Footsteps is a very simple and rustic camp…
Footsteps across the Delta: Our full report
Specialising in walking safaris, Footsteps across the Delta is a simple, semi-permanent camp that caters for a maximum of six guests. Although game drives, and – in season – mokoro trips are possible, the camp focuses primarily on walking in small groups. ***STOP PRESS*** This season Footsteps boasts some new features. The camp now has a family tent with two separate rooms that can sleep five. The remaining tents have also been redesigned so that each has its own en-suite bathroom including shower for extra privacy.
Footsteps is a very simple and rustic camp, currently located on the edge of a beautiful hippo-filled lagoon in the shade of a lovely forested area within the Shinde Concession. Although it is a semi-permanent site, the camp is fully portable and can easily be moved to a new location should the need arise.
The main area at Footsteps is no more than a canvas shelter, with three open sides. Standing directly on the sand, overlooking the lagoon, it has no carpets or polished wooden floors: this is a grassroots safari camp at its best. Here you’ll find a dining table with directors’ chairs, a small but well-stocked bar made of polished logs and branches, and a large coolbox containing a selection of drinks and lots of ice. There is even a mini-library with a framed map of Botswana. Excellent meals are served by the camp’s butler from a separate table, where tea and coffee are also laid out. The standard of food that comes out of the simplest of outdoor ‘kitchens’, where the chef prepares all meals over an open campfire and in a ‘ground oven’, is remarkable. If you’re offered the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes, do take it.
Each evening, a fire is lit in front of the main tent, and everyone sits round to discuss the day's sightings and events. A small viewing mound with a couple of comfortable chairs overlooks the lagoon, and three tyre-swings hanging from the trees are a great way to keep children entertained.
Footsteps has just three tents, one of which can take an extra bed. Thus the camp can accommodate an absolute maximum of seven guests (although the game vehicle can comfortably seat only six). Simple and functional rather than in any way stylish, the tents are spacious, with sewn-in floors and mesh doors and windows to keep out any bugs.
At the front of each tent is a covered ‘porch’ with a couple of canvas chairs on the sand, a footstool and two washstands with hanging mirrors. Simple zipped flaps open to reveal proper twin beds, a luggage rack, a wooden chest containing extra blankets, and a wooden cupboard with plenty of hanging space and shelves. Two pairs of flip-flops, a couple of kikoys and umbrellas are provided for guests to use around camp. A bedside table has a rechargeable lamp, insect repellent and a flask of cold water. At the back of the tent, through a zipped mesh door, is a semi-covered en-suite flushing toilet and a washstand that is filled with warm water every morning and on request. Just a few meters from its porch, each tent also has a private but separate bucket shower, which is filled with hot water on request.
There is no pool at Footsteps, but a private little iron bathtub, enclosed by canvas walls, can be filled with cold water for children to splash around in, or with warm water and bubbles for a decadent soak in the shade, or at night beneath the stars.
Footsteps focuses almost exclusively on walking safaris. Led by a very experienced guide, and accompanied by an armed national parks’ scout, each walk lasts for three to four hours. You'll usually head off for a walk in the early morning and another in the afternoon, though sometimes you’ll be driven to a start point a little way from camp. These are not route marches, but opportunities to explore the environment and wildlife with an expert guide, and to gain an authentic taste of the bush.
This area of the Okavango Delta is notable for the diversity of wildlife, although walks tend to focus on learning about the small things, rather than getting too close to the big ones! Lion, wild dog and hyena are often seen in the area, along with a variety of plains game including kudu, tsessebe, zebra, red lechwe, giraffe and impala. Lone bull elephants are also found most of the year, whilst breeding herds migrate here towards the end of the dry season.
If you wish, you can also go on game drives, and – depending on water levels – mokoro excursions.
Young ExplorersFamilies with children as young as seven years old can hire the whole Footsteps camp, including the services of one of their guides, either Omphile or Moses, who both specialise in guiding children. Under the auspices of Footsteps' Young Explorers Club, activities for children vary considerably from the standard safari options. During their stay, youngsters could find themselves engaged in activities as diverse as making bows and arrows, playing football with the camp staff, fishing, identifying tracks and learning to cook on a fire.
Young Explorers is available at Footsteps across the Delta from March to November, for a minimum of three nights, with participating families getting sole use of the camp. It is also an option at Footsteps across the Linyanti, and on request at other Ker & Downey camps, such as Shinde Enclave, Linyanti Ebony and Khwai Tented Camp. By combining this across two or more camps, the whole family can experience the diverse areas of the Delta and the Linyanti, with either Omphile or Moses as their exclusive guide throughout.
Our viewIf you're keen to do some walking in Botswana, then Footsteps across the Delta should be at the top of your wish list. A remote little camp with a genuine camping atmosphere, it is a place to escape civilisation and get back to nature, We love the emphasis on walking and appreciating all aspects of the bush, with just the occasional game drive and mokoro trip. The camp is economical, the staff are attentive, the guiding is good and the food is superb!
Ideal length of stay: Two or three nights would be ideal. Footsteps is often combined with a few nights at its sister camp, Shinde, in the same private concession.
Directions: Guests at Footsteps arrive at the Shinde airstrip, which is about a 25-minute flight from Maun. From here, the camp is about a 40-minute game drive away, although the journey can take up to an hour and a half when water levels are high, and may involve a short transfer by mokoro.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Foosteps across the Delta has one of the most fantastic chefs we’ve come across during our travels throughout Botswana, and on our last visit in November 2015 the food was superb! Considering that meals are prepared over an open fire and in a ‘ground oven’, the standards here all the more remarkable.
Breakfast and lunch are always a buffet, but for dinner you’ll be served to the table by the camp’s butler, Given, a friendly face who has been at Footsteps for many years.
Breakfast, laid out before the morning walk, is a selection of cereal and yoghurt, fruit and eggs to order.
Lunch is available after the morning activity. On our last visit it included the most delicious vegetable tart, fishcakes with a radish tartar sauce, a choice of two salads with a selection of oils and homemade salad dressing, and fresh bread. Dessert was fruit salad.
Afternoon tea, just before the afternoon activity, usually includes a savoury snack and a freshly baked cake, pie or biscuits. We enjoyed small pizza pastries with peppers and cheese, tea and scones.
Dinner is served upon returning from the afternoon activity and there is usually a little time to shower and freshen up before hand. We started with carrot soup, followed by beef seswaa (a local dish of shredded meat), stuffed gemsquash with corn, and pap (cooked maize flour). For dessert we had Amarula and chocolate mousse, and our meal was finished off with tea and coffee.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers, spirits and red and white wines are included. Premier champagne and premium imported brands will cost extra and must be requested in advance.
Family holidays: Footsteps runs exclusive family safari holidays in Botswana's Okavango Delta ('Young Explorers'), with guides who are experienced in working with children. Youngsters from seven years up can learn bush skills like identifying animals and their tracks, cooking on a fire, fishing and bow- and arrow-making.See more ideas for Family holidays in Botswana
Walking safaris: Footsteps across the Delta is a simple tented camp on the edge of a large lagoon and is a great place for walking safaris in Botswana. Led by excellent and experienced guides, walks are in a remote wilderness area, and focus on the small things: the plant life, the tracks and signs left by animals, and the Delta's fascinating ecosystem.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Normally Footsteps does not accept children under 16 years, but families with children as young as seven can book the camp for exclusive use on the ‘Young Explorers’ programme.
Property’s age restrictions: 16 years. However, the camp will accept children who are seven years of age and older if booking the ‘Young Explorers’ programme.
Special activities & services: Ker & Downey run a special programme for families with children, called Young Explorers’. Specialist guides keep children as young as seven entertained, while parents relax, or participate with the children, or enjoy separate activities.
Equipment: A third bed can be added to one of the tents for a child to share with his/her parents.
Generally recommended for children: Children from seven years on the ‘Young Explorers’ programme tend to love spending time with Omphile or Moses, who usually run the 'Young Explorers' trips, but otherwise Footsteps is not a place for children.
Notes: Footsteps is unfenced and dangerous wildlife can wander through the camp at any time. All children must be closely supervised by their parents.
Communications: Expect to be out of communication while you are at Footsteps, though the camp is in touch with guides on activities, and with Shinde Camp, by radio. Communication with main camp is via radio.
TV & radio: No.
Water supply: Transported in
Water supply notes: Filtered borehole water is brought in from Shinde for drinking. There is no plumbed running water for showers and taps, but the toilets are plumbed. Each tent is provided with glasses and a flask of filtered drinking water that is replenished daily. The washstands are filled daily and the bucket showers on request.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The camp's staff includes a first-aid trained member, and a full medical kit is kept on site. Footsteps can arrange medical evacuation in an emergency. Please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to and from their tents after dark. All walks are carried out with an armed guide.
Fire safety: There is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen area and outside each tent.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Footsteps has a full laundry service, with items handwashed and coal ironed.
Money: No money or travellers' cheque exchange facilities are offered. There are no safes in the tents.
Accepted payment on location: There is no curio shop and everything is pre-paid so there is no need for any payment on location, unless you would like to leave a tip.