Namibia and Botswana safari holiday

“This overland expedition explores the wilderness of the Namib and Kalahari the wildlife-rich Okavango and Etosha, and the adventure hubs of Vic Falls and Swakopmund.”

Highlights

Livingstone | Victoria Falls | Rafting on Zambezi River | Caprivi Strip | Kwando River | Etosha National Park | Brandberg Mountain | Desert elephants | Swakopmund | Cape Cross seal colony | Namib Desert | Sossusvlei | Windhoek | Kalahari | San Bushman walk | Dugout canoe ride on Okavango Delta | Makgadigadi Pans | Chobe National Park | Kasane | Optional: Sea kayaking, dune boarding

Description of Namibia and Botswana safari holiday

This safari holiday in Namibia and Botswana will take you on a circular tour from Livingstone in Zambia incorporating many of southern Africa’s key points of interest including Chobe and Etosha national parks, the Namib Desert and the awesome Okavango Delta. Accommodation is comfortable and located in some absolutely stunning locations with two nights on a campsite in the Okavango Delta adding to excitement levels as you travel from the mighty Victoria Falls.

Small lodge and tented lodge accommodation forms the backbone to this Botswana and Namibia holiday with 18 nights spent in relative comfort within a bedroom with en-suite facilities. The campsite at Okavango is rustic in comparison with en-suite chemical toilets and shared bucket showers with warmed water from over the fire certainly adding to the thrill of camping in Africa.

All breakfasts (20) are included throughout this Namibia and Botswana tour with 17 lunches and 12 evening meals either provided by the guide team and taken around the campfire or prepared at the lodge accommodation and eaten within the dining facility.

Transport is mainly specially built 12-seater safari vehicles. Long distances usually entail early starts and the transfer journey into the Okavango Delta involves an open-sided four-wheel-drive truck accompanied by knowledgeable local guides.

If you’re prepared to muck in and assist in the loading of the truck, the washing up around the camp and basically having a positive and friendly attitude then you’re bound to get much more out of the tour and have lots more fun at the same time.

This Botswana and Namibia safari holiday can be taken at any point during the year with the region’s rainy season from December to May providing a kaleidoscope of colour as birds, foliage and flowers come into bloom; and the drier winter season from June to November offering the best time to spot wildlife as they crowd around the watering holes in chilly mornings and even chillier evenings.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1-2:For the opening two days of this epic southern Africa adventure you’ll be based at a safari lodge or hotel in Livingstone with visits to Victoria Falls, rafting on the Zambezi River and bungee jumps at over 360 feet just some of the things to do at the start of the tour. (One breakfast included.)
Day 3-4:Crossing out of Zambia and into Botswana via way of the Caprivi Strip allows you to make the most of the ever-changing landscapes that you’ll experience both overland and onboard a boat on the River Kwando prior to undertaking your first official wildlife watching drive within the Mahango Game Reserve. (Overnight chalet accommodation all meals included.)
Day 5:There’s a captivating birdwatching scene to be taken in around the camp this morning prior to following the road adjacent to the River Kavango en-route to the market town of Rundu on the Namibian side of the border with Angola. Several villages featuring traditional grass huts and traders’ tables selling handicrafts will appear along your journey with tonight’s accommodation, a riverside lodge, providing a fantastic base from where to enjoy the sunset and prepare for the next two days ahead in the amazing Etosha National Park. (Overnight chalet accommodation with all meals included.)
Day 6-8:As promised, the next couple of days will be taken in Etosha National Park where watering holes surrounded by elephants, antelopes and lions make for a captivating sight to be absorbed during morning and afternoon animal watching safari drives. Safari lodge accommodation for the next two nights is situated on the outskirts of Etosh National Park with all meals included.
Day 9:You’re now based deep within the landscapes of Namibia with the Brandberg Mountains creating rugged, yet intensely beautiful, scenes where desert elephants, petrified forests and rock paintings add to the natural scenes based in and around the dried up River Ugab. (Overnight lodge accommodation with all meals included.)
Day 10-11:Crossing the wide open plains en-route to the seal colonies on the coast at Cape Cross is a real joy with the seaside resort of Swakopmund making a more than suitable setting for a couple of nights exploring amongst the European-influenced architecture and fairly old-fashioned beach town ambience. Enjoy a free day doing as you feel with sea kayaking and sand dune surfing providing just a couple of reasons why Swakopmund’s considered Namibia’s adventure sport coastal capital. (Overnight guesthouse accommodation including two breakfasts and one lunch.)
Day 12-13:Swapping the seaside ambience of Swakopmund for the towering sand waves of the Namib Desert is quite a contrast with walks through the Sesriem Canyon and into Sossusvlei providing some dramatic photo opportunities, particularly as the sun begins to send shadows over the highest sand dunes on the planet. Note: there’s a chance to swap the 4km hike today for a four-wheel-drive alternative although this isn’t included in the overall price. (Overnight permanent campsite accommodation with all meals included.)
Day 14:Discover a mixture of African and European cultures today as you travel to the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, and explore the city sights prior to enjoying an evening meal out before retiring to your overnight guesthouse in readiness for tomorrow’s adventure into the Kalahari. (Breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 15:Tonight you’ll be staying in lodge accommodation in the middle of the Kalahari with an afternoon walk accompanied by a local San Bushman offering you every opportunity to find out more about the traditional skills needed to survive and thrive in the desert. (All meals included.)
Day 16-18:The next two days of the Botswana safari leg of this holiday take you into the wonderful reed aligned waterways of the Okavango Delta where a first night in the town of Maun allows you to rest and prepare for a forthcoming river adventure onboard a Mekoro dug-out canoe. Two nights will be spent in a campsite on a hard to reach island with swimming, birdwatching and nature walks within pristine wilderness allowing you to really become immersed in some of Botswana’s most beautiful natural areas. (All meals will be provided in the overnight campsite whilst breakfast and lunch only with be provided in the overnight tented lodge accommodation.)
Day 19:Today you’ll continue your journey eastwards as you head to the highly impressive salt pans held within Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. This area of northeast Botswana contains one of the world’s greatest salt plains and attracts thousands of species of birds as well as herds of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes as well as some absolutely magnificent sunsets. (Overnight campsite accommodation with breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 20:Your penultimate day of this Namibia and Botswana safari holiday takes you to one of southern Africa’s favourite national parks, Chobe, where herds of buffalo and elephants line the rivers and waterways which is why this afternoon’s riverboat cruise is always a much anticipated event. (Overnight chalet accommodation with breakfast and lunch included.)
Day 21:The tour finishes where it started with a transfer across the River Zambezi via the Kazangula ferry to Livingstone signalling your final destination whereupon you’ll say farewell to your group at midday. (Breakfast included.)

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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21 Oct 2018
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Our top tip:
Tap water is drinkable across much of southern Africa; bring a refillable bottle to keep costs - and plastic waste - down.
Trip type:
Small group safari, max. 12 people.
Activity level:
Moderate.
Accomm:
18 nights in chalets, permanent tents and guesthouses. 2 nights in tented camp.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
Included:
Accommodation, most meals, transport, safari guided, sleeping bags, listed activities.
Meals:
20 breakfasts, 17 lunches, 12 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.
“We’ve a saying that we often tell clients, to prepare them for how things work in Africa: When God created the earth he gave Europe the watch - and Africa the time.”

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Namibia and Botswana safari holiday

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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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.

Kalahari: Our visit to the Kalahari is for the express purpose to meet the San Bushman. These amazing people whose culture is under threat of being lost. Our bush walk with the San bushman teaches us how it is possible to find food and water in this harsh environment. The area that we visit in the Kalahari has been set aside for a small community of San Bushman so that they can live in their traditional way. Your visit not only brings in much needed money, but it helps to show the younger generations that there is still a lot of value to their traditional way of life.

16 Reviews of Namibia and Botswana safari holiday

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 09 Oct 2018 by

The wonderful variety of wildlife and the magnificent beauty of the Namib desert Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Jun 2018 by

Truly excellent! There was a good mixed group of people, but overall our guides, Jeff & Tawanda, really made the trip as good as it was. They worked hard, were up first, and to bed last. Always cheerful and smiling, full of information about the regions we were travelling through, the animals and people. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 May 2018 by

Worthwhile. I will go again, perhaps to a different location at a different time of the year to complete my sightings of the Big 5. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2018 by

There were many memorable moments - rainstorm in the desert. Climbing Dune 25 and Safari cruise in Nata. Itinerary good. Guides knowledgeable. Bilingual aspect impacted on enjoyment. Safety concerns as only one driver who drove for far too long in my option. Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Jul 2017 by

We enjoyed the whole experience but particularly enjoyed the Chobe River trip, because we saw such a variety of wildlife at close quarters. The plane trip over the Okavango Delta was also a highlight because it gave a wonderful overview of the area. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 May 2017 by

The Okavango Delta was incredible, but so was Victoria Falls, Etosha game drives, Dune 45 - and of course the quad biking! All of it was terrific! I absolutely loved every minute of it! Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Sep 2017 by

So many memorable parts! Victoria Falls, Etosha National Park, Namib deserts, Sossusvlei, Okavango Delta, Chobe.... what a wonderfully diverse collection of geographic experiences. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2016 by

The guides were excellent - organised, knowledgeable and above all fun. We spent three weeks laughing. Their willingness to share their knowledge of Africa and stories told around the campfires made the areas we visited come alive. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Oct 2016 by

Excellent. Far exceeded expectations and one of the best holidays we have been on. Read full review

Reviewed on 11 Sep 2016 by

Best bits: Chobe national park.... unbelievable. Dune 45 and Deadvlei in Namib desert. Rafting and Devil's pool in Victoria Falls... and of course Etosha park Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Nov 2015 by

Best bits: There were so many memorable moments it's hard to pick just one: walking up Dune 45 early in the morning, watching the animals at the water holes in Etosha, staying in a tree house! Read full review

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2015 by

We had fantastic animals encounters in several places including Mosi oa Tunya, Mahango, Etosha and Chobe. The walking safari in Mosi oa Tunya was very special, we got great views of giraffe and white rhinos on foot. The landscape and animals at Etosha are just breath taking, we saw lions there and many other animals and birds. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2015 by

Fantastic! We loved every minute of it. Guides were lovely people, very good at their job and we enjoyed the team working aspect of group participation in cooking and camp activities. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Nov 2014 by

I am a frequent traveller and have done many overland and organize trip in the past, by far these were the best I have used. The countries visited were more than I could have ever imagined and the people I met along the way will always stay with me. It's a 10 out of 10. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2014 by

Excellent trip with a huge amount packed into the 21 days and good value for money Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Sep 2014 by

Really very good - about 9.5/10. Namib desert and Chobe National Park, as well as the excellent tour staff were the best parts about this holiday. Read full review

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