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Hide and Seek on a Botswana Safari

Just after our guide Dirk had put the dinner on the brai (BBQ) we heard a lion roar...very very close by. Our silly joking mood changed immediately. S... Read more
Hide and Seek on a Botswana Safari

Just after our guide Dirk had put the dinner on the brai (BBQ) we heard a lion roar...very very close by. Our silly joking mood changed immediately. Silence. Then the sounds of the bush came back to our ears, the loud frogs and cicadas and the occasional owl. We all stood up and shone our torches into the darkness...nothing. Our second guide James said that he'd seen the lion walk off behind the vehicles. Uneasily, for us new to this experience, we gingerly sat down again. And then the lion roared again, even nearer this time. I can almost feel the vibrations coming from his chest as the deep noise resounds through the forest. Jamie said it was a male, again the deep deep belly roar came almost just to tell James that he was correct. I can feel the fear pass over me, then some adrenalin, my heart is beating fast, a wave of excitement...on an adventure again!

Not sure what order these feelings are coming at me, not sure if it will help to see the lion or make it worse. The guides are desperate to see him, and are waving their torches around into the dark. Someone speaks, it's James, with his strong voice I feel calmed and I try to take control of myself. I start muttering to myself 'rational thoughts Alison...they wouldn't take us here if it was too dangerous....of course you have to follow the rules, rule number one, stay close to the guide and do exactly as he tells you...' I edge little closer to James, and breathe...and then we hear the roar again, but no this is a different one, the other side of camp, fainter. Jamie says it's the female, and the male is looking for her....great we are in the middle of some lion hide and seek thing. All the guides are very calm and collected. We whisper. I was thinking maybe it would good to actually talk loudly so that they go away, that's what they tell you if you go back country walking in Denali, Alaska, sing and talk loudly all the time and the bears will get out of your way. Clearly things are different in Africa.

We are camping out in Moremi National Park, Botswana. It's a long time since I've done something like a safari, as my default travel experience usually involves walking up and over hills and mountains. But this is an incredible experience and very real, far from the luxury lodges and fine dining of the expat luxury safari world. We didn't see those lions that night, and the following morning at dawn we saw the lion tracks just outside camp. The morning game drive took us along the Khawi River, and here we did see the lions hanging out under a tree looking magnificent. I was safely in the vehicle this time. During my short stay in Botswana we had many more adventures including a walking safari in the Okavango Delta, a mokoro ride (traditional canoes), many many beautiful and majestc elephants, and racing around in a land cruisers the deep sandy roads of Chobe National Park following a wild dog pack hunting.

There is one fence in this part of Botswana – it’s called the Buffalo Fence, and it surrounds the Okavango Delta in a semi-circle, its purpose is to keep the cattle out of the Delta. Apart from this there are no fences between the country borders in the surrounding countries to the north. This allows the wildlife to roam freely. Of course there are no fences in the National Parks, or the campsites.

It's a very special experience watching these wild animals so close. It's humbling being in their environment. It's also not necessary to camp out like I did, lodges trips are available. If, like me, you've not really done anything like before then I can highly recommend Botswana as a first safari destination.



>> View all Wildlife holidays in Botswana

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