My incredible FAM trip to Botswana

by MMC
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I recently participated in a Wilderness FAM trip to Botswana. (consult the detailed virtual itinerary)

It had been a few years since I had been to Botswana, so I was very excited. We arrived in Maun and headed to the Wilderness Safari’s air-conditioned lounge (which was very welcome in the November heat). We enjoyed some refreshments while waiting for our seat rate charter flight to the Okavango Delta. After some delays due to lost luggage, we flew to our first camp, Chitabe Lediba. On arrival we were greeted by our guide and transferred to the camp. The camp is basic but perfect. The rooms are very spacious and have everything you need. Chitabe Lediba is right next door Main Chitabe which is a slightly larger camp with slightly more common areas than Lediba.

Chitabe Ledibé features 5 Meru style canvas tents built on raised decks. Private bathrooms feature double sinks, with indoor and outdoor showers offering spectacular views of the Delta. Both family units have connecting bedrooms and a shared private bathroom. The friendly dining room, living room and swimming pool offer a magnificent view of the small lagoon.

The game viewing in the Chitabe Concession was phenomenal. Like I’ve never known before.

We saw 6 female lions running, playing fight and generally frolicking next to our safari vehicle, carrying on as if we weren’t even there! Shortly after, we saw a pride of 22 lions, including cubs of all ages. We spent about half an hour with a leopard who wandered lazily through the bush, then climbed to the top of a termite mound to get a better view and finally settled languidly on a tree branch.

During our 2 night stay we also saw cheetahs, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes fighting, zebras, many different species of antelope, warthogs and baboons to name a few just a few.

The Chitabe dealership is a photographer’s paradise.

From Chitabe we flew to the Vumbura concession where we stayed at Vumbura Plains South Camp. There are two camps in the Vumbura Plains; North and South. The main difference between the two camps is that Vumbura North is located directly on the water and North also has 2 family suites. Vumbura South has had a renovation since my last visit and looks really charming. They brought the Delta waterways into the rooms, as you can see in the images below.

The decoration at Vumbura Plains is a clever contemporary balance of wood, glass and canvas, reflecting the colors of the Delta. Perched on raised terraces, each large luxury tented suite has a private plunge pool and outdoor sala from which you can watch the never-ending parade of wildlife. The camp seems to float on water!

There had been rain a few days before we arrived in Vumbura, so the game had dispersed. That being said, we still had some nice sightings.

The highlight of our stay was the mokoro ride. We were floating peacefully and suddenly our pole fell into the mokoro. There were lions on the bank in front of us. This was the second time in our poler career that he had seen lions from a mokoro. Needless to say, we immediately turned around and had an early aperitif!

There’s no better way to view game and explore the canals than by traditional mokoro (canoe). Wetland habitats support a wealth of aquatic life, and mokoro tours reveal the delta’s fascinating little creatures, including colorful frogs and waterbirds.

The last camp of our FAM trip was Jao. It was definitely the “grand finale”! The word that kept coming out of my mouth was “wow”. From the life-size giraffe in the library upon arrival to the futuristic-looking swimming pool area, including the rooms (where I can promise you, I took my 10,000 steps to go from one side to the other). If it were me traveling, I’d happily spend 3 days relaxing in my room, on the balcony swing bed, diving in and out of the private plunge pool while watching the game on the plain outside the lodge.

I think Jao is the perfect place to end a safari.

Jao features five expansive suites and two ultra-luxurious villas, each individually handcrafted and featuring an open design, vintage-style amenities and a sala for afternoon siestas. At Jao’s The elaborate two-story main space, built into the towering trees, includes a plunge pool, museum gallery and library, complemented by an excellent wine cellar, a traditional boma for dining under the stars, and a swimming pool unique in the shape of a bird’s nest. gazebo at the surrounding water’s edge. The tranquil spa offers a wide range of soothing massages.

View the detailed virtual itinerary HERE

If you would like to know more about how to include Botswana in your Africa trip, or would like more details on where I stayed, email camille@africansafaris.com

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