Goway Expert Returns from Botswana and Namibia

Goway Africa Expert Brenton Hall recently returned from a trip to Botswana and Namibia. Brenton shared with us his insights into these incredible destinations, and what he learned from this once in a lifetime experience.

Where did you travel in Botswana / Namibia?

Starting with a 24hr stopover in each of Addis Ababa and Johannesburg en-route, we arrived to Maun for a connection to Dinaka, located in the north of the Central Kalahari Desert. From there we moved to Camp Moremi in the Moremi National Park on the edge of Okavango Delta. We also visited partner properties Camp Xakanaxa and Okuti while in the area, along with Xugana Camp before making our way to Kanana, deeper in the Delta. Our final stop in Botswana was Chobe Game Lodge on the Chobe River nearby to Kasane. Heading across to Namibia we had a glorious overnight stay at Hotel Heinitzberg in Windhoek. This was followed by vastly different landscapes…. Wolwedans Dune Lodge in the NamibRand Desert Nature Reserve and the stunning Onguma The Fort in Onguma’s private concession adjoining Etosha National Park.

What did you see and do on your trip?

My! What didn’t we see and do? Personally I got to check a lot off my bucket list, with a sunrise hot air balloon over the Sossusvlei Dunes, a heli flip over Moremi NP for rare sightings of sitatunga and painted wolves (African wild dogs), encountered a number of cheetah which I’d never seen on safari before, and discovered my new favorite, the oryx. This is honestly not even scratching the surface of the action! Having a few sleep-outs under the stars, some water-based game viewing, which was also new to me, exploring the Kalahari with San Bushmen, taking walking safaris throughout, and the unforgettable sundowner drinks and boma dinners were truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences!

What was your favourite highlight of the trip?

Definitely the hot air balloon experience. It isn’t cheap, but it is totally worthwhile! Finishing it off with a champagne breakfast watching the moon set behind the dunes was just magical.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Botswana and Namibia?

I think most people would only consider Botswana or Namibia as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th trip to Africa, but there really is so much on offer that even a first-timer could enjoy. Having such varied experiences in just 10 days, when most people have a limited amount of vacation time is a real bonus. I probably wouldn’t pack quite as much together if I was to do it again, but even then it wouldn’t diminish the amount you could accomplish in the same timeframe.

As a Goway Africa Expert, was there anything that surprised you?

My biggest surprise was the Okavango Delta. Even in the current drought, there is still an abundance of water and water-based activities in the right areas. Much of this links really well with the traditional land-based safari without much effort. I had expected them to be far removed from each other, but in Kanana and Camp Moremi we had first-class experiences of both in the same day!

What area would you recommend if clients wanted to extend into another country?

South Africa is the no-brainer here since most travelers will have flights routing through here anyway. I had my airfare routed through Ethiopia and that is very much an up-and-coming destination. But I would also recommend a connection to Zambia/Zimbabwe by way of Victoria Falls which is very close and accessible from Kasane. From here, Hwange, Matusadonna, South Luangwa, and Lower Zambezi regions are easily reached. Victoria Falls themselves are not to be missed on any trip to Africa!

Are there any tips about travelling to Botswana and Namibia that agents might share with their clients to make the trip even more enjoyable?

Be prepared for the weather! Botswana is mildly hot but very humid in the Okavango/Chobe/Moremi areas, while Namibia is very hot and dry, yet it gets quite cool in the evenings.

Do you have a favourite local dish?

Not a particular dish so to speak but the variety of game meats was delightful! From Springbok Bacon at breakfast, to Kudu Biltong as road snacks, the Eland Ribs and Oryx Steaks for dinner, or a giant Ostrich Egg omelet, I found Namibia especially to be a Carnivore’s paradise!! Of course there are interesting and plentiful options for Vegan/Vegetarian diet as well… a staple all over southern Africa that I love is Pap which is a porridge/polenta-style dish made from coarsely-ground maize.

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