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Lioness, Khwai
Lioness, Khwai 2005


Home -> Reviews & Tips -> Trip Reviews -> Khwai 2005



In June 2005 we went for a short 3 day trip to Khwai in Moremi Game Reserve. This was my third visit to Khwai, undoubtedly one of the best safari destinations in Botswana. With its vast open floodplains bordered by mopane forests, Khwai is one of the most beautiful places in Botswana as well as being very rewarding in terms of game viewing.
The public campsite at Khwai is pleasantly situated among the tall trees along the banks of the Khwai River and is frequently visited by animals coming down to the water to drink as well as by the monkeys and baboons that sleep in the trees above the campsite. Hyena and occasionally Lion visit the campsite at night so care must be taken and all food items must be kept in the vehicle overnight.

In three days we saw numerous animals (including Lion, Hyena, Elephant and Giraffe) as well as a wide variety of birds such as Martial Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, Wattled Crane and Arnot's Chat.

Monday 20th June
Palapye - Rakops - Maun
Having left Palapye mid-morning we didn't arrive in Maun until late afternoon, after stopping near Rakops for a picnic. Along the way we saw a number of birds including Whitebacked Vultures as well as two Marabou Storks at a roadside kill. After arriving at Audi Camp we headed for the restaurant which I would recommend. We stayed in one of the impressive luxury A-frame tents which are tastefully furnished whilst still maintaining a rustic feel.

Distance travelled: 645km

Tuesday 21st June
Maun - Khwai
The next morning we had breakfast in the restaurant before packing the truck for the trip into Moremi. A quick walk along the river proved quite rewarding with Arrowmarked Babbler, Brownthroated Weaver and African Fish Eagle a few of the birds seen. The trip to Khwai took about 3hrs with a break at Maqwee gate for a quick snack whilst watching the antics of a family of Tree Squirrels.
After setting up camp, in the public campsite at Khwai, we went on an evening game drive heading east along the Khwai River. We saw numerous birds, including Copperytailed and Senegal Coucals, Black Crake, Martial Eagle and Bradfield's Hornbill, as well as animals such as kudu, hippo and elephant with the highlight being a pride of 11 lions at a giraffe kill. The lions had brought down the giraffe right by the road which made for great viewing over the next two days as the lions ate their fill. We made our way back to camp where we fell asleep to the sounds of the night - Hyenas sniffing round the tent, Baboons squabbling in the trees above and Hippos feeding in the river!

Distance travelled: 150km









Wednesday 22nd June
The next morning we headed west along the river from the campsite on our only full day in the Reserve, which started well with the sighting of a Honey Badger returning to its den shortly after sunrise. Further along the floodplain we saw a family of Ground Hornbills as well as other birds such as Kori Bustard, Blacksmith Lapwing and African Jacana. Shortly after we came across two lionesses sunning themselves on a termite mound. We waited to see if they were settled for the day and were rewarded when they both got up and walked across the floodplain. Fortunately for us the road looped round and we were able to get round the other side of the lions. They headed towards the river for a drink, walking right past the vehicle before sitting down a few metres from the road! We stayed with them for a while before heading towards Dombo Hippo pools for a snack. On the way back to camp we took the road through the tall mopane woodland spotting birds such as Redbilled Woodhoopoe and Arnot's Chat which favour this environment.
After lunch at the campsite we headed east along the river for an afternoon drive. Once again we saw numerous antelope including Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Red Lechwe and the abundant Impala. On the floodplain we came across a pair of Wattled Cranes as well as many other birds, such as Malachite Kingfisher, Saddlebilled Stork and Redbilled Francolin to name a few. We made our way back to camp, stopping to see the lions at the giraffe kill along the way - by this time there was little left of the carcass! Not far from the lions we saw a Spotted Hyena but the light was fading so we had to hurry back to camp, arriving just before dark.

Distance travelled: 80km





























Thursday 23rd June
Khwai - Maun
As this was our last day in Khwai we only had time for a quick game drive before taking down the tent and packing the vehicle ready for the trip back to Maun. We left Khwai shortly before 9am giving us plenty of time to get to Maqwee gate (30kms away) before 11am. We arrived safely in Maun around 1pm.
Khwai lived up to its reputation as one of the best wildlife destinations in Botswana, with abundant wildlife and beautiful scenery. The campsite is one of the most pleasently situated in Botswana's Reserves though the ablution facilities are in desperate need of a revamp! All in all it was a highly successful trip and, despite the fact that we only spent one full day in Khwai, we came home with many fantastic memories...

Distance travelled: 120km



South Gate, Moremi
Giraffe and Yellowbilled Oxpecker, Khwai
Sandy road along Khwai floodplain
Sub-adult Male Lion, Khwai
Yellowbilled Hornbills, Khwai campsite
Malachite Kingfisher, Khwai
Tree Squirrel, Khwai campsite
Lions on giraffe kill, Khwai