Voice winner shares his incredible experience
Located in the heart of the Chobe National Park, with abundant game viewing and luxurious tented accommodations, Camp Savuti is the very essence of the Botswana Safari experience.
A weekend away at this magical place to watch lions roam freely while in the lap of luxury was a dream come true for Otsieditswe Mothobi over the recent Holidays.
The 45-year-old was able to swap the hustle and bustle of Gaborone for the peace and tranquility of Mother Nature after winning the top prize in a competition run by The Voice newspaper to celebrate our 30th anniversary.
“I have always wanted to see lions so I was very excited when we found them during the game drive. Before I had only seen lions on television and pictures and there I was in Savuti watching them eat an elephant,” says Mothobi on his return from his amazing weekend in Savuti, located on the banks of Savuti river channel and near the popular Savuti Marsh.
Reaching the camp by road on the sandy terrain was an adventure for Mothobi and his companion, Geoffrey Keupurile.
“We enjoyed the trip. Getting there was not easy though,” admits the city slicker.
Leaving Gaborone on the Saturday evening bus, Mothobi was joined by Keupurile in Palapye, the duo reaching Kasane the next morning at around 07:30 hours.
“We found our ride waiting and embarked on a journey into the bush, through some really deep sandy terrain,” reveals Mothobi, adding disaster struck about halfway through the trip when their 4×4 got stuck in the sand in lion-infested land.
“The guide told us there were lions and other dangerous wild animals roaming around – but we had no choice but to cautiously get out and try to dig the sand from around the tyres,” remembers Mothobi, with the smile of a hardened adventurer.
Although they huffed and puffed, try as they might they couldn’t get the off-roader going again.
With the sun swiftly setting in a spectacular splash of red and with no immediate help coming, the two men and their tour guide had little choice but to walk back towards a camp they had passed along the way.
“I think they said it was called Thobolo’s camp.”
As darkness began to take control, along the walk the trio of intrepid explorers found their path through the bush blocked by a number of buffalo, one of the deadliest, meanest animals in the wild.
“God was on our side because it was then that my phone rang; it was Vincent [Nakedi] from The Voice newspaper, just checking on us. That call saved us because the buffaloes panicked and ran to the other side upon seeing the light and the phone sound!”
It was not until they were approaching Thobolo’s camp that assistance finally came.
“We saw vehicle lights and sighed with relief. It was the police. They took us back to our car, helped us pull it out from the sand and followed us until we reached our camp. Along the way we got stuck again, but they were patient and kept helping us out.”
Finally, at around 21:00 hours, they arrived at the magnificent Camp Savuti, their weary bones forgotten thanks to the friendly staff’s warm welcome. Revived by a hearty meal, it was then time for bed, sleep coming easily in the comfortable beds.
The following morning they were taken for a game drive and saw several wild animals and birds.
“It was simply refreshing, the green environment, the smell of the bush and the serenity, it was Eden on earth,” described Mothobi.
Despite several hours spent searching for lions, Day One passed without a sighting of the big cat, known to prey even on elephants as they often move in big prides.
“Other tourists were also interested in the lions. It was on the second day that we found a pride eating an elephant,” narrates Mothobi who encouraged Batswana to develop a culture of travelling and promote local tourism.
“The country has a lot to offer in terms of rich wildlife and flora,” he says with a knowing smile.
Mothobi and his friend checked out on Tuesday and are back in town with memories that will last a lifetime.
Camp Savuti is run by Savuti, Khwai, Linyanti or SKL group of camps and is one of the biggest safari camps ran by Batswana.