It's that time of year again; time to announce my 2020 safaris! Yes, I know we've only just started 2019, but the best accommodation in the best safari destinations books out over a year in advance, and we don't want to risk missing out! So if you're thinking of going on the journey of a lifetime next year, now's the time to book.
Next June (2020) I'm returning with a small group to one of my all time favourite safari destinations. It's the place to go to avoid the mass tourist crowds while also being among the largest elephant population in the world - Botswana!
There are so many good reasons to visit Botswana. Here's a few of mine.
1. The Great Zebra Migration
Botswana has the longest migration of any group of mammals in Africa, and that includes the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. It's only recently been discovered, which is why you probably haven't heard of it!
2. The largest elephant population in Africa
I may have mentioned this before! There is nowhere better to spend time with lots and lots of happy elephants in a largely poaching free environment than Botswana. The country has about 130,000 elephants according to the Great Elephant Census, over a quarter of all of Africa's elephants. I've had some of my most magical close encounters here.
3. The oldest ethnic group in Africa
Botswana is home to the San Bushmen, the first people of Africa, traditionally hunter-gatherers. There's so much we can learn from the Bushmen about living happily and sustainably in the world and spending time with them is incredibly enriching.
4. High quality tourism experience
Botswana has mastered the art of high end, low impact tourism, which means while you do spend more to go there than some other safari countries, you won't be sharing the wilderness with every other tourist under the sun and you get a lot for your money. The last thing you want when you're seeing your first lion in the wild is to have 17 other cars pull up and people yelling excitedly. In Botswana's private safari concessions, there is a limit of 2 or at most 3 vehicles at a sighting, and this is strictly enforced by the guides themselves. Often we are the only ones out there!
5. Wildlife conservation
When it comes to conservation, Botswana is doing so well, in part because of the large amount of money invested from tourism back into the conservation of these wilderness areas. There are good populations of endangered African wild dogs and recently rhinos were reintroduced to the Okavango in an effort to conserve them in a relatively safe environment. The company that I'll be taking my group on safari in 2020, Natural Selection, is run by conservationists that I know personally, and they contribute 1% of all turnover from the company back into local community and conservation projects. If you want to have hope for Africa, Botswana will leave you smiling.
6. The range of habitats
From the spectacular World Heritage Okavango Delta, with its vast, seasonal, palm-fringed wetlands, to the striking Makgadigadi and Kalahari semi-arid lands where the zebra migration treks, Botswana provides a fascinating range of habitats to give you a safari experience like no other. Sunset in Botswana is really something else.
MY BOTSWANA SAFARI - 1-10 JUNE 2020
My 9 night, 10 day safari in Botswana starts on 1st June and ends on 10th June 2020 in Maun, Botswana. We first go in search of the Great Zebra Migration and the famous bull elephants of the Makgadigadi Pans National Park, and also meet a family of San Bushmen in this semi-arid area set on the Boteti River. Then we head to the Khwai Private Reserve and head out on game drives and mokoro (traditional wooden canoe) rides in search of endangered African Wild Dogs, lions, elephants - and if we're really lucky, leopards. A night at the extraordinary Skybeds is possible while you're staying in this area (included in cost) which involves sleeping out under the stars in pure comfort high up on a tower overlooking a waterhole in the wilderness. Finally, our safari takes us to the northern Okavango Delta, in an incredibly secluded wilderness area, surrounded by water, where we will explore the area in search of Cape Buffalos, lions, hippos and lesser known species like caracals and mongooses. For my full itinerary contact us now. To save your spot, it's a 20% deposit now, followed by full payments by the end of April next year. Come on, join us!