Botswana: Sir Mark Elder’s ‘holiday heaven’

Legendary proms conductor Sir Mark Elder has told the Telegraph that Botswana holidays are his idea of heaven.

Sir Mark described his time with his family on safari in Botswana as “one of the most exciting few days of our lives.” It’s not hard to see why – the country boasts some of Africa’s finest nature reserves and an abundance of wildlife.

The conductor went on to describe the magical experience of seeing a herd of elephants for the first time: “We had to stop because they were coming across our path and they just flatten anything in their way. The amazing thing was the quiet. All you hear is a gentle rumble. Mesmeric.”

In addition to seeing elephants up close, Sir Mark and his family travelled down river in search of hippos. “We saw lots of them and they would disappear under the water and you had to hope they wouldn’t try to surface underneath your boat and capsize it,” he told the newspaper.

Sir Mark, the musical director of the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, shot to fame thanks to his charismatic performances conducting the Last Night of the Proms. He returned to the Proms this year, conducting at the opening night last Friday (13th July).

Travellers to Botswana are spoilt for choice; things to do include visiting one of the country’s 12 IBAs (Important Bird Areas), attempting to spot Africa’s amazing big five, travelling down the Chobe River and discovering ancient cave paintings.

Due to the abundance of year-round water, the majority of southern Africa’s species of large mammals are present in Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Moremi Wildlife Reserve, making the country the perfect safari destination.