First, early credit to Namibia Travel Connection in Windhoek. ("A" on map.) They helped Cornell University's travel program with Namibia trips, and I can see why JB said to approach them for my independent travel needs. At first I was trying to go to Namibia, which, sadly, didn't work out... this time. But they worked hard for me to create my wonderful multi-stop Botswana experience.
And I would highly recommend all three of the place I stayed... Jack's Camp (Kalahari, Botswana), Stanley's Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana) and Zulu Nyala Game Lodge, (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa). Each is a different blend of characteristics, each a great destination. I would particularly mention Jack's Camp because of the outstanding "quality" of how they do what they do, and also because I have heard so few people speak of what an amazing place the Makadikadi pans is. "Go visit the desert" doesn't, at first hearing, seem like good advice. Try it. You'll like it!
(Each camp is one of several run by a company. (Three companies.) I will try to come back to this, expand on the matter later. For now: The specific offering of each mentioned here: Highly recommended!... but you need to do your homework: What one traveler likes isn't to the taste of another. Do you "need" air conditioning? Not every camp has it!)
Just below here, there are three links to temporary workspaces if you want to "peek" at my "work-tables". Those pages hold photos en route to their final destinations. Then there's a link to a page of tracks collected from various places. After the links is the rest of what will eventually be the introduction and table of contents for my trip report.
"Assembly area: Photos from Jack's camp, en route to "proper" home.
"Assembly area: Photos from Stanley's camp, en route to "proper" home.
"Assembly area: Photos from Zulu Nyala, en route to "proper" home.
Animal tracks from Kalahari, Okavango, and KwaZulu-Natal.
Web resources to help you with the above... all open in own tabs...
For Jack's Camp, I can offer you a .pdf to enjoy. If for some reason that doesn't work, try Uncharted Africa's site and drill down to Jack's Camp. The camp is at lat/long -20.49603, 25.18435 by the datum used by Google Maps. The airstrip for it is about 3.5 miles to the NW of the camp.
Stanley's Camp. Stanley's camp is at lat/long -19.59462, 23.24965 by the datum used by Google Maps. The airstrip for it is about 2.7 miles to the SE of the camp.
Zulu Nyala Game Lodge is on the top of a small mountain, at -27.9007, 32.2721 by the datum used by Google Maps. You fly into Richard's Bay (-28.7416, 32.0928) on a commercial flight, and the good people of Zulu Nyala collect you. Zulu Nyala also operate their Heritage Hotel, about 4 miles SSW of the Game Lodge.
Bonus points to anyone who finds either camp with Google Maps on their computer.... you CAN see them. Hint: Look for the vehicle tracks. (You won't see the camps in the image below.... you'll need to go to Google Maps and zoom in.)
The trip is in two parts: At the end, the part at Zulu Nyala was me "riding on the coat-tails" of arrangements made by my sister. And it was fun to travel together! The part before that I arranged on my own, with much advice and help from Namibia Travel Connection. For that part, I traveled on my own.
Just a FEW... when I wrote this section, I should have been clearing my desk, beginning to pack. I already had anti-malaria drugs in my system, at least.
Jack's Camp, Kalahari Desert... I've seen it from the air... and now I'll see it "up close and personal"... and some of the San people (bushmen), and, undoubtedly, many old friends which I look forward to seeing again enormously... especially the elephants. In the case of the elephants, I could literally see "old friends" again... they migrate between the Kalahari and the Okavango, where I've been before.(Wikipedia: Kalahari)
The Kalahari will be my first experience (apart from Colorado, and childhood travel in the American southwest) of a desert habitat. Am I excited?
The itinerary from Namibia Travel Connection says of my time at Jack's. "...you might encounter lion, cheetah, and, sometimes, leopard, or even wild dog." I think I might prefer a different verb... "encounter" sounds just a little too intimate, somehow, as in "the impala encountered a lion." "...have the privilege of watching...", perhaps??
Stanley's, Okavango... This may be my third trip to the Okavango, but I can't imagine ever tiring of being there. I haven't been to this particular camp before, but expect the experience to be right up there with the ones I've had previously. It will also be a new season for me to be in the Okavango. I could never have another wild dogs experience like the one on the Cornell trip... but I have a sneaking suspicion that something as wonderful will pop up. Part of the fun is that you Just Never Know.(Wikipedia: Okavango)
Zulu Nyala... Spending time with my sister, of course! But the lodge is set in a game park, on a wooded hill above a small river... another habitat I haven't seen much of, and which should hold great stuff. (The movie "I Dreamed of Africa" was filmed in the park.)
(That's the end of stuff I wrote before the trip, listing things I hoped to see. As this site gets developed, you will find that I "did it all"... and more!)(But my thirst for more Africa in the future is not at all diminished. In fact my interest in seeing more of rural South Africa has been increased. (I'd only seen urban South Africa previously.)
Real gluttons for punishment can see my before-Zulu Nyala itinerary, with lots of pictures and "what to expect" information. It is a .pdf again, prepared for me by... did I mention they were good?... Namibia Travel Connection. (Joking aside: If I'd been a party of 8, they would have had very little more trouble, and a lot better profit. At no time did I ever sense any disappointment that they were having to do all they did, just for a party of one.)
And just to "pretty" this page up a bit... here's a picture of Maun where I landed and took off in a big plane, took off and landed in a little plane, and passed near another time en route between Jack's Camp and Stanley's Camp.
Links here to external pages will usually open in new tabs or windows, because of the way I've written the page. In addition, my power browsing guide may be with worth a visit!
These pages written on an "old fashioned", non- widescreen system. It may enhance your enjoyment to view the pages in a window that doesn't use the full width of a widescreen display.
This page © TK Boyd 2/11. Click here to contact him.
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Page tested for compliance with INDUSTRY (not MS-only) standards, using the free, publicly accessible validator at validator.w3.org. An early draft of the page was valid apart from several things inside the code to embed the video clip of the ocelots.
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