Saturday, October 2, 2010
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Well, welcome to the largest land locked delta in the world. The Okavango Delta. Fed by four primary river systesm, it empties out into the heart of the Kalahari desert to form a green and lush bayou like river system aof swamps and such.
This morning my adventure started after everyone else departed for the Delta by traditional Makuru to camp in the bush with no facilities for two nights. I will be honest, I wasn’t too keen on being separated from the group as I really wanted to be with people and not on my own. I didn’t really care how I camped. But because of scheduling snafu’s it was what I was “stuck” with. A flight into the delta to a camp with full facilities and three squares a day.
Well upon arrival I was met by Winnie and soon after by Jinxy. Well it turns out that Jinxy has spent several years in the US in Oklahoma and is a OU graduate.. shout out to the Sooners for Jinxy! As we walk up the path I hear singing and the entire cleaning staff is under a thatched roof doing a lovely song and dance for me as I .. and only I .. arrived at camp. It turned out that I was only one of three people in camp that night. The other two were two guys from San Francisco who were staying there as well. So my hopes of having others to talk to were greatly diminished. It turned out that these guys were perfectly nice but were leaving in the morning.
But after my orientation briefing by Jinxy, snack at 6:30am.. activity at 7am.. back for full brunch at 11am, .. siesta time until 3pm for tea and cake.. activity from 3:30 to 6pm.. full dinner at 7:30pm.. Thirsty Elephant Bar until you can’t see. I had some time on my hands until the 3pm activity. So off to enjoy my “tent”… again I wasn’t intending to be in luxury, but that is most definitely what I got. This place was gorgeous.. I wont lie though, I was lonely and couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be to share these experiences with someone else… oh well, God has his ways and I am certainly not privy to them.
Anyway, after finishing my book (now I have nothing to read) we headed out for my first boat ride in the delta. The marsh grasses and the river water and the green trees and the sounds of birds and occasionally an elephant trumpet was really quite amazing. We pulled in at a couple of islands to do a bit of a game walk and got to see a herd of over 40 impala charging through the grasses and heard several hippos grunting in the waters nearby. Sunset that evening from the boat with a beer in my hand was simply fantastic!
Day two is up and at em at 6:30am and out on the boat by 7am.. it turns out that they have a FULL day of fishing planned for me and we are going WAY upstream to places that my guide for the day Petros hasn’t even been. So he brought the local guy, T, with him to help guide. Well as it turns out we see elephants, and croc’s and egrets, and fish eagles (38 to be exact about 1.5 per Km), cranes, herons, copper tailed coco’s, etc.. you get the picture.. BIRDS GALORE!
Well once we get to the finishing location I find out how competitive Petros truly is.. he announces we are having a fishing competition.. he is the first to haul one in and I’m feeling like I’ve been had! But then for the next three spots, NOBODY catches anything. But fear not, I know the cure. As with all things in life, fishing is better with BEER! So I pluck one out of the cooler, crack it, down it and we stop again. WHAM! The fish are biting.. I knew it was the beer! Soon it is 4 to 4 Petros / Bill.. poor T is getting blanked and taking a lot of flack for it!
After this break, we stop for lunch and a snooze along the river and back to the fishing.. quickly its Petros 5 / Bill 4 / T 1.. the heat is on.. But the intrepid American makes his way back and its a 5 / 5 tie as the sun is starting to move towards the horizon. Then the unthinkable happens…. Petros hooks number six and looses him at the boat. And the next cast looses his lure in the weeds.. game over.. ends in a 5/5 tie.. what a day!
That night I am the ONLY person at dinner with the guides and we have a lovely lamb, meatball and basmati rice meal. Afterwards we retire to the bar and Jinxy, myself and Petros sit around telling jokes until bedtime. What a good evening.. I truly hope to see those two again someday. Truly some of the great people of the world.
OK, I have to go track down a new book and buy a battery charger for my phone. I hope all is well.. GO BLUE!
Pictures & Video
This is a tent.. really!