Botswana is a country smack dab in the middle of southern Africa. Note: Botswana is not in South Africa but the countries do border each other and yes, South Africa is its own country (just clarifying for my mother). If you travel to Africa, Botswana is well-known for their epic safari adventures. The country is home to 150 species of mammals, 460 species of birds, and 200 species of reptiles/amphibians. Plus, national parks and wildlife reserves make up 40% of the land (!!). It is also the place where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fell in love.
All of this to say, it’s a pretty special place.
The hostel I stayed at in Livingstone, Zambia set me up with Kalahai Tours, which offered a 2-day, 1-night boat/4×4 vehicle tour and camping at Chobe National Park (all food and transportation provided!). I can’t remember the exact price I paid for it all, but roughly $300 USD.
When I arrived at Chobe National Park the only goal I had was to snap a glorious Insta-worthy pic of giraffes strutting freely in the wild. I feel as if giraffes are my spirit animal, with their long limbs and general awkwardness. To my luck, only an hour or so into a 4×4 adventure, I saw these beauties.
Chobe National Park is home to Africa’s largest elephant population. I read once that elephants think humans are cute the way humans think puppies are cute (the same part of the brain lights up when they see us!) so I just about peed myself when I saw this beautiful creature smirking my way.
I don’t LOVE camping, but the experience in Botswana was tolerable. Things you need to bring that I didn’t: A FLASHLIGHT, EXTRA CAMERA BATTERY, WET WIPES, AND LOTS OF SNACKS! Obviously the “toilet” is a hole in the ground and there are no lights or running water so have a buddy system if you have to go in the middle of the night. The area is not fenced off either. Watch out for mischievous baboons who may take anything you may leave outside of the tent (which is provided, btw).
After our overnight camping experience, we had a light breakfast and left super early on our next 4×4 expedition. To our surprise, only a few minutes from our campsite, we saw this little kitten.
My weekend in Botswana was incredible. It was inspiring, emotional, and grounding to witness beautiful creatures roaming freely in the wild. Please put Botswana on your travel bucket list, you seriously won’t regret exploring this beautiful country. Obviously, I’ve got a vlog for ya! Take a look at the boat adventure (HIPPOS GALORE!), our campsite, and all of the animals we encountered (buffalos, zebras, and crocodiles.. OH MY!).
Time to get sappy.
The past 2.5 years have been full of remarkable adventures! ✈️ It all started in Tokyo 🇯🇵, then shortly after I galavanted around London 🇬🇧, Berlin 🇩🇪, Paris 🇫🇷, moved to Busan/Seoul 🇰🇷, then ticked off Bali 🇮🇩, Chiang Mai 🇹🇭, Sydney 🇦🇺, Livingstone 🇿🇲, and many other spectacular places off the bucket list. I have garnered a few more freckles, scars, tattoos, stretch marks, Facebook friends, and a giant scrapbook of memories about the people I’ve met and places I’ve been. 🌎
I had a local seamstress in Livingstone design the jacket I’m wearing below. It’s a piece I will hold near and dear to my heart, as it represents the end of a challenging, yet wondrous chapter of my life. To everyone who has thought of travelling but doesn’t know where to start or worry they could fall behind in their career, let me tell you what my idol Eva Chen once told me: “When you open your heart and mind to life and opportunities, opportunities will, in turn, find you.”
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because you never know where it could take you or who you could meet. The experiences you will have along the way will forever be embedded in who you are. Go see the world my dear because, in the words of American author/professor John A Shedd, “a ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.”