Botswana, the Cradle of Life

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By Carlos Melia

Botswana, one of the 48 landlock countries in the world, located in Southern Africa. Formerly a British colony, nowadays officially the Parliamentary Republic of Botswana. 

 

The landscape is covered 70% by the Kalahari Desert, the Okavango Delta, world’s largest inland delta, and the Makgaikgadi Salt Pan. Botswana is known to have the world’s largest concentration of African Elephants, at Chobe National Park, and over 350 species of birds, Blue Wildebeest, African Wild Dogs and Antelopes. So that was more than enough to get me interested, and since I was only a few hours away, thank to the expert help and planning of Rhino Africa Safaris, a gay owned African Tailor-Made Tour Operator (www.rhinoafrica.com) and Orient-Express Camps I ventured into this new memorable and lavish experience…

 

We came to Botswana by land and a short private boat ride, crossing the border with Zambia, via the Zambezi River, which by the way, has one of the most spectacular sunsets I have seen in my life, in sync with the wheeze honking of the Hippos. For those not familiar with the area, Botswana is surrounded by Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.

During our week and a half experience in Botswana , we visited and stayed at Chobe National Park  and the Moremi Game Reserve in Okavango Delta, both offering, in a very distinctive way, some of the best Game viewing of Africa. For those of you that know me by now, or follow my posts at CarlosMeliaBlog.com, you may know I am obsessed with Elephants, so I was so thrilled to be there, every morning was a new AMAZING experience.

I would have to say that Okavango Delta was, by far, my absolute favorite. An unique oasis of life in the centre of the Kalahari Desert. But in all fairness, the Sunset Cruise we did along the Chobe River hosted by Chobe Game Lodge was not only a treat to all senses, but indeed an unforgettable life experience. (yes yes… the same Chobe Game Lodge that put Botswana on the international map, when on May 12 1985, Elizabeth Taylor said I do for the second time to Richard Burton,… and guess who got her suite.) The Okavango Delta, called “the cradle of life” is both a permanent and seasonal home to a wide variety of wildlife. Species include African Bush Elephant, African Buffalo, Hippopotamus, Lechwe, Topi, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Nile crocodile, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown, Spotted Hyena, Greater Kudu, Sable Antelope, Black, White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra, Warthog and Chacma Baboon can be found here.

Videos by Carlos Melia YouTube Chanel 
> Sailing across the channels of Eagle Island in Okavango Delta 
> Elephant eating at the Moremi Game Reserve Okavango Delta
> Sunset Cruise along the Chobe River

 

A journey across Botswana is one unique life experience after the other, most of them playing with your emotions, and some of them challenging your fears. What do I mean ? well the most common way to move across this wast country is by small four-seater planes, and even to experienced adventurous travelers like me, this can be quite a daunting event, ha ha ha even more if you have a group of lions waiting for you at the end of the runway while you are waiting for your plane to arrive, so keep that in mind at the moment of planning your trip, and the number of camps you will be visiting.

Videos by Carlos Melia YouTube Chanel
> Lions at the end of the runway
Four-Seater Flights in Botswana

Now if this has not scared you enough, then you MUST try the helicopter tour over the delta, to get a complete different perspective of like at the Okavango. One of the highlight of this tour, remember the Sain-Exupery novel The Little Prince, and the Baobab Tree where he used to live in? well this impressive tree were everywhere, not to mention all the memories this brought to my mind, almost to the brink of tears.

Videos by Carlos Melia YouTube Chanel
Helicopter Tour over Okavango Delta

My own personal choice of Where-to-Stay while in Botswana, mmmm you know me…. I like it rough during the day, but I fancy it up at night. Yes I am quite spoiled and here is the list of Lodges and Camps used during me time there, on a plan of 7 nights.

Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Suggersted stay: 01 night
Chobe Game Lodge is the only permanent game lodge located withign the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Guests can explore the Chobe River and the abundant wildlife and bird species of the Chobe region.

Eagle Island Camp by Orient-Express
Xaxaba Island, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Suggersted stay: 02 night
Eagle Island Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is the ultimate luxury safari paradise. Sitauted on remote Xaxaba Island among a web of waterways and lush Vegetation, it overlooks a lagoon that attracts a breathtaking variety of big game and exotic birds. Explore the region by local canoe, set out on a game drive or roam on foot. Check out my own Suite (here)

Savute Elephant Camp by Orient-Express

Chobe National Park, Botswana
Suggested stay: 02 nights
As it name suggests, Savute Elephant Cam is known for the herds of elephants that can be spotted roaming its plains. The camp has its own traditional bom, where guests can relax in the evening and swap safari experiences while marveling over the stars in the vast African night sky. As with all Orient-Express destinations, this is a place to really feel the pulse of Botswana – and to become a part of it yourself.
 

Kwai River Lodge by Orient-Express
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Suggested stay: 02 nights
Kwai River Lodge nestles on the edge of a forest overlooking the vast floodplains of the Moremi Wildlife Reserve. Known of its exceptional range of big gam, a host of animals are visible from the comfort of your own private deck at this luxury safari camp. 

 

I strongly recommend saving one evening to try a boma, especially if you plan to follow my suggestion and spend a night at Chobe Game Lodge. Most lodges in the area use this as a way to gather the guests in an evening celebration, where they share local traditional dishes, culture, customs and music. (see my boma experience @ BOMA).

Till next week’s adventure, where I will take you to another experience around the world. Have a great week. Carlos Melia

                                                           – – –

Carlos Melia is a Travel Expert, Blogger, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com 

About The Author

Carlos Melia Travel Agent Luxury Travel Curator & Blogger Wedding Planner Public Relations & Marketing CarlosMeliaBlog.com http://www.carlosmeliablog.com CM by Carlos Melia http://www.carlosmelia.com Haute Experiences http://www.hauteexperiences.com MLGTPP http://www.MLGTPP.wordpress.com Twiitter http://www.twitter.com/carlosmelia YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/meliacarlos Pinterest http://pinterest.com/carlosmeliablog/ Shameless BIO Carlos Melia (38) Bespoke and Luxury Gay Travel Expert, Blogger and Tourism/Hospitality Niche Marketing Consultant. For the past 20 years, I have been an independent travel agent with my own company CM by Carlos Melia - www.carlosmelia.com - and have travelled and lived extensively all over the world. I have international travel experience, both as a traveler and professional, specializing into Luxury and Bespoke Gay Travel worldwide. Experiential travel perfected is my mojo. My firm commitment to you, and main reason of my following is - Been There Done That. All travel services and products to be offered and featured, have previously been experienced, tested and approved personally by me. At CarlosMeliaBlog - www.carlosmeliablog.com - I speak Gay, but I am also fluent in Straight. Everyone is welcome, everyone. There you will find reviews, tips and information on hotels, restaurants, tours, destinations, among other travel related services and products. Former Mr Gay International 2008, and member of the Board of Directors at Mr Gay World, I work along the main LGBT organizations worldwide, in pro of our rights and to assure everyone, that indeed It will be Better. I have partnered along the leading lifestyle, travel and hospitality PR firms, media groups and corporations, implementing creative and effective targeted outreach to the LGBT community. Narrowing the existing gap in between mainstream travel/hospitality services and the LGBT community worldwide. Been called, awarded and recognized, by peers, press, and customers, as a gay travel guru, jetsetter, influencer, broadcaster and globe trotter, with known as the little Marco Polo. Bachelor degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, tree times around the world, going for the forth, more destinations, air miles and room nights that I can keep track of and recently have added gay wedding planner to my curriculum. Regardless of your sexual orientation or preference, travel should always be a memorable, unique and unforgettable experience, and not just a destination. For this, I work closely with clients and suppliers to assure that this happens. Hope you enjoy the ride, and look forward hearing your feedback and comments. Sincerely, Carlos Melia (*) Proud and active member of two of the most relevant and influential organizations within the Travel and Hospitality Industry, which are IGLTA – International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, TZELL Travel Group and Signature Travel Network.

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