10 independent reviews for Botswana camping safaris

Reviews for Botswana camping safaris

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review 15 Aug 2017

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

The highlight was probably when elephants strolled into our camp one afternoon! Camping in the wilderness and being up close to elephants, lions, rhino, giraffe, buffalo and hyena, hippos, leopards and fantastic bird life was wonderful. The expert guides kept us safe and shared their knowledge - and prepared great food every meal. The evening meals and chat round the fireside were very memorable too. Also watching a leopard eating its kill whilst hyena looked on. I could go on!!

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

Do it! Be prepared to muck in with the washing up etc. Take lots of layers of clothing if going in winter - cold mornings and hot afternoons.

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

We hope so. We certainly tried to do so - spending at local markts and tipping as much as we could afford. Guides made sure that sites were left in pristine condition.

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

At the age of 62 we have no problem in saying that this was our best holiday ever. Like being in the middle of a travel cocumentary - up close and personal with so many beautiful animals (and lovely local people). Awewome, scary at times (how can you be 6 feet from a lion and not be scared?), exhilerating, exhausting. A unique experience we shall treasure for ever.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi John, Thank you for your stirling review of our tour. It certainly brings us joy to know that you enjoyed it so much. Hopefully we will get to welcome you back one day.

review 17 Aug 2016

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.

review 20 Jul 2016

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.

review 23 Nov 2016

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.

review 22 Sep 2016

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 Iím glad you had a great time on our tour, and that Botswana was everything you hoped for. Itís 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 Iím 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 Iím 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 Iím 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

review 2 Oct 2016

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.

review 17 Aug 2015

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 Safarisí ongoing effort to operate sustainable safaris that make a real difference.)

review 11 Nov 2015

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 Ė 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 Ė as if it didnít 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 donít 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

review 13 Oct 2014

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

review 29 Apr 2014

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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