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September 6, 2017

August Was Cheetah Month In The Moremi Game Reserve

Filed under: Camp Moremi,Camp Xakanaxa — Desert Delta @ 9:52 am

The month of August is traditionally an exceptional month for wildlife sightings with the dry season in full swing. From the concentration of zebra along the banks of the Boteti River near Leroo La Tau to the massive herds of elephant in the Savute and Chobe Riverfront regions of the Chobe National Park.

Amongst all the wonderful sightings we’ve enjoyed, what’s stood out most this month is the number cheetah encounters we have had in the Moremi Game Reserve. Guests staying at Camp Xakanaxa and Camp Moremi have had the good fortune of sighting these speedsters on several occasions throughout the month.

A cheetah searching for prey in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

Taking advantage of the height of the termite mound to search for prey. Photo by Kapano @ Camp Moremi

A pair of cheetahs in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

An elegant dismount from the termite mound after locating their prey. Photo by Kapano @ Camp Moremi

The Moremi Game Reserve is undoubtedly one of the top game viewing destinations in Botswana with its diverse landscapes offering a haven for a wide variety of wildlife inhabitants. Cheetahs prefer open un-wooden areas as they rely on speed to hunt their prey which is why they are often seen in the open grasslands or on the edge of the deeper wooded regions of the Moremi Game Reserve. They are however shy in nature which makes them tough to find, especially with the strong presence of other predators in the area such as lion which will kill the cheetah to eliminate competition should the chance arise.

Searching for cheetah in the Moremi Game Reserve

One of the coalition members on the lookout. Photo by Grass @ Camp Moremi

Cheetah seen from Camp Moremi in the Moremi Game Reserve

A special sighting of one of the coalition members. Photo by Lets from Camp Moremi

This month it was the grasslands near Third Bridge and First Bridge which proved a favourite attracting several new cheetah inhabitants never seen before in this region of the reserve. A coalition of four cheetahs and a separate pair of females were seen on several occasions. Their hunting efforts have been very successful and these spotted predators seem to be enjoying their new home.

Cheetah in Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve

A lone male on the lookout. Photo by Stuart

Cheetah seen from Camp Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve

Making his way across the open grassland. Photo by Stuart

Morning game drives from Camp Moremi and Camp Xakanaxa heading toward Third Bridge have been very fruitful for our guides and guests as they have enjoyed exceptional sightings of these cheetahs on several kills as well as just lounging around for the camera. With spring now in full swing, we looking forward to more updates from our guides on what they are seeing in the Moremi Game Reserve.

Additional Reading:

More on the Moremi Game Reserve

Discover Camp Moremi 

Discover Camp Xakanaxa

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August 30, 2017

Safari365 Go On A Botswana Safari With Us

Filed under: General News — Tags: , , , , , — Desert Delta @ 8:10 am

Safari365, one of our long standing Cape Town based travel industry partners recently spent some time with us on a safari through several of our lodges. During their stay, they visited Camp Moremi, Camp Xakanaxa, Camp Okavango, Savute Safari Lodge, Chobe Savanna Lodge and finally Chobe Game Lodge, covering the Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve and Okavango Delta on their trip.

Visiting these areas afforded them the opportunity to experience a lot of what Botswana and specifically Desert & Delta Safaris has to offer. From the abundant wildlife to the pristine landscapes and incredible safari experiences that our travellers enjoy when visiting Botswana with us. When hosting our travel industry partners, it is important that they have an authentic experience that accurately represents the journeys we create for our guests. This ensures that the activities, in lodge experiences, interactions with our staff and every other aspect of a guests stay is experienced by the travel professionals who facilitate your safari – giving them a real-life experience of Botswana.

With many years experience in providing amazing safari experiences for their travellers, it was a privilege to host Safari365 in Botswana. While travelling through our camps the Safari365 team were hard at work creating amazing videos to offer their prospective travellers a taste of what a Botswana safari is all about. We had a blast hosting them on their safari and love the videos they created from their time at each of the lodges.

The videos offer a snippet of what it’s like to go on safari with us. Although it is very difficult to capture the essence of a whole safari holiday in a short video, they certainly did an excellent job. Below we have embedded the videos for you to enjoy. Click on the menu tab on the top left of the video to view all five videos.

Thanks to the team at Safari365 for visiting our Botswana lodges and for putting these amazing video clips together. For more information on Safari365 visit their website.

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August 25, 2017

A Short battle for dominance of a dwindling water hole

Filed under: Savute Safari Lodge — Tags: , , , — Desert Delta @ 1:51 pm

The below article is from Andrew Flatt, our Desert & Delta Safaris Marketing Executive, from his recent visit to Savute Safari Lodge. 

I recently spent some time at the beautiful Savute Safari Lodge in the Southern region of the Chobe National Park, as explained by my cool-guy African safari guide Baba, and enjoyed one of my best elephant interactions to date.

On my first game drive on the afternoon I arrived, Baba took us to one of the watering holes to see what would come down for a drink. He explained how during this time of year the water was drying up and watering holes became less and smaller by the day. This meant the remaining ones had to be shared, much to all the animals’ disapproval.

Elephants in the Savute region of Botswana

Two lone bull elephants at the waterhole in Savute

As we sat watching what Baba explained was a bunch of Lone bull elephant’s that had all come down separately to drink, something interesting happened. One bull, an old elephant, did not like the idea of sharing with another approaching, thirsty lone bull. They met at the water’s edge, standing a few metres apart, clearly sizing each other up. The new male slowly advanced and the old boy retreated slightly until they were both standing in the water. After a minute or two of staring each other down, in an instant, they both lunged forward at each other and a colossal, but short lived battle ensued. They clattered and banged, trumpeting and splashing water everywhere! And after 20 or so seconds, they stopped, paused for a second and slowly backed away from each other. Interestingly, they then shared the water hole giving each other enough space to drink.

Elephant bulls fighting in the Savuti region of the Chobe National Park in Botswana

The two bulls sizing each other up

Elephants fighting for dominance Botswana's Savuti Region

Lunging forward in an instant just before making contact

Bull elephant in the Savute region of the Chobe National Park with Savute Safari Lodge

Heads and tusks clashing as they make impact

Fighting elephants in the Savute region in Botswana

Hard clash as the two bulls make contact with each other

It all happened so fast and was such an interesting experience! But I couldn’t quite understand it? So I posed the question to Baba, “What was that?!?” He gave a hearty laugh before explaining;

“In the dry season, the water scarcity causes a lot of movement for the wildlife. The elephant’s are forced to start congregating around the water that is still available. Ordinarily, these animals would choose to avoid this as safety is priority one for most of them.

While elephant’s are very social animals, the older bulls that have been kicked out of the breeding herds tend to wander alone. This obviously leaves them slightly vulnerable and thus they are normally a bit on edge and alert.”

Baba really has a way with understanding and making guests understand.

It turns out, this meeting of two giants was not an act of hatred or anything of the sort. It was a battle of dominance over a scarce resource. We as humans sure know about that! The reason they backed off and happily shared the water, Baba explained, was because there had been a winner, maybe not an out and out winner, but one of the bulls had decided, this isn’t worth getting hurt for, and had backed down to just enjoy the water that would quench his mighty thirst.

This was not the only battle of bulls we saw, but it was definitely the most dramatic! A very interesting afternoon spent by the watering hole!

For more information on the incredible experiences on offer in the Savute Region of the Chobe National Park visit the SAVUTE REGION on our website. You can also read more on SAVUTE SAFARI LODGE as the perfect stay for your Savute safari.

Article and photos by Andrew Flatt

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July 11, 2017

Top 10 Reasons To Book Your Chobe Safari At Chobe Savanna Lodge

Filed under: Chobe Savanna Lodge — Desert Delta @ 1:37 pm

The Chobe River is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most iconic river systems. As a permanent source of water for the surrounding regions, the river attracts prolific and diverse populations of wildlife and birdlife.

Dry season on the Chobe River – from Chobe Savanna Lodge 

In the dry season (July to October), there is no better place to be as large herds of elephant begin congregating along the river’s edge, often crossing the deeper channels offering a spectacle for guests.

Elephant on the Chobe River with Chobe Savanna Lodge

Elephant in from of Chobe Savanna Lodge

Chobe Savanna Lodge has the privileged location of being situated upriver in a secluded area with uninterrupted views across the river and its game-rich floodplains. A highlight for many of our guests is to simply sit and watch from the comfort of the lodge as the herds of elephant swim across the river to the Namibian side in front of the Lodge. It’s an incredible sight to see!

Due to its remote location, the lodge focuses exclusively on the Chobe River experience. Daily river safaris are done in small aluminium power boats ideal for close encounters with the wild visitors of the river, as well as on larger flat bottom skimmers for those picture perfect sunset cruises.

aerial view of Chobe Savanna Lodge on the Chobe River

An aerial view of Chobe Savanna Lodge located on a peninsula overlooking the Chobe River

 

TOP 10 REASONS TO BOOK A CHOBE SAFARI WITH CHOBE SAVANNA LODGE

With the dry season upon us, we have put together a list of the top 10 reasons to book a Chobe Safari at Chobe Savanna Lodge to offer you insight into what this spectacular safari lodge has to offer. For more information on Chobe Savanna Lodge please visit the lodges page on our website.

1. A COSY LODGE
Chobe Savanna Lodge is a small and intimate safari lodge with only 13 en-suite guest rooms making it ideal for an intimate Chobe River experience. Each of the beautifully furnished thatch chalets is equipped with a private deck from which to take in the spectacular location.

2. IDEAL FAMILY VACATION
With inter-leading room options and a family room available, the lodge accepts children of all ages. With a variety of activities available, including fishing excursions, there is plenty to keep your family busy throughout your stay.

3. UNIQUE CHOBE ACTIVITIES
There is a wide range of activities available from Chobe Savanna Lodge including boat safaris on the Chobe River, fishing excursions and a cultural excursion to one of the nearby villages.

4. SENSATIONAL SUNSETS
Sunsets overlooking the Chobe floodplains are some of the most spectacular imaginable with uninterrupted views over the Chobe River. For those still out exploring the river by boat, a short stop for sundowners on the river is the perfect end to a day on safari.

5. REMOTE LOCATION
On the Namibian side of the river and far from the nearby town of Kasane, Chobe Savanna Lodge has a remote and secluded river location making it ideal for the end of a busy safari where you can maximise your time on the river.

6. PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVEN
Our small aluminium boats have swivel chairs, a retractable canvas roof and low proximity to the water – perfect for those low angle shots of the varied wildlife as they make their way to the water’s edge for a drink. The larger skimmer boats are flat bottom with movable deck chair offering ample space for gear and the ability to easily manoeuvre around the boat to capture those special moments as they happen.

7. DINE UNDER THE STARS
With the open grasslands in front of the lodge we do regular dining set-ups around the fire and under the stars. No African safari is complete without enjoying a meal beneath a thick blanket of stars connecting to the endless horizon.

8. PASSIONATE TEAM
Our Lodge manager John Sepiso is a proud Namibian who has worked his way from barman to host to manager. He has many years’ experience managing Chobe Savanna Lodge and treats it as his home. He and his small team of staff are looking forward to welcoming you to Chobe Savanna Lodge.

9. WHERE ELEPHANTS SWIM TO YOU
Chobe is one of the few places in Africa where elephant are often seen swimming in the river. From Chobe Savanna Lodge you can simply sit back and watch as the elephants swim across the river to the open floodplain in front of the lodge. For the keen photographer, have your camera at the ready to capture this iconic Chobe moment.

10. FANTASTIC VALUE
In celebration of the reopening, we have extended our green season (off-peak) rates, now available from 15 July to 31 December 20170, making Chobe Savanna Lodge the best value for money, all-inclusive safari in the Chobe region.

 

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June 19, 2017

Xugana Island Lodge Receives Soft Refurbishment

Filed under: Xugana Island Lodge — Tags: — Desert Delta @ 12:47 pm

With its prime location in the heart of the Okavango Delta overlooking the permanent deep water Xugana Lagoon, Xugana Island Lodge is the ideal property for travelers seeking an authentic and traditional Okavango Delta experience. Due to its position on a private concession within the Okavango Delta, Xugana Island Lodge offers a year-round water experience focusing on a combination of activities from mokoro rides and boat safaris to guided walks on the surrounding islands.

Xugana Island Lodge Lounge and Dining Interior

The new dining and lounge interior at Xugana Island Lodge

Recent visitors to Xugana Island Lodge had this to say of their time at the traditional, disconnected and remote lodge.

“Four of us – two couples – spent three days/nights here at the end of May. It was rustic in terms of accommodation but in all honesty, that added to the charm and feeling of getting away from it all. The staff are fantastic – our guide and tracker (Allen and Promise) were fun, informative, professional and friendly – can’t speak highly enough. The safaris – mainly by boat (although we did use mokoros and walking) – along the ‘Hippo Highways’ were fantastic – stopping every time the eagle eyed hosts spotted something of interest or we had a question.”

Xugana Island Lodge boat arrival

Arriving by boat to Xugana Island Lodge

During the annual camp closure earlier this year, Xugana Island Lodge’s main lounge and dining area received a soft refurbishment and minor structural changes. The changes made has brought more light into the lodge while also taking better advantage of the beautiful views from the deck toward the Xugana Lagoon. The serving area and curio shop have both been moved to create a larger, open plan space for the dining tables and comfortable sofas. This has created more space for guests to relax between activities as well as an indoor dining option should the weather permit.

Xugana Island Lodge indoor dining in the Okavango Delta

The new indoor dining setup at Xugana Island Lodge after the refurbishment

Xugana Island Lodge outdoor dining in the Okavango Delta

Outdoor dining under the tree canopy with the lodge in the background

Lounge interior at Xugana Island Lodge

The comfortable lounge looking out toward the deck and Xugana Lagoon

Read more about Xugana Island Lodge and the authentic Okavango Delta experiences on offer by visiting the lodges page on our website. Xugana Island Lodge is the ideal inclusion in any Botswana safari and we recommend a minimum stay of two nights to experience the very best of the world renowned Okavango Delta.

 

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January 4, 2017

Savute Marsh Pride Hunting Elephant

Filed under: Savute Safari Lodge — Tags: , — Desert Delta @ 11:37 am

Savute has once again lived up to its reputation as one of Botswana’s top game viewing destinations with a sighting of a lifetime.

Chris Swindal, who spent several nights with us at Savute Safari Lodge, shared his fascinating experience that unfolded during his stay in the Savute region of the Chobe National Park. Thanks to Chris for sharing your memories and stunning images with us.

“On my first night at Savute Safari Lodge, just as we were sitting down for dinner, someone yelled out, “there’s a lion!”. Sure enough, a lioness was walking out of the bushes on the other side of the waterhole that the camp looks over. She walked down to the waterhole for a drink. Then there was a second, then a third. Then it was six…. and finally twelve lions! They all lined up at the waterhole to drink while we watched from the dinner tables!

Savute Marsh Pride in Savute with Savute Safari Lodge

the Marsh Pride drinking at the waterhole in front of camp just as we were sitting down for dinner.

Later that night, I was woken up (as was the entire camp), but lions roaring and elephants blaring and trumpeting. It lasted for a good thirty minutes before it quietened down. It was clear that at the very least, the lions were chasing elephants in the dry riverbed right next to camp. The next morning at breakfast, everyone was talking about the noises from the previous evening, and guessing at what was happening.

As we left for the morning game drive, we didn’t even make five minutes from camp before we came across the lion pride again. It was the same pride from the previous evening, the Marsh Pride, but now they were joined by two big males. And we suddenly saw what the commotion during the night was about. They had killed one of the elephants. We sat with and watched the pride for the rest of the day as they alternated between feeding on their kill, napping, and interacting with one another. We did the same thing the next day.

Savute Marsh Pride cup on an elephant kill in Savute

A Marsh Pride cub sitting atop their elephant kill.

marsh pride on a kill near Savute Safari Lodge

A bloody faced Marsh Pride cub sitting atop their elephant kill.

Savute Marsh Pride on an elephant kill near Savute Safari Lodge

Another Marsh Pride cub walks by their elephant kill after feeding again.

Male and cub on elephant kill in Savute in the Chobe National Park

A Marsh Pride cub with a male as they sat near their elephant kill in Northern Pride territory.

We learned that the Marsh Pride had killed this elephant outside of their territory; they were actually in the Northern Pride’s territory now. The lions stayed with their kill until we happened to be buzzed by a helicopter from the Botswana Defense Force, at which point the lion cubs panicked, and made a run back toward their home territory, followed right behind by three of the lionesses.

Savute Marsh pride cubs in the Savute region near Savute Safari Lodge

Marsh Pride cubs playing as the lionesses sit nearby.

Playful lion cubs in Botswana's Savute region

Marsh Pride cubs playing together.

I also wanted to check on Northern Pride. During my next-to-last day at Savute Safari Lodge, we learned from the other guides and the guys from the Natural History Film Unit, that the Marsh Pride males had attacked the Northern Pride. We were told that there should be 8 cubs in the Northern Pride, but the film crew guys saw one of the Marsh Pride males with a bloody face, and two of the Northern Pride lionesses who should have cubs with them, but there was no sign of the cubs. They were not sure if the bloody face on the Marsh Pride male was from feeding on the elephant, or from having killed the Northern Pride cubs. They also said that later on, they found one of the Northern Pride cubs all by itself wandering around calling to the lionesses, but there were none in sight; the Northern Pride had been scattered by the attack. As the guides were telling the story, the camp staff was aghast and extremely worried about the Northern Pride cubs.”

Story and photos by Chris Swindal.

Thanks again to Chris for sharing his experience with us. Read more about the Savute Region and Savute Safari Lodge on our website by following the links.

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November 17, 2016

Meet Banda From Camp Xakanaxa

Filed under: Camp Xakanaxa — Desert Delta @ 8:46 am

Today we’re taking the opportunity to introduce you to Banda from Camp Xakanaxa. Banda is one of our long-standing guides having worked with Desert & Delta Safaris for over 10 years. His passion for Botswana and the countries wilderness areas is evident in the way he enthusiastically shares his knowledge with each and every one of the guest who joins him on safari from Camp Xakanaxa.

We asked Banda a few questions about himself and his career as a guide;

 

Where are you from and how did you get into guiding?  

I come from a small village called khwai, which is found on the edge of the famous Moremi Game Reserve. With its close proximity to the Moremi Game Reserve, my village receives a lot of visitors as they enter and exit the park, which exposed me to the industry from a very young age. My father also worked as a guide in one of the nearby safari lodges. His stories from working as a guide is what inspired me to become a guide and follow in his footsteps.

 

What do you love most about guiding? 

For me, being a guide is like doing a cultural exchange program. Meeting people from all over the world with different cultures and interests gives you an idea of what’s going on around the world. I work in a remote part of Botswana but am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet new people from all over the world every single day.

What I also love about being a guide is that I am constantly learning. As a guide, our job is to share our knowledge with our guests but the natural wilderness is ever changing and I learn something new every time I head out on a game drive.

On safari with Banda from Camp Xakanaxa

Banda ready for his afternoon game drive

How long have you been guiding for? 

I have been a guide in Botswana for over 10 years now. I started my career with Desert & Delta Safaris in 2005 when I was placed at Camp Okavango for my internship. The company employed me as a full-time guide in January 2006 where I continued at Camp Okavango. In 2009 I moved to Camp Moremi in the Moremi Game Reserve where I guided for approximately five years before moving across to Camp Xakanaxa in January 2015 where I am currently based.

 

What’s your most memorable experience as a guide?

The most memorable experience as a guide with Desert & Delta Safaris was watching a leopard jumping from the tree, from a height of about 6 meters to kill an impala that was grazing under the tree. It was my first time to witness a kill which is why it remains so firm in my memory as a favourite sighting.

Thanks to Banda for taking the time to share his passion for guiding with us. Here is a collection of Banda’s favourite photo memories from his time as a guide with us:

Leopard sighting by Banda in the Moremi Game Reserve

A young leopard resting in a tree in the Moremi Game Reserve

Fish Eagle sighting in the Okavango Delta with Banda from Camp Xakanaxa

A Fish Eagle taking off in the Okavango Delta

Elephant in the Moremi Game Reserve with Banda from Camp Xakanaxa

Elephant enjoying a drink near the Xakanaxa Lagoon in the Moremi Game Reserve

A special lion sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve with Banda from Camp Xakanaxa

A special lion sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve

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October 12, 2016

Meet Letlhogile Lets Ngoma

Filed under: Camp Moremi — Tags: , , , — Desert Delta @ 12:58 pm

What is a guide? Is he (or she) the person who simply drives you around in an open vehicle in search of the animals promised to you by your agent or travel brochure? Yes sure, but they are so much more than that.

A guide is the person who welcomes you into a foreign land with open arms and takes you on a journey to uncover its many mysteries. They are the ones who share their intricate knowledge of the fauna and flora with you in a way that helps you better understand how everything fits together. A guide is a person who brings your entire experience together and is most often the person who you’ll form the strongest bond with at the end of your vacation.

Each guide has a unique way of guiding based on a combination of their past experiences, knowledge and personalities. Some are a walking encyclopaedia fascinated by animal behaviour while others have a more informal approach, using their warm personality and sharp sense of humour. Most, however, are avid teachers eager to share their knowledge with whoever shows an interest in the world they are so passionate about.

At Desert & Delta Safaris we have eight safari lodges with a team of guides at each property eager to guide you through the region they have built a personal connection with.

In celebration of the individuals within our guiding team, we are featuring a different guide each month offering you the chance to get to know them before you travel or to remember and learn more about your favourite guide from a past safari.

This month we’d like to introduce you to Lets from Camp Moremi.

How long have you been guiding with Desert & Delta Safaris: 

Lets from Camp Moremi in Botswana

Lets cooling off the old fashioned way out in the Okavango Delta

This year will be my 11th year with Desert & Delta Safaris. I started my career with the company at Xugana Island Lodge in the Okavango Delta where I worked for four and half years. I then transferred from the water-rich region of the Okavango Delta down to the dryer Makgadikgadi Pans National Park to guide at Leroo La Tau Lodge. Leroo La Tau was my home for just over a year after which I moved to Camp Moremi where I am currently based.

I was initially attracted to Desert and Delta Safaris by its people and the training program the company offers the guides. The company not only offered me a job but also gave me the chance to develop my skills as a guide. Guiding is a career in which you never stop learning. By constantly developing my skills as a guide I am able to grow my passion for the African wilderness  and ultimately offer my guests a better safari. For many, an African safari is a once in a lifetime opportunity, as a guide, it is a privilege to be given the responsibility of making their experience one they will cherish forever.

Tell us about where you from and how you got into guiding: 

Lets from Camp Moremi in the Moremi Game Reserve

Elephant sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve, Lets current home at Desert & Delta Safaris

I was actually born in the Okavango Delta at a place called the Jao Flats, where I lived with my grandfather near our families  cattle post. While living there my grandfather taught me a lot about the animals and plants of the Okavango Delta which we saw on a daily basis. As a young boy of only five years old I was already using mokoro’s to navigate the delta’s channels. This is where it all began for me.

A Budding Photographer

Since starting his career Lets has taken a keen interest in wildlife photography. For many eager guides, this is a natural progression but Lets seems to have a keen eye for exceptional photographs. Here is a collection of some of his most recent photos.

Lion sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

Keeping a close eye on a giraffe in the distance

Botswana landscapes in the Moremi Game Reserve

Picture perfect landscapes at Paradise Pools in the Moremi Game Reserve

Leopard in the Moremi Game Lodge in Botswana with Lets

Beautiful leopard sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve

Hyena kill in the Moremi Game Reserve with Camp Moremi

Hyena on a buffalo kill

Wild dog sighting with Lets from Camp Moremi

A pack of wild dog resting out on an open plain

Thanks to Lets for taking the time to share with us. If you are heading to Camp Moremi in the near future perhaps you will have Lets at the helm of your journey through one of Botswana’s most popular game reserves. For further reading visit the Moremi Game Reserve and Camp Moremi pages on our website.

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September 29, 2016

Botswana 50 | 50 Fun Facts About Botswana

Filed under: General News — Desert Delta @ 2:06 pm

This year Botswana reaches a major milestone in celebrating 50 years of independence. Botswana first gained independence from Britain on the 30th September 1966. An important day to celebrate as Botswana continues to develop as one of Africa’s success stories.

In celebration of Botswana 50, we have put together fifty fun facts about Botswana and Desert & Delta Safari for you to enjoy. As a young nation, Botswana has some much to celebrate and the below facts merely highlight what we love so much about our beloved country. Desert & Delta Safaris is proud to be a 100% Botswana owned company so we have included some interesting facts about us which you may no know.

Happy reading and ‘PULA’ to all who celebrate Botswana 50 with us!

Botswana gained independence on the 30 September 1966 making this year the 50th year of independence. Yes, we mentioned it above but it’s a fact so we saying it again!
Sir Seretse Khama was the first elected president of Botswana and served as the countries president until his untimely death on the 13 July 1980
Ian Khama is the current president of Botswana and is the son of the first president Sir Seretse Khama. He took office on the 01 April 2008 
Earlier this year the United Nations Economic & Social Council nominated current president Ian Khama as the best president in the world. 
Botswana is the 48th largest country in the world, around the same size as Madagascar or France
Diamonds were first discovered in Botswana in 1967, one year after gaining independence.
Today Botswana is one of the largest diamond producing countries in the world with the world’s richest diamond mine in Jwaneng 
Tourism and Beef production are the second and third highest GDP contributors to the economy with diamond production being the first
Botswana is the third most sparsely populated country in Africa with a population of just over 2 million people.
Prior to independence, Botswana was one of the world’s poorest countries but has since transformed into one of the fastest growing economies in the world. 
The currency in Botswana is the Pula which in Setswana means rain. With its natural arid conditions, rain is a precious resource which is why the local currency is referred to as Pula. The term ‘Pula’ is also often used in greetings or celebrations instead of the common “cheers” phrase in English or “prosit” in German.
The blue colour on the Botswana flag represents water or rain while the black and white colours represent the diverse race groups within the country existing harmoniously.
70% of Botswana is covered by the semi-arid Kalahari Desert making the phenomenon of the Okavango Delta all the more fascinating
Almost 40% of the entire countries landmass is protected within national parks, game reserves and wildlife management areas (commonly known as concessions). A very high percentage when compared to most countries around the world
Botswana has a high end, low impact tourism business model which important ensures the protection of the countries precious natural recourses while placing the tourism industry as one of the countries top income providers.
Botswana is one of Africa’s premier conservation success stories with sound government policies in place to protect the countries natural recourses including a recent ban on all hunting activities
The Botswana government has formed a unique partnership with local tourism operators to create a unique initiative called the Botswana Rhino Relocation & Reintroduction aimed at reintroducing rhino to strategic areas within the country in a bid to save the species from extinction. An excellent example of government and private business working together toward a common goal. 
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the countries largest reserve and the second largest game reserve in the world covering a total of 52 800 square km’s
Desert & Delta Safaris is a 100% Botswana owned company and has been crafting unique safaris for 34 years.
We have a total of eight safari lodges covering Botswana’s top travel destinations including the Moremi Game Reserve, Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Greater Chobe Region.
Desert & Delta Safaris employs approximately 400 staff across our 8 safari lodges and head office in Maun highlighting the positive impact the safari industry has in providing employment in Botswana.
Our safari lodges are 100% locally managed. An achievement we believe is key to the ongoing success of our business model. 
Chobe Game Lodge, Camp Okavango and Leroo La Tau are all EcoTourism rated, the highest sustainable tourism rating achievable on Botswana Tourism’s sustainability rating with the rest of the lodges rated Green and Green+, a sign of Desert & Delta’s commitment to responsible tourism practices.
The Chobe National Park was Botswana’s first declared national park gaining status as the Chobe National Park in 1967 – one year after independence.
Botswana has the highest concentration of elephants in Africa with the largest concentrations of elephant within the country found in the Chobe National Park in the north.  
The border between Botswana and Zambia is one of the shortest in the world covering just 700m. 
Chobe Game Lodge was built in the early 1970’s within the Chobe National Park and remains the only lodge located inside the park on the Chobe Riverfront. 
Chobe Game Lodge has four electric game viewers and three electric safari boats, making it the only lodge in Africa to operate a fleet of electric, carbon emission free vehicles.
Albert Ndereki is the longest standing employee at Chobe Game Lodge. He was one of the builders who worked on the reconstruction in the 1980’s with now director Desert & Delta Safaris director Jonathan Gibson. Today Albert is the lodges Eco Manager and responsible for the many sustainable tourism initiatives.
In 1975 Liz Taylor and Richard Burton got married (for the second time) at Chobe Game Lodge.
Chobe Game Lodge was the first lodge in Botswana to be awarded 5-star status.
One of the countries most famous destinations is the Okavango Delta, one of the largest natural inland deltas in the world and home to an abundance of fauna and flora.
The Okavango Delta became the 1000th inscribed site on the UNESCO World Heritage list 2014.
The water that forms the Okavango Delta comes from the Angolan Highlands and travels approximately R1,200 Km’s to reach the Okavango Delta.
The mokoro, or dug out canoe, is the most popular way to explore the Okavango Delta as a tourist but it was and still is today a traditional form of transport for locals living within the delta system. The mokoros were originally painstakingly crafted from ancient trees. Today they are built from fibreglass to avoid unnecessary destruction of the natural environment.
Camp Okavango was originally built in the 1980’s and Camp Moremi in 1982 by Jessie Neil and were the first safari lodges to be operated under the Desert & Delta Safaris brand.
Camp Okavango was completely rebuilt and opened as a new lodge in April 2016. The new lodge operates on solar power and continues to offer guests unforgettable safaris through the Okavango Delta.
John Kata based at Camp Okavango is Desert & Delta Safaris longest standing guide having worked for the company since the companies founding in 1982. Interestingly, John grew up on one of the islands in the Okavango Delta nor far from the current location of Camp Okavango. 
Xugana Island Lodge is the smallest of our properties with 8 rooms. It also boasts one of the most spectacular locations in the heart of the Okavango Delta overlooking the Xugana Lagoon, a deep permanent lagoon.
Savute Safari Lodge was the fourth lodge to join the group and is the original Lloyd’s Camp which made the Savute region famous for its stories of epic wildlife sightings. Today Savute maintains its reputation as one of the best wildlife destinations in Botswana.
The famed Savute Channel is renowned for its erratic behaviour having dried out from 1983 to 2008 and flowing again until early 2015 when it once again began to dry out. Only time can tell what will happen next. 
The Savute Marsh is famous for its epic wildlife documentaries, recent notable features by local filmmaker Brad Bestelink include Africa’s Fishing Leopard, Africa’s Giant Killers & Clash of Africa’s Giants.
The Savute Marsh is approximately 10,878 square Km in size and is the relic of an ancient inland lake which was cut off from its water supply by tectonic plate movements.
The Makgadikgadi Pans are the largest salt pans in the world stretching over 12,000 square kilometres.
Botswana is home to the second largest and longest mammal migration in Africa with thousands of zebra and wildebeest moving between the Chobe Region and Nxai Pan in the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
Leroo La Tau (located in a private concession bordering the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park) is a joint venture with the local Khumaga community. A successful tourism initiative which directly benefits the community. 
The Moremi Game Reserve, where Camp Moremi and Camp Xakanaxa are located, was the first reserve in Africa to be established by local residents. The Batawana people of Ngamiland, under the leadership of the deceased Chief Moremi III’s wife, Mrs Moremi, took the bold initiative to proclaim Moremi a game reserve in 1963.
Camp Xakanaxa was the most recent lodge to join the Desert & Delta Safaris fold having been purchased by the company in.
Forming part of the Okavango Delta system, the Moremi Game Reserve is an area of immense diversity and home to an abundance of wildlife making it one of the countries most popular destinations for game viewing.
Chobe Savanna Lodge is located on the Namibian side of the Chobe River. Due to its unique location on a peninsula overlooking the Puku Flats, it is the ideal location from which to experience the Chobe River in a quiet, remote setting.

We hope you enjoyed our Botswana 50 | 50 fun facts about Botswana. If anything we hope it shed some light on Botswana’s success story and why it is without doubt one of Africa’s top safari and wildlife destinations. When you start planning your first or next African adventure, put Botswana on the top of your list.

For more information, Desert & Delta Safaris and our 32-year journey in Botswana read our history page. We are a proudly Botswana safari operator and look forward to welcoming you to Botswana!

The Okavango Delta with Botswana 50

On safari in the heart of the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

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August 16, 2016

Mytie’s Adventure To Savute And The Okavango Delta

Filed under: General News — Tags: , — Desert Delta @ 7:07 am

This is a guest post from Mytie Moutswi, our Chobe Game Lodge marketing assistant. She recently visited Savute Safari Lodge and Camp Okavango for the first time.

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My name is Mytie Moutswi, the Marketing Assistant for Desert & Delta Safaris’ (DDS) Chobe Game Lodge (CGL) and Chobe Savanna Lodge (CSVL). I recently went on an adventurous safari trip to some of DDS properties for the first time. This is how it all went down.

July 23rd, 2016 saw me leaving my comfort zone and embarking on a nicely planed itinerary of our camps. When James (Business Development Manager at Chobe Game Lodge) warned “Mytie say goodbye to cellphone reception”, well I thought he was joking. My last post was on the Safari Air flight taking off from Kasane Airport en-route to the Savute Airstrip. I forgot about the fact that I had no access to the outside world the moment I saw the beauty of Chobe from the skies. Cellphone reception? Who needs network when you have all this beauty, right.

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SAVUTE SAFARI LODGE (SSL)

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It was sad to say aurevoir to the other guests on the aeroplane heading to Camp Xakanaxa and Carel, our very gentle pilot. But OB’s warm welcome on the airstrip made me fit in instantly. We drove to Savute Safari Lodge, and boom, my first zebras in a while. Hello Savute! Reuniting with Osi, Sech and Lucky (Savute Safari Lodge Camp Managers) was the highlight of my morning. I also got to meet the awesome Lala and Emmanuel. They are running that lodge like it is their home with so much love and the attention to detail.

Their standard rooms are enormous. We did our walk around and got to meet with everyone. It is always nice to interact with the back of house staff. I was impressed with rooms 1-6 which had the best view of the river. From there we headed off to the newly built family room. As we walked through the large sliding doors I spotted my luggage neatly tucked away in the corner. That whole room was mine for the night. Wow! I loved the kiddies’ room the most with the nature books and colouring papers.

Mytie at Savute Safari Lodge

OB was my guide for my stay which was great and we were also joined by Luca who had us in stitches throughout the drive. OB may have only started working at SSL in 2014 but he knew the place like the back of his hand. He told us all about the Savuti Channel and Savute Marsh which was fascinating to hear. It was a lovely drive which included excellent sightings from wildebeests to Kudus to jackals and Saddle-billed storks.

We got back to the lodge just in time for park closure. OB came to get us from the rooms at the agreed times. Pre-dinner drinks, dinner and the singing was awesome. But the crème de la crème was watching the Nature TV on HD/3D. Lots and lots of elephant at their night beauty spa right in front of the lodge. Then out of nowhere a heavily expecting hyena pranced down to the water for a drink and the ellies were giving her a hard time but they eventually cut her some slack and allowing her to drink. The fire place was where the stories unravelled and the spotlight was on my dear Luca, he is not the shy type hey.

The morning after was awesome. Lots of giraffes, wildebeests, kudus, impalas, jackals, cory bustard, lilac breasted rollers and my very first tawny eagle feeding on what seemed like a bird, wow moment for me!!

Savute for me in a nutshell was Flawless. Great service, great team and great management.

Read more about Savute Safari Lodge

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CAMP OKAVANGO (Camp O.)

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Stop number 2 for me. James, our Chobe Game Lodge marking manager, is going to kill me for saying this but it is my truth, Camp Okavango is the epitome of what 5 star; no scratch that, 5-Diamond is all about. It is luxurious in every way possible. This place in my own words is our version of the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, just with trees and not crystal blue waters. If I was to tie the knot, this would be my perfect honeymoon camp. What I am trying to say is that you get your money’s worth from staying here. They are doing what I am always preaching to others which is “If you treat your staff as VIPs they are going to go out there and give guests VIP treatment”.

From my Safari Air flight I went straight to my very first Mokoro with the Zakes Master. After a rather windy day and bumpy ride I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing and emotionally soothing activity. We saw a few pied and malachite kingfishers, and oh oh!, a snowflake lily. To top it off we were surprised with a beautiful sundowner stop at the end of the airstrip when we got back from the mokoro ride. Once we finished our aahs and oohs we went to the lodge and there Unami was awaiting our arrival with warm towels (Thank you DDS camps. This is a great touch. It means a great deal to the guests as they were very appreciative of this gesture in all the camps).

Mytie at Camp Okavango

It was great reuniting with Unami and BK, the soft spoken Tanya and Kessy were awesome. We did a bit of sight-seeing before she took me to my nesting place, Room 6. My mouth was agape and I struggled to close it. I can say without shame that I shed a tear. The décor, I shall ask permission to use when I build my house.

Just as was done at SSL, we were escorted from the rooms at a time we had agreed for pre-dinner drinks at the bar. The food, service and choir were all amazing although I must say Savute is giving them a run for their money when it comes to to the singing. After dinner we headed down to the fireplace for a little story-telling and guess who came out to play in the nights sky… Scorpio!

Morning wake-up call was right on time and off-we went on our walking Safari. I was a bit sceptical at first after one of the guests pulled out at the last minute. Boat cruise, mokoro and then our exploration of the Mojei Island. Did I mention that at 4am I heard lions calling and yet I faced my fears and went walking anyways. We heard the Lions calling again once we got off the mokoros and the baboons were barking like mad. I looked at Zakes. He just smiled and turned to Boston who gave us the thumbs-up. Then we saw her on the other side of the channel. Heart pounding ever so loudly I watched in silence as the beautiful lioness stood motionless. Eventually she got bored of us standing still like logs and walked off into the wilderness through the tall grass. The bird life and game were amazing. We saw lots of reed buck and a reasonable amount of giraffe and elephant. I feel after that walk I can do Mount Kilimanjaro next.

Back at the lodge after brunch we completed a quick site inspection to see the rest of the lodge. The family room was huge and it too had a library in the kiddies’ room with art stuff to keep them entertained. The other rooms on eastern part of the camp were equally as beautiful but the view from Room 12 was breathtaking.

As soon as Unami was done showing me around, BK took me to the solar panel site or should I call it the solar farm, never mind the beautiful layout of the camp; I feel DDS outdid themselves here. Solar panels are the future. 24 hour electricity in a silent camp with no need for a generator. Bravo!!!

Read more about Camp Okavango.

By the time we were done Zakes had all my bags packed on the boat. We were off to Xugana Island Lodge. Stay tuned for Part Two of my Desert & Delta Safaris trip to Xugana Island Lodge and Leroo La Tau.

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