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Trip Report - Okavango Delta, Botswana

· Travel

This vast inland river delta and UNESCO World Heritage site offers 2 separate ways to get your game viewing thrills, and both have extraordinary merits. The minor problem is you have to visit at different times of the year to really appreciate both options. For our visit, there has been a drought in the last couple of months and the annual flood has receded a little earlier than usual. You can get an idea of this from my photo from our 12-seater plane (above). This means no game viewing by canoe or boat, and the subsequent dramatic water views of the wildlife.
On the plus side the land viewing is amazing as you will see below, and it's actually easier to reach potential viewing sights with the water receded. We fell in love with Botswana, and I'm pretty sure we will return to enjoy the water in the future when it is at its peak between May and September.

Here's this weeks Top 5 from our few days in Botswana

Top 5 - Okavango Delta, Botswana

1. The Arrival
There is something both thrilling and incredibly satisfying about flying in to a tiny airstrip in the middle of nowhere and having your safari vehicle meet you at the end of the runway (above). We literally landed, taxied and were loaded up in our transfer vehicle in less than 5 minutes, and it's immediately a 20 minute safari to the Camp. Then you arrive to find most of the housekeeping staff lined up and singing for you (below). Sanctuary Stanley's Camp has a staff choir and nearly all workers love to participate and perform on a Saturday evening just prior to dinner.

2. Elephant Experience
We enjoyed another remarkable experience spending time with Doug and Sandi Groves who have dedicated nearly 30 years to providing world-class care and refuge to their orphan elephants (below). Free to roam anywhere this is as ethical a wildlife experience as possible, something which is extremely important to J5Travel.

3. Sanctuary Stanley's Camp (below)
With just 10 luxury tented accommodations, it was such a private and personal time for our short stay here, that I still can't quite believe how lucky we were. Each tent has a large wooden deck providing private areas where you can relax while soaking in the surrounding sights and sounds or enjoy cocktails, before dinner is served in the spectacular dining mess. The flood plain seen beyond the firepit area in our photo below, would be flooded earlier in the year providing that extra dynamic to consider a stay here.

4. The Double Kill (above and below)
And then this happened on our very last game drive from Sanctuary Stanley's Camp.
The most mesmerizing experience of our lives, we watched this double kill unfold over about an hour. A pride of 9 lions, which consisted of 6 females, 1 adult male and 2 young males were hunting 2 buffalo right in our line of sight and we arrived on scene only 10 seconds after they had been taken down.
Emotions ran the whole gamut, from fear to awe to wonder to sadness to exhilaration...
Don't think for one minute that this is a common sight on your safari. Our guide had not experienced this for 2 years. Gruesome photos I know, and I apologize to anyone of a sensitive nature, but we do want to report how it really is.

5. The Vehicle
I thought it would be a good idea to show you the actual vehicles used for game drives by the Sanctuary Lodges. With just 6 seats per vehicle plus next to the driver if you prefer, everyone has an open air outside view and seats are raised higher the further back you are, so it's an unobstructed view for all, no matter where you sit. Cold water is stored in central compartments, and as you can see from the photo, mid-drive snacks and drinks are all a part of being out in the bush.

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