What do I say about you Botswana? You have left me speechless!
So I am going to borrow a line from John Burroughs – “I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order”
The essence of these words has been so aptly captured by Wilderness Safaris in their motto “Disconnect to Reconnect”
Probably the reason why it is here in Botswana that the Wilderness Safaris’ story began more than 3 decades ago…….
The fast paced frenzy that spells “life” for many of us today is actually crying out for a pause!
The moments that we are being robbed of as our fingers tap away incessantly on the so called magic of technology, are begging for a pause!
A pause to appreciate; a pause to express; a pause to listen; to smell and sense; a pause to wonder and wander; a pause to breath and ponder!
Every once in a while we owe it to ourselves.
Botswana is the ideal place for this much needed pause!
The wetland wilderness and the floodplains of the Okavango Delta; the woodlands of the Linyanti and the expanse of the Kalahari Plains offer a very diverse and interesting mix of landscapes, vegetation and game viewing all spread on the sands of the Kalahari intermittently submerged under the waters of the Okavango flowing all the way from Angola.
The ecosystem set on the sands is very rare and the most intriguing.
The magnificent sun rises and sun sets and all the action that takes place between their cycles through day and night is something that you need to witness with your very own eyes.
The quaint and tranquil dream stay locations delicately and tastefully crafted by Wilderness Safaris across the wilderness of Botswana, managed with sensitivity towards the environment as well as with compassion towards the local communities is a feat to be felicitated.
Miles away from anywhere, yet well connected by Wilderness Air, its mind boggling to see how the logistics work so well in places so remote and Wild!
Botswana is Wild and how!
From the pack of wild dogs around camp Mombo on Chiefs’ island; to the Hippos and frogs in the channels of the Okavango in a Mokoro ride around camp Xigera; the elephant for company at dinner at Chitabe; the Motor boat rides in the lagoons with hippos bobbing up and down around the Vumbura Plains to the python; monitor lizard and the lions the and crocodiles around Kings Pool; the Elephants wading the waters of the Linyanti and crossing over to Namibia for a day trip, to innumerable antelopes; colourful birds and the very many big cats and all the excitement that they bring, Botswana has it all.
Speaking about the Wild, I’d like to share my experience of one particular evening, my last one in Botswana in the Linyanti concession area.
“So Tshepo the GM from Kings Pool and I set out for a site inspection of the Linyanti Tented Camp that evening, as we reached the camp the Sun had already started to set on the horizon. Bonno the Manager and I were walking through the camp, we visited one of the tents and were inside for barely 5 minutes, as we walk out, there we were confronted by a huge bull Elephant, he was in our path, or rather we were in his, all due respect to his humongous size!
Bonno signalled me to freeze n stay calm, I obeyed (hence no pictures )
When the big guy seemed to calm down a bit, we retracted our steps back towards the tent and stayed put until the hungry bull went back to browsing on some juicy leaves and barks.
The story doesn’t end here folks, so Tshepo and I start driving back towards Kings Pool, by now the sun is completely down and it is pitch dark except for the head lights of our vehicle , 15 mins on the road and Tshepo spots a Python right in front of our vehicle a good 2 meter long slithering venomous Python.
The excitement of the forced night game drive was building up as our nocturnal outing took the most interesting turn, Tshepo’s expert eyes had spotted the ultimate – the tracks of 2 big male Lions, right on the sand roads that we were driving on.
10 minutes ahead, we spot them, 2 big males, cousins I was told, one 5; the other 7, their sheer size and demeanour an evidence of some superb genes, walking purposefully with royal grace!
They were steadily and methodically marking their territory gearing up for the kill.
The elder one decides to go off road, while the younger one continues to walk ahead of us, we follow him.
In a fraction of a second he does something impulsive, he jumps on a hippo in the bush, this was something that even Tshepo was witnessing for the first time.
Well it’s a failed attempt coz it’s impossible for a single Lion to take down a Hippo, now that was indeed hilarious, but it also told us how desperate and famished the Lions were and realisation struck, that at that moment we were the only 2 living beings around them, seated in a completely open Land Rover.
As the adrenaline rush gets the better of us we go a bit off road to track the elder one, he comes back on the road and we continue to observe and follow them as they continue to be our chaperones in the bush.
The ‘Hide’ at Duma Tao – Linyanti Concession Botswana – Wilderness Safaris
Well the plan for our dinner at the camp was “bush dinner” this is too much excitement and my heart is beating loud in my ear drums.
We called the other guides and some brave and willing guests joined us in this excitement, for a while we continued to follow the duo (in the Wilderness concession areas it is never more than 3 vehicles per sighting, that’s real exclusively)
However we sensed that they were unable to go about their job owing to the lights of our vehicles, so we decided to let them be, as we went on to join the others for our own meal in the bush, leaving the hungry Predators only 20 minutes away.
When the others heard our story the meals were gobbled and everyone discreetly started heading back to camp for the night, to get whatever sleep they could.
Phew what a night, UNFORGETTABLE!
The stories of the Wild go on……
Every night falling asleep to the grunting Hippos at the foot of the bed and the roaring Lions at the head of the bed, the stories of their nocturnal deeds unfolding on the morning landscapes.
Waking up to the sweetest melodious chirping of various birds, interrupted by a heavy-set “GOOD MORNING” wake up from the guide, your alarm in the bush, is the daily order.
Sharing your tales of the Wild with people from across the globe. Learning a bit of theirs while sharing a bit of your culture with them.
Making new friends while sitting around the fire under the African skies as the temperatures commence to dip, to wake up yet again to a glorious Orange Sun that rises to the promise of yet another interesting chapter in the wilderness!
That is Safari life in Botswana!
You don’t want the experience to end ever!
Cause you have now got the taste of being “disconnected” a taste of being spoiled by the ever so caring and warm staff from Wilderness Safaris. Their concern and gestures so genuine that you have to be thick skinned if you do not get all goose bumped!
Well I could go on forever, so much for finding myself with a lack of words at the beginning
Well I’m no writer, so once again I shall borrow a line, this time from Ralph Waldo Emerson – “Adopt the pace of Nature, her secret is Patience”
Wild and Wonderful Botswana you taught me to be patient; you taught me to be calm you taught me to be brave and more…………..
Stay tuned for some videos, please excuse their quality they were taken on a humble phone with shaky hands their mind blowing content more than makes up for their quality !!!!