As we move on, remember that I flipped the above picture vertically to help us visualize “the down under” location of the Southern Hemisphere.
Our top 5 vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere all sit south of the Equator.
In Part 1, we talked about New Zealand – a mere 5.54 hours’ flight from the Antarctica!
Our visit to the top 5 vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere continues in a much different area of our globe – one of Africa’s safari areas.
Remember the rhyme we cited in Part 1:
As a rule, a man’s a fool; When it’s hot, he wants it cool;
When it’s cool, he wants it hot – Always wanting what is not.
~ Sir Arthur Sullivan
When it’s hot in the Northern Hemisphere (and our Texas home qualifies as very hot right now), you can find cool in the Southern Hemisphere. When it’s cool at home, you can find hot “down under”. Seasons reverse when you cross the Equator.
In this post, we’ll visit another place where you may find what is not at home.
Southern Hemisphere Vacation Destination #2 – Botswana
Botswana can be a very long trip, stopovers included, so you may want to review the info on dealing with jet lag and kankles. https://www.newzealand.com/us/article/the-smart-travellers-tips-for-avoiding-jet-lag-and-kankles/
Living north of Dallas, Texas, I checked out the flight duration from here to Botswana. Most flights involve two or three stops, resulting in a total trip of 35 to 40 hours. The actual flight duration seems to total 18 hours, 26 minutes.
Is it worth it? Ask yourself. Is it worth it to me to spend a day and a half to reach Africa’s ultimate safari destination and experience all the excitement it holds for me? Would it exceed what I can get at my local zoo?
Get detailed as you question yourself (It’s okay to talk to yourself if no one’s listening.) You might even answer in writing as you ask yourself:
- Would I like to text photos of an elephant herd to my friends?
Unless you answered a resounding “no” to most of those questions, you’ll probably want to put Botswana on your personal list right away as one of the top 5 vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.
But what about that nasty pandemic that raced around the world late in 2019?
Botswana’s COVID-19 Advantage
Please don’t think I’m being inconsiderate or cavalier about the possible dangers involved in travel during the coronavirus pandemic. I’m one of those careful people who still stays home, orders groceries by delivery, wears a mask when I must go out, uses disinfectant wipes, washes hands many times a day, etc.
You’ve probably been doing the same, unable to go on your long-anticipated summer holiday because many vacation destinations remain shut. Watching virtual vacations, or virtual safaris, may reduce frustration, but you’re getting shack-wacky nerves. An actual, in-person safari in Botswana sounds great, but elusive.
There’s never been a better time to experience your Botswana safari. Botswana’s National Parks re-opened following an earlier national lockdown, and have been open for over a month at the time I’m writing.
The Botswana government has placed a ban on visitors from high-risk countries, but if your country isn’t on that list, you can book your safari immediately!
In an ironic twist, while COVID-19 makes many vacation destinations risky, the pandemic makes Botswana an ideal spot to get outside and enjoy your vacation while maintaining that so-important social distancing with ease.
Botswana’s current lack of crowds turns out to be “just what the doctor ordered” for many people.
Of the top 5 vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, Botswana beckons with its offer of reprieve from a pandemic-riddled world. So go ahead and plan your vacation now – or make reservations for next year.
Botswana’s Varied Safari Menu
When Botswana first came to my attention as a potential vacation destination, its reputation for a variety of safari offerings amazed me. One of my brothers had visited Africa on more than one occasion. A second brother salivated at the idea of an African safari – but died before he realized his dream. Neither of them had ever mentioned some of the safari options Botswana offered me.
Choose the 7-Night Green Desert Safari, for example, and we’d get to spend a week enjoying the best of the Chobe National Park, the vast Okavango Delta, and awesome, breath-taking Victoria Falls. When we arrived at Kasane Airport, they’d meet us and take us straight out to Chobe Safari Lodge. The lodge looked so rustically beautiful and strong that I could see myself there in spite of my strong aversion to snakes.
The 6-night Romantic Safari sounded even better – until I saw the photograph of that lodge. Words like luxury, intimate, and vintage probably do make it perfect for a romantic couple (my husband and I still qualify). However, the photo brought the word “vintage” into a realistic reminder of my aversion to reptiles. The scenic 20-minute flight over Okavango Delta sounded wonderful. So did the sunset cruise. Between those two, however, stretched days with trips in mokoro canoes and game-sighting walks in the delta area.
Obviously “different strokes for different folks”, Botswana safaris range from luxury to rugged, from honeymoon-ideal to whole-family fun and excitement.
Here’s a sampling I found of some of the most popular safaris in Botswana.
● Chobe, Okavango Delta, and Moremi (honeymooners and couples)
7 days | 3 destinations | luxury safari lodge accommodations
● Kalahari, Khwai River, and Okavango Delta (couples and honeymooners)
8 days | 3 destinations | tented camp accommodations
● Kalahari, Moremi, and Chobe (couples and families)
7 days | 3 destinations | safari lodge and
● Okavango Delta (families with children)
4 days | 1 destination | Tented camp accommodations
● Chobe, Savuti, and Okavango Delta (adventurous couples and small groups)
7 days | 3 destinations | mobile tented camp accommodations
● Okavango Delta, Moremi, and Savuti (families and groups)
8 days | 3 destinations | safari lodge and tented camp accommodations
That one was billed as an “All-inclusive Safari” and I had to know more. I stopped reading about the next six on the menu and clicked to read more about it. Here’s the link so you can enjoy the photos, too. https://www.go2africa.com/tours-safaris/romantic-botswanas-delta-savute
Remember when I suggested earlier that you ask, “Would I get a huge adrenalin rush from attending an outing of the Big 5 Club: elephants, leopards, lions, rhinos, and water buffalo?” https://www.worldwildlife.org/blogs/good-nature-travel/posts/ten-wild-facts-about-the-big-five
This safari specializes in Big 5 sightings! It also has birdwatching, with over 450 species of amazing birds I’ve never seen. It has those mokoro canoe rides and motorboat cruises to see things like hippos. It has typical safari drives in large vehicles to see big prides of lions and packs of hyenas. If you’re there between November and March (warmer months in the southern hemisphere, you can witness the annual zebra migration. You can even spot animals relaxing on the private rooftop of your Xudum Lodge suite.
If organized safaris seem too pricey, you might want to try a DIY safari. Rent a car and make your own itinerary with Internet help. Ask questions online and you’ll be pleased to find that people share first-hand experiences. Example:
Botswana’s one of my top 5 vacation destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, and it might be just right for you. Whether organized or DIY, a safari is like no experience in the northern hemisphere. You’ll be talking about it for years!