An African Safari – big cats, hippos, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and much more in a far away land in the wild – it had been in my heart to go. And what an absolutely amazing trip is was.
I booked the 10-day trip through REI Adventures which uses Wilderness Safaris as its operator.
Day 1 – Victoria falls and Toka Leya camp in Livingstone, Zambia
Day 2 – Chobe river cruise, cross the border into Botswana, fly to Linyanti Concession
Day 3 and 4 – Linyanti Discover Camp
Day 5, 6, and 7 – Gambone Tented Camp in the Santawani Concession
Day 8 and 9 – Tubu Tree camp in Okanawa Delta
- Part 1 – Overview
- Part 2a – Male Lions
- Part 2b – Female Lions
- Part 3a – The Rest of the Big 5 – Leopards
- Part 3b – The Rest of the Big 5 – Elephants, Rhinos and Cape Buffalo
- Part 4 – Other Carnivores (African Wild Dog, Banded Mongoose, Caracal, Crocodile, and Honey Badger)
- Part 5 – Other Herbivores and Omnivores (Antelope, Giraffes, Hippos, Monkeys, Warthogs, and Zebras)
- African Safari Part 6 – Birds of Botswana
- African Safari Part 7 – Lion Videos
This safari is not a cultural trip, so outside of the safari participants and the camp staff, you spend most of your time with your guide and the other visitors tracking animals. The maximum for this safari was 8 but we had only 3 on this trip.
Our guide was an amazing person named Emmanuel Ndjoze from Kalkfontein in Western Botswana. He spent 8 years on the anti-poaching team of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and Natural parks. He clearly understood animals and the wilderness, and he was fun and funny.
The other two on the safari were Ike and Josie from the Pacific Northwest. They were cool, warm, fun, and interesting.
And of course me.
I did not expect the camps to be so well-appointed as they were. The camps had a common area, guest tents, and a staff area. They are powered with solar and use a reverse-osmosis system for potable water. I never thought a tent could look so amazing and offer so many amenities and so much furniture. (Next time I go into the back country I really need to spruce up my Half Dome II).
Toka Leya Camp – We were only 1 night at this wonderful camp on the mighty Zambezi River.
Linyanti Discover Camp – beautiful camp sitting on the waterfront.
Gomoti Tented Camp – this was the most rustic camp at all, and the camp where the animals regularly came to visit including an “interesting” night of many wildlife visitors.
Tubu Tree Camp – a truly elegant camp. We shared the camp with an wonderful group from Nature Conservancy. The camp is elevated on boardwalks. The outdoor showers faced the savanna. I had an old monkey that watched my every move. One evening as we were coming back to camp the camp staff greeted us a with a surprise champagne toast. Wonderful.
The food was consistently excellent, fresh, and healthy. We had breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper every night, and there were often snacks and drinks available on breaks on the safari drives. A sampling is pictured below.
Camp to Camp
We went camp to camp by small planes operated by Wilderness Air. Such the way to move. Interesting airstrip sign.
I got to sit in the copilot seat once. The pilot was very clear. “Please do not touch anything.” The view was amazing.