I haven’t done a group tour in a number of years and as a frequent solo traveller I was thoroughly looking forward to meeting like-minded people on my trip. We were a group of 13 + 3 staff and we all got on really well. The group was made up largely of solo travellers with a few couples. It was great to share the experiences with travellers from different walks of life and continents.
Anna was a great local guide who would assist in any way possible to make this experience as best as it could be. She was very well thought of by the entire group and a great ambassador for the company. Having a local guide ensured that the whole tour was seamless from start to finish. Anna was born in Namibia and had fantastic knowledge of all Southern African countries. I have no doubt that our crossings at the Botswana and Zimbabwe borders were a lot quicker than anticipated due to her being organised at all the immigration checkpoints. She also helped us prepare for a dance to entertain the locals at the Okavango Delta (although I’m not so sure if they were ready for Metrostation’s ‘Shake It’ just yet!).
Our overland truck was comfortable and reliable. The tables on board allowed us to socialise and play cards on any long journeys and the high vantage point of the truck meant that we were best placed to see any wandering wildlife when close to the national parks. Our boat rides were very smooth and we saw a lot more wildlife than I would have expected. There is an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta which is a must at just US$65. The best experience though was in the mokoros – it was great to relax in these canoes whilst gliding through the Delta at sunset.
The accommodation was mostly camping throughout which was fine and there were plenty of opportunities for upgrades to lodges and chalets which some members of the group took up.
The locals who took us out on the mokoros in the Okavango Delta for three days, put our tents up, entertained us around the fire and took us on game walks made us feel we were making the most of our time in their country.
The local people in Botswana were very friendly and helpful and understand and speak English well. The Zimbabwean people have more character to them – and love to talk about football. They all ensure you feel you are in the best possible hands.
Food was great everywhere. Half of our group was vegetarian which was great as we had loads of variety at meal times. We had everything from spaghetti bolognese to ‘pap’ which is a popular maize-based dish eaten in Southern Africa. Biltong is a definite must try when in South Africa – just don’t smell it before you eat it…
Just across the Botswana border near Serowe lies the Khama Rhino sanctuary, a community-based wildlife project looking after approximately 34 White Rhino and 2 Black Rhino. Other wildlife roams free within the huge grounds such as giraffe, springbok and impala. We saw well over a dozen rhino over two days including a baby rhino.
Where to start? A truly memorable three days spent in mokoros canoeing through the Delta and enjoying morning and afternoon game walks on the salt pans where we saw zebra, wildebeest, warthog and baboon feeding on the grass. An optional scenic flight gave a great vantage point of the whole delta and you get to see where all the hippo & elephant are hiding!
Definitely the best park I have visited yet. The game drives were fantastic and we saw most of our wildlife here and in much more abundance than anywhere else. The boat cruise was amazing and we got to see many animals feeding at the water – crocodile, buffalo, elephant, hippo and most of the antelopes to name a few.
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is an adrenalin-filled town. Adrenalin junkies can take part in white-water rafting, bungee jumps, canyon swings and zip lines to mention a few. Helicopter rides are recommended as are the sunset cruise along the Zambezi River.
There are lots of different places to eat and drink and the Falls themselves are a sight to behold – truly magnificent. You can buy ponchos at the entrance- don’t think you won’t need them!
At all of the national parks and campsites we stayed at, we were taught to ‘leave only footprints’ and so all our rubbish would be taken away, embers from the fire buried and literally no trace of our existence was left behind. We also had a water tank on the truck and were encouraged to fill up our water bottles from this safe drinking water.
You see so many different animals on this trip and although the ‘Big 5′ are a must as well as seeing all your favourite characters out of the Lion King, for me the baby rhino, elephant and hippo were definitely the best.
The main highlight however was after having had a long day travelling across the border to Botswana to our camp on the first night, a rhino wandered into our camp as we finished dinner. Seeing one of the Big 5 on your first night was definitely something I hadn’t expected. I’m not sure how I would have reacted if it was a lion though!
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