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A Dose Of Botswana - General News

A Dose Of Botswana
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This is a guest post by Rosanne Cobb from Abambo in the United Kingdom. For more information on Abambo and African safaris they offer visit their website on the link provided.

‘And I built the deck at Chobe Game Lodge’ says the softly spoken, tanned, and somewhat swarthy Doctor Birkenstock. I am gobsmacked.

This is Botswana, where a talented and well-read doctor whose mission in life has been to tend to remote communities, just drops into the conversation that he is also responsible for using his bare hands to construct the huge deck at nearby Chobe Game Lodge.

Dr B from Desert & Delta Safaris

Meeting Dr B at Savute Safari Lodge on his rounds through the camps

This is Botswana, where Doctor Birkenstock (or Doc B as he is affectionately known) travels by plane to do his rounds, wears shorts when consulting his patients, and by all accounts has single-handedly obliterated the new-case-rate for HIV in the areas where he administers his care.

And this is why I love this country: it’s the people and their awesome ability to understand what’s important in life.

Desert & Delta Safaris hosted me for 10 exhilarating days for a deeper understanding not only of the topography of Botswana, but her people too. My group of 6 fellow happy campers was led by Walter, Head Honcho of DDS marketing dept, and through his abundant passion for the country I have been totally infected: Botswana is likely to be forever my favourite country on the planet.

Walter from the team at Desert & Delta Safaris

Walter from the team at Desert & Delta Safaris

We started our journey in Chobe for the elephants and we were not disappointed; there are literally thousands snuffling and splashing about being all intelligent and matriarchal. But then, in my opinion, we met the real stars of the show: the all-female guiding team who head up Chobe Game Lodge.

Now (reverse-)sexism is not my thing, so I was reassured to hear that the menfolk also get a fair trial when it comes to hiring (and indeed there was a trainee male guide in attendance), but I was totally inspired by this group of ladies, and even more so by DDS who have really considered what it takes to get women into these types of jobs.

Female guiding team at Chobe Game Lodge

The female guiding team at Chobe Game Lodge

We carried on to Savute, all the while being welcomed into the joyful greetings extended to our guide Walter as he met up with his extended family of staff at each lodge.

Savute is where we saw a grown man cry. He’ll deny it, but I’m pretty sure that a couple of innocuous concrete slabs in the middle of the bush, marking the place where Botswana began its leadership in conservation, brought Walter to tears, so passionate is he about his country.

President’s Camp, as it is known, is the spot marked by a few stones where the first president of Botswana, Seretse Khama, would bring his young family to get out into the wild and pitch their tents and reconnect with nature. It is here that Khama’s conservation ethics were developed, where eco-ideas were formed, where plans were hatched to protect and serve the natural world they found around them in Botswana.

The policies that were put in place here in the middle of the bush, today see Botswana as one of the most progressive eco-tourism destinations worldwide, not only thanks to Seretse’s sons: the Minister of Environment & Tourism Thsekede Khama, and the President, Lt.General Ian Khama, carrying on his vision.

It’s a heart-warming story, and as I continued trailing Walter around Botswana, meeting locals from different walks of life, I realised that it’s one that the whole country supports. How rare is it to find such harmony and such support for your government? Or indeed to find a government who care so deeply about conserving their natural world?

Exploring Botswana with Desert & Delta Safaris

On an afternoon game drive with the group

The trip took our group into the Delta to watch the ingenuity involved in building a camp from scratch with nothing but a couple of boats for transport. It took us down to the Makgadikgadi to witness the beginning of the zebra migration and learn how the staff work together to cope with the heat and isolation. And finally it took us back to Maun, leaving Walter in the heat of the Makgadikgadi to track rhino, illustrating again how Botswana has its finger on the pulse of conservation.

I used to say ‘I travel to Africa at least every year’; now I say ‘I travel to Botswana every year’. If I don’t have a regular dose of Botswana I feel like there’s something missing, like the feeling when I forget to do my teeth; I’m fine but I’m not quite right.

This is a guest post by Rosanne Cobb from Abambo in the United Kingdom. For more information on Abambo and African safaris they offer visit their website on the link provided.

 

Desert Delta

Desert Delta

Established in 1982, Desert & Delta Safaris’ portfolio brings together some of Botswana’s most historic and iconic lodges: Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe Savanna Lodge, Savute Safari Lodge, Camp Moremi, Camp Xakanaxa, Camp Okavango, Xugana Island Lodge and Leroo La Tau.
Desert Delta

1 Comment

  1. Sue Ricketts

    Oh wow, a fabulous article Rose. Makes me want to pack my bag and head to the airport.

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