Buffalo Safari – Day 1

One of the safaris we offer is the Buffalo Safari and in this and the next several blogs we will discuss GrassTrack’s recent adventures while out on the Buffalo Safari in Botswana. This adventure safari is perfect for those with limited time, but still wishing to visit the best wilderness areas in Botswana. Starting in Maun, Botswana and ending in Livingstone, Zambia, this seven day safari is long on adventure yet affordable for those traveling on a budget. The Buffalo Safari passes through the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park, two areas that offer some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. Moremi was established in 1962 and at the time it was the only reserve in Africa created by local people. All reserves prior to 1962 were established by colonial governments. Moremi supports an astonishing amount and variety of wildlife including over 400 species of birds.

The comfortable and roomy safari vehicle

The first morning of our journey was spent collecting the 12 members partaking in the safari and purchasing water for the trip, a task trip participants are responsible for and accomplished under the tutelage of our African guide Prince. This was an important task, as we would be spending the next seven days in the semi-arid grasslands and bush of northern Botswana where afternoon temperatures can top 100° F and drinking water is difficult to come by. Having completed our morning tasks we left Maun by 9 am heading north on a two lane blacktop road towards the entrance to Moremi Game Reserve, and ultimately on to our destination, Xakanaxa, and our first night of bush camping.

Along with Prince and his assistant Tosu, there would be 14 of us traveling in the safari vehicle for the next seven days as we made our way through Moremi and Chobe. The custom Land Rover used on the trip was up to the task. With four rows of extra wide bench seats, room for three in the cab, windowless open sides, a retractable canvas roof, and our gear and food stowed in a pull along enclosed trailer riding behind the vehicle our transport proved roomy, comfortable, and offered 360° views for all.

There wasn’t a bad seat in the vehicle for viewing the wildlife we encountered upon entering Moremi Game Reserve

Moremi’s South Gate and scanning for animals

The trip to Moremi from Maun is a three hour drive, as we traveled along the road, blacktop gave way to gravel and the morning chill gave way to a warm breeze blowing in from the open sides of the Land Rover. About one hour into the drive we pulled off the road to enjoy a stretch break and some fresh fruit, a mid-morning break we enjoyed every one of the next seven days while on safari. Over the course of the week these fruit breaks included apples, oranges, and pears among other fruits. A few hours latter we arrived at the South Gate of Moremi Game Reserve. Once inside the reserve boundaries we began to see game animals along the sides of the road, Impala and Kudu, among others. Outside of Africa’s reserves and national parks there are few animals as local people engage in subsistence hunting to meet there food needs.

About an hour inside of South Gate we drove off the main gravel road onto a dirt two track, eventually making our way to a large waterhole with a herd of elephant and troop of baboons on the distant shore. This is where we were to have our first safari lunch and a perfect spot it was, affording magnificent bird watching. We pulled up under the shade of a large tree and Tosu opened one side of the trailer holding our gear to reveal a pantry of food including meat, bread, which Tosu had baked fresh days before, cheese, salads, and other stables. As Tosu, with help from a few members of our safari group, began to prepare our lunch, the rest of us reached for our binoculars and began to scan the horizon for the abundant eagles, hawks, waterfowl, elephants, and baboons that had come to the waterhole to hunt, feed, and drink. Eventually, we turned our attention to the food and dug in to a tasty lunch of tuna sandwiches, salad, and fruit. Riding in a vehicle for hours isn’t physically demanding, but traveling can be exhausting and our appetites were ravenous. Having completed lunch we mounted the Land Rover and began our drive to our first bush campsite at Xakanaxa. Return next week when we will detail our final approach to Xakanaxa and describe what our first bush camping experience was actually like.

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