Through my eyes

living my life without regrets

Thursday, April 02, 2015

8. Okavango, Botswana, Southern Africa

Okavango, Botswana

As usual, up early, a quick breakfast (I did not have anything to eat) and then a short drive to the local airport to catch a bush plane. There are hundreds of those planes
Bush Plane Used to get into the Delta
around; they don't need a great tarmac; any straight level surface will do as a landing strip. The arrangements for the flight were made by the lodge. With us on the plane are an Italian mother and her 2 late teenagers. Those 3 are dropped off first after an hour and fifteen minutes flight. We waved and offered a polite smile and now it's us and the pilot.

Below us is nothing but shallow swamp as far as the eyes can see. Get lost here
View From the Plane
and you are food for some animal. Few and far between I see below us slight elevations, islands to use a better word, but still, mostly swamp. Not morass but mud, you never know if it supports your weight. There are some solid sections, too. I see shades of green and brown water ways, rivulets, channels, creeks. No lakes to speak of. I see bushes, grass and smallish trees, a few larger trees here and there. The water moves over an immense area, miles upon miles, shallow and always trying to level itself. No civilization in sight.  The whole area 
View of the Delta From the Plane
below us is mainly flat. There is nothing to see but the randomness and mix of flowing water and dirt. There are no roads of any kind. We touch down unto “our” landing strip somewhere in this nowhere land, the Okavango Delta. The Okavango River is one of those rare rivers that does not end near the ocean. The river just runs itself dry; and the water at the end of this delta sinks into the ground or evaporates.

As usual, a welcoming party greets us at 
More Delta Views
the landing strip. There are two men and an old, dilapidated, utility truck. The luggage goes into the truck, we walk. This truck is the only vehicle on this large island, our home for the next 2 nights. We walk and the temperature around us is about 36 C. Not much shade. The trees that give good, deep shade are rare in the delta. Animals ate the trees as seedlings, elephants pushed them over, high floods ripped them out or they don't grow here. It is hot.

Walking to the Main Building (Tent)
After a good 5 minute walk we come to the reception area of our lodge. Mmmm, maybe let's call it a camp. A nice lady greets us, shows us where the outhouse is and explains the peculiarities and set up of this place. It seems the lack of electricity is severe. A confusing array of instructions of what to turn on and when made my eyes cross each other. We are assigned tent # 8, the closest to the lodge. After the greeting lady’s rather lengthy instructions I just want to go and lie down and cool off. The temperature is about 35 C and my fever is about 38 to 39. I need rest. OK, we check into our tent and find an old fashioned, rotating fan at the foot of the bed. No AC.  Not enough electric to run AC’s. Ever the optimist I lie on the top of the sheets and try to nap.
Carol is good, she never said boo but her face speaks volumes. We both look at each other and realize that this is the life in the Delta. Where have our heads been? We “dreamed” of better accommodations but this is reality! This is as good as it gets. Our safari outings would have been 3 hour walking tours, twice a day, for the next 6 days. Great if you are 30 or 40 years old but any older and it gets more difficult the older one gets. With my fever running wild now and concern for my health, we made the decision to cancel the Okavango part of our journey. Carol spoke to the greeting lady and we were in luck. A late arrival bush plane could take us to Maun, the flight hub for bush planes and a city that has a hospital. The total time on the ground for us; inside the Okavango Delta was about 2 hours.  We did not see anything of the Delta except what we saw from the plane ride. I am told they have Air Conditioning in Maun. So off to Maun we go.

No comments: