Maun, Botswana: The safari capital of Botswana
This interesting “village” in Botswana’s far north, is known as the safari capital of Botswana. Many travellers pass through
here on their way to the Okavango Delta. It is the southern most part of the Delta and boasts a river tributary of the Okavango
called the Thamalakane. We often recommend a night here to see how it all works and to meet some of the characters who
reside here – guides, conservationists, bush pilots, photographers and film makers to name a few. It is our home and this
frontier “village” certainly puts things into perspective before travelling to the wilderness.
The Okavango Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve: Best time to travel – April to December
The Moremi Game Reserve protects 5500 square kilometres of the Okavango Delta’s wilderness. This world famous park is
renowned for it’s fantastic game viewing and its pristine condition. It is one of Africa’s most exciting destinations and
travellers from around the globe come to enjoy this unique inland river delta – the Okavango Delta. The Delta begins life in
Angola, some 2000 kilometres north of Maun.. Having flowed through southern Angola and across Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, it
fans out over the Kalahari sands forming a 15000 square kilometre alluvial fan. The formation of the delta dates back to around
two million years ago.
Xakanaxa: Moremi Game Reserve:
The Xakanaxa region of Moremi is well known for its good game concentrations. A myriad of road systems take us on exciting
game drives through ever changing habitat from riverine forest to Mopane woodland, lagoon systems to floodplains and river
channels to open grasslands. The scenery is entertaining enough in its diversity and no two game drives are the same. Excellent
concentrations of grazers and browsers support high numbers of predators.
Khwai River: Moremi Game Reserve:
This is the eastern most river of the Okavango Delta and it ends life in the sands. Many people return here because the wildlife
concentrations are so incredible. Elephants come from miles around to drink, pods of Hippos are discovered around just about
every bend in the river and the semi aquatic Red Lechwe occupy the rivers flood plains. As we say “there is always something
interesting happening on the Khwai!” There are at least three prides of Lions that occupy the river front, there presence
keeping the prey species ever alert. It is also great African Wild Dog country and last year we had numerous sightings
including two kills
Chobe National Park: Best time to travel – April to December
Savuti lies in the centre of the Chobe National Park. This vast thirst land is known for its Lion and Hyena densities made
famous by films like Eternal Enemies and BBC’s Planet Earth series. The Savuti was a river and will become one again. The
river dried up for the fourth time in 150 years in 1980. Last year it started to flow again but it could take years, rain water
input permitting, for it to flow again all the way to the “marsh”. It is the dry river bed and marsh dotted with hills in the
surrounding area that make the place unique. It is good country for African Wild Dog and Cheetah. San art dating back to 4000
years ago can be seen on one of the hills. Our game drives usually centre around visiting four pans – Main pan, Rhino pan,
Maribou pan and Harvey’s. In winter, they are the only source of water and wildlife come from miles around to drink. These
pans are captive audiences for photographers and we spend hours here watching and waiting.
Chobe River Front:
The Chobe river has it’s source in Angola. Here it is called the Kwando River, down stream on entry into Botswana, it is
known as the Linyanti River and for its last 60 or so kilometres, it becomes the Chobe River.
A few million years ago it flowed south toward the Kahalari but tectonic movement changed that and today the river drains
into the mighty Zambezi. This final stage of the river opens up onto channels and floodplains that supports an incredible
amount of life. It is home to around 2000 Plains Zebra, 4000 Cape Buffalo and it is greatest claim – the highest density of
Elephant on Earth. Numbering around 45 000, it is a safe haven for the planets largest land mammal. Here one can hang out
with many herds and gain insight to this awe inspiring species and their behaviour patterns. The river itself is loaded with
Hippos and Crocodiles and bird life is abundant too.
Nxai Pan National Park:
Formerly known as Paradise Pan, this little visited park bring on the delights of the desert. Travelling there is tough but once in
the park, we get to witness the desert species. Herds of Springbok, Impala, Oryx, Zebra and Wildebeest arrive at the main pan
to drink under the watchful gaze of the resident pride of Lions. Leopard, Cheetah and wild Dog are sometimes seen too. Bat
Eared Fox and Black Backed Jackals are numerous and the bird life will see you adding to your list in no time. This area of
Botswana reminds us of an Africa of old, its wide open spaces and incredible stars over head certainly takes us back in time.
Makgadigadi National Park: Kumaga and the Boteti River Best time to travel – April to December
This is the western side of the park and the Boteti river marks the border. This river which has its source from the delta waters
has not flowed for 17 years until recently. Today the life giving waters attract large numbers of Zebra and Wildebeest. Toward
Kumaga, the river bed is still dry however and so we conduct our drives in the river bed. The drama and the dust and the light
offer wonderful sunsets. The river banks, lined with Camel Thorn Acacia filled with Vultures, tell a story of life and death in
the dry. Many animals weakened by thirst and stress die along here. This in turn supports the predator populations including
the scavenging Brown Hyena. This rare nocturnal numbers only between 5000 and 8000 and Botswana has the largest numbers
in Africa. Chances of seeing one are slim and Africa Pride supports on going research on this little known species.
The Salt Pans
These pans are the largest salt pans in the world. Should you choose to visit, we use the services of Planet Boabab to take us
out onto the pans by quad bike. Here we can see the curvature of Earth under the heavens. We sleep in bedrolls around the fire
and under the heavens. Space and timelessness is the order of the day and if timed correctly, a full moon journey will fill your
mind and soul with the thought of what a remarkable planet we occupy.
For the traveller visiting in February, Suwa pan east of here is the breeding grounds for both the Greater and Lesser Flamingo –
the highest concentration of these birds in Southern Africa.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve: Best time to travel – All year round
This is one Africa biggest sanctuaries. We travel to the north of the reserve to Deception Valley. Our private campsite is our
base to explore a tiny piece of this vast wilderness. It is home to the famous black maned Kalahari Lions and the open
grasslands support good densities of Cheetah. Herds of Oryx can bee seen laid up in shade during the day, adapted perfectly to
their desert environment.
Okavango Pan Handle:
Best time to travel – April to December
The pan handle as it is called is a myriad of main channels, Papyrus reed, riverine forest and many islands. Water birds thrive
here and the fishing is awesome. When we travel here we can choose to make use of the house boats that are moored on the
channels. These come with a two tether boats and we can spend our days exploring the channels and fishing should you wish.
At night the chefs prepare delightful meals taken on the main deck.
Just west of the Pan Handle lie the four hills that make up the Tsodilo Hills. This is Botswana’s only world heritage listed site
and holds the biggest rock art collection in southern Africa. Some 2500 panels have been identified. The four hills represent a
male, female with a child. The fourth hill, to some, is another woman. Either way, we take a walk around the female hill to take
a look at the art and experience the feeling of the highest point in Botswana. We usually visit Tsodilo on a day trip prior to
departing for Xai Xai.
Xai Xai Village:
Best time to travel – April to December
Xai Xai village offers the traveller insight into an ancient culture – the San. It is a tough journey to get there given its
remoteness but worth the journey. With the Aha Aha hills as a back drop, we get to learn about the people and how they have
lived for thousands of years. In the morning we take a 3 hour walk to learn about plants, trees and bulbs that have been found
to be useful to the people. In the afternoon we get to sit and chat to the people via an interpreter who will explain beliefs and
customs. You will be quizzed on yours too. We then get taught to play games or watch and listen to some traditional songs. In
the evening, after dinner, we return to their encampment to learn about the trance dance and the healing abilities of the
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