Botswana

Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
1
7
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Trip End Feb 22, 2012


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Acacia Africa trip through Zambia, Botswana into South Africa

Flag of South Africa  ,
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

After Vic Falls I joined an Acacia Africa week long camping trip from Livingstone down to JoBurg, through Botswana. I’ve wanted to visit Botswana since I started planning this trip, particularly the Okavango Delta so was prepared for roughing it camping for a bit! There were
around ten of us loaded into a van we set off for Chobe national park home to loads of wildlife. After a long days driving we crossed the border into Botswana and jumped straight onto a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. The views were fantastic as the sun set and we saw loads
of elephants and hippos close by. I’m getting an old pro at camping by now and my tent mate Shirley (hi Shirley!!!) and I were the fastest to put up our tent. The next day we had a sunrise game drive, before heading to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta, a vast area of
wilderness full of watering holes. This is the fun side of camping, staying up around the campfire at night and getting up early in the morning to see the sunrise. An early start in the morning around 4 am as we had to get to the Mokoro station to board our Mokoros (traditional dug out canoes) into the Delta. Taking just a day pack with us, we rode in the two person canoes for a couple of hours, they are surprisingly low on the surface. Was a bit worried when the poler
said don’t worry about the spiders that land on you, they are just welcoming you to the Delta!! The polers steer the canoes along the water ways, going straight through reeds. I was disappointed not to come across any hippos or crocs! It was getting really relaxing
drifting along apart from the insects landing on me and the reeds whipping my fact, but then it started to pelt down with rain and my mokoro flooded so that I was sitting in a pool of water, not so nice.

Camping here is literally camping in the wilderness – there is no campsite or facilities just a clearing of trees to pitch our tents, and we have to dig a good old bush toilet with the presence of the spade acting as an ‘engaged’ sign. This is our tour guide’s first tour by himself so it’s a bit of an adventure! The group is really great apart from three 40 year old single women - it’s fairly obvious why they are still single!! Haha meeting them was a wake up call, ten years to get
my life on a different track to them!! ;) This culminated in an argument over how to cook a pumpkin, which is luckily when I discovered Savannah cider.

The experience in the Delta was a mixed one as due to the heat there are no activities in the day between 9 am and 5 pm. So that’s a whole work day of doing absolutely nothing!! I didn’t bring anything to do, not even a book, so we sat
around waiting for the evening mokoro ride or game walk. We were up at 5 to see the sunrise over the Delta, and set off for an early game walk through the wilderness where we saw elephants and zebras – standing on the same ground as them is awesome. A bull elephant blocked our path, and as it had charged the local guides recently we had to walk in a
wide circle around it to get back to camp. That evening we had a sunset mokoro ride which took us to a tiny island totally filled with birds, I have never seen anything like this before. If you were scared of birds it would be terrifying! The sound was deafening and the trees were covered in large black and white birds. I’m loving the mokoros now, the poler said I am the Angel of the Delta. The two days went fairly slowly due to all the sitting around, but on our last mokoro ride we finally saw the hippos I was waiting for. When we actually saw the hippo on the other side of the river, and the guide reminded us they are the most dangerous animal and kill the most tourists than any other animal, suddenly I didn’t actually want to go any closer. Watching it go under the water and wondering where it was until it emerged a few minutes later was exciting enough. The local guides told us that there were hippos and elephants around our camp that night.

It was back to Maun after that and another night at the main camp, before heading to
the Karma Rhino Sanctuary the next day. There are only 2 white rhinos here and about 40 black rhinos – rhinos are seriously endangered and poaching for their horns which can reach $1 million is a huge problem. Karma is a local initiative by the surrounding areas to conserve the
species and is protected by the Botswana military. An evening game drive took us right up close to these fierce animals. There is definitely a thrill in having one stare at you knowing it could charge if it wants to. Just fantastic to get so close to them in the wild, and camping out in their habitat.The last day was a long driving day, up at 4am, crossing the border into South Africa and into JoBurg. We were generally advised that it is not safe to go out at night here,
so a few of us caught a cab to a great restaurant, Moyo’s, where they had African music and they paint your faces with white stars and flowers. A great night ending a great trip to Botswana!
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