2011 starts with a trip to Botswana

As 2010 comes to an end I am truly looking forward to 2011. In January I am going on an amazing trip and forging a new relationship with Journeys Unforgettable. We plan on offering customized African trips in the very near future and we are researching the opportunities which include the potential of a Congo trip photographing Gorillas in the mist and a hike to the top of a volcano that has been erupting for 50 years. More on the trips to Africa soon but first I leave in early January with a custom trip from Journeys Unforgettable to Botswana. We will be visiting the Duba Plains which is perhaps the Okavango Delta’s most remote camp. The camp is located in a private 30,000 hectare reserve in the furthermost reaches of the Delta on an island, surrounded by expansive seasonally flooded plains (dependant on annual flood waters) and shaded by tall ebony, fig and garcinia trees. This pristine area is home to lion, lechwe, elephant and huge herds of Buffalo, as well as a large variety of Okavango Delta bird life. Wattled cranes and slaty egrets are some of the Okavango specials to be found in the area.

Next it will be on to the Savuti Camp which is situated in the Linyanti Concession along the Savute Channel in northern Botswana. The site of the camp is about 17 kilometres ‘downstream’ from the Zibadianja Lagoon – the source of the Channel. Between 1980 and 2008 the Channel stopped flowing and became an unusual and productive ribbon of grassland that served as a corridor and feeding ground in the surrounding woodland for a wide variety of herbivores. In 2008, the Channel once more became a deep, clear waterway harbouring hippo and aquatic life with myriad varieties of waterbirds. There is a waterhole close to camp and in the dry season this attracts large numbers of animals that guests can view from the camp. Wildlife in the area includes all of Botswana’s big animals and is one of the best areas in the country to see predators. There is also a good concentration of plains game in the area.

After this we will head to Vumbura Plains situated to the north of Mombo, in a private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the extreme north of the Okavango Delta. The Vumbura Reserve offers both land and water activities in a park that has a wonderful variety of habitats and a great diversity of wildlife. The reserve offers an enormous traversing area of close on 130,000 acres. The main activity at Vumbura Plains is game viewing in diverse and scenic countryside. The Vumbura area is possibly the only area in the Okavango where one can see Red Lechwe (an animal that inhabits the fringes of the waterways) and a Sable antelope (an animal that enjoys the dry countryside) on the same game drive. Add in Lion, Leopard, Elephant, cheetah and Buffalo along with all the plains animals and one has an excellent all round wildlife experience in a remote and private part of the Okavango. Birding too is great with large varieties and quantities.

After the Vumbura Plains it is off to Mombo Camp situated on Mombo Island, adjoining the northern tip of Chief’s Island, and is within the Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana. The camp offers abundant wonderful wildlife viewing, arguably, year round the best wildlife viewing in Botswana. The highlight here is the concentrations of plains animals and all the predators – including the big cats! Lion sightings are particularly good. Mombo is built under the shade of some large shady trees and overlooks a wonderful floodplain that teems with wildlife. The camp has 9 comfortably furnished, luxurious tents, raised off the ground. The guest’s rooms and the walkways that connect the rooms to the living area are up to 2m off the ground, allowing animals to wander freely through and under the camp – but at the same time allowing for guest safety. The wildlife viewing in the area is excellent and guests can see lion, leopard, large herds of buffalo, wild dog, elephant, rhino, hyaena, giraffe, wildebeest and zebra. Access into this area is only by aircraft.

After this it is back to Johannesburg and then back to the US and this is only one of the great trips planned for 2011. Also on the agenda is Iceland for a second fantastic trip and finally Antarctica for a fourth visit.

2011 also brings a new relationship with my dear friend John Paul Caponigro. JP and I will be offering more and more trips to exotic locations so keep tuned…..

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