Into the Okavango Delta!


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Africa » Botswana » North-West » Okavango Delta
June 2nd 2010
Published: June 8th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

June 2nd

Just a bit more than a week before the World Cup starts, let the banter and teasing begin! Having a couple English on the trip now makes it a bit more of a competitive atmosphere in the truck which is a good laugh.

That morning we woke up with the roosters and packed all our things on a truck that came to pick us and others up. Next we were packed like sardines into the truck and shipped off to the Okavango Delta to begin our camping adventure. It was about an hour and a half to the delta but it went by fast, albeit cold in the Botswanan morning.

We arrived to see our transportation lined up on the river. Mokoros would be our mode of travel for the next couple days. They are basically dug out canoes made from the trunks of trees, I forget the name of the tree but apparently it takes about 70 years for it to grow in order to be used as a mokoro. But nowadays they use fiber glass ones that are leak proof and environmentally friendly. We would be polled along by one of the guides, they stand at the back of the mokoro and use a long poll to guide us along, a bit like the Italians do in Venice. Cameron and I shared a mokoro and were loving from the first second, our guide’s name was Heaven and we got along well with him.

Time flew by in the mokoro and before we knew it we had arrived at our island. The delta is just that, a huge delta, basically imagine the Midwest but then flooded from the Missouri River, creating loads and loads of estuary rivers and small islands in between them. After arriving at the camp and setting up tents and our kitchen most of us took naps in the Botswanan sun. I woke up to find that my tentmate, Cameron, had left the island cause he was feeling sick, what a shame. Later on we jumped in the mokoros and headed to one of the bigger islands to try and find some game. We took a nice walk on the island and saw some zebras before we saw the sun go down. Once we got back to camp dinner was prepared by David, Kelly and I and it turned out awesome! We made a kickass spaghetti bolognese that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

We all tucked into our tents shortly after devouring the dinner, mosquito’s were rampant and another early wake up was in the cards.

June 3rd

The kettle was on full boil when I rolled out of my tent and saw the rising sun over the island. We all warmed up with a cup of tea and toast before jumping in the mokoros and heading off to another larger island for a game walk. The eleven of us split into two groups with Dafydd, David and I in one mokoro, Kelly and David in another, and Hayley and Luke in another. This time around we didn’t have cushions so the ride to the islands was a bit uncomfortable, and with the spiders all around us it was nice to finally reach the island and go for a walk. Unfortunately there wasn’t much game spotted on the island but it was cool to walk around and really think about exactly where I was. The middle of no where, the definition of it, really.

So after doing a circle on the island we made our way back to the mokoros, without much desire to really do so. Luke, Hayley and Kellie almost had an accident when Luke saw a massive spider and sat up quickly. The mokoro nearly capsized but thankfully it didn’t and they just got really wet. We made our way back to the campsite after they gathered their nerves and looked forward to lunch. The other group had heard some elephants before arriving to the island and so they went and checked them out, our group passed up the chance we were so hungry! It was a basic lunch, we really didn’t plan very well and ended up eating uncooked hot dogs and bread. After filling up meat that consisted of random pieces of unspecified meat, we hung around the campsite and relaxed with our guides.

A few of us went on a sunset mokoro ride in the late afternoon while Paul, Nicio and David got started on dinner, chili con carne with rice! Wendy and I jumped in one mokoro with Heaven as our guide, along with a box of red wine to drink as the sun went down. It was a great sunset cruise and I was able to take some great shots of the sun going down over the delta, I hope you like them!

Dinner was fantastic per usual and afterwards we had some great entertainment from our guides. They sang and danced around the fire while us travelers drank our tea and beer. We were all a bit speechless and songless when they turned to us and expected us to sing and dance as well! We tried our best but since we were from all parts of the world we really didn’t have a song we could sing together. It was quite a pathetic performance when we couldn’t even finish Oasis’ Wonderwall! Our tents were calling shortly afterwards and we all got a good nights sleep, another early wake up beckoned.

June 4th

You can imagine what we did when we woke up, so I won’t even mention it. After packing our things up we made our way back to the mainland, arriving in time to see another group of backpackers heading out for their adventure in the Okavango Delta.

We got back to the campsite and unloaded our things and then made our way into Maun to pickup have lunch and then head to the airport for our scenic flight. The flight was amaaazeng and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the shotgun seat of the Cessna Airvan. I didn’t realize how huge the delta was until we flew over it, and it was great to spot elephants, antelopes and giraffes from 500 feet above the delta!

After the flight we regrouped with the folks that had decided not to take the $65 flight over the delta. We headed out for a nice dinner at a Nando’s restaurant, thankful that we didn’t have to cook for the night. Post dinner we headed back to the Sitatunga campsite and sat around the fire with our beers and stories. We hung out with some other overland travelers from the Oasis truck and had a nice laugh with them before we headed to our tents and awaited another early morning wakeup.

Hope you like the photos as much as I did the trip! (But somehow I doubt it!)

Until next time, Pura Vida!

-Brendan


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8th June 2010

wooooow
u have amazing pix once again !!

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