Traveller Review: Luxury in Botswana Part 3
For our last two nights of our amazing Botswana trip, we flew from Sandibe to Maun where we were picked up by our expedition vehicle directly at the airport before our drive to Nxai Pan. The expedition vehicle was a little different from the 4x4 land cruiser open vehicles we had been using so far. This vehicle had been modified so was fit for the national road restrictions with completely closed sides but with huge open windows and a pop up roof. A great perk was the fridge within the vehicle which kept the drinks cold.
The drive was approximately 5 hours, with 3 hours on sealed road. Once we reached the park, we enjoyed game viewing for the rest of the drive. We saw more elephants, they were noticeably more skittish than we had encountered elsewhere. A nice difference was that we didn’t see as many vehicles here so that was a little exciting. The landscape was quite different being very flat with islands of bush making it a prime cheetah territory. However the roads were pretty terrible, the sign at the gate 'strictly 4x4' gave that away, but we held our breath even in our 4x4! Thankfully we encountered no problems. Conditions ranged from deep sand to very deep muddy roads due to heavy rains for the 24 hours before we arrived.
We were glad to finally make it to camp. As it had been ridiculously hot throughout our trip, it was nice to freshen up with a cool foot bath which was a lovely surprise. Our expedition tents were spacious, made up of 2 dome tents joined together with a bucket shower in the middle and the back tent had a flush toilet - definitely not my usual camping – and yet so nice to have these simple pleasures. These tents were not as upmarket as the Chobe and Savute under canvas tents (which were like studio apartments almost) but still amazing and offered something very special. I felt like I was more in touch with the outside environment in these tents as they were a little smaller. In fact I spent half of the first night looking outside to see what wandered through camp (unfenced and beautifully lit by lanterns overnight).
The camp had 3 tents, catering to a maximum of 6 people which was perfect for us. There was also a central open sided dining tent where we had our breakfasts. In the evening a camp fire was lit and our dinner table was set up under the stars and surrounded by lanterns. Dinner was cooked partially over the camp fire both nights with steak to order plus the icy cold gin and tonics went down a treat.
Our full day in Nxai Pan was an adventure to say the least. We left camp reasonably early to travel from our camp to the other side of the park where we saw plenty of game including zebra enroute. Our destination was the salt pans and bains baobab (a cluster of baobab) overlooking the pan. The landscape was quite different here - as well as the pan, there were small lakes with masses of bird life and there were so many species including a large flamingo flock. Our guide was so excited to see all the different birds. We also saw a huge amount of gemboks on the grassy plains which provided a pretty picturesque sight.
We went back to camp for lunch and siesta time, before heading out for sundowners and our last game drive. Our mission was to find the large pride of lions we had heard was around (16 in total including 2 large males). We found them quite quickly luckily and could only see 1 of the males with a female and a cub while the rest were sleeping away as it was still quite hot and they were not moving much. After our sundowners we headed back to camp and stumbled upon on 2 cheetahs which was an amazing sight!
We left camp after an early breakfast for our drive back for our flight and noticed overnight a huge increase in the amount of zebras in the area - they were everywhere! This was definitely the start of the zebra migration! They head south from Chobe and flood Nxai Pan from February - April, so we were very lucky to catch the beginning of it! I can only imagine how many turn up and become a smorgasbord for the lions and cheetah in the area - how amazing. It was definitely a great finish to an awesome trip!
Watch the below video to see what you could experience on an andBeyond journey!
Mele Foliaki | with 0 comments