Wild Africa: Camping Without Fences in Botswana

There are many great locations in Africa to go on safari. Each country offers their own unique experiences and safari packages but for us, Botswana was the most enticing. IMG_4267If you’re like us, you will only have a week or two to get the most out of a vacation. We did our research and felt like Botswana’s Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta would offer the most diversity in landscape while also providing us with a huge concentration of wildlife.DSC03499Botswana is a land-locked country nestled in Southern Africa. The unique landscape alternating between desert and delta is why Botswana is known for containing diverse wildlife and exceptional game viewing in Africa. IMG_2859Our safari started in Chobe National Park, a habitat located in the North-eastern part of the country. Confirmed by our guide Joe, Botswana (more specifically Chobe National Park) is renowned for having the largest concentration of African Elephants, as well as, a large population of many other animals.IMG_2032Comfortably seated in the safari jeep, our first stop was the gate to Chobe National Park as it is necessary to sign in with visitor registration before driving through or camping.DSC03196 There are no fences in Botswana, allowing the animals to roam freely throughout the country. This fact aided our decision in choosing Botswana for safari.  Somehow the experience seemed more genuine knowing that we would be in the real, wild Africa. IMG_3315This meant we would be spending most of our nights camping in tents without fences protecting us from the animals. We were told that the canvas dome tents looked like impenetrable barriers to the animals. IMG_3087Are we a little bit crazy? Maybe, but any nervous anxiety we might have felt quickly dissolved once we woke up the next morning. We actually had fun guessing which animal was making the throaty groan, that deep bellowing grumble or happily snacking behind our tents. During our nights of camping without fences we fell asleep to the distinct sounds of Elephants, Hippos, Hyenas, Birds, a hunting Leopard and more. IMG_2771Once settled into our tents, there was something so soothing about being so close to these wild animals–the only safety rules being: don’t wander from the camp after dark under any circumstances and don’t leave your tent at night to use the camp toilet without first ensuring the coast is clear with a flashlight.IMG_2227

There are many different types of experiences that are available for anyone who dreams of going on safari in Botswana. From the luxury lodges to the tent camping safaris, the options are truly unlimited. IMG_2197For our week long safari we chose the participation safari called the Botswana Adventurer offered through Okavango Expeditions. Not knowing what to expect before we arrived, we quickly learned what our responsibilities would be for the duration of our trip after meeting with our knowledgeable guide & driver, Joe and our campsite chef, Thuso. It was easy: we put up and tore down our own tents, washed our own dishes and helped with loading and unloading the trailer. IMG_3576We pitched our tents the first three nights in Chobe, Savuti and Khawai, all without fences. From Khawai, in Moremi Game Reserve, we made our way towards Maun and spend our next two nights at a campground that was surrounded by an electric fence. Following Maun, we spent our last night at another fenced campsite in Nata, near the Naxi Salt Pans. IMG_1922In all honesty, we really missed the exciting sounds of our animal friends from our first three nights and wished that we had had the opportunity to spend every night sleeping without the unneeded protection of a fence.DSC04620

A typical day on safari:

  • Wake up was at 5:30 am.
  • Break down the tent, pack all our stuff and eat breakfast in order to be on the road by 7:00 am.
  • The morning game drive happened during our drive from one destination to another.
  • Around 10:00 am we would stop for a short coffee/tea break before continuing on to our campsite.
  • By 1:00pm we reached our destination. We were served lunch and had time to set up camp, shower & relax.
  • At 3:30 pm we would head out for our afternoon game drive in the surrounding area near our campsite.
  • Back at camp by 6:30pm after the sun set to enjoy dinner and go to bed.IMG_2100
Tips Before Your Trip:
  • Pack light. Our safari had a max weight of 12kg for personal luggage excluding camera equipment
  • Bring sunscreen and insect repellent.  The insect repellent should only be needed as it becomes dusk. There were few mosquitos during the day.
  • Botswana’s local currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP)
  • Large bottles (5 litres) of drinking water can be purchased in town prior to and during your safari
  • Pack any medications you need or may think you’ll need as things aren’t always accessible while in the bush
  • Toilet paper was provided by the company, however a small package of tissues for the road couldn’t hurt.

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Do you want to go on an adventure safari of a lifetime? Find out more information and book your own trip with Okavango Expeditions today!

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