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Travel Diary: Botswana Family Safari

Exclusive Resorts takes on Africa during this Once-in-a-Lifetime Journey.

Johannesburg, South Africa has welcomed our first Botswana Family Safari expedition with beautiful weather and 70 plus degrees. We enjoyed a wonderful welcome reception at the amazing Saxon Hotel — a luxurious and peaceful retreat situated on 10 acres of gardens and indigenous trees. Tomorrow, we depart for Botswana to our first Safari Camp (here is where the real adventure begins). Jack's Camp is located in the Kalahari Desert and plenty of meerkats, quad biking, safari expeditions, and vistas of the great Salt Pans await.

After a multi-stop travel adventure and a short game drive, we entered Jack's Camp — our home for the next three days — and settled into our palatial tents (each with their own wrap around decks and plunge pools). We headed out to watch the sun set over the Salt Pans, enjoying a cocktail while silence and the flat "great nothing" stretched as far as the eye could see. With stars twinkling overhead, we returned to camp to enjoy a well-earned dinner and a good night's sleep.

The following day, half of the group ventured out to meet meerkats and do a game drive closer to camp while the other group ventured farther from camp to the edges of the National Park to search for lions. In the afternoon, we decided to beat the heat and enjoy some R&R back at camp, swim in the pools, and mix and mingle before a visit to meet the Bushman of Botswana and a take a final evening game drive where we spotted a lioness, her cubs, and the elusive Aardwolf.

Meerkats borrowing Member Olivia Mattis’ head for a new vantage point
Zebra stallions challenging one another to establish dominance

After three days in the Kalahari Desert, everyone was sad to leave the amazing people and the wonderful service and hospitality we'd had at Jack’s Camp, but we were all ready to find greener environments and maybe an escape from the heat. On a final optional early morning game drive, we found a massive male lion majestically relaxing and purveying his terrain. Weighing in around 450lbs, we were in awe of his size and power, and very happy he’d recently eaten and was just lolling about. Not to be outdone, a ‘large’ desert tortoise ambled by while we were engaged with the lion. Everyone agreed it was an amazing way to end our time in the Kalahari.

Where the Kalahari was all browns and yellows, heat and sand, the Okavango Delta is greens and earthen hues, vibrant with life. We drove our first game drive over to Tuludi Camp, our residences for the next few nights. Everyone gasped in joy as we watched a matriarchal herd of elephants walk by with two infants in tow. The afternoon was filled with another game drive in this completely different ecosystem, a wonderful Sundowner, and a lovely New Year’s dinner where we reflected on some of the highlights of the trip which included seeing a pack of critically endangered wild dogs (of which there are only 700 remaining in all of Botswana) playing and lolling about after a kill, watching herds of elephants, giraffe, hippos, baboon, numerous types of antelopes, and witnessing a large male leopard basking in the sun.