Mukoro on the Delta LEAD

Botswana Adventure Part 2

While it was very hard saying goodbye to Wilderness DumaTau camp, we were just as excited to embark on the next leg of our Botswana adventure. This time we were heading to another Wilderness camp, the Vumbura Plains Camp, and this was located in a totally different part of of Botswana, an area known as the Okavango Delta. A private charter 50 mins in the air and landing in the Delta.

This part of Botswana is famous for its diversity; because it has water all year round, all kinds of wildlife have made this their home. Other than the animals themselves, Okavango Delta also has a rich collection of birds, plants, insects etc It’s a true nature paradise.

The terrain is also very different from what we had witnessed before. While our initial exposure to Botswana showed a land going through their dry season, here the land had adapted to water being everywhere. So, there were rivers, muds, long reeds, more wet mud, more rivers, overflowing water holes; the ecosystem was entirely different and more exotic. Another new element to this experience was the game drives. Here your safari jeep was half automobile and half boat, as there were many instances of us driving deep into river crossings where the water rushed into the bottom of the jeep as we scrambled to keep our feet dry.


The varied terrain also makes game watching very different. Because there is ample water around, the animals are also spread out meaning it takes more work spotting them. The guides have to be extra vigilant and just as focused. Our guide, “Big O”, would use the entire ecosystem as well as all his senses to track the animals, from listening to the birds, watching footprints in the sand to actually smelling the air and following birds and smaller animals running as they usually led us to the bigger animals. Very National Geographic Channel stuff.


One excellent advantage to having the animals more spread out was that we could get more close to the bush and actually disembark the jeeps. Wilderness and the game guides had found these wonderful spots where it was safe for us to have sunset drinks and bush breakfast and bush lunch. It is quite a unique experience to have a beautiful, luxurious lunch setup, full with a bar and a barbecue, sitting in the middle of the bush, eating and drinking excellent selections while not too far away a herd of elephants have their own vegetarian lunch. Although it got exciting for a few minutes as a large bull elephant got a bit inquisitive and decided to pay us a visit, coming very close to the meat being cooked but then getting bored and walking away.


We also had quite a surreal experience on one of the sunset drinks as our kids decided to have an impromptu football game, my son Rio, showcasing all his football skills on the plains of Botswana, next to a watering hole with the sunset setting and lighting up the sky in pink and purple, and the next morning the same watering hole had a herd of 15 elephants swimming, playing and soaking up the sunrise at exactly the same spot our kids had been playing the night before. Only in Botswana, only in Africa.


Some of the more memorable highlights from our game drives:


·       We came across a big pride of lions, 3 male brothers, 2 females (mum and daughter) and 4 babies, 2 girls and 2 boys all 9 months old; the family dynamics were so interesting we decided to track them for a while as they went about preying for food, marking their territories, and teaching the cubs all the laws of nature; at one point, and very rare for lions, the mum lion scrambled up a tree to survey the land so one of the more adventurous cubs decided to scramble up behind the mum, only when it came time to come down the cub had no idea what to do; what ensued was a delicate parenting skill as the mum lion gently trued to coax the baby lion back down the tree while the cub whined, growled and snapped at her mum. Fascinating. What was amusing was the rest of the pride just watched all of this unfold with slight detachment…

·       Very unique to the delta is taking your game drive to the water. What this means is hopping into a “mokoro” or the local version of a canoe and then traversing the various delta rivers. This again calls on the unique skills of your game guide as he has to expertly manage an erratic canoe with nervous passengers while keeping an eye out for hippos and crocs. However, everything is done with a high priority on safety and the moment the guides and the security on land suspected a hippo nearby they cut the trip short and got us safely to land. Quite exhilarating and peaceful at the same time although my daughter Amara was a nervous wreck throughout!

·       In all our time in Bots, we had still not come across wild dogs so when we heard a pack of wild dogs were on the move, we decided to catch up to them and follow them as they tracked prey and marked their territories. Wild dogs of Africa epitomize the wild nature of Africa. Ferrel and dirty but also industrious, always on the move, covering great distances, these dogs were so intriguing to watch. The laws of the pack were also on display as the strong leaders led the way while the weak, injured ones just tried to keep up.


Vumbura Plains Camp


Another great example of Wilderness hospitality, the Vumbura Plains Camp, is generously spread out over a large embankment, on one side a large river with all its hippos and crocs while on the other side, various watering holes that keep bringing the animals very close to the actual rooms.


Our room was a super luxurious 2-bedroom tent, very spacious, open plan, with a plunge pool outside and views especially at sunset and sunrise that were absolutely stunning.


Again the staff were excellent and always addressing you by your name. Nothing is to small to ask for as the entire team are there to make your stay as incredible as can be.


What we really loved about this Wilderness camp was their local impact and their commitment to preserving the surrounding community. A story like below which was showcased on the walls of their library/lounge, typifies perfectly what Wilderness means to Botswana and what Botswana means to Wilderness:


“Since the inception of Wilderness Safaris in Botswana in 1983, we have been fortunate enough to work with many inspirational Batswana. In this community story, we would like to introduce you to just two of them, Lenkemetse “Tracy” Nteashoma and Lpeleng Gloria “Mme Gloria” Gaosimodimo.


Lenkemetse is a farmer in Sankoyo village and received assistance during the pandemic through Wilderness Conservation Heroes Covid relief programme. Lenkemetse has been able to leverage her farming experience and affinity for the soil to pay forward and help us provide crucial food relief to members of her community during the immense challenges that rural communities have faced during the pandemic.


Lenkemetse’s assertion that “what you see depends on how you see the world” typifies the resilience she has been able to draw on as she inspires those around her to remain hopeful no matter what.


Since Covid 19 first reached Botswana in early 2020, Wilderness has been working with Ecoexist and the Ministry of Agricultural Development and food security, department of Crop Production on projects to enhance food security in rural communities by improving communal plots so that they can serve as cluster farms and produce staple foods such as beans, maize, cow peas, millet and sorghum. We’ve been able to assist with seed and the loan of agricultural equipment to reduce the labor involved in tilling and sowing.”


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Botswana Adventure Part 1

I don’t start most travel write ups by stating the obvious but in this case, especially as we had been told repeatedly that it’s the truth, I have to admit and say that safaris in Botswana are very different to any other safaris around the world. When people told us that a Botswana experience would be something special, we did not know what to expect, especially as we have experienced so many incredible safaris around Africa. Now we understand and I can guarantee that whatever I write below will not do complete justice to what we experienced. But I will try. And I will say that anyone thinking about visiting Botswana should take my experience and expect something exactly like that if not better.


A large part of what made our Botswana experience so special and so unique was due to my wonderful travel partner Wilderness Safaris.

Everything we did from transfers, luggage transfers, airport requirements to their resorts and service, was absolutely impeccable. From the drivers, airport personnel, pilots to chefs, cleaning maids to safari guides, each person is a true symbol of what makes Wilderness so authentic: friendly, caring, warm, beautiful, family.

We entered Botswana via the Zambia land border meaning we had a 1-hour drive from our last location. However, the 1 hour flew by because Rafael, a driver for 20 years with Wilderness, regaled us with his stories, each one better than the last. As we got closer to the border the laughter subsided slightly as he informed us of some important travel tips for Botswana, especially while navigating the borders. The most important one was children’s birth certificates. You have to carry children’s birth certificate copies with you, otherwise they will not let you in. Another important travel hack is to carry separate shoes as they check all shoes for foot and mouth disease meaning they dip the soles in chemicals. It’s more of a formality and a way for them to lessen the risk to their cattle which is their 3rd largest export, but it can be a nuisance, so carry an extra pair and use them to get past the shoe check.


Other than that, the border people were absolutely lovely, we had all the docs so we spent last than 10 minutes at immigration and then we jumped back in another Wilderness car, and we were on our way to the airport for the flight to the Wilderness DumaTau Camp. At the airport we had another travel hack to learn as heavy bags and large suitcases not accepted on the Cessna planes but no worries, the wonderful Wilderness crew guided us to the Wilderness private lounge where we transferred everything we needed into soft duffel bags, and we were on our way (actually turned into a great lesson in packing lightly and efficiently! However we were traveling for three weeks!)


Our flight, in our private Cessna Grand Caravan, adds to the Botswana experience; because the moment you are in the air, the majesty of the Botswana terrain and the amount of wild animals wandering around literally hits you with its intensity. Botswana is known as the “Land of Giants” – this is because it has the largest population of elephants in the world. And you can see it from the air, picking out these majestic animals as they traverse land seeking water.


While we could have continued to enjoy our “air safari”, a dusty single track landing strip on the horizon showed our destination was near; after a smooth landing, we were swiftly escorted from the plane straight into our customized safari jeeps where we met our guide for the next couple of days: Rogers. Anything I write after this point is in many ways directly related to how Rogers conducted himself and what he gave us in what was our first Botswana safari experience. Excellence bar none is how I would summarize Rogers and absolutely the personification of Botswana people and the Wilderness family.




Because safari is why you are in Botswana, I will share my collective experience that was gained over many game drives over a coupe of days. If you have experienced a safari before you will know that every morning your drive starts bright and early around 6-7am while the evening drive starts around 3-4pm with sunset drinks and back to camp. In the middle you have time to unwind, have brunch/lunch and take in the wonderful camp settings.


So here, in no particular order but loosely based on the level of jaw dropping amazement is what we saw on our various game drives over an action packed 48 hours of wile animal watching:

·       Peekaboo around an ant hill - leopard and lion – an absolutely thrilling encounter where a female lion casually walked up an ant hill to survey the land but just happened to stumble upon a leopard on the other side, who adapted to the surprise but leaping up a gigantic tree, leaving a bemused lion starting up at her and lamenting the fact that she nearly had leopard for dinner – all while we were parked next to the tree

·       A pride of lions (1 male, 3 females, 6 cubs) gorging on a dead elephant; this was nauseating, horrific, thrilling, dumbfounding all at the same time but personified nature just taking its course right before our eyes

·       A pride of 6 male lions, nicknamed “Army Boys”, because they are fearsome, hunt in destructive ways, kill anyone who threatens them including other male lions and male cubs, with one of them actually called Cub Killer, a large, frightening looking male with huge mane and a look that literally said killer. We found them next to a dead hippo, occasionally gorging on the feast while also trying to mate with the one female that had reluctantly agreed to tag along. The rawness of this whole experience was quite jarring but again led more credence to the fact that safaris in Botswana are on a different level. However strong the male lion is, he will never mate without the permission of the female lion – mostly her just giving in – but nether the less, waiting for permission

·       As mentioned before, elephants are everywhere but they also move in huge herds which can be dangerous if you come across with many babies in the midst as that is when the herd and especially the mothers become aggressive in their behavior; there were numerous occasions where we had to speed up rather than get caught in a situation where we were surrounded back an angry herd of elephants. This is also where we learnt why Botswana has so many elephants. Some of the neighboring countries either though game hunting or war, have made Botswana a safe sanctuary for the elephants who keep migrating for safety.

·       At one point across a massive landscape of land and river we came across a huge number of vultures; they kept alternating between perching on tree tops to venturing down to the water and cleaning their feathers from all the carcasses they had feasted on – another raw reminder of nature simply at work

·       Another unique aspect of Botswana is combining the water into the safari experience. We had a river safari, complete with onboard lunch and a bit of fishing for the kids where whilst our daughter Sisi caught her first ever tiger fish (catch and release mind you..) we also witnessed many elephants swimming across the river right in front of the boat

·       We ventured into a bunker next to a watering hole, so while we had coffee and drinks, unsuspecting herds of zebras, antelopes, wild hogs and gazelles came right up to our hiding spot and lapped up the water. The softer, gentler side of nature.

·       Outside the entrance to the camp, every night lay “George” the resident hippo. George is as wild as they come, however a few years ago he was in a fight with other hippos and badly injured, he took shelter and refuge during covid at the camp. Every evening he comes from the river and rests on the sand taking comfort in the noise but not coming into the actual camp.

·       One afternoon we came out of our room to go for lunch at right outside the wooden walk way, elephants came to graze as we watched from our entrance these mighty giants up close – don't let this scare you as you just keep quiet and walk back into your room and call the guide to come and get you – its just another reason why Botswana is raw, untouched and nature at its finest.


As our vehicles were private use, we can determine our time and day. One of the morning game drives we left at 6.30am and came back at 2pm. An absolutely incredible live game experience that encapsulated everything that is so majestic about Botswana. As Rogers so expertly put it, we have to use all our 5 senses when we are out in the bush and in these game drives all our 5 senses were firing on all cylinders.



Wilderness DumaTau Camp


Located in the Linyanti Wildlife Reserve and perched alongside 45km of river bank and nestled between tow busy elephant corridors, the camp of 8 rooms with plunge pools, a large swimming pool, gym and a lagoon fire pit this is your little slice of heaven in the middle of Botswana. Raw, authentic but full of luxury, this is the perfect place to call home when you’ve come back from an invigorating game drive.


No amount of attention to detail is compromised, the service is impeccable where every staff member remembers not only your name but also every type of dietary requirements you may have from your favorite drink to how you like your eggs made. The entire staff, led superbly by Derrick the camp manager, are experts at making you feel at home and nothing is too much to ask for. From playing games with the kids to even letting them go into the kitchen and assist the chef in cooking and baking, no effort is left unturned in making your stay very special and truly memorable.

Also every room is provided with a SLR camera which you can use during your stay and the memory card will be given to you.


Everything that is so special about Botswana and Wilderness Safari camps comes to a resounding crescendo every Monday evening when they conduct their weekly BOMA: African barbecue next to a blazing fire, where stories are exchanged and the Wilderness staff (all of them being from Botswana) send all the guests on a history of Botswana while also showcasing the unique culture of this country with elaborate and traditional singing and dancing. A truly memorable evening never to be forgotten, especially for my kids who learnt more about a country than they ever will from a textbook and my husband who danced with the team.


** for that truly intimate experience, there is “Little DumaTau”, a smaller, much more exclusive camp with 4 rooms, right next to the bigger camp but only for 8 people – great for families to book on an exclusive basis.




While I will have more to say about Botswana in my second part, the experience we had at Wilderness DumaTao was pure magic. Everything was picture perfect.

I will recommend this camp to my clients till the cows come home, literally and figuratively. Its not my first time experiencing a Wilderness Camp across Africa and I hope it wont be my last, but I can say that impeccable service is in their DNA.

What I would suggest is to plan your trip around the dry season and not the wet season. In dry season, animals seek out watering holes so spotting animals is much easier while in wet season because there is plenty of water to go around, it can be harder to spot animals meaning longer unfulfilled game drives which can be hard on impatient children. So plan a Botswana trip around March-August and get ready to have an experience of a lifetime.


Check out this footage of the lion and leopard -


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About Us

As an avid traveler, pre and post my three children, and a lover of boutique hotels, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively, stay at unique properties and take adventures off the beaten track.

I've been lucky to see and enjoy so much that I think now is the perfect time to share my travel experiences, so I have created Unique Family Travel - a company where my team and I can develop bespoke, wonderful and unique travel experiences for you and your family. I can guarantee our experiences aren't available on the likes of large booking websites as we take you on a tailored journey which caters to your specific needs.

Each destination and journey should be a timeless memory, created for you and your family and captured in fantastic memories to keep forever. We can help with this simply because that's how I would do it for myself, my family and friends!

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Happy Travels

Love Dani

PS. All photos on this site are taken by me, mostly on my iphone :)

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