Journeys through Africa are among the most dramatic on the planet—adventures that put travelers in sensory overdrive as they take in the continent’s extraordinary sights, sounds and smells, particularly those experienced on safari. Although not our first trip to the continent, our recent journey to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa brought back all the magic.
Who can forget the vast, primordial landscapes; the cacophony of birds, bell frogs and hippos at twilight; the roar of distant lions; the dazzles (groups) of zebras on the plains; and the pungent aromas in the bush of wild sage and basil? Most travelers make vows to return. Ernest Hemingway captured the attraction of the continent when he wrote in The Green Hills of Africa: “All I wanted to do was get back to Africa. We had not left it, yet, but when I would wake in the night I would lie, listening, homesick for it already.”
We highly recommend Wilderness Safaris (wilderness-safaris.com). This top-notch travel company pioneered safaris and the development of safari lodges in Botswana in the early 1980s, then expanded to other southern African countries. Today, it’s considered the foremost ecotourism operator on the continent. Their motto: Our Journeys Change Lives. To book your trip, you couldn’t do better than get in touch with Perfect Africa (perfectafrica.com), a South African-based company whose professionals expertly customize trips to the specific needs and interests of their clients.
Stay tuned for our upcoming feature story and film.
This parade of elephants is about to cross the Linyanti River from Namibia to Botswana in early morning. Fortunately Botswana has very tough anti-poaching laws. Apprehended poachers, we are told, receive the death penalty in this country—a model in Africa for progressive government and environmental conservation.
Dazzles (groups) of zebras are plentiful in Botswana. Why zebras have stripes is one of the oldest mysteries in evolutionary biology. But scientists now claim they have evidence that the stripes confuse or “dazzle” predators and are important for self-defense.
We came upon this lioness and cub in Botswana after tracking them for nearly half an hour. Another female is off camera warding off a predatory hyena that has shown interest in the cub. They seemed unperturbed by our presence.
These dunes are among the world’s largest and a distinctive feature of the Namib Desert, the oldest on the planet. The highest ones are nearly 1,300 feet tall and add sensuous contours to the landscapes.
Botswana’s people are gracious and friendly. Some of the women make beautifully patterned baskets from natural materials.