After a late Thursday night in
The next morning we boarded a truck that took us to an opening of the Okavango Delta. The ride took us through rural
When we entered the Delta, we packed our luggage into the mokoros which would take to our campsite. A mokoro is a traditional wooden canoe which is the chief means of transport in the Delta. The driver has a long wooden stick which he uses to propel and steer the canoe. (My driver, Chris, let me to try to drive the mokoro, but I couldn’t figure out how he seemed to position the stick on the floor of the river, so I used the stick like a kayak paddle. Hilarity ensued.)
Once we got to the campsite, an island in the middle of the Delta, we swam in the river before leaving for a nature walk in the afternoon. Though we didn’t see any animals then, our guide, Saulo, showed us the poop that denizens of the Delta had deposited as we watched a beautiful African sunset.
I don't know what happened with this picture, but I think it's pretty cool
Somehow one of the guides had convinced us to sleep outside that night (while they themselves had put up tents). It was pretty miserable with all of the mosquitoes– thank God for Malarone!—and all of the other Delta critters, but at least we were already awake for our early morning walk. It was soon obvious that Saulo was quite good at manuevering around the Delta and finding animals. We were able to spot tons of elephants, giraffes, and springbok, and beautiful fauna. It was also unbelievable that Saulo knew exactly where we were in the fields of the Delta, to which he likened to us being able to navigate ourselves in our hometowns. I have a feeling it’s slightly different.
We took another mokoro ride deeper into the Delta that evening. That night, we had a campfire with our guides who insisted on putting on a whole musical production and made us play some childish games. Needless to say, it was a great night, in no small part thanks to my return to tent-dwelling.
In the morning we said goodbye to our guides and returned back to the campsite in Maun where we had stayed before our Delta excursion. We stayed there just long enough to take our first shower in three days and eat lunch before leaving for another day on the road. We arrived at our campsite after dark after a delay at a pointless Hoof-and-Mouth Prevention checkpoint.
We woke up early the next morning for the drive up north to
hungry, hungry hippos
good morning, springbok
Coincidentally far from the water, we passed this herd of water buffalo.
A few moments later we ran into this gorgeous animal which I swear was either called a buku or a kubu, but now I can’t find any mention of it on the internet.
We saw some jackals, which are less frightening than I had imagined and more like puppies.
After seeing these wild dogs, we needed to see some wild cats. Our driver received word on his walkie-talkie that there were some lions deeper into the park and we caught them just before we had to return to the campsite. I was so excited; I felt like the lion paparazzi. Here are some of the best of the bunch:
three Nalas, no Simbas
After our game drive, we packed into our replacement bus, which was unexpectedly smaller than our original vehicle. It wasn’t a long ride before we got off to hop on a ferry to cross the river into
After lunch we headed to
The next few days were left free to explore the area around
The atmosphere across the border was eerie. Though
We began at the market where the vendors were more interested in goods than actual currency. I traded a few t-shirts, a few pairs of socks, some hair ties, and a Bic ballpoint pen for some artisan crafts, and I tried to include a few dollars or rand in each deal as a charitable contribution. I could tell they truly valued this bartering; nearly every one of the shopkeepers was wearing a shirt that they had obviously received in such transactions.
As we headed to the Victoria Falls Hotel for lunch, I have never seen such a stark difference between dearth and excess. The hotel is a bastion of a memorial to colonial rule; you can just picture old white men in their safari jackets sitting on the lawn. The walls are adorned with pictures of a 1946 visit by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret to
After my exhausting experience the previous day, I elected to spend my last day of Spring Break as a true Spring Breaker—lying by the pool. The poolside bar had a TV set, but there was little news about the “elections” so the bartender flipped the channel to VH1, which was apparently devoting its entire broadcast to the music of George Michael (to which I hypothesized that in a desperate move for power, Robert Mugabe had killed the former member of Wham!). After another sunset cruise that evening, I said goodbye to Zim, Zam, and the
A quick, semi-related note to conclude—since arriving in Africa, I have been on high alert for mistakenly pre-printed sports apparel (that is, shirts that hastily declared the Patriots World Champions before the Super Bowl was ever played) as it is a known fact that much of these items typically end up in Africa. While I have been less than successful in this particular pursuit, I’m pretty sure I saw a brand new Charlotte Hornets hat in