Best of Botswana Trip Report 2023

I have just made my way back from a very special safari to Botswana. During this safari we visited Moremi for 3 nights, Khwai for 3 nights, Savuti for 3 nights and ended off on the Chobe Princess houseboat for our final 3 nights of the safari.

The safari stared in Maun, where we all met up the night before the safari began and had dinner together. This is always great as it allows everyone to get to know each other and to also set the expectations for the safari and how its going to work. Our first stop on this trip was a short flight from Maun into Moremi Game Reserve and what an incredible place to start this incredible itinerary...

A little information about Moremi...

Moremi Game Reserve, located in the heart of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, is a pristine wilderness area renowned for its incredible biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Covering an expansive area of about 4,871 square kilometers (1,880 square miles), Moremi is one of the most beautiful and varied reserves in Africa.

Moremi Game Reserve is situated on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is named after Chief Moremi of the BaTawana tribe, who played a crucial role in the establishment of the reserve. The reserve was designated in 1963 by the BaTawana people and covers approximately one-third of the Okavango Delta.

One of the key features of Moremi is its remarkable biodiversity. The reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. Visitors to Moremi can expect to encounter the "Big Five," including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinoceros. Additionally, the reserve boasts a rich birdlife with over 400 species recorded, making it a paradise for birdwatchers.

Moremi is characterized by diverse ecosystems, ranging from wetlands and lagoons to dry savannahs and acacia forests. The Okavango Delta, which Moremi encompasses, is a unique inland delta formed by the Okavango River. The seasonal flooding of the delta creates a dynamic landscape, attracting a wealth of flora and fauna.

Moremi Game Reserve plays a crucial role in conservation efforts, safeguarding the delicate ecosystems and the diverse species that inhabit them. The reserve's management focuses on sustainable tourism practices to preserve its natural beauty for future generations.

Being a mobile safari, we arrived to a fully set up tented camp and ice cold beverages, which being a warm time of the year to be there is a huge plus. Being able to have a mobile camp and be out in the middle of such a wild area is so rejuvenating for the soul.

We have an incredible 3 nights in Moremi and had an abundance of wildlife sightings, from a female cheetah and her 4 youngsters, two leopards in one tree, plenty of general game to 2 different packs of wild dogs, both of which had pups and treated us to some of the best wild dog sightings I have ever had.

In conclusion, Moremi Game Reserve stands as a testament to the beauty of African wildlife and ecosystems. Its vast size, diverse landscapes, and abundant wildlife make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic safari experience in one of Africa's most pristine wilderness areas.

Here are just a few highlights from our incredible time in Moremi...

The night before leaving Moremi, I discussed with the team and our local guide what the plan would be for the following day as it was our first moving day and being a mobile camp there are a fair amount of logistics behind moving to a new camp site. It was also an exciting time, as we all shared our highlights from Moremi and how fortunate we were with the sightings that we had.

So our final morning in Moremi, gave us some time to drive around the area, which we managed to find two different packs of wild dogs and then we started our mission for the day, which was to head to Khwai, which was exciting in itself as we set off with the mentality to take in whatever nature was willing to show us. Moving to Khwai also meant more water, which during the dry season is a great place to find a diverse range of wildlife.

Why Khwai Game Reserve is a Sought-After Safari Destination:

  1. Breathtaking Landscapes: Khwai offers a mix of landscapes, including open savannahs, riverine forests, and marshy areas. This diversity of environments contributes to a rich and varied safari experience.
  2. Abundant Wildlife: The reserve is home to a wide array of wildlife, including large populations of elephants, buffalo, hippos, and various antelope species. Predators such as lions, leopards, and wild dogs also inhabit the area, providing excellent opportunities for wildlife sightings.
  3. Birdlife Paradise: Khwai is a birdwatcher's paradise with over 400 species of birds recorded. From waterbirds along the Khwai River to raptors and colorful songbirds in the woodlands, bird enthusiasts will find plenty to marvel at.
  4. Community-Led Tourism: The Khwai community is actively involved in managing and benefiting from tourism activities in the reserve. This community-based approach contributes to the conservation of the area and provides economic benefits to local people.

Diversity in Terms of Landscape, Wildlife, and Birdlife:

  1. Landscape Diversity: Khwai encompasses a range of landscapes, from riverbanks to mopane woodlands, creating a dynamic and visually appealing environment.
  2. Wildlife Diversity: The reserve is known for its diverse wildlife, including iconic African species. The Khwai River attracts a concentration of animals, especially during the dry season, as they gather near water sources.
  3. Birdlife Variety: The combination of waterways and diverse habitats makes Khwai a haven for birdwatchers. Raptors, waterfowl, and colorful songbirds are prevalent, providing fantastic opportunities for bird enthusiasts.

Why Visit in the Dry Season:

  1. Wildlife Concentration: During the dry season (usually from May to October), water becomes scarcer, leading to higher concentrations of wildlife around remaining water sources. This makes it easier for visitors to observe and photograph animals.
  2. Clear Visibility: The dry season is associated with clear skies and lower vegetation, providing better visibility for spotting wildlife. This is advantageous for both wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

Temperatures in the Dry Season: During the dry season in Khwai Game Reserve, daytime temperatures typically range from around 70°F to 90°F (21°C to 32°C), while nighttime temperatures may drop to approximately 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). These temperatures can vary, so it's advisable to check specific climate data for the time of your visit.

What I personally really enjoyed about Khwai what the time we had in sightings. We were never under any pressure and we often just sat for 45 minutes to two hours with animals, watching their behaviour, understanding what they doing and getting some great images was just the cherry on top.

Most afternoons we would fine a section of water with some hippo and elephant activity and then we would set up our afternoon sundowner stop and then just relax, sit back and let nature happen. We had some truly special and close encounters with a number of animals during this time and being in the middle of Africa and at that time of the day, is just simply jaw dropping....

Here are a few highlights from Khwai...

Our third stop on this safari was Savuti. Once again, the night before leaving, myself and our local guide briefed the guests on what to expect the following day being a travel day and what we can expect from Savuti once we arrive and start to explore its beauty.

We left camp early as we had a long travel day to get to Savuti, this also allowed the amazing staff to take down and pack up camp then move to our next campsite in savuti.

One thing I must say is that the travel days on this mobile safari are really great, the reason I say this is because you are always driving through wilderness areas and there is so much to see, not just from the changing landscape, but an abundance of wildlife along the way, which makes travel days a whole lot easier and fun.

Based within the heart of Botswana's Chobe National Park, Savuti emerges as an unparalleled safari destination, capturing the essence of untamed Africa. Renowned for its dynamic landscapes and prolific wildlife, Savuti stands as a testament to the raw beauty of the natural world, drawing adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts alike, which makes it ideal for our third stop on this safari.

From a wildlife perspective, Savuti is a theater of nature's grandeur. Over the past decade the Savuti channel has dried up to a certain extent, having said that, there are 3 main waterholes, which during the dry season provides for some excellent game viewing. The region is also known for its predators, with lions, leopards, and Savuti did not disappoint!

From a mobile camping standpoint, Savuti offers a unique and immersive experience for those seeking an authentic connection with the wilderness. Mobile camps provide a front-row seat to the sights and sounds of the African night, where the crackle of a campfire and the distant roars of lions underscore the adventure. These camps, designed for a harmonious coexistence with nature, allow enthusiasts to follow the ebb and flow of wildlife, offering flexibility and a sense of unbridled freedom in exploring the diverse ecosystems of Savuti.

In Savuti, the synergy of wildlife wonders and mobile camping creates an experience that goes beyond the ordinary, Myself and the guests absolutely loved our time in all three camp sites, being out in the middle of these wilderness areas with no connectivity really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the experience and take in every moment, from the sightings, to sitting around the camp fire to listening to our local guide playing guitar, all round it was just an incredible experience that I'm sure guests and myself included will remember for a long time to come.

Our fourth and final stop of this safari was a house boat on the choke River, which after having had an amazing mobile camping experience, I will admit it was nice to end off with a bit of luxury.

We embarked aboard the Chobe Princess, instantly blown away by how amazing the staff on board were and the whole design of the houseboat, having been camping for 9  nights, an air conditioner and a safari with a different perspective was the perfect way to end off the safari. The Chobe River offers a distinctive and immersive experience that sets it apart from traditional land-based safaris. Here are several reasons why a houseboat safari on the Chobe River is an enticing and unique adventure and why we end off this safari on the houseboat:

  1. Scenic Beauty and Tranquility: Cruising along the Chobe River provides a serene and picturesque backdrop. The riverbanks are teeming with lush vegetation and a diverse array of wildlife. The tranquil waters offer a peaceful setting, allowing you to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty that unfolds around you.
  2. Abundant Wildlife Viewing: The Chobe River is renowned for its high concentration of wildlife. Elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and an array of bird species are commonly spotted along the riverbanks. A houseboat safari provides a unique vantage point, allowing you to witness these animals up close as they come to the water's edge to drink, bathe, or graze.
  3. Flexible Exploration: Houseboats offer the flexibility to navigate both narrow channels and wider sections of the river. This adaptability allows for a more intimate exploration of the river's diverse ecosystems, ensuring that you can reach secluded areas that may be inaccessible by land.
  4. Uninterrupted Wildlife Viewing: Unlike traditional game drives where the vehicle movements may disturb wildlife, a houseboat allows for uninterrupted wildlife observation. Animals are often more relaxed around water, providing an opportunity for more natural and undisturbed behavior.
  5. Sunset and Sunrise Magic: On a houseboat, you have the chance to witness breathtaking sunsets and sunrises over the water. The changing hues of the sky, reflected in the river, create a magical ambiance that enhances the overall safari experience.
  6. Comfort and Relaxation: Houseboats are equipped with comfortable accommodations, allowing you to relax in between wildlife excursions. The gentle rocking of the boat and the soothing sounds of the river contribute to a tranquil and comfortable stay.
  7. Unique Birdwatching Opportunities: The Chobe River is a haven for birdwatchers. A houseboat safari provides excellent opportunities to spot a diverse range of bird species, from fish eagles to kingfishers, making it a paradise for avian enthusiasts.

We would head out every morning before sunrise for a few hours enjoying what the river had to offer and then during the day we would utilise our time doing some lightroom work while enjoying the wild surroundings as we slowly cruised to our next site for the night before heading out on an afternoon safari to soak up the river, the beautiful light and whatever wildlife/birdlife the river had in store for us.

It truly was a great way to end off what was one spectacular safari...

I hope you enjoyed the blog and I REALLY hope you consider this mobile safari in the future, I can guarantee you will not regret your decision, its truly a safari like no other...

Botswana Mobile Safari

Combining three unique destinations in Moremi game reserve, the popular Khwai concession and ending off on Beagle Expedition's private concession, this tour will expose guests to prolific game viewing and the uniquely diverse scenery that Botswana has to offer.

Botswana Wilderness Safari

Combining two of the most popular concessions in Botswana, with the aim of exposing our small group of only 4 guests to the full range of habitats and environments that the Okavango Delta has to offer, this exclusive tour offers not only breath-taking scenery and life changing experiences, but also offers some of the best game viewing you can find in Southern Africa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *