Botswana camping safaris

“Botswana is one of Africa's most exclusive destinations. But travelling in a small group and sleeping under canvas brings one of the world's last wildernesses within reach.”

Highlights

Khama Rhino Sanctuary | Maun | Dugout canoe on Okavango Delta | Camping on islands in Delta | Moremi Game Reserve | Savuti | Chobe National Park | Kasane | Zambezi River| Victoria Falls | Optional: game flight, white water rafting, bungee jumping

Description of Botswana camping safaris

Botswana safari holidays offer a unique experience for travellers looking to explore in remote wilderness areas where other visitors are limited and wildlife watching is exceptional.

For six nights on this camping safari, Botswana reveals its essential animal habitat as you stay in specially erected camping areas in and around Botswana’s premier national parks. On-site camping facilities include hot and cold running water, clothes washing facilities and telephone systems.

For the remaining seven nights of this Botswana safari holiday you’ll be enjoying the thrill and complete immersion of wild camping with no manmade perimeters and only basic temporary camping facilities, such as a bucket shower and seated pit toilet.

All of the 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and eight evening meals will be prepped and cooked by the guide team at the transport truck prior to be enjoyed around the campfire under the stars.

If you’ve already experienced a camping safari, Botswana is no different in respects of transport as you’ll have the advantage of a specially built four-wheel-drive vehicle that comes complete with 12 seats facing forwards and canvas surrounds that can be rolled up to maximise wildlife watching.

For the first couple of days from Johannesburg to the town of Maun you’ll be travelling in a custom made 12-seater safari truck or an air-conditioned Mercedes 12-seater minibus.

As with most Botswana safari holidays the chance to help out and assist the guide team is certain to increase your experience, with a little help with washing up and baggage loading always appreciated by everyone on the tour.

Also, if there are nine or more travellers, an additional vehicle for supplies and a camping assistant will be included from Day Six to Day 11 to assist with prepping the meals and generally helping out to ensure things run even more smoothly.

From May to September Botswana experiences its dry winter season and you’ll find a much more generous selection of wildlife watching opportunities mainly due to the lack of vegetation and the reduction of watering holes. This time of year can also get a bit chilly, particularly in the early morning and late at night.

Alternatively, October to April, the Botswana summer, finds a wealth of lush, green foliage as well as a much greater intensity of migrating species of bird. Although game viewing can be a little more restricted it’s still a good time to visit, especially if you know a few key secret spots.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:An early departure from Johannesburg signals the start of your safari adventure as you drive north across the border from South Africa and into Botswana. En-route to your first overnight campsite you’ll pass by the trading town of Serowe before taking your first wildlife safari within the Khama Rhino Sanctuary which is a game reserve spread across the veldt landscapes of the Kalahari. This will be your first opportunity to spot zebras, wildebeest and white rhinos within the pans of Malema and Serwe prior to settling down for the evening and your first meal around the campfire. (Today’s meals: lunch and dinner.)
Day 2:Your first full day in Botswana continues the drive across the Kalahari as you travel to the township of Maun and the entrance to the incredible Okavango Delta. Maun is an exciting riverside town geared up for safari travellers and as we set up camp and prepare for tomorrow’s excursion over the Delta you’ll be invited to look around and use the swimming pool prior to finding a local restaurant for your evening meal. (Today’s meals: breakfast and lunch.)
Day 3-5:Over the next couple of days you’ll follow local guides into the centre of the Okavango Delta where hollowed out Mekoro canoes provide the transport and landscapes mix between the flat plains of the Kalahari and the fragile green oasis coming from the rivers flowing from the highlands of Angola. Wild camping on out of the way islands is an amazing experience with bush walks, birdwatching and the chance to swim in crystal clear water just some of the activities to accompany the exciting nature of Botswana safari holidays. Upon the return to Maun before the evening sets in on Day Five you’ll be given the chance to take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta that isn’t included as part of the standard itinerary. (Meals included: three breakfasts, three lunches and two dinners.)
Day 6-9:For the next two nights you’ll be staying within the Moremi Game Reserve before heading north into the Savuti Marshlands for another couple of nights. Both of these conservation zones provide plentiful animal watching opportunities including hippos, Cape wild dogs, impala, cheetah and more than 500 species of forest dwelling and water based birds. Habitat ranges from vast savannah plains to acacia forest areas, floodplains, lagoons and numerous other waterways dotted with lilies. Crossing the sand ridge prior to descending into the Mababe Depression is one of many natural highlights with the chance to go wild camping in the centre of Chobe National Park certain to provide a few more. (All meals included.)
Day 10-11:Over the next couple of days your time will be spent exploring Chobe National Park where herds of elephant can be observed along the banks of the River Chobe and a late afternoon wildlife cruise on the river provides the perfect sunset moment before returning to the Kasane campsite for Day 11. (Meals included: two breakfasts, two lunches and one evening meal.)
Day 12-13:Your penultimate two days on a camping safari Botswana leads you over the border and into Zambia where the might of the Victoria Falls provides a tumultuous crescendo to your time away from home. Camping for two nights near the Zambian town of Livingstone you’ll be invited on a thrilling walk through the tropical foliage and shimmering mists of the UNESCO World Heritage site with optional activities, such as: white water rafting, bungee jumping or scenic flights over the falls, always adding to the natural excitement levels. (Meals included: two breakfasts.)
Day 14:This Botswana safari holiday finishes today after breakfast with local airport transfers available for those looking to continue travelling or meet scheduled flights home.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Our top tip:
Bring plenty of warm layers, especially if travelling from June-August - the days will be warm but the desert nights can get surprisingly chilly.
Trip type:
Small group, up to 12 people. Min. age 12.
Activity level:
Moderate.
Accomm:
6 nights campsites with hot showers, 7 nights wild camping with basic facilities.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single tents available with surcharge.
Included:
Tents, transport, safari guides, listed activities, most meals. Sleeping bags not included.
Meals:
13 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 8 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Botswana camping safaris

Environment

Message from co-Founder of this Tour Operator. My name is Bruce and I am a founder of this tour operation. I believe that the old conservation tactic of the setting aside areas of "exclusion" for conservation are outdated.

The reality is that in order for effective, sustainable conservation to take place, there needs to be an interest from the society of that country, conscious effort from government and local "buy in" from the local communities. Sadly the world is in a place where economic benefit is the overriding driving force of action and as such conservation is directly linked to economic benefit. Sustainable tourism is therefore absolutely essential for conservation to be effective. Not only for local communities to see value in conservation, but for countries as a whole to place value in protecting their natural heritage.

I believe there is a deep and instinctual link between our humanity and our natural environment. Inherently we all want to know that the wild places are still out there. And Eco-tourism gives us that opportunity, as we so often hear, to "rebalance" or "rejuvenate".

The various promises and commitments detailed below are only a representation of what it is that we do. I sincerely hope that our tours offer our clients an opportunity to experience the wonders of the African continent, and in some small way through focusing itineraries around wildlife and national parks, we contribute to environmental conservation both economically and spiritually.

If you join one of our trips, and have practical feasible suggestions about our responsible travel practices, please contact us. We strive to improve our operation and if we can do more for conservation in Africa, then we're all ears!

Low impact tourism & supporting local communities:
• Small group travel: We specialise in small group travel with a maximum group size of 12 clients & minimum of 4. Small groups ensures a small impact on the destinations we visit when compared to larger groups. Smaller groups create an intimate safari experience, and mean that when we interact with local cultures and stay in environmentally sensitive areas, we do not leave a large footprint.
• Fuel consumption: By travelling in a small group your carbon foot print is approximately ½ of self drive safari. The average pick-up car hire runs on approximately 12ltr/100km with generally 2 people per vehicle and this equates to approximately 6ltr/100km pp. Our average safari truck runs on 25ltr/100km with an average of 9.5 clients per tour and this equates to 2.6Ltr/100km pp. So, by joining a small group tour, your fuel consumption is less than half of doing a self-drive 4WD or pick up trip.
• Cooking: We cook using gas as far as possible and, whenever feasible, avoiding cooking using fire or coal which depletes limited wood resources.
• Wooden carving curios: We do take clients to local curio markets to support the local communities. If they want to buy a carving, we encourage clients purchase only small wooden carvings instead of large pieces. This is in an effort to again conserve the forests around the carving markets.
• Waste: We ensure that we take all of our rubbish out of wilderness areas and use proper waste disposal facilities on all tours (and in the workshop, including oil traps, oil recycling, cleaning products etc).
• Entrance fees: All entrance fees for the national parks in each country are used by the local authorities to maintain the condition and infrastructure of the national parks, and run regular anti-poaching patrols. These are often supplemented by government grants. The national parks support a large number of local community members often providing housing and schooling for the staff families. For us as a tour operator, supporting the various national park boards is an essential element to each tour.
• Accommodation: On all tours wherever possible we use locally owned accommodation establishments which are involved in local responsible tourism initiatives. This provides direct benefits to local communities through employment. We avoid large hotel chains and more commercial properties but opt for simple self-catering lodge, B&B’s and tented camps for accommodation in rural areas. By doing this we create an intimate environment for group away from large scale tourism and the communities around the accommodation benefit directly through employment and this creates pride and further interest in sustainable tourism as the communities have tangible benefits from tourism. Our tours focus on out of the way destinations, and as such, our “spend” is distributed into rural areas.
• Drinking Water: Each client, drinking 5 litres per day from 1 litre plastic bottles produces 100 waste plastic bottles on a 3 week safari. On this calculation, we would pollute the environment (and waste energy resources in plastic production) with over 250,000 plastic bottles per year! So as solution, each of our vehicles has a tank of clean drinking water that is filled up along the journey. This is safe tap water. We do not provide bottle water we encourage clients to drink the local clean drinkable tap water wherever possible in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottle waste produced by the purchase of bottled drinking water.
• Water conservation: We are acutely aware that in many areas that we visit water is a scarce resource. Clients are encouraged to be conscious of water usage and not to take long showers or waste water.
• Wildlife: On all game drives, our trained and qualified guides ensure that our groups interact with wildlife in the appropriate way. Slow movements, no loud noises and to respect the animals “personal” boundaries. Our philosophy is that we are visitors in the amazing places that we visit, and we do not want our presence to impact the wildlife and environment in any negative way. We also enforce a policy of not feeding any wildlife (animals habituated to human feeding will turn aggressive in the future which often results in authorities being forced to kill that animal) and to appreciate the natural state of the areas that we visit and to leave the area in exactly the same condition that it was when we arrived.
• Local guides & communities: On each tour you will travel with two guides for the entire trip. In addition, we also employ local guides for certain activities on tour. These local initiatives help to maintain local cultures and also sustain the ideals of wildlife conservation. Tourism, goodwill and conservation all work together and we aim to maintain the delicate balance at all times! The employment of local guide adds value to our clients visit because they can gain specific local knowledge and expertise from the people who actually live permanently in the area they are visiting. These interactions also give our clients the chance to meet local people and see how tourism is benefiting Africa, piece by piece.
We use local guides at:
Botswana: Okavango Delta, Chobe NP, Ghanzi San Bushman excursion, national parks
South Africa: Mkuzi village walk, Qunu Mandela historical site, Kozi Bay
Swailand: Hlane walking
Lesotho: Malealea Lodge pony trekking guide
Malawi: Boat excursion on Lake Malawi
Mozambique: Dhow excursions
Namibia: Brandberg walk and drives (part of the Tsiseb Community Conservancy), Spizkoppe walk, Gariep River canoeing, Sossusvlei 4WD drivers,
Zambia: Lower Zambezi Canoe excursion, South Luangwa game walks and drives, Vic Falls optional activities
Zimbabwe: Great Zimbabwe Monuments, Matobos NP, Hwange NP, Victoria Falls
For more information on each of the community projects please talk to your guide or contact us.
• Underprivileged Children Groups: We operate a number of tours into the national parks of South Africa for underprivileged children from schools based in Johannesburg, South Africa. PEN Organisation is an independent, non-governmental and social development organisation. Its activities focus on neglected and abandoned children and orphans, as well as disadvantaged families. We try to run these tours as often as possible during the course of a year. We believe that the youth are Africa’s future and that environmental education is important. This opportunity allows them to see for themselves wildlife (perhaps for the first time), nature conservation at work, and also show them employment opportunities that are available in the conservation or tourism industry, and possibly encourage them to follow a career in tourism (for this reason we aim these groups at 14-18 year olds).
• Local crafts and produce: At all local markets where fresh produce and crafts are sold and produced, we encourage the clients to barter (gently and in good humour) with the local people. This not only allows the clients to get involved with the local way of life, and interact directly with the local people, but also provides them a platform to experience local life first hand. Having said that, we explain to the clients by bartering too hard for a good deal might seem like a lot of money at the time, but if the amount being haggled over is converted to either US$, Euro or GBP, it amounts to very little. This is the local livelihood and we advise them to keep this in mind at all times.
• Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: We assist a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Springs, Johannesburg. Judy Davidson runs a licensed rehab centre from a small holding. A variety of birds are cared for, from injured barbets, doves, and crows to a brown snake eagle, a Gymnogene, and spotted eagle owls. All birds are treated in a small makeshift clinic, and then kept in aviaries until they have recovered. Once able to fly, or care for themselves again, they are moved to a 'flight' aviary, for a period until they have regained strength. They are then released back into the wild. Those birds which are unable to be released are kept in large aviaries and fed through various donations. We assist the project with donations of practical equipment including shade netting, paint and other items on their wish list.

Community

Okavango Delta: We use local community 'polers' to take us into the Okavango Delta. The polers have an intimate knowledge of the Okavango Delta, and their employment as guides ensure that the local community benefit from tourism and ensures that these areas are conserved for future generations.
The Okavango Delta, 1000th World Heritage Site, is an important wildlife refuge for many animals, both resident and migratory. It attracts thousands of tourists to Botswana annually, and maintaining the pristine nature of the environment is very important to the country. Water from the Delta is integral to the continued sustainability of the Botswana tourism industry. Without water, the environment would no longer support such diversity. There have been many talks about damming upper sections of the Kavango River which feeds the Okavango Delta. Should this go ahead it will disrupt the natural system of the Delta and adversely affect the wildlife and the industry as a whole. Tour leaders will explain all of this to clients so that clients are made aware of what potentially could happen if this plan is implemented. The more people who are made aware of the threats to this ecosystem, the less likely it is to happen. By people visiting the Delta, creating jobs, and allowing the delta to make much needed funds, the less likely it is that the planned dam will go ahead.

Okavango SOS trees project - Okavango Botswana: For hundreds of years, the local communities in and around Botswana's Okavango Delta have used the wood of the sausage tree to craft their traditional mokoro (dugout canoes). The knowledge and skill have been passed down from generation to generation and, up until recently, has been a sustainable practice. With increasing numbers of people visiting the Delta each year, more mokoro are needed and as a direct result, more and more Sausage Trees (Kigela Africana) are being felled and the tree is sadly disappearing from the region. A traditional wooden mokoro will have to be replaced every five years, thereby placing increased pressure on the dwindling Sausage Tree supply.
As a solution we have established a project to encourage polers in the local communities to buy replica fibreglass mekoros, which have a lifespan of approximately ten years, are more stable and are produced with much less negative affect to the environment. As such, sponsorship for each fibreglass mokoro is needed, and a portion of the tour cost will be donated to the project, but we also will offer our clients the opportunity to contribute to this worthwhile cause. Please feel free to contact the our office for more information on the SOS Trees project or if you would like to make any contributions towards this project. It is something that is close to all of our hearts and we have been successful in replacing 30+ (circ. 2015) mekoro thus far.

Wild Camping in Botswana: As a camping tour this means our environmental impact is minimal. We stay in designated campsites, and leave it in a pristine condition. Litter is strictly policed. The potential of creating wildfires is great, so the group is briefed on smoking restriction and how to dispose of cigarette butts.
All camps are un-fenced, so the potential is there for the wildlife to come into camp and clients are briefed as to the restrictions of keeping to camp and not wandering away from the confines of the campsite.

Khama Rhino Sanctuary: The Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) is a community based project that was established in 1992 to assist is saving the endangered rhino, restore the wildlife area (8585 hectares) and provide economic benefits to the local community through tourism. Rhinos were introduced in the sanctuary as it is being used as a breeding centre for the re-introduction of both black and white rhinos into the national parks of Botswana after the natural population had virtually been hunted to extinction by poaches. Proceeds from visitors to the park help with the rhino breeding programme and go to the local community.
While there have been further reintroduction of rhino’s by operators in Botswana by bringing rhino in from South Africa, Khama Rhino Sanctuary is still an integral part of rhino conservation in Southern Africa.

Reviews of Botswana camping safaris

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The opportunity to sleep in the 'wild' (in parks) and to sit around an open fire at night with just the star filled skies above and noises of wildlife around, was a
huge privilege. The boat ride through the delta was one of the most atmospheric and soothing journeys I have had. The night around the fire listening to
the songs of the Polers in the Delta was unforgetable. Another particular thrill was a sighting of a female leopard and her cub with their recent kill - that of
a baby cheetah - in the Moremi park. The boat ride on the Chobe river was stunning in terms of the number of birds that we saw, and how close we were to
elephants and crocodiles. White water rafting at the Victoria falls was pretty thrilling too. There are many more memorable things I could add......

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Think through the group aspect of this holiday. This isn't the holiday to choose if you want private time as a couple/family. In order for the tour group to
work well, everyone has to make an effort to interact enough to develop a good group dynamic. Thankfully our group worked well, everyone was
considerate and we enjoyed getting to know new people. Also, this is an very 'outdoor' tour with bumpy drives, camping every night - and participating in
communal chores. It wouldn't suit someone who needed to shower everyday, or who had physcial health issues (such as back pain or poor mobility). Do
make sure that you take something windproof to wear (and tie hair back), several of the drives are in an open sided vehicle which gets very windy (and
cold).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - by using local guides in the Delta and by ensuring that we cleaned up our camps and left nothing behind us (not even apple cores) in the parks. I think
that there would be scope to extend the environmental aspects of this tour - perhaps by giving more information on local projects etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Wonderful from start to finish. I didn't want it to end.

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The wild camping in the bush in Botswana was just fantastic with some extremely close encounters with wildlife such as the elephants who came to hoover up the acacia pods between our tents, hornbills hopping around the camp, an eagle owl sitting on a dead tree watching the campfire and tracking on foot and in the open 4WD getting close to lions and leopards, in the mokoros close to hippos and elephants.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Our guides Kalunga, Kenny and Timon the driver/assistant were extremely knowledgeable capable, always professional and inspired confidence-thanks to their skill in tracking and good relations with other guides we had some wonderful opportunities to watch wildlife which might otherwise have remained hidden. The tents feel robust, camp cooking was great, bush shower fun and the bush toilet comfortable and hygenic (though could be a bit scary in the dark). Campfires and the stars with the noises of the African night are very special and the company/nationalities within the group will obviously make a big impact on any individual's experience - the guides are conscious of this and facilitate group dynamics.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The team were fastidious in returning the campsites to the bush -it was extremely hard to imagine these wild sites are used as frequently as they were as they were seemingly pristine- all rubbish removed and ashes buried when we left. Local people were used for the mokoro trip into the delta (shared out on a rota)and guiding on the walking safaris and the boat guide on Chobe River. They all had immense respect for the wildlife and approached as close as possible without stressing the animals. There were opportunities for cultural interaction with the mokoro polers/guides around the camp in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Awesome! I would wholeheartedly recommend the wild camping aspect of this trip as an amazing extra dimension to the experience over a lodge or fenced campsite.

Reviewed on 23 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Going to sleep in my tent, in the heart of the bush knowing that I was surrounded by all the wild life that I had come to see. You just can't get this fantastic feeling in a lodge or hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


On the camping trips check the expected weather. Your are limited on what you can take so bulky warm clothes when the temperature is never going to get below 20c is a real waste of space. The camping trip is a team activity - engage with the team.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, local people were employed as guides and helpers. When we departed a campsite it was left as if we had never been there. Botswana will benefit from tourism but local inhabitants are clear that this will only continue while the flora and fauna remains as abundant and unspoiled as it is now.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A wonderful experience. Well managed and more fun than I would ever have imagined.

Reviewed on 22 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


A lioness came into camp and stole my day bag and ate my camera, binoculars and our passports! Guides were marvellous and kept us safe from her

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Keep your packing to a minimum and separate items into bags for ease of access i.e. underwear in one bag, medicines and pills in another.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes we spent quite a bit of money and obviously people had jobs as a result of tourists. In the longer term we have been singing the praises of both Botswana and Zambia and their efforts anti poaching

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent - saw more game than we could possibly have hoped for and loved Botswana.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Liz

Thank you for your review that we have seen on Responsible Travel.

Firstly I’m glad you had a great time on our tour, and that Botswana was everything you hoped for. It’s a great trip which seems some amazing areas and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Regarding your encounter with the kleptomaniac lioness in camp at Chobe, most importantly I’m pleased to hear the guides kept you safe. Our guides are trained as professional guides, they have years of experience dealing with camping in wild areas and they know best on how to deal with the situation, and they give safety briefings to this effect.

Our guides make sure they do a perimeter check in the morning before the group gets out and about, and we ask clients to advise guides when they are leaving the confines of the camp so they are aware, this is for the safety of the group and so they keep a check on where everyone is in the group. However even if the guides had checked the perimeter of the camp that morning, this was a lioness on the move, so it would have been an unexpected situation regardless, as is the nature of wildlife.

Although I’m sorry to hear of the damage to your equipment, this should make for an interesting story in the future because having a lioness in camp does not happen often at all - most of the time the wildlife is scared of the human noises and smells and they keep away from the camp. However in this case I’m glad the situation was dealt with well, and that you were able to get home after having a damaged passport.

We do provide a suggested packing list in our tour dossier that can be used to help with final packing for the trip, as space is limited and there is a weight limit guideline. Your idea of grouping items into different bags is a great suggestion for future clients.

I would like to respond regarding your impression that your trip did not really benefit local people or conservation, please can I ask you to view our website page which will give you many different ways in which a our company supports conservation and details how your tour benefits local people and communities along the way. I hope this helps to reassure you that we have conservation at our heart and we are serious about Responsible Travel and helping our clients also have an opportunity to be part of this during their tour with us.

Once again, thank you for your feedback and hope that you will consider joining another of our tours in the future.

Thanks and regards

Tamlyn

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The Okavango Delta safari and the Chobe safari

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared to get dirty when in the camps in the middle of nowhere. Bring a
good light and plenty of battery power.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not sure about this one as we did a lot of driving and camp fires

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good you have to be lucky who you end up and with I was lucky.

Reviewed on 17 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The walking and caneo safari elements and our encouter with the animals was unbelieveable and terrifying at the sametime, but the guides were excellent and got us out safely from some very tricky situations. The actual guides make or break the holiday as much as the animals, we were so lucky they were all brilliant and made the holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Just a couple for people who haven't done this before, there are two airports at Vic falls, I think it was just luck that I booked the right one. Secondly the $300 paid to guides at the beginning is fine, but just need to explain a bit more in the info what it is for, finally again for new people currency requirement/guide would be helpful and at what stops money can be changed.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, we tipped heavily locally to push the money around and buying local helps, plus having local guides means alot, it's their home and they explain about their country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I think the holiday was brilliant. I am a 50 year old women and biologically we constantly assess risk and feel fear, where as my 16 year old daughter felt absolotely no fear at all. This was the same observation throughout the entire group between the age groups. Being in the real wild comes with unavoidable risks, like skiing in a way and I didn't really understand this until I was there.
Whilst I am really happy we did it and I will never do a holiday as memorable and extraordinary again, I can't envisage me doing it again because of the 'fear factor' I personally felt, which will not be the same for everybody. Thank you for the experience, the setup was perfect and the organisation excellent and at a price that is doable.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Susan

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review and let other travellers know about your experience. Thank you for the wonderful feedback and comments and we are so happy that you and your daughter had such a fantastic holiday, even though there were times when you were nervous.
I will be passing your comments onto the rest of the team and the guides.

There is something so magical about seeing wildlife in its natural environment and certainly gives you a new respect for wildlife. This is why we insist on the highest quality guides to take you through this incredible journey.

With regards to the airports, you are correct, there are two airports which give you access to the Victoria Falls and it is wise to check your itinerary carefully when starting or ending a tour to make sure which town your tour starts/ends in to make sure you have the correct airport.

Airport in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe: Victoria Falls International Airport
Airport in Livingstone Zambia: Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport.

Also, thank you for the feedback on the Local Payment element of the tour. When you booked the tour you should have received a detailed itinerary and in that information are details about the local payment. You should also have received the tour dossier which has the same information. If you did not, my sincerest apologies and we will ensure future clients get all of the correct information ahead of travelling. I have included the details of the local payment portion of the this tour that can be found in our documentation.

I will also be looking into the currency section of our dossier to see where we can improve the information.

Once again thank you for your feedback.

Kind regards
Jayne Harley
Marketing Manager
Sunway SafarIs

(This is what is included in the detailed itinerary and Sunway Safaris tour dossier: Local Payment
A local payment is required on this safari and this will be collected by your tour leader on departure. The local payment forms part of your overall tour cost, and must be taken into consideration when booking your safari. It will be used by your tour leaders to pay for some of the operational costs incurred on safari.
Sunway prepays by bank transfer, as many of the tour costs as possible. However, in many cases, a cash payment is the only option: certain of the destinations that we visit, only accept cash. For example entry fees to most national parks, some of the campsites and also local food markets (and even some shops) are only payable in cash. In addition, each Sunway vehicle has a garage card but these are only accepted in South Africa and parts of Namibia, therefore in all other countries, fuel must be paid for in cash. Due to the remoteness of some departure points, having a local payment system enables us to manage tour funds effectively. The efficiency of this system helps keep the overall tour prices down.
For these reasons, it is necessary for Sunway to charge a local payment. It also ensures that a portion of the tour costs goes directly into the country you are visiting, thereby benefiting local communities and contributing to the conservation of the areas we visit. This is all part of Sunway Safaris’ ongoing effort to operate sustainable safaris that make a real difference.)


Reviewed on 11 Nov 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The wildlife, glimpses of birds and lions, wild camping, professionalism of guides
Swimming in Okavango
In the boats through Okavango
Speeding through African bush, and the light
Victoria Falls, the Zimbabwean side

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be very prepared for very long drives
Be prepared for poor group dynamics
The five night wild camping without access to camping facilities was a little challenging
Take plenty to read, music to listen to

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, certainly in the Okavango the people benefited - they were great, a real treat
We took great care to leave no rubbish or signs of us having been camping

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was supposed to be an English speaking tour but unfortunately I was the only native speaker, and a group of five Italians (there were only 9 of us in total) took up plenty of the 'space' and they didn't speak English. This made for slightly miserable sessions around the beautiful camp fire! The guides and the company were great, all camping gear and vehicles were really good quality. Camping food was excellent. There was a lot to see, experience and enjoy. I took a punt going on my own and being in a random group, I had hoped for more engaging group members and was disappointed. Spending two weeks in that scenario was quite a struggle.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Mark

Thank you very much for your feedback. It is of course disappointing that overall you found the tour disappointing due to the group dynamics. We are pleased that you enjoyed everything else and that you speak so highly of our guides. We pride ourselves is having well trained professional guides. Thank you as well for all the positive feedback regarding the highlights, equipment, vehicles and food. Our guides pride themselves are their cooking and are skilled and versatile and we have worked hard over the last 21 years to create high quality affordable tours. Your positive feedback reflects this.


The Botswana Wildside tour is an incredible journey through pristine wildlife areas of Botswana and the wild camping gets you so close to nature – very few things can compare. As you mention, there are no fixed facilities when wild camping, we provide a pit toilet and bucket shower. There is time during the heat of the day to relax in camp and enjoy being out in nature. Having a book to read and maybe some music is good advice. There is time between game drives to quietly read a book or enjoy being in camp while it is quiet and enjoy the birdlife, squirrels or chat to your guides and go through some of their reference books.

As you say, part of the wild camping is leaving the campsite as you found it – as if it didn’t exist. We take in only what we need and take out everything. This is a very important aspect of the tour.
There are some longer days of travelling, but you are covering a large area and you are moving through Game Reserves, National Parks and wilderness areas and so you are permanently surrounded by nature. You will have noted that we split up the longer drives by spending two nights in one place after a longer drive. This gives some time to recuperate.

This tour is usually an inspiring tour and I can see from the aspects that you enjoyed, the highlights and interaction with the local communities in the Delta that you did experience this. For this I am very pleased. I hope you took some wonderful photos and if you would like to share them with us that would be great!

I am sorry that you found the group dynamics so poor. Our English departures are open to be booked by clients from all over the world and usually have a complete mix of clients. Everyone generally speaks English as this is the common language and of the guides also conduct the whole tour in English. The mixed group is also an aspect that most travellers love because they get to meet people from all over the world. It is disappointing and unfortunate that your group was dominated by clients who did not try and interact in English but rather chose to keep to themselves. This happens rarely and again I apologise that this impacted negatively on your experience.

I do hope that you will look to book with us again in the future and you are welcome to ask for the makeup of the group.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with the Responsible Travel community.

Kind regards
Jayne Harley
Marketing Manager

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Wild camping and interactions with wildlife!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do it!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yep. One project in particular which supported a community project to preserve woodland. Otherwise, no obvious direct
involvement with community projects, but Botswana tourism seems to benefit the local community in general and this
tour was committed to preserving local habitat as untouched as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Indescribably lovely.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Becky

Thank you for your wonderful feedback. This is a truly wonderful tour and gets you so close to nature when you are wild camping, there is little to compare the experience to. I am thrilled you had such a wonderful trip and I hope we see you back with us for more trips to Southern Africa.

Kind regards
Jayne Harley

Reviewed on 29 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Sunrise over the Okavango Delta.
Sunset over the Chobe River.
The truly wonderful and magical Okavango boat journey. Softly, silently being punted through the waterways, between the reeds and framed by trees and punctuated by birdsong and and gentle soft water ripples.
Victoria Falls - seeing is believing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't be scared of the animals! Listen to the guides - they are very knowledgeable and help to bring the whole thing to life. Ask questions. Understand how it all fits together. Warm layers for the cool evenings. Take lots of memory cards for your camera. Don't forget your anti malerials. Go with the flow and enjoy Africa time. Enjoy the camping - it's the best way to be close to it all.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Local guides are hired. Local food is eaten. Local help is required, trust them, they know, they help and they are rightly proud of their world.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10 out of 10.

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