Sunday, April 28, 2013

Okavango Delta and the close of our tour

After Chobe we headed to Maun and set off for 2 nights in the Okavango Delta by mokoro, which is a traditional dugout canoe with a poler standing in back pushing the boat through the narrow waterways. It is very relaxing except for occasionally getting smacked in the face with reeds. I actually fell asleep for the last 20 minutes. Unfortunately I have no photos of this on my phone because I took my nice camera and didn't want to have to protect too many electronic items from falling into the water. But I will post photos and videos later. There weren't all that many animals to see, but we did have a close encounter with a hippo on the way in, and there obviously were animals all around us because their poop was everywhere.

For 2 nights we had no facilities. We brought cooking items with us but all cooking was done on the fire. The toilet was a hole dug in the ground. The head poler told us if we filled it up he would dig another but it didn't get to that point; I think it's likely we had some backed up people on the return ride. :)

There was little to do but take nature walks, swim in a former hippo pool, read and sleep. No one in our group braved the pool but another group on the island was more adventuresome. The water was pretty nasty and my prissy Virgo nature can't stand getting muddy unless I'm at a spa. Between walks and sunset mokoro rides we napped and read a lot. It was very relaxing. Just when we were becoming bored out of our skulls we returned. Anastasia's new group and ours had been on the same path up to this point. Upon return we said our final goodbyes before they headed to Namibia and we headed toward South Africa.

Our next stop was Planet Baobab which seemed like an awesome place and had the awesomest pool of anywhere we have stopped. Unfortunately we arrived after 5 and left before 6 so there was no time to do anything other than set up camp, eat, shower, sleep, tear down, eat again, and leave. Well, you all know us--we did manage to squeeze in a few beers at the awesome bar. And Steve took a refreshing dip in the pool. When we went for a p.m. shower we were surprised to find the showers were completely open air and unlit. No lights whatsoever, only the mostly full moon to assist. That was the only bad thing about this place. So Steve and I ignored the gender segregation and set up all our headlamps and other lights in a shower on the ladies' side and took what felt like a candlelit shower, except less romantic. The water was hot but still it was cold outside. Also, because the lack of roof allowed leaves to fall into the shower, the drain backed up pretty bad and we had to get in and out quickly.

The next day we rushed to Camp Itumela in Palapye where due to the dropping temperatures no one opted to camp. If you want some amusement, check out the TripAdvisor review we are writing about this place that will be posted in about a week.

From here we set off on our final game drive in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. It did not disappoint - we saw about 10 or 12 white rhinos! They are probably the most impressive animals I've seen in Africa so far. As a bonus we got to see some ostriches preening and dancing because it is mating season. We also saw some wildebeest which we hadn't seen previously. Returning back we had our last dinner and last drinks with the group. Well, the drinkers consisted of me Steve and one Dutch girl, Sunna, but the three of us did a farewell shot of Amarula mixed with Kahlua - Amarula is the Bailey's of Africa.

After another mostly sleepless night (again, check out that review when you get a chance) we got up at 4:30 to repack and head off on our final long drive to Johannesburg. It certainly has been an experience and the closer we get to the end the more I wish it could continue.

Pics: post-delta goodbyes, ready for our last game drive!, sunrise, our neighbors at our last camp, and ostriches!

*Also after seeing how kick ass I look in wire framed sunglasses I'm thinking I need to pursue a new career in law enforcement upon return :)

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