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Fam Trip Report: Exploring the Wild Wonders of Botswana

Our Botswana Fam Trip, with expert DMC partner Bush Ways, embarked on a journey through the untamed landscapes of Botswana - it was an adventure like no other. Our Africa Representation Manager, Robyn, recounts her top ten highlights.



"I have been completely blown away by my experience on this Fam Trip, from the sheer variety of birds and bugs to the sprawling savannahs teeming with wildlife, each moment is a testament to the beauty and boundless diversity of nature. Here are my top 10 reasons to return to Botswana with Bush Ways again and again"


1. Our Guides

Moscow and Gabriel (eventually nicknamed Mad-Hatter Moscow and Goshawk Gabby) were exceptional. It is such a skill to please the appetites of three very different safari-goers all in the same vehicle - birders, botanists and wildlife enthusiasts. Yet, for Gabby and Moscow, it appeared to be a breeze. 



Gabby is a testament to Bush Ways Safaris’ commitment to the Tswana people (also known as the Batswana) by nurturing sustainable growth and creating a positive community impact. Gabby started as a Chef, worked his way up to lodge guide and finally became a mobile safari guide, the most esteemed position in Bush Ways Safaris. He is one of many Bush Ways Safaris employees who have been able to nurture and grow their passions into full-time careers. 


2. Operational Excellence and Premium Camping

Our experience with Bush Ways Mobile Safaris redefines the notion of premium camping, seamlessly blending comfort and adventure. From spacious tents with modern amenities, fully customised safari vehicles, to gourmet meals served under the stars, each moment is a celebration of the finer things in life against the backdrop of the African bush. 



Bush Ways Safaris Headquarters is such a well-oiled machine. Did you know they even have their own supermarket?! A massive storeroom with all groceries required for every type of booking. With industrial precision a “dry goods shopping crate on wheels” is packed, boxed, labelled and ready before the trip starts. The walk-in refrigerator ensures that only the freshest ingredients are taken along on safari, packed and labelled for loading on the day of departure.


During any transit through Maun that includes a lunch break, unbeknownst to guests, the mobile safari vehicle is taken through the workshop for a pit stop routine check and clean with a qualified car surgeon and hygienist (mechanic) - all to ensure that the vehicles are always in the best condition possible. 



The workshop has a parts shop stocked with spares for every single vehicle (over 30), down to the bolt. This means no delays in waiting for parts from abroad. Each car has its own “medical record” so to speak. Whether it was a squeak, a tyre change or complete aesthetic overhaul, every vehicle's medical/drive/repair history is clear. There is also a refill station onsite, ensuring no time is wasted in queues or driving around for gas.


Their aesthetics & design workshop is where all things “Bush Ways” are dreamt of, designed and built -  from car modifications to closets to cushions. Modifications of the safari vehicle include a water filtration system, providing purified drinking water throughout the trip, built-in refrigeration, power supply for multiple devices, soft seat cushioning,  a fold down windshield for uninterrupted views and plenty of storage.


Their laundry room ensures all laundry is cleaned and sanitised to the highest standard and their mobile safari equipment room is stocked and managed with expert precision. Before and after every safari, every item is checked and tested, from tent zips to foldaway chairs.


Tents and all soft furnishings are designed and repaired in house and their skilled tailor is able to make and repair any item from tents to camping chairs.


3. Wildlife Encounters & Nature Appreciation

No matter how many safaris you’ve experienced in other African countries, Botswana is entirely unique. 


Wildlife in Botswana is an in-person wildlife documentary and the narrator is your Bush Ways Safaris guide. In five minute segments, you can see a pride of 13 lions at sunset with young cubs playfully chewing on male lion adolescent ears, charging peers and pouncing on adult lionesses. In another segment, a breeding herd of elephants racing towards a waterhole for a drink, only to find they are in fact being chased by a bull in musth. Not forgetting the iconic segment of a newborn Cape Buffalo calf, wet with afterbirth, being approached by a herd of uncertain bulls and nurturing cows as it takes its first steps.



The sheer magnitude of Botswana's rich biodiversity unfolded before our eyes as we traversed the ever-changing terrain of Botswana. From the lush forests to the Kalahari sand dunes to shimmering waterways and the expansive plains, every vista is a masterpiece.


4. Community Engagement

Engaging with local communities and supporting grassroots initiatives enables Bush Ways Safaris and their guests to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people encountered on safari. 



The Fam Trip highlighted community engagement efforts, such as opening local schools, supporting women's basket weaving, dance and choir collectives and startups that upcycle wine bottles for drinking glasses. The Fam Trip showcased Bush Ways Safaris' commitment to social responsibility, positive social change and empowerment within the communities. 



 5. Cultural Immersion

Bush Ways Safaris provides the opportunity for a cultural exchange in each of the communities it passes through. Keeping in mind that much of Botswana's wildlife is protected, this naturally opposes the traditional ways of the San Bushmen who would live off the land. In an effort to support conservation, the San Bushmen communities within protected areas have taken employment at local lodges and conservancies. 



Employment eliminates the need for traditional ways of hunting and gathering but should not eliminate the sharing of tradition. To this point, guests are invited to a cultural exchange, walking with San Bushmen (employed members of the lodges) as they and their ancestors did. In a short time, the San Bushmen make it apparent that the Kalahari is rich in medicine and means to live a long life, despite its harsh climate. The key is knowing the ways of the San Bushmen where each plant has a purpose, each meal can be tracked in sand and no carcass is discarded as the entire animal has a purpose.


6. Culinary Experiences

Exploring the culinary delights of Bush Ways Safaris’ kitchen is a gastronomic journey like no other. From flame grilled steak fillets to fragrant lamb tagines, all cooked over the campfire using traditional cooking techniques that tantalise the taste buds. Bread, cakes and pastries are baked in a Dutch oven each day. 



7. Adventure and Exploration

Venturing off the beaten track, we embraced the thrill of adventure and the excitement of the unknown. Navigating rugged terrain on wild sage lined roads, safari drives through mopane forests, village tours boasting history and tradition, chasing sundowner experiences to top the last one and encountering wildlife in their natural habitat, each moment was an opportunity to push the boundaries of exploration and discover the true essence of this destination. 


Floating in a mokoro on the Kwhai river, it was powerful to observe how, just as your view point is closer to the ground, your energy calmed and you became one with the surroundings. A variety of dazzling dragonflies dance around the lily pads which (as well as the Lily’s) are extremely useful to people on the river.



The white lily flower has a bulb that tastes like fragrant potato, often cooked with meat. The lily pad itself can be used as a sunhat from the blaring sun. The flower and its long stem can be used decoratively as a neckpiece. The neckpiece is often gifted to women on birthdays, and when gifted, she is called “the Queen of the Okavango”. Finally, the plant has several medicinal uses.



8. Infrastructure and Amenities

The modern infrastructure and amenities available to travellers in Botswana offer unparalleled convenience and comfort on safari. It reflects the growing sophistication of tourism infrastructure in the region.


Each village has a clinic and airlift medivac is a standard inclusion in the Bush Ways Safaris' product. Thanks to well-crafted itineraries, ATMs, pharmacies and other facilities can be found enroute at some stage of the trip. The main road that dissects Botswana is in perfect condition allowing for fast transfers and fast flowing traffic.


9. Sustainability and Conservation

Bush Ways Safaris’ commitment to responsible tourism practices underscores the importance of preserving the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Botswana. By supporting local initiatives, minimising their environmental footprint, and promoting eco-friendly tourism options, Bush Ways Safaris strived to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy these pristine landscapes for years to come.



10. Location, location, location!

Whether on the lodge to lodge, adventure camping or premium camping safari with Bush Ways Safaris, every location has been expertly chosen to ensure you are amidst the action for the best possible experience of the village or wildlife reserve. Every lodge has a breathtaking view of flood plains, rivers or pans. Each camp site puts you in the middle of the morning leopard calls or late night hyena whoops. 



Camps aside, the tea breaks during long drives are moments to remember as you sip your tea watching wildlife at the waterhole. Sunsets are perched in magnificent viewpoints with views over landscapes you’ve been exploring all day.


Bush Ways Safaris is the answer to your Botswana question!

In reflecting on the myriad highlights and unforgettable moments that have defined our adventure, it is with gratitude that we recognise it wouldn’t be possible without Bush Ways Safaris. From the delicate balance of life in these pristine ecosystems to the awe-inspiring beauty of nature and the warmth and hospitality of the local communities, each experience has left an indelible mark on our hearts, reminding us of the transformative power of travel and the boundless wonders that await those who dare to explore.


For an introduction to our excellent DMC partner in Botswana, Bush Ways Safaris, please contact robyn@theadventureconnection.com and to find out more, click here

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