Written by: The Harkins family
It’s become a family tradition to go on an annual fishing trip. However the cost of these trips has surged in recent times. This year we were on a mission to uphold our tradition, while also making the trip more affordable.
Our concern was that the quality of our trip wouldn’t be as high as previous years. After exploring many options, Lelobu Safaris convinced us on a camp situated along the banks of the Guma Lagoon on the north-western side of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. They offered a number of options from full board to camping.
We chose to stay in a canvas chalet which also offered its own fire pit, braai, and bathroom. The stilted canvas chalet was stylishly decorated with lovely teak beds and came complete with mosquito nets and towels. Our private balcony provided us with the most stunning unspoilt view.
On the first night, after we made our own dinner, we drifted off to sleep listening to the hippos grunting.
As the sun rose we wandered down to deck over the lagoon to absorb the incredible beauty that surrounded us. After a delicious breakfast we headed out with our guide to go fishing. We had hired an 18 foot boat for the four of us to share – the only extra we would have to pay would be for the fuel that we used. The guide navigated us through a narrow meandering network of channels and the scenery and birdlife took my breath away. My advice to anyone going out on an early boat ride through the Okavango would be to wrap up warm and bring a jacket as it can be rather chilly.
Our local guide took us to a smaller lagoon where, after a slow but steady start, the tigerfish were plentiful. A few hours in we opted for a quick lunch break (the camp could have prepared us one for BWP65 per person, but we had already bought our own provisions). In spite of the array of fish that can be caught in the area, we only caught tigerfish due to the time of year we were there. However, we managed a decent sized catch at 3.8kg, although we didn’t break the camps record of an outstanding 6.8kg. The camp actively supports a catch-and-release policy for all fish species.
After a great day’s fishing, we were glad to return back for hot showers and to get our fire started.
On both mornings of our stay, camp staff were up and about early tidying the camp from the night before and making sure that everything was in order for the day ahead.
Other trips that were offered to us were bird walks, sunset boat rides, mokoro day/overnight trips and surprisingly even a helicopter ride over the Delta.
Not only do we feel that this was our best family trip to date, but we are now turning our annual excursion in to a biannual event.
Here are 5 tips to cutting costs when travelling with your family in Botswana:
1. Travel overland. If you are able to travel with one other person or more, you can split gas costs. Having a travel buddy is also a good idea should an emergency arise. Although it may not be the quickest way to get to your destination, driving is most certainly cheaper than flying.
2. Self-cater. We brought a lot of food and cooked the majority of our meals, which allowed us to treat ourselves to a full breakfast on the day we went fishing.
3. Bring a cooler box. Packing a cooler meant that we could take our own soft drinks and water with us; every little helps.
4. Plan your dates. We selected our dates carefully, and although we did not avoid high season, we did steer clear of public holidays.
5. Bring your own gear. Make sure you have all the fishing and photography gear that you will need before you leave for your trip.
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