It’s ten years since Bron opened the doors of Time Travel, and to celebrate a successful, eventful but ultimately happy decade we have given the website a makeover: uncluttered and no-nonsense is the objective! Fittingly, November in Maun is a time of transition and transformation, when the first rain is washing away an accumulation of dust, and the oppressive heat finally eases. The Woodland kingfishers have arrived, deafening us with their shrill calls, Paradise Flycatchers are in full breeding plumage, and mopane trees glitter with their new acid green foliage. The air seems to vibrate with anticipation as we watch the next build-up of cloud. Pula!
November 17, 2012 No Comments
Travel for most of us is about adventure, discovery, the shock of the new, and sheer enjoyment of the magnificent world around us. We all have the nomadic impulse to some degree (some more than others!) and it’s a natural desire to have a positive impact wherever we do go – but if we are to be honest how often does this happen? Every intervention in a natural and cultural environment carries a cost. Air travel is the fastest growing source of carbon dioxide emissions driving the global warming phenomenon – so when we do fly it’s even more important that our trip is one which truly increases benefits to our destination in some way (maybe there should be a Hippocratic Oath for tourists: ‘First, do no harm.’) Where do we start? The following suggestions are just the first step of your journey.
- Take fewer and longer holidays
- Botswana does not have recognized ecotourism standards, but many operators such as Great Plains (www.greatplainsconservation.com) are genuinely committed to minimizing their carbon footprint – as opposed to jumping on the sustainable tourism bandwagon for mere marketing purposes. Ask us for our opinion on those camps or lodges which are working hard to have minimum impact on the environment and maximum contribution to our community.
- Use local resources sparingly when you get here and please avoid buying wooden carvings and firewood.
- Respect those with whom you interact. Learn a few words of Setswana – you’ll be hugely gratified by the delighted response when you do! Ask questions and listen to the answers. Please be courteous, even when things just aren’t going according to plan (which is often the case in Africa).
- Donate to a local project: there is a variety of social and education programmes here which you could visit or support, for instance www.childreninthewilderness.com, or www.maunanimalwelfare.com to name but a few. Check out the wonderful www.packforapurpose.org before you travel. And of course feel free to contact us for more ideas.
- Finally… remember to slow down. Explore, dream, discover.
December 19, 2011 No Comments
It has been quite a year so far: tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods, combined with the familiar CNN fare of war, revolution, famine and recession which humanity organizes perfectly well for itself on an ongoing basis. No wonder people elect to stay at home and catch up on the DIY. For those intrepid souls who do venture out remains the question: how safe will I be? Botswana has long been considered to be the safest country in Africa, and quite frankly, I thank my lucky stars that we live here. Landlocked, geophysically and politically stable, bizarrely democratic with no history of civil unrest, we seem to be the calm eye of the storm. Violent crime is still extremely unusual and kidnapping is unheard of. Botswana’s air safety record works out at 0.022 fatal accidents per million kilometres flown according to our Minister of Transport. Nonetheless please don’t leave your common sense at home when you travel; always organise adequate insurance; seek medical advice before you leave according to your itinerary; don’t bring unnecessary valuables such as jewellery along on your trip, eliminate temptation for theft by not leaving cash, cameras or phones lying around unattended. Lock your baggage, and have it wrapped if flying via Johannesburg. Take local advice and listen to your safari guide: the chances of you being eaten by a lion or bitten by a snake are extremely remote – but the wild animals here are often big and toothy, and snakes are often poisonous so don’t attempt any of the stunts routinely executed by the idiots on Discovery Channel. We will take good care of you, and you will want to come back.
November 29, 2011 No Comments
Planning your Botswana safari should be half the fun. There’s such a diversity of destinations, experiences and levels of comfort on offer here that you should ask yourself some basic questions before contacting your travel agent. What is your budget? What are your passions? How much time do you have? A honeymoon couple has rather different expectations of their safari from a family with young children. Is it solitude you are after – or would you enjoy the company of fellow travellers in one of the larger camps? If you have a bad back or asthma could you tolerate driving long distances in an open game drive vehicle over bad and dusty roads or would floating along serenely in a mokoro from one of the water-based lodges be more suitable? Has it always been your goal to photograph a rhino in the wild, or is bird-watching more your thing: if so, Lethaka Safaris will take you to ornithologists’ nirvana. Have you ever dreamed of cantering on horseback alongside in the remote Selinda Spillway or meditating as the sun rises above the lunar landscape of the Makgadigadi Pans on a Yoga Safari? Is your life incomplete without a meerkat encounter? If the calibre and personality of your guide is all-important, the irrepressible Roger Dugmore would be my pick: there is no better nor enthusiastic guide on the continent. On the other hand one of my favourite destinations is Meno a Kwena, a traditional tented camp set on the banks of the Botetle River not far from Maun. It’s a quirky spot, sort of Mad-Max-meets-Denys-Finch-Hatton, but for me, no experience beats watching a thousand zebra at the river below whilst standing under a simple bucket shower. I love Meno because it reminds me of safaris of old, but the Ritz it is not. I personally can do well without a hairdryer, internet access, gym and Michelin-starred meal in the bush, but in these increasingly pampered times you may expect these as the most basic requirement for a satisfying safari experience – in which case Abu Camp, Mombo or Kings Pool might be more to your taste.
To regulate numbers in the wilderness the government policy has always been to keep prices high. Exclusivity comes at a price. But there are options for most budgets and expectations: most camps offer a moderate level of luxury in these competitive times. Contact us to help plan your safari to this unique destination.
November 24, 2011 No Comments