With regional borders open, many of the Wilderness Safaris Members Club have been taking advantage of regional travel. Don Hunter, long time member recounts his latest experience both in camp and the ease of travel for all SADC members … The time is now
We have been members of the Wilderness Safaris Members Club for many years and have greatly benefited from the exceptional, discounted rates they offer. We have just returned from a truly wonderful trip to Botswana, where we visited Qorokwe and Vumbura Plains camps.
We chose to drive there from Durban, and include some wild camping in Nxai Pan and the Central Kalahari along the way, to balance the luxury that is the Wilderness Safaris experience. We were going to meet up with friends, who were going to fly in and meet us in Maun.
But to start our own trip with the border crossing… we crossed into Botswana and return at Martins Drift and had the easiest crossing of any border we have ever encountered in southern Africa. It was quick and efficient on both sides. We had our COVID test done on Sunday morning in Durban and received the certificates by 19h00 that evening, which we then printed. We drove to the border on Monday and crossed on the Tuesday. Botswana has a zonal travel restriction, requiring a permit to cross. However, this does not apply to international travellers. We were courteously waved through all stops without any problems. We then arranged to stay at the Khama Rhino Reserve for two nights on the way back so we could be tested on the one day, and collect our certificates the following day after 12h00. Both Serowe and Palapye do testing, with the lab being in Palapye. It was all very professionally done.
Our friends who were going to fly in would have had their COVID tests done at the camps, as there is a fly-in service the day before departure to do this. Although this cost is relatively high it is, in my opinion, more than offset by the camp discounted rates we enjoy.
What we found at the camps were a lot of very enthusiastic people willing to do their very best to make our time with them as memorable as possible. The guides are excellent, with great knowledge and exceptional skills. We also saw some stunningly beautiful camps lying, for the most part, idle. We also heard that Wilderness Safaris had become very active in the local communities during this time providing food parcels and other assistance where needed. This is a good company with good values.
So this is a call out to the Members Club to support Wilderness Safaris when they need us most, which is right now. Be adventurous and take the opportunity to go for that special trip to the Okavango or Hwange or Mana Pools or Busanga Plains, to your choice of available camp. Travel on waterways that haven’t seen a boat or mokoro in a year-and-a-half, or 4x4 tracks that make you feel like a pioneer in unexplored territory.
A coy leopard watching us go by
A beautiful cheetah scanning the plain from a termite mound
Lion cubs at play
Practicing for adulthood
The romance of Delta evening sunset in a mokoro
At the end of the day, when the sun is done
And the light slowly leaks away
But, before the night when the colour is gone
And the stars begin to coldly shine
For the briefest of time, when all is still and should you care to look
You will see the twilight,
Where the mix of the inky blacks of night,
Meet the warmest of the colours of day
Vumbura Plains Villa by night
The evening song and dance by the staff of Qorokwe; it was hard to guess who was having more fun, us or them
Written and photographed by Don Hunter, Wilderness Safaris Members Club
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