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May 11, 2013 / samwilson60

Into the delta

By the time we hit Maun we’d done well over 1,000km in Botswana and were more than ready to change the pace. After one night camped at a lodge on the river, we left the Tinker Beast to recover from her exertions and took a boat into the Okavango Delta. We were taken by motorboat from the lodge to the village of Boro, where Mompati – or Partner as he translated it for us – picked us up in his mokoro.

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After a few hours of being poled along the water (the most relaxing experience in a very long time), we set up camp on the edge of one of the biggest islands in the Eastern Delta, in the most magical spot imaginable. From what felt like our own little slice of jungle, it was like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Partner later took us out for a walk around the island – within metres of the tents, in what felt like solid forest, we were staring out to the horizon across dry grass, acacias and the odd baobab. We then understood why we weren’t allowed to wander further than the ‘toilet’ by ourselves – there’s no way we’d ever find our way back.

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We spent about three hours exploring by foot that afternoon, and again the following morning. We though we’d learn about the delta and its flora and fauna – which we did – but we never expected to see so much of it at first hand. We also hadn’t anticipated what a difference it makes to be on foot when face to face with big game. When a large pack of wildebeest sensed our presence and turned to charge, Partner calmly but firmly told us to crouch down in the grass and shut up for a minute. It worked a treat but I’m not sure we’d have had the guts to sit it out without our trusty guide. And if you think that left an impression, you should have seen our faces when we stumbled over a herd of elephant the following morning.

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What with all the birds and animals, the best sunset and sunrise to date and everything Partner taught us about the area and its inhabitants, we were over the moon with our slice of the delta. Little did we know, the highlight was yet to come. As we were packing up our things and getting ready to leave, five male elephants appeared just outside camp – heading straight for us, it seemed. Partner was surprisingly relaxed and soon explained that they were actually just trying to cross the water to the island opposite, but as if on purpose, just for us, they took their time about it 🙂

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When we got back to the lodge, having also spotted a hippo within metres of the mokoro station, we were feeling really rather smug. If we did nothing else in Botswana, it would already have been well worth the detour.

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One Comment

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  1. leelee / May 11 2013 9:42 pm

    what awesome pics you guys! yup. botswana is one of the serious highlights of all the travelling i’ve ever done. just got off the phone with the folks; they’ve booked to go again too. in july. you lucky fish, all of ya’s!
    PS. writing this from spain – woohoo, we made it! xxx

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