“We kept asking ourselves if this was real, as we felt like we had jumped into a National Geographic magazine.”
It’s our first weekend back in Melbourne and we are still not quite sure if our safari trip actually occurred! Throughout the entire trip, we kept asking ourselves if it was real, as we felt like we had jumped into the photos of National Geographic magazine. We had no expectations of the trip, but certainly came away feeling like we had the best safari experience.
Thank you to all of you at Encompass Africa for helping to organise our once-in-a-lifetime adventure (and to ensure my 40th birthday was a memorable one!) in Botswana – and for taking such good care of us along the way.
We were very happy with our decision to stay at Selinda Explorers (thank you, Danica, for your insights!). Staying five nights at a small campsite may not work for everyone, but for us it gave us the opportunity to get to know the team and we felt like family by the end of our stay (I was certainly feeling a bit teary saying goodbye to them…).
We were so fortunate to have seen such a vast amount of wildlife during our stay; our timing could not have been more perfect.
“Highlights were seeing lions almost every day.”
Within our first hour of arriving at the Selinda airstrip, we were watching in awe at a female leopard resting in a tree, with a freshly killed baby warthog tucked safely behind her. Other highlights were seeing lions almost every day, including watching some of them having zebra for breakfast; seeing two male spring hares fighting (like kangaroos) and then being hunted by the lions who snared one; seeing a pack of wild dogs running past our vehicle (and then witnessing their behaviour before their evening hunt); plus hanging out with giraffes, elephants, hippos, hyenas, warthogs, tawny owls, barred owlet, lilac-breasted rollers, leopard tortoises and mongooses.
“Our superb guide’s keen eyes meant we never missed out on anything.”
However none of these sightings would have been possible without our superb guide, Victor. He was our guide during the entire trip, but was also a star tracker, driver, teacher, storyteller and friend (and supplier of G&T sundowners!). His keen eyes meant we never missed out on anything (although Nick keep spotting wild ‘logs’!), and Victor’s love of photography was a huge bonus for Nick, as he happily shared his tips for taking that perfect shot. We especially loved his sense of humour and got along terribly well (important when you are with each other at least twice a day for hours each time!).
The Botswana landscape is spectacular and it was very interesting to see the variety, from Kalahari white sands and palm trees to tall yellow grasses and lush vegetation around the lakes. Our timing with the weather was also spot-on, as the rains and greenery had just started to come through. While the water levels were too low for a boating trip, we were nevertheless lucky to get to a safari walk. We learnt so much by being on the ground (and also a chance to finally do some exercise!) and engaging all of our senses.
“Nothing was too much trouble for the team at Selinda Explorers.”
Back at camp, Michelle and Gerhard worked very hard with their team to ensure we had different experiences each day, from the food to the dinner settings. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them, and they were always so positive and excited to hear about our sightings. Nick was unfortunately very sick on one of the days (he forgot anti-malaria tablets don’t mix with alcohol, especially with his sensitive stomach), and I asked Michelle if some chicken soup and pap could be organised for his meals. Although I know ingredients are limited, she did a marvellous job in coordinating with the chefs to ensure Nick was well looked after, which was extremely appreciated by both of us. We also asked to be moved to another tent as two mice were keeping us up at night (all part of the bush life, but were feeling sleep deprived by the fourth night!). Again, the team were very happy to oblige and we had a blissful mouse-free sleep!
Even if we had not been lucky to have seen so many animals, it comes back to the people at Selinda Explorers, who really made this trip so special for us. This included the chefs, kitchen staff, other guides, porters, cleaners, maintenance staff who were always so smiling and friendly, despite being in some tough conditions. We will miss them all!
We are very happy to be part of the safari club and the Encompass Africa/Selinda Explorers’ family! We will definitely be recommending Encompass Africa to our family and friends. Thank you again.
Danica from Encompass Africa says:
“Thinking back to the first time we chatted, Cheryl and Nick had a genuine desire to find just one spot to live in and love and just relish every moment. Selinda Explorers was that spot. I was thrilled to design an experience for Nick and Cheryl that I would want to do myself.”
Danica’s suggestion for their next African adventure:
“If you love the immersive slow-safari mode, you can’t go past the Lower Zambezi in Zambia. The sheer volume of diversity in landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife, not to mention activities, captures anyone’s attention. The properties there are all brilliant, and all with their own little differences, so it would be a pleasure to get you back to Africa really soon! Next stop, Zambia’s Lower Zambezi.”