Botswana. Where to begin? I knew nothing about this land-locked African country in the south of the continent prior to our recent journey for safari. An individual from this country is known as Motswana and a group from this country are Batswana.
Botswana is about the size of Wales, 11,000 square miles and is home to around 2.5 million inhabitants. The biggest industries are mining (diamonds, copper) and tourism. English is the main language spoken. Botswana has the longest, continuous democracy in all of Africa. Most of Botswana is very dry and desert-like with large, protected National Parks including the world famous Okavanga Delta. Hence, it is the perfect place for safari.
We visited 3 very different lodges while in Botswana. The first was a magnificent hotel, more than a lodge, which accommodated up to 90 guests. Chobe Game Lodge is just inside Chobe National Park in Northern Botwana, not too far from Victoria Falls (which gives you an extra reason to go!)
We stayed in a very luxurious suite with a living area, 2 full bathrooms and a king-sized bed. This suite had an a/c unit which made our stay very comfortable. There was a large balcony with chaises longues and views of the pool area.
Chobe Game Lodge gives you a 4:45 am wake up call for a 5:30 safari start. After a quick continental breakfast, you are whisked away in a 6 seater, open land-cruiser truck. Chobe Game Lodge is very eco-friendly and their vehicles have all been converted to electric. They use solar heat wherever possible and have banned plastic straws.
After 4 hours of looking for animals – we saw herds of impala, towers of giraffe, a parade of elephants, (don’t you just love collective nouns?) and a dazzle of zebras. Of course, everyone wants to see the big cats and we did see lions and leopards during our Chobe stay.
Chobe Game Lodge also offers water safaris in the late morning and at least once at sunset time. We cruised down the Chobe River our first evening there and were delighted by all the baboons, impala, crocodiles, hippos, birds and a small group of elephants who came down to the water to refresh themselves. The scenery was spectacular! One side of the boat was Namibia and the other Botswana – the Chobe River is the boundary between the two countries.
(Read all about the birds of Botswana here: Revenge of the Water Thick-knees)
The food was first-rate at this lodge with a variety of exotic-sounding dishes – springbok carpaccio, roast crocodile and kudu stew – as well as the old familiar fare – lamb, beef, chicken, salads, curries. There were several different places to dine and the staff changed things up each evening.
On my birthday, we were treated to a private, el fresco dinner by candlelight and the amazing harmonies of the Batswana staff. In fact, everywhere we went in Botswana we enjoyed the wonderful singing and dancing of the locals. It’s not enough to be fluent in English, efficient and charming here, you have to have a great singing voice too!
Our safari guide was Flo and her knowledge of the animals, birds, plants and all things “Botswana” was quite astounding. I suggest you spend 3 nights here before moving on to some other amazing wildlife experiences in Botswana.
Chobe Game Lodge is highly recommended. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org