S&T Stargazing Safari July 2021
"From sunrise to dark skies and everything in between, the Botswana tour was absolutely wonderful! The natural beauty of the Okavango Delta was the perfect backdrop for days of wildlife exploration followed by evenings filled with stargazing. Stephen James O’Meara served as a delightful host whose knowledge and command of the night sky was a treat for everyone in attendance - from astrophotographers to amateur astronomers to novice stargazers. Yoga Safari’s attention to detail shone through their selection of luxurious accommodations, elegant dining, smooth transfers & strict adherence to covid protocols. It was an amazing experience from start to finish. The night skies of Botswana definitely did not disappoint!"
– Carolyn & Callan Carpenter
Yoga & Stargazing on the Pans June 2021
"What an amazing experience! From start to finish this was such a beautiful trip. The drive out to the pans while we looked at animals and birds. The stop over at the Meerkats is just a must see! We had time to stop and take everything in. Once we arrived at the pans, just the experience of it was amazing. Our hosts Steve and Debs were the perfect hosts. Beautiful yoga on the pans and incredible star gazing at night.
Scrumptious dinner by the fire and the best bed rolls which I was worried I might be cold, well they were toasty the whole night. Such a beautiful experience. I am definitely adding to my bucket list to follow Steve and Debs on the Star Gazing and Yoga Retreats around the world."
– Tatum Stacy
June 2020 Pans Yoga & Stargazing Retreat
"I can wholeheartedly recommend the Stargazing and Yoga Safari with Debs and Steve. They were magnificent hosts and their passion for the pans, yoga and stargazing was contagious. We were fortunate enough to be on the pans for the winter solstice and a partial solar eclipse at sunrise which was incredibly special. Don’t be scared of the cold sleeping out on the pans in winter. The bedrolls are so snug that I was actually removing layers in the night (the hot water bottles very appreciated). The winter night sky was magnificent and to be guided by Steve through his telescope was such a privilege. Amongst many wonders, we were able to view Jupiter’s moons, Saturn’s rings, a comet and even an area of the sky where new stars are being born. The yoga was equally amazing with a relaxing sunset practice on the pan and a fun and energising session back at Planet Baobab. Kudos to the team at Planet Baobab who delivered super food and great service. It was reassuring to see that they were taking the Covid19 protocols very seriously. A special thanks to Steve and Debs for organising a surprise birthday cake and bubbles to celebrate by upcoming 50th birthday. All in all, it was an amazing weekend."
– Kate Nelson
"Our trip to Namibia in September 2019 was a trip of a lifetime. Namibia is a beautiful country with fabulous wildlife and we got to see it all from black rhinos to lions mating to sleeping under the stars. Mixed in was a perfect amount of yoga with Debs, and night star viewing, and photography lessons from Steve, our hosts on the tour. We wouldn’t have changed a thing!"
– Joanne and Pete Black
"Namibia wasn’t even on our radar one year ago. We read about the tour and were very intrigued. The itinerary was well thought out allowing us to see a great deal of the vast country in only 2 weeks. Debs was working daily to make sure that all ran smoothly and did this seemingly effortlessly. Her knowledge of safaris made our animal sightings very successful and fun. We could not have been more happy with our first safari adventure and traveling with Debs and Steve made this an adventure not to forget."
– Rick and Cathy
"I'm home after my latest wonderful trip arranged by you and your team at Yoga Safari. It's been quite hard to settle after the ride but also good to see my family and just be home........with stunning memories.
I'm not a novice viewer of animals or a stranger to your neck of the woods. This the 3rd trip you have organised for me and is my 4th to Maun and my 5th to Botswana. All trips have been fabulous but those you put together for me are exceptional.
As you know, I again joined the Yoga Safari group for yoga and stargazing on the Pans - Botswana stars, camping on the Pans, baobabs, yoga, sunrise/set, and meerkats too. This was followed by 6 nights fly-in to Moremi, Okavango and Savuti Camps-something I'd not experienced before - so well looked after and the animals!!
As a finale, at my request, you organised a visit to a sweet, smallish camp on the Boteti River. I had the best laid-back time after the wonderful previous busyness. Relaxed drives in the adjacent Makgadikgadi Pans Park and, as elsewhere, lovely food and great people - both staff and guests.
So where to, we ask, as you and I discuss next year's visit. Wherever it is, I know the arrangements - and follow up - will be impeccable and I look forward to walking through the arrivals door to see the smiling faces of you and your staff who invariably welcome me back...."
– Ann - Australia
"I went in June this Year with Deborah and Stephen on a two night Yoga & Stargazing Solstice Pans Retreat at Baobab and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana and I loved every minute!
The Organisation was perfect, Debbie's Yoga Classes are just amazing and very professional, Stephen's Knowledge and Passion of the Night sky and the Universe is just mind-blowing!
Planet Baobab is a rustic but beautiful Lodge and sleeping under the Stars on the Pans just takes your Breath away! And I must not forget to mention the Meerkats ….. another Highlight for me!
I will definitely join them again!"
"To the Yoga Safari Team,
What a special trip we sisters had, to honestly, one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Being out on the Makgadikgadi Pans (Ntwetwe Pan) was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. The sunset yoga session on the pan is etched in my mind.
Thank you to the Beautiful People we met on this trip, Thank you to the Baobabs, Thank you to the ever curious Meerkats, Thank you to the Stars, the Dancing lights and the Big skies. Thank You to the Planet Baobab team and most of all ...
Thank you to Debs & Steve & all at Yoga Safari!
– Kate & Jane - (Sisters)
"We had a great time and really appreciate all that you and Steve did to make sure everything went okay. We enjoyed the food and the guides were great. We are completely satisfied and look forward to another adventure with you."
– Larry & Carol - USA
"This tour had something for everyone. We learned about the culture and history of Nepal at Boudinath and Bakhtapur in Kathmandu. Trekked up to Basanta Lodge and Australia Camp. Visited many villages to see how the Nepalese people live. White water rafted down the Seti River. Saw Mount Everest on an optional flight. We saw all kinds of birdlife like the colourful White-throated Kingfisher and the Crimson Sunbird, many raptors like the Crested Serpent Eagle and the Ruddy Shelduck that flies over the Himalayan Mountains to breed. For wildlife enthusiasts, we saw the ling taile monkey, the endangered one-horned Indian Rhino and the critically endangered Gharil crocodile. There were many beautiful butterflies visiting the gorgeous flowering plants.
The accommodations were varied and unique. The historic Yak and Yeti hotel in Kathmandu. Stunning views of the Annapurna Mountains at Basanta Lodge. Drifting off to sleep listening to the rushing water in a tent at Seti River Camp. The Temple tree Resort was like being on a tropical island in the middle of Pokhara. Greeting the resident frog in my room at the spa-like Kasara resort in Chitwan.
Our guides and porters were first class. Very knowledgeable and
Our hosts, Deborah Carter and Steve O’Meara were fantastic. Steve gave us an astronomy lesson each night at Basanta lodge and Seti river camp when we were away from the city lights. Deborah led us in a yoga session each day to stretch out all our muscles that we used in that day’s activities. The whole tour was well organized and ran smoothly. They made sure we were all very well taken care of and that we all had an opportunity to experience our various interests. We were all able to relax and enjoy ourselves without any worries.
I will definitely travel with Yoga Safari again. If Nepal is not on your bucket list, it should be. Contact Deborah at Yoga Safari and go!"
– Deb - Canada
August 2018 - 7 day S&T Stargazing Safari
"Botswana was an ideal safari destination with some of the darkest skies on our little blue planet. Every detail on the trip was meticulously planned by Deborah. We had a great time and saw and learned SO MUCH from the knowledgeable leaders."
– Todd U.
"This was a great idea and a wonderful safari. I would highly recommend it to anyone, even if you do not do any stargazing!"
– Stargazing Safari Participant
"This was an unforgettable experience. Great itinerary. Well organized.
Outstanding group. Peter and Steve were wonderful guides."
– Stargazing Safari Participant
August & September 2017 - Pom Pom Camp and Meno-a-Kwena
"Debs at Yoga Safari arranged two amazing experiences for us while honeymooning in Botswana!
Our first trip was an amazing, 3-day, 2-night trip into the Okavango Delta to the fantastic Pom Pom Camp. Debs arranged every step of our trip which began with a half-hour flight from Maun to Pom Pom camp in the heart of the Delta. Alan, our guide for the week, collected us at the airstrip and shuttled us to the camp where we were greeted by the lovely staff, singing a welcoming song! Our bags were whisked away and we were treated to a cocktail while were introduced to the camp and schedule by the lovely camp managers.
We wasted no time before heading out on our first game drive where we were very fortunate to spot a leopard in the tall winter grass. We saw an unbelievable amount of game on our first of 3 drives and then watched the sunset with our guides and fellow guests while we watched spotted our first herd of elephants.
Our dinner that first night was the first of many delicious meals served by the Pom Pom staff. We spent time chatting with other guests at the camp before turning in for the night. Our accommodation was amazing--a luxury room with a deck overhanging the lagoon bordering the camp. We spent hours just sitting on this deck trying to identify the dozens of species of birds that call the lagoon their home.
The rest of our trip was split between adventure and luxury. We went on a peaceful mokoro trip where we where we spotted hippos, African buffalo, and giraffes. We spotted a lion on a game drive and spent the morning of our departure on a motorboat trip through the connected waterways around the lodge. Every meal was a treat at the staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating.
We were sad to say goodbye to Pom Pom but look forward to our return!
On the tail end of our trip, we had a free night and asked Debs if she would help arrange one more African adventure for us. With very little notice she was able to book us into the Meno-a-Kwena lodge--a short drive east of Maun through the Botswana countryside.
We drove ourselves to the camp and with Debs excellent directions we quickly found the Meno camp perched high above the Boteti River. As we were settling into our amazing en-suite tent, we looked out past the river and saw zebras and elephants walking down for an afternoon drink.
For the rest of the afternoon and the next day, we relaxed and enjoyed the last of our African trip. We walked down to the camp's dock and watched the wildlife across the river from a bit closer. We later took a dip in the cliffside pool to escape the heat of the day. Our delicious dinner was served under an open sky with the light of torches.
The staff at Meno-a-Kwena were lovely and provided an amazing experience that perfectly complemented our earlier trip into the Delta.
Knowing nothing about Botswana, we put our trust in Debs and were rewarded with a fantastic experience that we will never forget!"
– Clay & San
I'm writing to thank you for the care and attention you put into the bookings for my recent trip to Botswana. Not only were the arrangements meticulous but your suggestions really responded to my original requests.
As you know, you helped me when I travelled to the Okavango Delta, Khawi, Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park, etc over two years ago much to my satisfaction and this trip, while much more complicated to arrange, certainty matched that. Nothing was overlooked this time either and the mobile safari, again with Bushways, more than met my expectations. The staff excelled also.
The two nights camping in the Delta at the beginning of my stay with the Bayei people from the Morutsa community was, this time, undertaken as a separate exercise and I enjoyed it immensely. The people were proficient and kind.
All the accommodation booked for me certainly met my needs and to top it off, the Yoga and Stargazing Retreat to Meno a Kwena and into the Makgadikgadi Pans run by you and Steve exceeded my expectations.
As you know I timed my trip to be able to attend the retreat and wasn't disappointed. It was an amazing experience doing yoga in the vastness of the Pans and likewise stargazing in the vastness of the heavens. Seeing Jupiter and it's moons and Saturn through Steve's telescope and to have him point out lunar landing sites with an elephant munching in close proximity was an unforgettable experience (I'll admit to being a little nervous at the time)
The absolute highlight for me on this trip was the people. Not only you and Steve (you both really did go over and above to look after me and make me welcome) but the guides, polers, cooks, camp and hotel staff, the people of Botswana who made me welcome in their country. It's why I keep coming back... that and the natural beauty.
So again thanks. I may just have to come back, yet again, and will secure your assistance to do so."
Yoga Safari Travel Agency - 10 night safari in Botswana - September 2015 - Janice & David Thomson from Canada
"The whole experience was wonderful, well planned by Yoga Safari and the trip was flawless. If I ever have a chance to recommend Yoga Safari to friends or acquaintances, I will give it an outstanding recommendation and recommend that they get in touch with you.
The Safari sites were all five-star out of five-star as for as we were concerned.
Seba camp was nicely situated looking over water, had lovely accommodation and the food was outstanding. The host-managers were very social as all of the staff. Our guide was excellent in finding game and pointing out various plant features. One of the highlights of the stay was the guide finding a leopard that was tracking a hyena that was dragging the remains of the leopard's kill. We spent probably an hour following the hyenas and the leopard and took all kinds of pictures. A large bull elephant did come into the camp and just outside our cabin started to shake a palm tree for the fruit. We had the impression that the area felt a bit like a park and did not have an overwhelming number of animals.
Selinda camp was outstanding and had the most variety of animals and didn't seem that you were in a park, a true wilderness. It was a long distance from the airstrip but this is a minor drawback. The camp was fantastic, and we especially liked the accommodation of tents with no running water and bucket showers. The number of animals was outstanding: herds of elephants, male and female lions, lion cubs, wild dogs, leopard, and various antelopes as well as hippopotami and birds. It is a Safari camp that no one should miss if they are going to Botswana. The food was excellent; the staff was friendly and helpful. Our guide was terrific and had to be one of the best trackers as he used his skill to find lions on 3 separate occasions. If you want elephants, this is the place. There is a river at the front of the camp, and on one occasion a group of elephants took a refreshing bath in the river, elephants also entered the camp, also an injured hippopotomus spent time on the bank of the river. The manager was a young woman who was friendly and pleasant. But we had one of the weirdness experiences in that for whatever reason when we were together with a young Australia couple, she completely ignored us and talked only to them. It was as though we didn’t exist. This was off putting and someone needs to instruct her on how to be a proper hostess.
Shinde camp was very upscale. It had a lovely dining and meeting area, excellent food and personable staff. The accommodation was first-class. It accommodated the most guests and there were about 18 visitors at the time of our visit. Our guide was once more excellent. Ecosystem is interesting in that it has many types of antelopes in fairly large groups that are quite approachable. Again we were lucky in finding a leopard in a tree and a small group of lions. There were other small animals such as Jackels. On one of our half days we did a boat trip, which was enjoyable and a change from the Toyoto Land Cruisers.
Jacks Camp was the most magical and had a unique ambiance. The tents with the Indian decor gave an impression of being in India. After 5pm at night the lanterns provided light for the tents and dining area and gave a warm transformational aura. This was a completely different ecosystem that should be experienced by anyone going to Botswana. We were there at the end of the dry season so we saw large herds of Zebra and Wildebeest coming to the water holes every morning and afternoon in front of our tent. This was the only place where we saw large herds. Also surprising we saw many birds (ostrich, eagles and vultures) that we had not seen previously. As well we saw a different species of hyena with young at the lair. The salt flats were amazing. Once again the food was outstanding, the staff warm and friendly, and our guide worked hard to find animals and birds to see. This is a camp that should be on everyone's itinerary if they are doing safari in Botswana. However, it is clearly important to time the visit as I am sure weather conditions can have a great influence on what is seen. It was very hot but dry so it was tolerable and in an absurd way fun (40 c). Meerkats are found here, and you get to interact, and they are well worth the visit. Only saw one bull elephant on one occasion, so if you want to see elephants this is not the place.
One other point of interest is all the flights into and out of the different Safari camps were always precisely on time. And Yoga Safari has to be commended on organizing the different companies and flights that worked so perfectly.
Happy New Year"
– Janice and David
2015 Breathing Space Retreat
"Dear Debs, thank you so very much for such a stunning time it was simply Amazing :) Thank you :)
Such a new experience for me and one I really enjoyed......
It was so well organised and the camp and staff were wonderful........!
Meals were superb, in fact..I even made that banana and nut desert last night! Yummy!
I loved the yoga sessions outside under the trees..been so long since I heard the wind blowing through the trees..reminded me of being little again!
The star gazing was so cool..loved seeing the moon, so up close and personal! Steve is incredibly talented..you guys make a wonderful team :)
Didn’t take long being back home with the kids to realise just how special quiet time is."
– Kate xxx
Pans Yoga & Star-Gazing Retreat June 2014
"I had an amazing time on the yoga retreat to the pans and Meno-A-Kwena camp, it was extremely relaxing and peaceful and it allowed me to think about my life and put things into perspective, and get to know the people on the trip some more. If you are looking for a ‘time-out’ in this crazy world, I would suggest going on this retreat, it really is a treat! Thank you very much to everyone!"
– Michi Gros
Pans Yoga & Star-Gazing Retreat June 2014
"Thank you again for all your organization of us; it’s so nice to switch off and be told what to do! I’ve definitely come back with a more positive approach to life, especially your comment of not pre judging people. I am trying to be more patient and allow people to surprise me – hopefully pleasantly! – instead of deciding their response beforehand. I think also more respect for the world we live in, and somehow a sense of security; being able to just put a bedroll in the middle of that great big pan and not feel threatened by anything. And a greater appreciation of the daily ‘motion’ of our world, which just keeps on happening whatever we are doing. Out in the pans with far fewer distractions to the senses, you become more aware of this."
– Julie Riley
June 2012 Pans Yoga Retreat
"Thanks so much Debbie for a rejuvenating weekend which was meticulously put together and carefully executed! From the well thought out itinerary to inspirational yoga themes as well as the long drop loo on the pans and excellent cuisine – everything was faultless. I hope to join the next retreat!"
– Adrienne Esterhuyse
February 2012 Valentines Yoga Retreat
"What a special experience. An amazing destiny on the Boteti River is the perfect setting for relaxation and Yoga. Debbie exudes calm, strength and tranquility with just the right mix of laughter and fun. I would recommend this experience to anyone who wants to take some time out from their hectic lives, relax, have good food, fun, laughter and just be.."
"Thank you very much for the amazing and inspirational experience. Doing yoga in the serenity of the bush… Contemplating the elephants walking in from of us, drinking, splashing water, scratching their back with the beautiful trees… Unique and magic!
Thank you for teaching me new ways of connecting with my inner self, for the most peaceful yoga class ever, for the meditation and the great weekend. I will remember this for the rest of my life.
I am looking forward having a new retreat with you!
– Ghaddra González
February Yoga Retreat 2012 Meno A Kwena
"It was a great experience in a beautiful tranquil setting. I thank Deborah for being so open minded about what each participants was expecting from the retreat since we were all there for different reasons. You really adapted the excercises to the participants levels, injuries and ailments and made us aware that pushing for pain gives little gain.
I recommend this retreat to anybody who loves stretching and yoga, interesting conversations, good food and drink and lots of laughter."
December 2011 Okavango Yoga Retreat
"Dear Debs, Thank you so much for a beautiful yoga retreat! All of my wishes about what we would get to do, feel, and experience came true. The venue was lovely and relaxing, and the food was beyond delicious. Thank you for arranging the vegetarian options! I am especially grateful for the mutually supportive, small group of yoginis you assembled and the very personal attention you gave each of us. You have such a gentle and calming spirit, and your encouraging voice and guidance are true gifts you share with all of your students. I would love to join another retreat sometime in the future, and I will definitely recommend it to my friends. So many yoga retreats are confined to indoor studios. What a refreshing and invigorating change to breathe through meditation and asana practice in wide open, natural spaces with birdsong, frog calls, squirrel chirps, and butterflies! With gratitude"
March 2011 Kalahari Yoga Retreat
“There were 10 of us on the retreat and it was awesome! The surreal experience of doing Yoga surrounded by nature, a herd of drinking Kudu and curious ostrich was something very special! The retreat was exactly what I needed to focus my mind and body and make some important changes in my life. Two words sum up our weekend in the Kalahari – Soul Food!”
– Lisa Reed. age 38
"Three short days with Deb is a gift for the body and the soul. Her soft voice is in my mind each time I begin my practise - it quiets me and guides me, so those three days now extend to a lifetime."
– Mary McGee, US Peace Corps Volunteer, age 64
“The nature surrounding us felt perfect to unwind and prepare the mind and body for some stress-detox and some 'me'-time. I always find it fascinating how easily likeminded people group together harmoniously, but it may well have had everything to do with our teacher, who made everyone feel very comfortable. The yoga classes were challenging but certainly not too difficult, as everyone was taught poses that suited them individually. The views were spectacular with sunsets and sunrises with game (kudu, wildebeest, ostrich) quietly striding past during our classes. An overwhelmingly beautiful experience and my spirits were well rejuvenated after only one weekend!”
– Elly Van Kekem
October 2008 Okavango Yoga Safari
"The yoga safari was a pivotal moment for me. I had done yoga-diving before and thought that nothing could match that kind of ultimate experience - that is, until I joined Deborah Carter for daily yoga and meditation classes overlooking golden savannah, dotted with elephants and giraffes, and for my first peaceful face-to-face encounters with wild animals. The safari was a celebration of my first year of yoga practice; from the first day, Deborah's teaching helped me deepen my understanding of fundamental postures, correct mistakes, improve my breathing, and heighten my appreciation of the beauty of the Okavango Delta. I saw more animals than I could have imagined, and felt safe, healthy and enthralled."
– Jane McElhone, Canadian journalist and media development specialist, based in London
"Yoga stretches at the break of the sun-young day, all around babblers buzzing and twirping, elephants nonchalantly grazing and baboons swinging in the branches; g&t's about the bonfire, restoring tired and dusty limbs; lions moaning and hippos grunting only metres away from our tents - well, I was enchanted the whole way through.
Deborah is a passionate, inspiring teacher, and also passionate about the African bush. It's a beautiful journey, for the body, for the eyes, and for the soul. I'd do it again, right away."
– Marie Struthers, Canadian residing in London, England
"The combination of yoga and the African bush is simply an amazing Soul experience! For me the gift came with staying present and enjoying every moment. A true body, mind, spirit balance in the centre of Mother Nature's bosom - what could be better?
Deborah was gentle and encouraging in her yoga instruction - necessary for someone who doesn't practice yoga. I have now become inspired to go further into it as I have experienced the benefits in the wonderful time spent on the Yoga Safari!"
– Kath Forster, Johannesburg, South Africa