guide and amazing driver.  Melou was a fantastic cook.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
You need to be fit without any medical problems as you are mainly a long way from help. If you don't like heat then it is not for you and if you also have heart problems or any other serious conditions it would be unadvisable.  Don;t go in the rainy season, it was just starting in November and we were lucky.  Just a few thunderstorms but it can get very wet and you may not be able to see Victoria Falls because of the spray. 
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Camping was good but an occasional night at a lodge would help one to sort out baggage, have a good shower and dry out clothes.

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

An excellent trip. I have done safaris in South Africa, Namibia and the classic Kenya Mara trip, but I have never seen so much wildlife. Elephant, Lion, Leopard (first time ever) and all the usual beasts of the plains. One day we had just set up camp and someone called "elephant coming". I looked to see it less than 20m away looking straight at me. Luckily there was a vehicle between him and me. That is how wild the camping is, especially in Moremi and Savouti.I am incredibly unfit, yet I enjoyed the walks in the Delta and managed to stay comfortable whilst camping, something I haven't done in 30 years. 
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing a pride of nine lionesses stalk a group of zebra. They failed to catch one but seeing the skill and organisation was impressive.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam and his team were brilliant. They gave lots of very relevent advice that always worked out, they were very knowledgable and could drive along the roughest of roads and still spot the smallest animals before anyone else. The food they cooked was better than anything most people could cook on a campfire. Proper food like stews, caseroles but also fish & chips or steak. All three were hard working, very friendly and very helpful.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Do:the Okavango Delta flight. Great value for money compared to the  helicopter flight in Vic Falls the dinner cruise at Vic Falls. They'll run it even if only 2 people are on boar. Good food, unlimited drink and seeing hippos and crocs as they settle in for the night.If you do the helicopter flight over the falls, take the short Flight of Angels. The longer flight is not worth the extra $125. The DVD is a waste of money.Don'tHave an afternoon sleep, no matter how hot it gets. You won't sleep that night. Read a book and keep hydrated. take too many gadgets that need recharging. There will only be one facility to recharge and that is in the vehicle and can only be used one item at a time. Invest in extra batteries and charge them before you go. Worry about being taken to local "craft shops" or workshops were you could be pressured into buying local souvenirs. One group member actually had to ask to be pointed towards a souvenir shop.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you are going to do one safari, save your pennies and do this trip. It may be marked as moderate only because of the wild camping. If you can handle a bush shower and a long drop for just a few days, take a chance. This is a great country, a wonderful trip and an amazing experience. Go for it.

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

This was an amazing experience from start to finish. I was a single traveller and felt at home within my group and with the staff. It could not have gone better. I will be returning to Botswana very soon 
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The most inspirational moment for me was being able to sit with the Painted Dogs, i have been coming to Africa for just over 20yrs and only ever seen them on my very first year on a trip to Kruger but this experience has made me realise just how endagered these specialist hunters are. I would also say the wild camping that is an experience you will never be able to explain to anyone who hasn't done it. Victoria Falls was amazing and if i could give a tip to anyone ever going there it would be to go back to Devils Cataract after lunch only then will you be able to see the beautiful rainbows ;)
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group Leader Sam was fabulous, he was very knowledgable and nothing was too much trouble. He made us laugh but also ensured our safety was his priority.Joseph was just amazing(our guide) i couldn't have asked for a better guide he was very determined and his tracking skills were unbelievable. Loved this guy to pieces  he had such a lovely manner and would try to accomodate people taking pictures from both sides of the truck by turning the vehicle around.Melo his cooking was awesome, he even managed to bake fresh bread on an open fire......it was beautiful. Melo helped us with everything from tents to taking me to bushy bushy when it was dark.Vin, although was learning the trip also couldn't do enough for us he was very chatty and happy. A joy to travel with.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Don't think about it just do it, you will not be disappointed. Take a good camera. Lip balm is a must with the open land cruiser without it i think my lips may have dropped off my face. 

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

An outstanding trip - highly recommended.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The whole trip exceeded expectations but there were a few highlights: game walks in the Okavango Deltathe hospitality and good humour of our guidesseeing leopards (and a cub!), lions, painted dogs, elephants, giraffes, the list goes on!  
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was outstandingly organised while appearing extremely laid back. He made us feel completely at ease and entirely safe. Nothing was too much trouble and he went out of his way to make it a truly special trip.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
 Take a headtorch that will not get switched on in your luggage.Take extra batteries for your headtorch in case it gets switched on in your luggage! The longer drives in the open truck can be quite breezy and dusty so take something to wrap around your head and neck to keep out the dust and stop your hair blowing in your face.Take extra camera batteries and take every opportunity at camp sites to charge them up - you will need them!Relax and go with the flow - this trip is amazing! 
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
We absolutely loved this trip from beginning to end. All our guides were friendly and knowledgeable and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and relaxed. The campsites all had good facilities (flush toilets, showers, a swimming pool and a bar). Wild camping allowed us to see much more of the landscape and the animals than we felt we would have seen had we flown in, stayed at a luxury lodge and flown out again! Part of the experience was definitely being in the middle of nowhere around a camp fire with amazing stars overhead chatting to our guides and finding out about their lives, how they knew where to find the animals and how they managed to negotiate some of the terrain in the truck without getting stuck! Not only did we get to see an amazing landscape but the number of animals we saw was incredible. This was a good time of year to go as it was the end of the dry season and the animals were therefore congregating at the water sources. None of the places we went were crowded with other trucks. Often we were the only people who had happened on a particular leopard, or pride of lions. I would definitely recommend this trip. We have already booked our next trip with Exodus.

BOTSWANA WILDLIFE AND WILDERNESS, OCT 2013

A magical experience that showcases a fantastic country, its people and its animals
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The people in the group and sitting around the campfire chatting every nightSeeing a leopard and its cub from a few metres away and the evening dinner Zambezi cruise.Camping wild
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was great and everything you want in a leader - relaxed and unflappable which created a great atmosphere and yet kept everything running smoothlyOur local guide Joseph was amazing at finding and getting us close to the animals
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I went in late Sep / early Oct and it was really hot.  The best thing I took with me was a silk sleeping bag liner as often this was all you needed.You may find it strange on the first few days that there is a lot of relaxation time in the afternoons (due to the heat) - such as midday to 5pm which we found a struggle on the first few days but it soon makes you relax and switch off and becomes part of your normal day
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
To be quite honest I think it is one of the best holidays I have had.  You completely switch off from life back home

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

This tour is a great way to discover the wildlife of Botswana.  There is loads to see and the setting is stunning, only enhanced by the opportunity to visit Victoria falls.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were a number of highlights:- the amazing Victoria falls;- the huge array of wildlife in picturesque settings.  In particular the Chobe river cruise should not be missed.- the view of the milky way at night- sounds of the jungle at night, when camping in remote areas
  What did you think of your group leader?
Group Leader Sam, together with support from Mellow and our game park guide Press, did a great job in making sure we made the most of our holiday.  They organised us effectively when required; provided every opportunity to see the available wildlife; prepared great food in difficult conditions and were good company.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
August is a good time to visit as the land is starting to dry out but it is not yet too hot.  It definitely helped to have a decent sleeping bag and a fleece for the early morning drives.Make sure Exodus have booked the campsite at Savuti.  For our tour the booking was too late and we ended up 1.5 hours away at Zwee Zwee, which is useless in the dry season when there is no wildlife there.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone with an interest in wildlife.  The camping was comfortable and it did not feel as though you were roughing it, as long as you were happy to go a few days without a shower.

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

A wonderful two weeks exploring the best of Botswana's wildlife and wilderness. Anything but bland, we had some truly memorable experiences with lovely sunsets, but the holiday was best summed up when our group leader asked our group of nine for their favourite moment and received 9 different responses before we came full circle and gave some more.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Too many for a number 1 choice but the following were equally brilliant: Wild Camping - sleeping in the wild with elephants, hyena, honey badgers and others visiting the camp during day and night. We were well looked after by the crew and there were some very close encounters.Wildlife galore - the sheer scale of what we saw and some brilliant encounters. Highlights included seeing 3 leopards and spending 25 minutes with 2 of them barely 10 metres away - great tracking from Kenny to get us there and to know the leopards would move towards an extra special photo opportunity location. Seeing a very fearsome pride of 7 lions on several occasions and quite miracously seeing three different packs of wild dogs on 3 separate game drives. A huge number of antelope (some rare) and herbivores too (including a stampede of 60 plus buffalo just 2 minute walk from our Livingstone campsite - just as well we didn't walk).The River Cruise at Chobe which is the best 200 pula you can spend - a great guide gave us a very different perspective of the wildlife from the water with some close up encounters. This is the best chance to see crocodile and rarer forms of antelope. Walking safaris - a brilliant time walking amongst the wildlife and opportunities to observe the animals from safe but very close distances. led by a very keen, enthusiastic and knowledgable group of young locals, they kept us safe from an elephant charge when the wind changed direction suddenly. Also provided local entertainment with genuine relish and fun.Victoria Falls - spectacular viewings from the Zimbabwe side and a great variety of fun activities. The microflight is not for the faint hearted but provides a wondeful bird's eye view of the Falls. 
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was excellent, very well organised who kindly took time off his free day to make sure we got through Zimbabwean immigration without any trouble. The trip ran very smoothly, he was an excellent cook (certainly nothing bland with his cooking) and got us through every immigration point easily. Also gave very good advice on seeing the Falls from Zimbabwe. Kenny our tracker was a brilliant wildlife guide who manoeuvered us into position for some truly brillinat sightings and photo opportunity. Joseph and Brude were very friendly and extremely efficient with all of the camp chores.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Just go! This trip has a terrific itiniery with excellent staff and is the best value trip for Botswana I have seen.October is extremely hot but you just have to rememeber that it is one of the best months for spotting wildlife, particularly big cats.Take Sam's advice and see the Falls from the Zimbabwean side if going in British autumn. 
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
A wonderful trip with wildlife encounters that will be extremely difficult to better - a really terrific holiday helped by a lovely group of fellow travellers. We were unlucky that the cloudy day we had meant we missed the sunset at the Pans. A bit of a shame but the Pans are still a fascinating part of Botswana. 

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

The trip was very well put together. It incorporated all the key highlights in an efficient two week schedule, without too many long days of travel. The wildlife was spectacular - we were very lucky to see wonderful views of leopards, lion, elephants, and more! The wild camping was great, the guides were wonderful, and the camp food was very good too! An excellent trip, and I'd highly recommend it!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The light aircraft flight over the Okavango Delta was incredible - the sort of view you can only otherwise get from a David Attenborough film!I also loved the Chobe River Cruise - being able to get so close to so many different types of animals and to see them from the water was unique and very special.Finally, the day to day aspect of wild camping, walking and just being in the wild with the animals was a wonderful experience and a refreshing change from normal life!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam did a very good job. He organised the trip very well and really knew what he was doing. He tried hard to make it as enjoyable as possible, although perhaps struggled to deal with one or two of the more "challenging" members of our group.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The trip notes were very helpful. I went in late October / early November and it was hot!! No need for fleeces or warm tops, and only a very light sleeping bag was required. Take a paclite for the occasional rare late afternoon downpour though.It was possible to charge batteries at several points along the route, as well as in the Landcruiser.Take plenty of dollars to change into local currency.Highly recommend the flight over the Delta, the longer helicopter flight over Victoria Falls, and the Chobe River Cruise - all amazing experiences!

WILDLIFE & WILDERNESS OF BOTSWANA

Lots of long dusty journeys, but necessary to get to the game parks. Wildlife quite spectacular when seen. Camping out in the wild great fun, including the back ground noises, followed up with the spoor marks around the camp area the next morning.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing the Leopards. We saw a Warthog up in a tree, & then with difficulty spotted the male Leopard, we then spotted another male Leopard prowling around under this tree hoping a few morsels would drop down.We had just left Khwai village & heard a racket from a small herd of Impala, my husband looked around to spot a female Leopard, who then "allowed" us to take some photos before leaving as there was now no chance of her hunting down a meal.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was always cheerful even when our vehicle came to an abrupt & terminal halt, some 30km from our camp for that night. He & the other guys always looked immaculate, I have no idea how they managed to do so, as I managed to look very dusty just sitting in the truck being driven around.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The entry fee to Victoria Falls needs to paid in local currency  (Kwatcha) not dollars, & this has been so since July 2012. It is difficult to get local currency even in Livingstone the only useable ATM had long queues although the Barclay bank readily changed sterling it closed at 11.30am on our Saturday visit. One of the best ways at get local currency at the campsite was to pay in sterling and then the change willl be in local.Make sure you have enough Pula for the Chobe river cruise (don't miss out on this well worth going on). When we were there the credit card machine was a bit hit & miss, they wouldn't take Sterling/Dollars
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If the temperatures drop use the rugs from the truck as an addtion to the sleeping bag, I found that this gave when just that extra bit of warmth on a quite cold night.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

This is a great trip if you like wildlife and the natural world. Be aware though that game spotting can be quite a challenge due to dense vegetation and tall grass. However, with a good tracker/spotter the rewards can be incredible for when you do spot wildlife. I gave this holiday 4 starts only because of some exceptional trips elsewhere. For example, the scenery in Botswana wasn't quite as spectacular as say Tanzania or Namibia.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The highlights for me would be the various times spent in the Okavango Delta, which included the game drives and game walks. On our first game walk our local guide took us to a hippo pool, where we found hippo feeding, which was great to see. We were also so close we could hear them munching on the grass. Camping is also a great way to get the whole wilderness experience, particularly with all the sounds you hear at night, truly amazing! Victoria Falls also far exceeded my expectations and my only regret is not choosing to do the micro-light flight over the Falls. A reason to return (among many) I suppose!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader, Sam was a very good guide and was always in good spirits. His advice on viewing the Falls from Zimbabwe rather than Zambia was proof of his local knowledge. He really surpassed himself in terms of what I expected from the food on this trip. We all ate incredibly well, from stews, steaks and curries. We even had fish and chips.  Whilst on the game drives Kenny took over as leader, which seemed appropriate to me. His tracking skills were amazing. On a game drive in Moremi he told us he was tracking a leopard. He was always very forthcoming with information and his knowledge of the wildlife. Anyway, back to the leopard tracking; Kenny started to point out signs of its presence. From footprints in the sandy road and the alarm calls of various animals, which suggesting a predator was nearby. We drove on then he suddenly veered through the bush. Warnings of "branches, branches" came from the front of the truck until eventually someone in our group spotted the leopard and there it was, walking parallel to us under the trees. It was a magical experience and one I'll never forget. Moments like that really define a holiday for me and thanks to Kenny I'll treasure it forever. We also saw Lion (and cubs), also leopard cubs. Lots of Elephant (also swimming across the Chobe River), Hippo, Wild Dogs (which Botswana are known for) and numerous birds, to name but a few.  Last but not least the third tour member Bruce, who was always very happy, hardworking and efficient. He certainly deserves a mention.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I think the best advice to give would be to go with an open mind. Game viewing can be at times difficult, as mentioned earlier, vegetation is often very dense and the grass grows particularly high. But, with a good tracker and everyone’s eyes peeled you can get rewarded, as my preceding review should testify.   Take US Dollars. Hard currency means everything. You can use ATMs in Maun and a few other larger towns but rest assured you will find your credit cards refused at various stages of the trip. Zimbabwe only takes MasterCard (NOT VISA) and even then the machines "may not" be working. We noticed that getting into the Falls in Zimbabwe take both US Dollars and GB Pounds, which we didn't initially realise. So, my main point would be to TAKE LOTS OF CASH.  Another point would be the time of year to go. I was very happy going in mid to late May, which is the start of their dry season (winter). Be aware that the Delta floods in July and August and the main rains in Botswana come in November and December. Going at various times of the year would have differing advantages for various points of the trip. For example, going in May was good due to no rain and good due to the high level of the Falls, but not so good for the Delta. Later in the dry season would be good for both I guess. July/August would be good for the Delta and perhaps the Falls would still be quite high. Whatever time of year you choose to go, you're bound to have a great time!    

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

Great trip with lots of wildlife viewing opportunities - and Victoria Falls!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Victoria Falls was amazing - even though it was low water (October). Well worth doing the helicopter trip over the falls. And you do need to do the optional trip to the Zimbabwe side of the falls. (When we visited there was almost no water coming over the Zambian side!) You can book an organised trip to the Zimbabwe side - but our guide was kind enough to take us (onhis day off!) - so all it cost us was the entry fee to the falls and the Zimbabwe visa.And the Chobe River cruise was also incredible. The word 'cruise' gives the wrong impression - we were in small boat (holds about 16 people), close to the water level - but this makes it far more special because you get so close to the animals. Seeing the elephant family come down to the river to drink was perhaps the highlight. 
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our guide (Sam) and driver (Jame) were both very friendly and helpful. Couldn't have asked for more!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Make the most of the optional trips. Chobe River Cruise has to be the best value for money. 
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Expected to come back covered in insect bites - but we didn't get one! (Maybe we were just lucky - or perhaps October is a good time to avoid the mosquitoes.)There were 2 very long - and rather boring - days of driving from Maun to Kasane via the salt pans - and the  salt pans were not as impressive as I expected. But other than that, the rest of the trip was superb.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

Wilderness and wildlife at it's best without too much of the other stuff thrown in. A fantastic trip with lots of opportunity for wildlife sitings and being at one with nature.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
This was a question we kept asking ourselves as the trip went on and we never managed to pin point one moment. Some of the moments for me were:1. watching a young leopard lounge around in a tree - it felt as if he was looking straight at me!2. watching three lionesses interact with two cubs as the sun started to drop3. an elephant almost taking a swim - he just about got his shoulders in!4. spectacular sunsets and a spectacular electric storm!5. watching the pied kingfisher from a swimming hole in the delta
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam, Jame and Bruce made a good team. Sam wasn't well for the first few days of our trip but he struggled on and came into his own after starting some antibiotics. Sam clearly knows his stuff and the trip ran smoothly from start to finish. Jame is the gentle giant of the three and a true wildlife enthusiast. Even after hours of driving on challenging roads Jame would always stop if an animal was spotted and position the truck to ensure we got the best viewing and pictures possible. Jame never rested unless everything was in order. Bruce always had a smile on his face and was happy to put the kettle on for us at all times (even in the heat of the day!)
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
A Zambian visa was extremely easy to purchase at the border so don't worry about getting one before.When heading into Savuti and Moremi ensure you have enough cold drinks (as well as water) to last as there are no shops in between. If you get fed up of drinking water then get some drink powder from Shop Rite (supermarket). This is easy to carry and a little like squash when added to water. The mixed berry flavour is particularly pleasant.Take your swim kit into the delta as the swimming hole is a great alternative to no shower!Although we were advised to keep buying 5 litre water bottles, most of the water in Botswana seemed ok to drink - the guides were actually quite excited about the water in savuti and it did indeed taste goodIt was very hot in October, between 38-42 most days and above 30 at night. We discovered that wearing a wet T-shirt or havinga  wet scarf / towel around our necks helped prevent us from overheating at the hottest points of the day and dried very quickly.walking boots weren't needed - trainers were sufficient in the delta and sandals everywhere elseA light sleeping bag was totally sufficient and even that was too much at times. A cotton sheet or sheet liner would have been usueful.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Rain jacket was a waste of space as when it rained it did so fantastically and jacket wouldn't have helped. It was also 'warm rain' so was quite welcome after a hot sticky day!Visit Vic Falls under your own steam. Get a taxi there - US$10, entry US$20 and then head to the right where you will no doubt bump into a young guide who would like to show you all the best veiweing spots, followed by a safe swimming hole. This will cost you between US$20-35  /person. The guides work as a team so divide up earnings evenly at the end of the day. This option isn't advertised so it's a bit of a gamble but was well worth it. The 'comfortable' mattresses and camp beds aren't so comfortable, two mattresses on the floor was the better option, but even then it depended which mattresses you got! You also need to ask for this as it means swapping beds for mattresses at HQ in Maun.If you want a trip T-shirt make sure you buy it in Livingstone as options in Botswana are extremely limited.Armadillos in Livinsgtone made for a great night out - excellent food and live musicI needed more money than I thought and would have needed even more if doing any of the expensive optional activities in Livingstone. Also remember that tips add up! I proabably spent between £600-700 on food, drinks (alcohol included), visa, extra activities, tipsChobe River cruise and Zambezi sunset cruise are both worth doing although Zambezi cruise no longer has dinner, but does have free alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and finger food!Delta flight was encouraged, but unless you have a burning desire to view the delta from above or particualrly enjoy flights in light aircraft, this was an expensive 45 mins!If you have any doubts about this trip because of bush toilets, bush showers and remote camping don't -these wern't nearly as bad as you might think and in fact preferable to toilet experiences on other trips!Lastly - ENJOY!

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

This was a superb holiday in every sense of the word.  Stunning scenery, amazing wildlife, some great campsite locations and the usual well-organised and friendly local team catering to our every need.  If you are thinking of doing this holiday then stop thinking and start doing.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Impossible to pick just one.  A few specific moments stand outWalking with lions on the activity day in ZambiaStanding in front of the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe sideElephants at sunset on the Chobe river cruiseSeeing a leopard on a fresh killWild camping in Moremi (with hippos in the pool behind the tents!) and in the salt pans (truly the most surreal camping location I have ever been to)  
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam is an excellent Group Leader.  Nothing was too much trouble and he also took the time to take a group of us over into Zimbabwe on his day off, which I highly recommend doing at low water time as you see the falls much better than from the Zambia side.  He is also an excellent cook, even complying with our requests for weird food like eggy bread.!Jame was our wildlife guide and driver and made a huge difference to the experience on this holiday with the quality and quantity of wildlife spotting. Even on the day when he'd driven all day with no break due to a problem with one of the vehicles he still insisted on taking us for a sunset drive so we didn't miss the hippo pools.Bruce and James made up the team and both worked tirelessly and cheerfully in the background to ensure that we got the full relaxing experience of "full service camping" which is after all why many people pick this trip!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Stick with the Exodus kit list and you can't go far wrong.  We were there during the hot dry season but even so I was glad of a three sesaon sleeping bag on the salt pans.  The zip-off style of trousers and the lightweight safari shirts are great and you have chances to rinse out clothes on most days so don't overpack!  Take plenty of wet wipes and insect repellant.  You do get the chance to shower most days and in some places (Audi camp for example) the facilities are excellent. I took walking boots and wished I hadn't as they weren't really necessary, trainers would have been fine.  Sandals are a must.  You may get the chance to swim while in the Delta so at the very least take shorts and a t-shirt that you can swim in when you pack your "smaller bag" for the Delta.You get the chance to buy souvenirs on the last day at a shop which is literally right outside the airport so no need to do it early and lug stuff around with you unless you see something really unusual. Take plenty of US Dollars for Zambia.  No-one uses any other currency and if you have enough to pay for your trips in cash then you don't get the 5% credit card surcharge.  ATMs out on the road in Botswana are a bit hit and miss so do take advantage of the ones in Maun before you leave! If you have a DSLR take a decent zoom lens if you can.  Mine was 55-250 and I think 300 would have been better though I was quite pleased with some of the photos.  Charging is no problem as the vehicle has an inverter and an adaptor box with half a dozen outlets.  If you still have the two pin mains lead with the narrow plug shape that comes with most cameras these days then take it as it will fit directly into the adaptor box.  Otherwise you need a round pin South African adaptor.Travelling in the vehicle in the early morning is cold - make sure you have a fleece top and long trousers.  Some of the travelling from place to place was hot and dusty so buy sweets and drinks before you set out.  Jelly babies don't survive several days of 40 degree heat though!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The only even slightly negative point on the trip was the age and condition of some of the equipment used, namely the camp beds (which need chucking out!) and the matresses (which would be better if they were replaced with slightly thicker ones and used on their own without the beds).  We did also suffer three punctures and two vehicle breakdowns.  However despite this the local team worked very hard to make sure that the slight delays suffered did not adversely affect our enjoyment and it's all credit to them that it did not.There were 11 of us in our group and I thought this was a good number.  I'm not sure if it's just something about anyone who'd be mad enough to pick a camping safari in Africa but we all got on well and the overall group dynamic greatly added to the enjoyment of the holiday for me. I'm not sure it would have had the same atmosphere with a small group.Overall an excellent holiday.  My third with Exodus and it certainly won't be my last!

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

From the moment we arrived in Maun, every day brought another highlight - it will be hard to find another holiday which tops this one. Just outstanding from start to finish
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Where do I start?Here are just a few of the many moments - In the delta, sitting round the campfire enjoying the polers singing and dancing whilst a meteorite with a spectacular tail flew overhead.  -Flying over the Delta. - Walking with lions in Livingstone, the helicopter flight over Victoria Falls and going into Zimbabwe to view them. - The vastness and isolation of the Salt Pans. - Watching leopards at close range in the Moremi Reserve. The sunset cruise (thank goodness for digital cameras...) Watching and listening to the nearby hippos splashing in the moonlight. The friendship of my fellow travellers (none of whom I knew beforehand) contributed greatly to the holiday, we all wanted to do the same activities, had the same interests and shared many laughs
  What did you think of your group leader?
From the moment we met Sam at the airport, he was absolutely brilliant. Nothing was too much trouble, he was well organised and unflappable and somehow produced really tasty food all cooked on the campfire. He made sure that we could all do our chosen activities including taking us across the border to Zimbabwe when he should have had a relaxing afternoon. Jamie our driver and guide was also excellent - we had some long distances to cover but he stopped when we saw game on the way, and in the reserves, he could spot animals without having to reach for binoculars like the rest of us! Bruce and James were a competent support team
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take some swimming things to the Delta, we had an opportunity to go for a dip and there was some very hastily improvised swim wear on show. Baby wipes are always useful because it is very dusty (dust coloured clothing helps too. It is possible to do several activities in one day at Livingstone so enjoy!! Binoculars come in handy. There is an inverter in the truck so  lot of battery charging was done on route (take a South African adapter). No need to take masses of clothes as there is plenty of opportunity to wash clothes at the camp sites in Maun, Livingstone, Kisane and Savuti. Sturdy sandals and walking shoes are all you need for footwear. You will take a lot more photos than you might think so take high capacity memory cards for the cameras. Most importantly - just relax, let it all happen and enjoy every moment!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Having travelled quite a lot,I can honestly say that this is the best holiday I have ever had, made possible by the surroundings, the range of experiences on offer, our tour leader and my fellow travellers. Don't expect to see too much game in the Delta but the surroundings are intoxicating. Viewing the Falls from the Zimbabwe side was well worth the effort of crossing yet another border for the afternoon. Be prepared for some long journeys, but strangely they seem to pass very quickly. There are some early starts, but some beautiful sunrises to accompany them. I took a journal to write up my experiences on the day, what we did and what we saw - its nice to read again when you get home.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

This holiday is an absolute 'must' for anybody who enjoys plenty of variety.  It really does offer something for everyone.  I would rank this as one of the best holidays I have had - and that is saying a lot!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The sunset cruise on the Chobe River.  I have never seen so much wildlife in one place at the same time anywhere.   Bush camping on the Okavango Delta and the mokoro rides to view the sunset.The various game drives in Moremi and Savuti.  Again, wildlife was abundant, and we were lucky enough to have several sightings of leopards and cubs at very close range. 
  What did you think of your group leader?
Sam was an excellent leader, and also great fun.  He was also a very good cook.Our local guide, Jamie, was also first rate.  He was an excellent tracker, and as a result we saw much that was unusual as well as all the more common species.  He was extremely knowledgable about wild life and went to a lot of trouble to answer our questions in great detail
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
I travelled in July, and the nights were bitterly cold.  If you have a metal water bottle I recommend filling it with hot water last thing at night.  Not only do you then have a lovely warm hot water bottle (do wrap it in something to avoid burns!), but you have an extra supply of drinking water to use the following day.  Bed socks are a great idea too, and I found those supplied by the airline on the flight out to be perfectly adequate. Dry shampoo is a good idea, although there are plenty of opportunities to wash your hair in most places.  I was delighted to discover that it could also be used to great effect to de-pong training shoes!
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just go!  You won't regret it.

HIGHLIGHTS OF BOTSWANA

A little early in the dry season to rate a 'classic' trip for me personally, June/ July / August should be much better, but still saw Lions, Wild Dogs,Buffalo,  Crocs, Hippos, hundreds of Ellies, Giraffe and Wild Dogs...  a great tour Leader with a good sense of humour (allways helps) and driver who managed to spot anything that moved whilst still keeping an eye on the tracks....   overall a great trip, and did I say we saw Wild Dogs?....
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Wild dogs and the total tranquility of the Delta in the Mekoros.....
  What did you think of your group leader?
Superb...   Andrew was fantastic and a great cook.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
one thing,  the truck is open to the elements,  great for game viewing, but not so when travelling long distances at speed, so a light scarfe is a must, desert rats style.     and also there's no lockable safes on the truck either so looking after your valuables can be tricky at times,  like keeping everything dry at victoria falls for example....   
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