The Okavango Delta’s premier family safari
The Young Explorers Family Adventure safari is based at Footsteps Camp (Okavango Delta). This comfortable, private camp accommodates six guests in three specially-designed twin-bedded Meru tents complete with sewn-in floors. One of the three tents can be converted into a family tent that sleeps three. Each tent has its own bucket shower and porcelain flush toilet, which is attached to the back of the tent and there is a daily laundry service. The ‘bush kitchen’ is run by our chef and prepares menus for all appetites.
The Young Explorers’ emphasis is on learning how to track game – both on foot and in 4×4 safari vehicles. We also teach children how to make small animal traps and how to start a fire from nothing more than two sticks. The children learn how to: recognise different animal spoor; identify a range of birds; try their hand at poling a Mokoro; drive a game drive vehicle; fish; and shoot an air rifle at tin cans (subject to water levels). On completion of the safari children receive a Young Explorers certificate, t-shirt and cap.
Day by Day Itinerary
Later in the afternoon, as the temperatures cool, it is time to begin your introduction to bush craft and some basic rules regarding animal behaviour. One of the most important lessons is to treat all the inhabitants of the wilderness with respect and you will learn that the bush is a safe and fascinating place to be. A short walk from camp allows you to become accustomed to the sights, sounds and smells that make up the language of the African bush. The wilderness is constantly talking to you and your guides will begin to show you some of basics. The more you are aware of what is happening around you, the more you will take away from your adventure!
On return to camp, a piping hot bucket shower under the stars awaits, followed by a tasty dinner. Around the campfire we consider the lessons of the day and learn more about Botswana, the history of the country and its people. For those that can stay awake long enough we can view the stars and interesting constellations of the African sky before heading to bed, ready for an early start the following day.
Following another delicious lunch prepared on a camp fire, parents are left to a lazy afternoon napping or reading while the younger members of the family are watched over by their guides. Now is a chance to learn some more traditional skills, using the natural products to create jewellery and tools. Using the palm leaves we learn to weave baskets and carve the palm seed, known as plant ivory into a necklace for Mum! Or perhaps try to build your own digging sticks and bow and arrows from the materials available around you?
In no time at all, it is time to venture out again, this time it’s a water adventure! Using the traditional dugout canoe (mokoro), we explore the reed beds and Okavango waterways. Her we learn many skills developed by local people, allowing them to survive in this environment. How do you get a drink of cold water using a water lily stem? If we are especially quiet, we may even spot the sitatunga, one of the world’s most unusual and secretive antelope, which has adapted perfectly to live in aquatic environments. They are capable of hiding underwater leaving only their nostrils above water to breathe!
Before dinner this evening, we are off to visit the bush kitchen. You will be astounded as you learn how the mouthwatering fare is produced in camp. There’s no electricity here, all the food, savoury and dessert, fresh bread, cakes are cooked on the campfire or in the steel bush oven! Spend some time with the staff and learn how it is possible to live comfortably in the wilderness without electricity and modern gadgets. It worked well enough for our ancestors after all!
That afternoon while in camp you will learn some of the rules required in order to handle a rifle safely. This is an important tool in our world and is not a toy and should be respected at all times! Once you understand the safety of handling a firearm, perhaps you can put your new found skills to the test with a pellet gun, on our very own bush range! No doubt Dad will be hanging around for a go as well, and a little family competition usually results!
Later, you may wish to try your angling skills Okavango style, either along the banks of lagoons and channels or, for the more adventurous from the Mokoro! Here you will learn how to catch, handle and release a fish correctly, ensuring you do it no harm. We may choose to keep a couple for dinner, in which case be ready to learn how to clean and prepare it yourself!
Though the safari draws to an end, the final dinner is still cause for celebration toasting new friends, reminiscing over many unique experiences, many new bush skills and lifelong memories. The grown-ups would like to drift off to sleep with the ever-present chorus of the hippos and the tinkle of the reed frogs. But for the young bush rangers it is the perfect opportunity to head off with a spotlight to try and identify some of the many species that wake up as the sun sets!!
After farewells to the camp staff and your guides you transfer by light aircraft onto Maun or your next destination.
RATES FOR YOUNG EXPLORERS
For family of four (two adults and two children)
|1 – 31 March 2017|
|1 April – 30 June 2017|
|1 July – 31 October 2017|
|1 – 31 November 2017|
This camp maintains the elegance and eccentricity of the original “under canvas African safari”. The emphasis is on exploring one or both of these breathtakingly beautiful and diverse environment as the first African explorers did.