Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

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  • Reviewed October 2016
    Robert Howson

    Botswana Wildlife and Wilderness

    My partner and I had the most fantastic time on this tour. Of course there were a couple of long drives but then Africa is blinking huge so we expected that. Yes, it was dusty - it was the dry season. The range of environments was great, the pacing excellent and the encounters with nature and people were well managed and yet up close and personal at the same time. So much was done for us that we sometimes felt pampered but it is a tiring tour and we were grateful that the team, led by Sam, did so much for us with such good grace. A great bunch of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational? Big ask! Alice our poler in the Delta was brilliant, open and it turned out an amazingly talented singer. The vastly knowledgeable Jeremy who led our bush walks in the Delta and never tired of trying to find out what bug was what and was a talented comic turn and singer to boot. Moses our guide who became my nephew or was it my uncle (don't ask) was a genial, funny, kind, caring guy who never failed to spot a track or a bird or an animal at amazing distances at speed on bumpy 'roads'. Sam our tour leader was just great, there for us all in every way, good natured, quietly authoratative, knowledgeable and caring. He judges your wellbeing by the size and honesty of your smile. Meeting all these people and more besides were among the most inspirational moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I said but I'll add here, Sam's a man who can cook up a feast with seemingly little effort. He martialled his team quietly and was a calm, fun and efficient leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a thin scarf or a Buff for your nose and mouth on the dry and dusty drives. Trust your team - they know why you're there and they'll do a better job if you don't try to advise them about things, like where they should park up to get the best photos.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    With 12 of us in the 4 rows of 3 seats there were issues about the daily seating plans! I think that only 9 should be in those vehicles. The front 3 seats have such little leg room and because the sides join the floor at an angle the two outside seats in front don't even have a flat floor to put both your feet down. I'm only 5' 7" and I was uncomfortable quite quickly. We've travelled in similar vehicles that have been configured for 12 but much more comfortably, perhaps they were longer wheel-bases?
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Andrew Oldham

    Best wildlife experience, ever!

    A fantastic way of seeing a brilliant country. You get close to nature and there are plenty of opportunities to take some great photos. Excellent support from the staff.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last 48 hours of wildlife viewing was the best I have ever experienced. It was almost like a wildlife documentary (sadly David Attenborough was unavailable) as we met a cheetah and her cub at dusk, again in the early morning and then witnessed the cheetah make a kill. Later that afternoon (via wild dogs) we met the cheetah again but tragically there was no sign of the cub. Her calls would make even the strongest man blub, but then 2 lionesses stalked and chased the cheetah and we believe she escaped. Surely that was the big finale to the trip? Errr no.... 2 male lions vs a herd of buffalo the following morning.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was excellent. He knew his country, the wildlife and how to run a brilliant trip allowing the customers to enjoy themselves. He coped with unexpected luggage issues and our constant demand for bigger and better sightings. Vasco the Botswana guide was brilliant getting us closer to the wildlife than we would have hoped for, without worrying the wildlife. He knew where to position the van to get excellent shots. Timon and Dodga (the assistants) were both hard-working, friendly and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As with all Exodus trips study and follow the trip notes carefully. It was cold on some nights (I took a down sleeping bag) and very cold for quite a few hours on the truck, so you do need lots of warm clothing until it heats up. The dinner cruise at Victoria Falls was a highlight for many of us as the service, food, drinks and views were all excellent - a touch of luxury. Take advantage of some of the extra activities. The advice on tipping in the trip notes was contradicted by Sam and this needs clarification, but allow more than is suggested for local staff as well as the crew.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wish I had remembered that the instant coffee in that part of the world is pretty rubbish and had known that you cant buy gin at Johannesburg airport to take into Botswana, but that's just me. This may help someone though!
  • Reviewed August 2016
    David Jackson

    Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana (WZT)

    This trip delivered everything it promised,helped by unbroken clear skys. As with all Exodus trips the notes were accurate and should not be left unread, a wildcamping safari is just what it says! So lucky to join a group of mature travelers to whom laughing was second nature, it really does help!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list, unique animal behavior, glorious bread made fresh in an iron pot over embers, the night sky, the optional activities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam and Vasco were absolutely on top of their job nothing was too much trouble or left to chance. Vasco's skill produced some outstanding wildlife encounters.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take note of the trip notes, if it says cool nights thats what it means. A real treasure of a trip if you love African wilderness. Do save some extra cash for the optional extras which were so worth doing.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Louise Dunn

    Beautiful Botswana!

    This is an excellent trip that I'd highly recommend. The pristine wilderness of Botswana, the plentiful wildlife and the variety of activities on this trip made it a holiday to remember forever.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Pretty much everything we did was amazing on this trip. We were very lucky to see two male leopards in the Khwai reserve next to Moremi, endangered African wild dogs (one pair with 10 pups and a the next day a group of 5 dogs hunting), male lions (three times in Moremi) and a pride of lions in Savuti including about 6 cubs and 3 lionesses feasting on a wildebeest. Of course, there were many elephants too who will visit your camps in Savuti and Moremi and also zebra, impala, kudo, buffalo, wildebeest and beautiful birdlife too. The Okavango delta is really beautiful and I really enjoyed the Mokoro rides and the game walks. Also, it is really worth doing some of the optional extras at Victoria Falls - I did the white water rafting, 15 minute helicopter flight and the sunset dinner cruise. I would recommend all of these without hesitation.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was great and very friendly. Kenny was a man on a mission when it came to tracking down the animals and as I mentioned we were lucky to find leopards and wild dogs and this was definitely down to his efforts. The guys who cooked for us at camp were also amazing and I don't know how they consistently served up such great food on the camp fire (including freshly baked bread!).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I went in June which is a really great time to visit. It's their winter but this means it's clear blue sunny skies and about 28 degrees every day which was perfect. The sun goes down at 6pm and then it turns cold which makes it more comfortable for sleeping but ensure you have some warmer clothes for the evenings. For the long drives the truck is open sided so take a lightweight scarf to protect your face from sand and wind and a warm jacket like a fleece and maybe some gloves and warm hat. There are some mosquitoes in Victoria Falls so take a mosi net for your tent as these are not provided. I used Incognito products instead of Deet and got no bites all trip. The optional Chobe sunset cruise is a must and as I said before it's definitely worth paying for the optional activities in Victoria Falls. Be aware that there are 4 staff that you will need to tip at the end rather than the normal one leader you have on most trips so factor this into your budget. The tips came to about $160 in the end although it's up to you what you give. Be aware that if there are more than 8 of you booked on a tour then the vehicle will be cramped. We had 7 which was just right as no one had to sit wedged in a middle seat with a worse view.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've never been on Safari to the more well known destinations such as Tanzania or Kenya but I would definitely recommend Botswana instead particularly as you'll be supporting a country that has banned hunting and is successfully limiting poaching to a minimum. This is a once in a lifetime special trip to a friendly and beautiful country so go now!
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Vanessa Moss

    Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

    Day 1 Landed at one of the smallest airports I have ever seen in Maun on a a two propped plane. Temperature 31 degrees, holiday has begun. I meet the group there are 5 of us. Our guide Sam (Samason Chihohwa) explains we need to change 100 dollars to local currency for tips and meals this side of the border. So with 4 different currencies in my wallet...... To Audi camp via the Choppie Store to purchase water and snacks. Warm showers great us and the first sight of our tented homes. Day 2 - Okavango Delta Today we headed into the delta as we drove we saw zebra, an elephant and even a giraffe. What a start to the day. At the poling station we were met by 5 members of a local tribe who took us by canoe to set up camp in the wilderness. Toilet built and camp shower all set up in minutes. We had a rest whilst the hottest part of the day passed. Baboons in the tree tops. At 4.30pm we took our first walking safari, very strange experience no safety of a jeep and no rifles to be seen. Just us, our guides and their experience. Concerned that the safety briefing (orientation) may be remembered wrongly. Run from a buffalo not a lion. Yep that's right. We were met by a loan Impala, a wart hog family and hippos, what a noise they make letting us know we were in their space. They blow water from their snouts so far it's like a fountain. Baboons again greeted us as we arrived back at our camp just before dark. Camp fire dinner of rice and spiced stew. The stars are amazing and the forest noises sometimes worrying. Tomorrow we get up at 6am and walk again I wonder what we will see. Day 3 Coffee and rusks at 6am and off for our second walking safari. Today the first thing moving other than the various birds flying was birds of a very different kind ostriches running away from us. There were 5 in all the female is a slightly different colour to aid incubation apparently. The male is black as takes his turn on the nest at night and the female lighter brown. Lots of animal prints. Ostrich, aardvark, elephant, hippo. Interestingly hippo and rhino prints are similar except that hippo has 4 toes and rhino effectively the middle two are joined making one larger pad. As we walked we saw buffalo and used a termite mound to approach closer without disturbing them. Yes because it's run from a buffalo. Impala were seen near a water hole, we sat a while watching them before zebra joined us to. Before walking back towards camp. On route and as if to add icing to the cake a loan elephant walked past. I wonder if that elephant thinks we are the mad ones walking in the sun. In the heat of the day brunch and bush shower before our canoe cruise at 5pm. Just before our sunset canoe ride sitting in the shade I hear an excuse me from one of the tribe. Elephant he says. Not just one several make the crossing right in front of our camp. Biggest leading, smallest at the rear. Then minutes later another herd. 5pm sunset ride a giraffe is spotted in the distance we quickly reverse and land the canoe. We are facing the sun so we try to creep around on land to get the sun behind us. Back in the canoe we continue to a spot to watch the sunset. Whilst waiting the hippos grunt and let us know they are there, there is also a fish eagle in the distance perched on a tree. Tonight's dinner chicken stew with mashed potatoes. Tomorrow we leave this part of the delta. Day 4 This morning our last game walk. We came across house sparrow weaver birds protecting their nests from a little owl of all things in broad daylight. The owl attacked at least one nest while we were there and looked like it would be hanging around a while yet. We stopped at the hippo pool they were shier today. A bird was having its own safari on the back of one, the hippo didn't manage to dislodge it even though he went under water. On the way back we saw the giraffe we had seen against the sun the night before a large male. Before we reloaded the canoes and headed back towards Maun for supplies and a shower before our afternoon flight. 4pm Delta flight (Optional) You get some kind of scale from above. The delta is a huge area. Lots of elephant herds below and hippos from above look even more comical. We had we are told a rare sighting of 5 rhinos. Not something the pilots see every day. Ours was keen to make sure he looked out for them on his next fight. Our main guide Sam explains that some areas that are badly poached for rhino are sending rhinos to Botswana for their protection as poaching is not a problem here. For the 2 million population of the whole country there is plenty of work. Day 5 - Makgadikgadi Long drive to the salt pan. All our shoes have to be brought out at the veterinary station to treat to prevent foot and mouth. We stop for a picnic on route and to purchase firewood for cooking tonight. A walk on the pan before watching sunset by the fire. We are told it will be cold tonight and in the morning may be 5 or 7 degrees so got the coat out handy. We saw 2 southern ground hornbills, some zebra and a stein bok on route. Day 6 5.30am wake up to be packed and driving by 7.30am. Very cold, but the quietest night we have had no wild noises out here. The drive is long passing through national reserves. Elephant, giraffe and other smaller animals occasionally line the route. Border controls and visa obtained and onwards to Victoria Falls. Tonight's dinner at a traditional African restaurant. Chicken Piri Piri I had with popcorn and small peanuts as a snack with drinks. Very nice. Day 7 - Zimbabwe Victoria Falls National Park. Prepared to get wet with camera in a dry bag we headed into the park. 16 view points the first 3 not too wet however we were then in for a soaking. Lots of rainbows absolutely drenched and dressed as if walking in the Cotswolds. Actually it's quite nice being wet in the heat of the day. Having dried off a little we headed to The Victoria Falls hotel as recommended by a family member before travelling. However the path we had taken earlier now has 5 elephants on it having a late breakfast so we thought better of it and took the road. At the hotel we headed straight out onto the veranda and ordered coffee and cheese cake. The nicest cheese cake I have had for sometime. There were wart hogs patrolling the immaculate lawns. It's a great view. One of the guards asked if we had been bungee jumping. I think I'll pass. Dinner Cruise tonight (Optional) On the dinner cruise we saw more hippos these ones were in much deeper water than we had seen before. We also witnessed the engagement of a German Couple. Most people were dressed for dinner and then there was our table. The safari campers. We watched sunset before dinner of butternut squash soup, bream and more cheese cake I can definitely recommend this cruise. Choice of food and drink. Day 8 - Chobe We leave Victoria Falls and head to Thebe River Camp. This afternoon we take a cruise on the Chobe. This was a fantastic trip and if you are a photographer keen amateur or otherwise you may use a whole card just on this, you get very close to a nest colony of bee eaters. We were very lucky and saw a pride of lions hunting a water buffalo although the buffalo was giving as good as it got. Bee Eaters were brilliantly colourful and elephants in the water. It was a brilliant cruise lots of photos taken to remember it by. Day 9 - Savuti Early start getting up at 5.30am before packing up camp and taking a morning game drive along by the river we cruised in last night. Lots of buffalo and giraffe. The beautifully coloured lilac breasted rollers and lots of hornbills and fish eagles line the route. On leaving the park we hit the main road momentarily before back on the massaging sandy and bumpy surface on the way to the marsh where there are lots of elephants. A lot of them are missing parts of their tails because in this part of Botswana the lions have learnt to hunt elephants. In the middle of nowhere is our camp site and you won't believe what we have for dinner. Fish and chips, honestly who'd have thought that possible! It was really nice. We are really wild camping. I am desperately hoping I don't have to get up in the night. Day 10 6am our breakfast is coffee and rusks so we can head out straight away for our first game drive of the day. We are looking for lions and we are not disappointed our wildlife guide (Kenny) tells us to get out video ready because we are going to see some loving. A large male and a female lie in the grass and we now realise Kenny isn't joking. Twice we see the male mount the female and strut his stuff. Kenny explains this goes on all day for a week and neither eat anything in that time 'whatever happened to wine and dine'. We had an incredible view, but all decided a female lions life isn't one we fancy. In 3 months she should have some cubs. There is a lot of wildlife out this morning and the tinniest elephant crosses our path before another trumpets at us. Brunch and a bush shower meet us when we return to camp. 4.30pm afternoon game drive to the water holes to see the elephant herds come together for bath time at sunset. Day 11 - Moremi We get up early to break camp and head out of this reserve onto the next and last wild camping experience of this trip. Although we were told by having bush showers yesterday we would wash away our luck. Within 5 minutes of driving we have 5 wild dogs running in front of us. This is a special and rare sighting and we are told to take as many pictures as possible. Leaning out of the vehicle and on a bumpy road not quite as easy as it sounds. The lions are still within 100 metres of where we saw them yesterday and yes they are still mating! A black backed jackal and bat eared foxes are also about today. Giraffe seem to be everywhere they have no where to hide. Arrived at our second wild camp site. This one initially felt less in the wilderness than the first it was nearer the park gate. However I was wrong..... Lions had walked past us very close by when we set up camp. The paw prints in the sand gave them away. Kenny follows them on our afternoon game drive and we came across two females and a male. The females were looking to hunt as the light faded. The male it seems again had other things on its mind. What is it with these lions! We watched them setting up for a hunt until the light began to go and we headed back to camp. T Bone steak for dinner. Day 12 Our last full day of game drives and wild camping before returning to Maun tomorrow. We have been lucky with what we have seen so far. Again 6am wake up and Coffee and rusks before we first headed in search of a leopard. Our guides had heard one in the night. We headed past the hippos the river appearing to steam in the cold of the morning. Most were already under water keeping warm. Our guides were convinced we were on the trail of a leopard and after some severe off road driving we spotted it tiny and camouflaged in the grass. She was hunting. We followed her for a while before leaving her in peace to look for lunch. So of the big 5 we have all of them under our belts and wild dogs as a bonus. If the holiday finished now it wouldn't be disappointing. As we have been very lucky and it was a fantastic morning. One last bush shower this afternoon and an evening game drive before our last night in the wild. On our afternoon game drive we watch the hippos at sunset and on the way back to camp I spotted a short eared eagle owl. Day 13 One last 5.30am start we pack up camp and head for one last game drive. Everything is quiet a hippo moving slowly to bathe for the day. Then we hit the bumpy road over 100km, our last Botswana massage on route to Maun for our last night here.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the wildlife and the fact that this is one of the friendliest countries I have ever visited, the guides the locals, even all the other tourists it must be the atmosphere. Being in the wild compared to being permanently on front of technology is clearly good for the sole.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam is really good as a leader pretty laid back, clearly enjoys life and nothing was too much. All of the staff be it the camp assistant and chef were amazing and the food they came up with on an open fire was incredible fresh bread, fish and chips etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's colder than you might think so take lots of warmer clothes for the evenings but especially the mornings, the vehicle used is open sided and you don't want to miss the wildlife by having the canvas flaps down. They are early starts, but remember most evenings its bedtime at 9pm.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You can't guarantee the wildlife on these trips, but it is a great place to travel, a few bumpy long rides on and off road, but well worth it. If you are going in our spring / summer remember its Autumn / Winter there and you will definitely need a dry bag at Victoria Falls you and your camera will get wet.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Stephen Cowling

    Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

    A wonderful journey through Botswana and a chance to experience a safari in an area where tourism is much less developed than in many parts of Africa.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many: Mokoro rides and wild camping in the Okavango Delta; the awesome Victoria Falls; seeing a herd of well over 100 elephants wandering across the plain; at least 12 lions at close quarters sheltering under a tree; numerous other wildlife encounters; the eerie silence and remoteness of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Sam, the driver and wildlife expert Kenny and assistant Johnny were all exceptional and could not do enough for us. The same is true of the "polers" in the Okavango Delta. The overall organisation, the camping and catering were superb. We found the vehicle comfortable and adequately spacious.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some long drives on bumpy roads. The wild camping means that wildlife can wander through the camp at any time, especially at night. We had a close encounter with an elephant one night, which some of the party found unnerving, but in fact it left us alone. At the Victoria Falls, unless you are planning activities such as white water rafting, we recommend visiting the falls on the free day rather than waiting until the final morning as the itinerary suggests, to allow time to do it justice. We particularly recommend the Sunset Cruise and Chobe River Cruise.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There were so many positives I am reluctant to mention any disappointments, but I will do so anyway to give a complete picture. The areas we were travelling through are generally quite flat, which meant that the breathtaking scenery to be had in other areas was lacking (except for the Victoria Falls). Also, the population outside the main towns is quite sparse, and the towns themselves relatively Westernised, so there were limited opportunities to experience local African culture. Overall this was a wonderful, varied and well organised trip, with some truly magical moments.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    John MacLean

    wildlife and wilderness Botswana

    We were very lucky and wildlife sightings and close encounters exceeded expectations. Seven of thirteen nights are spent camping wild, a wonderful experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Game drives in Chobe and Moremi.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    On the whole very good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I went for the wildlife and wondered in advance if the detour to Victoria Falls was would be worth it : it was. However, I'd rather have camped there than slept in a stuffy chalet.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Tony Birch

    Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana

    This is an excellent holiday for people who want to get really close to the wildlife of Botswana. Seven of the 13 nights are spent wild camping right in the heart of national parks and wilderness areas. You will not only see, but hear and smell the life around you. It is a very immersive experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's the sights and sounds of this trip that will stay in the memory. Africa has amazing sunsets and, on this trip, a night sky totally unpolluted by man made light. The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans have to be experienced for their total absence of sound. The animal life was amazing and you saw them within their environment. The sounds of hippos, hyenas, elephants and lions just the other side of a piece of canvas are rather exciting! The people you meet are wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very, very good. His job was to give us a great holiday, pure and simple. His assistants, and the other guides, were first class. The majority of them were born, and has spent their entire lives, in the very areas we were visiting. They had an absorbed knowledge of the region that could not learned from books.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully. When it says there are "some long and bumpy roads" and "staying in some remote locations" that is exactly what you will get. The mornings can be cold, followed by slamming heat a few hours later, so take clothing that can come off in layers. The roads, particularly in the dry season, are very dusty. Glasses or goggles, and a snood to cover your mouth and nose, are essential.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although described as leisurely, this is not a holiday for those who enjoy their creature comforts. The bush toilet is a hole in the ground and the shower is under a tree so there is something to hang the bucket from. You will get many hours of "African Massage" in the landcruiser but the rewards are unbelievable. You will totally immersed in the environment. Be flexible, be willing to muck-in and participate, and you will have a wonderful time. I would recommend this holiday without hesitation.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Kenneth Auld

    Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

    We went on the same trip as Jenny (see her review) and endorse all that she said. This trip delivered everything that we had hoped for. The animal sightings exceeded expectations; the camping was really wild; and the itinerary was well designed. Every day had a WOW in it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the Chobe river cruise, the entire boat watched as a baby elephant was cajoled by its herd to cross a stream that its parents could stride across, but was too wide for the baby's short legs; the sheer isolation of the wild camping in the salt pans; the big cat sightings that Jenny mentioned; the three families of elephants at the watering hole just yards from our camp in Zwei Zwei Pan; and I especially enjoyed visiting the Bushman paintings from 1500 BC that Stan took us to, to make up for the lost time when the truck broke down.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam attitude was excellent. Everything revolved around ensuring that we enjoyed our time on the trip and got as much out of it as possible. His cooking on a campfire was unbelievable - fish and chips, fresh bread, cabbage quiche - his recommendations on the extra trips were spot on, and his permanent good humour made for a relaxed and enjoyable journey. Even when the truck broke down - the immobilizer incapacitated the truck for a few hours - he kept his cool, updated us on progress, and managed to organize the alternative arrangements without getting flustered. Our guide, Stan's knowledge and enthusiasm were terrific. His book of pictures was excellent for explaining why the landscape is like it is, his tracking meant that there were more animal sightings than we could have hoped for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For a couple of over fifties who had not camped in decades, the prospect was daunting. However, the camp-beds are comfortable, the food was delicious and plentiful, and while the tents are small, the guarantee that there will be no rain (in July) and so no wet clothing or leakages if you touch the tent, meant that this was all surprisingly civilized. However, even if it won't rain, do take waterproofs to combat just how windy an open sided truck can be. Good washing facilities in Victoria Falls means that we could have reduced our clothing amounts even further - only the Sunset Cruise in Victoria Falls needed anything even remotely smart. As others have mentioned, head torches and lip balm are good to have. Also, take wet wipes for the four consecutive night wild camping away from "proper" showers, although the bush shower was very effective and surprisingly good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent trip through a fantastic country.
  • Reviewed August 2015
    Jenny Smith

    Wildlife and Wilderness of Botswana

    This trip absolutely delivers - incredible wildlife and an opportunity to appreciate the wilderness of Botswana. The opportunity to get away completely from modern life and appreciate the beauty and scale of Southern Africa is brilliant. The unpredictable nature of the trip adds to the uniqueness and the surprises. We saw many many unexpected sights - a leopard fast asleep on a tree, its kill hanging beside it with the leopard's cub snuggled up asleep on a lower branch; a lion feasting on a rhino kill; elephants walking into camp… Every day was special. In addition to the wildlife, the landscape was incredible with beautiful sunsets and starry evenings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, the experience of being able to do so much wild camping enhanced the experience. Lying in the tent on the first night in the Okavango Delta, listening to the hippos bellow and the lions roar gave me an appreciation of the natural world you could not get anywhere else. The contrast of the beauty of the Okavango Delta with the barren bleakness of the Salt Pans was also awesome - both so different but so memorable. The scale of Victoria Falls was breathtaking, and the sheer amount of wildlife we saw, especially in the second week, was amazing. Stan kept stating 'High hopes but no guarantees', but in fact every day was unique and special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was great. Calm, patient and clear, with a great sense of humour. Tents went up and dinner was cooked every night as if by magic. It was very impressive what he could produce on an open fire night after night. Stan's knowledge and passion for the wildlife and geography of Botswana was unsurpassed. Despite the fact that both of them must have done this trip many times, they were both excited and enthusiastic every day and that was infectious. The support team of Timon and John also worked incredibly hard to help the smooth running of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I think this is an incredible trip, and if you are not phased by camping you will love it. The wild camping gives you an opportunity to experience Botswana which you would not get any other way. The camping was, by my standards, pretty deluxe - camp beds, toilet cubicles (often with impressive views) and great food. It also got you very close to the animals! I was lucky and got a tent to myself, it is snug with two… You also have to be very organised with your packing as you have early starts and you are on the move most days. Be aware, it gets very cold at this time of year. I wasn't prepared for this - it was 2 degrees on the first night in Maun! For several nights I was wearing 4 layers and a fleece hat - even in my sleeping bag. It was also very cold in the truck in the morning. If you go at this time of year, I would advise some warm layers for the nights. It is warm during the day. Also you will need a SA charger for Botswana (Zimbabwe uses UK plugs) - you can get them at J-burg airport. I would also recommend a spare camera battery as you will be away from electricity for quite a while.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do it!
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