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Local Spotlight: Interview with our local partner in Botswana


Botswana is a true highlight of the African continent, boasting abundant wildlife and beautiful, rugged landscapes; relatively untouched by urbanisation. We caught up with Roger – the founder of our local partner, to talk about searching for leopards, long nights with lions, and boat safaris on the Okavango Delta. 

What is life like in Botswana? What is your fondest memory?

Leopards in BotswanaLife in Botswana is about embracing the bumpy roads and the freedom of the country. My house is on the edge of the Okavango Delta, backing onto a river with hippo right outside. Watching the sunset from my garden is my fondest memory. 

What is your favourite place in Botswana? Why?

Khwai Concession is my home from home. I am a wildlife photographer and Khwai is the perfect place to take photos. A definite highlight of the area is its high numbers of big cats.  On one expedition I was lucky enough to be the first to spot a newborn leopard being carried off by its mother.

What three words most represent Botswana for you? And why?

Scale: Botswana is a truly massive country with vast and beautiful landscapes and thousands of animal species. 
Diversity: There are eight distinct regions to visit in Botswana, matching, if not bettering any other wildlife destination in Africa.
Wilderness: Well Botswana is one of the last true great wildernesses left in Africa. Animals roam freely and are left to their own devices. If you see a lion in Botswana, you know it’s truly wild.

What is the Botswanan culture like?

Botswana has a very rich and varied cultural heritage; perhaps the oldest and most traditional are the Khoisan or San Bushman of the Kalahari region. You can still find River Bushmen living on the Okavango Delta. There are around 20 or so languages spoken by different ethnicities, but everyone here speaks English as their main language.

What is your favourite Botswanan food?

The variety of traditional food is certain to surprise you. I am quite fond of “Seswaa” which is pounded and salted meat stew that usually goes together with a spinach dish called “Morogo”. If you are feeling adventurous, you could always try boiled mopane worms – a delicacy in many regions!

Do you know any cool facts about Botswana that most people wouldn’t know?

The Ntwetwe Salt Pan is the largest in the country, covering an area the size of Switzerland. Standing in the centre of the pan, all you can see is the circumference of the earth.

What are the experiences people travelling to Botswana definitely shouldn’t miss?

Boats and Elephants on Okavango Delta, BotswanaBotswana offers some of the best opportunities in the world to view wildlife; it is a real privilege to see the rarest predators and big game in their natural habitats. My favourite way to go wildlife spotting is by boat.  Where else in the world can you drift silently down a Delta channel, guided by a local expert who grew up in the area, viewing elephants as you go?

Do you have any top tips for any TravelLocal customers thinking of visiting Botswana?

Try to visit dry and wet areas as well as the grasslands. Botswana has an array of climates and landscapes and this way you will witness all it has to offer.

What is the story behind Safari Lifestyles? What inspired you to start the business?

I was tired of working in the banking sector in London. I had always been extremely interested in wildlife and decided to volunteer for a bush camp in Botswana. After two weeks the company asked me to drive a completely open vehicle off-road to a camp over ten hours away, with only a chef to guide me. After nine hours of driving we found ourselves in complete darkness surrounded by 17 lions. The chef was terrified, but I wasn’t at all. I thought to myself, “I could do this.”

What has been your most memorable experience as a tour operator?

I had a client who particularly wanted to visit a large hill called “Leopard Rock” so that he could see these cats. He and his family had been on safari many times before but had never had a sighting. I explained to him that where he wanted to visit was unlikely to yield leopard sightings, so he took my advice and travelled to two completely different lodges, placed with a guide I suggested who was a leopard expert. Out of eight game drives, the family saw leopards on seven of them.

What’s next for your company?

The last two or three years have been amazing for us! We have seen a large influx of people looking to book with local experts. We are currently working on expanding to other southern African nations to provide safaris.

And we’ve got to ask – do you have a dream holiday destination that you want to visit?

I would love to spend a week on a beach in the Seychelles. 

Make it Happen

If you’re feeling inspired to undertake your own adventure across beautiful Botswana, why not submit an enquiry to our local experts? If you would like to speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, call +44 (0) 117 325 7898

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