Tourism plays a big role in Botswana, and offers so much to so many. Including employment, bridging cultures, widening horizons, spectacular views and experiences to mention only a few. The Okavango being a popular tourist destination has dozens of lodges and camps one can visit. These are not cheap. This is a result to Botswana’s change in policy a few decades a ago, when they decided to change from cheap mass tourism, to expensive low impact tourism. Resulting in fewer tourists who pay more. This weekend we had the opportunity to join a friend, who owns a lodge in the Okavango Delta on a weekend trip. The drive took us north from Maun, passing a few villages before crossing the “buffalo fence”.
A fence set up as a boundary around the whole southern border of the Okavango to keep buffalo and cattle from mixing and transmitting diseases. The fence has seen many antelopes and other animals pay with their life… but also keeps the Okavango safe from cattle and other livestock taking over the wilderness. Our drive is only possible now, in the dry season when the water level is low. Exposing roads and making it possible to cross the dry river beds.
After the wet season and once the flood from Angola has arrived many places in the Okavango are only accessible by air or boat. This made the drive more interesting, because we now were not confined to the meandering river. Crossing many islands and open savannas between we were lucky to see elephant, buffalo, zebra and different kinds of antelope. Passing a village with the traditional round huts and thatched roofs and driving another 20 minutes, we finally got out of the car, 5 hours after our departure.
The camp is situated along the river with a lovely main area as a lounge. The chalets are situated on different spots on the island, well integrated into the surroundings. The chalets are very open and most of them have a deck with a lovey view. And of lucky one can see elephant or antelopes passing by just a few meters away.
We enjoyed two lazy days with the kids before heading back to civilization. We played games, read, relaxed and went for a game walk. Being an eco friendly camp, there are no motorized safaris. We did not have any dangerous encounters on our walk. And we’re lucky to see a snake back at camp. Follow us on Instagram to check out a photo of the snake and other moments (@family_out_about). Robin was playing in the sand just a few meters from the lounge when a warthog came around the bushes and surprised him. A kind reminder that you always have to be alert when sharing the space with wild animals roaming freely. Half term break is coming up in two weeks and we are planning to go on a safari again then. Not quite sure where we will go and what to explore, but we will make a plan with the kids. First up, we will head to Francistown in a week, where Nicolas will swim to qualify for the northern Botswana team.