Photography and report by Jason Duplessis & Sara Frankovic
Last year we embarked on our first ‘Green Season’ safari which took place entirely in Namibia. Now, most of the Namibia we visited rarely gets green at all so this year we were heading on a true Green Season experience in Botswana. While Lyndon and I had been to Botswana before, I personally have not visited many of the main camps that we send clients to. My experience was only with a couple of camps on the Explorations circuit and the old Abu Camp which has now been renovated quite extensively. This trip has really helped in giving me a first person perspective of most of Botswana and Green Season safaris in general.
To start the trip, we spent three nights with family in Pretoria which is always a good time. I brought my lovely fiancé along to meet them and to go on her first ever safari. Some of this trip report will be from her eyes as a first time safari goer, as I can only imagine the things that I miss because of certain expectations. An example of this might be basically ignoring impala, knowing that they’re so common I don’t need to photograph them. I would notice Sara watching closely, taking photos, and I remembered just how beautiful impala really are. Their shiny hair looking like it’s almost painted on their bodies. Young impala jousting with each other, or just plain staring at us through the morning light. It’s amazing the things I don’t notice or appreciate as much as I should, and hopefully some of her insight can bring out the beauty in everything you might see on a safari as it did for me.
What’s interesting is this knowledge, or lack of knowledge, works the other way around. While working in the business, I know that African Wild Dog are very rare and endangered. But we saw plenty of them, and I believe it took the guides and my own explanation to help Sara and other first timers understand just how rare they are. We also saw plenty of lion up and active during the day at our second camp, Duba Plains. But in the remaining six camps we saw just two more lions at dusk and we could really only watch them for a few minutes. The action at our second camp seemingly spoiled expectations for the remaining camps. When you’re on a game drive, particularly on your first drive at a new camp, you just have to find whatever there is to be found. Since we had such short stays, we were constantly changing camps and having to start fresh. Sometimes we had lots of luck and sometimes we really could have used a few extra nights to find what was out there.
Of course, not every part of a safari is as pleasing or enjoyable as a first time safari goer might expect. Flying between camps (particularly if you don’t enjoy flying), game vehicles without a canopy for shade, awful smells and a few bug bites are all somewhat common. But in the hands of a good camp and a great guide, you can spend just a couple of weeks on a journey that really will, as Wilderness Safaris says, change your life.
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