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.
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.
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.
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).
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!!!
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.