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July 25th, 2008 – Okavango Delta, Botswana to Gweta, Botswana

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Today there was an optional bush walk in the early morning.  I opted to pass on that bush walk and get a few more hours of sleep.  Even though I had my ear plugs in, I could still hear rob rummaging through the tent looking for things he needed for the walk.  I tried to go back to sleep, but got up probably some time after 7.  For days now I haven’t had a watch, which I don’t really mind, and we have anointed Sarah as the official time keeper as she is really only one of the few people who have watches on the trip.  After an early basic breakfast and a later brunch it was time to pack up the tents, cooking gear and everything else, load them back on the mocorro’s and head back to the site where the trucks dropped us off two days ago.  The ride back wasn’t as comfortable as our boat was real low to the water and our gear was tightly packed.  It also wasn’t as warm and I was pretty nervous that we were going to sink.  When we got back to the unloading site, it took a while to load the open aired 4X4 fitted truck and we also tipped the polers and guides which was nice.  On the way back to Maun I was starving.  Some people had nuts and we had a few beers for the ride back which took again about 3 hours.  When we got back to Maun we quickly unloaded the special truck and then loaded Marilyn, our truck and headed off for the scenic flight over the Okavango Delta.

I was really excited to do this flight, but when we got in to this tiny 5 seater Cessna I was a little nervous, and it didn’t help that Henk kept asking me if I was nervous.  I mean there is something about being in a tiny plane, but once we took off, my nerves went away and the amazing scenery began to fly by us.  We were only about 350 feet above the ground and over the next forty five minutes I took many pictures and saw so many great animals.  I mean elephants looks more like ants, but on this one flight we saw Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffes and many other animals.  Herds and herds of them just roaming.  At one point the pilot started screaming and pointing over his left shoulder.  At that point I thought we were going to die but after the flight, the pilot told us he was screaming to look at a lion killing and eating a hippo.  He said he was screaming because he was so excited and had never seen that before.  It all went down so fast that I had no idea what was going on and was upset to have missed it, but it didn’t bother me that much.  Before we landed Sarah began to feel sick.  The small plane went up and down quite a bit with the turbulence and you feel it a lot more in such a small plane.  Right before landing she threw up in the baggie they give you in front of your seat, and luckily we got out of the plane before it started to smell.  We all gave her crap about throwing up but she took it well and laughed and smiled.

When we got back from the flight, we had lunch in the parking lot and then it was off to Gweta for the night.  We arrived at night, set up our tents, and most people headed to the bar.  I made it an early night, since I was tired from the long day.

July 24th Okavango Delta, Botswana

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Today I had to wake up super early for a sunrise bush walk.  The walk lasted about four hours, again I stupidly did it in flip flops even though I had my brand new new balance sneakers in my tent and completely ripped up my feet  The highlight of the walk was the extremely close encounter with elephants.  They were real close in the bush eating leaves off trees.  Our guide kept going closer and closer but knew exactly what he was doing.  He did tell us that if the wind had changed the elephants would have smelled us and possibly charged us.  I was confident in our guide Couks that he knew what he was doing.  He had told me earlier that this was his tenth year as a licensed guide which gave me even more confidence in his ability to not get us killed.

After the bush walk we came back, had a brunch, chilled out.  At around 100pm a bunch of us, both girls and guys went swimming.  It was a five minute walk and the water was cold and muddy.  Sarah didn’t get and took some great pictures using my camera of us swimming out to a shallow spot in the middle of the delta.  At 330pm the whole group took the mocorro’s to see the hippos.  They were in a place called the “hippo pool,” which was basically just a body of water where the hippos were likely to be since their homes on the ground were located on the shore.  These hippos were close, real close and there was nothing to protect us from them.  Hippos are the number one killer of humans in Africa after Malaria.  At one point the hippo appeared to be coming closer to our particular boat and Sarah got scared and made KC take us back closer to shore.  After observing the hippos we took a ride back during sunset.  It was nothing special considering our backs were to the sunset so I wasn’t really impressed.  When we got back we had dinner and after dinner the fun began.  After dinner, we built a large fire and the polers and guides who stayed with us for the past two nights sang songs for us.  These were traditional african songs and some of the popular african songs.  After they sang it was our turn to sing, and the songs had to be in our native tongue.  In front of everyone I did my national anthem, as well as take me out to the ball game, and row row the boat with the british and australian contingent.  I thought it was a great time, and most people did their national anthems and popular songs from their country.  After the singing, we all hung out around the campfire, listening to the animals in the wild cry at night.  The stars were out in full force and at this point my trip was satisfied.  I really wanted to see stars at night, listen to animals howl and camp in Africa and did all of those three things out in the Okavango delta in Botswana, how amazing.  I also tried to fix jin’s camera, who during the singing and dancing just left it in the sand behind the fire.  Eventually we got it fixed temporarily which was a miracle.  His camera is like Rasputin, it has been dropped in water, dropped in sand and just flat out dropped.

July 23rd, 2008 – Maun, Botswana to Okavango Delta, Botswana

Monday, August 11th, 2008
I forgot to write in yesterday's entry that I also signed up, along with 14 others to take a scenic flight over the Delta on the day we come out of the delta in three days time. It was ... [Continue reading this entry]