Published: January 24th 2013December 29th 2012
Nikki and I made our way to the border and then caught a ferry across to Botswana. Here we were greeted by the friendliest immigration staff i've ever met. They were laughing and wishing us a merry xmas and really lifted our spirits after what was a long day. The taxi driver too was one of the nicest people I've ever met. He had cool local beats playing in his car and was just relatively chilled out. Botswana was making a great first impression. On our way to our campsite in Kasane, Botswana we passed many wild boar just sitting by the road. It was like seeing heaps of pumbas from the lion king just grazing on the side of the road or near the local bank, for a second I felt like I was in the movie Jumanji.
Soon we arrived at Thebe River campsite where we met our new tour grop, tour company and guides. We are now travelling with ATC (Africa Travel Company). Crew are Farai (cook), Hendrick (guide) and Clayton (driver). The group areva great bunch and are as follows: Cherie (sydney), Leanne (sydney), Oskar and Ina (finland), Bevan and Jenny (NZ), Anne (germany) and us. All in all if you needed to be on a tour group with anyone else, it should be our group as you would have every resource you needed. In our group we had a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a lawyer, a builder, an admin assistant and a phd student.
In the following days we travelled to Maun in Bostwana where we stayed at a campsite called Sitatunga campsite. This campsite would be a venture point for leaving to the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta is a 16,000 sq km expansion of the Okavango river. It is the world's largest inland river delta where waters rush, flood and decrease all throughout the year. To reach the campsite you must take Mokorros (local small long boats) that are controlled by the locals. We left on the 27th dec and spent 2 nights in the Delta. It was an experience. We were warned before we left that we may not see a lot of wildlife due the water levels of the river but that the experience was one to be remembered. However for most of us I don't think it was a positive memory. It may just have been our luck, but most of us did not enjoy our trip to the Delta. On our way into camp, rain hit whilst we were travelling in the Mokorros. Then once at camp the place was infested with trees that housed billions of catapillars that dropped on you all the time, even whilst eating. It was full on bush camping, with toilets being a hole we dug in the ground and covered up as we needed. It wasn't the bush camping that was an issue, we were all comfortable with bush camping. It just felt as though there was no atmosphere between the group and our guides. In addition the rain didn't really lift our spirits either. I'm sure if there was no rain and a better atmosphere we would have enjoyed it a whole lot more.
The best part of the delta was by far the mokorro trip as it was just so peaceful and tranquilising. Also on our final night our local guides sang and danced for us which was really nice and great to see them be a little active as they were so quiet most of the trip. Oh and Cherie got tuned by a local which was definitely something Bevan would never let her forget. Lastly, the sunsets here were incredible.
Whilst in the Delta we did walking safaris when on land and also did a mokorro safari where we got a little too close for comfort to some hippos. There was also an area near our campsite that was safe for swimming. At this point I began to get some very hectic mosquito bites. They were ridiculously itchy and I just couldn't resist. Before I knew it my ankle was swelling up and was clearly infected. The mosquito bites were becoming bigger wounds and they would weep with puss (sorry for the visual). Being in the delta didn't help them one bit. My leg felt like it was going to fall off and was swelling up. Soon walking on it became quite painful. I was getting concerned it would turn into cellulitis. Luckily with a doctor in our group and my own knowledge of infection, I was in good hands and once back in Maun I was able to get antibiotics, some bandages and monitor the infection. My kankle is nearly gone!!
We are now back at Sitatunga campsite where we will rest up tonight with the other overland trucks before making our way to Namibia tomorrow.