From Kruger National Park our journey took us north into one of Africa’s most successful countries. Botswana has transformed itself from one of the world’s poorest nations to a truly prosperous country, (in terms of GDP). Since the time of independence from the British Commonwealth in the 1960’s the Botswana government has vested financially into improving the livelihood of its 2 million citizens. The Kalahari Desert to the west takes up a significant portion of the country’s overall size. The Okavango Delta in the northwest is a natural wonder visible from space. My trip took me along the eastern side of the country, through Francistown over-nighting near the Saltpans and then on to Chobe National Park in the countries northeast.
One of the great things about the GAdventures tour was our stay at Elephant Sands. Driving north along the road from Francistown and Nata we turned off onto a dirt track and began the fifteen minute drive into the bush. Our only warning was a small sign along the side of the barren road which stated “Elephant Sands, where Elephants Rule.” Indeed when we arrived at the open air lodge it was quite clear there were no fences to protect us from the massive pachyderms. The camping area was riddled with elephant tracks both large and small. The main building of the lodge had a small swimming pool, a well stocked bar, wifi, an excellent restaurant, and a fire pit on the edge of a watering hole. It is at this watering hole that the elephants frequently come for a cooling drink.
I chose to participate in a sunset game drive which departed from the lodge and explored the bush immediately behind our campsite. Our driver was most informative, stopping along the two track road to point out various birds, plants and the occasional small mammals. We drove for a good 45 minutes before coming across another watering hole, this one surrounded by a large herd of elephants. The sun was beginning to set, a giraffe made an appearance along the tree line, and the sounds of the herd echoed through the air. Down wind and leaving the safety of our jeep, our drive had us get out of the truck and we explored the water holes edge. To the west the clouds began to change color with the setting sun, the horizon bursting with vibrant oranges and reds, and to the east a storm provided bolts of lightning and crashes of thunder as darkness began to fall. Of the 22 of us on the tour, only five of us opted for this evening game drive. Rewarded were we; isolated, vulnerable, and completely immersed in the African bush.
Places like Elephant Sands are the special places travelers get to experience when on an organized tour. I can’t imagine coming across such a special remote place like this in a travel book, let alone trying to find it on my own. For those who rely on tripadvisor the reviews are somewhat mixed. Every now and then I come across a moment or a place that sticks out in my memory as remarkable. My overnight stay at Elephant Sands will be one of those where Mother Nature and the extrinsic forces of life came together to provide a truly memorable experience.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day AutoSlash is donating a $50 Hertz Gift Card for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.