3 words describing your trip
I am often told that I cant keep things short (…. Proof follows in the questions below)
So I don't think that I could sum up my holiday with 3 words...
Your favourite place and why?
First Impressions count! The same applies to countries! And the first impression I had of Botswana... was gigantic. My destination: Oddballs' Camp, in the heart of the Okavango Delta.
As soon as I arrived, I jumped into a mokoro with my guide and off I went on an adventure. We had only been in the boat for five minutes, when I saw a hippo out the water to my left and an elephant in the water to my right. I didn't know where to look first...
After we landed on Chiefs Island, the safety rules were explained to me:
- Never run in the bush - only food runs!
And right after we left, I was already put to the test. Something was running in the high grass next to me, I couldn't see it. I stared into the grass absolutely petrified, my guide was just watching me. I stopped moving, probably stopped breathing too...
I had passed the test. My guide had already recognized that the sound was an impala moving alongside us. On this day we saw numerous Impala. And while the setting sun bathed the beautiful landscape around me in golden light, my guide brought me back to camp. Here I could enjoy the sunset over the Okavango.
I slept in a tent on a wooden deck. And as soon as it got dark, it got loud. Thousands of crickets and frogs started singing their night song...
But in the middle of the night another sound broke through the chirping of the crickets. Something big ran through the water, right in front of my tent! I knew immediately that it had to be an elephant and risked a look out of my tent. I couldn't see him, yet I knew he had to be close. Right next to my tent a huge bush protruded into the water and small waves surrounded the branches that reached into the water. The elephant had to be standing right behind the bush.
I sat on the small veranda in front of my tent and listened into the night until the cold forced me back into the tent.
On the second day my guide and I went on another bush walk. For a long time we trudged through grass and sand until we received a message by radio. We turned around and rushed through the bush, dodging trees and branches and scaring up numerous impalas...
And suddenly we see an elephant in the tall grass, less than 50 meters away... we walk further... past the elephant. I wonder where we are going and after rushing through the bush for another 10 minutes, I dare to ask the question: What did the people on the radio see?
The answer: A lion!
I asked, are we running after a lion right now???
In principle, it is not recommended to ask the question if you do not want to hear the answer!
Of course we followed a lion. A slightly sick feeling appeared in my stomach and as we continued to follow the lion many things went through my mind.
e.g. From Gesa's book I knew that the guides in South Africa are armed with a rifle on walking safaris.
We had... a pocket knife!?!
But anyway, we keep following the lion. We climb up a termite hill and observe the clearing on which the lion was sighted. The lion's gone, we missed him.
I don't know if I was sad or happy about it...
Strangely enough, I always felt safe with my guide, even when we were chasing the lion. He was not a man of great words, just explaining the things that had to be said. Nevertheless, he was a deeply friendly man who radiated an unbelievable calm.
Funny thing: he had a pronounced right-left weakness. If he pointed at an elephant to my right, I could assume that the elephant was standing somewhere at an angle of 360° from me.
And although he knew neither right nor left and had no watch, he led me every day in the mokoro and on foot through untamed wilderness without a map and we always arrived exactly 10 minutes before lunch back at camp...
Yes, Oddballs' is a little paradise in the middle of the Okavango Delta. Even though I was at many other places in Botswana that were as beautiful, it remains true: the first impression counts. And that was my first impression of Botswana!