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November 9, 2018

Mega Elephant Herd Crossing The Chobe River

Filed under: Chobe Game Lodge — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 10:56 am

The Chobe National Park is world renowned for having the highest concentrations of elephant in Africa. In the dry season particularly, thousands of elephants can be seen gathering on the banks of the Chobe River where they have access to fresh water. It is a spectacle one simple has to experience and reason enough to include the Chobe National Park, and the Chobe Riverfront in particular, in your Botswana safari.

At the end of October, Desert & Delta Safaris together with Chobe Game Lodge hosted the annual #ThisIsChobe social media campaign. A group of travel industry professionals and influencers were welcome to the Chobe Region to experience the diversity of the Chobe National Park – and what an experience it was.

Elephant on the banks of the Chobe River with Chobe Game Lodge

Elephant herd on the banks of the Chobe River

On our first afternoon river cruise with Chobe Game Lodge, we witnessed one of the largest elephant crossings we’ve ever seen. Hundreds of elephants were seen out on the stretch between Chobe Game Lodge and the Puku Flats, on both the Botswana and Namibian sides of the river. The sightings were so immense it was difficult for our guide to decide where to go next. The group, many of them having never been to the Chobe National Park, were amazed by the sheer number of elephants.

Not long into the afternoon cruise a mega herd of elephants were spotted on the Namibian side of the river. They were moving at a brisk pace toward the river and our Chobe Game Lodge guide anticipated that they would cross into Botswana. She carefully maneuvered the electric boat into position as the herd started to gather on the water’s edge. The first of the herd to arrive on the banks were hesitant to start the swim across. But as more and more arrived, the anticipation mounted, and they were forced into the water. Once the first elephant submerged into the water, the rest followed instinctually.

Elephant in the Chobe National Park

Elephant herd enjoying a drink on the edge of the Chobe River

We sat in awe as we witnessed the massive herd make their way across the river and back into the Chobe National Park. At one point, the herd covered the entire stretch of the Chobe River with some members still climbing into the river in Namibia while the first were already on the opposite bank.

The below video and photos offer a glimpse of what it was like to witness this incredible spectacle.

Elephant crossing on the Chobe River in the Chobe National Park

The first of the heard make their way into the Chobe River

Massive elephant herd crossing the Chobe River in Botswana

Mega elephant herd crossing the Chobe River

Chobe elephants swimming across the Chobe River

Elephant swimming across the Chobe River

Elephant on the banks of the Chobe River near Chobe Game Lodge

The last of the hear leaving the Chobe River

The Chobe National Park lived up to its reputation as the best region in Africa to see and photograph African Elephants. We enjoyed four nights in the Chobe on our #ThisIsChobe campaign and enjoyed exceptional elephant sightings every day. Stay connected for more updates and highlights from #ThisIsChobe.

View our website for more information on the Chobe National Park and Chobe Game Lodge.

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September 14, 2018

Supporting The Khumaga Primary School

Filed under: Leroo La Tau — Tags: , , — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 6:51 am

With the Khumaga Village located in close proximity to Leroo La Tau, Desert & Delta Safaris has a long standing relationship with the Khumaga Primary School. As a Botswana based safari operator, we firmly believe in the development of human potential and uplifting Botswana citizens by creating career opportunities within the tourism sector.

Our Commitment to the Khumaga Primary School.

With our close relationship with the Khumaga Primary School, Desert & Delta Safaris has a unique opportunity to expose the youth of the Khumaga village to the tourism sector while also supporting the school through various initiatives.

Financial assistance is provided to the school including the cost to create unique trophies for students who achieve a pass mark of over 75% or more, the provision for revision books, as well as support towards the building of a traditional hut on the school grounds.

Each year, Leroo La Tau hosts a career fare for the children of the Khumaga Primary School. The fare is aimed at highlighting the various job opportunities available within the tourism industry to the children, allowing them to engage with our staff as well as important industry players. It is an important part of the annual school calendar as it shines a light on the opportunities available for a future career in tourism.

As the school is located in a remote region of Botswana and basic school supplies are limited, Desert & Delta Safaris with the support of our travellers, provides basic school goods for the school, including stationary, office equipment, etc. If you are planning a safari to Botswana with Desert & Delta Safaris and would like to support the school, we encourage you to bring basic stationary and office supplies which we will gladly pass on to them. Guided village visits are also available from Leroo La Tau for your chance to experience life in the Khumaga Village.

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August 30, 2018

Can you truly be a Responsible Traveller?

Filed under: General News — Tags: — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 10:02 am

Food for thought on being a responsible traveller by our Marketing Director, James Wilson. 

A new term, although a phenomenon that has existed for decades, is that of “Overtourism.” Rising tourist numbers continue to damage vulnerable environments around the world by plundering their resources. Quite often they bring significantly less revenue to the economy of the places they visit than they should, because the infrastructure in place to bring these tourists and cater for them, is often foreign owned. A classic example would be the big cruise ship industry. Renowned for what can only be described as a “dump & go” tactic — as far as both their passengers and emissions into the ocean are concerned. If you haven’t read Overbookedby Elizabeth Becker, you really should. A very sobering insight into the state of global tourism.

Responsible Tourism, on the other hand, aims at using tourism to improve places to live in (for the local community) and make them more appealing places to visit (for the travellers). I’ve had the privilege living in Botswana, Southern Africa, for the last seven-years and can quite confidently say that tourism here is in a great place. If one looks at the positive impact the company I work for, Desert & Delta Safaris, has had and will continue to have on the region, its easy to see that you canbe a Responsible Traveller. To explain why, we need to understand how tourism in Botswana developed.

Responsible safaris at Camp Xakanaxa

Aerial view of Camp Xakanaxa in the Moremi Game Reserve

A history of tourism development in Botswana

When Botswana took independence in 1966 it was one of the poorest countries in the world, even by African standards. Colonialism did not reach Botswana, largely due to the lack of resources. Probably a blessing, because ironically, one year after the country declared itself an independent nation from the protectorate (a partially governed and protected nation but not colonised) of Britain they discovered diamonds. In just over 20-years the diamond industry grew to make up over 50% of Botswana’s GDP and became one of the world’s largest diamond producers.

Where did that leave tourism? As the diamond industry was flourishing by 1990, only trophy-hunting was the popular form of tourism for wealthy people from around the world. Hunters would pay thousands of dollars to claim their piece of Africa. Apart from the odd overlander and adventure traveller, in 1990, tourism in Botswana as we know it today was still very much in its infancy. Desert & Delta Safaris, one of the most established tourism companies in the country, was only just born in the mid 1980’s.

Those who did travel to Botswana for a photographic safari (non-consumptive/non-hunting safari) were rewarded with one of the most unique travelling experiences in the world. Pure, untouched wilderness. Untainted by human development with massive areas of migrating wildlife, unique ecosystems and some of the largest concentrations of wildlife on the continent.

Hotels and lodges were being built all over the continent and infrastructure was put in place to bring travellers to help grow the industry. Botswana recognised that racing to claim their piece of the growing industry would compromise the uniqueness of the natural heritage they possessed — the very allure that attracted the first few travellers. As a result, trophy-hunting would eventually be banned and tourism in Botswana would grow in a measured and sustainable manner labelled by the government as a low volume, high revenue approach.

Guided bush walk in Botswana's Okavango Delta

On a guided bush walk in Botswana’s Okavango Delta

A Responsible approach to Tourism development 

Considering the economy was so young, developing a responsible tourism industry didn’t come without its challenges.

At this stage in 1990, Desert & Delta Safariscomprised of just two properties, Camp Moremi and Camp Okavango. Built by an American investor, skilled labour was outsourced to expatriates and management was foreign run. Our owners recognised at the time that while protecting the natural resources was fundamental to a sustainable tourism industry, developing the human resource of the nation would be the main focus of the company. Why? Simply because without including the local community you wouldn’t have a sustainable industry. The wealth of this high value, low volume tourism approach had to trickle down to the local population. In doing so, only then could Botswana pride itself in both protecting the natural wilderness and developing the economy.

The first Botswana run luxury tourism company

Fast-forward from 1990 to 1997, and under the limited company, Chobe Holdings, Desert & Delta Safaris formed part of the first tourism enterprise to be listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. A few years later and Desert & Delta Safarisbecame the first company of its kind to be managed entirely by Botswana Citizens.

Not only are these luxury camps run exclusively by Batswana, today the majority of the senior management at these properties comprises of women. Given the current state of female empowerment and local ownership in tourism in Africa, this is a significant benchmark.

What stands out is, along with likeminded colleagues and a sensible government approach, Desert & Delta Safarishas managed to both protect the natural heritage of the country, as well as develop the human potential of the nation in a responsible manner. And without photographic tourism to protect our wilderness areas, they could be under threat from other consumptive industries such as agriculture or mining.

So yes… you can be a Responsible Traveller!If you seek out a company like Desert & Delta Safaris, you are not only being a responsible traveller, you are actively helping to protect the natural heritage of our country while developing the people of our country’s livelihood. And you will do so while enjoying a safari that will leave you with memories of a lifetime and a burning desire to return again!

To have achieved this is largely attributed to the wonderful people of our country and the amazing people that are involved with Desert & Delta Safaris. I would encourage you to watch the below videowhich is dedicated to those people.

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August 14, 2018

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – Our Environment

Filed under: General News — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 5:50 am

Today we are excited to release the third and final video on the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy. This video highlights our commitment to protecting our environment and minimising our footprint on the precious resources we manage.

If you missed the first two videos you can watch and read about them here:

  1. Introducing the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy
  2. The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – Our People

Travelling with us, you are more than just a Responsible Traveller. You are an active contributor to protecting the natural heritage of some of Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas.

Botswana is widely recognised as one of Africa’s most diverse and pristine natural environments with a large percentage of the country under national parks and protected by wildlife concessions. As custodians of this natural heritage, Desert & Delta Safaris understands the role we play in conserving and protecting the areas in which we operate.

Desert & Delta Safaris is active in our endeavours to raise awareness and further funding for the Botswana Rhino Relocation and Reintroduction program, an initiative which involves key Government departments together with the private sector, working together for the protection of the countries rhino population. Our Leroo La Tau Rhino Package is a tour that has been promoted to our traveller network for over 10-years and has consequently helped raise hundreds of thousands of Pula in facilitating the a growing population of Rhino in a remote area of Botswana.

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Desert & Delta Safaris, through Chobe Game Lodge, has introduced Africa’s first fleet of electric powered CO2 emission free vehicles and safari boats to the Chobe region. Offering a quieter and superior safari experience for our travellers, the vehicles and boats have dramatically reduced our usage of fuel and significantly lowered our carbon emissions at our largest property. Our solar projects extended beyond Chobe Game Lodge when we build a solar plant at Camp Okavango ensuring the newly built lodge runs entirely on solar energy.

As members of Botswana Tourism, several of the Desert & Delta Safaris camps and lodges are EcoTourism rated, the highest status recognised by Botswana Tourism for sound sustainable tourism initiatives. This includes the usage of grey water treatment plants, careful waste management protocols as well as the use of sustainable building materials wherever possible.

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy

Desert & Delta Safaris is at the forefront in developing a sustainable tourism model and this film shares with you the role we, with the help our travellers, play in protecting the environment and Botswana’s natural heritage for future generations.

For a full overview of the CARES Philosophy download the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy Fact Sheet.

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August 8, 2018

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – Our People

Filed under: General News — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 5:14 pm

Earlier this week we launched the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy. If you missed the first post you can read it here – Introducing The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy. Today, we are highlighting the people element of our CARES philosophy with the launch of our second video.

Developing the human potential of the people of Botswana is fundamental to creating a tourism industry that protects our fragile natural environment and ultimately a sustainable industry. We are proud that the Desert & Delta Safaris properties are managed exclusively by Botswana Citizens and 55% of the senior staff are women.
This video gives you an insight into the journey both our staff and guests have taken in developing such a leading Responsible Tourism company.
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The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy covers several aspects relating to our people and the citizens of Botswana.

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The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy

C – CAREERS & COMMUNITY:

Through a variety of initiatives, Desert & Delta Safaris supports local communities, focused on creating career opportunities in the tourism industry.

Offering bursaries for tertiary education, the Leaders for the Future initiativeis helping develop Botswana as a leading tourism destination. To date, approximately BWP380, 000 has gone into assisting students with their tourism studies. Students who have successfully completed their studies through the program are guaranteed work placements and career opportunities within the local travel industry.

With several of our camps and lodges within close proximity to communities, we create career opportunities in our organization for individuals from within those communities. Through ongoing training and development, staff members within our camps can expand their knowledge, forging a career within the Botswana travel industry.

The Youth Development Program focuses on creating work place opportunities for youth from disadvantaged social environments. Working closely with the Khumaga Primary school, we offer career guidance, education assistance, day trips through the Makgadikgadi National Park, as well as lectures for the youth of the Khumaga Village. The Tsidillo Stimulation Centre offers direct aid and support for the children of Maun with learning, mental and physical disabilities.

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A – ADVANCED HEALTH PROGRAM: 

Desert & Delta Safaris employs over 500 staff members within the eight safari lodges. Owing to the remote location of our properties and the amount of time staff members spend living and working in the camps, access to medical care is a challenge. In light of this and in an effort to better support our staff members medical challenges, Desert & Delta Safaris employs a full time company doctor.

Run as a family practice, the company doctor conducts regular visits to each of the properties within the circuit allowing him to get to know the staff members individually to understand their specific medical needs, not only administering a GP service but ensuring that the best medical advice and mentoring for all our staff is freely available.

Offering HIV/AIDS testing, ensuring anti-retroviral treatment is effectively administered as well psychological support are critical functions of the doctor, all done with complete confidentiality to ensure job security. All medical treatment supplied by the company doctor is funded by Desert & Delta Safaris.

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R – RESPONSIBILITY TO THE ENVIRONMENT

Coming up in our next post

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E – EQUALITY IN THE WORKPLACE: 

As a Botswana owned and registered company, equality in the workplace is of fundamental importance to Desert & Delta Safaris. The Botswana safari industry is one of the country’s biggest contributors to GDP but has historically offered limited opportunities for Botswana citizens in senior positions within the industry.

Through an annual training schedule, the Desert & Delta Safaris Citizen Development Program educates, trains and mentors Botswana citizens to help them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to attain employment as camp managers. Owing to the ongoing success of the program, the Desert & Delta Safaris camps have been managed exclusively by Botswana citizens since 2014. An achievement which has had a profoundly positive impact on our business by creating career goals and growth for our staff.

Further to creating more employment opportunities for Botswana citizens, Desert & Delta Safaris is committed to promoting gender equality by actively addressing the gender divide that exists within the travel sector. With this in mind, the current camp management group has a 55% female representation, highlighting the important role women play in management positions. Female empowerment is also brought to the forefront with Africa’s first all-female safari guiding team at Chobe Game Lodge.

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S – SOUL & SPIRITUALITY:

At the heart of Desert & Delta Safaris is the Staff Wellness team who are committed to ensuring the well-being of our staff. This includes a deep understanding of the cultural and spiritual challenges our staff face working in remote locations away from home.

To ensure a healthy work environment, the staff wellness team are dedicated exclusively to coordinating regular visits from the company Pastor and spiritual leader. During these visits guidance talks, family advice and motivational classes and religious sermons are offered to the staff within the work environment. This support structure ensures a healthy, happy and welcoming soul while solidifying bonds between our staff by creating a work environment that is conduction to a small family business.

Our people are fundamental to the on-going success of Desert & Delta Safaris as a leading lodge operator in Botswana. Recognising the human potential within our business, the Desert & Delta CARES philosophy places our people at the centre of our organisation.

Our final blog on the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy  showcasing our many environmental and responsible tourism initiatives will be released next week Tuesday (14 August).

Read the next post – The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – The Environment

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August 6, 2018

Introducing the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy

Filed under: General News — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 2:29 pm

Established in 1982, Desert & Delta Safaris is one of the most successful safari operators in Botswana. Our philosophy and core values in supporting our people, protecting the natural heritage of Botswana and creating lifelong memories for our travellers, is at the forefront of how we run our business.

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy explains the very foundation upon which our company was built 35 years ago – what we have achieved over the years and our vision for the future.

The word CARES is important to us as it clearly portrays our philosophy in caring for our people, the environment and our travellers.

We care about each one of our staff members who all play a fundamental role in creating memorable experiences for our travellers. We care about their health, their well-being and their future potential as individuals. We care about their families and the communities they come from. Finally, as a Botswana born and registered company, we care about our citizens and developing the future potential of our people.

Owing to the nature and location of our business in pristine wilderness environments, we care about our natural heritage. We care about being eco-conscious, driving sustainable and innovative initiatives within our daily operations which protect and limit the impact our business has on the areas in which we work.

As a lodge operator responsible for crafting memorable, often once in a life time experiences, we care about our guests and the experiences they have in Botswana. With over 35 years in the safari industry, we know that by caring for our people and our environment – we will ultimately ensure our guests leave having enjoyed an all-encompassing Botswana safari. Furthermore, by practicing our CARES Philosophy, our travellers can be assured that their travel spend with us is being utilised in an accountable and responsible manner.

Most importantly, Desert & Delta Safaris cares about Botswana and our philosophy is one which incorporates all our efforts and aspirations which will ultimately benefit the future of our country and Batswana people as a whole.

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy

This video is an introduction to the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy. More videos highlighting our philosophies in caring for our people and the environment will be released this week so please check back on our blog for updates. A Desert & Delta Safaris CARES philosophy document is also available for download.

Read the remainder of the Desert & Delta Safaris CARES blog posts on human development and environmental protection:

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – Our People

The Desert & Delta Safaris CARES Philosophy – The Environment

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July 24, 2018

Wild Dogs attack Lioness and cub in Moremi

Filed under: Camp Xakanaxa — Tags: , , , , — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 8:31 am

Our latest guest blog feature is by Walter Smith who visited Camp Xakanaxa where he and his family enjoyed the sighting of a lifetime involving a lioness, her cub and a pack of wild dogs.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Moremi Game Reserve with my family and we enjoyed our stay at Camp Xakanaxa immensely.

We took a drive to Paradise Pools as we had been told by the guides that they had seen a lioness with her cub in that area. We arrived there shortly after she had crossed a pool of water with her cub and in the process had caught and eaten a yellow billed duck. As we arrived there the mother and cub had taken rest up on an anthill and were drying themselves off in the late afternoon sun.

Paradise Pools in the Moremi Game Reserve

Paradise Pools in the Moremi Game Reserve

Paradise Pools is one of my favorite areas in the Moremi Game Reserve. Surrounded by rich riparian forest, there is a large open area with many dead trees which silhouette the skyline and add to the dramatic landscape. With the short grass, open space and availability of water, antelope like letchwe and impala like to congregate there as well.

This is paradise. The late golden afternoon sun not only adding to the atmosphere and serenity of the moment, but also being enjoyed by these two lions to dry themselves and add a bit of warmth as the evening was approaching.

lioness and cub at paradise pools in the Moremi Game Reserve

A lioness and her cub enjoying the afternoon light

We parked up about thirty meters from the anthill and were watching the mother and cub grooming themselves in the late afternoon sun, when out of nowhere a herd of impala scattered through the tree line about 400 meters away from us and at speed, came running across the open area. The impala were in short pursuit by some wild dogs. It was as if instant chaos had broken out into what was a serene and peaceful setting. One young female impala darted around an open pool and ran towards the back of our vehicle in the direction of the anthill where the two lions were resting. The lioness was immediately alert and, in a flash, pounced at the opportunity to catch the impala. The impala dodged back and ran directly towards us swerving at the last minute to avoid our vehicle. In a flash, with moist dirt spraying up in my face, I was within a meter of this lioness braking her charge to avoid running into the door of the vehicle. I recall the flash image of her claws, fully extended as it ripped up the damp earth and I looked straight into her eyes as she realised the vehicle parked there. This was incredible, she must have crossed a span of twenty-five meters in a split second. Needless to say, the immediate rush of adrenalin through my body right there and then was hugely exciting. We looked at each other for a second or two – it felt like eternity and the hair rising on the back of my neck was a sure indicator for me at the realisation of the immensity of this incredible predator’s deep natural instinct to hunt and kill.

She rounded the front of our vehicle, at this stage with the cub at her side and as she walked out into the open beyond the vehicle, we could hear the alarm barks and yelping of a dog. It started with one dog, and then another and another, and as we turned to look in the direction of the barks, it was evident that this was a formidable pack of dogs. There were twenty-two dogs in the pack and they did not like the fact that there was a lioness within their hunting area for that afternoon.

lion and wild dog interaction in the Moremi Game Reserve

The wild dogs approaching the lioness and her cub

Completely exposed now and crossing a large open area in an attempt to get her cub to the safety of a fever berry tree cluster, it was clear that this was not going to be an encounter which would just fizzle out without these two predator species properly greeting each other. With her cub hugging her flank, she arched her back, her chin pushed down on her chest, and her ears turned backwards as she listened intently to the barrage of war-cry yelps and barks from the advancing pack of dogs.  Getting her young one to a place of safety was intensely evident. We held our breath as the pack of dogs organized themselves on the advance towards these two lions. What was the serene and peaceful atmosphere of beautiful Paradise Pools area had, within a minute, turned into an energy radiating battle ground. The eternal battle of these predators, something which I believe is genetic in all of them, unfolded without build-up or ceremony. They were right into it.

battle between lion and wild dog in the Moremi Game Reserve

The energy is intense as the wild dogs close in on the young cub

Wild dogs are highly organized pack hunters, they have a very close bond between individuals within the pack. Whether they are on the hunt, or as in this case, at war, the one appears to be intensely aware of what the next one is doing. Together they dance within their organization as if it were an ancient form of art.

Lion and Wild Dod fight in the Moremi Game Reserve

Surrounding the lioness and her cub in an organised manoeuvre

The dogs, now arranging their attack, started approaching the lioness. The young cub at this stage confused and letting out small growls as the army of dogs barking and yelping became evidently louder. I was convinced that this would be the last that we would see of this cub as it was a sitting target. I knew that it would not take much to distract the lioness and within seconds the cub could or would be ripped to shreds by the gnashing teeth of the chaotic wild dog advance.

fighting wild dogs surround lioness in the Moremi Game Reserve

The dogs continue to distract the lioness as they target her cub

One dog took a gap and sunk its teeth into the hind leg of the now growling and distressed lioness. But this old campaigner  was not going to have any of it! She would not allow the nips and bites of the advancing dogs to go with tolerance. In a burst of dust, she pounced the dog. The dog was a young female and took the brunt of a swipe from the lioness’s large front pore on its right-hand flank. Claws extended, this cut into the side of the dog and pinned it down in a split second, the lioness managed to sink her teeth into the back of the dogs neck, just behind its ear.

Lioness attacks wild dog in the Moremi Game Reserve

The lioness lunged out at one of the wild dogs striking it on the back

This would have been the perfect time for the other dogs to have mauled the cub, but in defense of their pack member, they flashed right past it and commenced their attack on the lioness. Dust bellowing in the air and the incredible sounds of the lioness growls and dog yelps, the battle was in full rage. Dogs darted in from all angles, it was one lioness against twenty-two dogs and they were not there for diplomatic discussions. One from the left, one from the right, one from the front, one from the back, repeating itself time and again. She spun around in circles, growling loudly and doing her best to defend the darting attacks of the energetic pack of dogs. The growls from the lioness combined with the barks and yelps of the dogs, in the bellows of dust was a sight and sound that not many have experienced before.

Wild dog and lion interaction in the Moremi Game Reserve

In an attempt to assist their pack member, the dogs ignored the cub and attacked the lioness

The wild dogs would dart in, almost as if in rehearsed sequence, from all angles, take a bite at the rump, leg, flank of the lioness, and as quickly as they attacked, would retreat and reorganize themselves for the next barrage of attacks.

Wild dog pack attacking a lioness

Organised attacks on the lioness

I was in awe of the constant attack and certainly, it was very clear that this lioness was not going to go down without a complete and defiant battle to the end.

Lioness fighting with wild dogs in Botswana

The lioness standing her ground against the wild dog pack

Almost as quickly as this fight was triggered, it dissipated. The growls become less and the dancing organisation and advances of the dogs slowed down. As the dust cleared, the lioness sat down and the dogs, one or two of them letting out the occasional bark, slowly surrounding her, started opening up their tight war circle of advance, and retreated.

Intese predator interaction in Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve

The attack slows as the wild dogs begin to retreat

For a few minutes, it appeared that they were taking a rest, the circle of dogs fanned out and there silence once again set in. It appeared that this battle was nearing its end.

Game viewing in Paradise Pools in Botswana

The dogs back off singling the end of the intense battle

The serenity of Paradise Pools set in once more! The scene with this lioness lying down to rest, with some of the dogs also taking a break, with the beautiful backdrop of this incredible landscape was mesmerizing.

Lioness calling her cub in the Moremi Game Reserve

Lioness calling her cub after the battle with the wild dogs died down

After a short rest, the lioness got to her feet and climbed to the top of a nearby anthill. She started letting out a soft but gentle bellow as she called for her cub. The cub had scurried to safety of the bushes as soon as the dogs triggered their attack, but she had not seen it depart. She called out a few times urging it to answer or approach her.

Lioness and cub fend off wild dogs in the Moremi Game Reserve

The cub rejoins the lioness after hiding in the thickets during the fight

A rustle in the thicket to her right eluded to its response and the cub quickly scurried out to where she was standing. The dogs, still maintaining a close eye on its mother, did not flinch as the young one ran out to her. We sat and watched them, normality returning to what was a fierce battleground mere minutes ago. The two lions walked off towards the thicket.

Wild dogs at sunset in the Botswana's Moremi Game Reserve

The dogs maintained a close eye on the lioness and her cub

The sun now hugging the western horizon, provided the most incredible light through the trees and combined with the dust in the air from the recent skirmish, set the perfect scene as the last of the dogs observed the lions moving off.

Lioness and her cub at sunset in the Moremi Game Reserve

The lioness with her cub in the safety of the nearby thickets

Reunited, and the dogs having moved off, the lioness and cub reassured each other in a display of greetings and gentle growls.

Leopard at Paradise Pools in the Moremi Game Reserve

A leopard observing the battle from above

With the action completed and the afternoon taking its rest, we started heading back to Camp Xakanaxa. This had to be one of the most intense and action packed wildlife experiences I have ever encountered. I was thinking to myself what could be better. As we drove off the open area towards the tree line, I saw it – perched upon a branch, obviously observing the chaos of the past afternoon from its elevation, sat a leopard.

Thank you to Walter for sharing your photos and stories of this exceptional wildlife encounter. The Moremi Game Reserve is renowned its prolific wildlife and this is an excellent example of what the region has to offer. 

For more information visit the Moremi Game Reserve on our website. Desert & Delta Safaris has two camps in the Moremi Game Reserve, for more information on these camps visit Camp Xakanaxa and Camp Moremi

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May 7, 2018

The New Camp Moremi Opens – Press Release

Filed under: Camp Moremi — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 3:03 pm

The new Camp Moremi officially opened after completion of a full rebuild. After closing late last year, the camp welcomed their first guests with every room booked for the first full day of operation on the 1st May 2018.

“It has been an emotional rollercoaster.” explained Desert & Delta Safaris Marketing Director, James Wilson.

“This camp has such a rich history in Botswana. It’s been a journey of nostalgia from the point we had to breakdown the camp to the moment of pure excitement when we placed the finishing touches to the stunning new rooms. Every member of staff from the Managing Director to the guides to the waitresses worked day and night in the run up to opening day. It’s extremely uplifting to see the passion and unity within the team.”

The new Camp Moremi is a breathtaking design made up of extensive public areas raised within the huge ebony trees that have characterised the property for over 35 years. The layout of the expansive thatched tents are uniquely designed around the existing vegetation to make the most of the surrounding bush and minimise the impact on the environment.

The large new tented rooms have thatched roofs with spacious bathrooms consisting of double vanities and showers, each with private views over the Moremi Game Reserve. The lounge connects to each room’s individual relaxation deck to create a beautiful space to soak up the environment. Subtle natural décor and lighting fixtures allow for a natural and warm atmosphere within each room. Camp Moremi has twelve standard rooms including one family room. The family room is double the size of a standard room, it inter-leads and each room has its own separate bathroom and relaxtion viewing deck. One of the rooms is accessible to the public area via an elevated walkway to facilitate the comfort and ease for guests with mobility challenges.

Guest bathrooms in the new Camp Moremi Guest room exterior in the new Camp Moremi

Upon arrival at camp, guests enter the lodge along an ascending walkway, which leads up towards the main public areas which include a beautiful bar area carefully built around a huge termite mound and ebony tree, a large lounge area with beautiful chrome and soft finishes, leading towards an extended library and private deck, perfect for special dinner occasions. To the right of the sunken bar that overlooks the Xakanaxa Lagoon, is the dining area which connects by boardwalk to the open sky fireplace. Another new addition to Camp Moremi is an open air dining area, which has its own fireplace and boma area for starlit private dining.  A secluded decked swimming pool complements the public area facilities.

The original Camp Moremi opened in 1982, a sister property of the renowned Camp Okavango. The two properties heralded the birth of Desert & Delta Safaris and for many years complimented each other as part of a wonderful Okavango Delta safari experience. Camp Okavango was rebuilt and opened in April 2016 making a combination with the two newly built camps an idyllic and perfect safari experience for current and future travelers to Botswana.

Camp Moremi is common rated with and fits perfectly into the existing Desert & Delta Safaris circuit of properties which include, Camp Okavango, Xugana Island Lodge, Savute Safari Lodge, Leroo La Tau as well as Chobe Game Lodge.

For more information visit the official Camp Moremi page as well as our page on the Moremi Game Reserve.

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April 25, 2018

Leopardess of Moremi’s Dead Tree Island

Filed under: Camp Xakanaxa — Tags: , , — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 9:36 am

This month’s blog features Walter Smith, one of our directors and long standing members of the Desert & Delta Safaris family. In this post Walter share’s an incredible sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve and the incredible story of a young leopardess who he’s become rather fond of over the years. 

The one significant thing about the Moremi Game Reserve for me over the years are the incredible Leopard sightings which I have had. I have been working for Desert & Delta Safaris for over ten years and Moremi never seizes to amaze me.

In particular, on my many visits to the area, I have often gone in search of a particular young leopardess which I have known and followed since she was a small cub. She was born within an area of the Xakanaxa region of the Moremi Game Reserve which we know as Veronica’s Island. Her mother was resident within that area and known to the guides as a very successful and highly territorial leopardess of Veronica’s Island.

When this young female was about a year old, the mother’s territory became too small for the two of them. Her mother was courting a large male leopard of the area which created extra tension between them. Her mother soon became pregnant again and when she gave birth to a young male cub, this young female had to move on. She was often sighted in the Jessie’s Pools area and then started ranging through the area known as old airstrip and weather station. This range extended even further until she set up her own territory in the Paradise Pools area in early 2015.

This young leopardess was and still is a formidable huntress. I recall watching her hunt with complete stealth and precision on francolin when she was still a young cub and one of my highlights was watching her take down a young female impala, from her perch on an overhanging sausage tree branch near Jessies pools when she was not even a year old.

She is beautiful and I have always observed her with admiration.

In early April 2015, I spent a few days at Camp Moremi and we experienced some heavy rain at that time.

I took a drive to Paradise Pools, one of my favourite areas in the Xakanaxa region of the Moremi Game Reserve. In the middle of a heavy downpour we stopped to look at a small group of male impala when, as if from nowhere she came out from underneath a small croton bush, right next to the vehicle. She was saturated from the rain, but not fazed by our presence at all. She immediately fixated on the impala and started stalking them with incredible stealth. This was a very clever move on her behalf as the noise of the rain and the fact that the air would not carry her smell negated their senses in detecting her. Like a flash she took off after one of them, but the big male impala noticed her advance and just managed to escape her attack. She turned around and walked back to where we were parked and just sat there waiting out the cloudburst. As the rain dissipated, she shrug off the water from her coat and walked over to a nearby tree where she took up her rest and surveyed the beautiful Paradise Pools area which she now owned as her territory.

Leopardess in the Moremi Game Reserve in 2015

Photo credits: Walter Smith (2015)

The following morning we headed back to this area and found her about three hundred meters away from where we had left her that previous evening. She was lying on a branch of a dead leadwood tree and enjoying the morning sunlight as it broke through the forest vegetation around her. The heavy dark rain clouds had dissipated to some extent and the yellow morning light was breaking through the clouds. She was staring intently to the north and then sat up and started calling in that direction. The rasp of the leopard’s call was incredible, and immediately the birds and squirrels in the area began their alarm calls. She descended from the tree and walked over to a fallen tree trunk where she was clearly scent marking. We followed her for about half a kilometre until we could hear the reply rough rasping call from what we thought was another leopard. We drove to an open area and across a small floodplain, headed in her direction, was a big male leopard, also scent marking as he ambled in her direction. They both disappeared into the bush and we lost sight of them.

leopard sighting in the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

Photo credits: Walter Smith (2015)

This past month (April 2018), I was back in the Xakanaxa area and we were headed back to Paradise Pools to go and assist with the setup of a sundowner surprise for our guests staying at Camp Xakanaxa. Earlier that morning, the guides from Camp Xakanaxa had reported that they had sighted a leopard with two mid-sized cubs. On our way we searched for the possibility of a sighting. To our delight, there she was – this very same Leopardess and now the mother of two beautiful and healthy cubs – one male and one female. She had killed an impala and had placed it in a tree to secure their meal from potential hyenas and other predators. As beautiful as ever and now fully grown, she displayed her cubs for us.

Leopard and cub sighted in the Moremi Game Reserve with Camp Xakanaxa

Photo Credits: Walter Smith (2018)

I cannot wait to get back there to look for and photograph more of this lovely leopard and her cubs.

Thanks to Walter for sharing these exceptional photos with us. Vsit the Moremi Game Reserve and Camp Xakanaxa pages on our website for more insight into what this region has to offer as one of Botswana’s prime wildlife destinations. 

 

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March 15, 2018

Lakidzani Twiimone (Lucky), Promoted to Staff Wellness Coordinator

Filed under: General News — Desert & Delta Safaris @ 9:11 am

Lakidzani Twiimone (a.k.a Lucky) is no stranger to our camp staff having joined Desert & Delta Safaris over 10 years ago. Last week however, she visited the camps for the first time in her new role as our company Staff Wellness Coordinator.

Owing to her extensive experience within Desert & Delta Safaris as well as her commitment and passion for training and education, Lucky was recently promoted to the vacant role in our Maun head office. As Staff Wellness Coordinator, Lucky will be responsible for implementing and developing our comprehensive staff wellness program which was first implemented in 2002. The program is focused on improving the lives of our staff through a host of initiatives. These include several on-going community & career development projects, our advanced health care program (incorporating physical, mental and spiritual health) as well as our successful citizen management program to name a few.

Walter Smith (Desert & Delta Safaris Director) shares his comments on Lucky’s appointment;

Without our people, we actually do not have a company- ensuring our people are cared for, especially through our staff wellness programs, is a priority to our operations in Botswana. Apart from her experience in the camps and Lodge’s, combined with her management experience, Lucky is a trained counsellor. She is familiar with our operations, knows many of our staff and therefore is the perfect person for this job.
Lucky - Desert & Delta Safaris Staff Welness Coordinator

Lucky with Walter Smith (Director) and Munihango Limbo (Human Resources Manager) at Camp Okavango

Here is an outline of Lucky’s journey to her new role at Desert & Delta Safaris. A shining example of how commitment, passion and drive can take you from strength to strength. We wish Lucky all the best in her new role and are looking forward to watching her grow as she tackles her new challenges.

Lucky’s career path to Staff Wellness Coordinator:

2009 – Lucky started working at Desert & Delta Safaris on the 21st October 2007 as a waitress at Leroo La Tau.

2008 -Promoted to floater, working at the stores, bar and waitressing

2009– Promoted to a full time bar attendant.

2010 -In January she left the camps to study Hospitality Management as well as a course in HIV & AIDS and Counselling for 6 months. After completing her course she came back to Desert & Delta Safaris where she joined our citizen management training program.

2011– Moved to Xugana Island Lodge where she worked as an Assistant Manager.

2012– Continued her studies training as a peer educator with ILO (International Labour Organization).

2013 -Worked as a relief manager within the Desert & Delta Safaris circuit at Xugana, Leroo La Tau, Camp Okavango, Camp Moremi.

2014 – Promoted to a full time Camp Manageress at Savute Safari Lodge where she worked for four years.

2018– Started her new role as the Desert & Delta Safaris Staff Wellness Coordinator.

 

At the core of Desert & Delta Safaris philosophy is our commitment to our staff. We are conscious of the need to develop the potential of the country’s citizens, with the tourism industry providing a valuable channel for growth and development. We are committed to enhancing the skills of our staff within the company through an active and very successful skills development programme. Read more on the Desert & Delta Safaris Philosophy.

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