FUN-travel: Botswana – Mobile Safari – Part 2

October 27, 2010 by  

The ABC’s of Africa

A = Awesome
B = Bummer
C = Celebration
AA = Awesome Adventure
BB = Big Bummer
OO = Outrageously Overpriced
RBB = Really Big Bummer
TA = Totally Awesome
TAA = Totally Awesome Adventure
VG = Very Good

Day 23 – Saturday, September 25 – Savuti to Moremi, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Elephant Crossing

  • 1st drive 6:30 spot pride of 4 big male lions – next stop 2 females, one with 2 cubs well camouflaged in dry, yellow/brown 18” gras
  • 64 miles to Moremi, single lane road like mild roller coaster ride w/lots of dips then very rocky & bumpy, takes 5 hours
  • B – major wild fire on both sides as far as you can see for 25 miles
  • A – front row seats to 11:30 Elephant Show @ Water Hole – 25, all males, playing & having mud baths
  • A – drive through village – see mud huts being built using aluminum cans to hold it together instead of bricks
  • A – camp right on rivers edge & great lunch
  • 2nd drive very sparse animal viewings – more trees & marshes & grassy plains
  • C – in camp entertainment – after dinner concert featuring Marimba Frog band accompanied by Croaking Frog band w/bats chiming in – lead vocals by Harry the Hippo (quite loud snort/groan/bellow) – lasts until wee hours – wake up 2:30 to find wild dog sitting right outside front (turns out it was a dog from the village)

Lucy & Lidia

FF (FUN Facts) – always guaranteed to see lots of impalas

Day 24 – Sunday, September 26 – Moremi Game Reserve Khwai region, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Willy the Wildebeest

  • 1st drive 6:30 see the usual suspects & warthogs plus first ever red lechwe
  • A – brunch of cheese omelets, sausages & homemade bread
  • 2nd drive very sparse animal sightings again
  • A – Frank has back up Bird Safari planned – see all kinds
  • A – lots of dragon flies – one completely transparent w/exception of one black, velvety square on outer tip of each wing
  • C – in camp entertainment – same as last night except apparently Harry has gig at Hippo’s Pool Bar

FF – termite mounds abound – look like miniature volcano sand castles, some over 8’ high

Day 25 – Monday, September 27 – Moremi to Okavango Delta, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

Bulls Will Be Bulls

  • 1st drive see mongoose, 2 honey badgers, black-backed jackal
  • 2nd drive see herd of 12 wildebeests, group of 10 mongoose, giraffe 15’ from road crosses in front of us

    Bob the Black-backed Jackal

  • A – see 2nd kill – hammerkop bird has frog – too big to eat so must tenderize it up by repeatedly shaking it, biting it & smashing on ground
  • C – in camp entertainment – after dinner concert featuring Marimba Frog band accompanied by Cicada Band

FF – lots of people driving themselves & camping in park – totally crazy, there are no street signs & they ask Frank for directions

Day 26 – Tuesday, September 28 – Okavango Delta, Botswana – cool 60’s to hot 90’s

  • A – Frank hears leopards calling 6 am – Anton heard hyenas walking through camp just after we went to bed (glad my hearing is not that good)
  • 1st drive 6:30 to Mboma Island for 9:00 mokoro boat ride deep in delta – leopard & lion tracks but none to see
  • B – see sparse animals again w/exception of lots more giraffes
  • A – mokoro = dugout canoe poled by local – quite, gentle ride
  • B – not much to see other than lots of tall & short grasses, reeds, bamboo, water fig trees, ferns, & water lilies all competing for the same spot
  • A – ride back to camp see velvet monkeys @ water hole being attacked by pair of blacksmith plover birds – protecting new chick venturing out for first time – arrive back to camp @ 2:30
  • A – 2nd drive see 1st ever both bat eared fox & steenbok
  • C – in camp entertainment – same as last night

Sam the Sable Antelope

Day 27 – Wednesday, September 29 – Okavango Delta to Namibia – very cool, windy 60’s to hot 90’s

Nellie the Nesting Croc

  • A – on way see more elephants, sable antelope, giraffes, impalas, velvet monkeys
  • A – takes 3 hours & 34 minutes, not 5 hours
  • A – plane departs 3:40 pm so have lots of time to eat & shop & check email
  • B – wifi is horribly slow and spotty
  • A – have great lunch & cappuccino
  • TA – can’t wait to have AC, full hot water shower, ice cold anything to drink!
  • B – 3:45 and haven’t boarded yet – flight disappears from departure screen – there are only 2 gates, one for domestic, one for international
  • BB – sit & wait, sit & wait, sit & wait – finally board 5:30 (never updated by airline personnel) 19 seater, double prop
  • RBB – plane is going to Vic Falls first (entirely opposite direction) – don’t arrive until 8:30 (3 hours late) – get to hotel 9:30

Botswana Recap:Best time for Chobe is the dry season months of August, September, and October. A mobile safari is a great way to see the terrain and experience Africa. The pluses are you don’t have to fly in a 6 seater plane and you keep your luggage with you.

River Crossing

On the small planes you are only allowed a total of 22 lbs, so you have to pay to store your luggage and carry a small soft bag that

Botswana Baby

sits on your lap. Chris’s camera equipment weighs more than 40 lbs. Driving instead of flying allows for a real sense of how big & remote Africa is. We are glad we had the experience but wouldn’t do it again. I would say now, that 3 days in a private camp in Kruger and 3 days in Chobe with both land & boat would be a TAA. We give Botswana double thumbs up for the number of different animals & the vast amounts of then! The food was very good and we had lots of fresh vegetables & fruit. Every dinner started with soup, main course always had a starch, meat, vegetable, salad, and finished with a dessert. Brunch was only served the 2 times we were not moving camp. Those days a picnic lunch was provide with multiple items to choose from that included meat, cheese, homemade bread, chips, cookies, etc. All drinks, beer & wine were included. This is what to expect from a 5 star mobile safari. At the Simbavati lodge we stayed at in Kruger breakfast was served at 10, lunch at 3 & dinner at 8. Only tea & coffee were included and we paid for all other beverages. Food was fresh and good there too. This was a 4 star lodge experience.

Anton, Joe, Me & Frank