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Botswana

The heart and soul of Africa's safarilands

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My husband Richard and I went to Tanzania and Kenya for our honeymoon three years ago. I’d always wanted to go to Africa since I was a child; I was brought up around animals, and on my family vacations in Australia we would see crocodiles and other wild animals. I’ve always had this passion.

After our honeymoon, we got the bug. Africa just got my soul.

Twelve months later, we went to South Africa around the Sabi Sands area, and that was fantastic.

Read "Charles van Rensburg: Into the Wilderness"

The heart and soul of Africa's safarilands

But prior to us getting married, I listened to a talk by Peter Allison at the Royal Geographic Society. He’s a safari guide from Botswana and the author of the book Whatever you do, don’t run. He gave this great talk on Botswana and the Okavango Delta. I love the water, and Botswana combines the vast planes and savannahs with that, so it really appealed to me. That was our pull to go.

Botswana was very different to the other places we’d been, and so special. We said we’d go back to Africa every year but now we only want to go to Botswana.

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I like the idea that there is the policy against trophy hunting, and there are rewards for the community to find poachers. All the people at the lodges sit with you while you have dinner, so you’re sharing stories and really finding out about the culture, and finding out what it’s like to be on the ground in Botswana.

The palate of colours was just incredible. Richard on this trip opened my mind to a whole new world when it comes to the little things. When you photograph these little bugs and frogs, you see these amazing colours. There’s so much more beyond the big five. I have a whole new appreciation to the little guys and the birds.

The heart and soul of Africa's safarilands

We spent time tracking lions, following their fresh footprints. We didn’t see one but, it was just as special as when we found them on an afternoon drive later that day, because of the anticipation and excitement. We were ploughing through brush and trees like you wouldn’t believe; it was almost like they were ripping the canopy off. And the adrenaline! Some safaris tell you that you have to stick to the roads. At Little Mombo, there are certain areas where you can go off the path, though it does depend. But every single thing we did on this Botswana trip, we were able to get up close and personal. The guides were breaking the rules for us, so to speak.

My favourite animal is a wild dog because they have this amazing pack mentality. They are real social animals and the way they interact is so beautiful and have this amazing bond. When we got to the Little Mombo Camp and went on an afternoon drive, we were about five minutes away from the lodge and came across a pack of 17 wild dogs and five hyenas; just about 40 feet away, sitting there under the shrubs. That was a truly rare and incredible moment. I could have gone back to Hong Kong at that stage; that was my real wow factor.

The heart and soul of Africa's safarilands

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