Local destinations to check out during the festive season
It is important to find a way to take a breather during the festive season. Afterall, most people are gearing up to pack everything and head to different destinations to unwind and spend time with family and friends. The plan usually is to take a break from the fast paced life and stressors of the big city. To that end, Time Out has compiled some local destinations that people can visit to unplug and recharge over the festive break.
Crocodile Pools River Safaris
Situated in Notwane, Crocodile Pools River Safaris is the only boat safari opportunity in southern Botswana and is located only 15 minutes south by road from Gaborone. The company offers a two-hour boat cruise on Ngotwane River to see wild crocodiles, game and lots of bird life. The pontoon boats used are operated by experienced and knowledgeable guides. They are all powered by solar energy, are quiet and pollution-free.
The Crocodile Pools and Notwane areas are of particular interest to everyone. The combined habitat types make the area one of the best bird-watching sites in Botswana where 229 (about 40%) out of a possible 593 total bird species in Botswana occur either as residents or migrants. The range of bird species in around Ngotwane is diverse because the habitats comprise high and low woodland, rocky kopjes, river-side woodland, riverine forest, river islands, lakeshores and reed swamps that are favourable for numerous species, many of which breed throughout the year. Eight of the nine herons found in Botswana are to be seen on the dam and along the riverine forest which backs up to Ramotswa to the southeast. Six of the nine kingfisher species found in Botswana can be seen at Ngotwane.
The Ngotwane Dam is home to kudu, bush buck, impala, waterbuck, Black-backed jackals, grey duiker, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, lesser bushbaby, warthogs, aardwolf, scrub hare, porcupine, slender and dwarf mongoose and ground squirrels. The Ngotwane Dam and the surrounding area is home to numerous reptiles, mostly snakes and lizards. It also provides a suitable habitat for the four largest reptiles in Botswana, namely, the Nile crocodile, water monitor lizard, rock monitor lizard and the Southern African python.
Mogobane Dam and Dipopolere
Mogobane Village in South East District of Botswana, located 55km south of Gaborone and 40km northeast of Kanye, is home to the Mogobane Dam and the serene Dipopolere Plantation. These two iconic features in the village of Mogobane, managed by the Village Development Committee, (VDC) are popular with picnic lovers who usually drive down to pitch up tents, picnic setups and enjoy the greenery and the beautiful sunsets by the dam.
Douma’s Crocodile Farm
Douma’s Crocodile Farm is a great attraction for a family friendly day out to see and learn about crocodiles of all sizes. Located just outside the city of Francistown, it lies on the same dirt road two kilometres before Woodlands Stop Over and Lodge. For a professional guided tour, you can give them a ring or just pitch up for the experience that is pocket-friendly.
Manong Game Lodge
Situated 17km from Lobatse along the road to Ramatlabama border post, Manong Bush Lodge has the luxuries of a bush camp and the first to offer a spa and wellness centre in the southern region. But what really stands out for adventure seekers is the ziplining experience which is also a first in the area and water activities. They also offer BBQ facilities, game drives and a garden with an outdoor swimming pool and breathtaking views.
The sanctified Goo-Moremi Gorge, which feature a luxurious resort, natural springs, spectacular gorges, five ascending pools and mystical waterfalls, will leave any Mother Nature enthusiast in awe. Located in Goo-Moremi Village in the Central District of Botswana about 40 kilometres east of Palapye, the gorge is shrouded in mystery with many myths. Their chalet accommodation offers panoramic views of the Tswapong Hills while their unspoilt gorges offer perennial crystal clear water pools, quiet flowing waterfalls and exclusive birdlife.
Tsabong Camel Park
Tsabong Camel Park lies approximately 10km north of the town of Tsabong which is in southwest Botswana and about 500km by road from Gaborone. It comprises a fenced area of 3200 hectares lying just north of and parallel to the main highway. The park offers camel and quadbike ride experiences. Chalets have also been constructed to accommodate guests who wish to further explore the Kgalagadi region.
Tsodilo Hills – Hills of the gods
Tsodilo Hills, among the highest points in the country, are situated about 40 kilometres from Shakawe. The hills, which have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, comprise the intriguing story of a male, female and child. Among the attractions to look up to are ancient rock paintings, touring the hills and visiting local communities in nearby villages, which can be arranged to provide an informative guide. There is a small museum at the entrance to the site, selling mainly local artifacts.