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On a Game Drive in Botswana: On Safari in Khwai

On a Game Drive in Botswana: On Safari in Khwai

Imagine waking up just as the sun starts to peek over the horizon right before your first game drive in Botswana. Your tent is cold in the morning chill, but the blankets are soft and warm, keeping your bed a cocoon of comfort. Outside, you can hear life beginning to wake up. Birds are chirping, hippos are lowing, and you can sense the excitement in the air. In less than an hour, you’ll be on a…

Game Drive in Botswana.

As you leave the comfort of bed, the cold air shocks you awake, but that’s okay. It’s exactly what you need to get going. You dress quickly, throwing on layers of warmth because you know the day will heat up quickly, and your stomach bubbles with anticipation.

Khwai Campsite

The stunning view outside your tent.

Just outside your tent, you stop to take in the view. It’s gorgeous. The sky is an array of pink, yellow, and sparkling blue. There’s a gentle breeze on your skin, and though you shiver a little in the crisp air, Botswana has gotten into your blood.

You smile.

You stop at the basins on your tent porch to find steaming water and washcloths waiting for you. The heat seeps into your skin as you sink your hands into the water to dunk the fabric. It’s a little piece of heaven to wash your face neck and arms in the warmth, and it’s the perfect final wake up call. You dunk the cloth again just for the joy of feeling steam on your face. Somehow, it warms up your entire body. Now, you’re ready.

The animals are calling…

Hot steamy water waiting for you when you wake up.

You head over to the main tent for a quick breakfast. A fire pit, hot coffee, muffins, cereal, oatmeal, and more await you. Everyone straggles in at their own pace as the sun continues to creep into the sky, but in only a few minutes, you’re all gathered and ready to go.

The excitement in the air is palpable.

Who knows what could be waiting for you out in the bush, but you can’t wait to find out. Even hot coffee and food can’t keep you occupied for long. Everyone is starting to get antsy, and then, you finally hear the words you’ve been waiting for, “Let’s go!”

LC1 is waiting for you with blankets and ponchos (the poncho blocks the win) to help you stay warm in the open air. You all get comfy, and then your guide takes off, and you’re on your way.

Immediately, there’s magic to uncover in the bush. A few hundred meters from camp, you turn a corner and your guide points out fresh elephant droppings. For a second, you wonder why he’s focused on poo, and then he points a little further in the distance. You look, but there’s nothing there.

The car slows…you look closer.

Suddenly, you see him! It’s a huge bull elephant hidden in the bushes, eating his morning breakfast. You can’t believe you missed him. How could an elephant hide in such small bushes? What a great sighting.

That’s what a game drive in Botswana is all about!

After stopping for a few minutes for pictures and videos, you’re ready to keep exploring, so you move on. A few more minutes of driving, and you hear something in the distance. What could it be? It’s loud and sounds like hooting and screaming?

You get closer and then, right there in the middle of the road, you find a troop of baboons!

Wow!

They’re just hanging out, playing, running, and having a blast as a family. They run up a tree, and your guide pulls forward slightly to give you the perfect view. The baboons are having a great time and so are you. Their interactions are fascinating, how they hang together as a family—a slightly dysfunctional one. Two tweens fight on a nearby branch. The baby of the family hangs out by himself, but dad’s nearby just in case.

Baboons in a tree

Baboon dad and baby.

They don’t slow down the entire twenty minutes you hang out watching them, and you realize that you could stay there for hours, but there’s always something new to see. So, after taking hundreds of pictures (can you really have too many?), you move on again.

And so the day goes over and over again. You run into dozens of different animals: impala, waterbuck, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo, more elephants, birds, zebra, giraffe, and even a sleeping leopard.

Buffalo with birds.

They’re all there—seemingly within touching distance.

Every sighting is unique and incredible. Even if you’ve seen the animal a hundred times before, every time you see them it’s something new. Your guide will point out some behavior or fact at every encounter.

You might learn that baboons and impala live hand-in-hand together, relying on each other for safety from other predators. However, if the baboons get hungry and the impalas aren’t careful, their own babies will be up on the menu. Impala for dinner.

Or you might run into a young zebra and have a question about their lighter coat. Your guide will teach you that it’s important for camouflage at that young age and will grow darker as they get older.

Baby zebra

A brown-striped zebra foal.

Your guide spends years in school and in yearly training to learn all there is to know about the Botswana bush—the animals, the plants, the weather, and the landscape. No matter what question you might have, your guide will probably have the answer. That’s what makes a game drive in Botswana with Brave Africa so special.

It’s not just about what you see; it’s about the entire experience. By the time you leave Khwai—three days later—you’ll know everything you need to know.

This is just a sneak peek of a morning on safari in Botswana.

We didn’t delve into what it’s like to eat lunch in the bush or how you’ll end your day, but we hope this short look into going on a game drive in Botswana sparks your imagination. Your experience will be completely unique to you, but we can promise that it will be something you’ll never forget.

Giraffes on a game drive in Botswana

Giraffe family.

Sleeping leopard

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