Camping with elephant and hyena in Botswana

A close up of African elephant in Botswana

There is something magical about camping in Botswana, it has this peaceful air about it. Botswana is mainly thought of as a destination for the discerning traveller; staying in exclusive lodges and in the tranquillity of the African wilderness. It has taken luxury to the extreme.

Camping in Botswana

One of the best ways to see wildlife in Botswana, especially in Moremi and Savute, is to go on a mobile camping safari. I remember the last time I was camping in Botswana was in Savuti campsite, where I saw a host of animals just by sitting in my campsite.

The first animal to be spotted was an elephant. This one was busy digging at the ground right in the middle of our campsite. As we approached our tents I could see that the elephant had dug a hole to locate the underground water pipe. He had smelt the water out, broken the pipe and now there was a small watering hole in the middle of our campsite! Close encounters of elephants are wonderful. Although going to our tents was an interesting experience! The elephant did not seem too bothered by us, he just wanted a drink of cool water.

As we had supper we saw wildebeeste, impala, kudu and zebra, we didn’t even have to get up to see them. They just walked past us on the way to their water hole.

It was all a bit surreal. Nothing beats camping in Botswana.

A night visitor to our campsite

Our last visitor was something special. Night had fallen and we were sitting around our campfire watching the twinkling stars and listening to the noises of the African Bush, it was a beautiful night that night. We had got used to elephants and other animals coming into drink at our waterhole. But when yelping and growling were heard we knew we had some new and exciting visitors. I gradually trained our spotlight onto our waterhole to see four bright blue eyes glaring back at us. The eyes seemed to be the same height as I was when I was standing. Then there was that familiar ‘laugh’ which gave our visitors identification away. I could not believe how enormous these hyena were, we all had our mouths open watching them.

It had been an incredible evening. As I lay in my tent I realised how lucky I was to see these animals – and in my own campsite. It is not often that you can say you shared your campsite with an elephant and two hyenas. But then these sort of things happen in Africa.

Jenny Bowen

Author: Jenny Bowen

I live for travel, whether it is at home or abroad. It is a joy to explore new places, meet new people and to have an adventure. There are so many wonderful places to visit and such fascinating wildlife to see, you never know what is around the corner! Live life to the full and restore your soul.