Gene & Tonic and Golden Sunsets: My Amazing Vacation in ... Botswana
With colonial relics, English as a leading language and a government that cares for its residents (including vaccines and Corona grants) - Botswana is a safe bet when it comes to tourists, even if traveling and driving alone.
Daphne and Tamar Trivax returned from a spectacular and pampering once-in-a-lifetime safari trip
Daphne Trivax Wolkowicz
Friday, 13 May 2022, 00:02
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Botswana Lions (Photo: Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Africa in general, and Botswana in particular, are now coming to life in the post-Cubid era.
Still very few tourists, the lodges are not full, and nature at its best.
Time - Africa time.
The clock - Israel time (one hour difference), no jet lag and everything happens slowly, relaxed and with full service and courtesy.
It should be understood that Botswana is a younger country than Israel that gained its independence in 1966, has about 2.5 million inhabitants, its growth is accelerated at an impressive rate, its economy is driven by legal diamond mines and tourism, and it is clear that the population has a good education.
With colonial relics, English as a leading language, and a government that truly cares about its residents (including Corona vaccines and Corona grants) - this destination is a safe bet when it comes to tourists, even if traveling and driving alone.
You said Botswana - you said Okabango - the largest continental delta in the world that does not flow anywhere, has the title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Kalahari Desert which covers about 70% of its area. Victoria. If you like far-flung places and pampering accommodation at this five-star level - Botswana is for you. This is the safe trip for you.
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Spectacular sunsets in the country (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
There are about 80,000 elephants in Botswana (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Getting around the country in a small plane - upgrades the experience (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
The Queen of Animals (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Plan a trip
The Okbango area is dominated by a number of lodges, which are maintained by a runway made of compacted earth equipped with an orange windsock.
A number of airlines operate a rather impressive fleet of light aircraft and helicopters with skilled pilots, who skip between the lodges and transport tourists from area to area, above the streams.
This is the only way you can visit the different parts of the delta.
Those who prefer self-driving and camping will concentrate in one area and plow it.
It is possible to book a leading lodge from any chain and thus enjoy a greater variety of hospitality, design and culinary styles.
Okbango can be reached by domestic flight to one of the two towns that maintain international airports - Maon in the south or Ksena in the north.
From there the journey rolls like a “passing package” right next door.
Guides and drivers from the lodge pick you up, transfer you to the lodge, also only ten minutes away you already see quite a lot of scenery and animals and enter the atmosphere.
At the end of the stay, jump back to the runway and a light plane takes you to the next destination.
These flights are a great bonus of window-views - carpets of meandering river channels, patches of rain pools, trees and endless savannahs.
The seasons also have meaning (contrary to our logic): autumn (our spring) brings with it the stream of water from Angola that floods the delta for several weeks, everything blooms and green, and with them come the animals, the crocodiles move vigorously and the water nights bloom everywhere.
Winter brings with it cold and foggy mornings, the water is at record highs and all nature is reflected in them.
The summer season heralds the arrival of rains with dramatic thunderstorms and lightning strikes, and with them comes the humidity.
This is the baby season, many wildlife will give birth this season to their cubs including zebras, antelopes and buffalo.
The abundance of food everywhere ensures many animals in the area.
The short spring season is characterized by heat and dryness, where most of the delta water has already been absorbed or evaporated, the vegetation is dry and the water level in the creek channels decreases - each and his season.
Dafna and Tamar in action (Photo: Photos by surfers, Dafna and Tamar Trivax)
The flights are a big bonus of amazing views from the window (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Night falls on the lodge (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
You see animals that you do not usually see in nature (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
3 luxurious lodges
We chose three destinations that cover different landscapes and diverse living areas of animals, and that guaranteed us a luxurious and unique safari experience each in its own way.
Two nights on the banks of the Chobe River at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Lodge, on the banks of the Chobe River known for its dense concentration of wildlife, a huge population of elephants (80,000 elephants were recently counted here) and hippos, herds of impalas, and those that prey on them - the crocodiles , The lions and tigers.
The safari experience here also includes an encounter with rare birds and a cruise on the streams that allow observation of the animals from a different angle.
Not to be missed.
It is a magnificent "refuge" in the heart of the bush, near Ocbango, with breathtaking panoramic views, a spa, and a treatment room on top of the tree.
Two nights at Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge and Beyond, which holds a 270-square-meter private safari franchise that allows animals to be reached via jeeps even off-road. The lodge itself is one of the most beautiful you will see - designed as a huge silhouette of Inspired by nature, Pangolin blends well with the landscape and provides a peaceful experience, and in each of the 12 guest suites you feel part of the "bush". A type of canoe, a cruise that is an experience in itself.The common animals you will see here are a lion, rhino, tiger, giraffe, hippos, elephants, crocodiles and countless species of birds.
Two nights at Jao Camp - one large desert oasis, huge palms erected everywhere and produced saturated with dunes and patches of water, some rainwater, some delta water.
50 shades of green.
We saw here some surprises including field rabbits, a patched wolf and prominent islands of particularly tall termite pillars surrounded by shade bushes and palm trees.
The lodge is the pinnacle of the world's most luxurious lodges.
These are seven luxury suites, hidden under an intricate canopy of trees, with indoor and outdoor showers and landscapes that form a sumptuous natural setting.
The luxuries here are endless, a little tip - treat yourself to a massage - we will not reveal to you why.
For the daring - accommodation in the star bed for sleeping outside is also recommended by those who have already tried.
Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge and Beyond Lodge.
Exterior view (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Last stop - Maun residence - from the top of the helicopter there is a flat town with temporary buildings and tin roofs, dirt paths and maybe one traffic light.
In search of proper accommodation we arrived at the Royal Tree Lodge - twenty minutes from the town, in the heart of a private reserve on the banks of the Thamalakan River with an abundance of wildlife including giraffes, zebras, ostriches, cod and birds for the most part.
The reserve is engaged in the study of giraffes and offers as a safari bonus in horseback riding.
Horseback riding safari (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Indulgences in the field as well (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
As evening falls it is important not to walk around alone
It is important to know
• Make sure that you do not exceed 20 kg in total, including the backpack. • Clothing should be light and
in the "onion" method.
The lodges provide everything.
• Each lodge has WiFi but it is only good for texts, almost no pictures and certainly no videos.
• As evening falls it is important not to walk around alone and have one of the lodge people accompany you on your way. From the main hall and you will not want to encounter a tiger or a lion on the way to bed without an escort who is experienced in such situations
Each lodge boasts a chef who has been trained in Western kitchens, and has already seen one or two luxury hotels.
That's why the meals are spectacular to the eye and also to the palate, and there is everything for everyone, from yogurt to fine meat, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The bar in each lodge also goes into action towards noon and provides almost everything, including fine wines.
Currently there is no need for a visa or any cobid tests, just present an official vaccinator certificate.
Curious painted puppy (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Rest of the Lions (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
Why is it expensive?
Botswana is expensive compared to other African countries that offer safaris, and the explanation for this lies in three words - a particularly complex operation.
The lodges we mentioned here have 8 to 12 accommodation units that can accommodate no more than 20-25 tourists per night, but the number of employees is doubled and multiplied.
Drivers, instructors, waiters, maids, guards - they all live in a lodge.
They only go home once every three months for three weeks, and are allowed to invite the family to visit.
The conditions are very good.
The regular supply arrives either by light aircraft once a week or by huge trucks, which make their way through the delta meanders, sometimes in particularly harsh weather and not always arriving at the destination on time.
The economy is complicated.
Part of the experience is the special lodges.
Their price ranges from $ 15,000-1,000 per night per couple including everything - guide, driver, safari car, excursions, cruises, all meals and snacks, in-room drinks bar and lobby, and even laundry.
Everything is literally included.
Do not give up, treat yourself, because life is here and now.
Domestic flights are an addition to the price - and on our route there were three flights and they cost a total of $ 670 per person.
And as with any trip, tips for guides, drivers and lodge staff should be added, as is customary.
For a week-long trip, this is about an additional $ 250.
Savannah Tiger (Photo: Photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
The joy of discovery (Photo: photos by surfers, Daphne and Tamar Trivax)
To plan a route:
Self-driving and camping:
The three most prominent chains: