Going on the &Beyond Botswana explorer was one of the most luxurious camping adventures I have ever been on.
An eight day, four site exploration of what is truly the majesty of Botswana.
We left Maun International Airport for the &Beyond Nxabega concession.
We were there in August and as a result as we took our first flight over the Okavango Delta. It was in full flood!
The grandeur of the vastness of the watery wilderness was entrancing, as far as the eye could see there was a myriad of greens, browns and blues. The water shimmering like diamonds in the sunlight.
Elephant herds drinking and swimming. Journeys of Giraffes running through the tall grass.Eagles, vultures and storks flying alongside the plane on the thermals dancing to their tempo as they explored the infinite expanse below them.
We arrived at the &Beyond Nxabega expedition’s site to find the quintessential definition of glamping.
The ‘tent’ was 3 part. The bedroom section had a double bed, canvas cupboards, solar lights and deck chairs overlooking a water pan. Attached to this leaving the back of the tent were two canvas privacy screens creating the bathroom area. With a vanity table, a bucket shower and all linen and amenities that you would find in any &Beyond lodge bathroom. Connecting to this was a smaller tent with a fully operational toilet connected to a water tank.
I thought to myself, “If this is glamping I have been doing it wrong all these years”.
We enjoyed our lunch which was served beneath a Jackal berry tree at the water’s edge. A full spread of delicious food that left you wondering where the kitchen was. The afternoon was spent relaxing and taking in the view.
The activities were various and great fun, we went on a game drive, a Mokorro (like a gondola) and a boat cruise. Meals were always amazing and plentiful. Always hosted by our wonderful guide Easy (whose smile reminds me of Moonface from Enid Blytons – The Far Away Tree).
After 2 wonderful nights we packed up said goodbye to the team and flew across to Moremi Game Reserve where a vehicle met us. On the expedition was Easy, the two of us and another 4 guests and we all piled in and set off on our adventure.
We had fantastic game viewing in Moremi including some of the most spectacular wild dog sightings of my life.
We stayed in the same style accommodation in private campsites in the National Parks . There is nothing more up close and personal in terms of nature and wildlife. We indulged in equally as wonderful food as before. Which we realized was the standard to expect for &Beyond Botswana expeditions. This gastronomic experience blew all of our minds as it is all prepared and cooked for you by a chef over a camp fire in a bush ‘kitchen’.
The next part of the exploration took us on a 6 hours drive to ‘the dry land’ of Savute.
The normally dry Savute marsh and channel were buzzing with life. As the waters had returned for the first time in many. The winding Savute channel’s water level dictates the surrounding land and the animals that live in it. Due to this it led our time there to be one of plenty. This is the home of the famous elephant hunting lions. The place where the well-known National Geographic film, Eternal Enemies was filmed.
We ended off our Botswana expedition in Chobe National Park after a nine hour drive with a lovely picnic on route. In Easy’s words “the mighty, mighty Chobe”. There were tens of thousands of elephants and buffalo all around the river. In addition to this there were antelope, zebra, warthogs, waterbuck and so much more. Furthermore to drive through the massive herds of elephant is incredibly humbling as they accept your presence but you know where you stand in the greater scheme of things. One of the most wonderful experiences was the photographic boat cruise on the Chobe River. The boat cruises up close to the bank and to elephants swimming and eating in their hundreds due to this you get wonderful up close and personal pictures of these magestic creatures. We saw amazing bird life on the river including a breeding island of the African Skimmer.
Saying goodbye to Easy and the rest of the guests on the expedition was very sad as the whole experience is so personal and intense that at the end of it you feel like a family and like a part of Botswana…