Become One With Nature In Botswana

The African bush is prime adventure country. Lions, tigers, bears, and hyenas. The horizon is endless, the sun sweltering and the mosquitoes thick. This is the wilderness, a rare oasis for natural life. In Botswana, you can join a safari and explore the countryside, a rare chance to coexist with the animal kingdom.

“Once I am tucked into canvas, I do not want to go out. Despite my three full glasses of South African wine. Despite my Botswana-

Safari in Botswana.
Making camp during a safari in Botswana.

brewed ‘St. Louis’ beer. “A satisfying blend of flavor and refreshment” boasted the can that I had crushed before turning in. Now I wish I had kept it. Or, better yet, that I had a jar.

Though the night is quiet, I think I hear a rustling in the leaves outside. I swing the beam of my flashlight but see nothing except the trunk of a tree.

I hear it again. It is crunching, not rustling.

Someone chewing on something brittle and hard.

Crunching or not, I’ve got to leave the tent. When I unzip the flap and edge outside the chewing stops. I do what I have to do and grab my flashlight again and shoot the beam  towards the coals of the fire.

Two dog-like mottled shapes. Four electrified eyes.

I am back in the tent and zipped up before I take a breath. And I lie there making sure my cot is squeakless and that I gingerly exhale. Strongest jaws in nature, I think.  Masticating.  Swallowing.  Probably wanting more.

It is dawn and I am awake with my still-bright flashlight clutched in my hand.

“Yes, hyenas,” says Peter blandly, when I ask. “They eat the chicken bones. The bones from the fire.”

Suddenly there is shouting — there’s a fanfare in the brush near Wolfgang’s tent. A flappy ear pokes out. Now the wrinkled rear. Elephant.  A big one.

Time for our game drive.”

By Peter Mandel, travel writer for