A bit about me
Having grown up in rural Australia, wide-open spaces and wilderness have always appealed. I have been lucky enough to have worked and travelled in various parts of the world, but I never seem to be able to get enough of Africa.
My very first safari was to Kenya’s Masai Mara. Although a rather rough and tumble journey and a very basic makeshift campsite, I was completely taken, and continue to love exploring any and every part of this amazing continent.
My favourite place
I can never get enough of safari, and Botswana has such a diverse range of environments in which to do so. From the beautiful wet and lush areas of the Okavango Delta, the northern more seasonal concessions surrounding the Selinda Spillway, the arid semi desert landscapes of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the incredible salt pans of the Makgadikgadi.
The game viewing is phenomenal, with different species depending on the environment. Guest numbers in the private concessions are controlled which means that in general there is not much ‘people’ viewing, just lots of game viewing!
My favourite hotel
Selinda Explorers Camp in the Selinda region of northern Botswana – rustic luxury at its best.
It is situated in an area which is teeming with game, particularly during high season. The camp itself is beautiful and reminiscent of a bygone era with traditional canvas style tents, vintage leather packing trunks, brass basins and bucket showers. And if food is important, the meals here are some of the best I’ve had on safari. With just four tents this is true Botswana exclusivity!
My most memorable experience
When our vehicle got stuck in some very dry loose sand on a game drive in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. While we were searching for logs to put under the wheels, an entire pack of wild dog appeared from the bush. We all froze but they barely glanced sideways at us and trotted on through just a few feet from where I was standing. Amazing!
My top tips
- Travel to Botswana in early November. So long as you don’t mind it being hot, the drop from peak to green season prices means great savings, and at the same time you will hopefully benefit from dry season game viewing before the rains arrive.
- While the Northern circuit in Ethiopia tends to be the most popular route, try if possible to get to places in the south. The Bale Mountain National Park, for example, is superb with good chances of seeing the Ethiopian wolf on the Sanetti Plateau and in the beautiful Harenna Forest.
- Even if you’re not an avid birder, try to spend at least a couple of nights in one of Botswana’s more watery camps. You’re unlikely to see the big game, but floating down the waterways in a mekoro will give you a real feel for the Okavango Delta. The local guides are also fantastic at identifying the lesser known flora and fauna, which can often be overlooked in areas where big game is the draw.