Country 54/196: Botswana
Destination: Kasane, Chobe National Park, Ghanzi district
We started off our adventure in Botswana with an unexpected encounter with a family of elephants and hippos. Then there was the epic visit of the wonderful Chobe National Park, and lastly, we even managed to visit the amazing San people, which was a great privilege and honor. Botswana, you rule! ♥
What to do and what to see in Botswana?
Botswana is known for its many natural wonders, including the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert, and the Chobe National Park. It is considered one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa and its abundance of wildlife is simply overwhelming. 🙂
Kasane is known as the gateway to Chobe National Park. It’s located in the northeastern part of the country, near the borders with Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. It is situated at an hour’s drive from the magnificent Victoria Falls, therefore we took a bus from Zambia to Kasane. As Kasane is so close to the most popular national park in the country, wildlife can get very close to the city. On our first day in Kasane we were walking down the main street to the city center and at the so-called Elephant corridor, just a few meters from the road we saw a big family of elephants and hippos in the nearby Chobe river. It was totally unexpected, a bit scary, yet mostly wonderful. We kept our distance as wild animals can be very dangerous, but we did manage to get some cool shots. 😉
We were staying in two different lodges in Kasane. First, we were staying at the fancier, romantic Sandpiper Villas Chobe, which may be the best place in town for couples and honeymooners. It has beautiful, comfortable rooms with huge bathrooms, and a stunning garden with a pool. It is located near a big shopping mall, and also relatively close to the city center. They also offer many amazing activities, including safaris at the beautiful Chobe National Park. After returning from Ghanzi, we were staying at the Nxabii cottages. They are located very close to the Zimbabwean border and they offer the perfect peaceful getaway. Surrounded by nature and in the company of very friendly people, it is the perfect place to relax on a budget.
Chobe National Park
We went on a game drive at Chobe National Park with Sandpiper Villas Chobe. We saw numerous wild animals, including hippos, antelopes, zebras, buffaloes, warthogs, monkeys, giraffes, elephants, and many bird species. We also enjoyed many views of the beautiful landscape. Needless to say, we had a great day! 🙂
Ever since we got to Africa, we wanted to meet some locals who still live in traditional tribal villages and lead a traditional lifestyle. But it was no easy task to find them, as not many communities withstood the test of time and the sweeping force of modernization. Most of them moved to the cities to pursue an education and they never returned. Those who did return to their remote villages came back with modern clothes, supplies, and inventions to make their life easier. In the last couple of years, they have been forced from their original lands, which are increasingly used for grazing cattle, therefore the San people, who were traditionally mainly hunter-gatherers, had to diversify into alternative livelihoods. Modernization is obviously good for them, but completely abandoning their traditional lifestyle and letting go of all their great knowledge would be a great loss. Most of the tribes that are accessible for visitors only create educational shows for tourists and this way they keep their old ways alive. Some of these shows are completely fictitious, others are actually very educational, and sometimes you get lucky enough to witness their genuine endangered traditions.
When we finally got in touch with a lodge that can arrange meetings with San people and organizes their traditional dance shows and morning walks, we were kind of hesitant. How can we meet them, talk to them, and take some pictures without seeming intrusive and disrespectful? Eventually, we decided not to skip the opportunity to meet them, but we did make sure to talk to them, to let them know that we are there to learn from them, and to support their community. Ultimately, that is probably the best one can do.
But, first things first. In order to get to Ghanzi district – the place, where the San people live, we had to take a bus (three buses to be exact) and drive for 10 hours. As we were driving near some national parks along the way, we got to see hundreds of elephants feeding by the main road. They completely ignored the traffic and the locals driving by completely ignored them. “We see them every day!” explained a man, who saw how excited we were about the encounter.
After a long (but awesome) drive, we finally got to the Ghanzi Trail Blazers lodge. We got there just in time to see the evening bushmen dance. Afterwards, we had a drink under the stars, and off to bed. We slept in an authentic bushmen hut, built by the San people. The accommodation was obviously very basic, but it was a great privilege to sleep in a bushmen hut. In the morning, we went on a walk with the San people. They told us a lot about their gathering and hunting rituals (even though nowadays they are not allowed to hunt anymore), as well as their traditional remedies. We were fascinated by their knowledge, peaceful ways, and their strong bond with Mother Nature. They live in harmony with nature they rely on, respecting the resources, which is something we should all learn from and try to attain. It was a wonderful, truly life-changing experience. ♥
Extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are affecting crop and livestock production. Climate change is also the main culprit of the recent heat waves and deterioration of natural resources throughout the country. Global warming causes severe droughts and represents a significant risk to ecosystems and food production. Due to unevenly distributed rainfall patterns, Botswana is facing severe water shortages. The remaining water is also polluted. Waste management, land degradation, and deforestation are also big problems in Botswana.
Found lots of LOVE in Botswana. 😉 ♥
Honeymoon rating of the visited destinations: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♡
Botswana took our breath away with its great biodiversity. If you love nature, safaris, and animals, Botswana may be an amazing honeymoon destination. 😉
* Note: This is NOT a general rating of the country, it is merely our personal opinion of the mentioned site(s) as honeymoon destinations, based on the level of tourism development, the number and quality of romantic and adventurous activities and sites it offers, and safety. We strongly believe that every country is beautiful in its own way, they may simply be more or less honeymoon oriented/friendly.
*Are you planning a trip to Botswana? Here you can get a room with a 10% discount! 🙂
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