Parts of Africa nowadays are incredibly busy and can be overrun with well-meaning tourists searching for the ultimate wild experience. Not so with Botswana. This relatively off the radar destination encapsulates everything these visitors are looking for but rarely really find. As a country of only two million, characterised by the vast Okavango Delta and Kalahari Desert, there is plenty of room for visitors to disappear into the bush in their quest for wildness, making it the ultimate family safari destination. On this trip, my family and I visited the vast inland Delta which is annually filled by rain falling thousands of miles away in the Angolan Highlands. The water makes its way into the Botswanan heartlands where it supports a vast wetland ecosystem containing a multitude of game from giraffes and leopards to elephants and lions.
Days in the Delta revolved around early starts to go and see the animals when they were at their most active. Doing this meant we watched wild dogs on a kill, followed a huge pride of lions for two hours as they hunted and caught up with sly leopards before they retired into the shade. During the heat of the day, lazing around at the camps turned into safari mark two as elephants and hippos cooled off in the river and wandered past our tents only metres away.
One day, we had a long game drive in the morning and then stopped off with a river view for a delicious bush lunch which had all been laid up on white linen tablecloths. Two big male elephants were browsing on ripe acacia pods only 15 metres or so away. Luckily they were very relaxed but we were still advised not to open an orange as the strong smell might have proved too much of a temptation! After lunch, we zipped back to camp along the river in our little boat, disturbing egrets and bee-eaters as we went.
Afternoons usually entailed family-friendly activities like bush walks (there is something seriously thrilling about seeing lions, buffalo and elephants on foot!) or canoeing past watchful game. This then led right into a night game drive to spot the creatures of the night from porcupines and nightjars to serval cats and hyenas using the glare of a super powerful torch to pick out the reflections of their eyes.
Traditional dinners were eaten around the fire with stories, sundowners and stargazing at the brightest stars any of us had ever seen. A really great thing to take along is a stargazing app on your phone which uses GPS (not your precious data!) to show you what you are looking at, be it the Southern Cross or Scorpio.
For adventurous and active families in search of the ultimate family safari destination and wishing to stray off the well trodden routes of Africa, Botswana really is the place to be.
Inspired? Let us take you there…
A family activity holiday in Botswana could be just what you and your family are looking for. Try our Botswana family safari adventure, a 12 day journey from Maun, through Moremi Game Reserve, Savuti and Chobe National Park to reach Victoria Falls in Zambia.
Please contact us on 01962 302062 for more information.