After an easy border crossing at Mohembo we made our way to Drotskey’s Cabins, a gorgeous and peaceful resort tucked away in the forest along the Okavango Delta. The huge campsites are spread out along the river, each with water, electricity and nice bathrooms nearby.
The staff are lovely and the main cabin gives you free tea, coffee and WiFi. We spent two nights here falling asleep to the sound of grunting hippos and a very much needed day of doing absolutely nothing. Just watch out for monkeys… they will steal your food.
The next morning we visited the ancient rock paintings of the Tsodilo Hills, 50 pula ($5) per person, half of which were inaccessible thanks to building work, and had a mad drive along horribly potholed roads to the town of Maun to take a scenic sunset flight over the Okavango Delta.
Or so we thought, we actually arrived an hour after the plane took off thanks to another surprise time change. Luckily it wasn’t paid for so we didn’t lose any money, but we felt a bit stupid having not noticed a time difference for three days.
Instead, we drove to the Old Bridge Backpackers and went straight to the bar to commiserate our missed adventure with alcohol and fries. The bar and restaurant have a great atmosphere, you can enjoy your dinner next to the river with your toes in the sand.
The camping was disappointing; two small gravel car parks with three or four groups packed in each. It was noisy, smelly and the bathrooms had rope instead of doors so anyone could peek in. It costs 80 pula ($8) per person, per night. You also have the choice of furnished tents and fancy en-suite tents with balconies overlooking the river.
A two-day Okavango Delta boat tour
When I heard we were going on a two-day canoe trip through the Okavango Delta I was excited to get out of the car, get some exercise and explore the waterways of this gorgeous part of Botswana. The reality of the trip was a total of 3 hours in a maccorro, 6 hours of walking through a soggy field for our “safari walk” and the rest of the time was spent in our tents with absolutely nothing to see or do. Good job we brought our Kindles.
The highlight of the two days was the fast taxi boat that took us from the hostel to the maccorros and back, speeding along the river past fancy resorts, farmland and a bit of wildlife. Our guides Ranger and Rose were nice and it was very peaceful being punted up the river. Having a go ourselves was hilariously terrible. We did see some elephants and even a few hippos, one of which mock charged our tiny boat, that was probably the most exciting thing that happened in Botswana.
It was a cheapish trip, at $100 per person, but not something I would really recommend. All that gets you is the transport and the guide. It doesn’t include food and you need to bring all your own equipment.
Nxai Pan National Park
Our last night was spent in Nxai Pan National Park (pronounced ‘Nai’ with a tut?). It’s a special experience because the campsite is completely open to wildlife, with fences only around the bathroom block. It was amazing to see elephants right next to us, and thankfully ignoring us, as they ripped branches from the trees to eat.
There was only one waterhole nearby where we saw two more elephants and a few wildebeest, but all in all, it was a very disappointing experience considering the outrageous price of the campsite ($40 per person) and the terrible condition of the roads. We were spoiled with Etosha! We also got to see the magnificent Bane’s Baobabs, a group of impossible trees protruding from the salt pan, which is a much cheaper alternative to seeing them in Madagascar, so there’s that.
I think Botswana is a very beautiful country and there is a lot to see and do here if you like doing not much of anything. After the excitement of Namibia, it was nice to have a bit of downtime, but this was a bit too much for my liking. It was a very expensive country to travel through so we may have missed some great adventures in our haste to get through it, if you have any suggestions feel free to leave a comment below!