We are delighted to announce the launch of our free Guest Information App for clients, and this is available on both Android and iPhone/iPad.
The App includes:
- day-by-day itemisation of services
- details of every booking
- emergency phone numbers
- static and interactive maps
- live flight status updates
- 5-day weather forecasts
- general information on immigration requirements, medical issues etc.
Before guests travel, the App displays a countdown to the start of their trip, and whilst they are away it will default to showing the current day’s activities and services, including automatically checking each flight’s status on the days that they fly.
Most content is available offline, however a data connection is required for flight status updates, weather forecasts and interactive maps.
Android users can download the App from the Google Play Store or search for “travel butlers” in the Google Play App.
iPhone and iPad users can download from iTunes or search for “travel butlers” in iTunes.
The App requires clients to enter their unique user details when they first download their itinerary, and we are currently in the process of contacting clients who have upcoming trips to make them aware of their details. Clients who do not have their details yet and are keen to get access to the App should phone or email their usual contact at Travel Butlers.
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Conventional wisdom is that the best time to visit Botswana is in the dry season which runs from May to October. The logic is that less rain means that wildlife concentrates around permanent waterholes and rivers and it is easier to see the animals as trees and bushes lose their leaves and the grasses die back. At the same time flood waters from Angola cover much of the Okavango Delta forcing wildlife to concentrate on higher land such as Chief’s Island, again making it easier to find the animals.
The downsides of travelling in the dry season are that the prices are higher, and many camps and lodges will be completely full as much of the dry season coincides with the European and North American summer holidays.
So given this….is it worth visiting Botswana in the Green Season? In order to check this out for ourselves, we headed out to Botswana for 10 days in March 2017 to include Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, and this is what we found:
- The whole north of the country is green and beautiful, meaning there are stunning landscapes to enjoy.
- There are still plentiful birds and lots of wildlife…although you may have to look harder to find them than in the dry season. The quality of the sightings was very good as well, including lion cubs, lions hunting buffalo and impala, elephants playing in the water and charging, wild dogs playing, a leopard up a tree (others visiting at the same time saw a leopard with her cub), and countless other memorable sightings. The one thing that we did not see is the very large herds of elephants that visitors in the dry season would expect to see regularly, however we did see a lot of elephants in family groups, and on one occasion a much larger herd of 50+ elephants on the banks of the Chobe River at sunset.
- Most antelope give birth in the green season to ensure there is plenty of food for the newborns, so there are lots of cute young animals around.
- There are fewer overseas tourists – most camps were about half full, even in the very popular Moremi Game Reserve area of the Delta. If you’re looking to escape the crowds, it is worth considering a Botswana green season safari.
- The majority of lodges are significantly less expensive than in the dry season, although it is fair to say that Botswana is a fairly pricey option at any time of year.
- If you travel in April or November you will avoid the wettest months – there had been substantial rain in Botswana before we arrived, however we only had a single two-hour storm during our whole stay at the end of March.
- You will probably not be able to do water based activities in the Delta as the flood waters from Angola do not arrive until May/June (although if there has been a lot of rain you may get lucky here and be able to do some water based activities from mid-March as happened this year at some camps).
- In Chobe consider a houseboat such as the Zambezi Queen or Chobe Princess. There are a number of houseboats that cruise the Chobe River, and these can be a great option in the Green Season as game viewing on land can be affected by the dense bush that covers much of the park. Note that these boats are actually registered in Namibia, and the cruise along the river by day and moor on the Namibian side overnight. You cannot land in the Chobe National Park from these boats, however game viewing along the riverfront is good all year round and the houseboats do offer smaller game viewing launches that can get you closer to the animals.
To put the game viewing into context we saw lions, elephants, leopards, rhino, buffalo, wild dog, hyena, giraffe, zebra, hippo, countless antelope and baboons, spectacular birds and much more. The scenery was stunning, especially in the early mornings and around sunset, and below are a handful of pictures from our trip.
We have been fortunate enough to go on many safaris over the years, and this trip to Botswana was one of our very favorite experiences. The camps, scenery, and wildlife were all excellent, and the people and service we encountered everywhere were absolutely first class. Special thanks must go to the to the camps that we stayed at: Chobe Princess and Chobe Chilwero for Chobe National Park, and Baines’ Camp and Chief’s Camp in the Okavango Delta. We also stayed at the excellent Sussi & Chuma Lodge in Zambia, which we used as a base to visit Victoria Falls, and had a lovely stay at African Pride Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, both of which would make excellent additions if you are considering booking your own trip to Botswana.
So in summary…is it worth visiting Botswana in the Green Season? Absolutely Yes!
Chobe National Park In The Green Season (March 2017)
The Okavango Delta In The Green Season (March 2017)
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We are delighted to hear that Thornybush Private Nature Reserve has begun removing its eastern boundary fence with the Timbavati, a process that should be complete by early May and will mean that Thornybush will become fully open to the Greater Kruger Park.
We think this is great news, as whilst the lodges in Thornybush have always offered and excellent guest experience and good game viewing, there can be no doubt that dropping the fences to Kruger will mean increased freedom of movement for animals and a richer game-viewing experience for guests.
I have enjoyed some terrific games drives in Thornybush whilst it has been a fenced reserve, however I have always been aware that the fence meant that there were only a fixed number of lions, elephants etc that it would be possible to find. Dropping the fence changes this and opens up the reserve to the vast animal populations on the Greater Kruger.
I am sure this move will see this lovely reserve go from strength to strength over the coming years, and I cannot wait to go back there myself and see how things have changed.
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Excuse us if this seems a little like we are blowing our own trumpet, however we are delighted to hear that we have just won a Feefo Gold Trusted Service Award based on independent reviews by our customers on Feefo.com.
As a company we always strive to offer the best possible service, advice, and support to our clients, and it is always a real highlight of the week whenever we receive positive feedback from a client…so you can imagine how much this award based on all our reviews over the last year means to us.
Our heartfelt thanks to all the clients that have given us such lovely reviews on Feefo, and also to the outstanding safari lodges, hotels, guest houses and transport companies who deliver such exceptional experiences to our clients and are always there to work with us in the event that something goes awry.
I think I’d better stop here before I start sobbing like a Hollywood A-Lister and thanking my mum and cat…
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Regular readers of our blog will know that we are huge fans of South Africa as a holiday destination, and we believe it offers amazing variety and great value for money. From the bustling heart of cosmopolitan Cape Town (regularly voted one of the most beautiful and characterful cities in the world) through to the amazing wildlife of the vast Kruger Park area, there is so much to see and do, with safaris, accommodation and transport options to meet all tastes and budgets.
To give you an example of the range of properties available, in the Kruger area there are lodges such as Shindzela that offer a safari including game drives, accommodation and all meals for little over £100 per person per night, however if you have the budget and nothing but the best will do, the beautiful and recently refurbished Lion Sands Ivory Lodge will set you back over £1000 per person per night. Incidentally, we have stayed at both and this they are both great, although it is unlikely that they will appeal to the same potential guests!
To make this wonderful and diverse country even more appealing, Travel Butlers is running a special offer with deposits starting from only £100 per person on new bookings for accommodation and road transport in South Africa.
This offer will automatically be applied to qualifying bookings, and you can get some inspiration for your own trip on our South Africa holiday pages.
The offer is valid for new bookings confirmed before 28 February 2017, and the balance will be due 60 days before travel as per our usual terms and conditions.
The £100 deposit per person (or equivalent amount in USD, EUR or ZAR) will secure your safari lodge, hotel bookings and road transport in South Africa. There will be a few exceptions for larger group bookings and particular properties that require a larger deposit, and if you would like to book international or other scheduled flights with us, we’ll need to confirm the prices and payment terms for these at the time of booking as these are set by the airlines
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