Botswana's Okavango Delta wan't my first trip with andBeyond, but it remains the one etched most deeply into my bank of travel memories.
If there’s a vision of a Garden of Eden, the Okavango is surely it. A lush endless land where water meets wildlife meets luxury. andBeyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge was the first place I dropped my bags; an organic retreat all wood and leather and canvas blending perfectly into the landscape.
There’s a playfulness – a lightness of spirit – at Xaranna, in both the décor and service, that stands in happy contrast to the serious conservation work going on in the background.
The Xudum and Xaranna concessions stretch over 50 000 hectares: transforming land once used for hunting into a textbook example of low-impact eco-tourism. And the Xaranna concession has a little ace up its sleeve, we discovered the next day.
With the poaching of endangered Rhinoceros reaching epic proportions in southern Africa, andBeyond decided to be part of the solution by facilitating the translocation of six White Rhino to a protected channel in Botswana: the first time a private game reserve has donated rhino to another country.
While the rhino are still settling into their new home – protected by a professional anti-poaching unit funded by andBeyond – game drives and walking safaris allow guests to get up close to these lumbering animals. Watching the small herd graze in safety, thousands of miles from a poacher’s rifle, is a memory I shan’t soon forget.
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Living with Elephants
Living with Elephants is dedicated to fostering harmonious relationships between people and elephants. I spent a delightful day in the company of Douglas & Sandi Groves with their three adopted elephants Jabu, Thembi and Morula. We even had brunch together!