LOCATION: In the Okavango Delta in NW Botswana
WEATHER: Cooler in the AM, then warm – 75 – in PM
We were told that our flight today would be at 10:00. Wanting to take advantage of every minute here, we opted to do one short activity in the early AM. This meant that we had our regular 5:30 coffee/wake-up greeting. After breakfast, the Angola couple and I went with Bee and another guide to continue the walking safari that we quit early yesterday when we went in search of the wild dogs. Again, the safety lecture and Bee loaded his gun. We walked for about 2 hours with Bee telling us very interesting things about the plants, trees and birds.
Botswana no longer allows game hunting in any part of the country. Up until 2014 our camp was a hunting camp. As we walked on the walking safari, whenever we approached the game (impala, wildebeest, and zebra), they became skittish and ran away. Bee said that this is becuase they remember hunters on foot from generations ago.
Then to the airstrip to pick up our little airplane to Kanana.
After a 5-minute flight, we touched down at another camp to drop off some staff and supplies and to pick up 2 tourists. Then, another 20-minute flight to Kanana. The plane went on to Maun to drop off the remaining guests and staff.
Kanana is owned and managed by the same company, so much of the camp seems similar. The schedule is the same, as far as waking up, activities, meals, drinks, and safety rules.
The pathways to the tents are made of elephant dung and leaves. It creates a mulch like texture – very soft for walking.
Our room has a key on the outside, not inside. This is to keep the babboons out. They have figured out how to negotiate door handles. We heard the story of a babboon who watched a guest for several days to learn how to operate the latch. Then, when the guest was out, the babboon opened the door, entered the room, helped himself to the cookies and sherry decanter that they leave for us. When the guest returned to his room, he found the babboon drunk and asleep on his bed!
Our beautiful room…
The schedule is the same here – lunch at 11:30; followed by a siesta time; then high tea at 3:30; then afternoon activity at 4:00. Today was a game drive. Our guide here is a young man named Sue. All the guides here know our previous guide. As an older man who has been around for a long time and has a tremendous amount of knowledge, Bee is apparently quite the legend. We were lucky to have had him.
It is interesting that we are not that far from our first camp, but the animals and landscape are quite different. There was a huge fire here last March, and there are massive patches of blackened soil all around. It has rained here (finally) the last few days. Sometimes we drive on hippo trails and paths that jeeps have made. Other times, we just go off-road wherever. As Sue headed off-road toward some elephants, we went through a muddy patch and got really stuck in the mud.
He radioed back to camp and another jeep came to rescue us…..and got stuck, too!
Another radio call brought a tractor to the rescue!
Back on the game drive, Sue found a mother lion and her cub for us. He said the second cub was killed a few days ago.
Then we went to a woodsy section and found a leopard up in the tree with her baby. She had killed an impala yesterday and with full stomaches, they were dozing up high. It was a little hard to see them.
We found a lovely spot for our evening “sundowner” (happy hour). Today’s was a refreshing gin and tonic and pistachios. The guides use these old-style boxes to carry glassware.
George had a martini.
The sunset was absolutely gorgeous – like you see in National Geographic.
Very happy with our spottings, we returned to camp. They welcomed us with cool, damp washclothes. Nice!
DINNER: Africa seekswa – like pulled beef. Quite nice. Lots of side dishes, too. There are 7 of us here – the Angolan couple who were with us in the previous camp, an 82-year old Brit, a Canadian couple, and us. The guides and camp manager join us for dinner, served family style. As with our first camp, the capacity is only 18. It is nice to have a small setting like this. Staff outnumber guests by about 3:1.
After dinner, about 9:00, we asked Sue if he would take us for a night drive. It was really neat. He flashed his strong flashlight around, and we saw lots of eyes staring back at us. Hippos stay in the water all day and come out at night to eat. We saw a lot of them. We saw a bushbaby (kind of like a koala) in a tree, and huge storks nesting in the trees. Wow!