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September 26, 2013

Ask Sophy Roberts: Burma or Botswana?

By Sophy Roberts | Travel

Sophy Roberts
Photo by Chris Colletti

I can’t decide where to take the family this year: Burma or Botswana?

It’s a tricky call. Burma is so hot right now, you’d be lucky to get enough rooms for your family. Botswana works if it’s your Africa trip of a lifetime, but only if you’ve done Kenya—I’m of the opinion that you need to get the Africa clichés out of your system early on: the Maasai Mara, Hemingway’s Chyulu Hills, sitting around the campfire at Cottar’s. For Botswana, contact Will Jones at Journeys by Design [will@journeysbydesign.com; journeysbydesign.com] and ask him about San Camp in the Kalahari [rooms, from $1,100; reservations@unchartedafrica.com; unchartedafrica.com] and Abu Camp in the Okavango Delta [rooms, from $2,160 a person; 27-11/807-1800; wilderness-collection.com].

For Burma, I was impressed with Catherine Heald at Remote Lands [catherine@remotelands.com; remotelands.com]. She was the only outfitter I could find with serious experience of the Mergui Archipelago, a string of islands on the country’s Andaman coast that used to be known as a “remote region” (junta-speak for out-of-bounds to most foreigners). Burma isn’t a walk in the park—even if it’s among the most compelling places I’ve been lucky enough to visit.