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A Botswana State of Mind

Botswana Africa Katie Searle
Lioness in Botswana Africa Katie Searle
Botswana Africa Katie Searle
Botswana Africa Katie Searle
Primates in Botswana Africa Katie Searle

A Botswana State of Mind

story by: House of Travel Specialist

Everyone has been to the zoo and seen big animals, some even believe this is their wildlife experience ticked off. Botswana is not just another day at the zoo. An elephant may be a common household figure in kids toys, books and on TV shows, but that doesn’t compare to spending time watching an elephant in its own habitat, noticing every wrinkle, feeling their every move and the rhythm of their trunk. The elephant turns into an unusual alien like being that you can’t quite get your head around. They’re majestic yet harmless beautiful creatures! 

Imagine being in a land where you are surrounded by wildlife more than people, and by wildlife we’re not just talking birds and insects, we’re talking elephant, lion and giraffe. It really is hard to believe your eyes at times! No traffic jams, unless an elephant herd is crossing the road. Instead of stopping on the roadside for a breather or to make a phone call, stop for a breath-taking moment to gaze at giraffe dotted along the main highway, meandering for the next tree top to munch.. 
And we haven’t even reached the National Parks yet..  

Once inside the parks, you don’t want to leave. Every day is packed with new memories, new discoveries, and with each day your journey just gets better. A fond memory of mine was cruising the Chobe River at sunset on our own boat. Snacks and refreshments were arranged to suit our own preferred favourites as we absorbed the last warmth of the day’s sun, glancing at the riverside to spot who is sharing a drink with us from the Chobe River. There’s outstanding moments to remember where springbok, crocodile and elephant all squeezed into one camera shot. Laying down to rest at night under canvas, the safari never ends. If it wasn’t for the full-sized, permanent and super comfortable bed furniture, fluffy robes, distinct leather trimmings, the luscious cascading dropdown shower and night guards of Xakanaxa Camp, I’d understand why those in a normal camping tent wouldn’t sleep very well. 

I never truly appreciated the effort wildlife photographers make to catch that perfect shot, until of course I tried it for myself. It takes hours, days even, to find it; all the while you don’t want to miss any action with your own eyes. We followed a lion over a few days, initially hungry and ready to pounce, then found them full and far too lazy to even look at our truck. I managed to zoom in on their sleepy satisfied state, and could nearly touch their cute furry ears that would’ve passed them as domestic animals. We’ll never actually know what they found to eat... 

Just meeting the Batswani people is enough to send you into a serene holiday trance. They love their land, they love that you are there to experience what they live and breathe for every day, and they make sure that you are filled with that same love before you have to leave. I was personally moved by the song and dance performances we witnessed, the locals sounded like one immense bellowing vocal chord. It was a moment that I’ll never forget, when I fell in love with Botswana!  

No matter whether you choose a budget or luxury trip, you’re still going to get that wildlife experience. The days are just as long and the roads are still rough! 

Being in Botswana is not just a holiday or safari; it is a totally different state of mind. I must go back and spot the leopard that got away...

By House of Travel Specialist: Katie Searle

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