Guests of Brett’s recently traveled around Botswana and across to Vic Falls to experience the true wonders of such amazing places and here is their feedback:
The safari experience was fantastic overall. It was my partner Robyn’s first trip to Africa and she was amazed at the variety and numbers of wildlife supported by seemingly sparsely vegetated country.
Amber River Camp was a genuine highlight, numerous lion sightings at very close range, a lioness with new born cubs, a jackal and hyena in a tug of war over the remains of an impala and even a leopard at a distance. Numerous other close encounters but predators are my favourites. The camp itself has been very thoughtfully designed and constructed with great staff and food and we had an excellent guide in Super. Having a safari vehicle to ourselves for 2 days was a bonus. The resident elephant kept us company whilst in the outdoor bathroom or sitting on the porch and hippos and various antelope enjoyed the watercourse just 50 metres away. Helicopter transfers to and from were also terrific.
Setari Camp is also a great set up with excellent staff and food but more thought needs to go into planning activities . Simply repeating the same river safaris doesn’t provide quality wildlife viewing.
Another safari highlight was Machaba Camp, river location, excellent accommodation, food and staff and then there’s the animals – what’s not to love! Hyena cubs and adults at their den, a mother leopard trying to get her daughter to piss off and be more independent, mating lion and even a lion charging a safari vehicle – thankfully not us. Kwai River area does provide wonderful variety of wildlife for viewing but sometimes the number of safari vehicles can be irritating. Guide “BD” successfully tracked and located illusive wild dog and we had them to ourselves for quite some time which was the highlight. Painted dog really are amazing animals.
Chobe Bakwena is also a great lodge with good food and staff, the only downside being its distance from the national park. Wildlife numbers on Sidudu Island were quite low compared to previous visits (2019) maybe because the weather was colder. Game drives provided good sightings of a range of wildlife with the highlight being 3 lioness feeding on an impala followed by one of them killing a warthog. The large number of safari vehicles didn’t help with getting high quality encounters but that is being selfish on my behalf.
The transfer from Bakwena to Old Drift went remarkably smoothly and with little delay at the border. The new bridge at Kazungula must be hurting Zimbabwe financially.
Old Drift really is an impressive establishment and a fitting finale to a great safari. The lodge itself is outstanding, sensational river craft, really good food, friendly bar staff, great drinks, excellent accommodation etc. etc. etc. We had a great tour of the falls and an excellent lunch at the amazing Gorge View Cafe, a terrific spot to kill a few hours chilling while swilling Zambezi lagers. The staff at the café treat Old Drift guests like royalty – quite a privilege. Zambezi national park is not famous for its wildlife but our guide Vusa worked really hard to obtain some excellent sightings including huge herds of buffalo, large troops of Baboon and numerous stripped mongoose clans. Vusa tracked a pair of hyena and we observed them marking territory and preening each other to activate scent glands on their necks. Vusa then took us to the southern part of the park and whilst we didn’t locate the lions we did find a serval and got some great photos which I believe is quite unusual in daylight. I would also recommend a tour of the crocodile park if only to see the best collection of venomous snakes and constrictors that I have seen. Who said that black mambas are not really black? Huge ones (3-4 metres) certainly are and little wonder that people don’t see puff adders until it’s too late, their camouflage is unbelievable.
I have finished ranting and raving now but you can see we had a very successful safari experience. A job well done on your behalf Brett.
So many thanks,
Brett and Robyn.