The Moutain of the Gods.
"So how old are you?" asked Frank as we climbed up the female hill of Tsodilo. Rising dramatically from the Kalahari sands – the three main hills (male, female and child) have been a sacred and mysterious place for centuries - in fact "the Mountain of the Gods" was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.
"I think I am 55 years old, but I'm not sure," replied George, our guide, with a vague smile. George - that is not his real name, but the one he gave himself because it is easier to pronounce for the visitors he takes on walking trails around the hills. He belongs to the San-people who live at Tsodilo till this day.
"I was born on this hill," he said and even showed us the exact cave where he came into this world half a century ago.
Tsodilo is a sacred place where ancestral spirits dwell. In earlier times, his ancestors performed religious rituals to ask for rain or for help. They also put paintings on the rock face which can still be found today. These rock paintings are nearly everywhere – representing thousands of years of human inhabitation.
George took us all the way around the female hill, pointed out rock paintings of rhinos, antelope and lions; told us stories from the past; lead us down ancient pathways that his people have been walking on for thousands of years.
Fishing on the Okavango.
After leaving Tsodilo Hills, we made our way to a close-by fishing lodge and spent the whole day fishing on the beautiful Okavango river. Frank caught the first fish of the day - after that they just kept on biting; we pulled about twenty tigerfish in total out of the glassy waters. Gesa had not been fishing in over ten years and was as excited as a kid when she felt a pull ten times stronger than the ones before on her fishing line.
"Pull! Pull! You need to pull!," shouted Small, the fishing guide, at Gesa as she battled with the rod. At the other end of the tight fishing line fought a massive tigerfish. As she finally managed to get it into the boat, Small helped Gesa to take the beast off the hook and measured its weight: 8 Pounds of Tigerish - the biggest one at the lodge this season!
Safe to say, Gesa is now "hooked" - mind the pun...
Preparing for the Kalahari.
Our days in Botswana are slowly coming to an end. But we will finish off with a bang! Before we head over to explore Namibia, we will spend 3 days in Central Kalahari. Right now we are back in Maun for a few days, stocking up - not only on fuel and food but also on some warmer clothing and warm water bottles - we are expecting it to get shivering cold in the desert...