Day 7: Okavango Delta
Okavango Delta Travel Blog› entry 9 of 34 › view all entries
September 20th, 2009 – by: Biedjee
The trip out to the place where would camp was fantastic.
A mokoro is a bit like a Venetian gondola, a guy stands at the back with a long pole pushing the pole (hence his name, a 'poler'), while two passengers have to lie down in the mokoro to keep it stable. As I lay down on a mattress in the mokoro, while gently gliding through the reeds, I had a hard time staying awake and I kept dozing off. Not surprisingly considering I had only slept for 2.5 hours. But it was great, it was just so relaxing that I was disappointed when we got there. For all I cared we could have continued for a few more hours.
In a shaded area on one of the many islands in the delta we set up our bush camp. The camp was completely surrounded by trees and as soon as we had set up camp we were told it was forbidden to venture outside of the camp area without one of the local guides. It didn't take long to see why - there was an elephant eating no less than 20 metres from our camp. Elephants have poor eyesight, but they hate the smell of humans and have been known to charge unprovoked. The trees in between which we camped were too dense for the elephants to enter. I doubt those trees would keep out the baboons or lions that were roaming the area though.
The afternoon was one very long siesta.
We spent the time sleeping, playing cards and swimming a bit. The swimming was really odd, in the middle of one of the waterways, surrounded by reeds and water lilies, knowing there might be hippos or crocodiles near.
The water in the delta is incredibly clear. There is hardly any fish and the reeds and sandy bottom act like a filter, making the water pure enough to drink. Another feat difficult to fathom when considering these are basically flood plains.
Late afternoon we went for a walk onto the island. The many floodplains and waterways provide an abundance of food, as well as a relative protection, which means the area is teeming with wildlife.
When we returned to the camp Juliana had made a hearty vegetable curry with nshima, the staple locals eat as a replacement for potatoes or rice. It was amazing how she had managed to cook such a great dinner with such limited resources: basically just a couple of pots and pans over an open fire.
And there was even desert in the form of a vanilla-fruit pudding.
The evening was spent sitting around the camp-fire chatting and playing some silly games. The guides and polers sang us some songs and did some dancing. It was a very impromptu performance and it was impressive just how well their voices sounded together.
The stars were bright in the sky, the camp-fire provided a nice ambience and the occasional howls from hyenas or baboons in the distance even moreso.
Even though we were with a very large group (10 from our group, Riaan and Juliana, two local guides and 6 polers) it really did feel like camping out in the wild.
Today was the highlight of the trip so far.
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