There are several reasons why we love a safari in Botswana. Among them are the authentic safari experiences found at the exclusive camps and properties. Ker & Downey designers Nicole Porto and Ken Hermer made a trip there recently. We caught up with them upon their return from their safari in Botswana to discuss their highlights and recommendations for those considering a safari in Botswana.
Where were you? [KH] We visited six camps in the Okavango Delta and Dinaka in the Kalahari National Park on our safari in Botswana. Afterward, Nicole returned home while I finished off my adventure in Johannesburg, visiting my sister and also doing some site inspections of Johannesburg hotels at the same time.
A highlight of the trip? [NP] Dinaka in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – the camp and staff are fantastic, but it’s such a unique experience with all of the different activities – bushmen walk, the hide, the bunker, the lookout, the sleepout deck… plus the wildlife is amazing.
[KH] I also enjoyed drifting silently down the Delta backwater channels, soaking up the sounds of the Fish Eagles calling and hearing only my own breath and heartbeat. I watched with delight as the Pied Kingfishers splashed beak-first into the water in pursuit of their prey.
Favorite activity? [NP] I loved the powerboat at Okuti. We didn’t see much other than tons of birds and hippo, but then they had this surprise sundowner setup that was just awesome – right next to a field full of impala that didn’t seem in a hurry to go anywhere.
[KH] For me it was the bushman educational walk at Dinaka, having a chance to see through a window into their world and how they have lived and survived for millennia.
[NP] Yeah, you can’t miss the bushmen walk at Dinaka. They take you out and show you how to set traps, shoot a bow and arrow, make fire… the two guides, Voter and Kumtsha, are such fun personalities too so it’s just an awesome time.
[KH] Dinaka in the Kalahari really gives you a chance to enjoy the breathtaking sense of wilderness and isolation, and enjoying sundowner drinks and canapes on the raised deck overlooking the vast expanses of the reserve is not to be missed.
For those considering a safari in Botswana: [KH] It is important to plan a trip to the Okavango Delta at the right time of year if you want to witness the annual flood. This takes place from around early May through late August into September. I recommend two nights at a water-based camp to start and then three nights at two other land-based camps that will also offer some water and boating activities. Combining the Okavango Delta and all of its land and water adventures with a stay in the vastness of the Kalahari at Dinaka offers the traveler a perfect balance to any wildlife experience.
[NP] I’d suggest starting at Okuti, then on to Shinde, and ending at Dinaka for the perfect Botswana experience.
Don’t forget: [NP] Definitely pack a hat and tons of sunscreen.
Thanks for sharing your insights, Ken and Nicole! To start planning your safari in Botswana, contact your Ker & Downey designer.