June 27, 2011

Life in the Camps

 We drove from Victoria Falls to our camp in Chobe National Park. After that, we flew in small (often very small) planes to our camps. The bush pilots were usually young locals but one came from Canada. Our international flight from Botswana to Zambia required a copilot and we got a South African Airways commercial pilot who was moonlighting for some extra cash.
We stayed 3 nights in each of 4 camps.  These camps catered exclusively to OAT travelers and thus provided the amenities and services soft adventure American travelers love.  Clean comfortable tent cabins with ensuite facilities, hot showers, and a means to charge our cameras and kindles.  Hot coffee and breakfast provided first thing in the morning.  Plenty of water, snacks, delicious meals and a well-stocked bar meant no one ever went hungry or thirsty.  At lunch and dinner, the head chef and other staff members were introduced by name. Daily laundry service was a dream and always returned artfully wrapped with straw ribbon.  Each stay ended in a night of entertainment by the talented staff. Most amazing of all, despite the fact that new groups arrived constantly, the staff always maintained their enthusiasm and made you feel welcome.

Every camp provided many game drives, plenty of wildlife spotted by expert guides and happy hour at sunset. Great care was taken to keep us safe and informed of what to do in the event of an emergency.   

While every camp maintained consistency in quality of accomodation and services, each camp also tried to distinguish itself with a memorably different experience.  OAT took great care to place us in  four unique landscapes. 

Baobab Lodge, Chobe NP, Botswana: 6/18/11 - 6/21/11

I bought a basket woven byGrace

We launched our river cruise from a nearby luxury lodge.

Wilderness Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana: 6/21/11 - 6/24/11

We travelled to the hippos by mokuru canoe.

Lufupa Camp, Kafue NP, Zambia: 6/24/11 - 6/27/11

The camp is at the confluence of the Lufupa and Kafue rivers, and I went on every river cruise offered. 
This was the only camp offering tsetse flies.  The guides burned elephant dung as a deterrent and we made sure we applied our DEET.
We were allowed to go on night drives and spot a leopard.

Linkwasha Lodge, Hwange NP, Zimbabwe: 6/27/11 - 6/30/11 
 My cabin was so remote from the main camp that I had to be driven there at night and escorted to my door.
Man-made water holes for animals are formed by pumping water up and through the Kalahari Desert sands.  The water is so purified that our water at camp could be drunk straight from the tap.
This camp offered bush walks with an armed guide.  He showed us how to approach a herd of wildebeest without being noticed. 

1 comment:

A Tale of Two Cities said...

What ad adventure this must have been. Can't wait to hear more about it the next time we're together.