It’s not hard to fall in love with Botswana, here’s a quick intro into my first impressions the beautiful country. At the end of 2014, my boyfriend (Michael) and myself were invited to join a friend (Rogan) for a trip of a lifetime in Botswana.
We really had no idea what we were in for as Rogan had organised the entire trip himself. We started in Maun and made our way up to Savuti where we camped for three nights. We then started heading down south again and spent a night in Khwai before going full on into the Delta where we spent two nights on the Gcadikwe island in the Delta. Our last two nights were spent at Third Bridge in the Moremi Game Reserve.
The three of us packed up the Land Cruiser with all of the supplies that we would need for 8 nights in the bush (tent included) and set off at about 5am on Day 1 of our trip. It was about a 7 hour drive to Savuti from Maun. On that drive we spotted a few birds and animals, saw the beautiful changing landscape (it changes from thick bush to open savannah within a few minutes drive) and started getting that awesome ‘We’re in the bush’ relaxation going on.
Up until then I hadn’t fully realised how different this trip was going to be from all of the other bush holidays that I’ve had in South Africa. This was no Kruger Park…
We finally arrived at Savuti and stopped at the main campsite to check in. We got our campsite number (CNP22 if I remember correctly?) and then headed off again to look for our campsite. As we were driving around the area looking for the spot I asked Rogan what I should look out for, thinking there would be some big sign with some sort of fence or at least some sort of structure. The answer was, ‘it will just be a small plaque with our camp number on a tree’. Um, what? Just a tree?
This is where slight panic started to set in. I knew we camping, and I knew that there we no fences around the campsite. But I somehow expected more than just a tree. I thought there would be more people around. But no, just the three of us, our tent, the Land Cruiser and a tree (a few trees in fact).
The reason for the panic was the fact that Savuti has the MOST ELEPHANTS THAT I HAVE EVER SEEN! We had been driving around the area where we would be camping for a good 45 minutes and in that time we probably saw about 50 elephants. They were everywhere, and I was now realising that we were going to be spending three nights in their hood, as neighbours. With only a tent as protection.
I’ve grown up going to game reserves where you wouldn’t dare step out of your car unless you are in a protected, fenced off area. Let alone camp in the middle of the bush for three nights! I felt like we were breaking all of the bush rules!
And this is when I realised that this trip was going to be a completely new experience…
The experiences that came after that were nothing short of breathtaking, I quickly sent the panic away (with it only returning a few more times throughout the trip) and started taking in our surroundings.