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By Kelly Ojdana

My husband and I traveled from Chicago on December 24, 2007, for our two-week vacation to South Africa and Botswana. We took two red-eye flights — Chicago to London and London to Johannesburg — finally arriving in Jo’burg, South Africa early on the morning of December 26. We spent one night at the Saxon Boutique Hotel and Spa. The Saxon was home to Nelson Mandela after he was released from prison, during which time he edited his autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom."

Joining my parents, we left our hotel in Jo’burg on December 27th to travel to the Tswalu Desert Reserve, a private game reserve located in the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape of South Africa. We spent three nights at The Motse, Tswalu’s main game reserve accommodation. On our game drives each morning and evening we saw lions, white rhino, giraffe, cheetah, buffalo, baboons, zebra, hyena, wildebeest, ostrich, dung beetles, meerkats, warthogs and many different types of antelope and birds.

On December 30, we departed Tswalu to travel to Cape Town, where we enjoyed the waterfront, Table Mountain, the Cape of Good Hope, as well as a day in the nearby wine country, Stellenbosch

After celebrating the new year in Cape Town, my husband and I said goodbye to my parents and set out to travel to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The Okavango Delta is part of the Kalahari Desert as well. We spent four nights at Chief’s Camp located on Chief’s Island in the Mombo Concession of the Moremi Game Reserve.

We went on game drives each morning and evening here as well, during which we saw lions, elephants, hippos, buffalo, giraffe, cheetah, baboons, zebra, hyena, wildebeest, ostrich, jackals, warthogs, monitor lizards, and different types of antelope and birds. The baboons actually felt quite at home on the roof of our tent!

We took a flight out of Botswana January 4 to travel home, already discussing when we could schedule another Africa vacation. This was the most enjoyable and amazing vacation we have been on so far.

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Kelly Ojdana is a marketing intern at Orbitz who enjoys traveling and is glad she didn’t get eaten by the lions.

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