I know that you're waiting for my final entry from Africa, as the travel-squad head to Zimbabwe and Zambia next...but, before we leave Botswana I wanted to try something. Since coming back from Africa, I've had several of my friends with children express interest in adding Africa to their list of family travel destinations, however, they are hesitant to do it until their children are older. As a reminder, we had three children in the Africa 2017 "travel-squad" (11 and under). So, I thought it would be great to offer an opportunity for the younger members of our squad to share their experience with us.
I pitched the idea to Mandy French who, with her husband Matt, brought their two girls - Molly (11) and Anna (9) to Africa on this two week adventure. Molly and Anna had, what most would think as, an experience of a lifetime. However, their days of travel are just getting started. What an amazing adventure at their age!
Both girls have more travel patience than most adults that I've seen throughout my travels and were an absolute joy to have around. I think one of the reasons the girls were so content, no matter our activity, was due in part to their love of reading. There are so many electronic gadgets these days that a lot of kids find a hard time entertaining themselves. If we were on a long game drive, the girls brought their book and read. Our long day turned into an opportunity for them to read their books, use their imaginations, and entertain themselves without missing out on seeing animals that sometimes take hours of tracking before they are spotted.
Mandy, the girls mother is a amazing photographer and like her, the girls already have a great eye behind the camera (not to forget their father Matt, who also has a better eye than many behind the lens!). The French family traveled with us to both camps in Botswana - Machaba, and Meno a Kwena (see prior blog postings). After Botswana, as the majority of the squad heads to Zimbabwe, but the French family flew down south to Cape Town, South Africa. Before we go our separate ways on this African blog journey, I am proud to feature Miss Anna French, age 9, and her perspective on Botswana.
Thank you Anna for sharing your story with us! :)
A story for Ms. Lisa's blog - by Anna French
When I went to Botswana, it was incredible. It was life changing. It was mind-blowing. It left me speechless. I don’t even have the words to say how cool and crazy and amazing it was.
One of the things that was so amazing was the people. They were so kind, so caring, so loving, so selfless. All they wanted was to be kind and to love. The safari guides were so smart. You could ask them anything! They just wanted to tell it all to us. And that is perfect because that is exactly how you would want a safari guide to be.
And the camps were so awesome. You got a HUGE tent and you would wake up at roughly 5:30am and go and eat breakfast and then we would leave for our morning safari. We went out and saw the most amazing things. We saw lions and wild dogs and giraffes and elephants and impala. It was mind-blowing. In the middle of the safari we would find a shady spot and we would set up for a snack and tea. Then, we would head back to camp. We would get back, have brunch, then go hang out in our tents for a while. We would come out for tea and cake and stuff, then leave for our evening safari which was almost cooler than in the morning because we were doing it at night, and we got cool pictures of the sunset, and it was kind of creepy when it got dark, but it was cool. We would get back to camp, go have dinner then go to bed at like 10:00 (REALLY LATE). On the second day during the evening safari, I got to sit in a seat that is attached to the front of the car and it was dark so it was AWESOME!!!!
Then, we got to go to Meno-a-kwena. Meno was really cool as well. We got there, and somebody, while carrying our bags on their heads, showed us to our tents. We got settled, then we split into 2 groups, 1 group walked with the bushman, one went on a boat. Me and mama and papa and Kim and a few other people went on the boat while the other group went with the bushman. When we were done, we went to dinner and went to bed. The next day, we did a day long safari which was when we saw the lions. They were SO cute and incredible. The next day my group did the bushman walk and the other group did the boat. I personally think that the bushmen were really cool, and fun because they were different. They had their own traditions and their own beliefs.
Later that day, we left Botswana. I never wanted to leave. Botswana changed my life.
Left: Molly (11) and Anna (9) with their guide from Machaba Safari Camp. The additional three photos are ones that Anna took: Machaba female Leopard, bushman grandmother, village women singing and clapping.