If your heart is settled on a self-drive safari, I am more than happy to help you arrange that. However, in my opinion, there really is no substitute for having an expert guide by your side.
Here are my reasons why I believe a safari guide is indispensable in Botswana.
Driving is probably the most underestimated activity of any Botswana safari. It requires a huge amount of time and effort: rough tracks are extremely challenging, with travellers frequently becoming stranded in sand or mud. Such delays can cause a lot of stress and drastically alter your planned itinerary. Our guides are highly experienced, trained 4×4 drivers, not only having the skill and expertise to deal with the terrain, but they also have complete awareness of conditions currently prevailing along the route. This can save you considerable inconvenience, avoiding unpleasant delays and keeping you on track.
As we have just seen, having a guide drive for you makes a huge difference to the overall safari experience. It not only frees you from the effort of extremely challenging driving, it also frees you of the constant focus and worry of logistics – following the route, planning your fuel and rest stops, reaching your destination on time, etc. For a holiday as special as a once-in-a-lifetime Botswana safari, you really want to let go, sit back and relax and enjoy every moment!
Once you are free of worry and driving responsibilities, you can maximize your time to fully enjoy the wildlife viewing – which is what you came for, right? For good wildlife viewing a guide is absolutely essential: their eyes are trained to spot every sign of life, whether hidden in thick vegetation or located far off on the horizon; they easily see animals which you are, at first, completely unable to find! Tracking is another of their skills, allowing them to trace recent footprints (spoor) and signs of activity, leading you to more interesting finds. The guides are also fully aware of typical habitats and popular meeting places, so they can lead you to discover many more animals than you would be able to find alone. Moreover, the guide has a wealth of information on all species, not only informing you which animals are on view, but explaining their behavior and providing meaningful interpretations of their activity.
Personal and Flexible
Your own guide will customize and refine your trip so that it matches your needs and wishes as much as possible. They know exactly how long it takes to get from A to B, with the best scenic views along the way. They can help you plan how long to spend on each part of your journey, so that you can get the most out of your African adventure. They know about special activities available en route and can arrange extra highlights for you, such as: mokoro canoe tour, game walks, cultural/village tours, scenic flights, etc. They will take care of the paperwork at national parks, campsites and borders, and will even assist with personal needs such as special diet requirements.
The guides are born and bred in Botswana – they are your introduction to the local culture and can offer you a closer glimpse of the real Africa, their home. Together with your guide you can enrich your safari experience by interacting with local communities and learning about their fascinating customs and practices which have hardly changed over many centuries.
In short – your guide is your expert local companion, there to take over all the hard work, assist you with any difficulties that may arise; all the while pointing out extraordinary wildlife – allowing you the luxury to relax and fully enjoy many more viewing opportunities than you would ever achieve alone.