Personal Travel | Botswana Safari

So this is a little overdue!   We had the privilege of taking a family African safari this past December.  We were able to take our now 10 year old daughter and my parents to Africa on Safari!  It was a blessing.  For those of you who know us personally… we LOVE to travel!  We have been to 5 continents and over 20 different countries. We LOVE to travel!  This is really where we spend all our disposable income.

A little back story.  Before I met my husband, I had literally been to the beach (in Florida and South Carolina), Disney, Cancun for senior trip and various different locations in the states (not even the major places).  My now husband brought travel and the love of travel into my life and the life of my family as a result.  I am blessed with a husband who had amazing grandparents who were lucky enough to retire around the time he was 5-6 and they had a desire to travel.  They traveled all summer long taking him all over the United States visiting every national park (many of which I still haven’t been to) and many other places along the way.  In addition to their amazing US travel they were passionate to travel the world and they did so uninhibited, without fear in the mid 80’s. They literally spent over a month in the 80’s in Africa and over a month in China and I have the hand painted scrolls (from the families they met along they way) hanging in my house today to prove it!  They traveled and they traveled well and far.  That principal in life was instilled in my husband from the time he was a small child.  I was blessed to get to be a part of that once I met him.  Rewind to 5 years ago… my hubby and I visited Africa for the first time.  We first visited Egypt and it was amazing!  Somewhere I would have never guessed I wanted to go.  I should really do a blog post on that trip as well!  Later that year we traveled to Africa again to go on safari.  Safari… really… something I never in a million years I imagined I would do.  On that particular trip we sought out the assistance of Premier Tours to assist us in our travel. On our first trip we traveled to Cape Town South Africa, visiting some amazing places such as Table Mountain National Park  and staying at Victoria Wharf was amazing! We visited the Cape of Good Hope national park and many other amazing places in the area. We then traveled to Kruger National Park for Safari at Kirkman Camp. IT WAS AMAZING!  We then traveled on to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe for the end of that trip.

Fast forward to 2018 and we were trying to decide where we wanted to travel internationally that year (something we really try to do once a year at least). At this point our daughter is now 9, almost 10 and she has already traveled internationally ( to Paris and London in 2015, I should blog that as well, haha). We are finally to a point were our daughter is old enough to travel pretty much anywhere (we have hesitated in the past because she does have a nut allergy and therefore we are a little hesitant to places with her where there is a language barrier and we might have food issues).  We are also to a point where we have passed the SANTA issue for Christmas and could get away with doing a trip instead of the traditional “gifts for Christmas”.  So we thought through a lot of options. Our first option was Australia and New Zealand… let me just state December is the most expensive time to travel to Australia and New Zealand (we will save that for another day).  While looking at our options, we received a random email from Premier Tours about special pricing for December trips!  So we started looking into it.  We had been before, but our daughter had not and my parents had not been.  Plus we were looking at going to Botswana and not South Africa this time!  If you know my husband, you know that he prefers not to go to the same place twice, so Botswana was a new country and a new experience for him (check!).   We mapped out the entire trip… before posing it to my parents.  They happily accepted the challenge of Africa and safari (something that did need a little convincing)!  And off we go on planning the trip.

So on this trip we again used Premier Tours to help plan our travel to Botswana and the Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge in Chobe National Park  for Safari for three nights.  It was fabulous.  The animals in the park were so plentiful and amazing.  The Chobe National Park has the largest on record pride of lions.  Until recently they were a pride of 44 lions.  Once they grew to that size they were having to take down an elephant each week to  feed the pride.  As a result the pride had split a couple of years ago in order feed the entire pride.  We had the privilege of seeing a part of the former mega pride and saw close to 20 plus lions in one pride feeding on one zebra kill; cubs and senior males all the same!  It was amazing.

I hope you enjoy the beauty of Africa in the following images.  Oh and by the way after we left Africa, we traveled to the Seychelles for a little Island time.  That post coming soon! If you have any travel questions, feel free to comment below or email me!  I am happy to help.

 

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Who doesn’t love a photo with a two story giraffe!  Only in the airports in Johannesburg.
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So my very afraid of flying hubby managed to get on a prop plane for this trip!!  Big steps folks, big steps.

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You guys… that picture on the left.. that is the runway we landed on!  Seriously and when we landed we got right on the truck and headed out on our first safari ride.

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The Baobab tree is truly one of my favorites!  It is a stunning tree.

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The red billed hornbill… such a beautiful bird that is all over Africa.  Sporting it’s best in the African golden light.

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This is one of the first of MANY, MANY amazing sunset images you will see during this trip.  I have to say there is nothing quite like an African sunset.

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Let’s just say… the Antelope is really prevalent in Africa!  Haha! They are literally everywhere.

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One of the highlights of our trip was getting to watch these amazing Cheetah brothers!  Something that we did not get to see previously in Kruger National Park.

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In case you are wondering… the thing they are taking refuge from the sun behind… that is a termite hill.  YEP!Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1041_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1043_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1044_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1045_blog

Stunning really doesn’t do it justice! Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1046_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1049_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1052_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1053_blog

The spot above is a look basically 360 degrees around, on one side were the elephants enjoying the watering hole on the other side the shade of the trees where all the various safari vehicles would stop for afternoon drinks and snacks.  Truly majestic. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1057_blog

Our back yard view at lunch. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1059_blog

A Matrial Eagle fiesting on its prey.

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I don’t need to elaborate on this one… let’s just say it was an awkward period in the truck explaining the “noises”. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1068_blog

We came across a small pack of lions, about 4 that had taken down a Cape Buffalo.  Watched them feast for a while on their prize and would later come back the very next morning to an almost completely clean carcass. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1074_blog

He is elbow deep, so to speak! And trust me, you do not want to be down wind of something like this!!! Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1080_blog

But oh so majestic! Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1081_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1084_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1088_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1089_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1092_blog

Just more majestic sunsets on the savannah!
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This was the next morning we went straight out to find the kill from the last night. As you can see they have nearly cleaned it all up minus the skull.  Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1113_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1114_blog

A stop at the watering hole.
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After an early morning rainfall we were lucky to be able to find fresh leopard tracks.  We proceeded to track the leopard and eventually find the cat!
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We had just spotted the cat and let’s just say she wasn’t totally happy we had found her.  She was literally about 5 feet from the truck and she was a little bit aggressive.  The only time I felt like we might have disturbed one of the animals.
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She eventually wound up on a nearby hillside with majestic beauty.

 

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Ah the wildebeast! They are an interesting animal.

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The lilac breasted roller!!  One of my favorite animals from our last safari and no different this time. Their coloring and beauty really can’t be captured in pictures.

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Check out these cubs!!  The first time we have seen lion cubs.  They are around 6 months old according to our guide.  So precious. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1145_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1148_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1153_blog

Take note of the adorable spots that the youngsters have on their legs and underbelly.  And just how insanely full their bellies are! These were some the most well fed lions I have ever seen. So you will notice on the mane of the lion above that his coat and main are very “blonde” that means he is a young lion.  The cubs here are approximately 6 months old and this lion above is probably 1 year to 18 months.  Below you will see some much older lions and you can tell by their coloring. Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1157_blogChobe National Park Safari Botswana-1161_blogChobe National Park Safari Botswana-1163_blogChobe National Park Safari Botswana-1164_blogChobe National Park Safari Botswana-1165_blog

You may notice that this guys mane is quite black and even his fur is rather grey in color.  This signifies age.  He is a “really old” lion according to our guide.  According to him this lion is likely around 4 years old (wait did you read that… a “Really” old lion is 4 years old). And trust me from our previous safari experience we did not see any “old lions” like this.  Its really hard to believe that they are this “old” at 4.  It was clear he was a leader and a wise confidant.
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So check out this lady!  She is so cool.  See her right eye?  It looks blue right?  According to our guide she was stung by a bee at 2 months old in the eye and it blinded her in that eye and this is what her eye has looked like ever since.  She was a beauty.  Life is rough in the bush.Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1171_blog

Check her out staring us down as they feast on the zebra they previously killed.

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so just to give some perspective.  The above zebras were walking right up to the previous zebra kill that had no less than 4 lions at it at any time devouring the meat.  We watched them for some time, they just kept going closer and closer… like they couldn’t even see the lions eating uncle Tommy!  We waited for quite a while hoping that we might get to see a live kill.  These zebras were within around 20 feet of the previous kill and currently feeding lions.  We waited and “hoped” but sadly the lions were just too full and never gave the brave zebra a second look.  Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1149_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1183_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1185_blog

So I have to say Kudu is one of my favorite animals from our last trip and we finally got to see an amazing male with his beautiful horns.  We also had kudu loin for dinner that night and it was delicious.

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On our way back into camp for the night! Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1197_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1198_blog Chobe National Park Safari Botswana-1203_blog

Our evening dinner entertainment, right off the porch where we ate was this amazing watering hole that hundreds of elephant would gather at all day.

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Stay tuned for part two!! Up next the Seychelles Islands.!

January 17, 2019

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