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Best of Botswana & Victoria Falls Trip Report

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Best of Botswana & Victoria Falls Wildlife Safari – Trip Report

Trip report compiled by Tour Leader, André Bernon

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Charter plane by André Bernon

The wildlife haven that is Botswana definitely delivered on this mobile safari tour. We started in Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. A memorable charter flight over the Delta gave us fantastic aerial views of this oasis, with the great expanse thereof only being really appreciated from the air. We visited Moremi, Khwai and the Chobe Parks and had many great sightings and memories to cherish. The roar of a huge male Lion, African Wild Dogs on the hunt, Leopard on a kill and another with tiny cubs, many African Elephants with small calves, Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Spotted Hyena den with small pups, Aardwolf, Honey Badger, and Bat-eared Foxes were just some of the mammalian highlights. Moving on to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-tunya as it is locally named (which means the “smoke that thunders”) was another highlight, as we experienced the roar of the mighty Zambezi River tumbling down about 320 feet. A fantastic experience for all and memories made to cherish for a lifetime.
We all had finally arrived in the landlocked country of Botswana and congregated at the Maun International Airport for our private charter flight into the famed Okavango Delta. Our Cessna Caravan gave us all window seats to enjoy the great spectacle which is the Delta, from the air. The great mass of water was astounding and we even managed to spot some African Elephant, Southern Lechwe and Hippopotamus, in the myriad of swampland and mopane scrub, from the air. Our short thirty-minute flight had us lining up the Xakanaxa runway and after a smooth landing, where our local guide met us with an “open-air” safari vehicle in tow. After a quick acquaintance, we all jumped in and madeour way to our first “home” within the famed Moremi Game Reserve.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Okavango Delta from the air by André Bernon

The Okavango and surroundings are considered to be one of the best places to see wildlife in Africa. The large Zambezi River used to make its way through this harsh landscape millennia ago; flowing into the Limpopo River basin. Due to the uplift of the Great Rift, the flow was cut off and thus created an inland “sea”. After largely drying up, the area surrounding the Okavango Delta became rich in minerals and now produces fantastic grazing, with sweet grass abound. En route we saw tonnes of Smith’s Bush Squirrels, many Impala, a few Greater Kudu and even an African Elephant which had decided to give us the “cold shoulder”. The mopane scrub gave way to pristine woodland which mainly consisted of huge Mopani, Rain-tree, and African Ebonies, with fantastic grass savanna in between. Great birds seen en route included Arnott’s Chat, Bennett’s Woodpecker, Southern Black Tit, the stunning Greater Blue-eared and Burchell’s Starlings and many Southern Red-billed Hornbill. Driving into our mobile camp, we were greeted by the friendly smiles of our camp team who had erected a magnificent site for us, in the middle of the African bush. This was by no means camping, but rather “glamping” – glamorous camping! Luxurious tents and fine dining African style, with our own personal chef – who produced scrumptious and fresh meals in the African bush using only primitive techniques and fire.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

African sunset by André Bernon

After making ourselves at home, we were whisked away on a short drive before sunset. A pan nearby was our first stop, and we immediately spotted a massive Goliath Heron in pursuit of something tasty. A stunning African Fish Eagle looked on in the perfect afternoon glow. African Jacanas jumped over the lilies and African Darters hunted for fish. Another small pond nearby was covered with green algae and we were surprised when a log turned into a massive, lone Hippopotamus bull. A family of Egyptian Geese looked on with small goslings in tow. We made our way back, witnessing some Red-billed and Swainson’s Spurfowls with chicks too; arriving back at camp with a roaring campfire to enjoy. After a welcoming shower under the African stars, we settled down for a drink, watching the fire and chatting about our day’s adventure and what tomorrow’s plans would entail. A lovely dinner saw us retiring to bed for a good night’s rest; listening to African Scops Owl before the early start the following day.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Slaty Egret by Markus Lilje

We woke to the roar of some big male Lions, and had a hearty breakfast before sunrise and our adventure began. Setting out to explore Moremi, we quickly found some new mammals in the form of Southern Lechwe, Giraffe and Plains Zebra on the open plains. Good bird sightings included the monotypic Hamerkop, an Okavango special – the Slaty Egret, Meyer’s Parrot, Brubru, African Grey Hornbill, Black-backed Puffback and even Pearl-spotted Owlet. We noticed some Lion spoor on a sandy track and went in hot pursuit. A nice surprise was finding two Honey Badgers who quickly disappeared unfortunately. A great sighting nonetheless of this seldom seen and fearless mammal! We followed the spoor until we reached a dead-end, as they had moved onto an island that was not accessible. Carrying on with our exploration, we found more of the swamp-loving Southern Lechwe, prehistoric Nile Crocodile and a couple of Giraffe with some calves practising geophagy – feeding on minerals on the edge of a pan. A fast receding pan gave us good looks at how Saddle-billed and Yellow-billed Storks feed. The iconic Bateleur, Hooded Vulture, and Double-banded and Burchell’s Sandgrouse were a nice surprise, and an African Skimmer showed off in flight amongst some hirundines in the form of the uncommon Grey-rumped Swallow and Banded Martin. We made our way back after a nice cup of coffee and biscuits, surrounded by Meves’s Starlings; bumping into a huge African Buffalo bull running across the road, before reaching our camp for an early midday lunch. After filling our bellies, we had a siesta, post-shower, and woke relaxed and ready for some afternoon tea and cake.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Southern Lechwe by Markus Lilje

Another adventure ensued, and before jumping onto our safari vehicle, we spotted a few African Elephants meandering along their normal route, right next to our camp! We watched these gentle giants on foot, only to notice the impressive Southern Ground Hornbill in hot pursuit. We quickly got wind of the male Lions that had been found near our camp! We made our way but got distracted by a large troop of Vervets, quickly followed by a massive troop of Chacma Baboons! We watched these comical creatures as they fed alongside a gang of Banded Mongoose and some Impala. We continued and later found two male Lions resting right next to the road! Knowing that dominant male Lions can sleep for up to twenty hours a day, we enjoyed the view as the one rolled over a few times, even sitting up to glare into our eyes, just a few metres from us. As the sun began to set, we had to make our way home and enjoyed a great beef fillet with the campfire roaring in the background. A quick search for the African Scops Owl above our heads gave us great views before some rest after a long and successful day in the African bush.

 

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Banded Mongoose by Cuan Rush

We woke, once again to an early morning breakfast, before exploring a different section of Moremi. This time we made our way north-east, passing a journey of Giraffe, many herds of Impala and flock after flock of Helmeted Guineafowls. We enjoyed a quick rest-stop only to find some bats roosting under the thatch roof of the men’s toilet! Some careful examination revealed them to be the odd-looking Egyptian Slit-faced Bat! A small flock of Knob-billed Duck were seen at a small watering hole, followed by a large flock of the special Hartlaub’s Babbler, accompanied by Jameson’s Firefinch, Black-crowned Tchagra, Grey-backed Camaroptera and Yellow-throated Petronia. We reached an area known as Paradise Pan and found fresh spoor of a large male Leopard. Following the spoor, we bumped into a large African Elephant, which gave us excellent views. Unfortunately, the Leopard spoor headed into a dense area, so we made our way deeper into the swamp after spotted a pair of Senegal Coucal.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Giraffe by David Shackelford

Upon reaching the swamp, we enjoyed the tiny African Pygmy Goose, followed by the massive Coppery-tailed Coucal. We stumbled upon a huge “bachelor” herd of Southern Lechwe, which consisted of only males. After a sighting of a Saddle-billed Stork and Capped Wheatear, we enjoyed some tea and coffee with swampland surrounding us and Southern Lechwe looking very confused at us and our antics. We managed views of both Chirping and Luapula Cisticolas here, which are both Okavango endemics, and we were also lucky to have brief glimpses of a rare Spotted-necked Otter! On our way back, we saw two majestic Greater Kudu bulls which were in their prime. We watched these large browsing antelope for some time before stopping to view a tower of Giraffe. Whilst viewing the Giraffe, a mixed species flock of birds came about, which consisted of Arnott’s Chat, Crested Barbet, Cardinal Woodpecker, White-crested Helmetshrike and Common Scimitarbill. We meandered back for a delicious lunch before our well-deserved siesta and a sighting of a Bearded Woodpecker in camp.

 

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Greater Kudu by Adam Riley

Our afternoon exploration had us heading south-west, to the third bridge area, and we managed to find Common Wildebeest, African Elephant showing us who is boss, Plains Zebra, Southern Lechwe, Giraffe, Vervet, Impala and Greater Kudu. Some Kittlitz’s and White-fronted Plovers entertained us, as well as three young Nile Crocodiles warming themselves in the sun as ectotherms do. An African Marsh Harrier quartered the marsh. A Red-crested Korhaan gave us superb views as it fed and a Southern White-crowned Shrike was also new. We made our way back as the sun began to set and a special sighting of a rare Black Coucal was enjoyed as it crept through the sedges, and a Giraffe with a stunning sunset in the background made for an impressive view. A bush dinner under the stars was most welcome upon our return. We sat around the fire after dinner, noting our sightings for the day as we heard the loud call of the dominant male Leopard just down the road! A wonderful ending to another great day in Africa!

The following morning started with a huge male Lion roaring within close proximity in a northerly direction. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast before heading out well before sunrise. Our bags were packed as we were shifting camp today, leaving Moremi for the game-abundant Khwai Community area north of Moremi Game Reserve. We had a lot in store before making our way there, as we started to track the Lions we had heard roaring a little while earlier. We searched the sandy roads for their spoor and eventually picked up on the spoor of two males.
Some skilful tracking soon found us the same two males we had seen two days before on our Botswana wildlife safari. They lay down in the open, posing as they do, so majestically. The larger male was the dominant male for this area and he glowed in the morning rays as the sun rose above the tree-tops – a truly magical sighting! He proceeded to grunt a few times and took to a roaring position. 

Botswana Wildlife Safari

African Wild Dogs by Adam Riley

We waited in anticipation for some time before our efforts paid off and we were treated to the magnificent power of a male Lion’s roar! It echoed down the valley and sent shivers down our spines! Truly remarkable, and a memory to treasure! We moved onwards, after having this sighting to ourselves. We rounded a couple of corners only to find one of the world’s rarest canids – African Wild Dogs! We couldn’t believe our luck as we watched a pack of seven as they interacted with one another after clearly devouring an Impala! We watched this pack for some time in the early morning sun as they made their way closer to our vehicle and off into the African landscape! An adrenaline pumping morning for sure!
We drove on, letting the nerves settle after a bumper morning, getting looks at Western Banded Snake Eagle, Marico Sunbird, a group of Little Bee-eaters, Ashy Flycatcher, Swamp Boubou, Saddle-billed Stork, Slaty Egret, Rufous-bellied Heron and Bennett’s Woodpecker. Southern Lechwe kept us company as we enjoyed some morning tea and coffee. Here, we also managed to spot a large Nile Crocodile sunning himself with a pod of Hippopotamus watching on from the water. We continued north to Khwai and were surprised to find a Greater Honeyguide that proceeded to “chatter” to us, clearly wanting to “guide” us through the African bush to a beehive! This became evident as we drove for many kilometres with him flying alongside us – “chattering” away. 

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Flap-necked Chameleon by Adam Riley

A Flap-necked Chameleon was found crossing the road and we watched it swaying from side-to-side in the wind, imitating a fallen leaf. Some time passed before a fresh python track was found crossing the road. Luckily, it was very fresh and we found the culprit, a South African Rock Python, approximately 2.5 metres in length! We enjoyed this rare sighting as it moved up a small Mopani tree, trying to make it to an adjoining tree. We entered the Khwai area and soon after doing so, enjoyed a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree. We continued further along the Khwai River towards our campsite after a little “siesta” and a day sighting of an African Savanna Hare!

Botswana Wildlife Safari

African Elephant bull by Matthew Matthiessen

Winding our way along the Khwai River and some adjoining channels, we enjoyed many sightings of old African Elephant bulls. Waterbuck, Plains Zebra, Common Warthog, Impala, Southern Lechwe and Hippopotamus were plentiful along this green river. We had a few Rufous-bellied Herons, Intermediate and Great Egrets, Long-toed Lapwing, Southern White-crowned Shrike, Bateleur, Tawny Eagle, African Hawk-Eagle and Saddle-billed and Marabou Storks, too. We arrived at our luxurious and ready-made camp with a spectacular African sunset in the background and Lions roaring in the distance too! After a warm shower and a warm meal, we retired for a well-deserved rest after a long and very successful day!

 

After breakfast this morning on our Botswana wildlife safari, we made our way out into the African bush. We immediately noticed some Lion tracks but soon lost the spoor, as well as the spoor of a Leopard. We continued to a tributary of the Khwai River and were greeted by our Mokoro guides – a primitive dug-out canoe that is used to traverse the shallow channels of the Okavango. We hopped in and enjoyed the skilful manoeuvring and agility that these Mokoros make possible. The peace and tranquillity were felt immediately as we glided effortlessly through the water. We managed to get really close to a pair of Hippopotamuses, which we dubbed “Romeo and Juliet”. A whole host of birds were spotted, such as Rufous-bellied Heron, African Hawk- and African Fish Eagles, a pair of Little Sparrowhawk feeding and then mating, African Pygmy Goose and a surprise Little Bittern. Worth an extra mention were Malachite Kingfisher and Little Bee-eater that allowed us to get extremely close views!

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Mokoro trip by André Bernon

 

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Spring Hare by Markus Lilje

We thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and continued on our safari vehicle through the Khwai area. We found a large herd of African Elephant leaving the mopane scrub and heading down to the Khwai River for a mid-morning drink. We watched these intelligent and extremely gentle giants as they ambled along, with many small babies in tow. A few large bulls were present and showed some interesting behaviour as they scrutinised the dung of some cows; taking the scent to their Jacobson’s Organ on the roof of their mouths using their trunks, to see when oestrus will be reached. Continuing, we bumped into the heaviest flying bird in the world, the Kori Bustard! We enjoyed watching a pair as they searched for their next meals. We got to camp after witnessing the cute gregarious Dwarf Mongoose as well as a new hornbill – the Bradfield’s. After lunch, we took to the shower before our “siesta” and watched some African Elephant bulls draw nearer to our camp, gracefully feeding off some camelthorn trees on the perimeter of our camp!

A sunset drive followed afternoon cake and tea, where we managed to find a large patriarch African Elephant bull with his askaris. He tried to break down a huge branch before heading down to the Khwai for a drink. Two Hippopotamuses were found nearby, out of the water grazing – which is not a usual daytime sighting. A group of Banded Mongoose scurried across an open field before we spotted a single Topi, a peculiar looking mammal indeed. A flock of Southern Pied Babblers was a treat before we made our way to Leopard Lagoon for fantastic sundowners. The sunset was just fantastic and what made it more special was our only Lesser Moorhen and some African Elephant on the edge of the pan just below the sunset. They proceeded to drink and then walked through the deep water, just below the sunset glow!

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Leopard by André Bernon

Truly magical and etched into our memories forever. An African Barred Owlet called nearby, just before dark. Some skilful searching produced superb views of this little stunner! As darkness fell, we continued on our night drive and managed to have an exceptional sighting when a mature African Elephant bull was found ambling along the road towards us.We remained quiet and switched all lights off – watching him calmly approach the vehicle and stroll past within metres was insanely spectacular! Another new mammal came in the form of the odd kangaroo-like Spring Hare – a large rodent that hops on its large hind-legs. We also got good views of Western Barn Owl, as well as the diminutive Southern Lesser Galago hopping around with little effort and great energy. We got back to camp with a roaring fire and enjoyed a great dinner with apple crumble dessert cooked in the bush, listening to an elephant feeding just outside camp.

Another early morning start saw us finding a big Hippopotamus bull out of the water on the road. Not long into our drive did we find a Lioness that had stolen a kill from a Leopardess. We watched the Lioness devour large chunks of meat off the Impala carcass before moving off. We followed her for a few minutes and were treated to fantastic close-up views as she walked toward our vehicle, with a stare that can only be explained when witnessed. We left her in peace and went in search of the Leopardess and quickly found a small adult female within minutes, heading back to her initial kill.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Mobile camp in Khwai by André Bernon

We watched as she investigated what remained and scouted the perimeter for any danger.

Botswana Wildlife Safari

Leopard cub by Leon Fouche

She quickly grabbed a big piece of the carcass and scoured up a huge dead tree – out in the open for all to see in the early morning sun! We spent at least a whole hour with this old yet small female (named Machada) who was missing her lower right canine. She fed on the Impala bits and fetched some more when she had finished what she was busy with. A truly magical experience – so close and spectacular. She disappeared into the mopane scrub and this is when we left this magnificent creature in peace. Soon after, we enjoyed a sow Common Warthog with some young – mud bathing and then scratching on a tree stump. A small drying pan was a sight to behold; the abundant fish supply within reach created a feeding frenzy for many Marabou Storks, Pink-backed Pelicans and much more. We stumbled across a large and lone African Buffalo bull nearby, who was not happy with our presence. A large herd of African Elephant bulls completed a fantastic morning, with four of the “Big 5”!
The afternoon started off well when we spotted two juvenile Allen’s Gallinules, an uncommon species to encounter this time of the year. We found a lot of general game and some great elephant sightings as they crossed the Khwai River. A young Bateleur was seen drinking here too. A pair of Topi presented themselves as well as Greater Kudu, the diminutive African Dwarf Mongoose, Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Plains Zebra and Giraffe. The sun started lowering its height and some good spotting found us a minute Leopard cub lying in an exposed sandy section on the edge of some Mopani scrub. We watched at this tiny creature look around and noticed some movement in the tall grass next to it. We ventured closer and found the “magotho” female with her two three-month-old cubs on a fully-grown Impala ram kill! Quite a large kill for this little female! We enjoyed an hour with this family and were treated to fantastic views as they interacted and fed on the carcass! A Leopard day indeed.

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Kori Bustard by Adam Riley

With adrenaline levels, high, we enjoyed a quick sunset drink and continued in the evening. We returned to the kill after dark to find one small little cub high up in a tree. Not to disturb, we left the area and figured the mother had placed the cub there in order to leave for a drink at the local waterhole. Some other spotlighting found us a little African Scops Owl, Spring Hare and the uncommon Side-striped Jackal! Near camp, we came across a Southern Lesser Galago that perched at eye-level, a few metres from our vehicle. It gave views for a few seconds before leaping an exceptionally long distance to the bush nearby. Another fantastic day in Africa was discussed and enjoyed around a campfire and a scrumptious dinner.

Another travel day had arrived as we set out for the famed Savuti area within the Chobe Game Reserve. We left Khwai behind us but first decided to see what had happened to our Leopard family and their kill. We neared the area and heard the spurfowls alarming, giving away the presence of a predator. Luckily, all was safe with our much loved Leopard and cubs, with Spotted Hyena spoor everywhere. We watched these magnificent creatures for a while before leaving them in peace. A small herd of elephants revealed the smallest little baby, a mere month old – very wobbly on his feet and waving his trunk around like it was a toy. We watched this little guy for some time as he played around and twirled with joy. A really special and memorable display. After a brief coffee break, we moved on towards the Mobabe Gate of Chobe, where we had some lunch under the Mopani trees. Venturing further along the edge of the Mobabe Depression, we found some new birds, such as the cute Scaly-feathered Weaver, Violet-eared Waxbill, Green-winged Pytilia and Desert Cisticola. Many Kori Bustards were refreshing and a distant Secretarybird was new; as well as a Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl on its nest! Giraffe and African Elephant were numerous and Tawny Eagles were also abundant.

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Bateleur by Adam Riley

We did well with mammal sightings in the afternoon as we neared Savuti. The star was definitely a beautiful Wild Cat who watched us from the track for a minute or so, in daylight! Superb! The small Steenbok and both Slender and Yellow Mongooses were great new sightings, as well as the desert adapted Gemsbok or Oryx – a super rare sighting for this region! We neared the bizarre Savuti Channel with its hills in the distance and found some roosting Southern White-faced Owls! We reached our magnificently placed and ready-made camp on the edge of the dry channel; settling down to a warm shower and great meal.
The sound of Lion roars and Hyena moans saw us waking up to a fresh morning and heading out after our ritualistic early morning breakfast in camp. We headed to the area where we heard the Lions and picked up on their spoor heading south-east. We followed the spoor until they went into a block. Whilst skirting around, we were surprised to find a young male heading back the way they had come. He walked straight towards us and proceeded to lead us to three larger males, a coalition of brothers that had tolerated this younger nomad. Some great interaction between a larger male and the youngster was great to see. He crept behind the youngster and pounced on him; a short scuffle broke loose and this was clearly a dominance-orientated feud. The four got up one at a time and headed to some thick apple-leaf shrub, disappearing as quickly as they’d arrived. We also found an African Elephant foraging for some baobab seeds and soon after, tried some for ourselves. Some great birds that were found included a melanistic Gabar Goshawk, more Bateleur and Tawny Eagles, Rufous-naped Lark, a pair of Double-banded Coursers, many Burchell’s Sandgrouse, Violet-eared and Blue Waxbills, Scaly-feathered Weaver and Chestnut-backed Sparrowlarks! A great morning around the dry Savuti Channel!

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Aardwolf by André Bernon

The afternoon adventure saw us heading for the Savuti Marsh, into which the now dry channel occasionally runs. En route we found many Greater Kudu, Giraffe and even Tropical Boubou and Brown-crowned Tchagra. We also stopped off at the “Bushman” Rock Painting site nearby and took a short walk to the art site in a small cliff face. We proceeded and watched a small herd of elephant in a small open plain. We reached the marsh and no sooner found about five Kori Bustard with a small predator-like mammal amongst them in the long grass. We lifted our binoculars and were pleasantly surprised to find an adult Aardwolf! An exceptional sighting of this insectivore in the afternoon. We watched in awe as it searched for food and continued with clear luck on our side. We headed over the “sand ridge” – the prehistoric shoreline of an extinct inland sea – and made our way west. We rounded a corner and found a large pack of Spotted Hyena at their den-site! We neared and watched as some young pups, still black on the legs, came closer to investigate as the matriarch watched on. A beautiful ending to an exciting day.

The great Savuti had the most exciting morning in store for us today. Lions and Spotted Hyenas called near camp throughout the night. We had a quick breakfast and were out whilst it was still dark. 

 

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Spotted Hyena den by André Bernon

A Southern White-faced Owl and African Barred Owlet entertained us before we found two huge male Lions lying in the middle of the road. We watched these guys for some time before hearing a Leopard calling nearby. We also got wind of a pack of African Wild Dogs nearby so made our way there; searching for the vociferous Leopard en route. We struck lucky with a gorgeous Leopardess rolling in some short grass. She was extremely relaxed and then made her way to the front of the vehicle slowly and disappeared into the bush with angry spurfowls in tow. A mere five minutes away was where we found a pack of nine African Wild Dogs! We followed them for some time as they trotted alongside the dry channel, clearly on the hunt. It was great to see as they worked together to try and flush antelope out of the dense thicket. We lost them as they made a dash for the other side of the channel, and made our way onwards after a great sighting of one of the world’s most endangered canids. We passed by the two male Lion once again and watched them make their way back to the centre of their territory. It wasn’t long after before we found the rest of the “marsh pride”. At least four females were seen in the distance on a sand ridge and a mother and 3 sub-adults were found on the edge of the marsh. We crept nearer and had them right next to us at a stage, taking in the sheer size of a one-year-old Lion! A fantastic morning indeed!

We decided to head to a different section of the Savuti Marsh this afternoon and were surprised when we found a Caspian Plover in full breeding plumage!

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Secretarybird by David Hoddinott

This was really odd as this is a migratory bird and should not be in the southern hemisphere at this time of the year. A small family of Bat-eared Foxes was a neat surprise as we found them laying on the edge of a termite mound. Their large ears were evident as they popped their heads up to look at us. We also saw many pairs of the golden-coloured Black-backed Jackals, Kori Bustard and a single Secretarybird! We stumbled across a single Temminck’s Courser in the middle of the track and also found many Black-bellied Bustards and Northern Black Korhaans. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we found Aardwolf again – although probably the same individual as yesterday. The small family of Lion were visited where we found them this morning. We watched as the “kids” had a little playtime scuffle.

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Nile Crocodile by André Bernon

The last day of our mobile safari adventure had unfortunately arrived, and we had to make our way north – out of the Savuti area and through the Chobe Forest Reserve towards Kasane. We stopped for some hot drinks underneath a huge baobab and continued our way north and then east, arriving in the town of Kasane, on the shores of the Chobe River, before lunch. We said our goodbyes to our local guide and proceeded to board our boat for a trip down the Chobe. We saw a lot of wildlife and got really close to African Elephant, African Buffalo, Nile Crocodile, mating Nile Monitors, Common Warthog, Waterbuck and Chacma Baboons. Great bird sightings were of many African Skimmers, many Malachite Kingfishers, Purple Heron, Grey-headed Gull, African Marsh Harrier, White-crowned Lapwing and also White-fronted Bee-eater.
After enjoying a great cruise, we had to make our way to the border in order to get into Zimbabwe. A smooth transit saw us heading to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls or Musi-oa-tunya (the-smoke-that-thunders). We reached our luxury hotel as the sun decided to set – a real contrast in comparison to what we had experienced so far. We had to get used to electricity, television, a flushing toilet, crisp white sheets and not hearing Lions roaring.

 

Botswana Wildlife Tour

Victoria Falls by André Bernon

After a glorious breakfast watching the spray above the falls, we strolled downhill towards the roaring thunder. Some new birds en route were Striped Kingfisher, Red-faced Cisticola and Red-winged Starling. We entered the Victoria Falls gate and enjoyed walking around the forest that had been created by the constant spray. The view of the falls was absolutely spectacular. The true power of the mighty Zambezi tumbling down a hundred meters is something that can only be understood by experiencing it. We also had great views of two male Bushbuck, Tropical Boubou, Holub’s Golden Weaver, Yellow-breasted Apalis and Rock Martin.

After some time enjoying the spectacle, and feeling the spray, we made our way back to the town for some lunch, with some shopping en route. Many opted for more shopping in town after lunch and the afternoon saw us heading to the historic Victoria Falls Hotel in order to experience this colonial hotel and enjoy “high tea” – complete with macaroons, scones, and cucumber and salmon sandwiches. We enjoyed a walk on the well-groomed lawns, taking in the view of the bridge and spray of the falls behind it. A new and extremely good bird was also seen here – Schalow’s Turaco – alongside the noisy Trumpeter Hornbill. Some last minute shopping was had en route, dodging Banded Mongooses and Chacma Baboons in town.
The final morning saw the entire team heading for an extra activity; the not-to-be-missed helicopter flip over the falls! This was thoroughly enjoyed, as one has the opportunity to witness the sheer size of the falls. A nice welcome was seeing African Elephant, a large herd of African Buffalo and even Giraffe from the air. Our Botswana wildlife safari had unfortunately come to an end, as we had to make our way to the airport for our connecting flight to Johannesburg. A great ending to our fantastic African odyssey.

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JR - Private Rwanda

Trip has been wonderful! Dale is second to none! Really thrilled to have him and Eric (driver)!

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LH - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

We were very lucky to have such knowledgeable guides, Shadow had the ability to place us in the right spot at the right time when other guides were still thinking about it. It was nice just to sit and observe the interactions.
Great tour, the mix of participants also worked well. Many eyes help spot things which might otherwise be missed (back seats are higher and sometimes you just catch a glimpse that the front seat people miss).

Botswana
EB - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

Great communications and customer service.
One of the best trips I’ve been on. The sightings were fantastic, Andre was great, the food phenomenal and the support staff exceptional!
Andre was an excellent guide in all regards and made sure everything went smoothly.

Botswana
I.T - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

The tour was excellent. The staff from the Safari company were also excellent.

South Africa & Botswana
LH - Tailor-made South Africa & Botswana October 2018

I want to thank all of you at Rockjumper who worked to give me and my six friends the trip of a lifetime! The trip was perfectly planned; we saw a wonderful array of sights in perfect settings and lodgings all throughout the thirteen days. Logistically, everything worked like clockwork and it took all the stress out of traveling.

But without a doubt, what made the trip so incredibly special was our tour guide/leader, Rainer Summers. He not only lead us to the sights, through airports and into the bush but he managed to keep us all together, without losing anyone for more than five minutes – and I can assure you: that was not an easy task. (We really are not senile – just a bit independent).

His knowledge of what we saw and where to take us, especially in Cape Town improved our experience greatly. His knowledge of the wildlife and its social structure and behavior at Mala Mala and in Botswana increased our appreciation of what we saw exponentially. Nothing was too much trouble whether it was showing us how to use binoculars or camera or how to spot birds.

He also made sure that everyone was comfortable and at ease in all situations. He anticipated everyone’s needs and he ensured that we all had what we needed and/or wanted everywhere.

But most of all, Rainer was delightful to be with. He was fun and his wit and sense of humor made him a great companion. He is a tremendous asset to your organization. We all would like to return to Africa and Rockjumper’s tours but we will want to have no one but Rainer with us!!! We cannot envision a tour leader who could top this experience.

So, thank you for arranging the tour and a special thanks for choosing Rainer to be our guide. It was a magnificent experience and a week later, I am still wishing I was in Africa!

Sincerely,
LH

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