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Review / Exploring South Africa and Botswana

Vanessa Dean

Our Africa Product Manager, Vanessa Dean has just returned from an unforgettable luxury safari holiday touring South Africa and Botswana, we couldn't wait to hear about her adventures and share her favourite highlights.

1. Taking a helicopter flight from Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp to Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge was one of my top highlights. As I glided through the sky, I was offered a birds eye view of the delta; I sat back and watched the changes to the landscape and the different colours merge together, it was also a good way to spot some game. The flight is a unique and thrilling way of viewing the delta and capturing some impressive photographs, it is also great way to get from lodge to lodge.

 

 Africa, Botswana, andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, Flight View

2. Due to a refurbishment happening to Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, we were staying in the trails camp and had the entire concession to ourselves. This meant we were able to spend a full morning with a pride of lions - two males (brothers), 3 females and 4 cubs; we followed the lions for hours. We spotted the two males first and followed them for an hour, then to our delight they met up with the rest of the pride. It was an exhilarating morning, I was mesmerised watching the pride interact with each other and the dynamics of the various members.

 Africa, Botswana, Lion pride

3. During one of our game drives, we asked our guide what the possibility of seeing a Pel's Fishing Owl was. As one of the most sought-after and elusive owl species for avid bird watchers, an encounter is on many a bucket list. A member of our group had even been on a few safaris in the past specifically to spot this rare bird, never having actually come across one. We were aware this was a tough ask but undeterred the ranger led us into a wooded area near the river and after driving around for about 30 minutes the ranger said the magic words "Pel's Fishing Owl". The group was elated. I never for a minute thought that we would be lucky enough to find one.

4. One morning I woke up before sunrise to hike up Lions Head in Cape Town. We started off in the dark, whilst the city below was still asleep; slowly the sky started to change colour and by the time we reached the summit it was the golden hour, the colours and views took my breath away - it was definitely worth sacrificing a couple of hours sleep.

 South Africa, Cape Town, Lions Head, View

 South Africa, UTHANDO, Children

5. Spending the morning with James Fernie, the founder of UTHANDO, was one of the most inspirational days I have ever had. Carrier is a supporter of this amazing charity; we had the privilege of visiting a number of the charities and I was humbled to see how tourism can help these disadvantaged communities and I felt proud that Carrier was playing a part in making a positive change to these people's lives.

6. We took the Whale Route (officially known as the R44) via Hermanus to Grootbos. This road hugs the coastline, passing through a collection of villages and dramatic scenery with mountains on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. This is arguably one of the most spectacular coastal drives and in season (June to October) the area is renowned for whale watching - Hermanus is one of the best places in the world for land based whale watching.

 South Africa, Hermanus, Grootbos, Whale Route

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