Journeying to the eastern fringes of the reserve, edging ever closer to the wildlife magnet that is the Khwai River, we witnessed a mesmerising display of nature’s prowess: a hunting party of four wild dogs racing across the floodplains in pursuit of a herd of impala, narrowly avoiding mishap in their quest. Phenomenal wildlife sightings continued where, for what felt like hours, we observed two leopards tantalisingly traipse an impala carcass over the narrow branch of a camelthorn tree, with an onlooking hyena eagerly eying the spectacle from below. Khwai is a photographer’s delight, and our phenomenal guides Steeze and Molls helped bring our experience to life.
Botswana embraces diversity in all aspects. Our game drives are interspersed with mokoro rides where we drifted peacefully along the lush water channels to the sound of chirping waterbirds in the reeds. And as we glided, we gained a deeper understanding of the complexity of the delta and its changing annual flood patterns. With new experiences at every turn, before long we were whisked up into the skies on a spectacular helicopter ride, flying low to give us a real sense of the vast scale of the golden bushland and the wildlife that inhabit it.
Truly cut off from the outside world, we slept under the expansive African skies at Sky Beds, a sleep-out initiative with just three wooden sleeping platforms balanced above the dry scrubland beneath. But it’s really our hosts Bonno and Kenny who made our stay truly memorable, going out of their way to make us feel at home, and not forgetting our delicious feast served in traditional Poike pots around the roaring open fire.
Part and parcel of a stay at Sky Beds is the extraordinary experience in a photographic hide, gazing out at almost twenty gentle giants slurping and jostling in the pool ahead of us. And in between the forest of grey legs, we spot hippos partaking in a display of magnificent yawning, alongside giraffe, warthog and impala trying their luck for space in the cooling waters.