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 – or family groups of up to nine. Although walking is the camp’s focus, game drives and – in season – mokoro trips are also possible.
Footsteps is a very simple and rustic little camp, currently located on the edge of a beautiful hippo-filled lagoon in the shade of a serene forested area within the Shinde Concession. Although this is a permanent site, the camp is fully portable and can easily be moved to a new location should the need arise.
The camp has just three tents, one of which is a family tent with two separate rooms that can sleep up to five. Normally the camp accommodates just six guests, but when it is booked for exclusive use by families (see below for more info about theYoung Explorers Programme), that can extend to an absolute maximum of nine guests (although the game-drive 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 the bugs.
At the front of each is a canvas-shaded porch with a couple of canvas chairs on the sand, a footstool and a pair of 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 kikois 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, you’ll find a semi-covered en-suite flushing toilet, a simple washstand and a bucket shower. Hot water for the washbasin is brought to your tent every morning, and on request for the shower.
The main area at Footsteps is no more than a canvas shelter, with three open sides. Standing directly on the sand, close to 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. Adding a bit of height, a small viewing mound with a couple of comfortable chairs overlooks the lagoon.
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, where guests sit round to discuss the day's sightings and events.
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 even a romantic bathe 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.
While the focus at Footsteps is firmly on walking, you can also go on game drives if you wish, and – depending on water levels – mokoro excursions. For a broader range of activities, the camp combines well with its more sophisticated sister camp, Shinde, within the same concession – though distances are such that activities from the two camps don’t overlap.
Young ExplorersUnder the auspices of Footsteps' Young Explorers Club, families with children as young as seven years old can hire the whole Footsteps camp, including the services of an experienced guide who specialises in working with children.
Activities 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 over 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 available at sister camps in Botswana, including Kanana Camp or Okuti Camp. By combining this option across two or more camps, the whole family can experience the diverse areas of the Delta, with the same exclusive guide throughout.
If you're keen to do some walking in Botswana, Footsteps across the Delta should be firmly 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!
- Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana
- 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.
- Guests at Footsteps arrive at the Shinde airstrip, which is about a 25-minute flight from Maun. From here, it is at least a 40-minute game drive to camp, 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
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Foosteps across the Delta has one of the most fantastic chefs we've come across during our travels throughout Botswana. While we only popped in for a visit in November 2019, on our last stay 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.
Breakfast, laid out before the morning walk, is a selection of cereal, yoghurt and fruit, with eggs to order.
Lunch, after our morning walk 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 usually includes a savoury snack and a freshly baked cake, pie or biscuits. We enjoyed small pizza pastries with peppers and cheese, as well as tea and scones.
After your afternoon activity, there is usually a little time to shower and freshen up before dinner. 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.
An impressive children’s menu with lots of favourites is also available.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- 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.
Filtered borehole water is brought in from Shinde for drinking. Each tent is provided with glasses and a flask of filtered drinking water that is replenished daily.
- Family holidays
- Footsteps runs exclusive family safaris in Botswana ('Young Explorers'). Youngsters from seven years up can learn bush skills like identifying animals and their tracks, cooking on a fire and fishing.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Walking safaris
- Footsteps across the Delta 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 left by animals, and the Delta's fascinating ecosystem.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- 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
- Minimum age 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
- Under the auspices of the Young Explorers programme, specialist guides keep children as young as seven entertained, while parents relax, or participate with the children, or enjoy separate activities.
- There is a spacious family tent with two separate bedrooms that sleeps a family of five comfortably.
- Generally recommended for children
- Children from seven years tend to love spending time with the guides who run the Young Explorers’ trips, but otherwise Footsteps is not a place for children.
- Footsteps is unfenced and dangerous wildlife can wander through the camp at any time. All children must be closely supervised by their parents.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Footsteps across the Delta
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Footsteps across the Delta have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is 24-hour lighting in the rooms, but charging facilities are in the main area only.
- 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
- Water supply
- Transported in
- Water supply notes
- The toilets are plumbed, but there is no plumbed running water for showers and taps. The washstands are filled every morning and at other times, like the bucket showers, on request.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Footsteps has a full laundry service, with items handwashed and coal ironed.
- No money-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.
Other lodges in Okavango Delta Safari Reserves
Alternative places to stay in this same area.