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Published: June 24th 2017
Botswana! What a country, not just in terms of it's beautiful landscapes and incredible flora and fauna, but for the memories this gorgeous little country gave us! Botswana isn't a country I had ever really considered and I have no idea why. Home to Chobe National Park, the Okavangko Delta, the Kalahari desert and a haven for wildlife- having the highest population of elephants on the planet, it is no wonder that Botswana was named one of New York Times places to visit in 2017!
We arrived pretty quickly into our lodgings just outside Chobe national park, checked in and headed straight for the bar! A few tipples later and off we went for a sunset cruise on the Chobe river, which was possibly even more stunning than the Zambezi river cruise- we were blessed with plenty of wildlife drinking and bathing in the Chobe- giraffes, elephants, buffalo, crocs- we even got treated to a naked man! Nudity aside, the views were stunning! We got back to base and had dinner, and on our way over to the bar we heard a stampede of animals followed by a car smashing into something. We ran out of the complex
to see a car totally smashed up- but no sign of the animals! It seems a herd of buffalo decided to stampede across the road and took a car out in the process. Thankfully nobody was injured but it was incredible how close wild animals were to us. That night we could heard all sorts of creatures outside, it was incredible!
The next day we visited Chobe national park and actually saw more animals on the way to the gate entrance than actually in the park- or so it seems! Games drives really are luck of the draw, and whereas in Tanzania we saw the Big Five in no time, down here this seemed a little more challenging! Chobe is beautiful, the landscape is gorgeous, and the time of year that we visited meant it was very lush and green. We caught a few fleeting glimpses of lions, and a couple of elephants, but we mainly saw a lot of zebra and baboons, wildebeest, impala and hippos! It still was an incredible trip and seeing all of these wild animals never ceases to amaze me! On our return we packed up and took a trip to your next stop
in the Nata region.
So, at this time of year, in the south of Africa, as I have explained, it is summertime, which means sunshine as well as intense crazy rain, and we got our first taste of a crazy storm at our next stop. We arrived into elephant sands mid afternoon and took advantage of the great weather by plotting up and the pool bar with a cold beer. While we were there, a gorgeous young bull elephant has very casually strolled into the property and starting drinking from the pond next to the bar. We were all literally gobsmacked that this was happening and how close this was to us. Words cant describe how fabulous this moment was, as as casually as he strolled in he wandered off. So so beautiful. After this we took a walk around the gardens looking at the masses of weaver birds making their nests as well as admiring the numerous species of brightly coloured birds that populated the area. After dinner, our elephant friend returned to the pond and we sat watching him until he retired and on going back to our chalet we were warned to bring a torch in
case we come across an elephant! That night, we were woken by the feeling that the world was collapsing onto us as the most insane and intense storm raged on throughout the night. We were tucked up all warm and safe in our chalets but what was coming from outside was absolutely terrifying but incredible at the same time.
Thankfully, the following day was a scorcher and we moved on to Maun, which was going to be our home for the next few days and the base from which we would visit the UNESCO world heritage site, the Okavangko delta. After another night of insane storms we set off to the edge of the Delta. The Okavangko Delta is a 10, 000 square miles of waterlily smothered canals winding through statuesque reeds stippled with islands smothered in palm trees and populated with all kinds of wildlife. These incredible waterways trace their path for miles, ending their life in the sands of the Kalahari desert. Arriving at the delta, already its beauty was so apparent- early morning sunlight glimmered upon a lake which was spattered with pink and blue lillies from which a multitude of waterways radiated.We wound our way
through these natural canals on a mikoro, a traditional canoe powered by poling though the reeds of the delta, for 2 hours until we reached our island destination.
A far cry from our cute chalets, we were back in tents with a drop down toilet (a hole in the ground with a toilet on top) out the back. Hurrah! No running water, no electricity, and mile and miles from civilisation. Incredible though! The afternoon was spent enjoying the gorgeous scenery and having a go at 'polling' the mikoros through the delta. That evening we took a 2 hours bush walk through the delta which was absolutely beautiful. We didn't get to see a lot of wildlife, just hippo and buffalo, but the absolute beauty of the delta easil compensated for this. On our return, suddenly the crystal blue skies turned black and from nowhere we found ourselves, in the middle of nowhere, caught in the most incredible of storms- insane deafening thunder and lightning and rain beating us horizontally. We had no choice but to take shelter and hide out in our tents until the morning, and we awoke, thankfully, to the most beautiful sunrise. A quick breakfast and
back we were on the delta to return to our origin. The Mikiro drivers treated us to a song and dance on the way back, and on reaching terra firma, we had the opportunity to explore a small local village and meet the kids that live there. From there, we were back on the truck and back to base.
On returning back, the weather was scorching, we we went for a lovely walk on our surrounds, where we were met with a couple of 'beware of crocodile' signs, but still we carried on looking at the brightly coloured butterflies and pretty flowers. On encountering some large mammalian pawprints accompanied by a set of smaller pawrints we decided to return back only to be told, on informing the bar man of our potential lion encounter, that he let us know a gentleman had left the bar not long before us with a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Jack Russel. Still, better to be safe than sorry.
That evening, after dinner, one of our group had popped back to the chalets for a shower and returned very swiftly saying there was a crocodile over by the chalets. Of course we all
ran over to look and sure enough there was a baby croc just sitting there by the pool. The hotel owners said they were going to kill it and eat it, and our guide, Will, decided we couldn't allow that and asked if anyone would catch the croc. Of course I hear my husband volunteering and with that he has grabbed the croc behind the head and by the tail while everyone tried to find something to out the creature into. Bearing in mind this little thing was only about 2.5 - 3 feet in length, James said he found it a struggle to hang onto it. We eventually found a box big enough to accommodate it, and off James and Will went in the truck to release it far far from people. Such an incredible experience, especially for James.
The next day we left the vicinity of the delta and took the long long trip from Maun to Palape, which wasn't far from the south african border. An evening of drinking and merriment was had before we said a farewell to Botswana and crossed over to South Africa, the final country on our epic honeymoon adventure!
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