Travel & Events 26 Aug 2019

7 game drive tips

For everyone who likes to go on a classic safari, some nice tips to make it an even better experience!  Cheers! Henk & Angelique  1.             Go out early in the morning before sunrise and the heat begins or just at the end of the day, when the predators will reappear. 2.             Be as quiet as possible and look closely at bushes and trees. These are good hiding places for felines. 3.             It obvious, but don't wear striking colored clothing. During a walking safari it is better not to wear white or black, because predators can                associate that with the tail or the buttocks of a prey. Or they see you as a competition. You'll be surprised when suddenly there's a lion behind                you. 4.             A huge cliché, but it happens too often that people are stubborn: always stay in the car! Unless your guide says it's safe to get out. As long                as you are in the car, a feline will not see you as a human being, but as part of an object. If you climb out of the car, then it becomes a                different story. 5.             In order to preserve as much as possible the experience and memory of the animals you have spotted, you can arrange for one to film and                the other to photograph. 6.             Before you start, immerse yourself in animal tracks. In this way, you can also participate in the 'game' along the way and you increase the                chance of success. 7.             Take your time: if you have found a leopard or cheetah, talk to your guide (and other travelers) to see if you can stay a bit longer. It is often                better to choose to see one animal (and family) than to see a little or nothing of everything. It is special to be able to observe animals up close                and the moment will soon be over. And even if they are found, waiting is worthwhile. Animals almost always move around and only then it can                become really interesting! 

Travel & Events 26 Aug 2019

part 3: paradisiacal botswana embraced by water

Despite the dry Kalahari desert, Botswana is one of the most fertile countries in Africa. This is mainly due to magical rivers such as the Chobe, Linyanti and Zambezi and the unique wet landscape of the famous Okavan Modelta. This combination results in a rich ecosystem, in which nature uses its own 'water engineers'. Text: Angelique van Os | Photography: Henk Bothof  Peaceful solutionsWe continue talking about human versus wildlife conflicts in Botswana in the previous part I and II. The dosed shooting of elephants by professionals of the dikskins around problem areas is not a solution, we hear from different sources. This means that a completely healthy family will die, including pregnant heifers and young and baby elephants. An elephant is known for its good memory and can mourn for days when a family member dies. And chances are they will return to the same places. Hopefully there will be more peaceful solutions, which will have a long-term effect. There are success stories, for example, that the animals are kept away with beehives. And there are several international universities and organizations that study the forms of elephant migration. Arnold Tshipa has been investigating the migration and movement of 32 elephants around Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe) for Wilderness for a number of years. Some of them wear a gps-tracking band. In a nutshell, it can be seen that there are animals that barely move around, there are herds that travel short distances and there were eight elephants that crossed the border at Botswana. The migrations are important for the distribution of the families, which can cause the animals to settle in neighbouring countries. Arnold: "It is essential that the elephants are able to move around the major rivers and along the corridors. We will discuss this with politicians in order to stimulate this approach. And if we have more knowledge about why elephants migrate - apart from the dry versus wet season - then we might as well lead them to similar areas where they feel at home. The downside is that such research and the movement of elephants is a very expensive affair and governments must be prepared to give up land so that they can receive elephants."  Finally, education also plays an important role in the future of elephants, as well as other endangered species such as big cats and the African Wild Dog, which are also the inhabited world crosses. According to Sue Goatley of Children of the Wilderness, education is a key role. Sue has been working in the field as a teacher and school principal for many years and coordinates school projects in the Zambezi region. She is involved in the Wilderness Eco-clubs, which have 18 primary schools. For each school, thirty pupils follow a special nature conservation program for four years. Sue: "Children under the age of twelve are sponges and with the right guidance they can absorb a lot of knowledge, such as how best to deal with wild animals in their environment. The great thing is that pupils not only pass on knowledge to each other, but also to their family members. The children convince their parents or warn them not to kill animals, but they can act in other ways when there is danger. And that they can even - with increasing tourism - take advantage of it."       Small water lifeThe daily problems are hardly visible during our trip. But it keeps us constantly busy, because nature has to fight hard for its existence. When we drive with Robert through the northern flanks of the delta, in the Kwedi concession, again the peaceful silence is overwhelming. The vastness. And every time the surprise. Also for Rob as a researcher: "This is such a unique area. It continues to amaze me. Recently I discovered a new species of dragonfly and lastly near the lodge, Vumbura Plains, a new carnivorous plant species that seems to come from the Congo River. Certainly the varied little water life that takes place here fascinates me." And that's what we see when we get into a mokoro. This traditional hollowed out tree trunk has traditionally served as the main means of transport in the delta. In the meantime, the wooden examples have been replaced by durable, light fiberglass canoes. The helmsman uses a long stick to move the boat. We glide criss-cross between the high reed and along countless papyruses. From the water level we see small insects flying by, frogs jumping off leaves and small kingfishers taking a dive. The shallow water is clear and warm to the touch. I doze away a bit and think back to all the impressive experiences of this trip. To the many elephant families I have been able to observe and to their uncertain future. The three little ones of only a few months old who greeted each other, the clown of the family, who gave a show with a stick and then got tangled up with his trunk. And the caring mothers who kept an eye on things in the background. I can't get enough of it. Nor of this paradisiacal landscape and its inhabitants, in which the power of water, the source of life, is all-encompassing. BACKGROUND Wilderness SafarisWilderness Safaris is one of the few organizations in Botswana that has the means to rent or lease a number of concessions from the government. The exclusivity is not only in the really beautifully decorated, luxurious tents and lodges, which are often equipped with natural materials and perfectly fit in with the vast landscape. It's all about the overall picture. The location at the waterfront is breathtaking at all four camps we visited -Toka Leya (Zambia), DumaTau, Quoroke and Vumbura Plains-. The friendliness, service and knowledge of the local staff deserves a compliment. The healthy local products are a party and finally the daily activities are varied and the knowledge of the rangers is always astonishing. In order to minimise the impact of tourism, Wilderness only uses solar panels, which also heat its own purified water. This water comes from the rivers and the swamp. To this end, Wilderness employs managers who apply as clean ecosystems as possible. The cars and their own planes do have an impact, of course, but they are necessary to get around in this country. Wilderness compensates their CO2 emissions by planting new forests. Furthermore, with their impressive contributions from the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, which has been in existence since the end of the 1980s, they want to make the difference in sustainable tourism. The trust focuses on nature conservation, research, education, running their own anti-poaching management and supports and involves local communities in their projects. There are dozens of projects that the Trust makes possible. But the relationship is symbiotic: without tourism there is no trust and therefore no conservation. Finally, the non-profit organization Children in the Wilderness has an important role to play, with a focus on various educational projects. More information: wilderness-safaris.comREAD ALSO OUR OTHER BLOGS ABOUT BOTSWANA

Travel & Events 26 Aug 2019

part 2: paradisiacal botswana embraced by water

Despite the dry Kalahari desert, Botswana is one of the most fertile countries in Africa. This is mainly due to magical rivers such as the Chobe, Linyanti and Zambezi and the unique wet landscape of the famous Okavango Delta. This combination results in a rich ecosystem, in which nature uses its own 'water engineers'.  Text: Angelique van Os | Photography: Henk Bothof Geological wonderWe move on to the southeast of the Okavango Delta, to Qorokwe, a camp that lies under the vast Moremi Game Reserve. From the air the total area of roughly 15,000 km2, filled with canals, lagoons, swamps, reed collars and islets looks spectacular. Nowhere are asphalt roads, no electricity poles, no light pollution. Nothing but wilderness, in which earthly colors alternate. I feel very insignificant in this great country, but also happy: that I can enjoy this geological miracle.   The world's largest inland delta, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, borders the Kalahari Desert to the northwest. The original water source can be found some 1600 kilometers upstream in the Angolan highlands. From here, countless streams and smaller rivers in the catchment area of the two main tributaries of the Okavango - the Cubango and Cuito - are fed by summer rains that fall between October and April. Between December and March the rain peak occurs, allowing the water level to rise up to two meters and the delta to expand. In the dry season, the marshland landscape decreases. However, the delta is supplied with water throughout the year, so that the migration of animals to this area is high. Due to weaknesses in the earth's crust, formed by tectonic shifts along the Eastern African Rift Valley, the Okavango River was split millions of years ago from the Kwando and the Zambezi and therefore does not flow to the sea anywhere. Instead, the water disappears into the desolate Kalahari Desert after its fanning out. The current funnel-shaped delta was created as a result of a series of fault lines and a tectonic impoundment, such as near the town of Maun, where the watercourse was closed off. It can take four to six months for the water to flow through a large estuary throughout the delta, feeding the seasonal marshes.  AuthenticityOpinions are divided as to the extent to which the delta has changed in recent decades. Ecologist Robert Taylor specializes in wetland studies and is a botanist. He has been working for five years on various projects within Wilderness, such as a successful rhino reintegration project. Taylor indicates that the delta has largely retained its authenticity. A visible change is that the clear water becomes darker. This may be due to the increasing number of forest fires, where peat, for example, ends up in the water and attacks the soil and plants. "There is much debate among researchers about the extent to which the delta is formed from fire; that it is part of the natural balance. Others claim that increasing fires have a negative impact on water and that this is a development of recent years. In my opinion, too little research has been done into the impact of fire on the delta's ecosystem. In addition, 50 years ago there were hardly any elephants to be found here. Now there are many of them and their presence is visible in the landscape. There are many fallen and bare trees that do not survive. But it is a dynamic system. We can't agree that because there used to be forests with tall trees, it should look like this." Water architectsThe elephant, as well as the hippopotamus and termites, also plays an important role in the landscape. These are the ecosystem engineers and water architects. Rob explains: "The termites, with their hills, create islands in the delta area. At high tide, their structures protrude above the surface of the water, allowing permanent vegetation to develop here. In wetlands, elephants and hippos can use their movements to open channels to allow water to flow. Thanks to this movement, complex networks of pathways through the wetlands are created, which ensures that there is a flow of water and that the areas remain accessible. IssueThe sparsely populated Botswana has the largest elephant population in Africa, with counts exceeding 130,000 since 2018. The fact that the animals thrive here is often due to the remote rich wetlands, the diverse vegetation of open savannahs and forest and shrubs. In addition, the presence of humans is limited, especially in the protected, remote areas such as the Okavango Delta and the private concessions. Because the government allows an exclusively small-scale form of sustainable tourism, it is also a costly affair to visit the wildlife parks. However, the success of the elephant now takes such a refuge that it is a major problem outside the protected areas. For example, at the end of March AG Africa Geographic reported that more than 65% of Botswana's wildlife is located outside protected areas, in the Wildlife Management Areas (AMMs), demographically speaking. These are mainly pastoral and agricultural areas, where communities live along the border. Here, elephant herds regularly cause great damage to homes and destroy agricultural crops. Sometimes with fatal consequences for the inhabitants. It is a complex discussion about which the opinions and interests of nature organizations and conservationists, politicians and the local population differ widely. The problem goes beyond the elephant problem: it is a forerunner for more human-wildlife conflicts. This is possibly the greatest challenge for the future, not only for Botswana, but also for neighbouring countries and how they should deal with these issues. In 2014, the previous president, Ian Kaha, issued a hunting ban because of the low level of wildlife. Meanwhile, the current president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has lifted this ban since May of this year and it is legal again to hunt elephants. Worldwide, this leads to great resistance and with it, the poaching and 'pleasure hunting' that has been fought against so hard in recent years can once again celebrate victory. This is already visible in less protected areas, according to a recent report by the conservation organization Elephant Without Borders: in 2018 they identified four 'poachers' hot spots', where 87 carcasses of elephants had been found. They provided the sites with photographic evidence, ground surveys and had nine international elephant experts look at them. According to researcher Mike Chase and the BBC, the government denies the extent of this poaching and is trying to silence Chase. READ FURTHER IN PART 3!  

Travel & Events 26 Aug 2019

paradisiacal botswana embraced by hydropower

Despite the dry Kalahari desert, Botswana is one of the most fertile countries in Africa. This is mainly due to magical rivers such as the Chobe, Linyanti and Zambezi and the unique wet landscape of the famous Okavan Modelta. This combination results in a rich ecosystem, in which nature uses its own 'water engineers'. Text: Angelique van Os | Photography: Henk Bothof A few meters from our safari tent, I hold my breath. Leaves rustle and branches break. Suddenly I see a big grey skin. I've never seen them so close before. Manager Anneri of the really beautiful and completely self-sufficient Wilderness DumaTau Camp, hasn't said that we should be on our guard, or we're already staring straight into the eyes of an elephant. The animal flaps its ears. Not because it feels threatened, but to regulate its moisture and temperature. "You should never turn around and run away when you see an elephant, because then he will come after you. Always let the animal pass by first. Or as now, we just have to wait until he's finished nibbling. Because as long as he keeps chewing on grass, there's nothing wrong", says Anneri calmly. We wait a few minutes for the elephant to turn around. But that doesn't happen. Anneri chuckles and finally she claps her hands. She doesn't like to chase away animals, because we are guests in their environment. But the safety of the guests is paramount. With some reluctance the animal disappears into the bushes and eats its lunch a little further on. The adrenaline slowly slides out of my body. Soon it turns out that this is one of the many grey colossus that we can admire up close. And there are many of them at the same time. A day later, for example, an impressive bull wanders around the reception and during a delicious boat lunch where we float along the Savute canal, we have to wait with mooring. An elephant swims along the quay and decides to go ashore right at the back of the luxury camp. DumaTau takes its name from 'the roar of the lion', but in this area it's without a doubt the large herds of elephants that make up the service here. These large 'parades' are not only to be found in this area, on the edge of the Linyanti swamp and the Ospray Lagoon. They are mainly found in and around the waters of the major rivers such as the adjacent Chobe and Kwando, the famous Okavango Delta and the extensive Chobe National Park. In addition to elephants, these watery ecosystems are also bursting with hippos, many bird species, crocodiles, antelopes, cat-like species and other wildlife that migrate to the water to drink. We are located in the untouched Africa of North Botswana. Where water systems can still flow largely unaffected and freely and where the diverse ecosystem not only depends on this rich area, but also makes an important contribution to its future.  Complex as a wholeThe rich water and river systems of North Botswana are closely interlinked, as well as with neighbouring countries. As a result, it forms a complex whole, with rivers flowing into each other and bearing a different name. The Savute canal starts in the Linyanti concession and ends in the Savuti marsh, which borders Chobe National Park. These are protected areas. The Linyanti concession covers an enormous area of 125,000 hectares and is supervised by Wilderness Safaris and its Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Wilderness Safaris is a large tour operator within Southern Africa and only has its own concessions. In Linyanti they have two other small-scale lodges besides DumaTau. The organization has been in existence for more than 35 years and presents excellent eco-safaris in the high segment.  VeinsThe Savute water comes from the Kwando-Linyanti river. This river originates in the highlands of Angola and undergoes several name changes on this route before forming a delta-law country on the border with Botswana and Namibia. To keep it 'clear': the Kwando River touches the Linyanti fault line and changes direction into the Linyanti River. Linyanti then turns into Chobe, which in turn flows into the Zambezi River near Kasane. Then there is the Selinda Canal, which connects the Okavango system with the Kwando-Linyantis system. In the event of a flooding of the systems, water enters the other network via the Selinda canal. And so all the veins are interconnected again.The fault lines and shifts of the rivers are clearly visible from the air, so that the change of vegetation (river, swamp, grassland, forest and savannah) also complement each other. Due to the intense presence of all this water, the game thrives in this part of Botswana. And the marshy areas are unsuitable and too remote for settlements. A positive result is that the game has more living space and is less threatened, especially in protected concessions such as Wilderness. Unspoilt natureBack to Linyanti. This fairy-tale area of 28,000 m2, situated at the edge of the fertile Okavango oasis, forms a dynamic color palette, with spectacular views over the lively water landscape. There is always movement. During several game drives we see elephants cooling down in the swamps and river. They splash and spray water with their trunks on top of each other, as if they shower together. The grey skins like to swim between a bed of white water lilies, which sparkles in the rising heat. Occasionally a few hippos take a beating. Like a submarine, they appear on the surface, keep a close eye on everything with its strong smell, only to disappear under water again a little later. Gallant and agile impalas spread in small groups in the high reed while jumping. They also seek shelter and refreshment, unaware that there may be a crocodile lurking. Or a leopard, because this devious cat can sneak silently around shallow water. We are very lucky, because a two year old male has been spotted, who is working away an old bite in a tree. The beautiful animal is luckily not impressed by our 4x4 jeep, and is slowly moving after his breakfast. The solitary leopard wanders in its dead field through the high grass and walks over a wooden bridge that the jeeps can cross. The cat screens the swamp for prey with his sharp vision. There is not much to see. On the other side he marks out his territory by a tree, and then, by a small detour through the forest, arrives at an open water spot again. Rttttssshhhh... Despite its speed, the beaten leopard sees its next bite - a lizard - shooting into the water. There is always boss above boss. The cat gives up and disappears into the bushes in search of cooling. I dare to breathe again, what a privilege to be able to follow this animal in this untouched nature. SEE PART 2 & 3 FOR THE FULL STORY! 

Travel & Events 09 Aug 2019

stunning scenic flight helicopter horizons

When you are travelling across the Okavango Delta of Botswana (see previous travel blogs), one of the best ways to get an idea of the terrific scenery is up in the sky. We collaborated with the amazing Helicopter Horizons, which already fly their guests from lodge to lodge with small airplanes. But to experience a unique and even more exciting free feeling, one must really try a scenic helicopter flight! It is one of those things you put on your bucket list. And we must say, it is an absolute must!  We had a stunning flight with Helicopter Horizons, which made our trip even more magical. You can SEE OUR VIDEO HERE, and the images speak for themselves. Helicopter Horizons collaborates with travel organisations such as Wilderness Safaris. In addition to scenic flights, it is also possible to book private transfers, special helicopter safaris, they support with filming and photography. Also – that is what we really appreciate- Helicopter Horizons also supports when help is needed for special wild life assistance. They strive to give back as much and often as they can. Therefore, they for instance collaborate with organisations like the Rhino conservation Botswana (RBC) and Elephants without Borders (EWB). It is also possible to book flights to Makgadikgadi Pans and the Kalahari Desert. For more info, check the website. Photographs by Henk Bothof | Text: Angelique van Os 

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

video: 5 reasons why we love wilderness safaris

This Spring Henk and I had an amazing trip with Wilderness Safaris (also see our previous blog about the classic safari trip we made). But we really want to share this video with you. The images speaks for themselves. Soon you can find the profiles of Wilderness on Miljonet.  Hope you also get inspired!  Henk Bothof & Angelique van Os Images by Henk Bothof & Dana Allen (interior)

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

classic game drive botswana animalwahalla part 2

No LuckWe move on to the southeast of the Okavango Delta, to Qorokwe, a camp near the vast Moremi Game Reserve. From the air the area of roughly 15,000 km2, filled with canals, lagoons, swamps, reed collars and islets looks spectacular. Nowhere are asphalt roads, no electricity poles, no light pollution. Nothing but wilderness, in which earthly colours alternate. I feel very insignificant in this great country, but also happy: that I can enjoy this geological miracle. The end of the afternoon is approaching. With our new guide Alan, we go looking for lions. Everywhere we meet elephants, giraffes, antelope, birds and monkeys. The lions are nowhere to be seen. In the meantime Alan tells us all about the landscape, about the trees that have a hard time because of the many elephants. They are eaten bald and pushed over. Then we arrive at a vast plain. In the distance there are buffaloes and impalas. An ideal place for a lion to go hunting. We wait a while. But nothing happens. Alan drives on. Because Wilderness has its own concessions, the guides are allowed to drive off road here. This increases the chance to find cats and rhino’s. But no matter how many laps we drive, we don't find any lions. Alan also follows a rhino trail for a while, but without any luck. And the African Wild Dog hasn't been seen in the park for two weeks. The endangered dogs can travel up to sixty kilometers a day, so that's looking for a needle in a haystack. So no luck today.  Soes and sleepThe next game drive starts early again. Because it is already quite hot, Alan drives to a clearing that borders a large pond. Again we don't find a lion's-eye here, but we do find dozens of birds and elephants that cool off among the hippos. We can watch this peaceful scene for hours, but since the lions are not around here, we continue. While Alan drives on quietly, I hear him talking in the walkie-talkie. "Have the lions been spotted?" I ask hopefully. "And while I ask, the guide smiles and says: "Look right in front of you, under that bush." I start to shine glimpse away. There are two young lions puffing in the shade. They are brothers. Soon it turns out that the whole family (nine cats in total) is scattered under the bushes. A little further on two mothers and their one and a half year old sons are puffing in the grass. One of the lionesses looks like a sleeping beauty, with her head resting gracefully on her front leg. Cats sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours a day, so it is not surprising that there is little action. At the end of the day we see more lions! This time it are two adult males that have beautiful dark and long manes. These boys are also lazy and suffer from the heat. Yet there is a lion that walks along our jeep. We can almost touch him. The male hardly seems to be aware of our presence; the only thing he sees and hears is the car and the clicking of the cameras. Well hiddenIt's time to leave Qorokwe and fly on to the crazy area of Vumbura Plains, north of the Okavan Modelta. The Vumbura concession covers an area of 60,000 hectares, and I find it even more varied than the previous parks. Swamps, small islands with palm trees, vast savannas, acacia forests and seasonal flood plains alternate. No wonder there is so much wildlife here. We have set our sights on finding cheetahs and looking for wild dogs. However, the dogs haven't been seen in the area for a couple of days now and have moved to the south. Lettie is our new friendly guide. Also here the guides of Wilderness work well together during game drives. With three cars they scan the area. During the first afternoon trip Lettie finds lions on the trail. Because the cheetahs are nowhere to be seen, we change our plan. That is also part of a good game drive. Lettie hangs every few minutes with his nose above the unpaved path. By the size of the legs he recognizes whether we follow a male or female. It is the Kubo group, says the guide. This is a group with only lionesses and their young. "I see here that they have crossed the road, probably to drink. We zigzag through the bush. It is difficult to search in the dense and high bushes. The car is approaching a clearing. Now it gets confusing. "Look at the prints. Do you see that all the tracks run through each other, as if they doubted where to go", says Lettie pondering. The lions are nowhere to be seen, so Lettie drives back to the road. Unfortunately. Just at that moment a message follows: the others have spotted the group a bit further on. The lionesses and their offspring are well hidden under the bushes. We wait a while, but there is little movement. Through the walkie-talkie a voice resounds again. Lettie answers excitedly and turns to us with a big smile: "By chance a cheetah female has been seen with a number of cubs! On the way Lettie tells us that his colleague in the other car wanted to drive to the buffalo that we had spotted earlier that morning. When they were close by, it turned out that the cheetah had a dubious hunting attitude. And rightly so, because you don't just attack a buffalo. She had probably set her sights on a calf, but it was too well protected by the herd. Meanwhile she has retreated into the bushes. Ten minutes later Lettie drives off road through the bush. I keep finding it unimaginable how the man always manages to find his way without getting lost. In the distance we see the other jeep. Lettie looks surprised when we find the cheetah mother. "Wow! I know this female. She hadn't been spotted for a while. Apparently she has been busy, because we see her cub now for the first time. So for me also a boost. Her cubs are only a few months old." The mother keeps a close eye on us, but is otherwise relaxed. The boy doesn't know the car yet. They look around a bit nervously and when their mother starts moving, they walk in a bit nervously and trot after it. Lettie reacts immediately each time the animals are in a higher gear. At an appropriate distance he turns the car around so we can see them clearly. We stay with the cheetahs for more than half an hour and say goodbye when the foursome falls asleep under a tree. After this crazy morning a fairytale surprise awaits us: in the middle of nature Wilderness has set up a table where a delicious lunch buffet full of salads, soups, meat and fruit awaits us and the other guests. What a misery!  Close brothersThe end of our trip is approaching. The last game drive is approaching. And it will be memorable too. Again we encounter lions. This time there are four brothers. In consultation with Lettie we decide to take our time and stay with the lions. A male keeps an eye on things. The other three are lazily lying next to each other. They have their legs nicely crossed over each other. "These boys are very close. They hunt and eat together. They are three years old now. Only when they start mating do they retreat and possibly become dominant towards each other", says Lettie. Meanwhile, the sun begins to burn and the lions start to move. Together they search for a pool to drink water. Three of the four then plunge into the shady high grass. But one male walks on. He marks his territory spraying by a tree and calls with a kind of crying song to the females we saw earlier. "The lionesses won't let him come near them, because with the cubs there is a chance that he will kill them. Maybe that's why he sounds so pathetic, he probably already knows that it makes no sense", jokes Lettie. And while we're still watching the lions, I review what we have all seen. What a diversity of animals and landscapes we have seen! And in less than six days we have achieved a nice score with four lions, cheetahs and a leopard. Mission accomplished!  MORE TO COME: soon you can also read 7 Game Drive Tips, 5 reasons why we love Wilderness Safaris, a special feature about the waterlife of the Okavango Delta (& Wilderness) and we will share a video about the amazing landscapes we experienced from a scenic helicopter flight above the Delta. Keep you posted! 

Travel & Events 07 Aug 2019

botswana game drives bring a great animalwahalla

If you go on a classic safari, you'll be in the car for hours. You never know what you will encounter. Game drives can increase the excitement considerably or it can turn out to be a disappointment. It's not a 'game' for nothing. We took up the challenge in Botswana, looking for big cats. Game on!  Text: Angelique van Os | Photopgraphy: Henk Bothof & Dana Allen (interior) The sun is gradually setting. Thank God, because it's almost forty degrees. And that before the end of the rainy season, at the beginning of March. The grass is high, in many places a bit yellow. It hasn't rained much. However, the many low shrubs and the rich forest landscape offer shade. The ever-emerging marshy Linyanti river, the many small onion fields and water poles at the edge of the immense Chobe National Park, form the common thread in this colourful and extensive landscape. The Landcruiser follows the dusty, unpaved path. We are quiet, peering in the bush. Cameras ready to shoot, binoculars in hand. Looking for hidden game. "A good game drive is mainly about waiting, finding and recognizing tracks and good teamwork", whispers our guide Andy. "And luck is perhaps the most important factor", he adds with a smile. It's quiet; the predators still seem to be asleep. There are no footprints or faeces to guide us in the right direction. We are looking for big cats: lions, leopards or cheetahs. Here and there a small group of impala's and zebras pass by. And then suddenly, about ten metres from the car, a large group of elephants looms up. Dozens at a time they walk past us. A number of females protect their calves and trumpeting is imminent. The sound vibrates through my body and the adrenaline rises. I've been on safari several times already, but never before have I seen such a large family so close by. These elephants don't get a lot of visitors every day. And it's a good thing that they are wary, because unfortunately the Botswana government has allowed the hunting of the tadpoles again since May 2019. This has to do with the enormous elephant population in the country and the complex human versus wildlife problems. Fortunately, the Linyanti Concession is a well-protected area, supervised by Wilderness Safaris and its Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Wilderness Safaris is a major tour operator within Southern Africa and only has its own concessions. The organisation has been in existence for over 35 years and presents excellent eco-safaris in the high segment.   Devious cat Linyanti borders on the northwest side of Chobe National Park. The remote reserve vessel is a natural paradise of about 125,000 hectares. Driving around in the jeep, shows how rich this area is in a variety of small game. There is always movement. I get used to the many elephants, but they intrigue me time and time again with their idiosyncratic behavior. They splash and spray water with their trunks on top of each other, as if they shower together. The grey skins like to swim between a bed of white water lilies in the swamps and the Linyanti river, which shines in the rising heat. Gallant and agile impalas spread in small groups in the high reed while jumping. They also seek shelter and refreshment, unaware that a crocodile may be lurking. Or a leopard, because this devious cat can sneak noiselessly around shallow water. That leopard - or another cat - we have not spotted today. It is one of the most shy felines and lives solitary, so it's hard to find. Tomorrow we will make another attempt. The next morning we leave at dusk. "A new day, new opportunities", says Andy cheerfully. He babbles something in the walkie-talkie and while we're having breakfast, he drives quietly towards the savannah. "In addition to our car, two other cars are active. We keep in touch when someone sees something, so we can reach the location quickly." Andy is looking forward to it. After half an hour of driving he stops and stares at the ground, looking for tracks. "Hmmmm...I see a lot of things, but no traces of cats." A quarter of an hour later there is a sound from the walkie-talkie. Andy talks quickly in a local language. He hangs up and returns the car. "The other group has found a leopard, it's near here." I jump up from the couch from excitement. We are very lucky, because a two-year-old male has been spotted eating a prey in a tree. I only catch a glimpse of his beautiful coat and contours. Luckily the animal is not impressed by our 4x4 jeep and slowly starts to move after breakfast. The vehicles split, to give the leopard space. Moments later he is wandering through the high grass at ease and walks past our car in a squint. I hold my breath. Then the animal walks over a wooden bridge that the jeeps can cross. The cat screens the swamp for a prey with its sharp vision. There is not much to see. On the other side he marks his territory by a tree and disappears into the forest. The two other jeeps drive away. We decide to turn the car around and park at a water spot at a walking pace. And yes, there is the leopard again. Rttttssshhhh... Despite his speed, the defeated cat sees his next bite - a lizard - shooting into the water. Every animal meets his match. He gives up and disappears into the bushes in search of cooling. What a privilege to be able to follow this animal in this unspoiled nature. And that at seven o'clock in the morning. READ MORE ABOUT OUR CLASSIC GAME DRIVE IN PART 2! 

Travel & Events 17 Jul 2018

...merci paris!!!!...

MERCI PARIS!An Incredible WeekEnd! Thrusday's HapPy Hour @Le China, Bastille!Friday's independance Day!Saturday's ChamPs Elysees→Military ShowSunday's Final→..France Wins!!! All With GALVANO GROUPYour Global Butler In Ur Pocket! Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 28 Jun 2018

gg/paris-france secret casual thursdays!

GG/PARIS-FRANCE- SECRET CASUAL THURSDAYSWith GALVANO GROUPGALVANO GROUP gets u access to →Our Paris-France Secrt Casual Thursdays Happy Hour! Happy Attendees Get The -Where & What- With Ticket Purchase! Attendees Get The -Where & What- With Ticket Purchase.https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/galvano-secret-casual-thursdays-tickets-46614829209 Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!Event InformationSomething Exciting’s Coming Into YOUR Town! #NewConnections #GoodLife #Style #DiscoverJoin the Party! Meet Cool & Awesome People In A Trendy Relaxed Atmosphere After a Day's Work! #Ambiance #Chic #Hip #TrendyGet Your Key To Attend Galvano´s Happy Hour.  GALVANO GROUP→concierge & lifestyle management catering Private Individuals & CorporationsWith Services & Unique Experiences WorldWide! 

Travel & Events 26 Jun 2018

your dream destination wedding starts here.

Your tropical fairy-tale wedding awaits at Belmond Maroma Resort and SpaA luxurious seaside hideaway located along the Riviera Maya. Belmond believes there is nothing more important than location when it comes to planning the best day of your life, and Maroma delivers.  The magic begins as you enter this romantic hideaway, winding your way through the jungle and being greeted with genuine warm Mexican hospitably.    Understated elegance is the style at this enchanted estate, hidden by lush foliage and coconut trees.  The resort is located on a white sandy beach, recognized as the “World’s Best” by the Travel Channel.  While discretion and privacy are dominant, this intimate 63-room resort makes it perfect for buyouts, affording exclusivity for your entire stay.Your guests will stay in luxurious authentic Mexican style handcrafted rooms, feeling more like a home than resort, all within close proximity to the exclusive beach, truly a little piece of paradise.Activities to choose from are onsite jungle bike tours, tennis, cooking and tequila classes and yoga.  The world’s second largest barrier reef just offshore, provides world-class snorkeling and diving.   Private tours of the rich Mayan culture as well as golfing at nearby premier golf courses. Golf classes can be arranged by the concierge.Spend an entire day at KINAN Spa, voted # 1 best spa in Mexico and Latin America by Conde Nast Traveler.   Pronounced keynan, is Mayan for “the source of life”, this spa offers a full range of spa services in unique environment combining Zen and Maya concepts.  In addition to steam bath and saunas, the traditional Temazcal (spiritual Maya sweat lodge) is offered.  Beautiful caftans are worn in spa.Savor sensational genuine Mexican cuisines at El Restaurante or El Sol where Mexican taste sensations await.This resort exudes romance, and with the Caribbean Sea as your backdrop, make for the perfect destination wedding.  The hardest decision you will make is which magnificent location to choose from. Beach, main pool, courtyard, garden, terrace?Rest assured from the moment we are involved, we will start working tirelessly and behind the scenes sprinkling metaphorical stardust to ensure your day is pure magic!   “And they lived Happily Ever After”Please contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways for your Happily Ever After at Belmond Maramo.All pictures are courtesy of Belmond. 

Travel & Events 18 Jun 2018

gg/the stones-no filter 2018 uk/europe tour

THE STONES-NO FILTER 2018 UK/Europe TourMarseille-FranceTuesday June 26th 2018Velodrome ORANGE GALVANO GROUP gets u access to→ The Stones UK/Europe Tour Concerts...Travel, Accomodations, Tickets, Services & Experiences →We Got it All! Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 10 Jun 2018

gg/eric chou -twenty two plus  2018 asia tour

ERIC CHOU-STAR HALL HONG KONG JULY 25th 2018!July 25th 2018  at 8.15pmKowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (KITEC)Star HallHong Kong, Hong Kong GALVANO GROUP gets u access to→ the -King Of Lovelorn People-Eric Chou’ Asia Tour!..Book Now for Hong Kong…Travel, Accomodations, Tickets, Services & Experiences →We Got it All! Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 08 Jun 2018

twin flames relationship workshop in london

Is he/she my real Twin Flame? When will separation finally end? How can I connect with my Twin Flame in 5D? What else do I need to work on?These and other burning questions is what keeps a lot of Twin Flames up all night.This workshop will provide you with profound knowledge and the right tools to get hands-on with your journey and your relationship. What you are about to receive? Real knowledge from a real Twin Flame couple? No sugarcoating? Presented by a Divine Masculine with Life Path number 1 (a true leader)? Spectacular Insights from an empowered Divine Feminine  Start Receiving Guidance for your Twin Flame Journey Today, presented by a real Twin Flame Couple!A Twin Flame journey is confusing, stressful and can surely turn out into a nightmare without the right knowledge, wisdom and guidance.There is nothing romantic about doing the hard inner work on yourself to become whole again, no. It is painful. And you sometimes wished you never had read about Twin Flames, right?Every Twin Flame journey is different, but the underlying laws of the universe are the same.Right now, you might be struggling on your journey, but that’s ok. Every Twin Flame has been there.A Twin Flame relationship has been overly romanticised, when in truth, it is not about romance. It is about spirituality, becoming whole, so you can united with the other half of your soul and create your empire. ?? ? SEATS ARE LIMITED. RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!? http://bit.ly/TwinFlamesLondon  Your hostsJosef and Yulia have gone through massive ups and downs mentally and physically on their own journey to consciousness. Josef is a a Divine Masculine with Life Path number 1 (a true leader), and Yulia is an empowered Divine Feminine, giving you ground-breaking and eye-opening insights.They were able to develop methods to identify, crack & replace their old belief systems, patterns, paradigms and mental blocks.Part of their inner work was to move away from the mind space, get into their heart space, dissolving ego, deeply letting go and surrender to what is. Let their relationship be an inspiration to you, even if you are not in a twin flame relationship. Josef and Yulia have done tremendous inner work, not only for themselves, but also to support others in their awakening, their growing consciousness and awareness.  Typical Challenges of a Twin Flame Journey? You cannot cope with the intense feelings for your twin? You don’t know what to work on next? You are struggling with separation phase? You do not know how to detach from your twin in a healthy way? You do not understand how to surrender to the journey? You cannot cope with the intense feelings for your twin? You are struggling with overcoming the obstacles of reunion? You still have a lot of conditions on your love and you do not know how to handle this? You want to know how to become whole? You want to understand, feel and experience what Unconditional Love is What you'll learn in this workshop? What are Twin Flames?? Twin Flame Purpose? The Fuck-up Phase? The Healing Phase? Balancing your Energies (Divine Masculine / Divine Feminine)?? Reunion An Intimate SettingYou will be among like-minded people who want to learn more about Twin Flames, their journey, their purpose and how to get things right. ?? ? SEATS ARE LIMITED. RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!? http://bit.ly/TwinFlamesLondon ABOUT PRAGMA Institute for Holistic Life Transformation We are helping to transform Individuals, Couples and Companies to upgrade their Life, Love and Business with proven, results-driven tools.PRAGMA provides live seminars, digital workshops, 1-on-1 coachings, and is also a publishing house for self-development books with focus on subconsicous mind reprogramming and paradigm cracking, as well as self-learning materials, such as success planners.Learn more http://www.pragma.love We are looking forward to welcoming you to our workshop! It will change your whole perception of your Twin Flame Journey. - Josef & Yulia  ?? ? SEATS ARE LIMITED. RESERVE YOUR SPOT NOW!? http://bit.ly/TwinFlamesLondon

Travel & Events 07 Jun 2018

gg/celine dion asian pacific tour -summer 2018

GG/CELINE DION ASIAN PACIFIC TOUR -SUMMER 2018Macau-Singapore-Tokyo-Jakarta- Taipei-Manila-BangkokCeline Upcoming Tour, LIVE 2018. GALVANO GROUP gets u access to→ Celine Dion Asian Tour. We got it All &…Much More!Tickets, Travel & Accommodations, Unique Experiences.. Etc…Name It, We’ll Deliver! Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 05 Jun 2018

gran canaria

Hi all.I am going to Gran Canaria in August - has anyone been there, that could share some top spots there?Thanks,Ajay

Travel & Events 27 May 2018

gg/ a perfect match→air & earth

GG/ A PERFECT MATCH→AIR & EARTH!GLOBEAIR & GALVANO GROUP... GALVANO GROUP Gets U Access To→ The World!...With Our GlobeAir Partner Combine With Galvano Concierge & LifeStyle Management.Pick Ur Day, Place & Planning →We'll Deliver. Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!                                                            

Travel & Events 10 May 2018

luxury destination wedding

Dreaming of a luxury destination wedding, either within Australia or at an International location? ?From our Sydney base, Exclusively Yours plan luxury destination weddings and occasions worldwide. We work with the finest hotels and premium suppliers around the world to ensure that your wedding or event is luxurious and of a first class standard. Using a wealth of professional and personal experience, we can arrange every aspect of your destination wedding. From advice on current trends to discounted travel for your guests, we have everything covered to allow you to concentrate on enjoying every moment of your day. ?Destination Weddings is one of our specialties, so stop dreaming and contact us today as we can make it a reality.https://www.exclusivelyyoursweddings.com.au/destinationwedding

Travel & Events 27 Apr 2018

galvano group-an ace up your sleeve !

GALVANO GROUPYour Global Butler In Your PocketAn Ace Up Your SleeveCEO- Markus Sassmann GG Media Interview!…Read The Article!http://www.kevin-underwood.com/upperclass-concierge/galvano-group-interview/GALVANO GROUP gets u access→ To Top & Unique Experiences Around the World.Name it we have it!.. Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 11 Mar 2018

gg/music-festivals-sports-awards- charity events!…

GG/MUSIC-FESTIVALS-SPORTS-AWARDS- CHARITY EVENTS!….2018 Spring-Summer GALVANO GROUP gets u access to→ All Events going on around the World & beyond…Sold Out Access, Travel & Accomodations, Experiences & Night Life & Much More... We Got It All!Pick-It-Choose-It & Inquire Within! A Few ExamplesCoachella – Indio, USAFriday 13th April 2018 – Sunday 15th April 2018Friday 20th April 2018 – Sunday 22nd April 2018White House Correspondence Dinner - Washington, USASaturday 28th April 2018Vanity Fair Cannes Party & Cannes AmfAR  – Cannes, France Monaco F1???? Grand Prix – MonacoThe Championships Wimbledon – London, UKMonday 2nd July 2018 – Sunday 15th July 2018Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Gala – St Tropez, FranceWednesday 25th July 2018 Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More! 

Travel & Events 05 Mar 2018

thirdhome member spotlight: tom and pam bernhardt

Tom and Pam Bernhardt have been THIRDHOME members since 2011. In the past 6 years, they’ve managed to travel to some amazing places. From Jamaica to Umbria and beyond, the Bernhardt’s have leveraged their Austin homes to take 18 trips with THIRDHOME, with more slated for 2018. How did you get involved with THIRDHOME?We joined in 2006 when THIRDHOME reached via a phone call. Where are you based?Austin, TX. Who do you usually travel with?We travel as a couple frequently and at least once a year with all five grown children. What do you do for a living?Pam is a real estate agent in Austin. Tom is retired for the fourth time. What are your favorite travel hobbies?Hiking, walking, beach going, swimming, boating, tennis In your past travels with THIRDHOME, what was your favorite destination and what did you love about it? I would have to say, Aspen.  We went for three weeks during the summer and hiked daily.  We go there every summer and know the town well. What’s the next destination you are eyeing to travel to with THIRDHOME?France.  We are traveling to Cap Benat which is on the ocean near St. Tropez.  La Radieuse is the name of the villa. What do you love most about your property with THIRDHOME?We have two and soon to be three.  The two that we currently have (Austin Bungalow and Austin Clarksville Home) are located downtown, so walking to morning coffee shop or going to listen to music at neighborhood pub after dinner are fun things to do.  You can walk everywhere including the three-mile trail along Town Lake. How has THIRDHOME changed the way you travel?It has allowed us to travel much more than we use to.  I also can now take multiple girl trips.  This summer my husband is doing the motorcycle trip in Europe.  This will truly be a first for him. Any personal/family achievements you’d like to share?My husband Tom was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2000. What makes a THIRDHOME stay so special?The people. When people own a second home they tend to keep your home like they want others to keep their home. All good. How would you describe THIRDHOME to a friend?It is like entertaining friends.  Much different than the general population. What’s the most memorable restaurant you’ve eaten at during one of your trips?Jean Georges in NYC. Any travel tips for fellow members?Look very carefully at the location and condition of each home. This is what can make your trip very special. Compared to other exchange and rental platforms, how has your experience been hosting other THIRDHOME members?I have had all positive experiences and have met some very interesting people. Want to travel like the Bernhardts?  List your property with THIRDHOME! As a Miljonet member, you can join for FREE without paying the USD$2,500 (£1,900/€2,100) Initiation Fee. Gain access to thousands of homes now: http://miljonet.thirdhome.com/signup

Travel & Events 01 Mar 2018

gg/2018 world’s biggest festivals

GG/2018 WORLD’S BIGGEST FESTIVALS GALVANO GROUP gets u access to →all World’s Biggest Festivals & Concerts.From A to Z, Travel, Tickets, Accomodations, Experiences & Entertainment….We Got it All! Contact & Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!An Ace Up Your Sleeve &.....Much More!

Travel & Events 25 Feb 2018

gg/ 2018-remote exotic getaways

GG/ 2018-REMOTE EXOTIC GETAWAYSWinter sticks around!.. Time to Getaway To Hideaways! GALVANO GROUP gets u access to→a Wealth of Choices & Options for ur Holiday Villa Rentals, Concierge & LifeStyle Management packages from Travel to Logistics, From Celebrations to Private Charterings, From Unique Experiences to Events…Featuring→Maldives, Seychelles, Fiji &….The Whole World! Contact, Details:office@galvanogroup.comwww.galvanogroup.comwww.galvano-iridium.comFollow us on : https://www.miljonet.com/b/galvanogroup/viewhttps://www.facebook.com/galvanogroup/ Your Global Butler In Your Pocket!

Travel & Events 22 Feb 2018

thirdhome luxury home exchange passes 10,000!

On February 15th, 2018, the THIRDHOME team added a gorgeous property in Sydney, Australia. That property happened to be the 10,000th property added to our luxury home exchange club. “I ALWAYS KNEW WE WOULD REACH 10,000, BUT TO ACTUALLY SEE IT, THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE.”-THIRDHOME FOUNDER & CEO, WADE SHEALY THIRDHOME‘s 10,000th property, the Pacific House,  is a modern beach home in Palm Beach, just north of Sydney. Patrick and Karen, the property owners, are rightfully proud of their home. Its construction was carried out by the notable Sydney architect studio, Casey Brown. Beyond a stunning design, the home features stellar views of Palm Beach and the New South Wales coastline. There’s also a plunge pool overlooking the water. The sleek interior has an open layout and floor-to-ceiling windows. Those stellar coastline views follow you throughout the home, even to the master bedroom. The property has a total of 3 bedrooms; there are 2 queens and a king-sized bed. With room for 6 people, this property is perfect for a Sydney beachside getaway! Keep an eye on this property for your next Australian adventure!While we celebrate the 10,000th property, we also celebrate every other THIRDHOME luxury home exchange club member who has contributed to this milestone. We are thankful for each and every home and owner that has added to our portfolio. We raise our glasses to you!