By: Marlene Affeld
As an adventure travel writer, I facilitate my journeys working as a house sitter or property manager in lovely locations around the world. To date, my caretaking assignments have included managing a hunting lodge in Montana, a bed and breakfast inn on the Island of Kauai, a condo in Buenos Aires, a pastoral farm in Michigan, a mountain cabin in Canada, and a remote jungle property in the shadow of the volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
I recently discovered an incredible opportunity, a three month assignment as a caretaker/property manager for a remote estate located within 25-miles (40-km) of Maun, Botswana. Although my life’s journey has included time in Africa, I have never visited Botswana. I want this job!
Research reveals an amazing country of spectacular beauty, gracious welcoming residents, an abundance of wildlife, diverse recreational opportunities, and a pleasing climate: the perfect writer’s retreat. What a fantasy! Why not make it a reality?
The position requires a couple. I am fortunate. A long-time friend with stellar skills, extensive employee management experience, and an unquenchable desire to pursue the next “grand adventure” stands committed to being the other half of a fabulous team. Confident I and my partner have all the experience and qualifications required for the assignment and the position advertised aligns with our expertise and interests, I am going to apply: decision made.
A former British protectorate, Botswana is a landlocked country within Southern Africa. Bordered by Zambia to the north, Zimbabwe to the northeast, Namibia to the West, and South Africa to the South, Botswana gained independence in 1966.
In another a report published August 5, 2016, BBC News reports, “Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable countries, is the continent’s longest continuous multi-party democracy. It is relatively free of corruption and has a good human rights record. Sparsely populated, Botswana protects some of Africa’s largest areas of wilderness. Safari-based tourism – tightly controlled and often upmarket – is an important source of income. Botswana is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.”
For more than a century, Botswana acted as a mecca for big game hunters from all over the world. Two major regions were of note when hunting in Botswana; the Kalahari Desert designated the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the Okavango Delta; known as “The Last Eden”.
Although, one of the largest inland deltas on the planet, rather than following a relentless course to the sea, the Okavango flows to the Kalahari Desert and simply disappears.
The unique habitat in the Maun region of Botswana is characterized by alternating wet and dry areas that vary with the season, providing a home to an uncountable number of species of game animals including massive herds of Cape buffalo, thousands of elephants, lion, wildebeest, giraffe, leopard, hippos, zebra, cheetah, and crocodiles. The local terrain is open and unfenced.
Okavangodelta.com notes, “The 1000th site to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014, the Okavango Delta is an important wildlife area protected by both the Moremi Game Reserve, on its eastern edge, and the numerous wildlife concessions within Ngamiland.”
OkavangoDelta.com advises, “Although the very nature of the Okavango Delta makes self drive safaris difficult, these still offer an excellent way for the independently minded traveller to see the delta. Camping is available not only within the Moremi Game Reserve, but also on some of the surrounding concessions. Traditional delta boating activities are available for those who wish to venture deeper into the delta.”
Weather And More
SafariBookings.com advises, “The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe are Botswana’s most popular parks. The best time to visit them is from May to September, during the dry season and winter, resulting in more moderate temperatures. In addition, the Okavango is flooded from June to October.”
An “Out Of Africa” Experience
Our proposed destination, overlooking the Okavango Delta, is a spacious 3-bedroom thatched home, surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens, a banana plantation and a lemon grove. The view from the main house veranda is of a large lagoon surrounded by mango groves. There is a separate guesthouse and a houseboat with a cabin.
The client provides an estate manager, housekeeper, and a gardener. The responsibilities of my partner and I would be to manage the staff and provide security for the estate. The estate owner advises there are no animals apart from the wild ones.
The position advertised is an amazing “Out of Africa” experience. My partner and I will take great pride and pleasure in maintaining the very high maintenance and security standards established by the estate owner. If blessed with this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity, the owner’s can rest confident, knowing we will meticulously care for and guard the estate as if it were our own.
With high hopes the estate owner will respond favorably to our application, I will keep you updated as this amazing adventure proceeds. Please wish me luck!