Holiday review by Dr Ian Macdonald

Name: Dr Ian Macdonald

Date of trip: 03/06/2018

Number of people: 2

The people of Botswana. The surprise was, presumably through many years of no hunting, that the animals take no notice of the giant Land Cruisers and it is possible to get very close. That is less so in South Africa and Zimbabwe where we had also spent some time. Then there are the clear skies. Over Surrey you are lucky to see a dozen stars. It is relief to be reminded that we have company.

  • Dining on the deck at Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana © James Gifford

    Dining on the deck at Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana

  • Aerial view of Leroo La Tau, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana © Leroo La Tau

    Aerial view of Leroo La Tau, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

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Tribes Overall:

Quite splendid.

Tribes Service:

Sinead did a great job. I guess we were a bit late in booking, but the mix of locations and camps she came up with were ideal.
If I had thought more about it I would have asked for small camps where the illusion of 'wildness' is greater (and would have paid more).
We could have done with a bit more advice on the cold. It is bitterly cold at this time early in the morning and we were not well enough prepared. Little Machaba provided insulated ponchos but none of the others did.

Guides:

Those at Leroo La Tau and Machaba were best.

Social & Environmental Responsibility:

Strong impression of good governance on the part of the Botswana government. Keeping a lid on mass tourism seems a sensible policy given the sensitive nature of the delta ecosystem. The apparent lack of poaching is impressive.


The places you stayed

Dining on the deck at Chobe Game Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana © James Gifford

Chobe Game Lodge

Chobe National Park

It is just a large hotel so, had I thought about it, I should have opted for something more intimate.
Their desire to pack in stuff by squeezing in three activities a day - early morning drive with a wake up at 05.00 (!), late morning river cruise and late afternoon drive is ill-considered. It is exhausting rather than pleasant. Three shorter activities might well work. It is important to allow for leisure/recovery time - bouncing about in a Land Cruiser is quite punishing.
Ranks third of the four.


Aerial view of Leroo La Tau, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana © Leroo La Tau

Leroo La Tau

Makgadikgadi / Boteti River

Number two on our list. Brilliant guide (very good on birds) and a wealth of wildlife - all close to the lodge. The river floodplain is a magnet for every kind of creature and the vast numbers of zebra are remarkable. Huts well situated close to the water and with things to see straight outside. Wonderfully friendly staff keen to make our stay memorable.