Sleeping in nature on a mobile safari, with nothing but a piece of canvas between you and the African wildlife, may not be for everyone, but it makes the experience completely immersive.
Increasing competition among high-end safari companies in Botswana has resulted in luxurious villa-style accommodation with private pools, private butlers and an attractive price. But the cost is not the only drawback – in some hostels it feels like being separated from the desert, almost like being in a boutique hotel with National Geographic on a giant screen. For an authentic safari, it’s hard to beat a cell phone – the original form of this typical African adventure.
What is a mobile safari? What are the advantages?
A mobile safari is exactly what it looks like – a journey through a variety of different wildlife habitats that spend a few nights in each region. When you move, your warehouse moves with you. While mobile phones in Botswana are generally cheaper than permanent ones, they are often misunderstood as a second-rate alternative to lodges. In fact, they enjoy a number of other benefits that can make it a preferred option for many travelers.
Each campsite is a designated bush area with no facilities or fencing. Before your arrival and after your departure, there is no record of anyone staying there. Wild animals can walk around the camp at any time.
Camping in the bush may seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but it’s more glamorous than camping – dispelling all the thoughts of battle with a jumble of tents and ropes in the pouring rain, while surviving a tasteless diet. For most mobile operations, staff will assemble and drop off guest tents and a mess tent (where they will meet for meals), prepare three-course dinners and even wash. All you have to do is sit back and relax.
Evenings, isolation and night sky
In the evening, watch the amber flames eagerly licking the burned logs from the campfire, while in the cool night air hover little bells frogs and noisy locusts. If you listen carefully, you may hear a zebra screaming, a trumpet of elephant discontent, or even a scratchy, sawing cough that echoes out of the darkness – the unforgettable call of a leopard continuing to patrol its territory.
The sounds of the bush will be brighter if there is no barrier between you and the wildlife, especially if there are no distractions of hearing. Without the monotonous buzzing of a permanent camp generator or the background noise inherent in running these pavilions – often a cell phone has only three people – you will hear noises you would never have imagined. And when everything calms down, the silence is so intense that it is almost oppressive.
Whether in the Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve or elsewhere, Botswana’s remote campgrounds help prevent light pollution. Often the only light source for miles is the warm glow of a dozen lanterns illuminating a handful of comfortable khaki tents. Above them, countless glittering stars illuminate the black sky like an abundance of diamonds discovered in one of the country’s productive mines.
Flexible mobile safari activities and continuity guide
The nightly celestial show has a hypnotic beauty, but as with any safari, the main action happens during the day. Although the activities are similar to those of a traditional relay type – morning and afternoon – with occasional rides in Mokoro (traditional canoes) or boat trips – the intimacy of the operation gives you more flexibility. Normally, a mobile safari requires only an animal observation vehicle, so you can stay out as long as you want without having to worry about being late for meals. On a cell phone, storage times circle around you, not the other way around.
The same guide for the duration of the trip also makes it possible to tailor the orientation of the safari to the specific interests of the group, which can be adjusted according to what you see. This avoids the possibility of listening to different leaders who repeat the same information or spend more time than desired on observations that are comparable to different huts – sometimes an inevitable consequence of sharing a vehicle with other guests in the lodge.
Mobile guides are rightly recognized as some of the best in the industry – most of them have been trained in permanent accommodation before switching to mobile phones – and the time together creates a special connection. the following years.
Do not glam or shine
Like the pavilions, mobile safaris in Botswana cover the full range of luxury options. In the simplest case, you sleep on a mattress (covered mattress) in an ordinary dome tent, which helps you with assembly and disassembly, washing together and possibly cooking. At the other end of the spectrum, your large one-story tent is decorated with Persian rugs, antique chests and a brass double bed, while your private bathroom has a flush toilet. Water and running water. The fair tent will have carpets, a sofa to relax in and even a selection of imported single malt whiskeys.
Most travelers will choose between the two: a large tent with two single beds, a shower bucket (if desired filled with hot water), a long toilet and a basin with warm water in the morning. Whatever your choice, the food that is cooked completely over a wood fire will compete with that of several pavilions. Delicious bread and luscious cakes are even baked in an oven (basically a modified tin can) in a miracle of culinary creativity that would make Jamie Olivers proud.
Go Green: The environmental benefits of mobile safaris
For eco-conscious travelers, one of the attractions of a cellphone is to reduce your carbon footprint. The journey between the places takes place with the vehicle and not with the small plane, which is used for the transfer between the lodges. This will allow you to observe subtle changes in the landscape as you move from one ecosystem to another. In the warehouse itself, the lanterns are often powered by solar energy, and the camera and the phone are charged via an inverter connected to your vehicle’s battery. Some mobile operators also use a portable water filtration system to avoid plastic water bottles. For an even more eco-friendly option in the Okavango Delta, you can opt for a horse-cart (where the camp is transported by Mokoro) or a combination of hiking and canoeing.
Are mobile safaris for everyone?
As with any safari, some aspects of a mobile phone may not please everyone. In the warmer months, there are no fans or refreshing pools to cool off during the day, and there is no Wi-Fi or telephone network, so you can be disconnected from the power grid (which some consider an attraction). Moving days can also be long, although it is amazing when the camp dissolves during breakfast, only to reappear in time for sunbathers in a completely different place.
Mobile phones are mainly operated in national parks, so there are more vehicles than in a private dealer, but there will never be too many people. Families or groups seeking more privacy have the option of booking a complete mobile phone for themselves and offering them an exclusive safari at a fraction of the exorbitant cost of an entire lodge.
Of course, one sometimes has to get used to the idea that wild animals roam the camp, but there is never any danger as long as you stay in your tent at night. Watching an elephant thirsty for its shower bucket while enjoying lunch is an experience you probably will not forget.