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8 Unique African Safari Activities You Must Do!

8 Unique African Safari Activities You Must Do!

Game Drives are the most common African safari activity. They are how you go deep into the bush to see the animals, and it is the focus of most safaris. But did you know that there are other unique African safari activities that can enrich your experience?

You do not have to spend all your time in a vehicle while on safari. You can experience the beauty, tranquility, and awe-inspiring majesty of Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Delta, and Chobe National Park in a variety of ways.

8 Unique African Safari Activities

In Botswana and with Brave Africa, eight amazing African safari experiences can help you enjoy the widest breadth of landscapes and wildlife possible. They will make your safari worth it!

Let’s take a look at what they are and how you can enjoy them.

 

1. Walking Safaris

Walking Safari Activity

On walking safaris, your guide will take you off the beaten path to explore the bush on foot.

 

Walking safaris are a back-to-basics approach to safari. You leave the car and follow your guide into the bush on foot. This way of exploring Botswana gives you a far deeper and more intimate connection with the landscape and the animals.

A walking safari is not about spotting a lot of wildlife. It’s about experiencing nature in a more personal way. During your walk, you’ll discover a new kind of peace and connection with the bush. You’ll listen to the wind as it rustles through the trees, birds calling to each other, and more that you’d never notice in a vehicle.

On a walking safari, you can also track animals through areas a vehicle could never go. Your guide will make sure you are downwind and then take you right up to a herd of elephants, a pride of lions, or an obstinacy of buffalo.

Don’t worry; the chances of finding yourself in a scary situation are rare. Walking safaris are only completed by Level 3 guides who have the experience and training necessary to keep you safe.

A highly qualified Level 3 guide is an expert in tracking and animal behavior. They know when and how to approach animals, where to walk, and how to handle almost any situation. On top of that, your guide is always armed on a walking safari.

This is a “just in case” measure that is available as a last resort if something goes wrong. However, neither of our Level 3 guides have ever had to fire their weapon in a combined 20 years of guiding.

How to Schedule a Walking Safari

When you book a safari with Brave Africa, we automatically include walking safaris while in Khwai. To ensure a walking safari is on your to-do list, let us know during the booking process so we can plan appropriately.

 

2. Mokoro Safari (Canoe Safari)

Mokoro Safari with Brave Africa

A mokoro safari is a peaceful and unique way to explore Botswana’s bush.

 

The most serene, sublime, and unique African safari activity is the mokoro safari—dug-out canoe safari. It is like no other experience in the bush and offers a fascinating way to explore the beauty of Botswana up close and personal.

Only available in the Okavango Delta, a traditional mokoro safari is absolutely enchanting. You’ll take a journey through reed-lined channels in a handcrafted canoe, propelled with poles and guided by local experts.

From the vantage point of the water, everything becomes larger and grander. Trees will tower overhead as you glide in relative silence through the peaceful waters. With no engine noise, you’ll be able to hear everything from the croak of the smallest frog to the grunts of hippos, bird song, and watery footsteps.

 

The biggest joy of a mokoro safari is how you take in the surreal and stunning beauty of the Okavango Delta. While seeing animals is possible, it’s more about the peace that you’ll enjoy.

How to Schedule a Mokoro Safari

At Brave Africa, we offer mokoro safaris in Khwai and Xakanaxa (Moremi Game Reserve). It is included in the price of your trip. All you have to do is let us know that this is something you would enjoy, and we’ll schedule your trip at a suitably scenic location.

 

3. Boating Safari

Boating Safari Botswana

A boating safari takes you through the Okavango Delta via vast waterways.

 

Another type of water activity is the boating safari, which takes place on a motorized boat. This is a great African safari activity for exploring the vast waterways of the Okavango Delta and going where vehicles can’t.

There are over 17,000 square kilometers of pristine wilderness—including a labyrinth of channels and lagoons—in the Okavango Delta. And Boating safaris are a classic way to see as much as possible while enjoying game viewing and birding from the water.

How to Schedule a Boating Safari

Boating safaris rely on high water levels. If the water is too low, the boats cannot go out. If a boating safari is important to you, we recommend going out during green or shoulder season, when there’s more water around.

We offer boating safaris only in Xakanaxa (Moremi Game Reserve), and they are subject to weather and availability. Let the Brave Africa team know that you are interested in a boating safari when booking so we can schedule your trip accordingly.

 

4. Night Drives

Night Drive Safari

On this particular night drive, we encountered a pride of lions enjoying a kill. The red light ensured we didn’t disrupt their vision.

 

Most of the time, your game drives will take place between sunrise and sunset. However, when we are in Khwai, you’ll have the opportunity to go on night drives. This unique African safari activity keeps you out after the sun has set to explore the bush in total darkness.

Equipped with a spotlight, your guide will drive around the bush and point out creatures that you’ll rarely see in the light of day. There’s an opportunity to see bushbabies, porcupines, pangolins, aardvarks, springhares, honey badgers, and more.

How to Schedule a Night Drive

Your Brave Africa guide will automatically take your car out on night drives while you’re in Khwai. However, it’s always a good idea to mention that this is something you’d enjoy while on safari so that we know to plan appropriately.

 

5. Khwai Village Visits

Khwai Village Visit

A traditional building that you can see during a Khwai Village visit.

 

Visiting Khwai Village is one of the highlights of going on safari in Khwai, Botswana. It’s one of the things that makes this area so unique. The local villagers actively manage and run the Khwai Concession through the Khwai Development Trust, having transformed their old hunting grounds into an area for eco-tourism.

You can go on a tour of Khwai Village to see first-hand how communities live, speak to villagers, and learn about their traditional way of life. You’ll learn a little about local bushman culture as well as basket weaving within the African community. And all proceeds from tourism in the Khwai Concession go directly to helping the local people and local projects!

How to Schedule a Khwai Village Visit

We need to communicate with the village in advance of your visit to ensure that the community is available for guest visits. When you schedule your safari with Brave Africa, mention that you would be interested in a Khwai Village visit and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

 

6. Bread Making Over the Fire

Bread Making Over Fire

Fresh bread is delicious and well worth the effort.

 

If one day you feel like sticking around camp for a little while, you can learn how to bake a fresh loaf of bread over the fire. Working alongside our chef, you’ll discover what it takes to transform the fire pit into a working oven. It’s a technique that’s been perfected in Africa over the years, and if we say so ourselves, it’s delicious.

How to Schedule Bread Making

If you’re feeling unwell one day or you want to plan some time off in the middle of your safari, you can ask your guide about bread making. As long as we have time to plan with our chef, and it’s not on a camp move day, we can set up a fantastic bread making experience.

 

7. Stargazing

Botswana stargazing

On a clear night with no moon, Botswana’s night sky is a heavenly sight.

 

Unsurprisingly, the night sky in Botswana is spectacular. You are out in the middle of nowhere with little to no light pollution. What that means is that you can witness a dizzying array of stars. It’s an awe-inspiring sight.

On nights with little to no moon, you can stay out late to see the Milky Way really shine! Our guides can give you a lesson on stargazing with a telescope and special laser pointer. If you’ve never seen the sky in the southern hemisphere, or even if you have, stargazing in Botswana’s bush is jaw-dropping.

How to Schedule Stargazing

You can stargaze anytime while on safari with Brave Africa. Almost every night offers amazing cosmic splendor. However, if stargazing is high up on your list, your guide will take you out on the best night possible when clouds are unlikely, and the moon is dark.

 

8. Junior Guides

Brave Africa Passport Pages

Collect stickers and check off animals throughout your safari.

 

Kids on safari can get bored. The good news is that, at Brave Africa, we’ve crafted a bunch of Junior Guides activities to keep your kids entertained. These unique African safari activities are kid-specific and designed to teach your kids a love of nature and animals. We want to help them discover respect for Africa and all it has to offer.

Our Junior Guides will learn:

  • Tracking and Survival Skills: They’ll learn how to explore and survive the African bush from our expert guides, including how to identify and follow animal tracks, understand wildlife spoors, make fire by friction, and the medicinal uses of plants.
  • Safari Vehicle Skills: With parent approval, your kids can sit on our guide’s lap and learn how to drive through the bush. In addition, they’ll learn how to use the vehicle radio to communicate with camp and run the spotlight at night to find animals in the dark.
  • Wildlife Art: If your child is an artist, they’ll love our wildlife art and drawing opportunities. Our guides will find a beautiful spot in the wild with animals nearby and then give them a chance to draw what they.
  • Traditional Botswana Sling Shooting: Slingshots are very valuable tools in the African bush, and they’re lots of fun for kids. Our expert guides will teach your kids all about sling shooting and give them a chance to practice their skills on cans.
  • Brave Africa Passport: We’ve crafted a one-of-a-kind Brave Africa passport for your kids to commemorate their entire safari experience. They’ll collect stickers for every animal, activity, and camp they experience on safari.

How to Junior Guides

If you have kids, we’ll automatically schedule your family for Junior Guides activities throughout your trip. As parents, you’ll have full control over what you’d like your kids to participate in and what you’d like to skip. We’ll work with your family throughout your safari vacation to make sure everyone leaves happy.

 

More Amazing Safari Experiences

Unique Africa Safari Activities

Enjoy a safari from above either via helicopter or hot air balloon.

 

All of the unique African safari activities we mentioned above are included in the price of your Brave Africa safari. All you have to do is let us know which experiences you are interested in, and we will do our best to make it all happen.

However, there are some extra safari experiences that are available for an additional fee. Brave Africa or your travel agent can help make these possible.

  • Helicopter Flights: There are a few operators in the Okavango Delta that offer scenic helicopter flights so that you can witness Botswana from the air.
  • Hot Air Balloons: From April to September, you can go on a hot air balloon safari at darn. It’s one of the best ways to get a 360-degree birds-eye view of Botswana.
  • Horse Riding Safaris: Only available for experienced riders, there are a few operators who offer safaris by horseback.
  • ATV Safari: In Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pans, you can experience one-of-a-kind ATV safaris.
5 African Nature Documentaries to Watch During COVID-19

5 African Nature Documentaries to Watch During COVID-19

Are you bored stuck in quarantine? We completely understand. It’s tough right now to stay entertained while locked inside, but we have a solution. In honor of Earth Day (April 22, 2020), we gathered our five favorite African nature documentaries to watch during COVID-19.

All of these documentaries offer something unique and exciting to enjoy while you’re sitting on your couch and wondering what’s on TV. Some are focused on Botswana’s Okavango Delta, while others are more wide-ranging and document nature from across the globe. Whatever the case, they all offer unique insight into the beautiful continent that is Africa.

1. DisneyNature Elephant

This kid-friendly nature documentary follows a family of elephants as they journey through Botswana’s Okavango Delta in search of food and water. Narrated by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, it’s a charming story of the struggles and joys of being an elephant and surviving all that nature has to offer—the good and the bad.

It’s a story-driven African nature documentary that is perfect for kids who may get bored with typical nature shows that are too fact-focused. Telling the tale of matriarch Gaia, her sister Shani, and Shani’s son, Jomo, Elephant takes a fun look at the journey many elephants in the Okavango Delta go through every year to stay alive.

You can find it on Disney+. And we highly recommend the behind-the-scenes story In the Footsteps of Elephants if you want more insight into Botswana and what it took for filmmakers to get the shots they did.

2. Night on Earth

Night on Earth, which you can watch on Netflix, might be one of our favorite new nature documentaries. The series offers viewers an entirely new look at animals, under cover of darkness. It’s absolutely incredible to see big cats, bears, bats, and other creatures as they explore their world in a way you’ve never seen before.

From cheetahs hunting in the African savannah to monkeys trying to survive freezing temperatures in Japan, Night on Earth reveals the magic that happens after the sun goes down. It’s an addicting new nature series that we highly recommend.

Botswana at sunset on safari

The first episode, in particular, is highly focused on Africa and big cats at night. Watch it on Netflix.

3. National Geographic: The Flood

If you want to get an up-close and personal look at Botswana’s Okavango Delta, The Flood is the National Geographic special you MUST watch. When we sat down to enjoy this, we were amazed at how much of what they showed matched what we’ve witnessed in the Delta ourselves.

This African nature documentary truly shows the spectacular beauty that can be found in Botswana. There is no place like the Delta anywhere else in the world. Each year the cycle of flooding and desert creates a symphony of life that takes your breath away. And The Flood gives you an in-depth look at this miracle and all it has to offer.

If you want to truly see what it’s like to go on safari with Brave Africa in the Okavango Delta, this is the documentary you want to watch. It’s probably the closest you can get to actually going on safari. Watch it on Disney+.

4. The Ivory Game

Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed. Many of these elephants are killed for their tusks. The illegal ivory trade is a terrible and thriving business that claims thousands of elephants every single year, and The Ivory Game takes you into that dark world for a close-up look.

This African nature documentary is not for the faint of heart. It’s a dark story about the illegal ivory trade, the consequences it has, and what’s being done to stop it. It’s a herculean effort that’s constantly ongoing and desperately deserves our attention.

Elephants Touching Trunks

If you want to know more about the challenges facing elephants and conservation efforts. Watch it on Netflix.

5. National Geographic: Savage Kingdom

With three seasons already available to watch, National Geographic’s Savage Kingdom is a fantastic TV show. It takes you into the heart of Botswana’s Savuti to show you life as a predator. The episodes follow the kings and queens of the African savannah—lions, hyena, cheetah, leopard, wild dogs, etc.—as they battle it out to be on the top of the food chain.

Narrated by Charles Dance (best known for his role as Tywin Lannister) it’s an epic TV series that not only shows you the beauty of Botswana’s Savuti marsh but also it’s harsh reality. Life isn’t easy for the predators or the prey in this vast, unforgiving land.

Unfortunately, this amazing show is only available if you have Hulu+ Live or you can buy each season on Amazon Prime for $14.99.

Incredible Botswana Safari Sightings: Lion VS Hyena

Incredible Botswana Safari Sightings: Lion VS Hyena

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Brave Africa team was lucky enough to be out in the Okavango Delta for 18 days in March with a guest. Throughout the trip, they had many incredible Botswana safari sightings. Still, one lion sighting really stood out: a small pride of lions versus a lone hyena fighting over a buffalo kill.

Here’s the story of our incredible lion VS hyena battle from our co-founder and expert guide, Tabona Wina.

 

Flooding in the Okavango Delta

The bush was amazing!

It was so beautiful, and the game was incredible. While we can almost always say that about the Okavango Delta, during such an early and robust flood season, it is even more true.

Water was everywhere while we were on safari. In fact, it was so flooded that if it weren’t for COVID-19 closing down everything anyway, there’s a good possibility that the government may have had to close down certain sections of the Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai for safety reasons.

It was actually difficult to drive to many areas because the water was so deep and spreading. It was a marsh wonderland, which brings many interesting challenges and opportunities.

Okavango Delta flooding

When it floods early, the areas where the game roams shrink drastically. Basically, the floods create hundreds of small islands where there’s no water, and it’s possible to hunt and forage. This brings the predators and their prey into close proximity, which can provide some amazing Botswana safari sightings.

It’s especially true for the animals in the Okavango Delta who are highly adapted to flooding. They know how to cross from island to island in search of safety and food. As a safari guide, if you know where to go and can get there, there’s no end to the incredible sightings you can have.

Lion VS Hyena

Lion King pitted lions vs hyena and made the hyena out to be the bad guys. That’s not quite true in nature. While lions and hyena do not get along—they are both predators and thus competitors—they aren’t necessarily enemies that will kill each other at the slightest provocation. And that’s something we got to see in person.

One morning, after our usual coffee and breakfast, we headed out to the bush in search of something special, and within a few minutes, we found it.

Lion Buffalo Kill

The lions’ buffalo kill.

We discovered a small pride of three lions—two females and a male—huddled around a buffalo kill. They were enjoying their successful hunt, immensely, and eating as much as possible. Of course, with blood on the air, it was inevitable that hyenas would show up.

Two male hyenas prowled at the edge of the kill, well out of the way of the much larger and dangerous lions, but they were just biding their time. And eventually, they found their chance. When the male left the kill—bellies full—and found a bush in the shade to rest, the one bold hyena tried his luck.

It was like a National Geographic sighting. The bold hyena went straight up to the buffalo carcass and started eating. While the females weren’t happy and circled the kill and the hyena a few times, as long as they stayed on opposite sides of the body, they allowed the hyena to enjoy the kill, too.

Eventually, one of the lionesses even relaxed enough that it seemed like she didn’t care at all that the hyena was there at her kill. But that was NOT the case for the male.

Lion VS Hyena Chase

From the shade, he watched the entire situation played out, and after a while, decided that he might be full, but he would not allow a hyena to eat what was his. He broke away from the shade and chased the hyena off.

From that point forward, the lions decided that the hyena was no longer allowed around the kill, and no matter how persistent he was, he was chased off over and over and over again.

It was beautiful to watch, and we spent the entire morning with the lions and hyena.

Go on a Botswana Family Safari with Kids

Go on a Botswana Family Safari with Kids

Do you want to go on a Botswana safari with your family, including kids? At Brave Africa, we can accommodate your safari vacation with special activities and pricing just for families!

We love booking Botswana family safaris because we believe there’s no better way to enjoy a safari than surrounded by those you love and who love you in return. We’re happy to make your dream vacation a reality. But don’t just take our word for it, here are “10 Reasons to Take Your Kids on Safari” from Travel Africa Magazine.

However, there are a few things you should know before you book your family safari.

Kids on Safari—7 Years and Older

Yes, it is possible to bring kids on safari as long as they are over seven years of age. We do not accept kids under seven (7) for their safety. However, even for kids older than seven, we do not recommend a safari for everyone. It entirely depends on their maturity level.

A safari can be an amazing experience for kids—there is so much to learn, see, and do—but only if they are comfortable and capable of handling certain activities with aplomb.

  • Sitting in a car for long hours. Safaris require long days in a car, driving around. If your child would not enjoy sitting and watching elephants for an hour or driving around the bush searching for animals, a safari might not be right for them right now.
  • Sleeping in a tent at night. We offer families a large enough tent to fit four people. However, you still need to be able to trust your kids not to leave the tent at night no matter what. They also need to be comfortable sleeping in darkness and hearing sounds of the African bush at night.
  • Listening to and following instructions. A safari is perfectly safe, but only if you follow the instructions of your guide. All kids need to be mature enough to listen to their safari guide no matter what they are told, whether that’s to be quiet, sit still, stay close, etc.
  • Remaining calm and quiet when required. On a safari, you will get up close to the animals. During these times, it can be vitally important to stay quiet and calm so as not to disturb or upset the animals.

Safari Camping Experience

One of the reasons why families love to choose Brave Africa for their safari is because of the experience at camp and beyond.

Family Tent

Each family is offered the use of our four-person family tent, which can be set up as desired—either single or double beds. And as always, your tent will include a private toilet, closet, washbasin, and bucket shower (filled on demand). It offers a wonderfully private and exclusive safari experience for families.

Kids Meals

And when it comes to family dining, you can enjoy an exclusive experience as well. If your kids are picky eaters, our wonderful Chef Rachel will create a wide range of children’s dishes just for them. You can provide us with a list of items that they enjoy/hate or leave it up to us. We can make almost anything from pizza to pasta with meatballs, fish and chips, chicken nuggets, and more.

Your kids will love having dinner at camp with their own special-made kids’ menu, as requested.

Private Family Vehicle

Last, but certainly not least, all families with kids under 12—regardless of size—enjoy a private vehicle just for them. In this way, you control the pace of your safari and the activities you want to enjoy. We can go as fast or slow as you want and spend as much or as little time on drives, at camp, or whatever you want.

Junior Guide Activities on Safari

The good news is that when you bring your kids on a Botswana family safari, they aren’t limited to just the standard experiences:

  • Game Drives
  • Walking Safaris
  • Village Visits
  • Mokoro Rides
  • Boat Cruises
  • Stargazing

They also have the opportunity to enjoy kids-specific experiences, which we call Junior Guide Activities. These activities are designed to teach your kids to love nature and animals as much as we do. We want to help them discover a new-found respect for Africa and all it has to offer. 

Of course, all of these are subject to parent/guardian approval, but they offer a great way to keep your kids entertained and learning.

Tracking & Survival Skills

Our Brave Africa guides each have over a decade of experience in the African bush, and they love to share their knowledge with guests. For kids, this can be especially exciting and a great learning experience.

Our Junior Guides will learn how to explore and survive the African bush from the experts. Not only will they learn as much as they want about all the animals they see, but they’ll also learn to identify and follow animal tracks, understand wildlife spoors, and more. On top of that, they’ll acquire valuable survival skills such as how to make fire by friction and the medicinal uses of plants.

Botswana Family Safari Activities

Your kids will learn to recognize animals tracks just like this lion paw print.

Safari Vehicle Skills

On a Botswana family safari, you will spend a lot of time on game drives. This can occasionally get boring for kids, but not when you add in our safari vehicle lessons. With parent approval, your kids can sit on our guide’s lap and learn how to drive through the bush. In addition, they’ll learn how to use the vehicle radio to communicate with camp and run the spotlight at night to find animals in the dark.

Our guides will find a safe location to give your kids a chance to drive our safari vehicle.

Wildlife Art

If your child is an artist, they’ll love our wildlife art and drawing opportunities. Our guides will find a beautiful spot in the wild with animals nearby and then give them a chance to draw what they see to their heart’s content. Then, your entire family will come home with one-of-a-kind original art pieces—better than any photo.

Traditional Botswana Sling Shooting

Slingshots are very valuable tools in the African bush and they’re lots of fun for kids. Our expert guides will teach your kids all about sling shooting and give them a chance to practice their skills on cans. Don’t worry; no animals will be harmed. We love nature and all things wild, and we want to share that love with your kids.

Brave Africa Passport

Finally, we’ve crafted a one-of-a-kind Brave Africa passport for your kids to commemorate their entire safari experience. They’ll receive their passport the moment they get off their bush flight at the airstrip and are picked up by your guide. From then on, they’ll collect stickers for every animal, activity, and camp they experience on safari. Best yet, the passport includes journal pages so they can write about all of their favorite memories.

Brave Africa Passport Stickers

Brave Africa Passport with collectible stickers!

Brave Africa Passport Pages

Collect stickers and check off animals throughout your safari.

Brave Africa Passport Journal

Your kids can fill in their Brave Africa Passport journal with their favorite memories.

Book Our Junior Guides Family Safari Package Today!

Your children will never forget their first safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. They’ll love learning everything they can about the bush from animal tracking to wilderness survival, safari driving, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about our Botswana family safaris.

Is an African Safari Safe?

Is an African Safari Safe?

One of the first questions we get whenever we talk to someone new to safaris is, “Is an African safari safe?” We immediately assure them that it’s very safe, but we know that the word of safari enthusiasts may not be as reassuring as you would like.

So, to help you determine for yourself if an African safari is safe, we’re going to delve into the main arguments we hear over and over again. (more…)

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