Our adventure started the minute we took off from Maun in the Cessna operated by Wilderness Air. From our aerial vantage point we could glimpse the vastness of this diverse terrain but nothing would prepare us for the magnificent experience ahead.
Arriving at Chitabe Camp is like attending a family reunion with only your favourite family members, such is the warm welcome received upon arrival here. Situated in a private concession on an island in the south-east of the Okavango Delta, Chitabe is set among a breath-taking mosaic of wooded, wetland and grassland habitats. Covering 22 000 hectares of pristine wilderness and situated between 2 major river systems – the Gomoti and the Santantadibe – the area is famed for its incredible numbers and diversity of wildlife, particularly predators.
Luxury is the key thread throughout the Wilderness Safari experience. At Chitabe your accommodation is a spacious Meru-style tent built on an elevated wooden deck amongst the trees with en-suite facilities and an indoor and outdoor shower.
Here time stands still and yet goes so quickly. The ultimate ‘new luxury’ of having no Wi-Fi connectivity, no doubt, playing its part in this altered experience of time.
As we landed, the legendary OB (immediately re-christened Obi-Wan Kenobi), was waiting to welcome us. OB was our guide and wildlife mentor and guru during our Chitabe stay. While self-drive may have merits, exploring this rich territory with a knowledgeable and experienced guide has some serious benefits.
From the moment our Wilderness Air plane touched down, we were on the hunt for a leopard that had been ‘spotted’ a few hours before in the area.
We discovered the ‘elephants’ playground’ – water and mud baths in excess lay scattered throughout the area at this time of year, ensuring both the pachyderms and the visitors were entertained for hours.
We found the angriest hippo in the Delta. Bathing alone, with a huge gash on his back from a previous fight with another hippo, he clearly did not like the idea of being stared at. Note to self: It’s not a brilliant idea to watch a charging hippo through binoculars… a genuine 4D experience!
Bird life is abundant with over 400 recorded species . OB’s knowledge of all creatures great and small, left us in awe.
Baboons come to provide a show at the pool while guests can cool off during the heat of the day.
The meeting of Okavango and Kalahari provides excellent habitat to an abundant array of herbivores: giraffe, buffalo, red lechwe, tsessebe, impala and elephant, which in turn support the larger predators: lion, leopard, spotted hyaena, cheetah and wild dog.
Leaving Chitabe one leaves behind a piece of your soul, but in return you have gained so much more. The people of Botswana are surely among the friendliest in the world, from the moment you step foot in this magical country you are greeted with an ever-present smile. And it’s with a smile that you’ll think back on your experience and plan your next visit.
Founded in Botswana in 1983, Wilderness Safaris is widely acclaimed as the continent’s foremost ecotourism operator, dedicated to conserving and restoring Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. Creating life-changing journeys in some of the most remote and pristine areas in Africa while helping to conserve Africa’s spectacular biodiversity and share ecotourism’s benefits with the communities that live alongside
For more information ww.wilderness-safaris.com