Safari Offers for Botswana, Green Season

Botswana

Come June to October in Botswana,  we scramble at the last minute to find availability due to the high demand over this time.   As we roll into November availability gets a little easier to find and pricing drops. This period (November to March) has warmer temperatures, dramatic African afternoon storms and a new lease on life literally as flowers bloom,  migratory birds return and there is an abundance of young antelope all around. The Delta itself, becomes more spacious as the water recedes and dries up and the green lush new vegetation is revealed. To sum up the USP’s for travel in the Green season are

  • Explosion of new life
  • Summer birds migrate back
  • Excellent lighting for Photography
  • Beautiful colours all around
  • Increase of predator sightings due to all the newborns
  • Dramatic late afternoon African thunderstorms

The following Botswana partners offer some great deals in the Green Season

Machaba Safaris 

15 November 2019 – 31 March 2020

Applicable to Machaba Lodge, Little Machaba and Gomoti Plains

– Guests can stay three nights at any of their camps and receive COMPLIMENTARY INTER-CAMP TRANSFERS EX MAUN PLUS a surprise gift or

– Guests can stay three nights and received the third night complimentary 

NEW: Stay three nights Machaba Camp & three nights Gomoti Plains leading in at USD4333 per person including all inter-camp air transfer

Natural Selection

Validity 01 Nov 19 – 19 Dec 2019

We are able to offer the following INCREDIBLE offers:

– Stay two nights Hyena Pans and, two nights Jackal and Hide and get four nights FREE at Clarendon Fresnaye on a BB Basis.

– Stay two nights Meno A Kwena with three nights Sable Alley and get three nights FREE at Ilala Lodge on a BB Basis including 1 dinner at the Boma and Drum experience

Belmond Safaris offer

Book the best of Botswana

Botswana is one of Africa’s most popular and exclusive safari destinations

PACKAGES

Validity: 01 Nov 19 – 31 March 2020


– Two nights Pangolin Chobe Lodge
– Two nights Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge
– Three nights Belmond Eagle Island 

01 Nov 19 – 23 Dec 19

Package price  = USD5158

SPECIAL OFFER PRICE: USD3782 pp sharing

01 Jan – 31 March 2020

Package price – USD5754 pp sharing

SPECIAL OFFER PRICE: USD3936 pp sharing

Package includes:

– Start Kasane Airport

– Return transfers Kasane Airport / Chobe Pangolin Lodge

– 2 nights Chobe Pangolin Lodge on a Fully inclusive basis

– Mack Air transfers

– 2 nights Belmond Savute Elephant Lodge

– 3 nights Belmond Eagle Island Lodge    

Contact us for any further questions regarding the above offers

ALL RATES ABOVE ARE RACK RATES

Please contact us for your net rate  – janine@personalcollectionbyta.com

MAKGADIKGADI PANS

Located in the Kalahari Basin, the Makgadikgadi Pans are the vast salty remains of a 2 million year old lake and is practically devoid of human habitation.. Evidence of the past, dates back to the Stone Ages and is a draw card for fossil seekers.

You might even see engravings in the trunks of ancient baobab trees left behind by explorers David Livingstone and Frederick Selous that mark their passage through the region. This is one of the few places on earth where you feel like you are part of the world’s extraordinary history and evolution. The deafening silence and brilliance of the night sky’s stars is something that can only be experienced in this isolated and often described as “eerily haunting” place.

The Salt pans cover an area of 12 000 sq kms (1 200 000 ha) which is about the size of Portugal.  The Pans are home to the second largest zebra migration in Africa. They move from the west, near the Boteli River, which is their home during the dry season to the east when the rains start to fall in November and December each year. During the dry months (April to October) the pans are full of adventure from quad biking, guided walks, horse rides and traditional game drives.

From December to May, the rainy season, large herds of blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok and gemsbok may be seen as this is when the Boteli River flows through the reserve. The Okavango floodwaters are high and everything becomes lush and green.

Flamingos, migratory ducks, pelicans and geese flocking in by the thousands making the Pans a birders paradise. The charming little meerkat (also known as the suricat) is a highlight for many visitors to the area.  Luckily we know this region and can add this beautiful place and is a must on a Botswana itinerary.

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POM POM CAMP MOREMI

Pom Pom Camp situated on Pom Pom Island in a private concession lies at the heart of the Okavango Delta at the head waters of the Xudum river system. On the western boundary of the renowned Moremi Game Reserve Pom Pom offers a superb Okavango Delta experience.

The main building is constructed of thatch and canvas and comprises a lounge, dining, bar and pool areas, as well as a gift shop and the boma area. The swimming pool is situated close to the main lodge and the bar, making a perfect location to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the heat of the day.

Accommodation consists of nine luxury safari tents in true traditional safari style, all with full en-suite semi open ablution facilities. The tents are uniquely positioned under the shade of the surrounding trees with overlooking views of the Pom Pom lagoon.

One family safari tent that can accommodate four with en-suite facilities and close proximity to the main lodge.

Pom Pom is one of the camps in the Okavango Delta that is able to offer game drives within the private concession area. Morning and evening game drives in the company of our qualified guides will give you the opportunity to view all the big game and night life of this environment.

Activities at Pom Pom Camp explore the private concession. Game drives are conducted both in the early morning and late afternoon. Motorboat and mokoro excursions are also conducted, primarily in the late afternoon. Guided walks are conducted with professional guides giving guests the opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the area. The Pom Pom Concession is a private concession situated in the heart of the Okavango Delta and on the head waters of the Xudum river system. The area lies on the western boundary of the Moremi Game Reserve and offers superb Okavango scenery and a true Okavango wilderness experience. A mokoro trip is a fantastic way to experience the wonders of the Okavango Delta. In the company of a professional poler with vast experience of the Delta, you will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of this unique habitat and learn about the waterways and wildlife.

Fishing is also possible at Pom Pom, and guides will be happy to take you to their secret spots to try for Pike and a variety of Bream species.

There is no better way to truly experience the African bush

1

than a guided walk, and this will also offer you the opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the area from professional guides.

MACHABA CAMP

Machaba Camp is situated in the game rich Khwai area. The Khwai Concession is a 35 000-hectare reserve situated in the north eastern Okavango adjacent to the Moremi Game Reserve. The name Machaba is the local Setswana name for the Sycamore Fig Tree, the tree of life.

Machaba Camp is independently owned and run, and is aimed at the affordable luxury travel markets across the world, offering great value for money and a unique classical safari experience. Machaba Camp will appeal to the novice safari guest as well as to the seasoned safari traveller. Machaba trees are renowned for their abundant fruit, which feed a vast array of animals throughout the year, including elephant, baboons, bush buck, green pigeons and many more.

The camp is built in the classic 1950’s style, with luxury safari tents, en-suite bathrooms and living areas, not forgetting the romantic outdoor showers. All the tents are situated on the ground and the pathways to the tents meander between the large riverine trees.

  • Morning and evening game drives
  • Walking (guide dependant)
  • Mokoros (year-round, water dependent)
  • Game viewing from the comfort of your own tent
  • Catch up on some reading, with our large collection of reading material.
  • Visits to the local community
  • After Dinner Night Drive

ACCOMMODATION

All 10 luxury tents are situated in the beautiful riverine treeline on the Khwai River, overlooking the famous Moremi Game Reserve. From these tented verandas one can watch the daily parade of animals coming down to drink at the river in front of camp.

  • Luxury tented camp – 10 Tents in Total – Max 24 guests
  • 8 x Luxury Tents
  • 2 x Family Luxury Tents
  • Children of all ages welcome. A private vehicle is required for children under 6 participating in game activities
  • No babysitting facilities available
  • Facilities

Machaba Camp electricity is run on a hybrid system which incorporates both solar energy and a generator. The solar farm enables us to harvest energy from the sun to run the camp, whilst the generator is used to back the system up during peak periods and inclement weather from time to time. The hot water system in camp is based on a Thermodynamic Solar Energy system, this latest technology ensures hot water generation no matter what the weather.

  • Facilities available at Machaba Camp
  • Swimming Pool, with loungers
  • Tented Main Area
  • Library
  • Picturesque views over the Moremi and Khwai River
  • Spa Therapist – treatments include massages and facials done in guest’s rooms.

ACTIVITIES

Guests need to know…
Because Botswana is a malaria area, precautions are recommended. The water in camp is safe to drink.  Limited electricity is available in the rooms, however charging facilities are available for cameras and smaller electrical devices. Luggage restriction in smaller aircraft – 20kg per person soft bags.

  • Morning & Evening Game Drives
  • Year-round water activities, with dugout canoes (mokoro) water level dependent.
  • Walking (guide dependent)
  • Game-viewing from the comfort of your own tent
  • Relax at the pool, with wonderful views over the Khwai river
  • Catch up on some reading, with our large selection of reading material
  • Visits to the local community
  • Spa Therapist – treatments include massages and facials done in guest’s rooms

FOOD DINING

The food served at camp is a wonderful mixture of local cuisine flavoured and cooked in good old fashion home style cooking. We call this bush fire. Our chefs come from Botswana and have many years working in the tourism industry preparing fine meals. We try and eat under the stars at night and vary our dining experiences with every meal.

THE SPECIAL SAN TRIBE

The San are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa, where they have lived for at least 20 000 years. The term San is commonly used to refer to a diverse group of hunter-gatherers living in Southern Africa who share historical and linguistic connections.

The San interpreted this as a proud and respected reference to their brave fight for freedom from domination and colonization. Many now accept the terms Bushmen or San. Like the first people to inhabit other countries in the world, the San have an unfortunate history of poverty, social rejection, decline of cultural identity and the discrimination of their rights as a group. Yet, the San have also received the attention of anthropologists and the media with their survival and hunting skills, wealth of indigenous knowledge of the flora and fauna of Southern Africa, and their rich cultural traditions. San people speak numerous dialects of a group of languages known for the characteristic ‘clicks’ that can be heard in their pronunciation, represented in writing by symbols such as ! or /. Made up of small mobile groups, San communities comprise up to about 25 men, women and children. At certain times of the year groups join for exchange of news and gifts, for marriage arrangements and for social occasions.

HISTORICAL

The San are descendants of Early Stone Age ancestors. Clans and loosely connected family groups followed seasonal game migrations between mountain range and coastline. They made their homes in caves, under rocky overhangs or in temporary shelters. These migratory people do not domesticate animals or cultivate crops, even though their knowledge of both flora and fauna is vast. The San categorized thousands of plants and their uses, from nutritional to medicinal, mystical to recreational and lethal. San men have a formidable reputation as trackers and hunters. San trackers will follow the ‘spoor’ (tracks) of an animal across virtually any kind of surface or terrain. Their skills even enable them to distinguish between the “spoor” of a wounded animal and that of the rest of the herd.

SOCIAL LIFE AND CULTURE

The San have no formal authority figure or chief, but govern themselves by group consensus. Disputes are resolved through lengthy discussions where all involved have a chance to make their thoughts heard until some agreement is reached. Certain individuals may assume leadership in specific spheres in which they excel, such as hunting or healing rituals, but they cannot achieve positions of general influence or power. Leadership among the San is kept for those who have lived within that group for a long time, who have achieved a respectable age, and good character. San are largely egalitarian, sharing such things as meat and tobacco. Land is usually owned by a group, and rights to land are usually inherited bilaterally. Kinship bonds provide the basic framework for political models. Membership in a group is determined by residency. As long as a person lives on the land of his group he maintains his membership. It is possible to hunt on land not owned by the group, but permission must be obtained from the owners.

The San will eat anything available, both animal and vegetable. Their selection of food ranges from antelope, Zebra, porcupine, wild hare, Lion, Giraffe, fish, insects, tortoise, flying ants, snakes (venomous and non-venomous), Hyena, eggs and wild honey. The meat is boiled or roasted on a fire. The San are not wasteful and every part of the animal is used. The hides are tanned for blankets and the bones are cracked for the marrow. Water is hard to come by, as the San are constantly on the move. Usually during the dry season, these migrants collect their moisture by scraping and squeezing roots. If they are out hunting or travelling, they would dig holes in the sand to find water. They also carry water in an ostrich eggshell.

HUNTING METHODS

The San are excellent hunters. Although they do a fair amount of trapping, the best method of hunting is with bow and arrow. The San arrow does not kill the animal straight away. It is the deadly poison, which eventually causes the death. In the case of small antelope such as Duiker or Steenbok, a couple of hours may elapse before death. For larger antelope, this could be 7 to 12 hours.

For large game, such as Giraffe it could take as long as 3 days. Today the San make the poison from the larvae of a small beetle but will also use poison from plants, such as the euphorbia, and snake venom. A caterpillar, reddish yellow in colour and about three-quarters of an inch long, called ka or ngwa is also used. The poison is boiled repeatedly until it looks like red currant jelly. It is then allowed to cool and ready to be smeared on the arrows. The poison is highly toxic and is greatly feared by the San themselves; the arrow points are therefore reversed so that the poison is safely contained within the reed collar. It is also never smeared on the point but just below it – thus preventing fatal accidents.

The poison is neuro toxic and does not contaminate the whole animal. The spot where the arrow strikes is cut out and thrown away, but the rest of the meat is fit to eat.  The effect of the poison is not instantaneous, and the hunters frequently have to track the animal for a few days. The San also dug pitfalls near the larger rivers where the game came to drink. The pitfalls were large and deep, narrowing like a funnel towards the bottom, in the centre of which was planted a sharp stake. These pitfalls were cleverly covered with branches, which resulted in the animals walking over the pit and falling onto the stake. Another way of capturing animals was to wait at Aardvark holes. Aardvark holes are used by small buck as a resting place to escape the midday sun. The hunter waited patiently behind the hole until the animal left.

When this happened, it was being firmly pinned and hit on the head with a Kerrie (club). The San are intelligent trackers and know the habits of their prey. On discovering where a herd has gathered, they immediately test the direction and force of the wind by throwing a handful of dust into the air. If the ground is bare and open, he will crawl on his belly, sometimes holding a small bush in front of him. Hunters carry a skin bag slung around one shoulder, containing personal belongings, poison, medicine, flywhisks and additional arrows. The San make use of over 100 edible species of plant. While the men hunt, the women, who are experts in foraging for edible mushrooms, bulbs, berries and melons, gather food for the family. Children stay at home to be watched over by those remaining in camp, but nursing children are carried on these gathering trips, adding to the load the women must carry. Gender roles are not jealously guarded in the San society. Women sometimes assist in the hunt and the men sometimes help gather plant foods.

ROCK ART

Until recently, most amateur and professional anthropologists looked at a rock painting of the San and believed that they could decipher it without any problems. The pieces that they did not understand were passed off as crude art or that the artist had too much to drink or smoke. This has been found not to be the case, and their work is recognised as holding deep spiritual and religious meaning. Contrary to popular belief, these paintings and engravings of strange human figures and animals, especially the Eland (a species of antelope), did not depict every day life but had a deeper religious and symbolic meaning. When shaman (medicine men) painted an Eland, they did not just pay respect to a sacred animal; they also harnessed its essence (N!um).

By putting paint to rock, they would be able to open portals to the spirit world. San rock paintings are found in rocky areas of the KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and the Western Cape provinces. The San mainly used red, ranging from orange to brown, white, black and yellow in their paintings. Blue and green were never used. Red was derived from haematite (red ochre), and yellow from limonite (yellow ochre). Manganese oxide and charcoal were used for black; white, which does not preserve well, was probably obtained from bird droppings or kaolin. The blood of an Eland, an animal of great religious and symbolic significance, was often mixed into the colour pigments. Another striking feature of the rock art is the embodiment of action and speed.

Human figures are stylized and depicted as having long strides and the animals are either galloping or leaping, or, more subtly, flicking a tail or twisting a neck. Most of the paintings have an underlying spiritual theme and are believed to have been representations of religious ceremonies and rituals.

LIFE OF A SAN TODAY

Today, the San suffer from a perception that their lifestyle is ‘primitive’ and that they need to be made to live like the majority cattle-herding tribes. Specific problems vary according to where they live. In South Africa, for example, the !Khomani now have most of their land rights recognised, but many other San tribes have no land rights at all.  The last of the hunter-gatherers were forcibly evicted from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve as recently as April 2002, by the Botswana government to make way for diamond mines. A court case is currently in existence to help the San claim their land. The official reason was to provide them with services such as schools and medical services, and to bring them into modern society. In fact, few of these services have materialized, and the San have been confined to bleak encampments in a hostile environment.

The San are a friendly, creative, and peaceful people, who never developed any weapons of war, and have lived in harmony with their natural environment for at least 20 000 years. Properly restored to their ancestral lands, and reintegrated into the game reserves of southern Africa, San communities could become self-sustaining. The hardiness of the San allowed them to survive their changed fortunes and the harsh conditions of the Kalahari Desert in which they are now mostly concentrated.

Today, the small group that remains has adopted many strategies for political, economic and social survival. The San retain many of their ancient practices but have made certain compromises to modern living. The westernised myths regarding the San have caused considerable damage. They portray the San as simple, childlike people without a problem in the world. This could not be further from the truth. Due to absorption but mostly extinction, the San may soon cease to exist as a separate people. Unfortunately, they may soon only be viewed in national museums. Their traditions, beliefs and culture may soon only be found in historical journals.

Join us in taking you to meet the San, when travelling to Namibia, where you can spend the day with this resourceful tribe of amazing hunter and gatherers where they reap what they sow in the land that they live on.

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