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Published: February 8th 2012
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Our next adventure is a nights camping in the Okavango Delta. The tour we are on features three highlights- The Dunes, the Delta and Victoria Falls.
The Delta is “ a labyrinth of lagoons, lakes and hidden channels covering an area of over 17,000 sq km
and it is the largest inland delta in the world.
Travel to the campsite is by local boats- called Mokoros. These boats are much like canoes, with a local guide- called a “poler”, as they use poles to push the mokoros through the shallow water. The trip takes about 1 ½ hours.
We were asked to bring only a small knapsack,and our bedding. Upon arrival at the mokoros, it seemed like mass pandemonium as the polers and tour guides arranged to pack in food ,supplies, people and luggage. Note- the supplies include our luxury toilet seat- a sight I was happy to see- no squatting for this princess!!!!!Yippee!
Somehow, our luck
ran a bit short when our poler introduced him and his mokoro to us. The boat we were to ride in was the narrowest, shortest and leakiest one there. By the time the 3 of us and gear were on board, there was about one inch of freeboard left!!!! (boat above water line) I was afraid to look to the left – or the right- for fear of upsetting the balance and tipping the boat. Several times, Godfrey (our poler) had to stop and bale out water from the back. Mark decided to put his camera away in a zip lock bag, as it seemed to big a risk to take using it!
Part way through the trip, some of the reeds caught the side of the boat, tipping it enough to take on water from the left, followed by my huge gasp- our reaction of leaning the opposite way- which of course took on water from the right........resulting in ….....whew- only wet bums and mattresses! Godfrey saved the day with his pole, and we did not tip all the way over. I was VERY grateful, as I did not relish the idea of a swim in the reedy
Upon arrival at the camp, we left our mattresses in the sun to dry. Our clothes (yes, we left them on) dried very quickly while we pitched tents and carried supplies up to the camp.
The polers offered to teach us how to pole a mokoro- Mark was and expert- and some of the group went swimming as well. The water is actually very clear- and good for swimming, if you can stand walking through the muck to get there! And of course, someone is always on hippo watch!
Other than birds, we did not see an awful lot of wildlife. Mark took a hike that afternoon with one of the guides/poler – I declined to go as it was about 100 F. in the sun- I stayed behind in the shade of the trees and helped Jacques make dinner instead. Me- cooking??? Who knew!
Upon the hikers return, we had a wonderful dinner of Magic Delta Chicken- ( chicken rice casserole over the coals) . All the girls tried to resist drinking too much, so there would be no need for midnight trips to the outdoor bathroom!
That night, the polers entertained us
with local singing and dancing- they were a great bunch and we all had a blast.
The next morning, we packed up camp and headed back to civilization. This time, we traded mokoros with Jacques- we traveled in a lovely fiberglass one- no rocking- nothing to worry about and a dry bum! Yippee! When we got to the bus, Jacques indeed was soaked!
All in all, it was a great experience, although I have to say- I am very relieved my tenting nights have now come to an end!!!!
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