Into the Wilds of Botswana
I was sitting by a window in the plane looking out as we were starting out descent. It looks like such desolate land. Straw huts on sandy ground with little to no greenery around. A few small huts/homes spotted sparsely throughout the landscape. A different landscape from what I’ve seen indeed. We landed in the small airport of Maun Botswana. The intense heat has already hit me. We meet our two Safari Guides, Alwyn and Johann who load our luggage on top of the jeeps and off we go into the depths of the Okavango Delta on the Khwaii River. The roads are very dusty and I can already feel myself caked with the dust, as the sides of the jeeps are wide open. Typical safari jeeps. Our drive winds us through the very dry dirt road about 200 kms to our campsite. The odd small village line the road we travel. I am surprised to see an occasional tree with a broken plastic chair, all different colours, or a combination of them, hanging from it here and there. We are told that these are signs to show what family lives down this trail. One can see grass huts through the trees. A whole family will live in one of these small areas together. All family, till it is necessary to move on for whatever reason. Some places just get abandoned if and when a family member may die, under certain circumstances.
We travel about 70 kms and come to a fence that is the final fence to separate the cattle from the wildlife, even though the land prior to this amongst the farmers is loaded with the wild animals. They all live together, but this stops the cattle from going in and the wildebeests from going in to the farmland etc. It is hot but we are all excited about the animals that we are seeing along the way. Soon the rains come. We are told that it has not rained here in 8 months. We are now slightly cooler and the rains are welcomed to all of us, to cool us off and keep the dust down. Looks like everywhere we are going we are bringing the much needed rain. So nice.
We stop often to take photos so our drive takes us a little longer than usual and we arrive just before sunset to the outskirts of our camp where we are greeted by a pride of lions. Two large males lay beside the road and wrestle with each other in a playful way. We are told by our guides that the males have a stronger bond than even a male and a female do. Our drive in alone, gifts us the sightings of elephants, giraffes, impalas, hippos, kudus, eagles, warthogs, hornbills, and many more birds that I do not know the names of yet. We all laugh and wonder what else we will do as we have seen so much already. We all feel much gratitude for seeing the male lions and are told by Alwyn and Johann that they will likely visit our camp tonight. This caused a few people to shake, rattle and role. :o)
Our camp is amazing. Green canvas tents line the perimeter of our space in a half circle. We are sharing tents, 2 per tent. We are on comfortable cots. Behind the tents a little way back are our toilets that have a four walled canvas tent around it. Placed a distance between them are four walled showers. A bucket with a shower head welded to the bottom of it. Beyond that is nothing but wild lands for the wild animals that we will coexist with for the next 6 days. We have a mess tent where we will all sit and eat our meals. And a firepit in the middle for our gatherings. I am so excited. Part of Alwyn’s crew are 5 wonderful that will cook, clean and care for the camp. I am so very excited and am thrilled to possibly have some visitors in the night. After a blessing around the campfire, I stand in wonder at the bright stars in the sky and the large moon and am grateful to be here. Good night from a land rich in life.