Category Archives: Maun

Bee-yoo-tee-ful Botswana

Ghanzi, Botswana

George was always on top of his game as CEO. He let us know the daily itinerary and made sure we knew each time we entered a different time zone. And, by the time we all woke up, washed up, packed our stuff and rolled up our tents, he always had the breakfast table set up, sometimes with eggs and bacon already sizzling on the pan. So, when we arrived to an empty table this morning, all of us scratched our heads. Did we all miss something? Luckily, by now, we became familiar with where things were packed and figured out on a whim how to turn on the makeshift stove to make tea and coffee. Turning on the stove was a collective moment of sheer pride. Yes, we were able to turn on the gas and light a match! You get a coffee; you get a coffee; everybodyyyy getssss a coooofffffeeeeee! (Or, tea.)

By the time we were washing the dishes, George stumbled in looking all alarmed and disheveled. He had forgotten to set his watch forward one hour.

Because of our awesomeness, we made it in time for our morning walking tour with the Kalahari Bushmen (the San people) who then demonstrated their hunting techniques and survival skills. Badass.

Maun / Okavango Delta

H, Rachel and I have been discussing this flight for about a year and here it finally was! It was a true test of Rachel’s stomach and the power of Dramamine.

The Okavango Delta is a huge wetland, all swampy and marshy, that is flooded seasonally by the Okavango River. I highly recommend watching all of Planet Earth II. The Okavango is featured in Episode 5: Grasslands and if the amazingness of the visuals and the dramatic orchestral music aren’t enough, you also have David Attenborough narrating in complete majesty.

Yup, amazing.

The reflection of our Cessna on the blades of grass. By now, all of us were still beaming with smiles while Rachel had her head down in silent meditation, “safety” bag in hand.

We finally completed our Big 5 bingo when we spotted some buffalo, the other four being the lion, elephant (pictured above), leopard, and rhino which we first saw in Etosha National Park. Apparently, there was a croc in the midst that I completely missed. Doh.

The next day, we packed smaller bags and took mekoro (plural of mokoro, a dug-out canoe) out into the delta to a spot where we were going to camp out for the night. We later tried out steering the mokoro ourselves and when I thought I was getting the hang of it, I began going in a circle, several times. Then flies began to devour my ankles as I was trying to maintain balance. I wanted to swat them away so badly but, apparently, there are leeches in the water and the thought of possibly falling in and having them latch onto unwelcome places resulted in me getting swollen, incredibly itchy ankles instead.

We had the afternoon to ourselves before our sunset walk. Connor, Viv and Hayley had the right idea of how to spend it.

Hippos lurking in the water. I really think they have the best life. They are land animals who spend their days in the cool water and are also scary as hell. They’re in the top 3 list of creatures in Africa responsible for human deaths. Also in that mix are mosquitoes and snakes. Combine all 3 and you have a nice party. Of death.

We ran into a herd of (I think) lechwe antelope, zebras, elephants and warthogs. The usual suspects.

It appeared that this turtle was attacked and eaten by a lion. Seeing that he was not too far from the water…

H: “Aww, he almost made it!”

But, s/he didn’t. What are you gonna do.

Uh huh, sunset. We also had a sunrise walk the next morning. It never gets old.

After dinner, we huddled around a campfire and the locals sang and danced for us. The main song that stuck with us:

Bee-yoo-tee-ful ___________! ( ___________ )
Bee-yoo-tee-ful ___________! ( ___________ )
I shallllllll never for-gettttttt
Bee-yoo-tee-ful ___________! ( ___________ )

The blanks changed with each repeat of the full song – Botswana, animals, tourists, toilet, etc. To be fair, the toilet was a freshly dug out hole. Not quite beautiful but, it wasn’t the worst one we’ve had. And, on that topic, we were told to buddy up should one of us have to use the toilet in the middle of the night. We were in the wild and hippos were known to roam the premises at night. Most of us tried to stop drinking liquids after dinner and we all agreed that there was no shame in peeing by your tent. Because shame is determined by the presence (or lack thereof) of majority agreement. Sure enough, around 3am, I heard grunts and snorts so loud, I felt like the hippos were only a few feet away. COOL. (Scary.)

Back in Maun, Lando Bloom needed a kick starter and we all hauled ass. Well, except for Connor. Guess which one he is.

Kasane / Chobe National Park

Before heading to Chobe National Park, we camped out one night at a place in Gweta with baobab trees and an awesome pool. The camp was aptly named Planet Baobab. After cooking duties, I participated in a game of “Who Could Fold Down The Top Portion of Every Camp Chair The Quickest Without Knocking Them Over,” an awesome adult game possibly invented by Chris and Ashley. This may sound like a simple task but, with a few beers in your system, it becomes quite the challenge and ignites a heightened sense of competitiveness. I forgot who won but, it sure wasn’t me.

We took a BYOB (and BYO-Biltong & BYO-Pringles) river cruise where we saw crocodiles, elephants, hippos, buffalo, and a variety of birds, some of which were getting free rides on top of hippos and buffalo. One younger elephant, however, was limping with a white puffed gash in its leg that looked infected. It was probably attacked as prey and the guide told us it was likely that the park officials had already been alerted about it. The likelihood of it being saved, though, didn’t seem great 🙁

Boats, elephants, sunset.

And, then, we hit the lioness jackpot during a morning game drive.

It is, indeed, a bee-yoo-tee-ful Botswana. So beautiful that Alex had a, and I quote, “chubby for Chobe.” [Shivers.]