Edit Blog Post
Published: October 17th 2008
The best way to travel
By mokoro through the delta
3 Oct - oh dear god, I wanna die. Worst hangover of the travels to date with a v long drive and border crossings ahead, urgh. Say farewell to Ulf and the others before curling up on the bus. I get picked on all day...and most of that night...but somehow manage to leave Namibia and get into Botswana in a hungover haze. We arrive in Ghanzi...and...THANKFULLY, we get the option to 'upgrade' to a San Bushman grass shelter so don't need to wrestle with the tent, PHEW. James volunteers to be my new roomie, poor guy 😉 Can't face dinner so just head to bed.
4 Oct - today I can appreciate being in Botswana now that I'm back in the land of the living. V excited to be in the same country as Precious Ramotswe (No1 Ladies Detective Agency) and meerkat land. We drive to our campsite at Maun stopping at various foot and mouth disease checkpoints. This just involves us all getting off Priscilla, stepping on disinfectant mat then getting back on Priscilla, with the occasional hunt for meat products in our cooler boxes by the authorities. We set up camp then go to Maun Airport for an
aerial flight over the Okavango Delta. 1 hour in the air in a wee 8 seater plane with amazing views of the Delta and herds of elephants, rhinos and water buffalo. We're only about 400ft up, this is a great way to view herds of game rather than on the ground as we've been doing so far. Giraffes look sooooo weird when viewed from above when their necks look different. Despite Team B being on kitchen duty today, we're eating in the camp site bar, woohoo. Fairly quiet night, despite there being various other big groups at the campsite there's only really the GAP lot propping up the bar. In bed by midnight.
5 Oct - early start to pack daypacks for next 2 days and load up a smaller 4x4 safari truck. We drive for an hour or so through remote Botswana. Interesting insight into local life with v basic huts / concrete shelters / grass huts scattered haphazardly round the countryside. Lots of kids (and adults) wave though as we go passed and look v cheery despite the obvious poverty.
We then load up the mokoros. A mokoro (dugout canoes made from ebony or sausage tree
The great explorer
In the Okavanga Delta
logs..or fibreglass!) contains two of us and a local poler who poles from a standing position, similar to a gondola as well as our daypacks, sleeping bag and mattress. Various other mokoros contain the kitchen equipment and food...and most importantly the cool box with drink supplies. Our convoy of 15 or 16 mokoros paddles through the Delta. Superb 1.5 hours of paddling, sooooo relaxing being only a few inches away from the reeds of the Delta and the waterlillies. Another key moment when I KNOW I've made the right decision to travel...
A strange day...we arrive on our wee bit of the Delta island by 11am...interesting to see how everyone within the group deals with a chance to chill in this remote paradise...some embrace it, some go crazy with boredom and some (!) just drink vino, chat, catch up with Dear Diary and read while enjoying the banter with the guys. This is ultimate bush / wild camping. No toilets or showers....just dig a hole in the ground for the toilet and stay dirty for two days / swim in the Delta.
We have a safari walk in the evening at sunset through the Delta. The Okavango Delta
Errol - recognise the hat?!
has a complex and unique ecosystem. The 1430km Okavango River spills 18.5bn cubic metres of water per annum across the flats which is then swallowed by the air and the Kalahari sands before becoming a 16,000 sq km maze of lagoons, channels and islands. Another great sunset and we're stalked by two rather large elephants. Ding Dong cooks up an amazing dinner considering the basic-ness of the Delta...rump steak, butternut squash and beetroot. Jason and I are the last ones up drinking.
6 Oct - early morning start for a 4hr game walk at sunrise. We see more animals than the night before, including zebra and antelope. The savannah grassland and barren trees typify the Botswana landscape to me. Back for breakfast by 10am before spending the day chilling out and the continual hunt for shade. Some of the guys have learnt how to paddle a mokoro so Canadian Merle acts as my chaffeur and takes me over to another island where I join some of the others for a swim in the Delta. We then have a sunset mokoro trip to watch the hippos. We get quite close but there's not much hippo action....the sunset proves more exciting
/ photo ops. Dinner and then the mokoro people perform some traditional song and dance. We are expected to reciprocate but can't manage any tune all the way through...turns into an hour of singing bits of karaoke faves...badly...resulting in the locals looking bemused / bored!
Seems like a quiet night with only a few strange animal sounds from outside the tent....which we're kinda getting used to now. However, we awake to find out that elephants tried to enter the camp during the night. The locals saw them off by throwing a burning log at the tree beside them to scare them off, phew...close one.
7 Oct - another relaxing mokoro ride to return from the Delta. However, we are all now craving a shower, clean clothes and an ice cold drink. Back onto the 4x4 truck. We end up helping a (cute) guy who has his truck and trailer stuck in the ford en route. We then drive to Gweta and the Planet Baobab campsite. This is a fab campsite surrounded by ancient baobab trees and the best bar of the trip with chandeliers made from beer bottles and cowhide barstools. However, I have an early night as
I think I got a bit too much sun while wandering round Maun earlier in the day. It's a 5am finish though for some of the guys with some needing dragged from bed...literally...before we're on the move the next morning. Naming no names - what goes on tour, stays on tour 😊
Tot: 0.146s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 7; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0177s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb