• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

A Hidden Gem in Botswana

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

The Mashatu Game Reserve, in the Tuli Block, Botswana has a wealth of experiences to offer the adventurous traveller and has just become easier to get there. They now sponsor connecting flights from Johannesburg and Maun every Wednesday and Saturday. Just one hour from Johannesburg has you landing in “the Land of the Giants”.

The name comes from the locally revered Mashatu Tree that frame the Limpopo River, the big herds of elephants and iconic baobab trees. You have the choice of staying in a lodge or tented camp, both with active waterholes that will keep you entertained. The guides also offer you different ways of experience Africa unchanged.

 

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

You can opt for the traditional game drive in 4×4, take to a mountain bike for a closer contact with the wild or perhaps go for the walking safari with sleep outs. Whichever way you choose your guide will ensure your safety, comfort and tailor the safari to the fitness of those involved. For those that are competent horse riders then there is the chance to ride along with the plains animals.

For lovers of history then there is evidence of pre-historic man, the Great Zimbabwe period and the more modern times of colonial rule through to now. Find out from the locals with a trip to a nearby village to learn about life in the Tuli Block.

A different African experience within an hour of one the hub airports of Africa, Johannesburg. For more information please contact us.

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Fly-fishing in Botswana and Zambia

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

 

The Zambezi River flows through and borders Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  The area is unique, not only as a game-viewing area, but also as the home of the famous Victoria Falls, complete with its history both recent and not so recent. 

Our Guides are highly experienced and knowledgeable – Lee Whittam in particular is also an accomplished wildlife photographer and a keen fly-fisherman.  Wherever possible he will be guiding trips.  In his words:

The areas in which we concentrate are the Okavango system in Botswana and the Zambezi river system in Zimbabawe and Zambia. The main target species would be the Tiger fish and the many Tilapia species (or Bream as they are locally known). Both species readily take a fly and with the tiger fish being a ferocious predator – large baitfish imitations are the order of the day.  The Tilapia species are also generally predatory and similar flies although slightly smaller than those used for Tiger fish will be savagely taken by most bream species.  Sight fishing is the most rewarding way of targeting these two species and this is particularly true in the Okavango in Northern Botswana.  The crystal clear waters of this system offer the angler pristine wilderness coupled with fantastic fishing.

When fishing the Zambezi River a completely different approach is needed. This impressive  river system, which in some areas (lower Zambezi) can be up to 3 km wide,  is most productive on the fast flowing sections of river.  The tiger fish wait on the outskirts of the main channel and pick off fish as they come past. Apart from the Bream and the Tiger fish there are over 80 fish species in each system and most are catchable on fly, this coupled with the fact that you are fishing in areas where the wildlife roams freely makes for a truly unique fly fishing destination. 

Green headed bream -Okavango Delta Botswana

And for the non-fishermen:  The facilities at the lodges insure that for the non fisherman there are plenty of options in the form of game-viewing walks, bird-watching, boat trips and in some cases cultural tours of neighbouring villages to be enjoyed while “the other half” fish.

The Itinerary:  Your itinerary will typically include three nights in the Delta, three nights on a house boat in the ‘pan handle’ and three nights on the shores of the Zambezi.  Including your flights in both directions, this creates an 11 night holiday, however, this can be extended or curtailed to your requirements.

So what else could we add:

Victoria FallsNo visit to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to Victoria Falls.

Game Viewing in the Linyanti or Selinda Reserve: Without doubt, the Linyanti and Selinda Reserves located to the western edge of the Chobe National Park offer the best game viewing in the world.

Makgadikgadi Pans:  Extend your holiday with a two or three night stay at the salt pans.  This area, the size of a small country is the result of the extraordinary changes that have taken place geologically over the millions of years.  Once an inland sea, the pans are now dry, leaving one of the flattest places on earth – so flat that the curvature of the earth can be seen with the naked eye.

A touch of pampering:  After your fly-fishing holiday and game viewing experience, round off your holiday with a few days rest and relaxation, some excellent wines and fine dining and perhaps a little pampering.

 

 

Botswana – The Northern Parks and Wildlife Areas

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Africa’s largest inland delta, the Okavango, is the centre of any holiday to this part of Botswana. This wetland has always been a haven for animals and birds and is now mostly protected as National Park or Game Reserves. Large areas of the Delta are under private concessions who work closely with the locals to offer you a quality experience which you share with just a few other travellers. With the options of traditional game drives, boat tours, mokoro (dugouts) trips, night safaris and walking safaris you have the chance to see the flora and fauna from so many different angles – not forgetting the light aircraft transfers that give you an eagle’s eye view of this fascinating country.

Summary

The Northern Parks and Wildlife Areas

 

Day 1:              Chobe National Park

Day 3:              Moremi Game Reserve

Day 5:              Okavango Delta

Day 8:              Nxai Pan National Park

Day 10:            Maun

 

Description

Description

 

This itinerary takes to you the World famous areas of Botswana and is a feast of wildlife and wild scenery. With a mixture of the wetland of the Okavango Delta and the dryness of the Kalahari Desert you have a real African adventure of contrast.

 

Day 1

Your flight in to the first camp will be in a small aircraft and will give you a great overview of the Delta and then Chobe National Park. On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your lodge located on the Chobe River. Famous for the size of the elephant and buffalo herds you will have a chance to see these (and all the other animals) both from your 4×4 vehicle and also from a boat on the river. Sipping a sundowner and watching the wildlife coming down for their evening drink and the sun setting behind them.

2 nights Chobe National Park

 

Day 3

A short flight takes you to your next camp in the Moremi Game Reserve, the first conservation area in the Okavango set up by the local tribes. Set in the flood plains of the Delta, this area is rich in wildlife and has recorded over 400 types of birds. Following the re-introduction of rhino to the area, it is truly Big 5 country with wild dog also present. Again you have the choice of boat or vehicle tours of this amazing area. You also will appreciate how fewer tourists are to be found here. Often you will have the wildlife experience with just your vehicle/boat in attendance.

2 nights Moremi Game Reserve

 

Day 5

Another transfer by air or possibly by road has you deep in the Okavango Delta and your third camp site. You will be deep in the Delta and the chance to head out in a mokoro (dugout that is powered by your guide with a long pole). This gives you another, more intimate, way of seeing the wild and bird life here. The silence of your approach means you should have excellent viewing and not disturb the animals. For the intrepid you could elect to have a night or two wild camping further in to the bush.

3 nights Okavango Delta

 

Day 8

Catch your next small plane flight out of the Delta and then in to the Kalahari Desert. You leave the green of Okavango behind and enter the vastness of this huge desert. Your next destination is the Nxai Pan National Park which, depending on the time of year, is a grassy plain with clumps of trees around waterholes. The wildlife is abundant during the rainy season then sparser and inhabited by the residents such as bat eared fox. Your camp here is most likely around one of the few waterholes and with views over the plains. Perhaps take a quad bike tour out over the desert/saltpan and experience the flat and hugeness of this area.

2 nights Nxai Pan National Park

 

Day 10

Fly back to Maun for your connection back home or onwards to Victoria Falls or different parts of Botswana (see our other itineraries for Botswana).

 

Botswana - Leopard

Picture courtesy of Helen Wibley

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Helen Wibley

Botswana

Picture courtesy of Jackie Appleton

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

Being punted through the reeds and waterways of the Okavango Delta by an experienced guide and never quite sure what you will see next – hippo pod, elephant bathing or drinking or the beautiful, tiny Malachite kingfisher perched on a reed.

What our clients say

Client Feedback

Coming soon!

Along the Limpopo River, South Africa and Botswana

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This is a different side to both South Africa and Botswana which has the mighty Limpopo River as its main theme. The river and its tributaries support a huge variety of animals and birds. Add in evidence of human history that goes right back to our earliest times to give you another interest while here. A different type of safari in a different South Africa and Botswana.

Summary

Southern Africa and Botswana – Along the Limpopo River

 

Day 1:              Johannesburg

Day 2:              Madikwe         

Day 4:             Mashatu, Botswana

Day 7:              Limpopo

Day 8:              Kruger

Day 11:            Panoramic Route

Day 12:            Hazyview

Day 13:            Johannesburg

Description

Description

 

The northern border of South Africa is often described as a different experience of this country – wilder and more remote. Combining this with the Tuli Block in Botswana, known as the land of Giants for its elephant herds and huge baobab trees, and you have a smorgasbord of the unexpected and the best of the wild Africa.

 

Day 1: Johannesburg

Stay overnight in Johannesburg and consider a tour of the city, taking in Constitution Hill with its fort and the Constitution Court, a trip to Soweto to see the Apartheid Museum and a visit to the only street in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners have lived (Mandela and Tutu).

One night Johannesburg

 

Day 2: Madikwe

Drive towards the Botswana border. Your first stop is Madikwe Game Reserve home to the Big 5 and wild dog and with a mixture of plains, forest and rocky hills to vary your experiences. Being malaria free adds to the attraction of this Reserve and many of the lodges here are family friendly.

Two nights Madikwe

 

Day 4: Mashatu, Botswana

Head to the North West South African border with Botswana at Pontdrift and cross the Limpopo into the Tuli Conservation area of Botswana. Your days here focus on the wildlife that is abundant in this region, particularly large herds of elephant and good sightings of leopard, lion and cheetah. Take time to join a walking safari or take to mountain bikes and follow your guide as you negotiate the rough terrain and the wildlife you will encounter. Also make time to explore the history of the region going back to the beginning of man, the Great Zimbabwe era and the colonial past.

Three nights Mashatu

 

Day 7: Limpopo

Return to Pontdrift and then drive along the Limpopo towards the very northern part of the Kruger National Park. Break the journey with an overnight stay at one of the lodges that have views over the Limpopo River.

One night Limpopo

 

Day 8: Kruger

Enter the Kruger National Park by its most northerly gate – Pafuri. The river is a great attraction for animals and birds and sitting on a platform watching the coming and going at the river is a good way to spend a few hours. Your guide here will take you out through the Park to see a whole host of wildlife and stunning scenery such as the Fever tree forest (glows in the moonlight) and stone tools fashioned by stone aged people. If you enjoy birding this region has much to offer in the way of rare specimens.

Three nights Kruger

 

Day 11: Panoramic Route

Leaving the Kruger behind you will start your journey along the Panoramic Route. There are many attractions along the way to ensure you do not rush it, such as the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, the Three Rondavels, God’s Window and a number of waterfalls.

One night Panoramic Route

 

Day 12: Hazyview

End the Panoramic Route with a night in Hazyview and time to relax.

One night Hazyview

 

Day 13: Johannesburg

Return to Johannesburg for the end of your trip.

Africa

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Africa

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Africa

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Africa

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Gems

Little Gems

Stand on an outcrop looking down on a herd of elephant as they make their way to a waterhole in the near distance while shaded by a baobab tree carved with the initials of Cecil Rhodes and his paramour, and sipping a sundowner.

What our client says

Client Feedback

 

Coming Soon!

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Botswana – Home of the uncrowded safari

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

This year Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence and it does stand out as a wonderful safe destination in Africa. The country has deliberately set out to protect its wildlife resources by encouraging low volume, high market tourism. This policy has worked well for the flora and fauna, the GDP, provided quality jobs and delivered amazing tourist experiences.

With so many unique places to visit, it is no wonder that Botswana is high on the list of places to visit for those that love to go on safari. The huge Okavango Delta provides an experience second to none and the desert areas such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Nxai PanNational Park ensure a completely different type of wildlife encounter.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

However if you want to go and do not want to pay top dollar then think about heading there in the “Green Season”. This is the time that the rains come (if they do!), some lodges close for repair but others offer special prices for their clients. But why go when you could encounter rain?

It is wonderful to see how the dry semi desert, and even the desert, bursts in to colour. The trees come back in to leaf, the grass grows and the river beds start flowing with water. Birds migrate in from all parts of Africa and quickly start picking their nesting sites and break out their mating plumage.

Most of the plains antelope time the birth of their young to coincide with the time of plenty and more vegetation to hide their babies in. The Delta rises, fish spawn, wading birds are plentiful and nests are full. Being out in a mokoro adds a frisson of excitement to your adventure.

 

It is seeing Botswana in a different light. Please call to discuss your options and seek professional advice into your own bespoke, tailor made safari – Tel: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

World Lion Day

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

August 10 was World Lion Day and it is worth taking stock on how these magnificent animals are doing in the wild.  With Cecil the lion, and his untimely death showed, many people around the world hold lion in deep affection.

The current situation is a mixture of good and bad news.  To deal with the bad first, the number of  lion in Western, Central and East Africa have decreased by 60% over the past 21 years. However the better news is that their numbers have  increased by 12% over the same period in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It is encouraging that Rwanda realises the value of having lion in its National Parks and has re-introduced 15 lion to their Akagera National Park – the last time lion were seen here was 15 years ago. 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

The King of the Jungle needs all the friends it can get.  If you want to discuss seeing these beautiful animals in their natural habitat just get in touch.

 We have lots of ideas on how to incorporate this into your own bespoke, tailor made holiday and many other places/parks that are a must visit on your trip.  We will also advise on the best time of year to visit and the length of time you need in each place therefore making the most of your time and money, whilst making the best memories!

Please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Connecting Two Iconic African Destinations Just Got Easier

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Two of the two favourite destinations in Southern Africa – The Okavango Delta in Botswana and Cape Town in South   Africa – have just become easier to connect. Airlink, a regional South African domiciled airline, has now put in place direct flights between Cape Town and Maun, the gateway to the Okavango.

These flights are currently flying 5 times a week but will increase in number as we move in to the peak season. This helps you maximise your time in your favourite destinations and reduces time spent in airport lounges.

Departing mid-morning from Cape Town and arriving in Maun early afternoon means that you could be at your lodge in good time to sip your sundowner after having had a game drive in your chosen Okavango destination.

On the reverse journey the flight leaves early afternoon and arrives in Cape Town mid afternoon. This allows you time to unpack at your hotel and watch the sun set over TableMountain or the Atlantic, having been out on a game drive that morning.

To make the most of this improved flight connection, please give us a call on tel: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Picture courtesy of Angie watson

Picture courtesy of Angie watson

Family Safaris in Botswana

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Botswana has always been a wonderful choice for seeing African wildlife without the crowds. Now one of the key safari companies has launched a new package that is aimed at ensuring all the family make the most of a trip of a life time.

Their Ultimate Family Safari Package acknowledges that families will want to be more flexible and easy to plan so they have come up with 4, 6 and 8 night packages with a choice of any of their wonderful camps. Each camp has a “Safari Hero”, a member of the staff, whose aim is dedicated to the planning of safari experiences for the family concerned. They ensure that the children are kept busy while in camp with a variety of activities which will interest them while at the same time giving them an opportunity to connect with the camp staff. In addition the family activities will be just for your family giving flexibility for activities and meals.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Such activities include tracking skills, bird identification and basket weaving are just some of the things that the heroes offer.

With rooms that have been designed with families in mind and there is a tiered rate which takes in to account the children ages – 12 to 15 years and 6 to 11 years old. There is a minimum of 3 family members travelling together for this package.

It all makes for an exciting family holiday full of adventure.  So why not get in touch so we can help put together your bespoke, tailor made holiday to this amazing place.  

Contact us on: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Country: Botswana

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The first time visitor to Botswana will be enthralled by the friendliness of the people, the wide smiles on every face and the warmth of their personalities. Add to this a safari experience that is second to none, an interesting geographical and geological history, and wildlife to exceed even your wildest dreams, and Botswana has to be on the ‘must see’ list. Take a look at our sample itineraries and picture yourself gently gliding on the fascinating waterways of the Okavango Delta, relaxing with your Sundowner while watching a perfect sunset and up early the next morning ready for a fresh day of excitement and discovery. Botswana is about wildlife at its magnificent best, herds of elephant enjoying the waters of the Chobe River and the Delta, hippo wallowing in the pools, lion and leopard relaxing in the shade or getting ready for their next meal, and a whole host of other animals – to say nothing of the birds…

For those more adventurous then the Kalahari offers a completely different nature experience with huge vistas, vast plains and salt pans. Or make your way to the Tuli Block for a mixture of history going back to the dawn of man, through the Great Zimbabwe period to more modern conflicts. Add in the great Limpopo River with its giant Mashatu trees and  a wildlife experience that is as good as  any in southern Africa and without the crowds.

Credit Wilderness Safaris

Credit Wilderness Safaris

Credit Wilderness Safaris

Credit Wilderness Safaris

Credit Jackie Appleton

Credit Jackie Appleto

 

 

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