Botswana

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I have read the recent article about Botswana but am interested in more input from anyone who has been to Botswana recently. I'm debating whether to go in late November/early December 2018 or April 2019. If you have traveled there during either of those times, I'd appreciate knowing your experiences with weather, wildlife viewing, etc. I would also be interested in knowing which camps you stayed at and your opinions of the accommodations, food, and guide services. We are not going to Victoria Falls, so that area is not important. Thank you.

You will love Botswana. I visited last fall, and went also to Zambia and stayed by the Zambezi river, which I recommend for the viewing of Rhinos and for the wonderful landscape and birds. The campgrounds where we stayed were: Sanctuary Sussi and Chuma (tree house), Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, Sanctuary Baines, and Chief's Camp. Food and accommodations were great. We saw all the animals that you expect on a trip like this plus several live lion kills where we followed the lions to their prey and watched them as they tried to attack. The lions don't always win but to see the lions attacking a buffalo, for example, is unforgettable.
We arrived on 9/21 with a winter landscape of dry grasses and nothing green in sight and this made for great viewing because there was no leaf cover. A couple of days later it started to turn green so rapidly that a week later the grasses sometimes were taller than the baby elephants. The temperatures were very pleasant, it never got too hot or too cold, but they said that it gets hot quickly. Personally I would avoid their summer. I hope this helps. Have a great safari.

Thank you for your response. Where did you see the rhinos? I've read about Mosi-oa-Tenya park in Zimbabwe where they do rhino walks. Did you go there? Were you with an organized tour? If so, which one? Thank you in advance.

We saw a good number of white Rhinos at a reserve in Zambia. They are constantly protected by the government conservation patrols and the guide made prior arrangements for our visit. We were a few feet away from them. Our lodge was the Sanctuary Sussi at the shores of the Zambesi and a short drive from the Rhinos.
We traveled with A&K (Abercrombie) but there are many other good safari tours. After I had booked my trip I
read an article in ITN that mentioned a company called Africa 2000 that sounds very good. The article was about Namibia which is across the river. Our guides told us that Namibia is similar to Zambia and Botswana but has fewer animal sightings due a harsh drought.
A few days later saw 2 black rhinos roaming freely in Botswana where we stayed at another Sanctuary lodge.
Aside from the cost A&K was great.

We went in late August-early Sept in 2016, which is their dry season. It's perfect for wildlife viewing b/c water is not plentiful, so the animals and birds congregate around the water holes. There was no shortage of wildlife and we got to see a pack of wild dogs with their puppies and visited a lioness and her 4 cubs, two days in a row! Nov/Dec is their winter, ie: wet season. It's great for photography b/c there's lots of green (and harder to see animals and birds) but our guide told us that sometimes there's so much water and mud that he has to get out of the 4x4 and lay wooden planks in front of the 4x4 to be able to drive forward, then stop and get out out again to pick up the planks to do it all over again.

We booked with Natural Habitat Adventures, who contracted with Wilderness Safaris, the local safari operator. They own many luxury camps on private concessions and the accommodations and food exceeded our expectations. It was 5 star glamping with daily, free laundry services, to put it mildly. They make a point to employ locals and are ecologically minded about the environment. Nat Hab assigned us one guide for the whole trip and he was excellent. His knowledge of the animals, birds, fauna, etc was exhaustive, not to mention his sharp eyesight. He saw a leopard sunning himself on a bare tree branch from far away (none of us could see what he saw) and drove us there until we were about 20 feet away from the tree. My understanding is that Nat Hab picks the best naturalists from the local guides. If you book directly w/ Wilderness Safaris, you'll get different guides at each camp. Nat Hab limited our group size to 8, allowing all of us to have a window seat.

My husband and I were in Botswana (Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park) in late May 2018. I have one word for you--GO! The people were warm, welcoming, and delightful. The scenery, the animals, the food, all more than I could have hoped. Late November/early December is probably a shoulder season, so prices will be a bit less and there won't be as many people. I used Bush Baby Safaris out of South Africa to help plan my trip. I recommend Karen and Pierre Duval highly. I would use them again. Good luck. You will love Botswana.