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25 May 2011

Worth the wait

After a 7 month delay due to a certain Icelandic Volcano cancelling the original trip ,I was eventually en route to Botswana.

Met the other guys at Heathrow and it was like a hyper school trip. The day had at last dawned.

Flew down to Gaberone via Joburg, the airline we travelled with was not as good at the Emirates flight I had taken 4 weeks before but Air Botswana from Joburg to Gaberone was superb, very friendly and professional.

Immigration at Gaberone was exceedingly quick and courteous.

It was then we met our host, Dawn Parr from Botswana tourist board. Not only a great host but a great photographer as all of the Botswana and animal photos on the website were taken by this lovely lady.

Mind you, she had her work cut out with us motley crew. With all of the phobias (snakes/spiders/creepy crawlies/dark etc) we had between us, Dawn must have thought what had she let herself in for! 

We had a trip round the haunts of "The Ladies Dectective Agency" , that of the book and BBC TV series fame.

Following day it was like a scouts outing , packing the van up and heading off into the wild blue yonder.

Once you got out of the capital (like most cities really heavy trafffic) it was onto good sealed roads which were a drivers dream.

First couple of nights were spent in Tuli, where we saw an abundance of wildlife.

A must do is to have a sundowner and/or breakfast on an escarpement when you are in Africa.

Onwards from Tuli to the Kalahari

Checked in at Limpopo Airport (blink and you miss it) for the next stage . Flying is the best way to get around Botswana because of the distances /terrain involved.

A real out of Africa experience flying over the land being able to view the wildlife from above. Makes a change sitting with the pilot as well.

Two hours later (after going via a refuelling stop) we landed at the airstrip at Kalahari Plains.

This was a tented lodge, but anything you think you know about camping , forget it. This was luxury camping. Second night there was even a leopard in camp. Amazing!

The lodge faced a large salt pan (big wide open savannah space) and you could sit in the bar watching the wildlife. Although this didnt make up getting close to the animals on the landcruiser.

Two days later and off to the Okavango Delta.

You wouldn't think  you were in the same country as this is a wetland. Again we saw copious amounts of game, including my must do of walking with an elephant!

You can book a tour, which you meet a mahout in the bush and get up close to the elephants and actually walk with them. This was by far the best experience of all, highly recommend it!

Finally we took off for another airstrip this time Chobe

This was where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton once tied the knot! If it's good enough for them.............

This time, we were on the river safaris, an abundance of hippos and crocs, you could literally touch them from the boat!

All good things must come to an end and we were soon on the way home.

Good points to remember

1. No jetlag to go to Botswana

2. Very friendly people

3. Best variety of Safaris I've ever been on

4. Great accomodation, from tents/lodges to 5 star hotels

5. Once you are there, great value for money



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