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Botswana Wildlife Safari BW

Trip Duration 15 Days
 

Reviews for Botswana Wildlife Safari

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Botswana Wildlife Safari reviews verified by reevooReevoo

68 reviews

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Botswana Wildlife SafariScores 9.0 out of 10 based on 68 reviews
(10 out of 10)

Amy

Brighton
This trip was amazing. LOVED it. The river boat was really comfortable and peaceful. Such a beautiful place. We were lucky enough to see big crocodiles and lots of hippos while there as well as loads of birdlife. Lovely guides KayKay, Sam and Rusta on the boat. On to Zambia; pictures and words don't do the falls justice. Lots of activities to do there; I did the Rhino Walk which I would highly recommend with the lovely guide 'Skinny', saw 2 baby rhinos with their mums. On to the safari part - Chobe and Mauremi. Wildlife paradise! I went in the rainy season and so it was very green and scenic. We were really lucky, with help from our skilful guide, to see everything you would want to see on safari, including 4 Leopard encounters. He also tracked a whole pack of wild dogs for about a mile; they are rare and we were lucky to see them. So many elephants, giraffes etc.. The camping really is in the wilderness - you will lie in your tent at night and hear hyenas scuffling about, elephants trumpeting and hippos grunting - you can't beat it. I felt very safe in the camp with BiBi, Ron and Obi, even went to the toilet on my own at night (never saw more than a hyena which was a relief). The guides go out of their way to make the camping as comfortable as possible, especially with the toilet/shower situation. The food they rustle up on a campfire is amazing - even fresh bread! Make sure you take a head torch, baby wipes, and lots of camera batteries. It got a bit chilly in the open 'safari limo' at times so take a fleece/hoody. I'm vegetarian and had no problems - all the guides very considerately prepared separate veggie meals that were very tasty (pasta, rice, jacket potatoes etc...). I cannot speak highly enough of our main guide Bibi. He was friendly, funny, professional and always conscious of our safety. Even when a member of our group was being extremely rude and aggressive to him for no good reason, he remained calm and professional. He clearly has a huge amount of knowledge, and a genuine passion for his country and the wildlife there. He made sure that everyone in the 'limo' had a good view of the animals. Some of the roads were flooded while we were there and he very skilfully navigated these in the 4x4. If you want souvenirs I would buy them at Victoria Falls as there aren't many other opportunities (haggle!). Take US dollars; you don't need Zambian or Namibian currency. The only thing I would change about this trip is the date of the trip to the Tsodilo Hills. We passed the hills on the way to the Okovango Delta and then the next day spent hours driving back to them - would make more sense to stop on the way to the Delta. There are several long drives on this trip however the guides make them as comfortable as possible with lots of stops - -and it's worth it!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 30 April 2017
Published on: 13 May 2017
(10 out of 10)

Elizabeth

I've been waiting to go to Botswana for almost 10 years and it did not disappoint! The trip is packed with fantastic experiences and amazing sites. It is a very busy trip; the days start at 6 during the camping portion and you do two 3-5 hour game drives over rough roads a day. There are also a few days with pretty long travel times, but you do get stops for bush toilets and tea.

Bibi, our main guide, was incredible (along with everyone else; KK, Sam, Rasta, Obi and the poor kid whose name I can't remember right now). He made sure that everything ran smoothly and on time. 6 AM means 6 AM! He was also able to find us pretty much every animal that you could hope for on safari, despite it being the tail end of the rainiest season ever and the grass being pretty high. We had 4 different leopard sightings, 3 lion sightings, 2 wild dog sightings, elephants every day etc etc. He managed to track a pack of wild dogs for about a mile over soggy terrain!

Food was by and far fantastic, given that it's entirely cooked over a campfire. Dinners were generally a stewed or roasted meat (beef and chicken), a starch (pasta or potatoes) and fresh veg (typically a mix with cauliflower frequently since it keeps well). Lunches varied from sandwiches with salad, macaroni and cheese and tuna with pasta. Apples were always available as well. I camp a fair amount and the level of effort to prepare what they made every night was amazing. They also made completely separate meals for the two vegetarians on our trip.

A few tips on camping if you don't do it frequently; pick up a canister of DOOM on one of the grocery stops. If you're not traveling in the hot season, 2 liters of water a day is a little overkill. Extra biscuits make some of the longer days a little more fun. Learn to use your camera before you go - this is not the time to be fiddling with settings. Rotate where you sit on the Botswana Limo - you won't always be the one right next to the leopard, but you'll be the one right next to the lion the next time. There's really not a bad seat on the jeep. The bush shower is extremely refreshing, but bring wet wipes as well. Toilets, even flush ones, will not have toilet paper. Plan ahead!

Unfortunately, you can't always pick your traveling companions and we had one group member that made the experience pretty uncomfortable for everyone. He was downright abusive to Bibi and complained about every aspect of the trip. I would highly recommend disregarding his review unless you are a miserable human being who complains about everything while you're on holiday. Just go and enjoy your trip, and be nice to the people around you. They could feed you to the lions!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 30 April 2017
Published on: 12 May 2017
(6 out of 10)

Jeremy

Essex
Accommodation was as stated 'on the tin'. The itinerary could be improved: Tsilido Hills ought to be visited en route from Maun to the Okavanga panhandle without stressing out recently arrived group travellers. This is better than backtracking the route as a day trip the next day involving 4 hours of avoidable hard road travel and would result in a day of relaxation on the lovely panhandle houseboat for welcomed R&R. Also, traveling from the panhandle to Victoria Falls ought to be via the Kazungula Road border crossing returning to Botswana via the Kazungula Ferry crossing. This allows a single combined visa for UK nationals to visit both the Zimbabwe AND the Zambian side of Victoria Falls at NO EXTRA COST (US $50). In the rainy season (Jan-May), the Falls are best seen from the Zimbabwe side as it is a drier outlook from the viewpoints...the Zambian side is a deluge and cameras and their users can be soaked by the constant downpour caused by the rain from the Falls. There are too many activities in the Zambian side to cover in one day so I would recommend spending an EXTRA 1-2 nights in Livingstone and reducing the camping from 7 nights to 6 or 5 nights pro rata........or use another travel company that offers this alternative itinerary.
The choice of April-May departures need careful consideration: we were lucky in seeing several species but the grass is long after the long rains and who knows what wildlife was missed during the safari.
Explore use Wilderness and Dawning ground operators. The vehicle for 12 pax was too long for ideal game-viewing. In one week we only saw one other such vehicle, all the rest being for around 6 pax each. Our vehicle was constantly 'to-ing and fro-ing' or re-positioning to enable everybody to have a photo opportunity. This was not ideal as the wildlife didn't hang around for poses. The long grass didn't help either. The view from the back seat especially was very reduced (conservative estimate by 25%) as there was no rear window for reverse angle game viewing/photo-shooting. I would recommend Explore insist 6-pax vehicles be provided or punters should seriously consider using a different company. The added advantage of 2x6 would be the extra driver who could help get the camp ready in time. Our driver and 2 camp boys worked very, very hard to get camp ready in time but an extra set of hands would have helped enormously at least on days of arrival to the various camps, to prevent travellers having to wait for their tents to be made ready after a long journey on dirt roads.

The guide was good on game drives and was knowledgeable but the 'multiple eyes' of the group and luck played a significant part in game viewing. Some of the big cats had already been found by other vehicles by the time we arrived on the scene so our guide's tracking skills were not fully tested on this trip. His organisational skills were average away from safari but, to his credit, he was a willing learner and an excellent raconteur at the campfires after dinner .

The food was excellent throughout.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 29 April 2017
Published on: 05 May 2017
(10 out of 10)

Howard

Wye, Kent
Essentials to take: wetwipes, nappy bags & tissue/toilet paper (for bush toilet stops!), string/cord & clothes pegs, reasonable size bath towel, flip-flops (to wear in the bucket-shower), good quality torch/head-torch, and team spirit.

Review: Excellent all-round trip, very well guided and looked after, with plenty of opportunity to view wildlife, birds, and Victoria Falls. The catering during camping can only be described as excellent, especially given it is all prepared on an open fire (we even had freshly baked bread!). The locals in this region (Bots/Nam/Zam/Zim) were all very friendly, kind, polite, and helpful.

Tips: use the bucket shower as often as is available - you feel so refreshed, if a little undignified! Being a "waterfall-anorak(!)" we easily crossed to Zimbabwe (with support and expertise from our excellent guide) for a complete view of the Falls.
PS: the white rhino walk at Livingstone (which comes highly recommended) is the only opportunity to see rhino on this trip (as Botswanan rhino are only located in the south of the country).

What would I change? One day less camping, and one day more at Livingstone/Victoria Falls to be able to make the most of the numerous activities available there.
Confirmed traveller: 29 April 2017
Published on: 01 May 2017
(8 out of 10)

Josephine

Battle
Yes. I enjoyed the tour and despite my age (73) am hardy and experienced no problems. However, I think that the tour could be reduced by two days, one day from the house boat and one from the camping.

Tours are largely made by the guide and in the past I have done tours with excellent guides. Solomon was a great guy but not, in my opinion the best guide. We were not tole about the country or customs of the peoples. He looked after us but only the minimum. No extra little bits were added, eg stopping at local markets to buy fruit, visiting churches etc. I know it was a wild life trip but always before guides have done their best to help us to appreciate the local customs and practices.

His driving was very fast along rough roads even when this was not required. eg when returning to Maun we drove at a very uncomfortable pace and there was no need. There was no hurry. We arrived at the hotel at 10.10am.

Solomon was good at finding animals for us to see. He clearly could read the signs, follow tracks etc. I always take guide and identification books and these were used by all 4 on the trip (with my blessing) as unlike any guides I have had before on similar trips no books were available to us to read or use.
Confirmed traveller: 01 January 2017
Published on: 02 January 2017
(9 out of 10)

Denis

London
Experienced tourleader ensured the tour ran smoothly. His sttention to safety and daily briefings ensured that the party were fully prepared for each aspect of the tour. The tour leader's ability to find so many rarely seen wildlife is exceptional. He also ensured that we saw all from the lions, elephants etc at one end of the scale down to leopard tortoise at the other. Bibi made the trip most enlightening and enjoyable.
Confirmed traveller: 04 December 2016
Published on: 08 December 2016
(8 out of 10)

Frank

Kingston, Surrey
We were 5 in the vehicle. If there had been 8 or 12 it would have been too uncomfortable.
The vehicle upholstery was tatty and filthy and should be replaced. The camping was more basic than expected and if we had had heavy rain it would have been too uncomfortable. Bibi's guiding experience was brilliant and he found lions, leopards, cheetahs, etc for us. Highlight was seeing lions on a kill in Moremi.
Explore arranged my flights with Virgin who gave me wrong information re bag transfer in Joburg in both directions giving me considerable hassle.
The Explore guidelines need to make clear the seasonal variation in rain and temperature which require different decisions re clothing etc depending on the month of the trip.
Confirmed traveller: 04 December 2016
Published on: 17 May 2017
(9 out of 10)

Malcolm

Barnsley
If you want to be right next to the lions when other groups are on the other side of the river then this is the tour for you. Camping in the Reserves brings you much closer to the animals and Bibi (our guide) is an expert in searching out the more elusive creatures. Each day we though he would not be able to outdo the previous game drive but he managed it every time. He also gives you enough time to observe everything rather than chasing off to "tick" another thing off the list.

Obi and Creature also deserve a mention for the high standard of food that they prepared everyday on an open fire and the limited camp facilities.

We had a copy of "Wildlife of the Okavango" by Duncan Butchart, which is small enough to carry easily and provides a handy reference to help remember the abundant wildlife. We saw over 100 different species of birds only a handful of which were familiar from the UK.
Confirmed traveller: 09 October 2016
Published on: 21 October 2016
(9 out of 10)

Jan

Yateley
Amazing experience.... Never thought I would get this close to elephants, leopards, rhinos and hippos. As well as about 80 varieties of birds. Not to mention zebras, giraffes, etc.

But beware the many roads take a lot of getting used to and the "simple camping" is literally that.

Tour gide (Bebe) acts as guide, tracker, wild life expert, driver, cook, diplomat. Never seen someone work so hard.

Optional trips that are really worth doing are the Rhino Walking safari in Livingstone and Chobe river cruise.
Confirmed traveller: 08 October 2016
Published on: 12 October 2016
(8 out of 10)

Heather

CardiffI
We really enjoyed our trip to Botswana and Zambia! Tips-take a good camera and good mosquito repellent.
The whole safari experience was the highlight as we did not expect to see so many animals and also come in close proximity to them.
Our safari guide was excellent, really good at tracking the animals.
We would definitely use Explore again!
Heather-Cardiff
Confirmed traveller: 01 October 2016
Published on: 19 October 2016