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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re anything like us, you’re already bored of being stuck in quarantine. Although, in Botswana, our stay-at-home orders are fairly recent—extreme social distancing began on April 2, 2020, at midnight—our team members in Colorado have been on lockdown much longer (almost three weeks now).
And since it seems like we’ll be here at least until the end of April, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some of the ways we’re staying entertained during COVID-19. We recently shared a blog about much of Brave Africa’s fun online safari content during this time, but we’re not the only ones stepping up our online game.
There are many safari lodges, travel agencies, photographers, and other content creators that are going above and beyond with their great safari content right now.
Here are eight of our favorites from:
- Hills of Africa Travel
- Wilderness Safaris
- Africa Adventure Consultants
- Savanna Lodge
- Wild Eye
- Brave Africa
1. WILDwatch LIVE
Every day, &Beyond is bringing Africa’s animals and stunning landscapes directly to your couch through WILDwatch LIVE. Twice daily, on YouTube and Facebook, you can tune in for a three-hour game drive in Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The game drives are streamed (in real-time), so viewers have the opportunity to experience exactly what a safari is like. You’ll witness a spectacular diversity of wildlife and landscapes while also gaining valuable insight from professional guides.
WILDwatch LIVE is a fabulous way to satisfy some of your wanderlust. Tune in daily:
- 6:00 am – 9:00 am CAT
- 15:30 pm – 18:30 pm CAT
2. Singita Virtual Game Drives
Singita is also live-streaming virtual game drives every day. You can tune in on Instagram and Facebook for a live glimpse of what’s going on in the bush.
The difference here is that the videos they offer are short and take you directly to their best sightings. You don’t have to watch for minutes or even hours to witness the best of the best. Instead, you can scroll through dozens of videos with clips of lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and more.
3. Hills of Africa Travel – Daily Safari Puzzles
Every day, Hills of Africa Travel shares a new safari puzzle on their Facebook page. We originally got the idea for our own #WednesdayPuzzle from them, but they take it to the next level.
Every day, they share a new, awesome puzzle of the unique, adorable, and stunning animals you can find throughout Africa. There have been puzzles of springbok, bushbuck, baboons, vulture, penguins, elephants, and many more.
Each puzzle is a great five to ten-minute distraction while you’re stuck at home with nowhere to go. We think it’s great safari content.
Wilderness Safaris is offering wilderness lovers a unique way to remember Africa by sharing their favorite wilderness poetry. On their blog, you can find incredible poems written by their guests and staff that will inspire you to fall in love with nature all over again. They’re also asking readers to share their own poems using the hashtags #IDreamOfAfrica, #WildernessPoetry, and #WeAreWilderness.
Beyond poetry, Wilderness Safaris is also lining up a bunch of riveting stories about the African bush. Stay tuned to their social media to see what they’re up to.
The Africa Adventure Consultants are taking their Facebook followers on an #ArmChairAfrica safari every day with great content. Not only are they sharing amazing photos and videos from safari, but they’re going further with other ideas to keep you entertained.
For example, they’re offering great safari content, such as:
- Book recommendations
- Interviews with experts
- Fun activities (learn to draw a gorilla)
- And more.
6. Savanna Stay@Home Safari
The Savanna Lodge, located within the Sabi Sand Reserve in South Africa, is sharing daily videos of their Savanna Stay@Home Safari. Already, there are 12 episodes that viewers can enjoy, covering everything from lion sightings to cheetahs, buffalo, elephants, leopards, and more.
Each episode is between 10 and 20 minutes in length and is led by an expert safari guide. The videos are shared on YouTube and provide viewers with an incredible safari experience from the comfort of their phone or computer.
7. The Wildlife Photography Podcast
If you’re looking for something to listen to while you work, take care of the kids, or just relax on the couch, the Wildlife Photography Podcast is a great choice! Hosted by Gerry van der Walt, it provides all sorts of great information, insight, and stories about going on safari in Africa and wildlife photography.
You can find discussions, interviews, Q&As, and more. All told by Gerry, a specialist photographic safari guide, educator, public speaker, and co-founder of Wild Eye. We especially enjoyed the short 11-minute episode about tracking a lion on foot.
He’s posting regularly during the coronavirus pandemic, so tune in!
8. Brave Africa Safari Content
On Brave Africa, we’re trying to share a lot of fun, interesting, and engaging content, during COVID-19. We’ve got a little bit of everything, including short #virtualsafaris that take you into the bush for a little bit. We also are sharing:
- Downloadable coloring pages for kids. Find them all here.
- #PuzzleWednesday with animal puzzles to put together online. Find them here.
- Pinterest pins on all things Brave Africa, safari, and Botswana.
- Regularly updated blog with news, stories, images, and videos.
There’s no beating around the bush, COVID-19 is severely impacting life as we know it around the world. Many of us are practicing social distancing, self-quarantine, and other extreme measures to end the spread. That’s why we feel that online safari content is so important right now to make up for the lack of coronavirus tourism.
Coronavirus Tourism and Small Business Impact
It is a scary time, particularly for the travel and tourism industry. Brave Africa is not immune to everything that’s going on around the world.
As a small business trying to launch our mobile lodge and safari company in 2020, the timing couldn’t be worse. Our hopes, dreams, and plans for a strong first year in business have been put on hold.
But as long as we stick together, listen to the advice of medical professionals, and do what is best for everyone, we can get through it stronger than ever.
Botswana Coronavirus Update – March 27, 2020
While Botswana (as of Friday, March 27, 2020) still has no confirmed cases of the virus, tourism has effectively shut down in the country.
According to the Government of Botswana in line with the Public Health Act 2013, all individuals from the following high-risk countries will not be allowed entry: China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, USA, UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and India. There’s also warning of an “imminent countrywide lock-down” to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic with soldiers watching all borders.
Already, almost all international travel has shut down, but there is good news. We will still be here when the coronavirus is defeated and life returns to normal (or the new normal), whether that’s in a few weeks or a few months.
Brave Africa’s Coronavirus Response: GREAT Online Safari Content
The Brave Africa team is in constant communication about how to handle the coronavirus crisis and what we can do to keep moving forward. As we wrote in our previous blog, we are allowing all current clients to postpone their booking up to 12 months with no penalties. And we’re honoring the same rate whether you rebook this year or wait until 2021.
But what about for everyone stuck at home, dreaming of being anywhere else?
We are going to be providing great content across our social media platforms and blog. If you can’t come to us for a safari, we’ll come to you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Here’s a little about the type of online safari content you can expect to keep you entertained as you are quarantined
On Mondays, we’re going to start taking you on virtual safaris (#virtualsafari)! From the comfort of your home, you can journey with us into the Okavango Delta in Botswana to see the animals, hear the sounds of the bush, and experience the majesty of being on safari.
The goal is to let you get out of the house even just for a little while through your phone or computer screen. We want you to have something to look forward to every Monday for the coming weeks and months as we protect ourselves and each other. It’s the easiest way to enjoy some coronavirus tourism.
So, be sure to tune into our social media pages every Monday to check out the latest #virtualsafari video!
Watch the first video here!
To help keep you entertained while you’re at home in self-quarantine, we’ve started sharing a fun puzzle every Wednesday on our Facebook and Twitter pages. This online puzzle takes one of our favorite pictures from safari and breaks it down into 48 puzzle pieces (or more) that you can then put together online.
It’s a great diversion for ten or so minutes in the middle of the week when we know you can really use it. If you really like these puzzles, we’ll keep them up and make them harder as we go! You can find our first African sunset puzzle here.
We’d like to thank Hills of Africa for this great idea, which they first shared on their Facebook page.
Coloring Book Fridays
Then, on Fridays, we’re sharing pictures from our Brave Africa coloring book! We’re taking some of our favorite safari images and transforming them into black and white coloring pages that you can print out at home and transform into your own artwork.
So far, we’ve shared a gorgeous image of a Lilac Breasted Roller as well as a picture of a leopard on the prowl.
We encourage you to go as crazy or as accurate as you want on the drawings. That’s why we’ll always upload the original photo along with the coloring book download, so you can decide what type of art you want to create. Is this fun online safari content, or what!?
Photos from the Bush
We know there’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world right now, so we promise to continue sharing beautiful, inspiring, and fun photos from the bush. Because we all need something to smile about during this time.
You might not be able to go on safari right now, or even in the next few weeks, (since COVID-19 tourism is not allowed) but the bush is always there, waiting for us to explore. Join us throughout the week as we share candid animal pictures taken by our guests and employees.
It is just one small way we hope our online safari content brightens up each of your days.
Sometimes the best way to get through an unpleasant time is to think about the future. Truthfully, we do not know when the coronavirus pandemic will end, and travel will return to normal. We hope it is only a few weeks or months from now, but it could be much longer than that.
No matter how long it takes, we do know that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Whether it is this summer, fall, winter, or 2021, we will be able to travel and explore the world again. And we do not know about you, but we are definitely going to have cabin fever!
What better way to pass the days than to plan your future vacation? You do not have to make any commitments right now, we know things are too uncertain, but you can dream.
This is a great time to collect airline miles and credit card points so you can get a free flight to Africa later this year or next. It is also an excellent opportunity to begin budgeting and planning your dream vacation.
During these next few weeks, we will try to help you out with blogs and other content offering tips and advice on planning your dream safari vacation. It is never too early to get started. There is a lot you need to know and do to have the best trip possible, so we will be here to help.
Online Safari Content You Want
Last, but certainly not least, we would love feedback about what type of content you would like to see.
We know how negatively COVID-19 is affecting everything and its particularly strong impact on the travel industry is unlike anything we have ever seen before. So, we would like to know what online safari content you want to see.
Do you want:
- More videos and images from the bush because they are a great distraction from the constant stream of bad news?
- More information about what is going on in Botswana and how the coronavirus is impacting everything there?
- Behind the scenes looks at what Brave Africa is doing to weather the coronavirus crisis?
Let us know!
We know this is a challenging time for everyone. The good news is that it also presents an incredible opportunity for all of us to put aside our differences and come together as a global community. We are all in this together, and the more we can do to support each other, the better.
Our thoughts are with those who are sick, have lost their jobs, or are otherwise struggling in the world as it is now.
At Brave Africa, we are doing our best to hang in there during the storm and make it out to the other side. Stay tuned as we update our website, keep sharing great content, and do what we can to keep you informed.
The coronavirus is causing a ton of uncertainty right now. Reading just a few news stories is enough to make you think that the world will never be the same and that once-in-a-lifetime safaris in 2021 will only ever be a dream. And it’s true that the travel and tourism industries have been severely and negatively impacted by COVID-19, but don’t count us out. In 2021, Brave Africa will still be around.
We know a lot of people are hesitating to plan or even think about their vacation in 2021. Which airlines, hotels, and tour operators will still be around next year? Already, 50 million jobs in the global travel sector are at risk, some airlines could go bankrupt, and hotels are asking for bailouts.
But Brave Africa still be around to take you on an African safari in the future. We won’t be another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Brave Africa Will Outlast This Pandemic!
Obviously, we cannot predict the future with certainty or guarantee anything, but being debt-free and having adequate cash reserves puts Brave Africa in the best position possible to survive this unprecedented impact to travel and tourism. We are at low risk of going bankrupt even if there are no more safari-goers for the remaining nine months of 2020, and we are confident that Brave Africa will still be here to host once-in-a-lifetime safaris in 2021 and beyond.
Although we are a brand-new operator, Brave Africa is in solid financial health and we have the knowledge, experience, and foundation to outlast the pandemic. Out of all of the scenarios tour operators and lodges can find themselves in during these unpredictable times, Brave Africa is as set for success as we can be.
We’re looking ahead to 2021, and the future looks bright. We will get through this together.
Brave Africa is Debt-Free
First and foremost, Brave Africa has no debt. Unlike many other hospitality operators, we have no expensive construction loans, commercial mortgages, private land leases, automobile loans, or other major liabilities that we would be obligated to pay in spite of reduced revenues.
We own all of our assets outright, including our vehicles, tents, and other camp equipment.
Low Operating Expenses
In addition, most of our operating expenses are only incurred if we have paying customers. For example, as a mobile lodge, we benefit from the fact that we only pay for campsites when they are in use. We also only purchase food and other safari supplies shortly before each scheduled adventure, so there is no product waste or inventory spoilage that we have to worry about.
When we are not running safaris, are only expenses are staff payroll, business insurance, and a small office rent. This means that we have enough cash reserves to remain in business for the next 12 months even without any incoming revenue.
The Brave Africa team is also composed of experienced executives and investors who have knowledge weathering tough financial storms.
One of our owners has a background in accounting as well as running a successful software company in the United States. He has been able to guide our team down the right path to ensure that Brave Africa remains financially solvent in spite of any turbulence in the safari industry.
As for our financial backers, they are highly invested in Brave Africa’s success. They believe in our vision and business. If required, they are willing to put additional investment into the company to continue operations for the foreseeable future.
Plan with Confidence
We ask that everyone stay safe, and when we get to the other side, know that in 2021, Brave Africa will be here and ready to take you on an unforgettable trip!
For now, for as long as physical distancing, self-quarantining, and travel restrictions last, we will continue to bring the African bush to you! Check out our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts to escape for a moment (our next blog will explain exactly what we’re doing).
We know that travel right now is frightening. With the coronavirus (Covid-19) spreading more and more quickly, we know that many people are canceling or placing their travel plans on hold for now. And we completely understand. However, if you do decide to still travel, we want you to know that we are doing everything within our power to ensure you have a great time with Brave Africa. Read our new Brave Africa coronavirus policy below.
Coronavirus Update in Botswana and Southern Africa
Currently, coronavirus infections have been few and far between on the African continent. Egypt is home to more than half of all confirmed cases on the content with 59 confirmed. The good news is that Egypt is nowhere close to Botswana, which still has ZERO confirmed cases.
South Africa recently announced seven confirmed cases, all from the same group of ten people who returned from a vacation in northern Italy. The infected individuals have all self-quarantined, and so far no cases have been discovered outside of the group—all of whom are young and in generally good health.
All of this is to say that Africa may be one of the safest places to visit when it comes to the coronavirus. There are very few if any cases across the continent, and when you go on safari, you are generally around a very small, select group of people. So, there is very little chance to catch the virus from other travelers.
Our Brave Africa Coronavirus Policy
However, if you are still concerned about traveling to go on safari with Brave Africa during this time, we have put in place a few coronavirus policies to ease your mind.
Postpone Bookings Up to 12 Months Out
If you have booked a safari with Brave Africa or are planning to book a safari with Brave Africa through June 30, 2020, but you are concerned that the coronavirus could affect your travel, we are offering the ability to postpone your booking for up to 12 months. There will be NO penalty to postpone for a later travel date. In this way, you can still plan your safari with us but have the comfort of knowing that you can change your plans as required by the virus.
To postpone your booking:
- 15 Days Warning: You will need to contact us at least 15 days prior to your arrival in order to postpone without any monetary penalties. We begin purchasing food and other products for your trip at least 15 days out, and so need this time to plan as needed.
- Rate Changes Apply: You can postpone your booking and re-plan your trip for any time in the next 12 months. However, if you plan your trip for 2021 or change your trip dates to a different season (you originally booked your trip in low season and now plan to visit us in high season), you will need to pay for the rate change between your original booking date and the new date. This is not a penalty, but simply to cover the cost of your new rates.
If you would like to cancel your booking with Brave Africa completely instead of postponing your trip, our standard cancelation policy applies.
For any questions or concerns about going on safari with Brave Africa during the coronavirus situation, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 with collectible stickers!
Collect stickers and check off animals throughout your safari.
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.