Okavango Delta

To get to the Okavango Delta, we took a mokoro (dugout wooden canoe) ride out to an uninhabited island.  It was basically like a Gondola right, but in the middle of Africa instead of Venice.  We arrived at our “embarking” station after a 2 hour bumpy ride and a “foot and mouth” check point.  As we arrived there were about 20 locals or so that started unloading the truck and grabbed our gear and put it in the mokoros.  The mokoro ride lasted about an hour and was as relaxing as can be, especially since we were woken 5:30 AM. 

As we landed on our island, the first thing we noticed was a buffalo skull in the firepit.  We immediately set up camp, and had about 4 hours to rest, eat, and play the game “Survivor”.  After that period, it was time for a game walk.  In theory this should have been awesome.  The Okavango Delta is one of the most densely populated areas of big game in Africa, if not the most.   During our one and a half hour game walk, guided by certified locals, we saw a pack of zebra (apparently the rest of the world pronounces it zeb-ruh, whereas Americans pronounce it zee-bruh, much like the letter z, zed versus zee).  Anyway, it was very disappointing, especially because this was the most expensive optional payment of our Safari trip.  At night, the locals performed sing and dance routines for us, which provided some entertainment.  As part of tradition, our group had to perform as well.  Needless to say, it was fun.

The next morning, we awoke very early for a morning game walk.  Again, we saw more zebra and not much else. Later that afternoon, after a mokoro ride back and a 2 hour bumpy ride and a “foot and mouth” checkpoint, 12 of us from our group went to the airport to fly over the Okavango Delta.  We sat in a 7 seater.  Before take-off, the pilot showed us on a map where we’d be flying, and it was so much further into the delta where we had been the previous night.  He said, “Where you were last night, really isn’t the delta, the delta doesn’t start until here”, as he pointed to a game reserve line about 20 kilometers north of where we had been.  The plane ride was pretty amazing.  We got to see herds of elephants and buffalo, a few giraffe, and just the vast size of the delta. Apparently, anything goes with aviation in Botswana, at one point in the flight, our altitude was at most 50 feet. We flew in tight formations with 2 other planes.  It was one of the highlights of the Safari trip. 

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