Marg and Dick's South Africa and Botswana Safari Map
I had the privilege of chatting to Marg and Dick Guit, an Australian couple from Darwin - the capital city of the Northern Territory - about their South Africa and Botswana safari.
Marg and Dick’s mammoth 26-day African adventure started on 15 August 2014 and ended on 9 September 2014. Here’s how their safari unfolded.
Marg and Dick
After travelling to South Africa for the first time in August 2013, Marg and Dick instantly fell in love with the country - and even returned for Christmas and New Years the very same year!
This time around, they wanted to see more - booking an entire month’s worth of safari! It’s not nearly enough though, as Marg and Dick have already booked their return in July and August 2015!
Marg and Dick’s South Africa and Botswana safari
Day 1 & 2: The MannaBay Boutique Hotel
After a long flight from Sydney, Marg and Dick arrived in Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, but quickly hopped onto another flight to Cape Town, spending two nights at the MannaBay, a boutique hotel situated at the border of Table Mountain.
They stayed in the Versailles Suite - its decor inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Ancien Régime in France.
MannaBay’s premier suite - the Versailles - is where Marg and Dick spent the first two nights of their South Africa and Botswana safari.
The décor of MannaBay’s Versailles Suite is inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Ancien Régime in France.
Day 3 - 6: The Phinda Rock Lodge
Marg and Dick said goodbye to Cape Town and headed for Durban. After their arrival at the King Shaka International Airport, they were transferred to the Phinda Rock Lodge, which looks out over its own lush valley in the Phinda Private Game Reserve, known for its abundant wildlife.
True to form, Marg says the game viewing was amazing! The highlights included seeing three, six-weeks-old cheetah cubs playing with their mother, as well as getting up close to a chameleon, a first for them!
Marg and Dick say that seeing the three cheetah cubs with their mother is one their favourite sightings during their time at the Phinda Rock Lodge.
Sunrise in the Phinda Private Game Reserve.
The safari vehicle used to experience game drives in the Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Day 7 - 9: The Jamala Madikwe Lodge
The couple flew back to Johannesburg and were transferred to the Jamala Madikwe Lodge situated in the 75 000 hectares, malaria-free, Madikwe Game Reserve where they spent the next three nights.
Marg said the lodge was outstanding and every meal was a gourmet delight, especially the high teas they had before departing on an afternoon game drive - a sumptuous experience indeed.
An exterior view of Marg and Dick’s villa at the Jamala Madikwe Lodge.
"The lodge was outstanding and every meal was a gourmet delight"
There was a waterhole adjacent to the lodge, which attracted plenty of thirsty wildlife such as zebra, elephant, lion and giraffe coming for a drink. In fact, Marg said that on the first morning of their visit, nine lions wandered casually along just in front of the open deck of the lodge.
The couple spotted this lion close to a waterhole at the Jamala Madikwe Lodge.
Day 10 - 13: The DumaTau Camp
Their stay at the Jamala Madikwe came to an end with a flight back to Johannesburg, where they departed on another flight to Maun in Botswana. Upon arrival in the 'tourism capital' of Botswana, Marg and Dick hopped onto a shared light air charter to the DumaTau Camp, located in the private Linyanti Wildlife Reserve bordering the western boundary of Chobe National Park.
Marg and Dick’s accommodation at the DumaTau Camp.
The couple spent four nights at the DumaTau Camp. Marg said this was their first ‘wilderness’ experience and it certainly didn't disappoint. The accommodation was minimalist, very modern and eco-friendly! The game drives provided them with plenty of thrills and interesting sightings, with a wild dog and close-up leopard sighting topping their list!
Marg and Dick spotted this leopard during a game drive in the Chobe National Park, Botswana.
A herd of elephants having a drink in the Linyanti Swamp. The Linyanti is an important elephant corridor, made famous by the big numbers of elephants that can be seen here.
Day 14 - 16: The Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp
Marg and Dick’s next stop was at the Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, located in the watery expanses that make up the World Heritage Site of the Okavango Delta. They were welcomed in song by the staff at the camp, which they found truly moving.
Here, they experienced water and land-based safaris that provided them with memories which they say, they will never forget. The gentle ride in the ‘mokoro’ (a dug-out canoe commonly used in the Okavango Delta) placed them at close range to dragonflies, beautiful water lilies and painted reed frogs. Marg says the tinkling of the frogs all through the night is a sound that will forever stay in their memories.
A lion looks on during a game drive at the Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp.
"The tinkling of the frogs all through the night is a sound that will forever stay in our memories."
The couple also saw this spotted hyena during a game drive in the Okavango Delta.
Day 17 - 19: The Belmond Eagle Island Lodge
Their Okavango Delta safari continued at the Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, where they spent the next three nights. The lodge’s luxury tents are placed on raised wooden platforms, above the ever-changing channels, tributaries, lagoons and floodplains.
The Belmond Eagle Island Lodge provided an all water-based safari experience. The highlight of their stay was a 45-minute helicopter flight over the Okavango Delta, which provided them with stunning game viewing from above! Marg says this really helped them appreciate the expansiveness and pristine beauty of the land below.
Marg and Dick capped off each safari with sundowners at the lodge’s Fish Eagle Bar, which provided them with incredible views of the sun setting over the Okavango Delta.
Fuelling up before their helicopter ride over the Okavango Delta.
Views of the Belmond Eagle Island Lodge from above.
Day 20: The Peermont D'oreale Grande Hotel
Marg and Dick said goodbye to the Okavango Delta and flew back to Johannesburg, where they stayed overnight at the Peermont D'oreale Grande in the Emperors Palace Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort.
"The anticipation of finding tracks and going off road to find the animals is exhilarating"
Day 21 - 25: The Londolozi Tree Camp
After a good rest and preparation for the final part of their safari, Marg and Dick took a shared light air charter to the Londolozi Tree Camp in the Londolozi Private Game Reserve, where they spent the next five nights.
Marg says they saved the best for last, as this is their favourite lodge in South Africa. In fact, this was their third visit to the camp in two years! The food, spa treatments and friendly staff made their stay special, but their most memorable moments were all the game drive experiences they enjoyed at Londolozi.
The couple says the anticipation of finding tracks and going off road to find the animals is exhilarating! Close range sightings of a leopard and young elephant bull were the highlights of their stay at the Londolozi Tree Camp.
One of the leopards they saw at the Londolozi Tree Camp.
A giraffe bends for a drink close to the Londolozi Tree Camp.
A lion roars for the camera during a game drive in the Londolozi Private Game Reserve.
Day 26: Saying goodbye to Africa - for now!
Marg and Dick took a shared light air charter back to Johannesburg and were soon on a flight back to Australia. They will be returning back to the African continent soon, as they have booked another holiday - this time in June and July 2015 to visit Tanzania and a few other locations. Keep an eye out for the next part of their African adventure!