If I close my eyes and think about my past trips to Namibia, my mind floods with memories so vivid I can smell the dry fragrance of the desert and feel gritty sand crunching under my shoes. I remember when I stood on a camel thorn, stifling a gasp less I threaten the silence of the game-packed Okaukeujo waterhole, and when we climbed a Spitzkoppe peak at dawn, my rubber shoes gripping the granite, as the sun bathed the campsite below us in a soft pink light...
It began with a question: are there any African wildlife destinations left where you won’t be surrounded by a pack of 4X4s at every sighting and be confronted by manicured luxury lodges around each corner? I must admit I had my doubts before I gritted my teeth and went on a winter camping safari to a remote slice of the Kalahari. I wanted the wilderness but I also wanted to be comfortable.
Famous for its Kalahari setting, Botswana is generally a place of empty blue skies and dazzling sunshine. It does have a rainy season however - often disarmingly called the Green Season - but don't worry too much about that word 'rainy'. The absolute wettest part of the country records as much precipitation in a year as London or Melbourne do, while the rest of the country gets about enough to fill a coffee cup. You're not going to need to pack an umbrella. And besides, nearly all the rain falls between December and April with soggy February accounting for the bulk of it.
With an enviable 300 days of sunshine a year, Botswana is a year-round destination but anyone planning a safari should note that it's not always benignly warm and sunny.
One of the biggest questions to ask when you're considering a safari in Africa is: east or south?
The world's largest waterfall and its surrounding game reserves are just two of the many attractions which draw people to a Victoria Falls holiday. This iconic destination has also earned its reputation as the adrenaline capital of Africa; it has one of the highest – and definitely the most spectacular – bungee jumps in the world along with a long list of adrenaline-charged activities including abseiling, bridge-swinging, tandem parachuting and white-water rafting.
What is your idea of an ideal holiday break? Maybe it's spending time with friends and family exploring new places. Perhaps it's meeting interesting people or trying exciting activities like hiking, horse riding and game viewing. Is it lazy lunches in beautiful surroundings and days spent soaking up the sunshine on a sandy beach?
The following extract is from Leigh's journal, recorded after he witnessed a lion pride taking down an elephant in Botswana's Savuti region.
Although smaller than the Kruger, Madikwe Private Reserve is still one of South Africa's largest game reserves. It's a three-hour drive from Johannesburg and just 1.5 hours from Sun City, South Africa's got-it-all resort complete with championship golf courses, water parks and world-class hotels.