- Being in Bots.
With its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and varied landscapes, Botswana is the place to be right now. Lonely planet is saying it, travel journalists are saying it, even Taylor Swift is saying it and we all know her word is gospel. Lonely Planet has rated Botswana the top destination in the world to visit in 2016. I can’t stress enough how you should strike whilst it’s hot and get here before the rest of the world cottons on to what they’re missing.
- The Legendary Guide with a Tailor-Made Experience.
You get to safari with David. David has been guiding for over 30 years across huge expanses of Southern Africa. His knowledge and experience of the African bush is exceptional. He’s like your very own walking Google – handy when you’re out in the Wifi-free bush! His fun and relaxed attitude creates the ideal atmosphere for exploring Botswana. Teamed with his seasoned hosting experience and subtle attention to detail, things will run so smoothly you won’t even realise that you haven’t wanted for anything all safari. David’s expertise means that you are guaranteed a tailor-made safari and an exclusive adventure; steering well clear of anything commercial. When out on the pans there won’t be another safari vehicle in sight.3.The Horses.
Their four legged friends. I have ridden with many different riding establishments and the Foot’s horses are right up there with the best. Beautifully schooled, they’re great fun and there are horses to cater for all riders.
- Experiencing Wildlife Without the Engine.
Before I came to Botswana I was lucky enough to have a fair bit of safari experience myself in Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia. However, up until now it had always involved climbing into the back of a game drive vehicle, engine running and dodging metal frames/window glare for the perfect shot. Heading out to the Makgadikgadi was the first time I got to experience a ‘safari of old’: wildlife without the engine. There is nothing quite like creeping up to a giraffe or an elephant with only the soft hooves of the horses to interrupt your view and appreciation of the game. Crossing huge expanses of land with the wind in your hair not because you’re trundling along at 30kmp but because you’re cantering along, weaving in and out of the scrub.
- Unforgettable Scenery.
The flora and the fauna. On my adventure across the Makgadikgadi I witnessed some of my most special animal encounters to date. Watching an elephant from the back of a horse and having the privilege of witnessing a brown hyena coming in from the pans to nurse her pups, is something I will never forget.
- Unbeatable Photographic Opportunity.
If you are looking to take away phenomenal photographic memories then a Foot safari provides limitless Kodak-moments – a week long photoshoot. You can get the bucket-list shots you see in magazines and professional pics. Whether it’s an #inbetweentheears’ shot, a wildlife selfie, the ‘sunset silhouette’, the ‘action shot’, the ‘moon landing’; David can sort you out. Your Instagram won’t know what’s hit it as you break records with your ‘like’ counts ????
- The Freedom.
It’s difficult to put into words the true ‘essence’ of the Makgadikgadi Salt pans in the Kalahari, but I think its fundamentally important to include it in the list, because it was one of substantial factors in making my safari experience so unique and unforgettable. Riding in the pans can’t help but evoke a feeling of release – nothing else matters but the here and now. The vastness engulfs you so that all the small things fade away and you are left with a sense of peace and freedom (even now I can’t help grinning as I remember the feeling). Coming from London I have never been able to take my horse for 5 minute long canters, where the only reason for stopping is because you want to, rather than because you’ve hit a road! Being able to canter through the dark across the pans because you know the ground is safe or cantering across the vast open pan and plains is so unique.
- Getting to Ride on the Moon.
Now, I have never been to the moon, so admittedly several assumptions are being made here… However, I can envisage that had Sir Neil Armstrong come on safari to the Makgadikgadi Pans he would have got a strong sense of déjà-vu! Setting out into the pans as the sun is falling and leaving behind any variation in the landscape, feels like you are riding onto the moon. Canter along with only the light of the stars and distant campfire to guide you – a truly surreal experience. The huge orange moon rising and sweeping across the night sky is a helpful reminder that you have in fact not teleported to the moon yourself!
- Luxury Accommodation.
Stay in some exceptional locations, you will not be disappointed with the luxury accommodation. Camp Kalahari of Unchartered Africa Safaris offers a memorable stay; providing everything you could want and acting as the perfect base for your safari. You are treated to fabulous food and an abundant drinks menu any London bar would be proud to stock. Their beautiful tents offer ‘glamping’ on a whole new level with fabulous open top showers so you can see the stars.
- Knowing You’ll Be Back.
You will walk away from your trip thoroughly satisfied and yet still wanting more; it is with reluctant feet that you’ll step onto your plane home. It is curious how from most holidays I walk away thinking “wow what an experience, that was fun”, but with Africa you always walk away stating “don’t worry I’ll be back”.
Written by Isabel after visiting in 2015