Nathan works in our UK office, and just came back from the 21-day Botswana and Zimbabwe Adventure. He managed to find some time between celebrating the Diamond Jubilee and preparing for the Olympics to answer a few questions.
Take a look at some of his highlights, and see why he reckons travelling in a small group is the way to go. Oh, and he got pretty close to a couple of lions too...
What made you choose this particular trip?
The Botswana and Zimbabwe Adventure visits some national parks which are less touristy than some of the ones in East Africa. This includes places like the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Okavango Delta, Hwange National Park where you don’t see as many tourists. For me, it makes the trip more enjoyable and you get more of a sense of remoteness…and don’t have people in your shots!
Have you ever travelled on a small group tour before? What do you love about it?
Yes, this was my fourth small group tour. I think they are great - especially for single travellers because you instantly have people to share a beer and the whole experience with. Also, it can be quite daunting trying to organise your own accommodation and tours in places like Africa, so having the tour leader made it great to just sit back and enjoy where I was stress-free!
Tell us your top three highlights (if you can narrow it down!)
For me the top three highlights of the trip, in no particular order are:
Any packing tips for people who are thinking of going on safari?
A powerboard, mozzie repellent and pillow!
What’s the accommodation like?
Mostly camping in two person tents. They are easy to put up, took us less than 10 minutes and even quicker to take down. The sleeping rolls which are supplied are comfortable and after long days of game drives and sightseeing I slept very well.
Did you get on well with the people in your group? Is going on safari a good bonding experience?
Being together for 21 days you do get to know everyone quite well. With no TV to distract the conversation it is amazing how much you get to know people. For me it was a hidden highlight of the trip – the fact you can sit around with people who start out as strangers but end up as friends. You keep in touch with them long after the trip has ended.
Favourite animal sightings?
The fact I got to see the big five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo) made me very happy. There’s no way to narrow down a favourite sighting or just one experience. You have so many on the trip that it wouldn’t be fair to say one sighting was the best.
Was it the lions hunting a warthog in Chobe? The wild dogs on a hunt in the Delta? If I was forced to I would say it was the evening drive in Chobe when we came across a barn owl sitting in its nest. But upon closer inspection it was watching a squirrel on the tree trying to get to the nest and as we sat and watched we realised there was a monitor lizard watching them both – the ultimate stand off. While all this was going on a giraffe nonchalantly wandered past in the background. It was an amazing scene and to this day I wish we could have stuck around to see the end result of who ate who!
If you want to check out this trip, or any others in Africa, take a look at our website.