Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

Photo: Ana Isabel Alia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
What an amazing morning! You woke up before the sun to head out on a game drive. When you pulled aside the calico curtains in your cottage, the sky was just starting to turn gray. Blue was still a long way off. You trudged over to the lounge, where you opted for a second cup of coffee instead of a light breakfast. Even that didn’t help. You felt like a zombie when you boarded the boat to head up the Boteti River to the lodge’s game vehicles. But at least you had a few more minutes to nap.

At least that was your plan. You were only a few minutes into the trip when the driver cut the engine and pointed toward the left bank. At first, all you saw was a huge baobab. Then there was movement. A large Burchell’s zebra stepped out from behind the tree. It had bold, broad stripes and a bristly tail. As you held your breath, more stepped forward. There must have been 20 in the zeal.

The zebras were only your first sighting of the morning. Over the next few hours, you saw sleeping lions, skittish bushbucks, and hunting caracals. A male kudu stood as still as a statue, except for his flickering eyes, as the vehicle passed him. A huge herd of blue wildebeests grazed on short grasses before being spooked and racing away. Then four giraffes blocked the dirt road when you started to return to the boat. Your camera’s memory card was full.

Photo: Desert & Delta Safaris

You returned to the lodge, Leroo La Tau, for brunch on the terrace. This time, you were starving. You feasted on eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit while looking through your photos from the morning. Every once in a while, you glanced up to scan the river below you. Elephants, one of the few animals you didn’t see earlier, are known to congregate along the riverbank. But when none had appeared by the time you finished your meal, you decided to return to your cottage for a much-needed nap.

There are only 12 cottages at Leroo La Tau. They sit on raised wooden platforms and have thatched roofs and a full wall of glass windows. The wood floor extends outside to the wide terrace, where plush chaise lounges sit. The large shower also has a river view. While amenities include everything from torches to bug spray to umbrellas—just in case.

Your afternoon plan features a swim in the pool, a quick shower, and tea—it’s really the homemade lemonade to which you’re addicted—before your second drive of the day. You hope to see a bat-eared fox or a striped polecat at dusk before returning for a candlelight dinner. But first, that nap. You have a few hours to sleep . . . unless the elephants make an appearance.

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