When winter finally decided to make an appearance in the Western Cape it welcomed widespread gratitude and some not inconsiderable relief. Finally the parched land and desolate dams had some much needed nourishment.
So, with the proliferation of beanies, anoraks and uggs in full swing, a call to action from the top brass in the form of a brief toddle off to Botswana was particularly welcome to my rigid bones and ugged feet.
My assignment: Fly to Chobe, go on safari for a couple of days, form an opinion, and jet back to Coldsville, Western Cape. Such a task would, of course, require some assistance and for such assistance an assistant was called upon to assist by joining me on my mission. (The generous invitation was for two people) My assistant did not desist on my insistence and so plans were enthusiastically formalised.
Our destination was the new Camp Kuzuma in Chobe which is in the northern part of Botswana near the Okavango Delta. This is a blue riband area for African safari vacations so disappointment is unlikely and expectations stratospheric.
Kasane’s new airport
It could be argued that your destinations airport is just an incidental facility that bears no importance in the quality of one’s experience. That may or may not be, but I do think that the new Kasane airport is worth mentioning. The popularity of the Chobe area necessitated the airport upgrade, particularly the terminal building. The result is a very pleasant arrival experience that boded well for the rest of the journey.
The one hour ride to the camp from the airport was duly peppered with sightings of elephants, giraffe as well as roan antelope and sable antelope; like bit part extras just to get us into the mood.
Camp Kuzuma is located in the Kuzuma Forest Reserve, a 3 hectare concession that borders the Chobe National Park of Botswana and the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. It is often teeming with huge breeding herds of elephants that sweep through the area as they move thousands of kilometres across ancient routes that cross through this area. The animals are free to roam across the 11 800 hectares of traversing rights and on the surrounding open plains of the Kuzuma Pans you can see wildebeest, buffalo, roan antelope, and if you’re lucky the very beautiful and rare sable, giraffe, lion and even leopard.
The owners and staff of the camp are very mindful of the protection of these magnificent creatures and have subscribed to the objectives of Elephants without Borders, aimed at protecting their survival. This region has the largest elephant population in the world with up to 200 000 elephants traversing this busy trans-frontier corridor.
The actual camp is not particularly big but its size adds to the charm and comfort and seems to place you closer to nature. The centrepiece being the large watering hole in front of the camp at which all the starring cast of elephants, lion and antelope amble down for an evening tipple and perhaps a few larks before tucking in for the night.
The five tented rooms at Camp Kuzuma are tucked under a canopy of Mopane trees and are all very elegant; upmarket even with a classy, old colonial Out of Africa feel, which really adds to the feeling of glorious indulgence in this very lovely part of Africa. Each luxury tent has a deck, with extra king size beds and fans. The en suite canvas bathrooms have Victorian baths, double basins, double indoor showers as well as outdoor showers.
I have to say that seldom at a safari camp have I been treated to the restaurant quality of food which is evident by the particular effort put into the comestible offerings. The cornucopia of posh nosh offerings was worthy of many a Facebook post, much to my friends’ envy and annoyance.
Another highlight of our all too brief trip was a cruise on the Chobe River, on which we got to see so many animals and birds that I said a silent prayer in thanks for the invention of digital photography and the obsolescence of expensive rolls of film.
Additional activities that we didn’t have time for include: A day’s safari into the Chobe National Park, a day trip to Victoria Falls (a 2 hour drive away), fishing and a cultural tour to local village schools and markets.
With the able assistance of my willing assistant, my stay here was delightful and most memorable. Sadly our time was short and all too soon it was time for us to return to the chilly Western Cape, and of course our beanies and anoraks.
Camp Kuzuma – Once experienced, never forgotten
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