Africa Day #17

Last night the rain came in, as well as a proper African lightning storm. It didn’t really start up until 2am, but then the storm really stirred up around 4am. I don’t think many people slept after 4am, as the storm was right above us, and at least two times lightning struck you could feel it hit the ground, which was thrilling and a bit scary all at once. The only unfortunate thing was not being able to watch it, as our tents were all closed up to keep out the rain. It was nerve wracking at times, as we were just protected by a tent with metal poles, but also incredible.

Our morning was suppose to start at 7am, but with the heavy rains, it has been pushed out. We are all wet and dirty, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. At 9am, we were finally picked up for the overnight on the Okavango Delta. This is one of the seven natural wonders of Africa, and it is argued one of the world’s largest inland deltas. We drive 45 minutes on a dirt road to a village where we meet our pollers. This village is so secluded, and it really got me thinking about how some of these people live in these villages in Africa, so far away from modern conveniences. We are traveling by Mokoro (dugout canoe), two hours down the delta, to an island where we will be spending the evening. There is two of us per Mokoro, with a local guide/poller in back to push us along the delta, by using a long wooden poll.

Waterlily that could be found the whole journey on the Delta
Waterlily that could be found the whole journey on the Delta

Right off the bat, our guides spot hippo right by where we are entering the Delta. I am beyond excited! I was so excited seeing them from the sky, this was even better seeing them in the water. We hop in our Mokoro, and pull off almost right away to watch the Hippo from a distance, although we were still pretty close. This was absolutely amazing, and my day was made!!

Hippo we spotted when we entered the Delta
Hippo we spotted when we entered the Delta
The Hippo on the Delta with his mouth open! Cannot believe I got this shot!
The Hippo on the Delta with his mouth open! Cannot believe I got this shot!

The Mokoro ride was so peaceful and relaxing as we went down the Delta. Our poller’s name was Isaac, and myself and the other girl had a great chat with him. He told us a lot about himself, and his village, and the different uses of the delta and the plants. Like the reeds they use for the siding of their homes. There was a moment, when he asked us what we use in the traditional homes from where we are from. It caught me off guard for a moment, and I found myself trying to answer with as little information as possible. I was a bit embarrassed by how much more we have, and things that are standard like indoor plumbing are not a thing in these villages. These thoughts stayed with me most of the rest of the day, but this is part of the reason I travel. To see how other people live. The difference is, these people survive and thrive and are happy, and they make use of the natural resources around them, where I would not be able to survive out on my own in this environment. A bit of a ramble, but just some thoughts.

Zebra grazing along the Delta
Zebra grazing along the Delta

Along the way we saw Zebra and there were two Elephants that were grazing right by our island, and when we went to go for a swim, we could seem them!

Elephants by our island at the Delta
Elephants by our island at the Delta

We set up camp on the island and had lunch, and our guides dug us a poop hole! If we were being honest, it was actually not bad at all, and I can say I used a poop hole in Africa. Only down side, is being careful you do not run into an Elephant in the middle of the night. After swimming we had some down time before going out on a bush walk. This was my least favorite activity thus far. It was hot, and what I thought was only an hour bush walk was actually 3 hours in the sun, and our guide was not great and barely showed us anything. We saw a couple Elephant and a warthog, but nothing much else. The only redeeming part was the moon after the sunset, it was absolutely amazing!

The Moon just after sunset
The Moon just after sunset

I think this was the activity that also put me a bit over the edge and I ended up a bit dehydrated. Feeling down and out and dehydrated, I skipped out on dinner and went to bed while trying to hydrate with water. This was not the night I wanted to spend feeling this way, but that is the way things work out usually!

Thankfully, from my tent, I still could hear the singing that the guides did at the campfire, and I saw some of the dancing on a bathroom run. (Sorry for all the bathroom references, but I couldn’t describe this day without them!)

My favorite song was the last one… It went like this:

Oh Beautiful Africa (Africa)

Oh Beautiful Africa (Africa)

We Shall Never Forget

Oh Beautiful Africa (Africa)

And then you change Africa to Botswana, or really anything. The voices of the locals were amazing, I am glad I at least was able to kind of enjoy it.

The night was interesting, but thankfully I did not run into any Elephant on the way to the hole. It was definitely an experience I will never forget!  

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