Widely-regarded as one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, Botswana is a wildlife enthusiasts’ haven offering some of the best game viewing on the Continent. One of the key aspects that really sets Botswana apart is the diversity of experience on offer, in large part because of the unique environments that there are to explore, with the <a style="color: #f2b618;" href="https://www.imaginetravel.com/imagine-africa/holiday-destination/botswana/places/okavango-delta-and-moremi" target="_blank">Okavango Delta</a> being one of the most impressive wildlife habitats in the world which can be explored by a variety of methods – whether on foot, by vehicle or on a boat cruise and the - recently becoming UNESCO’s 1000th World Heritage Site – whilst <a style="color: #f2b618;" href="https://www.imaginetravel.com/imagine-africa/holiday-destination/botswana/places/makgadikgadi" target="_blank">Makgadikgadi</a> offers a truly unique landscape as the largest salt pan in the world, with game viewing to match.
Blog: Botswana on foot
Botswana has long held the crown of being Africa’s premier safari destination and attracts many with the diversity of safari activities on offer, with traditional mokoro canoes used as well as vehicles for wildlife viewing. Here our Botswana specialist Emma shows why getting out on foot is one of the most exciting ways to experience the Okavango Delta.
You find yourself sitting in a rugged vehicle; all wrapped up in a comfy blanket with a monstrous zoom at the ready. You move along the sand-tracks, diesel engine slowly churning in the background as you wait, eyes peeled, ready to come across whatever Mother Nature is willing to reveal. Suddenly, the breaks slam and all eyes focus on the print in the sand alongside. Your hopeful imagination immediately jumps to a lion, or a leopard, but luckily you are in the company of an experienced guide, who informs you that it is in fact, a hyena track. Excited nonetheless, you creep forward, eyes glued to the prints in the sand. The track starts to veer off to the right, entering the thick undergrowth. You look to your guide with eyes of hope. However, shaking his head, he explains that there is no access through the thick bush. Disappointed, you carry on down the track, hoping for another indication of the hidden predators.
Now imagine how different this experience would have been if you were on foot. Day-pack on, boots laced up tight, water bottle handy – you set off. Not along the thick sand track, but rather through that dense bush. Weaving through woodland and open floodplains, you follow your guide. He stops and points to the sand, where you notice the unmistakable mark of a predator. The hair stands up on the back of your neck, and your heart starts to race, as the unidentified imprint glares at you with undeniable clarity. You look to your guide, who identifies it as a hyena track from the early morning.
Your eyes follow the tracks to the right, through the thick bush. Your guide finds a way through and after the initial clamber, you emerge into a clearing. The dew drenched sand makes for a perfect surface to follow the markings. After twenty minutes of tracking, you are still on edge, but you start to question if anything will come of this or whether it’s a typical wild goose chase. The guide signals to stop – he has smelt something. After a brief set of instructions, you continue up-wind, and soon the smell becomes even more aggressive. One last push through the undergrowth brings you to a secluded watering hole, isolated by thick mopani.
There they are – the animals that you have been tracking all this time – three hyena surrounding a decimated carcass. What appear to be two adolescents and an elder surround the previous night’s kill. The last to have their fill, they steadily pick at the remains, unaware of your watchful eyes. Your heart pounds in your chest as you witness this ultimate raw experience, nature at its most wild. You steadily retreat until you are out of range. As the excitement from witnessing such a rare moment erupts, you find yourself lost for words, dumbfounded and in awe. After a re-hydrating drink, you set back off into the bush onto the next exciting pursuit. After all, you never know what might be around the next bush…