You can't get much wilder than this!

Trip Start Feb 23, 2009
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Trip End Aug 22, 2009


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Where I stayed
Bush camping!

Flag of Botswana  ,
Sunday, July 19, 2009

We leave Maun bright and early in the morning and head off to the Okavango Delta!  It's quite a trek!  We first drive about three hours into the bush, cruising past giraffes, zebras, ostriches and warthogs (and sadly a dead hyena!)...the roads were not kind, but the large 4 wheel drive vehicle handled them with relative ease...there's nothing that it couldn't manoeuvre...we went through small bodies of water, half roads, sharp bushes...it was a delightfully cold way to wake up!

When we reached our next destination, we unpacked all our gear (an overnight bag, with sleeping bag, mats, etc.) and sat two-by-two in tiny canoes called makoros (mekoros).  These canoes are typically made of sausage trees, but increasingly the are being made of fibreglass, as makoro trees are becoming slightly less convenient to find and carve.  I must say my first five minutes in the makoro consisted of several choice quebecois swear words...as for the duration of the ride, our canoe was never more than an inch or two from being flooded with water.

However with our experienced poler Charles, we made the hour and a half trek deep into the delta safely and more importantly, dry!  Our campsite in the delta was quie unique; we camped on the shores of a wide pool.  We were quite glad that it was wide because our neighbours on the other side were a very large and noisy family of hippos!  I must admit that the idea of paddling in the water near to them was terrifying (definitely an adrenaline rush!)!  Particularly when as we drew near to the campsite they all ran into the water with thunderous crashes...but luckily the aquatic gods spared us death by hippos and we all settled calmly into our campsite.

After unpacking and creating what was to be our home for the next two days (including the preparation of our fancy hand dug toilet!), we headed off with some of our polers for a bush walk.  Of course they gave us a bit of a pre-departure briefing: 
1) if a lions eyeing you, stare it down...if you run it will think that you are prey and chase you down (which will most likely lead to you becoming his dinner)
2) With rhinos and elephants, run behind a tree...
3) don't get close enough to an animal where you have to follow this advice!

So we journeyed off into the bush...as most of it is fairly open, we could see quite far across the land.  It was quite surreal to be surrounded by water, yet have so much earth/land as well!  Luckily (as far as evading animal attacks), the animals were not big fans of we humans, and thus kept their distance...but even from a distance we spotted elephants, zebras and giraffes...

Upon returning to our campsite, Clancy prepared a lovely meal for us and as we were ravenous, there weren't too many leftovers! :p  We headed off to bed completely surrounded by nature and the mercy of its' animals...needless to say it wasn't my most restful sleep, with lions growling in the distance, elephants shaking trees beside our camp site and of course the sounds of Jabba the Hut (yes the one from Star Wars) emanating from the hippos in the pond!

PS  I would just like to add here, on a side note, that hippos are amazing!  Definitely my favourite animal!  Here's a few things that you may or may not have known about hippos:

1) They are Africa's most dangerous animal...why you may ask...well for starters they have POWERFUL jaws!  They can bite crocodiles in half!    
2) They can also run very fast, both on land and underwater and if you get in there way...look out!
3) They are also very territorial animals and can get pretty violent if you encroach on their territory or threaten their young.
4) They have no natural predators...cuz they're too tough to prey on...plus they were never hunted by humns because they don't taste very good!
5) They have very sensitive skin, so they cannot spend too much time in the sun, hence why they are so frequently submerged in water...
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