Saturday 13 June 2015

Okavango Delta and Morami, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is somewhere Jackie and I had been looking forward to for a long time and was actually the primary goal of time in Africa. However things didn't quite turn out the way we had planned...

Our African safaris were one of the first parts of this trip that we found and booked in so that we could time our flights properly, which was great, till our Botswana safari fell through.  This resulting in much scrambling and searching while we were away in North America till we found another group safari on dates that fitted with our flights and was within our budget (which was, admittedly, not very high).  As it turned out, we were the only ones on the trip which was a little weird but also had some perks.

The safari actually started in Kasane and with the (second) game drive and the boat cruise in Chobe we mentioned in the previous post.  We then traveled for pretty much a full (hot, sweaty, crammed into a car) day to a camp "on the edge of the Okavango Delta", however due to drought we had to drive even further because the water level was too low for the mokoro canoes to pick us up.  Once at the camp there actually wasn't a lot to do, we weren't in the delta far enough for the really good wildlife (there was still cattle being grazed near by and wandering through the camp to get to the water) and the water level was too low to travel very far by canoe.

We went on two game walks and saw a number of birds however the only mammals were elephants that were trumpeting and rushing us, causing our guide to usher us into some cover (before we could even seen them) and then call out to scare them away when they got too close.  Quite an experience though we don't have photos.  In the end we mostly used the camp for down time and photographing birds around them camp.

The next part of the trip was to head to Moremi for two nights of bush camping at a remote camp site, it really was the middle of nowhere.  While the trip to (and around) Moremi was pretty rough, as was the camping set-up (if you are not used to camping with no facilities), the wildlife was fantastic.  Some was hard to find like the lions whose tracks were everywhere and we would hear calling at night but never sighted, and the leopard we went around in circles looking for based on the tracks before our guide saw it through a gap in the leaves.  And some were easy like the remarkable rare African Wild Dogs dozing in the middle of the track!

The other interesting experience of note was sleeping in a tent on the ground while animals move through your camp site.  Particularly when you hear hyenas sniffing around your tent (close enough to bump up against the tent wall) and you remember you have some food (muesli bars) with you when all food was supposed to be stored in the car.  That and hearing a thump and screech of birds a few hundred metres away that was apparently a leopard hunting.

So it was an eventful trip in a great many way.  I still feel like we haven't really been to the Delta so I think I still have an excuse to come back!

Note: Don't forget you can click on any of the photos to open full screen photo browsing.


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