Looking back at my safari holiday now, it is hard to believe how close we came to some of the worlds most dangerous predators. The five days that my family and I spend on a mobile safari were some of the best days of our lives. From the moment our feet hit the hot concrete as we left the plane to the second we boarded our flight to leave; we felt as if we were catching a glimpse of a parallel universe. The National Parks and Game Reserves of Botswana are as far away from the hustle and bustle of city life as possible. Not only is the way of life totally different, with communities living in small villages wearing traditional African clothing, the Okavango Delta spreads out as far as the eye can see. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the vast wetland and before long we were spotting the lechwe in their hundreds, the males’ horns sticking out over the bush.
Our safari lodge on the first night was pure luxury. Nestled in the middle of nowhere it offered us incredible vistas of the overlooking lake. We could watch elephants frolicking in the water and spotted a large crocodile sunbathing on the opposite bank. Swinging on our hammock we listened to the screeching of baboons and the gentle twitter of birds. The lodge being unfenced meant we woke up in the morning to hear stories of hyenas and wild dogs on the site, scavenging for leftovers. There was never a dull moment on our journey.
Before we knew it we joined a mobile safari and this is where our unbelievable experience began. The night we stayed in a luxury lodge allowed us to have a smoother transfer between the crowded and noisy London and the peaceful and tranquil mobile camping experience. Every few days we moved to a new site where we saw new animals known in the area and enjoyed sun-downers in more remote and beautiful settings. Our showers were a daily joy from water heated up over the fire. The kids loved standing outside under the water barefoot on the African ground with the gentle trickle of warm water on their beaming faces. Dinner was delicious and served around the camp fire where we made sure we spent some quality time together reflecting on the day’s sightings.
On our open four wheel drive expedition into the bush we saw a host of different animals. Our guide informed us of facts as though he was David Attenborough himself and he was always daring enough to get us as close to the animals as he possibly could. We could not believe the amount of wildlife we saw on our Botswana safari. After spotting the rarely seen leopard, a herd of 26 elephants and several lion cubs playing in the shade on just one expedition into the bush, we thought nothing could top it until we caught 3 lioness’s taking down a wildebeest and a baby bushbuck being born in the space of just an hour.
Spotting the incredibly beautiful and powerful Victoria Falls from a distance and listening to the roar of water crashing down the cliff we were overcome with emotion, both invigoration at seeing one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and overwhelming sadness at our fantastic Africa experience being over for now.
Since returning to the grey and gloomy city we have made sure to secure those memories. Photos were printed off, albums were put together and the kids completed their journals. It didn’t take long for us to start planning our next trip. From several days in Botswana and a brief glimpse of Zambia it is clear that there is a whole lot more of Africa still for us to discover and we cannot wait for our next adventure.