Educational to Botswana: My Summary – Carolynne Higgins

Last week I enjoyed a whirlwind 3 day safari of Botswana, courtesy of Sun Destinations. Over the past few months we’ve been working tirelessly at creating combination safari packages for agents – the latest being the 7/8 night package encompassing vastly different regions of Botswana. Areas incorporated included Kazuma Forest Reserve near Chobe, the Okavango Delta and the Kalahari. In this package we combined Camp Kuzuma, Machaba Camp and the Haina Kalahari Lodge.

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Botswana Highlights – 7 nights – Sun Destinations

Botswana Highlights – 8 nights – Sun Destinations

Shortly before Indaba we decided to host the first of many educationals for agents. Gill from Livingstone Safaris and Tracy from African Sojourns joined me in this Botswana mini-Odyssey. It really was a case of flying in, going on a game drive and moving onto the next lodge. We flew with a small charter company and made use of the private airstrips at Haina Kalahari Lodge and Machaba Camp in the Delta.

Day 1: Camp Kuzuma, Kazuma Forest Reserve

This was my second visit to Camp Kazuma; and my favourite thing about Kuzuma is the pan which attracts a plethora of birdlife. The decor is quite opulant and reminiscent of a boutique hotel.

 

The Room at Camp Kuzuma

The Room at Camp Kuzuma

 

Elephants at the Waterhole

Elephants at the Waterhole

 

Birdlife on the Pan

Birdlife on the Pan at Camp Kuzuma

 

Lodge:

The lodge comprises 5 cabins joined by timber walkways and a large, grand reception area. A splash pool lies nestled on the wooden deck that overlooks the resident watering hole. There is a spa room, bath and shower in each room and extremely comfortable beds !

Sightings:

Saw incredible birdlife, especially around the palm-fringed pan. Herds of elephant congregated around the waterhole in front of the lodge. Saw baboon, giraffe and zebra.

Selling Points:

  • Secluded. There were no other game vehicles around and it’s in the heart of an incredible forest reserve.
  • Waterhole. There is a waterhole in front of the swimming pool which attracts elephant and baboons.
  • Food. The food is fantastic and while there guests will experience a traditional braai.
  • Intimate. There are not that many rooms.
  • Day trips can be arranged.

Take Note: The camp is located an hour’s drive from Kasane airport. It is not Chobe – it is untouched, unspoilt and tranquil. For guests wanting a Chobe experience or even a sunset cruise, this can be arranged from camp. However, you’d need to take into account an hour spent driving to and from where the tour departs.

Day 2: Machaba Camp, Khwai River in the Okavango Delta.

After flying for an hour via small charter flight we landed at the Khwai Airstrip. Machaba Camp is located on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve on the banks of the Khwai River. Guides refer to the area as a “paradise for wildlife”. They were right !

 

Machaba Camp in Botswana

Sophisticated Machaba Camp in Botswana

 

Leopard at Machaba Camp

Leopard Spotted at Machaba Camp

 

Typical Sunset in Botswana

Typical Sunset in the Okavango Delta

 

Lodge:

The lodge comprises 10 tents, two family tents. Decor is sophisticated, understated and simple luxury. There are outdoor and indoor showers and all tents have a view of the river. The main area has a beautiful outdoor boma where breakfast and dinner are served. A large circular swimming pool is tucked away in the Overall, the Feng Shui of the camp is perfect – everything ties in together.

Sightings:

You will not be short of sightings at Machaba. Hippos wallow at the edge of the river. Our first morning we were prepping for our game drive and outside of camp we saw hippo, an elephant, a pack of wild dog and a leopard. All strolling past the river. During our 24 hours at Machaba we also saw hyena,

Selling Points:

  • Relaxed Elegance: Despite it’s sophisticated decor, the atmosphere is relaxed and homely.
  • Location. Across the river lies the Moremi Game Reserve and the camp is on the banks of the Delta’s Khwai River.
  • Food. The food is exceptional.
  • True Safari Dining. Guests dine together on the banks of the
  • Guides. Extremely knowledgeable and have worked at many of the camps in the area.

Take Note: There are currently no mokoro trips running from Machaba. However, this is due to change by the end of June 2013.  It is a 20 minute drive from the airstrip to the camp.

 

Day 3: Haina Kalahari Lodge, Central Kalahari

Flew for an hour to the Haina Kalahari Lodge. The Haina Kalahari Lodge offers simple, comfortable accommodation in tented lodges. The luxury rooms have a bath and a glass shower overlooking the semi-arid bush. Mongoose is the family room. Haina is the ideal destination for guests wanting to immerse themselves in the local Bushmen culture and who, like me, love the serenity of the Kalahari at night.

 

Bushmen Walking Experience

Bushmen Walking Experience in the Kalahari

 

Haina Kalahari Lodge Game Drives

The Game Drivees at Haina Kalahari Lodge


Lodge
:

The lodge comprises six standard tents, three luxury tents and a family tent. The standard tents are due for an upgrade, but overall the tents are comfortable with simple decor. The luxury rooms have a great shower with a view. Each tent is located a fair distance from the next, offering a private

Sightings:

The watering hole outside the bar area at camp was quite busy. We managed to see kudu, oryx and other small buck species. Out on the game drive we noticed lion tracks but did not see them. However, we did see a banded Cobra and a baby Mozambique Spitting Cobra. It’s the time of year for snakes!

Selling Points:

  • Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Guests can do a full day trip into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to see Deception Valley.
  • Dinner. Meals are prepared by local chefs and traditional meals are served. Dinners were outstanding.
  • Cultural. Walking with the Bushmen is a highlight for many visitors.
  • Activities. Guests can enjoy a quad biking safari, sundowners on the air strip and night game drives.
  • Atmosphere. Very much a family vibe at Haina Kalahari Lodge.

Take Note: Each of the tents are located quite far from the main lodge. You can walk to the main lodge, but will probably take the wrong path. Guests normally wait to be picked up by one of the rangers.