Chobe National Park and the Kwando and Linyanti River systems.

Chobe National Park and the Kwando and Linyanti river systems is fifth on my list of  Top Ten African safari destinations   You could argue I’m cheating as they are not one place and certainly not one park, however as the Kwando River becomes the Linyanti River which in turn becomes the Chobe River before it flows into the mighty Zambezi River, I feel justified in putting them together!

Kwando Elephant

Where: Located in northern Botswana, the Chobe National Park borders the town of Kasane, easily reached by air or overland from Victoria Falls.  Access to the Linyanti or Kwando Rivers is normally by air from Kasane or Maun.

Why: Unbelieveable numbers of large herbivores: buffalo, hippo and especially elephant gather along the Chobe water-front particularly during the dry season in vast herds – it’s a quite extraordinary sight!.   The Savuti area of Chobe and both the Kwando and Linyanti have good numbers of lion and leopard and offer great predator viewing.  Kwando in particular, has a consistent record of excellent wild dog sightings, the Painted Wolves of Africa, one of Africa’s most endangered predators.

The area has small and excellent all-inclusive camps, great guiding and the concession areas outside of the park allow for a very exclusive safari experience including night drives, game walks and off-road game driving

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When: Game viewing in Northern Botswana is at its best in the dry season from July to October when the wildlife is drawn off the surrounding areas to the permanent waters of the rivers and swamps, but beware it can be very cold at night in the June to August period and very hot in October in the day!  Vegetation cover is also low at this time making for easier game viewing; during the early part of the yeat December to March, you should expect to see fewer animals, but the light is clearer for photographs, bird-watching is at its best and some camps offer considerable savings of up to 60% on the high season prices.

Where: The Chobe waterfront is the most game-rich region in the dry season, but also has the most visitor traffic – it’s hard to get an exclusive game viewing experience at this time of the year by vehicle or boat.  The concession areas of Kwando and the Linyanti offer much more personalised and exclusive viewing, but are harder to get to, and in general offer smaller, more expensive camps.

How long: I recommend a 3 night stay at Kwando or Linyanti and 2 nights at the Chobe water-front area.

What to do: Game viewing by 4 x 4 and by boat is on offer along the Chobe River; during the dry season this is a great place for watching elephant in water who regularly swim across the Chobe River in fromt of the boats.  Birdwatching plus hippo and crocodile watching, amongst many other species, can also be excellent from the boats.  The concession areas of Kwando and Linyanti offer game drives, both day and night as well as game walks and boat excursions from many camps.

 My View:  Fantastic game viewing areas and terrific camps make this one of Africa’s top safari areas, with a great range of safari activities available.  If you can afford the high season prices at the smaller camps, you’ll get a truly pristine wildlife safari experience!

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For more information on Chobe, Kwando and the Linyantu and Botswana’s other safari destinations visit: www.journeyintoafrica.com

Or contact us on : info@journeyintoafrica.com

Next on the Top Ten – Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

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The Okavango Delta

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This is the first of my Top Ten African safari destinations, in no particular order, but the Delta is just so different to anywhere else!

Where:  Located in northern Botswana, accessed fron the town of Maun.

Why:    Stunning scenery: rivers, lilly covered lagoons, termite mound ‘islands’, fantastic birdlife, good numbers of wildlife including predators and many elephant and giraffe and a great range of activities. Small, high quality camps and particularly concession areas can give a very pristine, exclusive safari experience.

When:  The Delta lets water through its reedbed channels very slowly, so the high water is almost at the height of the dry season.  This anomoly means that the game viewing is at its best in the dry season from July to October so this is peak season and peak prices in Botswana.  Access for mokoros, the local dug-out canoes, is better before the water level starts to drop usually in September.  Birding is particularly good in the northern winter, December to March, when the migrants are present and the air is clear making for great photographic light.  Some rain should be expected at this time of the year but this is offset by some great off-peak deals at some excellent camps.

Where:  Visiting any area around Maun or in some of the more crowded areas of Moremi Game Reserve can be busier particularly during the peak season in July and August, but anywhere more remote and certainly in one of the larger concession areas, you can expect great game viewing and a genuine safari experience.  The larger islands and land areas on the edge of the Delta are home to more large wildlife than the permanent water, and Moremi Game Reserve is one of the top predator and elephant viewing destinations on the continent.

How long:  You need  at least a three night stay to get a feel for the Delta and preferably spend 2 to 3 nights in a water-based camp and 3 nights in a more land-based camp.

What to do:  Game drives, including night drives if in a concession area, guided walking safaris, boat trips from some camps and you should spend at least some time in the local dug-out canoe – the mokoro, to get a real feel of the Delta experience.  Mokoro expeditions with camp outs on islands are possible for the more adventurous.

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For more information on the Okavango and Botswana’s other safari destinations visit:  www.journeyintoafrica.com            Or contact us on : info@journeyintoafrica.com

Next on the Top Ten – Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater!

 

The Top Ten Wildlife Areas of East & Southern Africa!

Actually they’re my ‘Top Ten’ as like all choices it’s all subjective and highly personal, however after nearly 30 years of taking groups on safari in East and Southern Africa I know what works and which areas make for a great safari destination!

Of course, there’s far more to it than simply the destination: you have to be there at the right time of the year, in the right part of the park and doing your safari in the right way, but if you end up visiting a combination of any of my Top Ten, you’ll have a wildlife experience to savour!

Over the next month or so, every few days I’ll be posting a new blog with the next entry on my list, with information on why the area is such a great safari destination, when and where to go, how long you might want to stay and what to do there.

Starting tomorrow with the jewel in Botswana’s crown –  The Okavango Delta!

Talk tomorrow – and to make sure you don’t miss any of the ten, click on the Follow button at the bottom of this Blog which will alert you when a new blog is posted.

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For further details on African photographic safaris or on any of the areas mentioned in this blog visit:

www.journeyintoafrica.com

Or contact Andrew on : info@journeyintoafrica.com

Wildlife on safari

I’ve just returned from a great two week safari in Botswana, finishing on the Zambian side of the Victoria Falls.  As always, it was a fantastic trip with different highlights for different people.

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Everyone has their favourites: cats are always near the top of any ‘wish list’ and often elephant and giraffe are right up there; African wild dogs, the ‘Painted Wolves’ of Africa, are regularly one of my highlights, even if not all my guests appreciate them quite as much!  Botswana also gives great opportunities for watching those magnificent antelopes: the greater kudu, the roan and the sable.

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On this safari we saw all the great wildlife sights on offer: lion mating, cheetah full-bellied after a hunt, a huge tom leopard treed by lion, wild dogs hunting at dusk, hippos fighting, elephants swimming…  The list went on, but for many the highlight?  Not the cats. or the ‘megafauna’ but two male sable antelope as they enacted a choreographed dance routine in front of us, circling each other, showing off their magnificent horns in perfect harmony as they tried to establish dominance.  Ten minutes of circling was followed by one minute of action as they locked horns.

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It was a fantastic sight – you just never know what you’re going to see on safari and that is undoubtedly one of its attractions!

Get in touch at andrew@journeyintoafrica.com to see these sights for yourself – a safari is truly a trip of a lifetime but beware, once you’ve been once, you’ll be coming back for more!

Call on ++44 1743 850043 or see www.journeyintoafrica.com

Where should I go on safari?

This is probably the question I get asked most, swiftly followed by  ‘and at what time of the year?’

The truth is, it depends on what you want from your safari, when you are able to go, and inevitably, how much money you want to spend.  The answer will be different if you’ve been on safari before, and whether you want to combine a safari with other areas and activities – the coast or Victoria Falls for instance.

But if the safari is the prime driver, to me there are two countries that stand out above all others: Tanzania and Botswana.  Yes, if you want mountain gorillas you must go to either Uganda or Rwanda, if you want vineyards or cage diving with great white sharks head for South Africa, for game walks and great chances of good leopard sightings Zambia is renowned and for spectacular desert scenery try Namibia, but for the whole safari experince I believe Botswana and Tanzania have the edge.

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Botswana offers great predator viewing, including good chances for the endangered wild dog, huge numbers of  elephants, varied safari activities and a pristine safari experience.  You can take game drives, including night drives in some areas, boat trips on the Chobe, Kwando and Linyanti Riverr, dug-out canoes in the Okavango Delta, and experience game walks in many areas.  It can also be combined easily with the fantastic Victoria Falls and South  Africa.  Good infrastructure and mainly small, high quality camps, easily accessed by light aircraft make for no long drives and safaris easily arranged for as few as two people.  Botswana is at its best, (with high prices to match) during the dry season from June to October.

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Tanzania on the other hand has the greatest density of large animals probably anywhere on earth; this is the country to see the huge herds of migrating wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, which in turn attract many predators particularly lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena and jackal.  The scenery of northern Tanzania is also hugely varied, from the bulks of Mts Kilimanjaro and Meru, across the Masai Steppe into the Rift Valley, over the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and down onto the Serengeti Plains, and driving one way of this circuit gives a great insight into the country and its people.

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There’s no doubt though that Tanzania is becoming a more popular destination, so if you want to get away from the bulk of other visitors, and experience the magnificent wildlife, scenery and cultures of Tanzania in the best way, you need to plan your safari right.  Tanzania is at its best from December to March and from the end of May to October, but the recommended itinerary will be very different depending on the time of the year.

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For more help on planning your personal, perfect safari, get in touch at:

andrew@journeyintoafrica.com

For more information on the major wildlife areas on Tanzania and Botswana see: www.journeyintoafrica.com