Wonderful Botswana Safari Client Feedback
Yes, we returned on Thursday afternoon, all in good health, after a wonderful trip. The safari part was very successful — 13 lions, 4 leopards, 5 wild dogs, 30 buffalo, 2 honey badgers, countless elephants, etc. In summary, the 3 days each that we spent in Camp Moremi and Savute Safari Lodge were outstanding. Although in many ways similar, the two camps complemented each other in terms of the animals, because we saw lions, hippos, honey badgers, jackals, crocodiles, waterbucks, red lechwe etc. mainly at Moremi, while we added the wild dogs, buffalo, wart hogs, ostriches, secretary birds, Kori bustards, steenbuck etc. at Savute. The only important thing we missed was a cheetah, but that reinforced the idea that nothing is guaranteed in the wild. As you probably know, Savute has changed over the past few years. The elephant-hunting lion pride has broken up, and the Savute River is now flowing (for the first time in 28 years), bringing back other species (buffalo, elands, roan). Savute is also the somewhat fancier camp in terms of facilities, and the elephant viewing from the dining area is superb. Our guides at both places were great.
In contrast, Camp Okavango was a disappointment, although it served as a useful break between Moremi and Savute. We saw very few animals (not even hippos), as expected, but also very few birds, which was unexpected. They blamed the high water in part for the paucity of wildlife. The mokoro trip was not much of anything (just paddling around within view of the camp), and while the first motorboat ride (from the airport) was fun, the next two did not add much. The best part was the safari walk, but even then we didn’t see much wildlife. The Camp itself was fine in terms of food and facilities, but in retrospect, one night would have been quite sufficient.
We also made a minor mistake in going to the Thorntree lodge outside Livingstone. After 8 days in game lodges, we were ready for a hotel, not another game lodge. The “full set of activities” that was included in the price turned out to be very limited — to one sunset cruise (pleasant but dull), one trip to Victoria Falls (the only really worthwhile activity) and one game drive (which we skipped, given our time in Botswana). They would not even let us substitute another minor activity, such as a visit to Livingstone, for the game drive. We were all keen to watch the World Cup matches in the evenings, but the Thorntree had no TV reception, so we had to take a taxi each evening to the Waterfront hotel, and watch at the bar there. The food was not up to the level in the Botswana camps. I think the Thorntree is somewhat overpriced — perhaps that is why it was almost empty. In retrospect, one day would have been enough in Livingstone, just to see the Falls (including the bungee jumping from the bridge).
Hope this is useful to you for future customers. Overall, all of us were very happy with the trip. The airplane flights were smooth and enjoyable, we were met promptly everywhere, and the connection from Kasane to Livingstone was interesting in its own right. The weather was unusually cool (just a few degrees above freezing some nights), but we had warm clothing, and the offsetting benefit was the virtual absence of mosquitoes. The beds were comfortable, and we slept well. Desert and Delta runs a tight ship, and they were a good choice for the lodges. They also let Jonathan spend the last night at Chobe Game Lodge (instead of Savute) for no additional charge, after he was able to hitch a ride there so that he could watch the US-Algeria game on TV (I think they cleared that change with you).