Botswana emanates the essence of untamed Africa, enveloped in luxury. It seems to simultaneously encompass both guaranteeing an immersive safari experience, wrapped in comfort. This most certainly was our experience during our stay at Mogotlho lodge on the Khwai River in the Mababe concession – a truly beautiful and wild journey in the heart of Botswana.
Mogotlho lies between the Chobe National Park and the Moremi Game Reserve, deeming it a veritable animal intersection. Game wanders through natural corridors from one park to the other, moving freely through ancient migratory paths. The Khwai River beneath the lodge is a lifesource of the area, frequented by a variety of species, gifting a constant visual feast. We spent a significant amount of our time sitting on the deck daydreaming over the view, wildlife drifting in and out of sight, our dreams becoming a reality.
Having spent the previous morning on a walking safari led by a private guide, feeling one with nature, we were seeking another channel to connect with the elements.
Being amateur safari-goers, with a small amount of experiences in the bush partnered with a large amount of curiosity and enthusiasm – we were determined to immerse ourselves in the wild in all ways possible. Having spent the previous morning on a walking safari led by a private guide, feeling one with nature, we were seeking another channel to connect with the elements. The guides at Mogotlho are extremely perceptive and knowledgeable, reading the wild as if it were a newspaper – delivering the tales of what happened the night before. We wanted to spend more time in the presence of such knowledge, this time on a slightly different terrain; water.
We climbed into our mokoros to the iconic African sound of the hippopotamus, immersing ourselves in the elements yet again, from foot to fibreglass canoe and paddled off to find some wildlife.
The river was like glass, inviting in its still tranquility. It was hard to imagine there was a world of wildlife thriving beneath, one to rightly respect with necessary social distance. We climbed into our wooden mokoros to the iconic African sound of the hippopotamus, immersing ourselves in the elements yet again, from foot to fibreglass canoe and paddled off to find some wildlife. Floating along the Khwai River you literally feel part of your surroundings, a true immersion in the natural world. We paddled past an array of aquatic birdlife as well as the smaller plains game drinking at the river’s edge, neither affected by our presence enabling us to get up close and personal.
Little did we know that around the corner when back on our mokoros, a herd of elephants awaited our arrival. Quenching their thirst from the midday heat, they drank deeply while allowing us to observe, looking up from water level into their world. Hearts in throats we sat, mesmerised. We were completely engulfed in the smells and sounds of these magnificent creatures, their rumblings vibrating through the mokoros, into our feet, settling into our memories. They kept an eye on our dugouts, but happily allowed us to accompany them for about 20 minutes, the herd drinking and playing in respected hierarchy. Our guide quietly explained the dynamics of an elephant family – intelligent, aware and gentle within their fold. What an honour to share such an up close and personal encounter with these giants, wise and intentional in their ways.
We paddled back to the boat station in silence, wrapped in awe of our experience. It is difficult to put into words the humbling nature of the wild, fragile yet powerful in its existence. We felt as if we had been let into a secret being in such close vicinity with nature, a mere glimpse into the wonderful world of the wild.
Guest Review By Kassandra E’Silva