Traveller Review: Luxury in Botswana Part 2
After we left the beautiful Savute region, we flew to Pom Pom airstrip, currently the closest airstrip to Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp. Great news for prospective travellers - they are in the process of building their own airstrip which is due to be completed in a few weeks!
It took around an hour to drive from the airstrip to the lodge. In the wet season, you can take a boat pretty much all the way but this year the rainy days came later than usual so locals don't expect there to be enough water until around March.
The game drive was great on the way to our destination. The landscape was very different from Savute with lots of reeds and termite mounds. Just on the way from the airport we saw species of antelope we had not yet seen and elephants, and I knew we were off to great start!
We were greeted with a song on arrival to the lodge, and first impressions were very good. The restaurant, boma and lounge area overlooked a large grassy plain and waterhole with a long jetty stretching out directly in front of the lodge. When the water is high, this is where you arrive. After a brief welcome and safety briefing, we were shown to our rooms. The rooms were stunning, with great views over the grassy plains and had a large plunge pool.
Before our afternoon game drive we had a lovely lunch and had some much appreciated downtime to enjoy the pool!
The afternoon game drive departed after high tea. Because the camp is located on its’ own private concession, the national park rules do not apply. We were able to venture off road in search for the elusive rhino. The game in general was amazing; we saw many species of antelope, elephants, giraffe etc. Of course we eventually started getting blasé about what we had seen a lot of already, so our mission was looking for the rarer animals - rhino, cheetah, wild dog etc.
We looked for a while and stumbled on some very curious wild dogs which was amazing. They had a good look around us, playing in the grass. While we were hanging around the wild dogs, we heard from another vehicle the rhino was just a few minutes away and had a baby, so we took off to see her. She was grazing with her calf directly on the route the dogs were hunting so we were excited to see what would happen here!
The dogs came in just after we had found a good spot, and surrounded the rhino and tried getting to the calf. Motherly instinct kicked in and the mamma rhino fought them off, and eventually they gave up. Once the dogs were gone, mamma rhino got mad and charged after the dogs - they were long gone by then, but she ran (with little one trailing behind) until she caught up with them and tried to charge them. None of the animals actually got hurt in the end but what a sighting! We were buzzing from that all night!
Anyways sunset hit and we came round a corner to a surprise bush drinks set up in the middle of a plain. It was truly a stunning sight with a full table was set up with drinks and nibbles and surrounded by lanterns.
A couple of drinks later we heard a leopard was in the area so decided to go check it out - it was completely dark by now, but the result of our search was a large male leopard. Our vehicle had a spot light we could watch the leopard with a red cover on the light so as to not hurt its eyes. He was only a couple of metres from the vehicle where he settled down for a long drink, like a big house cat. A truly beautiful moment!
We spent a while with him before we headed back to the lodge for a boma dinner which was exquisite. Such an amazing day and I would definitely recommend people visit on the dry season.
Next up on my Botswana adventure…Nxai Pan National Park!
To be continued in Part 3…