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Karina’s Fly-in Botswana Safari

So, what is it actually like on safari in these challenging times? Safari Online Specialist Karina visited Botswana on a Fly-in Safari to find out:
Finally, after the travel bans, I was able to visit Botswana again and flew with Airlink to Maun. We received a Covid questionnaire on the aircraft before landing and handed this – together with the PCR form – at immigration.

Then it was off by shared charter to the Central Kalahari – the flight takes around 50 minutes. The wildlife here is so different to the Delta. We saw oryx, ostrich, springbok and eland. On the game drive we stopped at a lookout deck and I could not believe how flat this region is. Some lodges in the Private Concessions have a sleepout deck for an adventurous night out and a hide and bunker at permanent waterholes so, if you are a keen photographer, then you’ll definitely want to spend time here.

The following morning I enjoyed a walk with two bushmen; it is unbelievable how they survive in this arid region. Prepare yourself to drink a ‘bush G&T’; does not taste the same as a G&T but…

Cultural experience on Botswana safari

For a ‘bush G&T’: take a specific plant root full of water, scrap off the outer layer and then squeeze the root moisture into your mouth.

The next stop was the Makgadikgadi and my lodge overlooked the now flowing Boteti River. The river cruise was stunning with lots of game and birds to see and the game drives took place in the National Park and around the lodge.

This region is vast and many lodges situated on the edge of the Park can arrange a sleep over in the Nxai Pan (during the dry season) when staying minimum 3 nights.

Safari journey in Botswana Magkadigkadi

The Boteti River crammed with hundreds of zebra drinking.

Back on the aircraft for a scenic flight over the Delta. I stayed at the recently rebuilt Shinde and the main area is now very spacious, ideal during social distancing. Every family had their own table and waiter, and meals were served to the table. And… wow, wow, wow… here we saw a cheetah take down a young lechwe in the water!

My second Okavango accommodation was Xugana Island Lodge and, similarly to Shinde, overlooked a permanent lagoon. There is much to keep guests busy at both lodges, with day and night game drives, walking safaris, mokoro and boating excursions. And if you are a keen fisherman, then fishing rods are provided on the premises.

Botswana safari helicopter panoramic view

The heli had no doors and the pilot flew low over the Delta. I highly recommend this experience.

After a scrumptious breakfast our guide drove us back to the airstrip, where we soon discovered that our air-transfer was going to be a thrilling 15-minute helicopter flight to the Moremi National Park.

Activities on offer here are game drives and boating trips into the lagoon. Most accommodation in the area are family-friendly and offer activities for kids. Some also feature a grass lawn in front of the main area which is ideal to give small children a bit of space to run (under supervision of course).

Bush lunch in Botswana Moremi

On arrival in Moremi our lodge-staff surprised us with a bush lunch and more delicious food.

From the Moremi it was a 35-minute flight to Savute and our guide met us at the airstrip. My lodge has a busy and permanent waterhole in front of the main area and some rooms, that sees wildlife visiting 24/7; from elephant to tiny buck and even predators.

So no need to go on a game drive but, if you do, then you head out to the marsh on morning and afternoon game drives. On the morning game drive we came across the famous Marsh Lion Pride (all 17 of them) drinking at another waterhole.

Lions on safari in Botswana Savuti

The Marsh Lion Pride was filmed in the documentary “The Savage Kingdom”.

I then flew to Kasane and on arrival I went straight to the Diagnofirm office at the airport for my PCR test. This was done very efficiently, and they emailed the result the same afternoon to the lodge.

During my stay here I enjoyed a boat cruise on the Chobe in the late afternoon and had an elephant family cross the river in front of us, as the sun was setting – see clip below – how much better can it get! On the morning game drive, instead, we saw some more lion and elephant.

My overall impressions: the lodges, staff, activities were fantastic. Sanitizing stations are provided in the main areas and in the rooms. Amenities such as shampoo, shower gel, lotions and hairdryers are provided in all rooms, as well, charging points and international adaptors, so no need to bring these. The food was exceptional and plenty. Note for next trip: pack clothes a size bigger 😊.

Thank you to Ker & Downey Botswana, Desert & Delta Safaris and Machaba Safaris for organizing such a considerable and comprehensive educational. What an electrifying week, I loved every minute, and it was so good to be back in Botswana!

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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)
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.

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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.

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)