While travelling Botswana, earlier in May, I was lucky enough to visit Nxabega Tented Camp in the Okavango Delta and having heard so much about this wonderful camp was bound with anticipation. Knowing the landscape and the lodge well could not have prepared me for arrival. Having arrived hot and sticky off our light aircraft transfer to Nxabega Airstrip, we were met by the incredible team of Sandra, Goffa and their staff. We were regaled with the wonderful sound of local song and the staff couldn't have been more thrilled to receive us. After a thirst quenching strawberry Margarita, we met our guide Bee.
He genuinely was one of the most knowledgeable and excited guides I have had the pleasure of meeting. Having ascertained that our wildlife experience so far in Botswana had been amazing, he asked us what we were hoping to see. We quickly concluded we would love to see a leopard, and to our utter delight, Bee bundled us into the safari vehicle and quickly whipped us off the airstrip. Not knowing what was in store, 10 minutes later we arrived at a leopard sighting! This beautiful creature had just made a kill, which we had just missed and was currently relaxing in an Amarula tree.
We watched her patiently for around 30 minutes or so before heading off to camp. Completely thrilled and excited, we couldn't help but wonder what else was in store. Arriving some 25 minutes or so later at the camp we were greeted again by singing and dancing, and another fruity concoction. After lunch we checked into our beautiful tented rooms before heading out on another game drive. The terrain around Nxabega is mostly dry at this time of year with thick bush and shrub so we wondered how difficult the game viewing experience would be. One need not have worried. Straight out of camp we encountered a Giant Eagle Owl, which was a first for me.
This was then followed by herds of elephants, giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu and more. After a 1 hour or so game drive, we arrived at the jetty area where we were to take a motor boat trip. This was our first water experience in the Delta and we were unsure as to what we would see. The papyrus reed was high in this area and we encountered fish eagles, kingfishers, jacana birds (or Jesus birds due to their ability to walk on water!) to name but a few.
We entered a tight canal where the reed was particularly high and all of a sudden we had a huge bull elephant literally metres from the front of the boat. We slowed down quickly and watched as this majestic animal made his way out of the water and on to land. This was definitely one of the most breath-taking moments of my life.
When leaving the water the elephant actually turned to look at us, it was almost like he knew we just had to get a picture of him.
We retreated on the boat to a beautiful wide open area and had our sundowners whilst watching the incredible Africa sunset. Our night was not to end here however and we headed back to camp in the car. On the way to camp we encountered a honey badger, a true delight for all of us and a first.
In the distance we could see some lights and just thought it was the camp in the distance, however the closer we got we could hear singing, and to our utter exhilaration realised they had set up a bush dinner for us. We dined around the Boma on a sumptuous feast of kudu steak as well as freshly prepared vegetables and salad. After a few glasses of wine it was time to call it a night on this spectacular day. Reluctantly we headed off to camp and off to bed, dreaming of what was to come the following morning.
Not to be outdone by the previous night, Nxabega had organised for us to have a bush breakfast before we arrived at the airstrip for our flight. Completely exhilarated and very overwhelmed, I couldn't wait to see what the next few days had in store.
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