Just Back From | Zambia and Botswana


Laura Triebe, one of our talented Andrew Harper Travel Advisors, recently returned from a 10-day wilderness safari around Victoria Falls in Zambia and Botswana. All the camps she visited are owned or operated by Wilderness Safaris: Toka Leya, Savuti, Kings Pool, Druma Tau, Jao, Vumbura Plains and Abu Camp.

Vervet monkey at camp
Room at Jao Camp

Read more about her African safari, below:

Insider’s Tip: Early morning game drives and late-night bedtimes can become tiring, so I recommend spending a few days at Jao Camp specifically to relax and take advantage of its small but lovely spa and the variety of spa treatments available. Having this break in-between camps is a great way to recharge before continuing your adventure! Jao Camp also has a variety of activities on offer.

Also, I suggest spending a minimum of one night in Johannesburg prior to flying into Botswana. The flight from the U.S. to Johannesburg is very long and having a night or two before heading out on your safari is a great way to ensure that you're refreshed enough to completely enjoy your trip.

Overall impressions: I love Botswana and Wilderness Safaris! Wilderness Safaris has great quality camps, excellent and consistent service and very knowledgeable guides (not to mention that they have delicious food throughout). However what makes Wilderness Safaris even more special is their commitment to conservation, to the local people and to the protection of the animals.

Favorite moment: It is hard to pick just one, but I would say being on a game drive from Vumbura Plains and seeing the pride of lions (including the male) walk past our jeep. It really took my breath away!

Pride of lions on Vumbura Plains game drive
Pride of lions on Vumbura Plains game drive

You can't stop thinking about: How much fun I had meeting fellow travelers and sharing such a wonderful adventure! I also loved spending time with the elephants at Abu Camp; it was extremely special.

Fellow travelers on game safari
Elephants at Abu Camp

Favorite meal or meals: I truly had a lot of great meals during my trip. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (and high tea) at all the camps were amazing. I think my favorite was the eggs Benedict at Abu Camp because I had that every day during my stay there!

Favorite restaurants, museums or sightseeing: Every game drive was different, and I was as excited to see the small animals like the beautiful birds, warthogs and mongoose as I was the bigger animals like the wild dogs, leopards and lions!

Hyenas on game safari
Hyenas on game safari

Area to explore: To have a variety of experiences, there are several different regions of Botswana to include on your visit. For example, the Okavango Delta, the Linyati or Selinda Game Reserve, the Chobe National Park, central Kalahari or the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

Surprising fact or tidbit: Did you know that a portion of every night that you book with Wilderness Safaris is dedicated to conservation. A percentage goes to the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, the nonprofit entity that supports a wide variety of projects throughout Africa, from research and conservation to wildlife management and educational bursaries.

Another share is portioned off to be used throughout the organization in protecting and nurturing the wild places, uplifting the communities that live adjacent to them and ensuring that the camps step with as light a footprint as possible on the Earth.

Their pride and joy is the Children in the Wilderness program, which aims to educate the youth of Africa, inspiring and helping them to appreciate and thus protect their magnificent natural heritage.

Brought back/souvenir: I bought a handmade bag that I starting using during my trip! I also have some amazing pictures I was able to take; I can't wait to have a few of them framed!

What to pack: A lot of layers. It can be cool in the morning and warm up as the day goes on. The camps all have shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair dryers and bug spray, so no need to pack any of those things. Also I brought makeup with me, and it ended up that I didn't use any of it even once. Everyone is relaxed and comfortable.

All the camps include laundry service, so try to pack light and just have your clothes washed during your trip.

Anything else? Clients think that Africa is a one-time destination, but there are so many amazing and beautiful places to visit that you could go back several times and have a different experience every time. Africa is a magical place.

Stay up to date with all of our globe-trotting travel advisors and staff. Check back for more trip reports in our Just Back From series on The Harper Way.

By Hideaway Report Staff