Some of you might be wondering what a mobile safari entails. Well, it’s a safari that packs up every few nights and takes you from one National Park to another, exploring the wilderness areas by 4X4 vehicle, travelling along less crowded roads with diverse ecosystems. The minimum time you can spend at each national park is three nights, and a standard trip usually accommodates a minimum of two and a maximum of twelve guests.
This is by far the best way to enjoy game drives whilst allowing you to sleep under the stars in the heart of the African bush! All the night spots are pre-arranged and camp will be waiting on your arrival. There is a qualified cook (all meals are freshly cooked including bread) and a support team that will ensure a comfortable stay. You will spend the whole day with your driver guide who is well versed in the local flora and fauna. I have taken a mobile safari a number of times and have always thoroughly enjoyed it.
A typical mobile safari has spacious (3m x 3m) walk-in wilderness safari tents with large breezy windows, a private en suite bathroom and a shaded veranda. The tents are furnished with two single beds, complete with mattresses, duvets and pillows (bed and bath linen is provided), a bedside table, a small carpet and a battery powered lamp. ‘Glamping’ indeed!
My first trip was through Botswana’s best wildlife National Park. It took me through Chobe National Park, Khwai, Linyanti, Moremi Game reserve and the Okavango Delta. I did this trip in eight days and it was my first time camping out in the wild without the luxury of a flush toilet, a mirror and makeup. (At first I thought I would not survive without these luxuries but I surprised myself … I ended up not worrying about it, in fact I embraced it!) I had so much fun that I ended up doing many more trips through Botswana and Tanzania over subsequent years…
Botswana is without doubt my favourite country for mobile safaris because it is less crowded and the campsites are very secluded. The distances you cover on a mobile safari are usually quite long but you make several stops for picnics and wildlife viewing, such as a large herd of elephants bathing. Other activities may well include a boat cruise in the Okavango Delta or Chobe River, a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta, as well as guided walks and night game drives in designated areas.
The mobile safari definitely enabled me to discover that the excitement is not only in the destination and designated activities but in the journey through the African bush. In my native language we call it ‘Bundu’. It is real Bundu with no pollution at all. Evenings at the campsites are very exhilarating too, peaceful and with clear skies punctuated with stars, planets, galaxies, shooting stars, satellites and the moon. Absolutely stunning! All this is complimented by the sounds of Africa.
Justin Wateridge is Managing Director at Steppes Travel.