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Ilona’s Botswana educational trip

It was a party of friendly faces waiting to welcome me at Maun Airport in Botswana after arriving from Johannesburg. With customs and immigration quickly taken care and my luggage collected, I met my hosts as well as Blessing and Tomas, my travelling companions and photographers for this adventure.

Ilona Botswana educational trip

Ready for take-off: air transfers make trips between camps easy & have amazing views!

Then, we were off again! This time by charter flight, a 12-seater aeroplane, to the Savute Region of Botswana’s famous Chobe National Park, arriving at our lodge in time for the afternoon game drive. Our guide, and nature, did not disappoint: we were treated to a whole pride of lions, apparently awaiting our arrival! On our way back we watched a beautiful African sunset with giraffe and zebra in the background, and many elephants enjoying the waterhole in front of camp. What more can you ask for!

Botswana sunset with giraffe

Sunset at a Savute waterhole: the colours, sounds & smells are unforgettable.

Well, more was to come. We were welcomed with warm face-cloths on our return from the drive and, when we sat down for dinner, the lodge staff sang local songs, saying goodbye to the guests who were spending their last night there and greeting those who had arrived. The menu was explained to us by the chef herself, as was the selection of South African wines served with dinner. This seems to be standard procedure at all the lodges we visited, as was the sumptuous meals we had everywhere.

Leopard in the Savuti

The Moremi Reserve has a reputation for big cat sightings & it didn’t disappoint.

Next, we were off on a 25-minute flight to the Moremi Game Reserve after an early drive that had included a leopard. Our new lodge was located in a famously rich wildlife area – the Xakanaxa and Khwai River region – with big herds of elephants as well as hippos and crocodiles in the waterways best seen on a boat safari, but the camp itself has resident antelope as well as warthogs who keep the lawns trim.

Zebra migration and Makgadikgadi sleepout

The two faces of the Kalahari: abundant wildlife & complete empty wilderness.

Now the scenery changed as we flew into the dry heart of Botswana and the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Our camp lay on the ephemeral Boteti River and our timing was perfect: we were travelling in the arid month of July and over five hundred zebras were in front of camp, seeking precious water from the river. Both day and night game drives are offered as well as guided nature walks but what we loved the most was the Makgadikgadi Pans Sleep-Out. This experience is one of a kind, with the cosmic vastness and starry skies as your only walls, and meals cooked on an open fire.

Mokoro and dinner in the Okavango Xugana Lagoon

Exploring the Okavango by traditional canoe & enjoying a lamp-lit supper on the lagoon.

After such a dry landscape in Makgadikgadi, it was almost a relief to get back to water again. This time, Xugana Lagoon – a permanent water camp in the Okavango Delta. We were excited to explore by boat and on foot – the real Delta way – an experience rounded off one evening by a private alfresco dinner on a floating pontoon with the lights of camp in the background.

Ilona Botswana educational trip

Impressions from my Chobe River game drive.

The water-theme continued to our last destination: the Chobe River, where Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia all meet. And once again, nature did not disappoint: huge numbers of elephants and hippos plus lions and large herds of buffalo, made especially interesting as I divided my time between two regions of the river to get different perspectives. My visit to Botswana was truly special, from the warm-hearted locals and amazing wildlife to conversations around the campfire and breath-taking sunsets – I cannot wait for my next adventure!

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Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.